Serbia’s State Audit Institution is Establishing Performance Measures to Enhance Transparency and Accountability in Oversight
October 2, 2019
The State Audit Institution leadership advanced implementation of its 2019-2023 Strategic Plan in workshops organized by the Government Accountability Initiative from 30th September to 2nd October. SAI is establishing performance measures that the Institution will use to internally assess and publicly report on the financial and other benefits of its work to the National Assembly, government and citizens of Serbia.
The SAI President, Vice-President, Council Members, Audit Sector Heads, the Sector for Methodology and Development and performance audit team leaders examined methodologies for setting measures of its performance. GAI expert Stephen Caldwell and GAI COP Jacquelyn Williams-Bridgers facilitated SAI’s consideration of causal links between audits and financial and non-financial benefits derived by government when SAI recommendations are implemented. The workshop participants also discussed evidentiary standards and time periods over which benefits should be calculated. SAI has traditionally reported in its annual report financial irregularities, misstatements and areas of non-compliance identified in financial and compliance audits and corrected by auditees. However, SAI’s increase in conduct of performance audits has prompted SAI’s desire to enhance its reporting on improvements in government performance related to SAI’s oversight.
SAI Auditor General and President Dusko Pejovic underscored that significant organizational restructuring and changes in internal processes associated with the expansion from two to twelve performance audits across all SAI units in 2019 allowed the institution to better examine the economy, efficiency, and effectiveness of government performance. Pejovic stated that these decisions have been underpinned with SAI’s Strategic Plan 2019-2023, which defines its focus on current and urgent challenges to the Government requiring greater accountability in areas such as health care cost and access, environmental protection, education, procurement, and economic affairs. SAI’s newly adopted Strategic Plan embraced the need for the independent oversight institution also to be held accountable for its performance and to produce measurable results as a result of its work. Adoption of performance measurement will align SAI with INTOSAI standards established for all supreme audit institutions to demonstrate the value it adds to good governance and to its people. The SAI’s plan to report measures of its performance also establishes itself as a model in transparent and accountable governance in Serbia.