Сonference on Independence of the SAI
On May 27, a conference on independence of SAIs was held under the leadership of the SAI of Poland. During the meeting, the participants shared their national experience in the legal support of the independent status of SAIs.
Representatives of the SAIs of Norway, Bulgaria, Hungary, Malta, Moldova, Romania, Turkey, Kosovo, Ukraine, North Macedonia, Denmark, Slovakia made presentations.
Opening the conference, the head of the SAI of Poland, Marian Banaś, recalled that the independence of the SAI and protection from external influences are crucial principles of the Mexican Declaration. The independence of SAIs, guaranteed by law, is essential to fulfill the mission of protecting public finances and assessing the effectiveness of public decisions.
“The independence of SAIs is the only and undeniable guarantee that the work of SAIs makes sense. It allows to establish the actual objective state of affairs in the audited institutions, to document it and evaluate their activities,”
– he added.
INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI) CEO Einar Görrissen noted the importance of raising awareness of threats and violations against SAIs. As a tool to protect and provide support in difficult situations, he presented the IDI-developed SAI Independence Rapid Advocacy Mechanism (SIRAM), which can help to timely and effectively respond to political events or legal reforms that may negatively affect independence of SAI.
Participants pointed out that in most countries, SAIs are guaranteed independent status and provided conditions for the implementation of financial control functions. However, the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic increased the risks and had a negative impact on the activities of government institutions. SAIs faced funding cuts as well as restrictions on access to information. However, the conference participants agreed that strengthening independence is a realistic goal that can be achieved through open and transparent dialogue with all stakeholders such as the Government, Parliament, civil society and professional non-governmental organizations.
In order to ensure an appropriate and effective legal status, as well as the implementation of the principles of the provisions of the Mexican Declaration, it is important to pay attention to international cooperation. Successful advocacy for SAIs depends largely on effective coordination within the INTOSAI community and follow-up at the national level.