UNHCR-TCA partnership to audit public institutions
The project in brief
Turkish Court of Accounts (TCA)
April 2019 - Ongoing
This project is aimed at performing a tailor-made audit, addressing the special necessities of financial and in-kind support provided to Turkish public institutions for delivery of protection and assistance to refugees. Those special necessities might be summarised as: the diversity and urgency of the needs of refugees, changing nature of spending types and methods among institutions, difference in the capacities of institutions and various effects of COVID-19 pandemic on audit activities.
- To address the special necessities of audit of financial and in-kind support provided for the refugees.
- To provide information on major findings discovered during the audit and an evaluation of the Partner’s compliance with the Terms and Conditions of the Agreement.
- To provide useful information on the strengths and weaknesses of the internal control environments of the Project(s) and enhance the partnership performance between UNHCR and the governmental institution(s).
The independent structure of Turkish Court of Accounts (TCA) and its modern methodology in conducting audits provides a basis for effective cooperation. The Constitution of Turkey and the Law no. 6085 on Turkish Court of Accounts enable the TCA to produce reports and take final decision on the accounts and transactions with a view to ensure the public administrations to serve efficiently, economically, effectively and in compliance with the laws and the public resources to be acquired, preserved and utilised in accordance with the foreseen purpose, targets, laws and other legal arrangements in the Republic of Turkey.
Main activities of the Good Practice
- UNHCR provides the TCA with Partnership Agreements (PA) concluded with Turkish public institutions or other documentation containing information on support provided by UNHCR to Turkish public institutions and any additional supplementary information on the projects being implemented in form of financial or in kind support to the respective public institution.
- Assigned auditors of the TCA for each public institution cooperating with UNCHR provide an understanding of the engagement context on the basis of this documentation through meetings and discussions with UNHCR.
- The TCA performs annual audits of projects implemented by Turkish public institutions. The Auditor performs the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the Project Financial Report (PFR) or other information related to the use of UNHCR provided resources is free from material misstatement and in accordance with agreed standards of financial and performance reporting.
- TCA provides an Audit Report with: a clear audit opinion, according to generally accepted auditing standards and formats, information on major findings discovered during the audit, an evaluation of the Partner’s compliance with the Terms and Conditions of the Agreement and an Internal Control Questionnaire (ICQ) as applicable, to assess the level of internal control systems maintained by the partner public institutions.
- Directorate General of Migration Management
- Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities
- Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services Ankara Provincial Directorate
Challenges and how they were overcome
The needs of refugees addressed by different institutions vary dramatically from one institution to another. In addition to that, technical capacities and the quality of human resources vary among institutions. Those differences affect the spending types and methods, which makes implementing one single audit methodology hard for different institutions.
COVID-19 is also another big difficulty in following audit plan and methodology. During the epidemic, since it is not possible to visit the partners and communication opportunities are restricted, gathering information and audit evidence has become significantly more difficult.
How they were overcome
Close cooperation and effective communication between the UNHCR, the TCA and the audited institutions during the planning, execution, reporting and follow-up of the audit, stand out as the most important element for the success of this project. The audited organizations have assigned the most competent human resources for the project and the TCA has allocated a separate audit team consisting of a sufficient number of auditors for this audit. The audit process has been followed by both the Court of Accounts and the audited organizations at the senior level.
The specific challenge due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been addressed through the use of remote audit methods and the application of modern control techniques to implement the audit plan without interruption even during the epidemic.
Results of the Good Practice
- Regardless of the size of the institution's budget, it has been ensured that an important system and awareness of the auditee is created regarding the supervision of the supports provided directly by UNHCR.
- An additional guarantee has been introduced in order to ensure that the aids reach the real beneficiaries and that they are provided in the most economical way.
- An effective monitoring mechanism has been established and improvements have been made in the operation for the future.
How the project meets the GCR Objectives
Objective 1: Ease the pressures on host countries
An unqualified audit report of the TCA for public institutions receiving financial support by UNHCR as well as a positive performance audit report form a solid basis of accountability and effective use of donor funding provided to Turkey through UNHCR which is likely to encourage responsibility sharing with the largest refugee hosting country.
This cooperation is also a good example of the multi-stakeholder approach envisaged by the Global Compact on Refugees.
Objective 2: Enhance refugee self-reliance
One of the main objectives of UNHCR’s support to public institutions is to strengthen inclusion of refugees in national systems. An effective performance audit of the support is instrumental in providing guidance for implementation by the respective public institution, giving way to increased inclusion of refugees into national systems, hence enabling self-reliance.
The project will be extended in a way to perform audit of in-kind contributions.
Further support required for the project to continue or scale up
- Logistical support by UNHCR.
- Willingness to cooperate from the audited public institutions both in the capital and at field level.