Communication strategy of the SAI for period 2020 – 2024 as a tool for achieving proactive communication with the key stakeholders

Podgorica, 28th July 2020 – With the Communication strategy for the years 2020-2024, the State audit institution strives to contribute to greater openness, transparency and accessibility, and the overall objective of this strategic document is to build trust of the key stakeholders in the work of the SAI, as well as better understanding of the audit reports.

Member of Senate of the State audit institution, Zoran Jelić, in interview with PR Centre, has stated that the Communication strategy of the SAI for the years 2020 – 2024 is a fundamental strategic document envisaging development of the current and new communication policies and activities that are planned to be conducted in the following four-year period.

“By adopting the Communication strategy, the SAI wants to point out greater openness, transparency of its work and accessibility of information towards the general public. The strategy is a tool for achieving proactive communication with the key stakeholders and general public “, said Jelić.

According to the international standards, as he has pointed out, a transparent and accessible supreme audit institution is one of fundamental preconditions for the citizens to gain trust in its work.

“Therefore, in the context of further strengthening of transparency, accountability and openness, the overall objective of this strategic document is to build trust of the key stakeholders in the work of the SAI as a source of independent, truthful and politically unbiased information as well as to increase visibility and maximize the dissemination and understanding of the audit reports by the key stakeholders “, said Jelić.

Achieving this objective, as he has explained, implies the implementation of three specific strategic objectives and a large number of the strategic activities that will contribute to strengthening perception of the key stakeholders about the added value of the SAI.

„The Communication strategy is the result of the mutual work of the employees of the SAI and representatives of the Parliament, Government, civil society and media. In order to make this document comprehensive with all shortcomings and proposals for their solving, we carried out analysis of the current state in direct communication with the key stakeholders by applying combined research methods and analysis of the internal and external environment “, said Jelić.

While developing the Strategy, as he stated, the SAI applied recommendations and principles of transparency and accountability from the international standards of the supreme audit institutions and available results of the relevant assessments of the NGOs in Montenegro.

„Professional expertise and support was provided by the European Union through implementation of the IPA Project „Development and strengthening of the SAI and Audit Authority “. We express our gratitude to our expert, Mr. Ferdinand Pot who provided professional expertise in developing this strategy “, said Jelić.

The Communication strategy, as he added, identifies several target groups with which the State audit institution communicates and cooperates. „The target groups primarily refer to the Parliament and Government of Montenegro as primary target groups and „informed society” as secondary target group including media, academics, professionals (for example audit associations and academics) and active citizens in civil society organizations (CSOs) and/or non-governmental organizations (NGOs)“ stated Jelić.

When it comes to the cooperation with the Parliament of Montenegro, as he stated, a set of the activities are envisaged in line with the commitments prescribed in the Memorandum of understanding signed between these two institutions in 2018. „It mostly refers to development of procedure for the Parliament how to deal with individual SAI reports including a standard practice that SAI audit reports are presented at relevant committees’ sessions; holding the annual meeting with the Parliament prior to finalization of the Annual audit plan so that the SAI can learn the expectations of the Parliament, as well as to implement a register of all SAI recommendations and share information on the degree of implementation with the Parliament“, said Jelić.

He stated that the models of communication and cooperation with the Government, or Ministry of finance, other audited entities and Supreme State Prosecutor’s Office as the primary target groups are defined through development of a guideline for writing SAI reports and formulating audit recommendations; increase the number of cross section compliance audits on specific themes that will allow identification of best practices across different ministries/state authorities; professional expertise based on its audit reports to the Government during amending and adoption of new regulations related to public finance area, as well as holding annual high level meeting with senior managers of the Government to exchange views on the systematic weaknesses and manner of addressing them.

„Development of the internal procedures for communication with media, establishment of new website, development a policy on the use of social media for the SAI, strengthening of the internal capacities in this area, as well as holding meetings with the representatives of the NGOs, lectures for the students at the universities in Montenegro and implementation of training with the professional audit associations will significantly strengthen communication and cooperation of the SAI with the informed society and increase its impact in the society“, said Jelić.

All the envisaged objectives and activities, as he said, will be elaborated in detail through the Action Plan, which will be developed with clear measures, performance indicators, deadlines for implementation and responsible persons. "SAI has started developing an Action Plan for the implementation of the Communication Strategy for the period 2020-2024. Professional support in developing the Action Plan is provided by experts from SIGMA", concluded Jelic.

Statement of the SAI Senator Zoran jelic

Communication Strategy of the State Audit Institution of Montenegro for period 2020 - 2024