Effective SAIs deliver value and benefits to make a difference in the lives of citizens by contributing to accountability, transparency, integrity, staying relevant and leading by example. To be able to deliver these value and benefits as envisaged in ISSAI 12, an SAI needs an enabling and conducive institutional framework. This includes independence as a primary requirement.
Both the Lima and Mexico INTOSAI declarations define this SAI independence. SAI independence also finds a central place in the March 2012 UN General Assembly resolution 66/209 promoting the efficiency, accountability, effectiveness and transparency of public administration by strengthening SAIs, which recognized that supreme audit institutions can accomplish their tasks objectively and effectively only if they are independent of the audited entity and are protected against outside influence. The importance of independent SAIs is also underlined by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) contained in the United Nations Agenda 2030 and adopted in September 2015. Goal 16 of the SDGs provides for the building of “effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.” Target 16.6, which aims at developing “effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels,” is of particular importance for the contribution of independent SAIs to sustainable development. In reality, many SAIs in the INTOSAI community still fall well short of the level of institutional capacity and independence defined in the Mexico Declaration. (Institutional Capacity is not defined in the Mexico declaration).
Much work has already been done to promote independence, especially by the INTOSAI General Secretariat, some INTOSAI regions, some SAIs providing bilateral support and other development partners. However, as the 2014 IDI Global Survey indicates SAIs continue to face challenges in terms of their independence.
Given SAI needs and the importance of this issue to the effectiveness of SAIs, IDI has initiated this programme to contribute to the ongoing efforts. This write up describes the pilot programme that will be launched in 2016. The objective of the programme is ‘greater SAI independence’. The programme is expected to run from 2016- 2018.
Support SAIs in achieving "greater independence". Independence is an evolving construct and a continuous work stream for an SAI. With this programme, IDI intend to support SAIs towards implementing the 8 principles of ISSAI 10 within their context.
Advocate SAI independence- to be done in all INTOSAI Regions.
The practical guidance on moving towards greater SAI Independence will be made available for all SAIs in all INTOSAI Regions.
SAI level support – IDI plans to provide SAI level support on a pilot basis to three SAIs who seek to strengthen their independence. The SAIs to be supported will be selected on the basis of the following five specific criteria:
• SAI leadership and commitment
• Need an opportunity to change
• Potential for lessons learned
• The level of influence
• Distribution – Regional representation, SAIs with different audit models and SAIs at different levels of independence would be considered
In order to reach this objective, The IDI has envisaged the following implementation framework which will be delivered at global and SAI level: