Posted by Deanna Aubrey, PEMPAL PFM Adviser
The three ‘communities of practice’ of budget, treasury, and internal audit of the Public Expenditure Management Peer Assisted Learning (PEMPAL) network had a series of meetings in the first six months of 2012. PEMPAL covers up to 22 governments in the Europe and Central Asia region and brings practitioners together regularly to discuss common priority issues in PFM reform. PEMPAL is supported by the World Bank, Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the Russian Federation, and OECD SIGMA.
Members of Treasury Community of Practice (TCoP) gathered in Tbilisi, Georgia from February 27-29. Treasury experts from 10 countries met to learn more about Georgia’s PFM reforms implemented by the State Treasury Service, who co-hosted the meeting. The workshop was an opportunity to exchange experiences in modernizing national treasury systems particularly related to issues of integration of external financing. Participants also had the opportunity to visit the customs clearance zone of the Ministry of Finance in Lilo district in Tbilisi as an example of modernization public services through information technology. More information can be found at http://www.pempal.org/event/read/55 and in IMF’s PFM blog at http://blog-pfm.imf.org/pfmblog/2012/04/georgian-state-treasury-hosts-workshop-on-treasury-and-external-financing-reforms.html
Fifty-seven participants from Ministries of Finance from 18 ECA countries from Budget Community of Practice (BCOP) met in Bohinj, Slovenia on March 27-29 to exchange experiences in program budgeting as part of the Budget Community of Practice (BCOP) work program. Country cases of France, Australia, Poland, and Slovenia were showcased and reform progress shared by Kazakhstan, Russian Federation, Armenia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Most PEMPAL member countries have implemented elements of program budgeting including defining and identifying programs, formulating program objectives, and selecting performance information. However, the quality of performance information remains generally poor, is in many cases not systematically monitored, and has limited influence on budget decision making. Countries acknowledge that the reform process is long and ongoing and are planning on exchanging information and meeting more on this topic in the future. More information can be found at http://www.pempal.org/event/read/58 and in IMF’s PFM blog at http://blog-pfm.imf.org/pfmblog/2012/05/program-budgeting-is-on-the-reform-agenda-across-europe-and-central-asia.htmlMeetings of small sub-working groups from the Internal Audit Community of Practice (IACOP) were held on April 17-18 and April 19-20 respectively in Sophia, Bulgaria. The first meeting was held to finalize the Good Practice Internal Audit Manual template which is being developed for the benefit of PEMPAL member countries. Refer to http://www.pempal.org/data/upload/files/2012/08/finalinternal-audit-manual.pdf for a copy of this manual. The meeting focused on risk assessment for the strategic planning of internal auditing in the public sector. Topics discussed included common terminology on risk assessment, the International Professional Practices Framework (IPPF) standards and guidance on risk assessment, and building up the risk assessment methodology model for PEMPAL countries. The second meeting was held to discuss mentoring in the certification process as part of the work being undertaken on a training and certification module for internal auditors being developed for PEMPAL member countries. These two working groups reported progress to the IACOP plenary later in the year to gain feedback on the knowledge products developed. More information can be found at http://www.pempal.org/event/read/60
A working group meeting of IACOP was held on June 15-16 in Hungary, Budapest to share experience and knowledge in quality assurance reviews between 38 participants from 17 PEMPAL member countries. OECD SIGMA, a key in-kind supporter of IACOP, also presented the International Professional Practices Framework (IPPF) standards on quality control and quality assurance. Experiences from Hungary, Poland and Albania were also showcased. It was followed by IACOP’s 17th plenary meeting where 63 experts on internal audit from 25 countries discussed the relationship between internal audit, financial inspection and external audit. Hungary shared their experiences and country cases of Ukraine, Moldova and Armenia were presented. OECD SIGMA also shared the INTOSAI Standard ISSAI 9150 on coordination and cooperation between Supreme Audit Institutions and Internal Auditors. More information can be found at http://www.pempal.org/event/read/64
The TCOP met on June 25-27 on “Strategies for Treasury Modernization” which brought together 95 people, including 77 practitioners from 19 PEM PAL countries and 11 representatives of international institutions and donors. The meeting took place in Moscow and Vladimir and was co-hosted by the Federal Treasury of Russia. The main objective of the meeting was to provide government treasury specialists with an opportunity to exchange experience in the field of implementing reforms in treasury systems with a focus on the application of strategic approaches at later stages of reforms. Country cases of Russia, France, Tajikistan, Macedonia and Croatia were discussed, as were the insights from the World Bank’s experience in the application of the Treasury Reference Model in the region and internationally. A visit of the Vladimir regional treasury was organized to showcase the information system and to further discuss the impact of the recently completed Treasury Modernization Project, considered as the most successful in the ECA region. This project established one of the largest treasury information systems in the world, with support from the World Bank. More information can be found at http://www.pempal.org/event/read/65
At the end of June, the newly appointed Executive Committee of the BCOP participated in the 8th Annual OECD-CESEE Senior Budget Officials meeting in Tallinn, Estonia. The agenda of the OECD meeting included presentations on the role of international organizations in the region; OECD recommendations for PPPs; recent developments in strengthening fiscal governance in the EU; budgeting in the circumstances of austerity measures and slower economic growth; and the role of the Budget Office in maintaining the financial sustainability of health systems. More information can be found at http://www.pempal.org/event/read/66
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