Lead authors: Renzo Lavin & Carolina Cornejo (ACIJ)
Contributing authors: Sruti Bandyopadhyay (World Bank)
Readiness assessment for CSOs
Key stakeholders have to appreciate and understand the individual, organizational, and institutional changes that participatory audit may bring. Jumping into the engagement without assessing readiness may have an effect in two areas. First, if both the SAI and CSOs are unprepared, this engagement may result in a waste of human and financial resources and missed opportunities. Second, because this activity requires scale within the SAI, groups of people may exist who, without the requisite buy-in, may block or stall reform initiatives, rendering them ineffective. Readiness assessments can provide a preliminary idea of the risks and challenges and the general condition of an institution’s openness to engage with the SAI.
Before working with SAIs, CSOs must be able to answer some fundamental questions. Given the different structure and mandate of SAIs, CSOs may have to design a different approach from to their engagement strategies with other government agencies. For instance, the strict accounting and auditing rules that SAIs employ demand discretion and nondisclosure from their citizen partners during the audit process. Concerns such as these may become deal makers or deal breakers when determining whether the CSO–SAI partnership is feasible. The guide that follows provides a few diagnostic questions to help CSOs determine whether they are ready to engage with a SAI.
In order to undertake this self-assessment, check the following key areas -which are briefly defined and exemplified-, and answer the questions below each section: a. Appreciation of the context of SAI-CSO engagement, b. Institutional Capacity to Engage with the SAI, c. Track Record, and d. Resources.
Bear in mind that answers are displayed in different colors, similar to a traffic light. This means that green entails a positive response (“yes”, “always”, “a lot”, “I strongly agree”) while red means a negative answer (“no”, “never”, “very little/few”, “I disagree”). Between these ends, the yellow color accounts for “somehow”, “sometimes”, “maybe”.
Once you´ve answered all the questions, check your results and find out how ready you are to start up citizen with the SAI.