Tools and strategies used by CSOs

Despite pursuing different goals and deploying diverse strategies, all these types of CSOs can leverage their capacities and partner with SAIs.

  • Although CSOs committed to governance and transparency may be more familiar with SAIs´ role in the PFM and accountability system, organizations focused on particular issues (environment, education, or health, for instance) likely are not fully aware of how public auditing can help to enhance efficiency in government interventions in their particular areas of interest. Therefore, institutionalizing a mechanism of engagement with external stakeholders from a thematic approach can contribute to improving the quality of audit reports—with the input of experts and CSOs that possess valuable knowledge of the sector and experience in the field—and also allow monitoring of SAI recommendations.
  • Research and policy studies developed by think tanks, built upon evidence from SAI reports, can be a valuable source of input to political parties working on their platforms for forthcoming elections—especially when planning strategic interventions in economic and social fields—as well as to advocacy and rights-based organizations campaigning and litigating for issues of public interest that are subject of SAI control.
  • Faith-based and grassroots organizations working with vulnerable communities to alleviate poverty and promote social inclusion can leverage their skills and capacities by providing technical assistance and ensuring effective service delivery, while also helping to raise awareness among beneficiaries about the critical role SAIs play in this regard.
  • Professional associations—especially those grouping accountants -- can work along with advocacy and grassroots organizations to promote a citizen-focused approach to public auditing so that engagement can take place along the audit cycle and enrich its findings and effectiveness.

Strengths of CSOs in support of citizens' participation:

  • A solid track record of activities and community engagement enables CSOs to be trusted by a wide range of stakeholders. including government, and therefore offer opportunities to bridge gaps between opposing groups.
  • CSOs frequently have specific expertise in facilitation and mediation, and thus offer an effective forum for dialogue and debate
  • For government entities that are committed to transparency and democratic processes. close cooperation with CSOs offers great mechanisms for demonstrating this commitment
  • CSOs also offer governments a mechanism for tapping into additional resources. particularly in terms of expertise and local 'know-how'
  • Enhance communication between the legislative and executive branches of government. between government and the community. and between branches of local government
  • Public institutions often are looking for new insights and creativity in policy analysis. which their bureaucratic environment can otherwise stifle
  • CSOs can assist in reaching out to the more remote stakeholders and.
  • In communities that have deep political. social or ethnic divisions. CSOs that are broadly representative of the make-up of the whole community can help to defuse tensions and de-politicise the process of governing

Forrester, Simon & Sunar, Irem (2011): CSOs and Citizens´ Participation, Technical Assistance for Civil Society Organizations – TACSO, Sarajevo.

There are also other ways of classifying CSOs…

Regarding their geographical scope:
  • Local: CSOs operating in small communities, towns, or cities
  • National: CSOs operating throughout a country
  • International: CSOs operating at a global level, in multiple countries

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TPA Initiative – ACIJ (2011): “Diagnostic Report on Transparency, Citizen Participation and Accountability in Supreme Audit Institutions of Latin America”

TPA Initiative – ACIJ (2013): “Audit Institutions in Latin America. Transparency, Citizen Participation and Accountability Indicators”.

Cornejo, C., Guillan, A. & Lavin, R. (2013): “When Supreme Audit Institutions engage with civil society: Exploring lessons from the Latin American Transparency Participation and Accountability Initiative”, U4 Practice Insight Nº5, Bergen, U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre - Chr. Michelsen Institute.

O´Donnell, Guillermo (2001): “Horizontal. Accountability: The legal institutionalization of mistrust”, Buenos Aires, PostdataN°6, pp. 11-34.

OECD (2013): “Citizen Engagement and Supreme Audit Institutions” (Stocktaking Report: DRAFT).

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INTOSAI (2013): “The Value and Benefits of Supreme Audit Institutions – making a difference to the lives of citizens”,ISSAI 12.

INTOSAI (2013): “Beijing Declaration”.

OLACEFS (2013): “The Santiago Declaration”.

INTOSAI (2010):“Principles of transparency and accountability”,ISSAI 20.

INTOSAI (2010):“Principles of Transparency and Accountability - Principles and Good Practices”, ISSAI 21.

INTOSAI (2007): “The Mexico Declaration on SAI Independence“, ISSAI 10.

OLACEFS (2009): “Asuncion Declaration”.

INTOSAI (1977): “Lima Declaration”.

UN (2011): Resolution A/66/209 “Promoting the efficiency, accountability, effectiveness and transparency of public administration bystrengthening supreme audit institutions”.

UN (2003): “United Nations Convention against Corruption”.