Independent Reviews Vital to Quality, Credibility
by Brighton Nyanga, INTOSAI Development Initiative SAI Governance Department Manager
Quality management is vital to Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs)—in audit work, as well as performance reports. Over the past few years, we have made great strides in increasing performance reporting efforts through the SAI Performance Measurement Framework (SAI PMF).
By incorporating International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAIs) along with global best practices, the SAI PMF is a mechanism for self, peer and external assessments that enables SAIs to examine institutional, organizational and professional capacities in a holistic and evidence-based manner.
But, how can internal and external users of a SAI Performance Report be certain the report is credible? Through independent reviews.
Independent reviews (1) help ensure SAI PMF assessment indicators and scores are applied correctly and based on sufficient and appropriate evidence; and (2) substantiate that the findings support an analysis that leads to valid conclusions.
As the global operational lead in implementing the SAI PMF, the INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI), can conduct (or arrange for other SAI PMF experts to conduct) an independent review of draft SAI performance reports for SAIs recently completing SAI PMF assessments.
This independent review, provided at no cost to the SAI, results in a “Statement of Independent Review” issued upon the review’s completion, and seeks to answer the following questions:
- Is the report factually correct?
- Has the SAI PMF methodology been adhered to as it relates to the process for conducting the assessment, scoring of indicators, content and structure of the assessment report?
- Is there relevant and sufficient evidence to justify the indicator scores?
- Does the assessment report provide a meaningful analysis of the evidence and identify root causes of performance across the different domains and indicators?
According to surveys conducted by the IDI SAI PMF team, most assessment results are used by SAIs to guide strategic planning and to identify opportunities for enhancing capacity development efforts.
Assessments have also been used in benchmarking a SAI’s performance against the ISSAIs, demonstrating SAI value and benefits to society, and as an aid in preparing annual reports.
With an accurate understanding of the SAI’s position, SAI leadership is better positioned to implement appropriate and timely interventions to improve and maintain organizational performance.
These interventions can only be as good as the quality of the findings presented, which makes an independent review a vital step in the SAI PMF assessment process.
For more information about IDI independent reviews of SAI PMF assessments, visit http://www.idi.no/en/idi-cpd/sai-pmf.