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Visit our new website: www.iniciativatpa.org 

About the TPA INITIATIVE

The TPA INITIATIVE is a regional project that has brought together 17 civil society organizations (CSOs) from 13 different countries in Latin America under a shared common interest in fostering transparency, citizen participation and accountability practices (TPA) in Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) for the purpose of contributing to the strengthening of public control systems in the region.

Who are we?


  • Mexico: Fundar. Centro de Análisis e Investigación

 

Objectives:

  • Encourage knowledge development on TPA through personal contact and dialogue with officials and staff of control agencies, as well as through the review of specialized bibliography, academic papers and qualified information.
  • Conduct regular research in order to analyze and map the advances made on the implementation of TPA practices in the control agencies of the region.
  • Document in detail the successful experiences and TPA best practices adopted by Supreme Audit Institutions.
  • Disseminate information about the current implementation of TPA mechanisms by the control bodies of the Latin American region.
  • Promote a network of knowledge and experience exchange among SAIs, particularly on TPA practices which have proved to be successful in some countries of the region, while encouraging the analysis and adaptation of these practices to the local legal and cultural framework for future implementation.
  • Develop regular channels of communication between civil society organizations and Supreme Audit Institutions to coordinate activities aimed at boosting TPA practices.
  • Encourage regional dialogue in order to build consensus around the necessity of fostering the adoption and promotion of TPA regulations by the Organization of Latin American and Caribbean Supreme Audit Institutions (OLACEFS).

 

Vision

Emerging experiences in Latin America and other countries show that increasing collaboration and interaction between SAIs–or other oversight agencies- and citizens help strengthen public control, especially in those situations in which the institutions suffer a lack of financial or political autonomy.

The TPA INITIATIVE endeavors to deepen dialogue and interaction between SAIs and CSOs, so that the latter may provide assistance and collaboration on those activities aimed at promoting an inclusive regional agenda –based on the highest standards fostered by OLACEFS- while dispensing greater legitimacy and public recognition on control agencies.

Fundamentals

The Organization of Latin American and Caribbean Supreme Audit Institutions (OLACEFS) has recognized that transparency, citizen participation and accountability are key areas in which SAIs have yet to improve, and for this purpose, it has created standing committees devoted to these fields.

As a result of the XIX General Assembly, OLACEFS has deepened its commitment to TPA, as issued in the statement “Principles on Accountability” – Asuncion Declaration, which highlights the importance of citizenship as a central actor in the control and accountability system.

At the national level, Latin American SAIs have started to adopt TPA practices and mechanisms, whilst civil society has shown a growing interest in these themes. In the past years, several organizations have produced reports and publications on transparency, accountability and control issues, which highlight the potential implied in the cooperation between CSOs and oversight institutions. For instance, since SAIs have privileged access to governmental agencies, they can request, gather and check all the information needed to expeditiously assess administrative action. Besides, their staff displays high qualifications in auditing, not to mention the technical tools and financial resources SAIs can count on to perform their work. Regarding CSOs, they can complement and disseminate the results of the control carried out by SAIs by making the reports more comprehensible through plain language and by sharing that information through their contact network. This is especially true of those committed to research and public policy advocacy, given their proximity to the beneficiaries of state policies. Furthermore, specific experiences of citizen participation in audits have taken place in countries like Argentina, Colombia and Paraguay. For example, in Argentina they have proved effective and valuable in detecting irregularities in the provision of public services.

Summing up, Supreme Audit Institutions can benefit from the interaction with civil society. Not only does this relationship strengthen SAIs´ credibility and legitimacy, but also boosts the impact of their work, thus reinforcing the quality of management control.

In view of the above mentioned, the goal is to advance regional TPA standards in SAIs by generating consensus among stakeholders committed to oversight issues, such as officials working at control agencies, civil society organizations, academics and international organizations like INTOSAI and OLACEFS.

