ALBANIA: Challenges when Auditing e-Government
The Albanian Supreme Audit Institution has been conducting IT audits since 2014. ALSAI, in its mission to conduct audits of information technology systems, relies on INTOSAI Standards and international best practices, in order to determine whether the entity's objectives are effectively achieved using IT resources, including compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.
Public service delivery has become an issue of global concern for many governments and public agencies. With the development of e-government, the audit focuses on the effectiveness and efficiency of public service activities, which further raises the question: Do public institutions guarantee high integrity of information systems to ensure the efficient, effective and cost-effective delivery of public services?
The impact of e-government at the broadest level is simply better government by enabling better policy outcomes, higher quality services, greater engagement with citizens. E-Government is focused on:
- better Service Delivery to Citizens (E-Government can be used for improving the interface with, Citizens while providing them with innovative services);
- efficient Government Purchasing (Governments are the largest purchasers in all economies; and for both moral and political reasons they should buy goods and services in the best way possible. e-Government can lead to significant savings for the government by bringing in efficiency in government purchases, spurred by increased competition through transparency;
- transparency (e-Government can be used to reduce opportunities for petty corruption at the point of service delivery; and provide mechanisms to create more accountability and transparency in the public sector).
One of the main IT Audit Department objectives is on conducting audits of information technology systems that serve to offer electronic services to Albanian citizens, addressing the risks that the lack of security policies carries in the self-management of systems or even the subcontracting of maintenance services, consequently recommending the taking of concrete organizational measures and addressing the relevant responsibilities in terms of maintaining the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the data.
ALSAI faces different challenges in auditing e-Government. These include:
- insufficient legal framework;
- getting access to government systems and data. Lack of IT Auditors experience;
- keeping up with the speed of change of information systems.
Despite these difficulties, ALSAI has identified many issues with e-Government implementations and has given the proper recommendations.