Supporting the Organisation of Latin American and Caribbean Supreme Audit Institutions

Programme description

Title: Regional programme: Supporting the Organisation of Latin American and Caribbean Supreme Audit Institutions
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Colombia
Lead executing agency: Organización Latinoamérica del Caribe y de Entidades Fiscalizadores Superiores (OLACEFS); chair: Tribunal de Contas da União, Brazil
Overall term: 2010 to 2016

Context
The transparent handling of public resources is essential if citizens are to accept the decisions made by their governments. A lack of competent, credible and independent external control mechanisms has a negative impact on the credibility and legitimacy of governments and administrations. This also greatly increases the risk of corruption and the likelihood that funds are not used efficiently. Weak control mechanisms in the areas of government action, transparency and accountability are a systemic problem.

Supreme audit institutions (SAIs) are a core element of good financial governance. The SAIs in Latin America face similar problems as regards auditing methods and political challenges. Despite their organisational differences, they share many features, which taken together provide a solid basis for regional cooperation. The Latin American and Caribbean Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions OLACEFS (Organización Latinoamérica del Caribe y de Entidades Fiscalizadores Superiores, OLACEFS) provides advisory services at regional level and a platform for sharing lessons learned to its 22 full members and associate members (situation as of 2013).

At present, however, OLACEFS cannot effectively fulfil its lobbying role nor deliver professional services to the full satisfaction of its members – the supreme audit institutions. It is being hampered by inefficient internal structures, a lack of a common vision and the weak performance capability of some of its members. As the members’ interests are not being effectively represented, cooperation potentials are not being harnessed and opportunities for providing mutual support on the technical and political levels are not being seized.

Objective
Latin America’s supreme audit institutions use the professional services that OLACEFS provides to strengthen external financial controls.

Approach
In order to be able to offer Latin American SAIs professional services that will assist them in establishing external financial control mechanisms, the Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (OLACEFS) must have efficient structures and procedures that enable it to initiate and steer learning processes among its member states.

The aim is to strengthen OLACEFS’ institutional, technical and organisational capacities with a view to improving external financial control mechanisms in the region. Advisory services are provided for the president’s office, secretariat, committees and commissions. The aim of the advisory services is to support the establishment of a peer-to-peer platform for exchanging know-how and promoting mutual learning, as well as to help define the roles of national audit bodies in the context of dynamic state reform processes.

The project provides professional, process-based, organisational and strategic advisory services in three components:

  • Institutional consolidation
  • Methodological excellence
  • Strengthening the legitimacy of the supreme audit institutions

The project complements the country-specific approaches of German development cooperation at regional level.