Making A Difference In The Performance Of SAIs


Sharing of experiences at CBC Peer Review Subcommittee meeting

The Peer Review Subcommittee of the INTOSAI Capacity Building Committee, held a conference in Bratislava in June 2018. AFROSAI-E CEO, Meisie Nkau, attended the conference.

The conference created an opportunity for SAIs and regional organisations to share experiences, good practices and different peer review mechanisms and tools. Meisie used this opportunity to share the AFROSAI-E mechanism namely the Institutional Capacity Building Framework (ICBF) annual self-assessment tool, which is complimented tri-annual quality assurance reviews.

A clear outcome of the discussions was the importance of such assessment to enliven the ideals of the ISSAI 12 – the Value and Benefits of SAIs: making a difference to the life of citizens. A peer review can also be a very valuable advocacy tool to, for example, gain support for the SAIs’ proposals for legislative enhancements.

Highlights of the discussions:

  • A peer review does not cost, it pays i.e. the advantages of peer reviews far outweighs the effort and/or any financial costs.
  • Peer reviews provide an easy and proven way to walk the talk and gain credibility as model organisation while at the same time providing the SAI with objective and insightful perspectives about areas in need of improvement.
  • A peer review gives an opportunity to exchange good practices resulting in constructive and mutual learning experiences (between reviewer and reviewee).

A SAI should strategically consider the following, before deciding to do a peer review:

  • Is the SAI really prepared to change? 
  • Is the SAI ready to focus on the benefits of the peer review as a learning experience, instead of being fearful of the gaps that may be found?
  • The scope and objectives of the review.
  • Getting the support of key stakeholders e.g. Parliament and Ministry of Finance, and internal stakeholders, is a key success factor. 

If a SAI does not know all the challenges that it faces, it cannot plan how to overcome them - thus the critical need for performance assessment.  Critical success factors when planning a peer review include:

  • choosing review team members to ensure credibility and maximum benefit
  • support to the review team to ensure a smooth execution and success of the review
  • buy-in of staff to ensure support for the review
  • SAI leadership commitment to address any review findings

 

Peer review mechanisms presented at the conference included:

  • The SAI PMF tool – a tool that is ISSAI based. 
  • EUROSAI presented IT tools available to support peer reviews.
  • The AFROSAI-E ICBF self-assessment coupled with quality assurance reviews performed by a combination of partners, AFROSAI-e staff and staff from SAIs in the region.