Contributing to Accountability in Democratic Government
Edited by Jeremy Lonsdale, Peter Wilkins and Tom Ling
Chapter 15: Conclusions: Performance Audit – An Effective Force in Difficult Times?
Jeremy Lonsdale, Tom Ling and Peter Wilkins INTRODUCTION In the conclusion to ‘Performance or Compliance: Performance audit and public management in five countries’, Christopher Pollitt comments that in the 1990s performance audit ‘arrived’, becoming ‘a known quantity, a familiar presence in the process of governance.’ At the same time, he suggested that SAIs faced strategic choices in respect of: the core practices and criteria they used; the topics they selected for their studies; and their definition of, and relationships with, their prime and secondary audiences. Pollitt added that: In different ways and at different speeds, each SAI has, through a mixture of pressure and choice, begun to emerge into the wider world. This emergence has involved dialogues with executives and legislatures, the adoption of more proactive policies towards the media, and gradually increasing cooperation with other SAIs. It is a trajectory which, sooner or later, leads to new comparisons being made and demands being put . . . (Pollitt et al., 1999, 219) More than a decade later we have considerably more evidence on the trajectories that performance auditors have followed, and can take a longer perspective on the pressures and choices they have faced. We can also look beyond the world of SAIs and see more generally how performance audit has developed. We can do so because, as Furubo notes, although there is not an extensive literature on performance audit, there is now far more material available than when Pollitt made his observations. A comprehensive list of articles, books and papers on...
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