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Guideline on the social utilisation and transparency of public sector audits

May 22, 2019

The manual of the EUROSAI project group ‘Social utilisation and transparency of public sector audits’ led by the State Audit Office of Hungary has been completed. The guideline is a practical, well-applicable manual for supreme audit institutions, and it is based on the uniform international methodology regarding the social utilisation of state sector audits. Working together for a year, the supreme audit institutions participating in the project (SAIs of Albania, Finland, Croatia, Ireland, Hungary, Romania, Switzerland, and Latvia as an observer) were looking for an answer to how their work could be more relevant and more useful for their target groups, and how their work could have a greater impact on the everyday life of citizens. During the cooperation, members of the working group answered 75 key questions, and the State Audit Office of Hungary, as project leader, evaluated the results of the questionnaires and summarised the main findings in electronic publications. In addition to the main findings, the manual incorporates national case studies presenting the good practices of the participating countries, with examples that can easily be adopted internationally by other supreme audit institutions and that are applicable and useful in the everyday operation of supreme audit institutions.

An international project for utilisation

In May 2017, the 10th Congress of the European Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (EUROSAI) approved of the new 2017-2023 Strategic Plan of EUROSAI, a major element of which is to increase the response capacity to the new challenges and opportunities, and to support the capacity development of the institutions. Expressing its commitment, the SAO established the social utilisation project group to fulfil this objective, which was, on the basis of international auditing standards (ISSAI 12, ISSAI 20) and using a variety of tools, seeking the answer to the question as to what objective tools can be used to monitor the social utilisation of public finance audits on the mapped utilisation levels. Seven EUROSAI member countries joined the project (Albania, Finland, Croatia, Ireland, Romania, Switzerland, and Latvia as an observer).

Interactive professional workshop

Members of the project group cooperated mostly using electronic channels, so project managers decided to organise a professional meeting where participants could work together directly, in person.  The professional workshop in Budapest allowed the project members to work together intensely for two days, thus increasing the efficiency of the work. The primary goal of the meeting was to discuss the case studies prepared by the countries, and to finalise and jointly adopt the guidebook created during the cooperation for the utilisation of the EUROSAI community. During the professional workshop, the participants gave talks about the case studies of their own state audit institutions, discussed and finalised the structure, the wording, and the content of the guideline, and participated in different group works, during which they thoroughly discussed the possibilities of an international indicator system measuring the social utilisation of supreme audit institutions.

Guideline on the ‘social utilisation and transparency of public sector audits’

The project group published the guidebook in May 2019, and it is now available on the EUROSAI website as well.  The manual describes the research methodology used during the project, presents the idea of ‘social utilisation’ in detail, presents the analysis of five questionnaires from the past year, and provides national case studies from Croatia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Romania, and Switzerland as practical examples. In addition, the last chapter of the guideline presents recommendations regarding potential indicators to measure social utilisation, which were collected by the members of the project group at the Budapest professional workshop based on the experiences of their own supreme audit institutions.

The 66-page manual is an easy-to-use guide for supreme audit institutions that did not take part in the project, and it can serve as a basis for future in-depth research regarding the social utilisation of state audit institutions.

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