Capacity building for performance audits
The Netherlands Court of Audit believes it is important to support other SAIs in their efforts to conform with international auditing standards and to enhance public accountability, public financial management and transparancy in government in other respective countries. One of our priorities is to provide capacity building in the field of performance auditing.
Vision of the development of performance auditing
- We believe the development of performance auditing has a long
learning curve. It is a process in which audit complexity and scope
gradually increase. We therefore think that training in performance
auditing should commence with a simple, well-defined and
small-scale pilot audit. The experience that is gained can then be
applied in more complex pilot audits.
- When selecting the subject for a performance audit we give
priority to focus and added value: audits must produce new
information and new insights.
- We believe the entire policy chain is relevant to performance
auditing. This requires an insight into the field and the actors.
We therefore recognise the importance of:
- observing the audit subject
- engaging experts and key figures
- consulting experts in the field.
Interviewing techniques and
networking skills are
necessary for this.
- We think performance auditing should culminate in meaningful
recommendations. To this end we encourage auditors to explain why
policy is not efficient or not effective.
- We give special emphasis to the impact of audits and audit
findings. We use a variety of channels to communicate the audit
message to relevant target groups.
About capacity building
The Court of Audit has developed a method to increase the
internal and external effectiveness of SAIs. The key elements of
our method are:
- We base our relationship with colleagues abroad on trust, both
at management level and at auditor level. We see our relationship
as peers working towards the same goals.We think cooperation and
learning are most effective if they are based on equality and
- Our capacity building in the field of performance auditing is
demand driven: we tailor our work to fit the recipient's
abilities and needs. Experience has taught us that the auditing
profession is relatively uniform and speaks the same language
worldwide. Yet there are differences in the audit approach and
methods used by SAIs. The differences are not only culturally
determined but are also due to an SAI's constitutional
- We create a safe learning environment and aim to strengthen the
auditors' self-confidence. An informal environment wherein
doubts can be expressed, questions raised and errors made, as long
as lessons are learned.
- We believe in learning by coaching. We want auditors to realise
that performance auditing constantly calls for independent thought.
It also requires practical and operational choices that manuals
cannot always foresee. Our approach also allows auditors to depart
from the manual where necessary and justifiable.
- Our approach is to develop self-aware ambassadors who pass on
the knowledge they gain both inside and outside their own
organisations. We recognise the importance of strengthening
self-confidence and improving presentation skills.