PARALLEL AUDIT OF THE NORDIC COOPERATION REGARDING THE ELECTRICITY  EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS
7 pages
English

PARALLEL AUDIT OF THE NORDIC COOPERATION REGARDING THE ELECTRICITY EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS

Le téléchargement nécessite un accès à la bibliothèque YouScribe
Tout savoir sur nos offres

Description

EVALUATION REPORT (LESSONS LEARNED) PARALLEL AUDIT OF THE NORDIC COOPERATION REGARDING THE ELECTRICITY EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS CONDUCTED BY THE SUPREME AUDIT INSTITUTIONS OF NORWAY, FINLAND AND DENMARK February 2009 2 CONTENTS I. INTRODUCTION 2 II. LESSONS LEARNED 2 III. BACKGROUND AND IMPLEMENTATION 6 I. Introduction At the meeting of the Nordic Auditor Generals in Finland in August 2008, the Auditor Generals of the three countries signed the joint memorandum resulting from the parallel audit of the Nordic cooperation regarding electricity emergency preparedness. In this connection, it was decided that the working group which conducted the parallel audit would prepare an evaluation report (‘Lessons Learned’) to serve as guidelines for future cooperative audits. II. Lessons learned The lessons learned from this parallel audit show that attention to the following matters is important for the conducting of future cooperative audits. The lessons learned appear from the information presented under the bullet points. A distinction is made between recommendations aimed at the participating Supreme Audit Institutions (SAI) and recommendations aimed at the working group set up to conduct the audit. The working group that conducted this parallel audit consisted of a project group from each participating SAI. It can be concluded that, in the vast majority of areas, the parallel ...

Sujets

Informations

Publié par
Nombre de lectures 30
Langue English



EVALUATION REPORT
(LESSONS LEARNED)

PARALLEL AUDIT OF THE NORDIC
COOPERATION REGARDING THE
ELECTRICITY EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS


CONDUCTED BY THE SUPREME AUDIT INSTITUTIONS OF
NORWAY, FINLAND AND DENMARK










February 2009















2

CONTENTS
I. INTRODUCTION 2
II. LESSONS LEARNED 2
III. BACKGROUND AND IMPLEMENTATION 6

I. Introduction
At the meeting of the Nordic Auditor Generals in Finland in August 2008, the Auditor Generals of the three
countries signed the joint memorandum resulting from the parallel audit of the Nordic cooperation regarding
electricity emergency preparedness. In this connection, it was decided that the working group which
conducted the parallel audit would prepare an evaluation report (‘Lessons Learned’) to serve as guidelines
for future cooperative audits.

II. Lessons learned
The lessons learned from this parallel audit show that attention to the following matters is important for the
conducting of future cooperative audits. The lessons learned appear from the information presented under
the bullet points. A distinction is made between recommendations aimed at the participating Supreme Audit
Institutions (SAI) and recommendations aimed at the working group set up to conduct the audit. The working
group that conducted this parallel audit consisted of a project group from each participating SAI.

It can be concluded that, in the vast majority of areas, the parallel audit followed the recommendations from
the ‘EU Contact Committee and Candidate Countries – Joint Working Group on Audit Activities” and from
1INTOSAI regarding the prerequisites for successful cooperative audits.

Recommendations aimed at the participating Supreme Audit Institutions:

• We recommend that the audit relate to an area material to all the participating Supreme Audit
Institutions. The participating SAIs must have a mutual wish to conduct the cooperative audit.

In this parallel audit, it proved that not all the parties were sufficiently interested in conducting the
audit, see the description of the background and implementation in Section III. Decisions to withdraw
from the cooperative process serve to undermine the work and the value of the results of the parallel
audit, and focus should therefore be on preventing such situations. However, there is no all-round
solution to this problem, as cooperation is based on the voluntary participation of the individual

1 INTOSAI Working Group on Environmental Auditing (2007): Cooperation Between SAIs, Tips and Examples for
Cooperative Audits.
2 3

Supreme Audit Institutions. In any case, willingness to commit to conducting the audit will always be
crucial to the cooperation. In this regard, it is essential that the audit relates to an area of materiality
to all the participating SAIs, as this reduces the risk of one party withdrawing from the cooperation.

• We recommend drafting an agreement that puts a certain obligation on the SAIs to take part in the
entire examination of the selected audit theme. The agreement could potentially be
confirmed/adopted at the meeting of the Nordic Auditors General. An agreement would define the
working group’s mandate and cooperation methods.

This parallel audit was not based on an agreement signed by the Auditors General. The ‘parallel
audit’ form of cooperation was initially chosen by the working group members, who at the same time
provided a definition of what a parallel audit entails. A parallel audit is a simpler form of cooperation
than a joint audit. A joint audit can run into legal problems such as granting the employees of SAIs in
other countries access to confidential national information.

• We recommend that each country conduct a mini-analysis of the relevance of the theme before
deciding on the audit theme. A joint preliminary study should also be carried out in order to generate
a factual basis for the examination.

