By Nicole Ayo von Thun, Senior Advisor, International Engagement, Office of the Auditor-General in New Zealand


 

“While borders have been closed, the International Team at SAI New Zealand has been working hard to update the IntoSAINT facilitator materials. This means that now that borders are opening up we are ready to kick off this important programme again.

What is IntoSAINT?

For those of you who are new, IntoSAINT is an integrity assessment that evaluates how strong an organisation’s integrity systems are and identifies ways to reduce vulnerabilities. This process helps strengthen controls and reduce risks.

Both supreme audit institutions (SAIs) and public sector organisations can use it. The integrity assessment is called IntoSAINT when assessing a SAI and SAINT when assessing a public sector organisation. SAINT stands for Self Assessment of Integrity.

What’s the format?

A cross-section of up to 16 staff from an organisation will spend two to three days in the workshop. It is a self-assessment because the organisation’s staff do it. Administering an integrity assessment requires commitment from the organisation’s management. They must give staff who attend confidence that their views are valued, and the time to fully participate in the workshop.

There are two to three trained facilitators to guide staff through the assessment process. The staff then consider the results and develop recommendations to strengthen organisational integrity. These recommendations are powerful because they come from staff who really understand how the SAI or organisation works. The facilitators then provide recommendations to management through a presentation and a written report.

What benefits does an organisation get from the integrity assessment?

The benefits include:

  • The assessment and the presentation of recommendations to management are completed within a week.

  • A management team receives clear recommendations about how to strengthen the organisation’s integrity.

  • Staff become strong advocates for integrity and act as integrity ambassadors after the workshop.

  • Staff better appreciate how the organisation’s culture affects behaviour and trust in the public sector.

  • Staff who are interested in holding managers to account for taking action.

What’s new with the IntoSAINT materials?

The pack of materials now includes a guide that leads facilitators through what an integrity assessment is, how to organise it, how to run one, and how to report the recommendations to management. It sits on top of all the documents required to do an assessment and shows facilitators how and when to use the additional materials and training documents.

We have also developed a range of new documents like the agendas, run sheets and a cover letter for the management report. We have also updated the PowerPoints so that the wording and instructions better align to the IntoSAINT Facilitator Guide.

The goal is to make it easier for SAI staff once they have been trained as IntoSAINT facilitators to do an IntoSAINT or SAINT assessment. Previously there was a lot to remember after the training. But now all of that information is documented in the guide so facilitators can self-refresh before every workshop.

The aim is that more SAIs in the Pacific region will be able to use this tool to strengthen integrity in their own public sectors. We will share this new package with the IntoSAINT Working Group, which is chaired by SAI Mexico, to be used internationally. SAI New Zealand is currently the PASAI regional representative on the working group.

What’s next for IntoSAINT in the Pacific region?

At the beginning of 2020, SAI New Zealand had a full programme lined up to roll IntoSAINT out across the region. Unfortunately, as with many things, COVID-19 got in the way.

Next year SAI New Zealand, with the support of PASAI and other trained IntoSAINT facilitators in the region, would like to reignite the enthusiasm for this valuable tool. We will be reaching out to everyone who signed up for a 2020 assessment, as well as connecting with those in the region who would like to know more about it.”

Keep an eye out for communications on this in the coming months. For any questions in the meantime on the new material or the IntoSAINT roll out in the Pacific region, please get in touch with the International Team at SAI New Zealand at international@oag.parliament.nz.