The TPA INITIATIVE´s achievements

The activities and products that the INITIATIVE has consolidated within the last year include the following:

1. INITIATIVE´s website (https://iniciativatpa.wordpress.com): a virtual space designed for sharing information about TPA, generating channels of dialogue with actors interested in oversight issues, and communicating the advancements on the INITIATIVE’s agenda.

2. “Diagnostic Report on Transparency, Citizen Participation and Accountability in Supreme Audit Institutions of Latin America”: Published in June 2011, this is a regional study whose objective is to map the situation in the region, by documenting existing TPA practices implemented by the SAIs of different countries. To access the English translation of the document, click here.  To see the English abstract, click here(To see the Spanish version, click here. )

The survey of information was compiled by both interviews with staff at SAIs and beneficiaries of the entities work, and through reviewing institutional publications such as audit reports, management reports, newsletters and websites. In addition, research was carried out by checking academic and journalistic publications, as well as policy documents and statements on international TPA standards issued by organizations that group the SAIs (OLACEFS, OCCEFS, INTOSAI), among other sources.

3. Documentation of TPA Best Practices in the regional SAIs:  a series of case studies carried out by some INITIATIVE´s organizations about the implementation of successful TPA practices in the SAIs of their respective countries (Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico and Paraguay).

Through revision of the Diagnostic Report, and in view of contributing to the dissemination of TPA best practices implemented by some regional SAIs, it was noticeable that some of them stood out due to their innovation, sustainability and flexibility, characteristics which make them feasible to be replicated by other SAIs. Those practices were selected for documentation, a task which was performed by the INITIATIVE´s local CSOs, in close collaboration with SAI officials involved in the incorporation and development of those TPA mechanisms.

This documentation aims to build a detailed archive on how to implement TPA best practices, pointing out which difficulties should be sorted out and what benefits are perceived from their development, so that those SAIs interested in incorporating some of these practices in their respective countries can count on certain tools when thinking of the most appropriate design for their particular context.

 

The TPA INITIATIVE´s agenda

In late August 2011, a three-day meeting was held in Buenos Aires among the members of the TPA INITIATIVE. On the second day, the CSOs exchanged views and perspectives with the SAI members of the OLACEFS Technical Accountability Committee, who were discussing the guidelines for the committee’s working plan to be submitted to the Organization’s General Assembly.

On that occasion, right after the INITIATIVE´s presentation, organizations and Supreme Audit Institutions discussed various mechanisms for citizen participation and policies to approach civil society. The SAIs highlighted the importance of reinforcing the dissemination and implementation of the principles fostered by the Asuncion Declaration, particularly with regard to the value of incorporating citizen participation practices.

As a result of the meeting, the INITIATIVE’s members reaffirmed our goals and drew out the guidelines for the future agenda, which will be based on the following points:

  • Deepen the relationship with SAIs and OLACEFS through greater contact with officials and authorities and by providing support and assistance in those activities aimed at strengthening the institutions and linking them to civil society.
  • Establish bonds with civil society organizations, universities and grassroots organizations at the local level in order to contribute to making optimum use of information produced by SAIs.
  • Review and update the Diagnostic Report pertaining to the implementation of the TPA best practices in SAIs from the input provided by the institution’s representatives and through research taken up by the INITIATIVE´s organizations.
  • Study the TPA best practices, successful experiences and new developments in the field in order to document any valuable practice which is worth of adoption by the regional SAIs.
  • Disseminate the TPA best practices among audit institutions, organizations, officials and control agency staff, political actors involved in government accountability and legislators interested in promoting TPA policies.
  • Elaborate a glossary on TPA terminology.
  • Advise and provide technical support to SAIs committed to the implementation of pilot plans regarding TPA best practices.
  • Develop TPA training activities for SAI´s staff (through virtual platforms or on-site workshops).
  • Promote the exchange of technical knowledge and experiences among SAIs.
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Navigate the website through google translate

-Download the TPA INITIATIVE introductory document here. (2010)

– Document on best practices of TPA in SAI, here.

– Under the `Biblioteca´ tab, you will find some papers on TPA issues in English.

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