The Speaker of the House of Representatives Anglu Farrugia paid an official visit to the National Audit Office (NAO), where he was greeted by Auditor General Charles Deguara and Deputy Auditor-General Noel Camilleri.
During the visit, the Auditor General presented the annual report and financial statements of the National Audit Office for the year ending 31 December 2020.
In his brief address, the Speaker conveyed his appreciation for the sterling and useful work carried out by this constitutional office, particularly since the reports issued by the NAO were of critical importance in the parliamentary scrutiny of the utilisation of public funds. He added that during his tenure as Speaker of the House of Representatives he tabled at the House of Representatives 126 reports, of which 19 were presented during 2020. The Speaker contended that this clearly shows the commitment of this office. He was also shown a video clip, produced entirely in-house by NAO staff, which shows visually the principal works and activities carried out by the NAO during last year.
This year’s report was based on the International Integrated Reporting Framework developed by the International Integrated Reporting Council. This approach represents a more cohesive and efficient methodology to reporting based on integrated thinking, which provides a holistic picture of the Office’s strategy, governance, and performance.
In the introductory part of the report, the Auditor General provides an overview of the tasks, activities, developments, and achievements by NAO for 2020. In his foreword address, he pays tribute to the commitment, flexibility, resilience, and professionalism of NAO staff, notwithstanding the considerable challenges and difficulties brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. He also conveyed his appreciation to the editorial team, chaired by Deputy Auditor-General Noel Camilleri, for the work undertaken to compile this informative publication. The Deputy Auditor-General reflects on the NAO Strategy for the period 2019-2023 and observed that this long-term plan has ensured not only continuous improvement in terms of output but also on the way the Office is organised and works.
The report also includes a historical article on “The Making of an Independent Audit Office” by Prof. Godfrey A. Pirotta. In his article, Prof. Pirotta focused on the incremental changes that finally led to the establishment of an independent Audit Office and briefly described what these changes involved.
The report contains a new section in Part One of the Report that provides an overview of the external environment in which the NAO operated in 2020 and its effects on the Office. The major events affecting the Office were the COVID-19 pandemic, the government’s public finances, the Public Service’s ongoing transition to accrual accounting; and proposed constitutional, legislative, and institutional reform.
The report also refers to the participation of the NAO in a number of international and local activities. These include NAO active participation in meetings organised by the European Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (EUROSAI) Project Group on COVID-19 and EUROSAI Working Group on Environmental Auditing; and the presentation to the President of Malta Dr George Vella and the Minister for Justice, Equality and Governance Dr Edward Zammit Lewis of the proposed amendments to the Constitution and the Auditor General and the National Audit Office Act respectively. These extensive amendments aim to enhance the role, functions, duties, and powers of the NAO to enable it to remain a vibrant and relevant institution.
The second part of the report provides an overall summary of the NAO business model. This model represents the processes that transform the various Office inputs to outputs and outcomes that create value over time across the various NAO capitals – financial capital, intellectual capital, manufactured capital; human capital; social and relationship capital; and environmental capital. This part also outlines the risks and opportunities that affect the Office’s ability to create further value in future as well as provides an overview of the NAO Strategy and the work and outcomes of the seven strategy action groups set up to implement it.
Part Three provides an overview of the work undertaken by each of the Sections of the NAO, comprising Financial and Compliance Audits, Performance Audits, Special Audits and Investigations, IT audits as well as the administration of the Office.
The audited financial statements of the Office are presented in the final part of the report.
The report may be accessed by visiting the website www.nao.gov.mt or on the Facebook page www.facebook.com.
To open the NAO video follow the link Annual Report and Financial Statements of the National Audit Office – 2020
Source: Office of the Prime Minister