The Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) are the highest Audit Institution of a country/ state with the main role of overseeing the management of public finances. This role involves promoting the public sector’s transparency and accountability within a wider climate of good governance.
Supreme audit institutions (SAIs) are national-level watchdog agencies responsible for the audit of government revenue and expenditure. By scrutinising public financial management and reporting they provide assurance that resources are used as directed by national governments.
There are three established institutional models of SAIs: Westminster, Judicial or Board.
- The Westminster model, also known as the Anglo-Saxon or Parliamentary model, used in the United Kingdom and most Commonwealth countries including many in sub-Saharan African, some European countries, and Latin American countries such as Peru and Chile. Key features include a National Audit Office headed by an independent Auditor General or equivalent, which submits audit reports to a committee of Parliament (often the Public Accounts Committee).
- The Judicial or Napoleonic model used by France, many Latin countries in Europe, Turkey, francophone countries in Africa and Asia and several Latin American countries including Brazil and Colombia. Here the SAI, often a Court of Accounts or Cour des Comptes forms part of the judicial system and forms judgements on the use of public funds by government officials.
- The Board or Collegiate model used by many Asian countries including Indonesia, Japan and the Republic of Korea, and some European countries, including Germany and the Netherlands. This approach has similarities to the Westminster model, except an audit board or boards produces audit reports and submits these to Parliament.
The International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) operates as an umbrella organisation for the external government audit community. For more than 50 years it has provided an institutionalised framework for supreme audit institutions to promote development and transfer of knowledge, improve government auditing worldwide and enhance professional capacities, standing and influence of member SAIs in their respective countries. In keeping with INTOSAI’s motto, ‘Experientia mutua omnibus prodest’, the exchange of experience among INTOSAI members and the findings and insights which result, are a guarantee that government auditing continuously progresses with new developments.
Source: Transparency International, CMI and INTOSAI
For more information – see http://www.intosai.org/.