In our opinion, such early national mini-analyses strengthen the basis for evaluating the materiality of
the theme, while building up the theme-related competencies of the participating countries’ project
groups.
Although we did not conduct a joint preliminary study, we believe this could contribute to a better
common understanding of the theme and its relevance at the preliminary stages of the parallel audit.
Furthermore, the audit theme should be anchored in risk and materiality assessments conducted in
the participant countries.

• We recommend that the participating SAIs allocate sufficient resources from the very start.
Regardless of the form of cooperation chosen, cooperative audits are more time-consuming than
ordinary audits.

The commencement date of the audit should be agreed to ensure that all the countries can allocate
resources at the time of start-up. Ideally, the same team should work on the audit from start to finish.
The participating countries used a progress plan to agree on the timing of our examination process,
with resources being suitably adjusted along the way. Allowance was made for the fact that
language differences tend to slow down the process of international cooperation. In addition, the
decision-making processes at meetings mean that such cooperation takes longer than a national
audit. This parallel audit took approximately two years. Even so, the national reports were not
finalised simultaneously, which was probably due to a shortage of resources in one of the countries.

3 4

Recommendations aimed at the working group set up to conduct the audit:

• We recommend that consensus be reached on all material issues. Consensus is contingent on
everyone’s willingness to make compromises.

• Early in the process we recommend that the working group clarify the project participants’
interpretation of the mandate for the project. Questions regarding the handling of secretariat
functions, language and language problems should also be dealt with at an early stage.

From the beginning, the Norwegian project group assumed responsibility for the secretariat function,
progress and meeting management. This was instrumental in ensuring the positive outcome of the
parallel audit. The countries took it in turns to host the meetings. The project groups in the
participating countries also kept in regular contact with each other via e-mail and telephone
conferencing. To maintain momentum and reduce the language problems at meetings, it is beneficial
to prepare an outline in advance as a basis for the work. For this parallel audit, we decided to use
Norwegian, Swedish and Danish as our spoken and written languages. We can conclude that
Danish can be difficult to understand, particularly for Swedish-speaking Finns. The situation caused
various problems of understanding, which were resolved only by the mutual goodwill of the
participants and Norwegian mediation. It may be possible to reduce the language difficulties by
selecting a common foreign language (English) as the working language. On the other hand, one of
the unique features of Nordic cooperation is that we can work together in our own languages (with
the exception of Finnish). This can provide a better linguistic basis for spotting details.

• Early in the process, we recommend that the working group clarify whether the national procedures
for publishing the audit product will influence the choice of time and format for publication of the
work.

We had good experiences with establishing at an early stage that the desired product of the parallel
audit should be a joint memorandum that could be incorporated in the various national reports. It
took four months from the finalising of the draft joint memorandum to the first publication in national
audit reports.

• We recommend that the working group collectively establish the audit objective, detailed plan for
issues, and ways of addressing them.

We used a design matrix as a tool to structure our understanding of the connection between
objective, issues, choice of method, potential sources and anticipated findings. The design matrix
was developed as an ongoing process that started before the meeting in Oslo in April 2007 and
continued at this and later meetings. The design matrix reflects the work on the issues. When
formulating the objective/design matrix, the working group acknowledged that we could have used
4 5

more than two consecutive days of meetings. The second day of a three-day meeting could, for
example, have been used for a social event. Sufficient time must be allowed for meetings to make
sure there is also enough time to deal with any language difficulties.

• We recommend using recognised audit standards.

The selection of issues and audit methods should not be too ambitious as the form of cooperation in
itself poses a series of demands that can be difficult to meet. The participating countries must clarify
among themselves any differences in methodological audit approach.
The parallel audit originally included a scenario-based role play. Such role plays are not normally
part of the audit procedures of either the Norwegian, Finnish or Danish SAIs. In the course of the
parallel audit, the parties agreed not to carry out the role play after all. Had this decision not been
made, a new series of requirements for conducting the examination would have had to be made. For
reasons of national security, among others, the role plays would have to be carried out separately in
the participating countries, which would entail the risk of delays and difficulties in coordinating
consultants and results.

• We recommend preparing a joint milestone plan that covers the entire time period from beginning to
end and sets detailed deadlines for the individual work processes and working group meetings. A
detailed plan should also be agreed for such matters as scope and who is to compile materials for
the various issues.

• We recommend that the working group and the country project groups make it a high priority to meet
the agreed deadlines and keep each other informed. It should be noted that there is a great need for
internal and external communication.

The milestone plan must be adjusted so that deadlines are met, and the participating countries must
respond quickly if they find they cannot meet these deadlines. Agree on deadlines for reporting on
issues to ensure that they are matched by project group resources and that knowledge is updated.
Notify each other regularly about progress, problems or other matters that are/may be of interest to
the working group and that maintain the working group’s focus on the cooperation.

We briefed each other by mail during the first week of each month. Nonetheless, despite these
efforts, in the course of the parallel audit we experienced a couple of sudden changes effected by
the secretariat project group. Communication and information can be improved and sudden changes
thus largely be avoided if a joint preliminary study is done and the management of sub-working
groups is distributed among several countries.

• We recommend building a team spirit in the working group.

5 6

On the basis of our experience, we recommend that meetings are held over two days, and that
participants eat lunch and dinner together. Short excursions and rotating the host country also
proved to help promote a good social environment.

• We recommend that the working group members conclude their work by informing each other about
the national response to the publication of the audit and conducting an evaluation of the project
process focusing on learning and possibilities for improvement.

It is both important and useful to meet to evaluate the process, exchange national reports, describe
national reactions to the reports and possibly set a date for following up on the results of the joint
audit.

III. Background and implementation
st1 meeting, October 2006 in Oslo: On the initiative of the Norwegian SAI, the Auditors General of Norway,
Sweden, Finland and Denmark agreed to initiate a cooperative audit of the electricity sector. In Oslo in
October 2006, representatives from the four national SAIs discussed various possibilities for conducting a
parallel audit of this type. The Swedish delegation proposed the theme of power supply emergency
preparedness, but no decision was made at the meeting. Subsequently, however, all four SAIs agreed on
the proposed theme of power supply emergency preparedness for an upcoming parallel audit. The
Norwegian SAI undertook the role of secretariat for the parallel audit and on 31 January 2007, issued
invitations to Sweden, Finland and Denmark to participate in the parallel audit.

nd2 meeting, 18-19 April 2007 in Oslo: At this meeting a representative from the Norwegian Water Resources
and Energy Directorate (NVE) informed the countries about various problems in the electricity sector. Hans
Folkesson from the Swedish National Audit Office described the problems encountered during and the
methods used for the Swedish examination ‘Elavbrott – handtering av kriser i el-försöringen’ (Power cuts –
electricity crisis management). The interpretation of the theme ‘Cooperating on crisis emergency
preparedness’ was discussed, as were problems and methodological approach. The document ‘Tips and
Examples for Cooperative Audits’, published by INTOSAI’s Working Group on Environmental Auditing, was
also discussed.

On 2 May 2007, the Norwegian Auditor General, Jørgen Kosmo, sent a letter to his colleagues in Finland,
Sweden and Norway confirming that the theme of the parallel audit was power supply emergency
preparedness.

rd3 meeting, 12-13 June 2007 in Copenhagen: At this meeting the work of formulating the main and sub-
issues continued. A representative from the Nordic Council secretariat described the information-sharing and
decision-making processes between the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Nordic Council. The parties
6 7

discussed how the Nordic cooperation on emergency preparedness is anchored in the individual countries.
Strategies for reporting and publishing the results of the parallel audit were also discussed.

th 4 meeting, 4-5 September 2007 in Stockholm: At this meeting the Swedish National Audit Office informed
the other parties that it would investigate in more detail whether Nordic electricity preparedness is relevant
for Sweden. The study was to last roughly three months, and the Swedish National Audit Office would re-join
the parallel audit if the study showed that the theme was relevant. Svante Engelbrektsson gave a
presentation about the experiences from the Swedish audit office’s examination on power cuts, which was
then discussed. A representative from the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) held a
presentation about experience with role plays. Finally, the group discussed the draft design matrix (issues,
audit criteria, audit evidence, method, anticipated findings, implementation risk) and progress plan with
milestones.

October-November 2007: The national outline for the examination was approved by Norway, Denmark and
Finland. The sub-working groups on issue 1 (the objective of the cooperation between the Nordic countries
on electricity emergency preparedness) and issue 2 (the collaboration between the Nordic energy authorities
and the service providers about emergency response plans, etc.) initiated the national examinations and
formulated joint questions for the relevant authorities.

29 November 2007: The Swedish National Audit Office withdrew from the parallel audit for resource reasons.

th5 meeting, 16-17 January 2008 in Helsinki: The status of the national work on the parallel audit was
presented. A draft response to issue 1 was discussed, as were an interview guide and status of issue 2.

th6 meeting, 6-7 May 2008 in Oslo: Discussion of the joint evaluations of the audit results relating to issue 2.
The publication, form and content of the joint memorandum were discussed.

August-December 2008: The Auditors General of Norway, Denmark and Finland signed the memorandum at
a meeting in Finland on 24-26 August 2008. The national reports incorporating the memorandum will be
published on 9 and 10 October 2008 in Norway and Denmark, respectively, and on 18 December 2008 in
Finland. The Finnish National Audit Office will translate its national report into Swedish.

th7 meeting, 26 November 2008 in Copenhagen: Discussion of draft evaluation report /Lessons Learned. We
agreed to update each other by e-mail in early March 2009 about follow-up on the memorandum and
evaluation report. The SAIs of all three countries will enter the memorandum follow-up in their plans for April
2011 so that the three-year follow-up can be conducted. The Danish SAI will translate the final evaluation
report from Norwegian to English.
7