SAIs’ Role in Enabling Legislative and Citizen Oversight Franck Bessette, World Bank, Abu Dhabi, 13-15 May 2013
Preliminary Words • Caveats: • This is an area where PFM touches Governance and Political Science • Various models, various contexts • The current crisis is a game changer: • New focus on Accountability Issues • Fiscal Risk Management becomes key • General increase in public interest on fiscal issues SAIs’ role in shaping public debate and policy decisions through direct media communication or through the Parliament is increasing.
What Do We Know? • The French “Cour des comptes”: A Case Study
What Do We Know ? (I) • Accountability Matters
What Do We Know? (II) • PEFA Indicator 28: “Legislative Scrutiny of External Audit Reports” (i) Timeliness of examination of audit reports by the legislature; (ii) Extent of hearings on key findings undertaken by the legislature; (iii) Issuance of recommended actions by the legislature and implementation by the executive.
What Do We Know? (III) ISSAI • ISSAI 1 Lima Declaration. Section 8. Relationship to Parliament Parliament/SAI relationship in Constitution • ISSAI 10 Mexico Declaration of Independence (principle 6 and 7) Effective follow-up mechanisms in Parliament on SAI recommendations • ISSAI 20 and 21 Principles of Transparency and Accountability -Principle 1 : SAIs perform their duties under a legal framework that provides for accountability and transparency. -Principle 2: SAIs make public their mandate, responsibilities, mission and strategy -Principle 7: SAIs report publicly on the results of their audits and on their conclusions regarding overall government activities. -Principle 8: SAIs communicate timely and widely on their activities and audit results through the media, websites and by other means.
What Do We Know? (IV) • Wide Spectrum of Collaboration between CSOs and Auditors • CSOs can conduct independent audits • CSOs can use audit findings to hold governmental agencies accountable • CSOs can work closely with auditors Strong Potential but still Experimental
Article 15 of Declaration of Man and Citizens’ Rights (1789) Civil Society has the right to hold public agents accountable for their administration
Specific Features:1. Napoleonic Model (inspired francophone Africa, including North Africa, and many other countries e.g. El Salvador, SE-Asia)2. Auditors are Magistrates3. Judgment of public accounts, evaluation of public policies, certification of financial statements (central gvt, Social Security)
4. Institutional positioning: “in between” Legislative and Executive
Institutional Relationship with Parliament • Organic Budget Law: 6 Reports are sent annually to Parliament • Around 15 specific reports at the request of Parliamentary Commissions • Since 2011, 2 reports evaluating public policies (Emergency Housing and School Health care) • Copy of Management letters sent to ministers • 50% of the Work of the Court contributes to Parliaments’ Information
Cour des comptes accompanied decentralization (1982) • Massive decentralization in the 80’s • Creation of 32 regional and territorial chambers in 1982 • Early role in alerting on accountability issues at the local level • More closely linked to citizens’ interests
Control of NGOs, Charities… • Not only public monies but monies raised from the general public • Massive scandal of anti-cancer association (ARC) revealed in the 80’s • Charities wish to be audited by the Cour : certificate of trust
Control of Social Security • http://www.ina.fr/economie-et-societe/vie-sociale/video/2653420001007/rapport-cour-des-comptes-securite-sociale.fr.html A chamber is dedicated to the subject and a report on Social Security is published every year. Certification of Social Security Annual Accounts
The Annual Public Report • Summary of most important findings of the year • In 2010, 25 audits are summarized • Transmitted to President of the Republic , then, the next day, to National Assembly and Parliament, then to the press. • 798 mentions at J+30
Press Coverage of Public Reports in 2009 • 288 National daily press • 363 Regional daily press • 545 Online press • 236 TV/radio
www.ccomptes.fr • All public report are posted on Website • Regional Chambers post on Website all final observations • From 2007 to 2011 visitors and pages seen have more than doubled • 2009: 2,987,800 pages seen • 2010: 4,244,487 pages seen • 2011: 6,648,392 pages seen Around 2 million individual visitors per year
Relationship with the Media • Press Conference (15 in 2011) • A specific unit dedicated to relationship with media • Training of Journalists in PFM (Agence France Presse)
Other Tools • Mail (increasingly through emails) • Heritage Day (more than 4000 visitors in one day) • Other visits • Books