On 26 and 27 April, the heads and delegates of some 20 supreme audit institutions (SAIs) from around the world gathered at the European Court of Auditors (ECA) in Luxembourg for the 5th Global Audit Leadership Forum (GALF). Representatives from EU Member States and other countries, including the United States, China, Russia and India , discussed the practice and limitations of performance audits in a political context, as well as the challenges and potential gains of communicating audit findings in a digital world.
“We are honoured to be hosting our sister institutions from Canada to New Zealand and Brazil to Japan, with an important presence also from the EU, at this year’s GALF,” said ECA President Klaus-Heiner Lehne. “Auditors do not work in a vacuum; the audit community must share ideas and concerns to remain future-proof and continue adding value through its work on behalf of citizens.”
This year’s GALF topics reflected the ECA’s own strategic goals of increasing its focus on performance aspects of EU action and better engaging with its audiences through digital communication and social media. On 26 April, participants discussed whether there are limitations on performance auditing in a political context, including the fine line between examining the effectiveness of policy objectives and questioning the policies themselves. Reconvening the next day, they discussed the challenges and potential gains of communicating audit findings in a digital world, which means striking a balance between maintaining the serious character of audit reports and benefitting from the efficiencies digital communication provides.
The debates were chaired by ECA President Lehne and moderated by Michel Huissoud and Brigitte Christ, President and Vice-President of the Swiss Federal Audit Office. Keynote speeches were delivered by Ann Mettler from the European Political Strategy Centre and Professor Jörg Müller-Lietzkow from the University of Paderborn’s media studies department. Joining Mr Lehne in the ECA delegation were Members Danièle Lamarque, Bettina Jakobsen and João Figueiredo.
Held for the first time in Mexico in 2014, GALF is an informal forum which provides an opportunity for SAI heads and delegates to discuss auditing in a global context, including current and emerging issues of strategic importance. In previous years, debates have focused on the role of SAIs in global development (Mexico), the future of public auditing (New Zealand), audit for sustainable development (Austria), and strategy and the evaluation of audit work (Denmark). The next GALFs will be hosted by China and India.
A selection of photos is available on the ECA website
and on social media @EUauditors
. The forum will also be covered in the next ECA Journal.