Why this initiative?
Sound governance of Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) is critical for ensuring delivery of high-quality audits, as well as other core results that in turn contribute to improve public sector accountability and lives of everyone. SAIs are therefore expected to act as model organizations in all relevant areas, including how they govern their human resources, which are by far their most important and valuable assets. This includes both audit and non-audit staff. For an SAI, leading by example in this area involves ensuring appropriately designed and well-functioning human resource management systems that promote ethical behavior, gender-responsive practices, and an inclusive culture across the SAI’ systems and operations. Building sound human resources management is also essential for ensuring and improving SAI performance in line with its strategic goals and priorities.
Data from the 2020 Global Stocktaking Report1 and other relevant sources show that there is substantial room for improvement when it comes to SAIs’ capacities to effectively manage their human resources, their own ethics and being gender responsive and inclusive organizations.
Human resources management (HRM), Gender, Inclusiveness and Ethics have in common to reflect the organizational culture which affects the approach for governing staff, as well as the ethics culture and the appetite and opportunities for gender-responsiveness and inclusiveness. All three areas have people and workers of the organization as their key focus (as opposed to other areas focused on systems and operations), and therefore necessarily affect each other. This provides a good reason for these three closely interrelated topics to be addressed under one initiative.
The TOGETHER initiative aims to support SAIs (based on context, gaps, and needs) in enhancing their overall systems for governing their human resource, ethics, gender and inclusiveness, thus contributing to better governance of SAIs and improved contribution to accountability, integrity and governance in the public sector. The initiative intends to be relevant for all models of SAIs, regardless of their HR system features, which can vary based on their institutional arrangements and administrative tradition, their level of independence and autonomy, etc.
Scope and implementation strategy
The initiative will comprise three components: an overarching one on human resource management which also reviews ethics, gender, and inclusiveness; as well as more in-depth interventions on ethics, gender, and inclusiveness for selected SAIs.
HRM Basics for SAIs
- Build on pre-existing resources, interventions, and initiatives (especially from INTOSAI community), for developing capacity building material and tools on HRM Basics for SAIs (including considerations on ethics, gender, and inclusiveness at a basic level) (2021-2022).
- Design and develop a SAI Integrated HR, Ethics, Gender, and Inclusiveness Assessment Tool, building on available internal and external resources (2022).
- Pilot the ‘HRM Basics Course for SAIs’ to a small group of SAIs (2022)
- Based on lessons learned from the pilot phase, extend the roll-out of the ‘HR Basics Course for SAIs ‘to a larger group (2022-2023).
- Provide targeted SAI-level support for implementing specific actions based on the HRM dimension of the Assessment. This support will aim at providing context-specific support to SAIs on strengthening HR functions, including entry points on how to better integrate ethics, gender, and inclusiveness in HRM based on needs (2023).
- Provide targeted SAI-level support for implementing specific actions based on the ethics dimension of the Integrated Assessment. This support will aim at providing context-specific support to SAIs on strengthening specific elements of their ethics systems and practices (2023).
- Provide on-demand training on ISSAI 130 Implementation, with a gender and inclusiveness lens.
Gender Responsive & Inclusive SAIs
- With the support of external and in-house expertise, provide SAI-level support to SAIs for implementing specific actions based on the Gender & Inclusiveness dimension of the Assessment (2023).
How will SAIs get involved?
TOGETHER Initiative will be offered to SAIs across all INTOSAI regions, from 2022 and starting with a pilot group. The initiative will be then rolled-out to a larger group of SAIs, based on lessons learned from the pilot phase. Participation will be based on commitments between voluntary SAIs and IDI, which will address all the three components of the initiative. Resources and material developed as part of the initiative will be made available for all SAIs regardless of their level of development. IDI is also looking for experience from the INTOSAI community in HRM in SAIs. If your SAI would like to contribute to the initiative by sharing its experience, this is very much appreciated. You can get in touch via email: [email protected]
TOGETHER Open House
131 people from 51 SAIs from the three targeted regions attended the launching events on 13 and 15 September 2022. Participants were SAI leaders, HR practitioners, audit managers, and staff involved in strategic management. They were able to learn more about the initiative’s rationale, its objectives, the delivery approach, and the conditions for participation. The open house was also an opportunity for raising awareness and in-depth experience sharing on the topic, by knowledgeable speakers from SAIs, from the Canadian Audit and Accountability foundation and from the IDI. They discussed challenges that SAIs are facingface in the area of HR governance, but also shared good practices and opportunities.
2022-2023 TOGETHER Pilot and Application
TOGETHER is now open for application to interested SAIs from the AFROSAI-E, ASOSAI and EUROSAI regions. For the pilot round, we are targeting a group of 10-12 SAIs, with an aim to ensure a diverse group of SAIs in terms of size, institutional model, legal autonomy and HR set-up.
The application process entails three stages:
First, by 7 October 2022 :
• Fill out a brief application form to express interest,
The application form intends to capture rationale for applying, SAIs objectives regarding HR governance, and degree of SAI’s organizational autonomy at a high level.
Second, for SAIs that have applied,
• Participate in a selection discussion via videoconference with the TOGETHER team
The discussion aims to clarify mutual expectations and conditions for participation.
Third, for selected SAIs:
• Sign a statement of commitment after the discussion with the TOGETHER team.
Selected SAIs will have to complete a short high-level survey on the SAI’s organizational autonomy and HR function and nominate a team to participate in the HRM online course starting end of October 2022.