Lead authors: Renzo Lavin & Carolina Cornejo (ACIJ)
Contributing authors: Sruti Bandyopadhyay (World Bank)
- Module 01
- Readiness assessment
Every reform brings about change within an institution. Tension occurs as a result of reforms because people are thrust into an unknown and uncertain territory, thus undermining their security. In the context of citizen engagement with SAIs, tensions happen internally (at the individual and organizational level) and between institutions. Those tensions occur largely because public audit has always been the sole mandate of the SAI, and engaging citizens gives the impression that control over the conduct of audit activities would become diluted. The levels of tension have an impact on decisions, control, level of engagement, and the likelihood of successfully executing the desired reform. Therefore, an assessment is an important first step to determining whether the SAI and the CSOs are ready to engage as partners in public audit.
Why is it important to undertake a readiness assessment?
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, missed opportunities, possible reputational damage, and loss of trust. 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.