Independence for the world’s audit institutions: a step closer
INTOSAI welcomes the 2016 Anti-Corruption Summit in London on having recognised the important role Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) play in the fight against corruption. The Conference communique called for the governments across the world to strengthen:
“..the capacity of supreme audit institutions..”
And they agreed that:
“We will work to strengthen fiscal transparency, including by ensuring legislative oversight of budget processes, and strengthening the capacity of supreme audit institutions. We support the independence of supreme audit institutions and the publication of audit findings”.
INTOSAI has long campaigned for the independence of SAIs so that they can fully hold governments to account for their use of public funds and work to strengthen public management. In line with the INTOSAI Mexico Declaration and as endorsed by the United Nations in special Resolutions of the General Assembly and the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency, Supreme Audit Institutions should have statutory independence from the executive, and the mandate, access to information, and appropriate resources to audit and report publicly on the raising and commitment of public funds. They need to be able to operate in an independent, accountable and transparent manner.
In recent years, INTOSAI has done much to adopt and promote the use of common international auditing standards and to generally help improve the quality of public audit available to parliaments and citizens. But improvements take time. Many countries lack the skilled staff to implement the new auditing standards and the independence and powers to produce timely audit reports which are made available to parliaments and citizens within a reasonable time.
Across the INTOSAI family there are many exciting developments which will in time mean that the SAIs can play more effective roles in supporting the development of their nations. Last year, for example, the parliament of Ukraine passed a new law granting the Accounting Chamber of Ukraine more powers and allowing it to conduct audits in line with international auditing standards. Another positive example, among several others, is Vietnam where independence of the SAI was mentioned constitutionally.
INTOSAI is concerned that valuable findings about the use of public resources, including corruption and mismanagement, highlighted in reports produced by the SAI community, are not being adequately and promptly followed up by governments. INTOSAI lends its voice to that of the Summit and strongly urges:
“All countries and INTOSAI members to publish their audit reports and follow-up recommendations in a timely manner. Where audits have highlighted incidences of corruption and fraud follow-up action should be prioritised”.
INTOSAI stands ready to support global efforts to assist in combating corruption, mismanagement and fraud.
More information on the Anti-Corruption Summit under: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/anti-corruption-summit-london-2016