Unleashing the Potential of Public Audits
Nearly every country in the world has a functioning supreme audit institution (SAI) that is mandated to check the legality and accuracy of public accounts and to report their findings to drive improvements. SAIs have one of the toughest jobs in government: ensuring that powerful politicians, officials and institutions are held accountable. Recent case studies commissioned by the International Budget Partnership (IBP) in Argentina, India and the Philippines demonstrate how SAIs can positively impact public finance accountability and the lives of citizens.
Yet, while essential for accountable governance, SAIs face serious limitations in many countries. As the Open Budget Survey shows, audit reports are withheld from the public, hearings on audit findings take place behind closed doors and findings are not acted upon.
If more governments could be convinced and incentivized to address the findings contained in existing audit reports, strengthening their accountability systems, then they would be more likely to take the necessary steps to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of national expenditures.