Albanian SAI participates in the seventh international seminar on Integrity and the fight against corruption in the public sector


The seventh international seminar organized by the Hungarian State Audit Office (SAO) on “Integrity and the fight against corruption in the public sector” was attended by 19 representatives of the Supreme Audit Institutions of 11 different countries, mainly from Central and Eastern Europe, and also from African countries. The Hungarian State Audit Office, as an active member of the international community of supreme audit institutions, since 2014 has been organising this seminar to share best practices and also culture with developing countries. In this seminar, the State Supreme Audit Office was represented by Ms. Elira Elezi (Department of Methodology, Standards and Quality Assurance) and Ms. Erieta Këlliçi (Performance Audit Department).


The main purpose of this seminar was to increase transparency and accountability, support the fight against corruption of the supreme audit institutions in developing countries and promote the exchange of international experiences based on SAI best practices by contributing to the global objective of good governance and the fight against corruption.


On February 24, 2020, on the opening day of the Conference held at the premises of the Hungarian State Audit Office (Budapest), SAO President Mr. László Domokos referred that Hungary is leading the way towards strengthening the protection of public institutions against corruption. The National Assembly, based on the SAO proposal, in July 2019 adopted a draft law providing for the establishment of an internal control system in state-owned enterprises. He emphasized that ethics and integrity at leadership and leadership levels is one of the most important tools for establishing organizational integrity.


After the conference, participants were transferred to Szarvas, where the seminar for the following day would take place. During these days, participants were introduced to lectures and presentations by representatives of the Hungarian SAO. The lecturers focused on auditing the integrity of the public sector as well as its role in the fight against corruption. On the second day, the seminar was officially opened with the presentation of Mr. Gyula Pulay and Mrs. Erzsébet Németh, Senior Supervisory Managers of the Integrity Project, who emphasized that transparency and accountability are the fundamental foundations of state structures and, at the same time, important pillars of integrity development in public administration. Some other issues that were discussed were the integrity, morality, integrity risks, ethical dilemmas, etc.


Following the presentations Mrs. Bettina Martus, Hungary's SAO Integrity Project Manager, explained the history and methodology of integrity surveys and questionnaires and familiarized participants, how Hungary's SAO simplified and digitized the survey throughout 2018 and 2019. The most important methodological innovation is the data "the worksheet", which is created automatically for each audited institution. The worksheet creates an integrity analysis based on 8 areas and demonstrates the most risky areas and controls. The success of this new method is indicated by the increase of indicators and the increase in the number of participating institutions.


During the third day, Mr. Balint Vargha, Auditor at the State Audit Office of Hungary, presented his lecture on measuring systems of corruption and compiling questionnaire questions. Participants were introduced to the integrity survey methodology and also practiced through teamwork, the most important elements of implementing a successful survey such as identifying corruption risks in the public area, assessing various controls that protect against corruption, completing of the questionnaires which are the basis of the survey and the evaluation and use of the survey results. During the day, attention was focused on the results of the Integrity Survey of 2019. On the presentation of this survey all participants had the opportunity to search and work in the SAO's online self-assessment system and integrity questionnaire. The presentations continued with the development of a culture of integrity and a description of Hungary's Anti-Corruption Strategy. Mr. Balint Vargha in his presentation emphasized that the integrity of an organization is the responsibility of managers. It is also essential that public sector bodies have a risk-based management. He stressed that SAIs should support integrity management in public sector bodies and detailed the implementation of instruments such as strong, soft and general controls.


On the fourth day, participants were introduced to state-owned enterprise survey methods, corruption risk analysis process, evaluation of integrity checks, and methods used by Hungary to strengthen the integrity of state-owned enterprises. Awareness-raising is an  important stages aimed at enhancing institutional capacity, enabling each public body to care for its integrity. Throughout the workshop days, participants engaged in specific work groups several times, to become more familiar with the theoretical basics, methodology, latest results and integrity survey experiences, and to share experiences from their respective SAIs.


On the last day of this seminar, participants were tested for the knowledge gained during these days. Each participant presented their own project plan regarding integrity auditing. All participants completed the test successfully and at the end of the seminar, the project leaders, Mr. Pulay and Mr. Vargha, after summarizing and evaluating the achievements of this seminar, distributed the certificates and assessments to each group of representatives. In addition, through a test that was subjected to all participants, which was related to a deeper understanding of Hungarian history, culture and traditions, the Albanian Supreme Audit Institution representatives were ranked the first with the highest score, rated a "Hungaricum" package containing specific symbolic products related to Hungarian culture.