Contributing to Accountability in Democratic Government
Edited by Jeremy Lonsdale, Peter Wilkins and Tom Ling
Chapter 12: Impact at Local Government Level: A Multiple Case Study
Katrien Weets INTRODUCTION As noted elsewhere in this book, few academic studies have dealt with the impacts of performance audits.1 Bowerman et al. (2000) stated: ‘In analysing the shape and scale of the “audit society”, it is a striking paradox that the process of audit itself has been audited or evaluated in only limited ways.’ Despite this, many Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) have invested heavily in the expansion of their performance audit activities (Morin, 2004). Prompted by this observation, this chapter contains the results of an in-depth analysis of the impacts of three performance audits conducted by the city audit office of Rotterdam (Rekenkamer Rotterdam). It complements the more general overviews of earlier chapters, highlighting a methodology for understanding impact better. The next part briefly situates this research in the existing literature. The third part sets out the framework used to analyse performance audit impacts and discusses the research methodology applied. The fourth part presents the data gathered for each of the selected cases, whilst the fifth part discusses the difficulties associated with examining performance audit impacts. The chapter concludes by summarizing the main research findings. WHAT DO WE ALREADY KNOW ABOUT THE IMPACT OF PERFORMANCE AUDITS? As Van Loocke and Put have shown, there have been very few studies of the impacts of performance audits at the central government or local government level.2 Moreover, the studies on the indirect impacts of performance auditing (see Dolmans and Leeuw, 1997; Shore and Wright, 1999; Elliott, 2002; Leeuw, 2006) are frequently based...
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