15, November, 2011

Spotlight on Publications: Social Control Mechanisms in Supreme Audit Institutions

Increasingly, Latin American Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) are creating mechanisms to involve citizens in the oversight process. This selection highlights key publications about these social control mechanisms.

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Citizen Participation as a Tool for Making SAIs’ Management Transparent and Mechanisms for Involving Citizens in the External Control of Government

Created for the 20th General Assembly of the Organisation of Latin American and Caribbean Supreme Audit Institutions (OLACEFS), this report provides an overview of different SAIs’ citizen participation experiences. In particular, it analyses mechanisms implemented in Paraguay, Cuba, and Brazil for involving citizens in monitoring public funds. As such, the report will be useful to policy makers and those with a hands-on interest in citizens’ involvement in the audit process.
Full Citation: General Controllership of the Republic of Paraguay (GCRP). 2010. La Participación Ciudadana como herramienta para transparentar la gestión de las Entidades de Fiscalización Superior y los mecanismos de inclusión ciudadana en el control gubernamental externo. Paper presented at the XX General Assembly of the Organisation of Latin American and Caribbean Supreme Audit Institutions (OLACEFS).

SAIs in LA: Diagnosis of Transparency, Citizen Participation and Accountability of SAIs

This report from the TPA Initiative, a regional effort to strengthen SAIs, is a must-read resource. It assesses the strength of LA’s SAIs in three dimensions: transparency, citizen participation, and accountability. In particular, the citizen participation section offers an exhaustive analysis of the various social control mechanisms implemented by SAIs in the region. This publication will be useful for public officers, researchers from academic institutions, and members of civil society organisations (CSOs) who are interested in studying, analysing, or implementing the social control mechanisms carried out in LA.
Full Citation: Iniciativa Transparencia, Participación Ciudadana, y Accountability. Asociación Civil por la Igualdad y la Justicia (ACIJ). 2011. Entidades de Fiscalización Superior en Latinoamérica: Diagnóstico sobre Transparencia, Participación Ciudadana y Rendición de Cuentas de las Entidades de Fiscalización Superior. TPA Initiative-ACIJ, Buenos Aires.

Access to Public Information and Citizen Participation in Supreme Audit Institutions

This recent working paper from the Access to Information Program of the World Bank Institute (WBI) argues that, given the important role of SAIs in monitoring the exercise of power in democratic regimes, these agencies must establish mechanisms to make themselves closer and more accountable to citizens and to actually involve citizens in monitoring. The paper draws from good practices in citizen participation, transparency, and access to public information from SAIs in Argentina, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Mexico, and Peru. This publication is a must-read for public officials and civil society interested in strengthening citizen participation in government oversight.
Full Citation: Nino, E. 2010. Access to Public Information and Citizen Participation in Supreme Audit Institutions. World Bank Institute, Asociación Civil por la Igualdad y la Justicia (ACIJ), and Asociación por los Derechos Civiles (ADC), Washington, DC.

Social Control of Municipal Administration: Notes About the Colombian Experience

This report was prepared as part of the Colombian Social Control Fund (Ciudadanos al Cuidado de lo Público), a project to train citizens to carry out government oversight. It describes oversight experiences put into practice in Colombia by three different types of actors: government institutions, such as municipal governments or SAIs; grassroots community groups; and citizens, led by NGOs and CSOs. This document provides access to those from other regions interested in learning about the successful social control practices put in place by Colombia, the leading LA country in terms of promoting and implementing social control mechanisms.
Full Citation: Velásquez C., F. E. 2010. El Control Social de la Gestión Pública Municipal: Notas sobre la Experiencia Colombiana. Fondo de Control Social Ciudadanos al Cuidado de lo Público, Evento Nacional de Intercambio de Experiencia de Control Social, Bogotá.

Four-year Management Report to the Congress and to the President

This report of the key results from Colombia’s Comptroller General includes analysis of the various efforts undertaken by the Colombian SAI to promote citizen participation in the oversight process. The outcomes of the various mechanisms implemented, such as coordinated audits and citizen oversight committees, are also presented. Given that Colombia is the most advanced LA country in terms of citizen participation in government oversight, this report will be particularly useful for public official and civil society actors considering implementing or promoting social control mechanisms in their own countries.
Full Citation: Turbay Quintero, J. C. 2010. Informe de los Cuatro Años de Gestión al Congreso y al Presidente de la República. Comptroller General of the Republic of Colombia, Bogotá.

Declaration of Asuncion, Accountability Principles

This Declaration from the 19th General Assembly of the Organisation of Latin American and Caribbean Supreme Audit Institutions (OLACEFS) establishes the standards that LA SAIs must meet in terms of transparency, access to information, and citizen participation. The Declaration outlines the eight accountability principles that LA SAIs agreed to adopt and promote, making it an important reference for other regions to understand the standard to which LA SAIs are held accountable.
Full Citation: Organisation of Latin American and Caribbean Supreme Audit Entities (OLACEFS). 2009. Declaración de Asunción: Principios Sobre Rendición de Cuentas. 5-9 October, 2009, 19th General Assembly of the OLACEFS.

Citizen Engagement Practices by Supreme Audit Institutions: Compendium of Innovative Practices of Citizen Engagement by Supreme Audit Institutions for Public Accountability

Greater engagement between citizens and Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) can strengthen the oversight work these institutions undertake as well as making an important contribution to improving national governance and accountability. This publication presents examples of innovative practices implemented around the world for engaging citizens in the oversight work of SAIs. It also provides an overview of the work civil society is doing related to monitoring public spending. The publication includes case studies from a wide variety of countries, including from Brazil, Honduras, Mexico and Venezuela in Latin America. Civil servants and civil society organisations working on public accountability issues and/or collaborating directly with SAIs will benefit from learning about the strengths and weaknesses of emerging practices in citizen engagement.
Full Citation: United Nations. Citizen Engagement Practices by Supreme Audit Institutions: Compendium of Innovative Practices of Citizen Engagement by Supreme Audit Institutions for Public Accountability, 2013. United Nations, New York.

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