Supreme Audit Institutions and public value: demonstrating relevance

Carolyn J. Cordery, David Hay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) have an important role in ensuring public sector accountability; their main activities being managing the audit of public sector entities’ financial statements and assessing probity/compliance, providing advice to parliamentary committees, and undertaking performance audits. Standards issued by the International Organization of SAIs encourage SAIs to recognize the value they deliver through their activities and to demonstrate that to citizens, Parliament, and other stakeholders. The recognition of the need to be democratically accountable for efficiency and effectiveness is one aspect of public value, which is also concerned with the just use of authority (Moore, 2013). The purpose of this article is to develop the components of a SAI's public value and, through a comparative international study, to analyze how SAIs’ report on the public value they deliver. Analyzing reporting against the model developed in this article indicates that SAIs reporting prioritizes critiques to increase public sector efficiency and effectiveness, rather than government policy. In addition, it finds SAIs generally fail to discuss any negative consequences of their work. SAIs are encouraged to develop new ways to demonstrate their ongoing relevance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-142
Number of pages15
JournalFinancial Accountability and Management
Issue number2
Early online date4 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019

Bibliographical note

Copyright: 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Supreme Audit Institutions and public value: demonstrating relevance, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.


  • audit relevance
  • financial audit
  • public audit
  • public value
  • strategic value triangle


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