Published on Eurasian Perspectives

Charging up the Fourth Estate: Communicating about audit

This page in:
I’m back in Kazbegi and writing a blog again - what a nice coincidence! Georgian mountains possess a certain magic: they can help you forget about the office routine, bring out your social side, and enable you to more freely express yourself. Clearly, it was a very smart decision by the State Audit Office of Georgia (SAOG) to choose a location near Mkinvartsveri Mountain for its two-day workshop for media representatives.

With a view to helping journalists – the so-called Fourth Estate – broaden their knowledge in the field of audit, the head of the SAOG together with his colleagues hosted 20 media professionals from leading Georgian outlets, including TV, print and digital – all vital channels of external communication, and essential for ensuring transparency and accountability.

This initiative was driven by an emerging global consensus that the impact of external audit on strengthening overall the Public Finance Management system can be improved through the involvement of citizen and non-executive stakeholders.

The workshop was supported by the World Bank through its Advancing Public Participation in the Audit Process in Georgia Project, which has three specific objectives: increasing public awareness of how the role of SAOG contributes to the efficient management of public resources; developing the capacities and skills of both SAOG and non-executive stakeholders (mainly CSOs, academics, parliamentarians, economic journalists) to engage constructively throughout the audit cycle; and establishing mechanisms to institutionalize citizen participation and demand-side actors in the external audit process.

Sounds ambitious, doesn’t it? And it truly is. That’s why the Bank’s role and ongoing support has always been very positively assessed in Georgia.

And it’s not only about the dialogue between the World Bank and the Government. It’s just as important to make sure that the main beneficiaries – the people of Georgia – understand what our joint work actually means.
One of the workshop sessions was dedicated to practical work: journalists were divided into four groups and given different cases to broadcast audit results. Here, the head of SAOG helps participants on the assignment.

SAOG considers citizen engagement as a critical element in the audit process, and seeks to increase public knowledge of audits and their value-added through ongoing media coverage, public campaigns, use of social media and other awareness-raising activities.

Honestly, I was highly impressed by the knowledge of the workshop participants in the field of audit. They were all well prepared, but nevertheless needed further clarification and guidance, so they were armed with quite a number of questions. That’s how the five-minute “opening speech” by the head of SAOG, Lasha Todria, immediately turned into a friendly Q&A session lasting almost an hour!

As a communications professional already quite familiar with the subject matter, I still feel very lucky to have been one of the workshop participants. For instance, before the training, I might have had difficulty in defining the difference between the Chamber of Control and the restructured (since 2008) SAOG. Not to mention SAOG’s role in the state budget oversight process, the essence and results of performance audits - the work cycle, and many other details that may cause misunderstanding if not analyzed and communicated properly.
The deputy head of SAOG and his colleagues working with another group of journalists on an assigned task.
One of the most interesting and innovative parts of the workshop was the discussion about a new Web platform (under construction right now) that will present all the key information related to SAOG’s performance and progress in a graphic, easy-to-read format. I won’t claim the exclusive right of announcing this information, but once launched, I’m sure this electronic dashboard will become a very useful tool – engaging non-executive government stakeholders across the audit cycle, journalists, and other external audiences in ongoing audit procedures.

I look forward to sharing the link to this dashboard with you in the near future, and to hearing your comments.


Tako Kobakhidze

Online Communications Producer

Join the Conversation

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly
Remaining characters: 1000