For the first time and under the framework of the Strategic Transformation, The Internal Oversight Service and the Administration and Management Sector jointly organized a workshop on oversight recommendations management for the focal points in sectors and services. The event, which took place on 26 June 2019, was prepared in collaboration with the Strategic Transformation Support Unit, aiming at strengthening and enhancing internal processes of audit management.
The Strategic Transformation process has addressed challenges, bottlenecks and solutions to coordination mechanisms and closing oversight recommendations. The biggest challenges are the large number of audits, ownership by management and the limitations of financial and human resources to implement oversight recommendations.
Deputy Director-General, Xing Qu stressed to the importance of strengthening ways to manage audit processes and encouraged senior management for greater support and coordination in audit processes.
“We must have support and commitment from our senior management for closing recommendations,” said the DDG. “We also need to strengthen the active buy-in of middle managers into the full understanding and follow-up of recommendations.”
Restructurings in the Administration and Management Sector have led to the establishment of focal point for compliance and oversight management. The sector will also manage a single tool for a database, which will put together recommendations from internal audits, internal programme evaluations, external audits, recommendations from the UN Joint Inspection Unit and the Oversight Advisory Committee. Further synergies will be sought in the areas of control self-assessment exercise and risk management and maintenance of risk registers.
Susanne Frueh, Director of Internal Oversight Services, welcomed this step by saying that management is now taking full ownership of the database.
“This should bring better data quality and consistency of the oversight recommendations,” she said. “It will also allow better analysis of what’s happening in the first and second line of defense, where are the key weaknesses, repeat recommendations and give management quality information on which areas may have systemic issues that can be addressed”, she believed.
Nicholas Jeffreys, Assistant Director-General Administration and Management Sector, emphasized that working to close recommendation has become a bureaucratic exercise for the managers. He explained how necessary changes aimed to having appropriate internal controls offers an opportunity at improving the efficiency of the Organization. It also provides an opportunity to show our Member States and donors where more resources and support are needed to make the organization healthy and efficient. In this way, it will strengthen our resource mobilization initiatives.
There are currently 231 open external and 175 internal recommendation issued that are being reviewed by sectors and services.
In the beginning, the Strategic Transformation sought direction by reviewing past reforms and over 450 open oversight recommendations. Currently, the stakeholders are implementing projects from those work-streams. The process has facilitated to progressively tackle the recommendations. This work is progressing well.