Understanding and responding to threats to independence
Threats to SAI independence can be caused by both external and internal factors and behaviours.
A discussion on threats to SAI independence can be found in the INTOSAI paper “Strengthening External Public Auditing in INTOSAI Regions”, INTOSAI Conference 26 -27 May 2010, Vienna (pages 81-84). It can be found here.
Some specific threats to SAI independence include:
- Low funding levels or staffing levels, meaning the SAI can’t fulfil its mandate
- Poor quality audits leading to reputational risks for the SAI
- Delaying nomination or appointment of a SAI head (prolonged vacancy)
- SAI accused of “politicising” its work and being biased
- Political interference in the SAI’s work
- The Executive or Legislature frequently imposing new tasks on the SAI without allocating additional resources
- External parties trying to influence inappropriately the results of audits
- Politically engaged media attacking the SAI’s credibility
We have set out here a list of possible mitigation strategies for threats to SAI independence.