SAI Independence Programme

SAI Independence Programme

BackgroundProgramme ObjectiveParticipating SAIsCooperating PartnersProgramme Implementation StrategyProgramme team


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.

Programme Objective

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.

Participating SAIs

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

Cooperating Partners

•  Ministry of Foreign Affairs France

Programme Implementation Strategy

In order to reach this objective, The IDI has envisaged the following implementation framework which will be delivered at global and SAI level:

Implementation Strategy

  1. Guidance on SAI independence
    As a part of this programme, the IDI plans to build on and bring together the work done by many stakeholders to provide practical guidance on moving towards greater SAI independence. The Guidance has been developed by a global team of resource persons between June 2016 and March 2017 and is currently under review. It covers the following areas:
    1. Establish a global baseline of SAI independence
    2. Guidance on developing a strategy to enhance SAI’s current level of independence
    3. Interpretation guidance on ISSAI 10 ( Mexico + ) and model draft legislation
    4. Guidance on stakeholder engagement
  2. Advocate SAI independence
    IDI will contribute to ongoing advocacy efforts by supporting the value and benefits of SAIs at all the fora to which IDI is invited. IDI will also facilitate global, regional and local meetings with stakeholders to advocate SAI Independence.
    At the INCOSAI 2016, IDI has raised awareness about this programme through breakaway sessions and in the activities and information provided at booths.
    IDI will provide capacity development support through guidance and training for SAI teams and INTOSAI regions to enhance their advocacy and lobbying skills.
    Members of the High-Level Advisory Panel for SAI independence would be called upon to advocate for SAI independence at global and regional level. They could also be invited to join country level advocacy missions in the SAIs supported through this programme.
  3. SAI level support
    IDI is currently providing support to three SAIs, namely SAI Gabon, SAI Papua New Guinea, and SAI Suriname in their quest for greater independence.
    IDI has currently defined this pilot within a 2018 timeframe. However, IDI fully recognizes that helping an SAI gain greater independence is a long-term engagement. The timeframe will be reviewed at a later date depending on the status in 2018.
    Each selected SAI will sign a statement of commitment together with IDI and the region. In their journey to SAI independence, the selected SAIs will be supported to develop and implement a strategy to achieve greater independence, taking into account the SAI’s needs and the country environment.
    Further support will be provided based on the strategy of the SAI, its own capacity and level of independence. To the extent possible the SAI leadership will be encouraged to work on its own, with the IDI playing a facilitator role.

Programme team

Ola Hoem Deputy Director General SAI Governance Department This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Freddy Njemba Manager SAI Governance Department This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Fatima Doghman Senior Coordinator Administration This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.