Wrong messages from the National Audit Office
Reference is made to Architect Carmel Cacopardo’s article entitled “Wrong messages from the National Audit Office” (TMIS, 29 April).
The NAO wishes to clarify a number of points made by the author, specifically those relating to the role of the Office in “domestic working groups”.
The NAO participates in such working groups as ‘observer’. The Office plays no executive or advisory role. That said, within the parameters of autonomy and independence, its participation is of paramount importance as it keeps abreast of developments taking place across the Public Service. This approach is adopted by other similar institutions abroad.
We refer the author to the seminar mentioned on page 13 of the NAO’s publication “Work and Activities of the National Audit Office 2017” during which the Role and Contribution of the Public Auditor in Public Financial Reforms was extensively discussed. Experts from HM Treasury and UK NAO shared their experiences on how the two institutions cooperated within the ambit of the UK NAO’s autonomy and independence.
In the light of a fast developing environment, the National Audit Office cannot adopt an insular approach but needs to ensure that it keeps up with the audit needs arising from the reforms adopted by Central Government.
The NAO wishes to clarify that as far as financial legislation is concerned, the prerogative rests with the ‘executive’. The NAO’s role is solely to elaborate on shortcomings arising from its audits, to highlight risks in the administration’s financial management system and to ensure that the NAO’s recommendations are fully understood. At the same time, the NAO safeguards its position in respect of any amendments to statutory timeframes and obligations which may impact the Office’s work.
All this is in line with the NAO’s vision “... to be an agent of change conducive to achieving excellence in the public sector” Mario Sant Public Relations Officer National Audit Office