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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.