International connections

The international connections of the Office of the State Comptroller and Ombudsman

State Comptrollers and Ombudsmen from countries around the world closely cooperate with one another and exchange information at both the bilateral level and within the framework of international organizations. Such close international cooperation plays a major role in strengthening State Audit research, the investigation of public complaints, the development of a professional ethos in these fields, the State of Israel's diplomatic relations and its image around the world.

The State Comptroller has been an active member of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) since the 1950s. The Israeli State Comptroller was formerly a member of the INTOSAI Executive Committee and even served as Chairman of the Organization from 1965-1968. The Israeli Comptroller is currently a full member of the Organization's committees in various fields including information systems auditing and key national indices. The Israeli State Comptroller is also a member of the Asian Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (ASOSAI) and the European Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (EUROSAI).

In his capacity as Ombudsman, the State Comptroller is a member of the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI), and its European Regional Organization. He is also a member of the Association of Mediterranean Ombudsmen - AOM) and its Executive Committee. Employees from the Office of the State Comptroller and Ombudsman occasionally attend conferences, seminars and study days organized by the various international organizations.

The diverse bilateral ties with audit and ombudsman institutions around the world manifest themselves in various and manifold ways, such as reciprocal visits, exchanges of information and expertise, participation in conferences and seminars, professional cooperation in various fields and even auditing peer organizations. Thus for example, at the end of 2012 Israel was chosen to serve as a senior member of the  team appointed by the OECD to review Chile's Supreme Audit Institution - an indication of the degree to which the State Audit in Israel is held in esteem internationally.  

International Professional State Auditing Standards

Since it was founded in 1953, INTOSAI has been engaged in the creation and assimilation of international state auditing standards, with the aim, inter alia, of enhancing scrutiny of the public sector worldwide and the capability, status and influence of state audit institutions. International standards do not have binding status and auditing institutions are not obliged to comply with them.

The INTOSAI standards - the International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAI) were formulated with the understanding that the auditing institutions take precedence over all national bodies operating within their countries' constitutional, political and public frameworks, which are significantly different from each other. Nevertheless, the purpose of the international standards is to present recognized operating rules and accepted professional guidelines based on the collective experience of the international state audit community, on the assumption that each audit institution can greatly benefit from that experience according to its special characteristics. The international standards are made up of four components:

A. The founding principles

Including ISSAI Standard 1, which follows verbatim the 1977 Lima Declaration . This Declaration defined, inter alia, the objectives of the State Audit, established the independence of the State Audit as a cardinal principle, addressed the appropriate relationship between the auditing institution and the legislature and the Executive and set out general guidelines for auditing and reporting methods, etc.

  

B. Essential threshold requirements for ensuring the that the State Audit Institution functions properly

Including ISSAIs 10-40, which establish the independence of the State Audit the principles of transparency and accountability, an ethical code and rules for controlling the quality of the audit work.

 

C. The fundamental principles of the State Audit

This component includes the following Standards: ISSAI 100, which sets out the principles, requirements, criteria and basic assumptions for determining auditing standards; ISSAI 200 - General standards for managing professional workers in the context of performing auditing assignments; ISSAI 300 - Field work standards of the Audit, as a guiding framework for proper, effective and balanced action in which the audit worker, as one searching for and investigating facts, ought to operate. ISSAI 400 - Reporting standards which set out general guidelines regarding what an audit report should contain and what it should look like, while distinguishing between a financial audit report and a performance audit.

DAudit guidelines

This component includes ISSAI Standards 1000-5500, which are divided into guidelines for undertaking financial, performance and statutory audits, together with audit guidelines on specific subjects: (1) Implementation guidelines which include, inter alia, the planning of financial statement audits, risk appraisal regarding inaccurate financial statements, the materiality principle, evidence and proof, analysis, sampling and assessment, the making of comparisons, use of the work undertaken by internal auditors, etc., as well as standards which explain the significance of performance and statutory audits. (2) ISSAI 5100-5500 incorporate auditing standards relating to the following subjects: quality of the environment, privacy, information systems, government debt and disaster relief.  

E. In addition to all of the above, a series of guidelines exists for audited institutions - INTSAI GOV 9100-9299. These are not audit standards as such but rather directions for the proper management of the audited bodies; in other words, sound management standards which the audit institution may recommend to them.