Performance audits are carried out in accordance with ISSAI 300 as endorsed by INTOSAI.
As carried out by SAIs, performance auditing is an independent, objective and reliable examination of whether government undertakings, systems, operations, programmes, activities or organisations are operating in accordance with the principles of economy, efficiency and effectiveness and whether there is room for improvement.
Performance auditing seeks to provide new information, analysis or insights and, where appropriate, recommendations for improvement. Performance audits deliver new information, knowledge or value by:
- providing new analytical insights (broader or deeper analysis or new perspectives);
- making existing information more accessible to various stakeholders;
- providing an independent and authoritative view or conclusion based on audit evidence;
- providing recommendations based on an analysis of audit findings.
The main objective of performance auditing is constructively to promote economical, effective and efficient governance. It also contributes to accountability and transparency. Performance auditing promotes accountability by assisting those with governance and oversight responsibilities to improve performance. It does this by examining whether decisions by the legislature or the executive are efficiently and effectively prepared and implemented, and whether taxpayers or citizens have received value for money. It does not question the intentions and decisions of the legislature, but examines whether any shortcomings in the laws and regulations or their way of implementation have prevented the specified objectives from being achieved. Performance auditing focuses on areas in which it can add value for citizens and which have the greatest potential for improvement. It provides constructive incentives for the responsible parties to take appropriate action.
Performance auditing promotes transparency by affording parliament, taxpayers and other sources of finance, those targeted by government policies and the media an insight into the management and outcomes of different government activities. It thereby contributes in a direct way to providing useful information to the citizen, while also serving as a basis for learning and improvements. In performance auditing, SAIs are free to decide, within their mandate, what, when and how to audit, and should not be restrained from publishing their findings.