This morning, the National Audit Office (NAO) in collaboration with the European Court of Auditors (ECA), organised another Joint Seminar with the theme ‘Public Audit in the Digital Age’. In his opening address, Charles Deguara, Auditor General, highlighted the fact that due to the rapid considerable technological changes, particularly in such areas as Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence, auditors simply have no other option but to adapt, experiment in all sorts of areas and constantly innovate. In his keynote speech, ‘Technology is Driving Change in Audit’, Leo Brincat, Maltese Member within the ECA, said that technology – including Blockchain – is expected to be amongst the main catalysts of change in the sphere of auditing. He emphasised that innovative auditing will necessitate new tools; in this context, he referred, amongst others, to the benefits that Big Data and Analystics can offer even to public entities. Whilst wishing all participants the best of luck in their professional assignments, he emphasised that auditing has no option but to adapt to the digital era, because ultimately the future of auditing, as well as that of the auditors themselves, is at stake.

This was followed by a presentation by Spyridon Pilos, Principal Manager in the Directorate of Information, Workplace and Innovation within the ECA, with the title ‘Preparing for Data-driven Auditing’. It was then the turn of Noel Camilleri, Deputy Auditor General, to give an extensive overview of the new initiative taken up by the NAO, namely ‘Integrating Data Analytics in Auditing’ He highlighted the various measures undertaken so far to eventually introduce this new methodology. Mark Rogerson, Spokesperson for the ECA, then gave a presentation on ‘Media in the Digital Age’. The Seminar was concluded by a presentation made by Joyce Dimech, Permanent Secretary (Strategy and Implementation) within the Office of the Prime Minister regarding ‘A digital Public Administration for a Service of Excellence’. She was representing the Principal Permanent Secretary who could not attend due to another unavoidable commitment.

This Seminar was attended by various Members of the Public Accounts Committee, the Permanent Secretaries and Chief Information Officers across the public service, and staff from the National Audit Office as well as senior officials from the Internal Audit and Investigations Department. Considering the theme chosen for this year’s seminar, the CEO and other senior officials of the Malta Information Technology Agency also participated in this event.