Dissemination of Audit Results to Different Stakeholders

Designing a communication strategy

Reporting audit findings is critical to fulfilling SAIs´ mandates. Effective communication calls for designing a comprehensive strategy and setting responsibilities to achieve its goals.

Who is in charge?

Once an audience is targeted, who will be in charge of the required activities to address them? Setting clear responsibilities is crucial, and reporting—as any other duty in SAI processes—demands teamwork.

Who will draft the briefing?

The staff working at the Press or Communication SAI unit/area may be in charge, but to deliver an accurate and clear message regarding the report, they will need feedback from the audit team. Dialogue must be ensured between them so as to enrich the briefing because the target audience will certainly focus their attention on that rather than on the whole report.

Who will deliver the report?

Some SAI officials may maintain regular contact with specific recipients of audit reports. These relationships are important to hold sustainable dialogue. However, time and resources should not be wasted where trust is already built.

Who will publish the report?

Posting the news on the SAI website may be a simple task, but it is important that the person in charge is experienced in this task and can do it in a timely manner.

Who will publicly state an opinion regarding audit findings?

If the press or any other stakeholder calls back to request further information on a report, it must be ensured that the staff can provide an official word to back the findings. It must also be decided who that person will be before sending the report.

What type of strategy?

The report release encloses a conclusion on whether to foster a general or focused communication strategy (although they are not mutually exclusive). Clear objectives must be set and determining available resources should be established before distributing the report.


It doesn’t demand huge efforts or timing. By drafting a single briefing, the entire audience can be reached in record time. When disseminating a report that covers a topic that is in the public eye, general communication strategies can prove really effective.

It allows raising the interest of a specific audience, which can then create further action over SAI findings. A focused strategy is more effective at enhancing the effectiveness of reports that cover an unfamiliar issue, which may go unnoticed to the wide public.


Not all stakeholders will be reached unless they are specifically targeted. Most often, the audience won´t feel obliged to answer unless they are directly contacted.

It demands time and effort. The ideal person working on the issue needs to be identified and directly addressed. Why should the report appeal to them? Can they provide any feedback? Their previous work or agenda they are heading should be taken into consideration.

When deciding on a communication strategy, several aspects (including the socio-political environment) should be assessed, including the objectives set out and resources available:

  • Does the topic demand urgent action? Has the subject received broad media coverage in recent weeks? In that case, there is limited time to develop a solid focused strategy. The information must be sent right away to seize the opportunity and draw attention to audit findings. However, provided there is a database of potential beneficiaries, some specific recipients can be included and directly contacted so as to spread the impact and further enhance the visibility of the audit work.
  • Is the topic likely to raise the interest of a specific audience? Is it too exclusive or too complex? In this case, try a focused strategy. Bring that targeted audience on board. Show them how the report can enrich the agenda they are working on, and be open to receive feedback—or rather, ask for comments! Bear in mind that dialogue is the first step toward sustainable engagement. Once you have engaged with an audience, it is easier to engage with them the next time because they now have an interest in the audit and are familiar with the process of collaboration. As more engagements take place, they can be recorded in a database, making it easier to identify a particular audience when required.

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