Playing a zero-sum game?

The pursuit of independence and relevance in performance auditing

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Supreme audit institutions (SAIs) are fundamental institutions in liberal democracies as they enable control of the exercise of state power. In order to maintain this function, SAIs must enjoy a high level of independence. Moreover, SAIs are increasingly expected to be also relevant for government and the execution of its policies by way of performance auditing. This article examines how and why the performance auditing of the Danish SAI pursues independence and relevance. It is argued that, in general, the simultaneous pursuit of independence and relevance is highly challenging and amounts to a zero-sum or, at the very best, a very modest plus-sum game. More specifically, while the Danish SAI actively pursues both objectives, it has persistently prioritized independence over relevance. This priority seems to be the most effective strategy for the Danish SAI to maintain its legitimacy in a situation where the parliament is characterized by minority governments.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPublic Administration
ISSN0033-3298
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Nov 2017

Cite this

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title = "Playing a zero-sum game?: The pursuit of independence and relevance in performance auditing",
abstract = "Supreme audit institutions (SAIs) are fundamental institutions in liberal democracies as they enable control of the exercise of state power. In order to maintain this function, SAIs must enjoy a high level of independence. Moreover, SAIs are increasingly expected to be also relevant for government and the execution of its policies by way of performance auditing. This article examines how and why the performance auditing of the Danish SAI pursues independence and relevance. It is argued that, in general, the simultaneous pursuit of independence and relevance is highly challenging and amounts to a zero-sum or, at the very best, a very modest plus-sum game. More specifically, while the Danish SAI actively pursues both objectives, it has persistently prioritized independence over relevance. This priority seems to be the most effective strategy for the Danish SAI to maintain its legitimacy in a situation where the parliament is characterized by minority governments.",
author = "Peter Triantafillou",
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month = "11",
day = "12",
doi = "10.1111/padm.12377",
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Playing a zero-sum game? The pursuit of independence and relevance in performance auditing. / Triantafillou, Peter.

In: Public Administration, 12.11.2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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T2 - The pursuit of independence and relevance in performance auditing

AU - Triantafillou, Peter

PY - 2017/11/12

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N2 - Supreme audit institutions (SAIs) are fundamental institutions in liberal democracies as they enable control of the exercise of state power. In order to maintain this function, SAIs must enjoy a high level of independence. Moreover, SAIs are increasingly expected to be also relevant for government and the execution of its policies by way of performance auditing. This article examines how and why the performance auditing of the Danish SAI pursues independence and relevance. It is argued that, in general, the simultaneous pursuit of independence and relevance is highly challenging and amounts to a zero-sum or, at the very best, a very modest plus-sum game. More specifically, while the Danish SAI actively pursues both objectives, it has persistently prioritized independence over relevance. This priority seems to be the most effective strategy for the Danish SAI to maintain its legitimacy in a situation where the parliament is characterized by minority governments.

AB - Supreme audit institutions (SAIs) are fundamental institutions in liberal democracies as they enable control of the exercise of state power. In order to maintain this function, SAIs must enjoy a high level of independence. Moreover, SAIs are increasingly expected to be also relevant for government and the execution of its policies by way of performance auditing. This article examines how and why the performance auditing of the Danish SAI pursues independence and relevance. It is argued that, in general, the simultaneous pursuit of independence and relevance is highly challenging and amounts to a zero-sum or, at the very best, a very modest plus-sum game. More specifically, while the Danish SAI actively pursues both objectives, it has persistently prioritized independence over relevance. This priority seems to be the most effective strategy for the Danish SAI to maintain its legitimacy in a situation where the parliament is characterized by minority governments.

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