Participation During the Planning Phase

Citizen Complaint Mechanisms

Registering complaints is the most common way through which any citizen can alert the SAI about possible fraud, waste, abuse, mismanagement of public funds, or alleged irregularities within state agencies or government programs. That input can help steer the SAI planning process to target areas where improper activities are detected, thereby directing their audit plans to better reflect the social demand for control. That help is particularly important because the scope of audits may not always reach areas vulnerable to corruption, or SAIs might not have planned to conduct certain audits for situations that call for immediate action.

Citizen complaints may be lodged on-site or in public hearings, although most SAIs offer various channels, such as hotlines, mailboxes, online forms. That variety allows wide participation, especially online engagement.

Whether reports are anonymous or not, protecting the identity of the complainant is critical. Also important is guaranteeing the clarity of and accessibility to information regarding the procedures for filing complaints and allowing citizens to attach supporting documentation, which can be extremely useful for the audit process.

Citizen complaints are indeed a valuable tool for engagement with SAIs, but for that input to prove effective, SAIs must show how these inputs are mainstreamed. Therefore, SAIs should provide feedback to complainants so that they can monitor the status of their complaint and check to see whether the SAI has reviewed it and what course of action has been undertaken. In this way, citizens can get more actively involved in the audit process by providing additional information when the audit is carried out or by monitoring the auditee´s compliance with recommendations once the report is issued. This citizen involvement will ultimately contribute to increasing the effectiveness of SAIs’ work.

Goals of the mechanism

  • To improve the annual planning through addressing societal interests related to government activities and high-risk areas
  • To improve the planning of actual audit work
  • To obtain reports from citizens regarding alleged mismanagement or fraud, and to enable engagement along the audit process
  • To make audits more responsive and effective
Who can participate Challenges and responses Cases

Everyone. Any citizen can take part, even anonymously.

Challenge: Ensuring effective participation


  • Sufficient and clear information about the mechanism (for example, how to draft a complaint, how to deliver it, what information should be attached to the report, what can be audited by the SAI)

Challenge: Building sustainable communication


  • Providing information regarding the status and course of action undertaken concerning the complaint

  • Developing contact through various channels: mailing list, social media, online platform, and so forth




Type I: List of SAIs that have created formal mechanisms to actively seek citizen input and complaints AND report back on the status of the requests, feedback, or input

Country Description of the Method/Mechanism SAI publishes report on how many citizen-requested audits have been accepted
South Korea

At the BAI, citizen participation in the audit process is generally limited to the preliminary or planning stage of auditing.

  1. BAI introduced the Audit Request for Public Interests (ARPI) in 1996 pursuant to the BAI’s internal regulations, under which CSOs whose membership exceeds 300 or a group of citizens of more than 300 can request that BAI conduct an audit of specific issues of interest to the public. This audit request system is aimed at promoting public confidence in the government through people's participation in the BAI's audit works.

  2. In 2002, the Anti-Corruption Act of 2002 laid down the legal foundation for participatory audit under the title of Citizen Audit Request (CAR).

The BAI decided to maintain both channels of audit requests from the citizens because ARPI is much broader than CAR in terms of eligibility of requesters, audit scope, and time limit for reporting an audit result.

To avoid any confusion for citizens, the BAI is working with the National Assembly and other related agencies to integrate these two channels into one.

See more here

Requesters of the audit are notified and told whether or not the audit request had been accepted.

The Committee’s final decision on the acceptance of audit requests shall be conveyed to the requesters within 30 days of submission.

The BAI shall complete the requested audit within 180 days of the decision made by the Committee.

See more here


SAI mainstreams citizen participation through the Delegated Comptrollers´ for Citizen Participation, especially through its units related to citizen engagement:

  • Direction of Attention to the Citizen

  • Director of Promotion and Development of Citizen Control

Citizen complaints are managed by the Direction of Attention to the Citizen:

See more here

SAI publishes report on the number of citizen-requested audits that have been accepted by the SAI and what course of action has been undertaken.

See report on evaluation and monitoring of citizen complaints (2012): here

OPEN BUDGET QUESTIONNAIRE Slovakia (2011) – Section “Supreme Audit Institutions: Public Engagement During Audit”
See more here.

The SAI in Slovakia has established accessible mechanisms for public engagement through which the public can assist and take part in audit investigations. Citizens can participate in determining what is to be audited. There is a web-based interface for collecting complaints and suggestions, as well as requests for information from the SAI.

Annually, SAI receives around 500 submissions and can adjust the audit plan based on their findings. Citizens can also use the usual methods of contact (telephone, fax, mail) to communicate with the SAI.

The SAI also provides useful information regarding what can and cannot be audited so that citizens can file appropriate complaints: Read document

See also: Read Document

The SAI does not release a special report about what was done with the public input and tips for the area of control, but a separate web questionnaire by which, after registration, citizens can obtain information about the status of their feedback and  input:

See more here

Type II: List of SAIs that have created formal mechanisms to actively seek citizen input and complaints but DO NOT report back on the status of the requests, feedback, or input

Country Type of Participation SAI publishes report on the number of  citizen-requested audits that have been accepted by the SAI

The Ethical Complaint Line is a confidential, safe mechanism by which  citizens  can denounce irregularities in the expenditure of federal public resources that could involve unwarranted conduct on the part of public officials in the three branches of government. SAI uses the complaints received to plan audits, broaden the objectives and scope of audits under way, promote investigation, and, if appropriate, sanction the unwarranted conduct of public officials. The law establishes the obligation to submit audit reports with results of public consultations.

See more here and here.



SAI seeks citizen input in to the audit process.

In 2010, the SAI received 409 proposals for auditing (126 from individuals). For details, please refer to SAI Annual Report (162 cases in 2010; SAI Annual Report for 2010; p. 23 - in Slovenian)

SAI reports all received proposals for auditing, but not the number they have executed or accepted. However, SAI provides answers to direct questions from the general public or from institutions.


SAI has created formal mechanisms, such an electronic form on the website on which citizens can request that TCU conduct an audit on specific issues; and a dedicated phone line for feedback or audit requests, as well as to schedule visits and register an in-person complaint. In addition to seeking public input to determine its audit agenda, SAI also provides formal opportunities for the public and civil society organizations to participate in the actual audit investigations as witnesses or respondents.

See more here.



CGR has set up a Complaint Service Center, which allows the Comptroller General’s Office to verify the input and feedback received from citizens and establish whether or not reasons exist to audit an institution.

See more here.



The Chamber has a window on its website for the citizens may submit a letter or complaint to the administration. The website also displays a hotline number for citizens to ask questions or submit remarks by phone.

See more here.



Public hearing: At these hearings, citizens’ requests and complaints are heard and registered. Officials and the Auditor General attend the hearings and make reports, but they also receive information and audit evidence.

These hearings take place at SAIs’ regional headquarters. In addition, citizens may report misuse or waste via e-mail.

See more here.


Costa Rica

Complaints can be lodged on site, online, or by mail or phone. Citizens can monitor the status of their complaint by referencing a numeric code that is assigned to it.

Complaints are handled by the Area Complaints and Investigations. If they are accepted, they could be investigated by an internal unit of the Comptrollers General, the Active Administration, or the Internal Audit of the reported organism.

See more here.


Dominican Republic

Citizens may file complaints via an online form, but the complaint may not be anonymous.

After evaluating the relevance of complaints, requests for investigations, and audits received through the Department of Social Control (specifically, through the Division of Reception and Processing of Complaints), SAI has the authority to accept a request or to reject it if it does not have solid support.

See more here.


Any comments? Please notify us here.


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