EUROSAI. Magazine N24 - 2018

Magazine No. 24 - 2018 45 EUROSAI Working Groups and Task Forces Tribunal de Contas (SAI of Portugal) Chair of the EUROSAI Task Force on Audit & Ethics (TFA&E) TFA&E: WORKING WITH OTHERS The EUROSAI Task Force on Audit and Ethics (TFA&E) 1 , established in 2011 to promote ethical conduct in SAIs and in public organisations, has been developing its work based on the voluntary commitment of all its members and, at the same time, on the cooperation with other partners. This cooperation, extended to other bodies and regions of INTOSAI and to external partners as well, serves several purposes. It allows the TFA&E to identify external information, knowledge and experience and use them in the preparation of its products, it ensures coordination with similar initiatives to strengthen efforts and avoid overlapping and it favours the dissemination of the work done. Ethics is both a simple and a complex issue. Already in ancient times, Plato and Aristotle considered it as essential to a well-lived life but stood for different strategies on how to develop the capacity to identify and choose, in each specific circumstance, the right course of action. The complete understanding of good would come, for Plato, from training on sciences and metaphysics and, for Aristotle, from practising emotional, social and rational skills. These different views express how holistic ethics is and how important it is that its promotion uses several approaches and involves several fields of knowledge. The TFA&E has always strived to use the opportunity of its annual meeting to meet several objectives. One of these objectives is to create a momentum in the national approach to integrity, by involving national authorities and experts in the TFA&E meeting, thus facilitating or highlighting the interaction of national 1 See SAIs and other national agents in the promotion of ethical conduct in the public sector. One example of this has been the 9 th meeting of the TFA&E, held in Lisbon in October 2018, where several national experts participated. Members of the Portuguese Central Bank, judiciary, local branch of Transparency International and standardisation agency were invited to discuss several themes with the TFA&E members, such as the role of ethics committees, the proposal of a European directive on whistleblowing and ISO 37001. The dialogue with the academy has also been considered as important. Knowledge and investigation in several areas have been valuable inputs for the TFA&E seminars and papers. In this area, we highlight: • The participation of Christoph Demmke, from the European Institute for Public Administration, as a keynote speaker in the seminar “ Auditing Ethics ” (Luxembourg, September 2013), elaborating on the auditability of ethics as a part of public governance 2 ; • The contribute of Heidi Paesen, from the University of Leuven, to the 7 th meeting of the TFA&E (Madrid, May 2016), concerning the use of perception surveys as an audit tool; • The input of Gary Hickey, from the University of London, in an e-seminar about “ Methods and Measuring Tools to Audit Ethics ” (January-March 2016), presenting an ethics audit toolkit 3 . 2 Seminars/AEL/Documents/4%20Documents%20of%20 Seminar/-%20II%20%20Introdution%20into%20Ethics- Related%20Matters%20and%20Integrity/1%20Dr%20 Demmke%20presentation%20(for%20printing).pdf 3 Documents/Session%2005/13%20Ethics%20Audit%20Toolkit.pdf