OECD Public Governance Reviews

2219-0414 (online)
2219-0406 (print)
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This series includes international studies and country-specific reviews of government efforts to make the public sector more efficient, effective, innovative and responsive to citizens’ needs and expectations. Publications in this series look at topics such as open government, preventing corruption and promoting integrity in the public service, risk management, illicit trade, audit institutions, and civil service reform. Country-specific reviews assess a public administration’s ability to achieve government objectives and preparedness to address current and future challenges. In analysing how a country's public administration works, reviews focus on cross-departmental co-operation, the relationships between levels of government and with citizens and businesses, innovation and quality of public services, and the impact of information technology on the work of government and its interaction with businesses and citizens.


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Brazil's Federal Court of Accounts

Brazil's Federal Court of Accounts

Insight and Foresight for Better Governance You do not have access to this content

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07 Aug 2017
9789264279254 (PDF) ; 9789264279247 (EPUB) ;9789264279230(print)

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Brazil’s Federal Court of Accounts, the Tribunal de Contas da União (TCU), is seeking to go beyond its traditional oversight role and help improve policy formulation, implementation and evaluation. This report identifies ways TCU can achieve this by applying principles of good governance to areas such policy coherence, strategic and long-term budgeting, internal control and risk management, and monitoring and evaluation. It suggests concrete steps TCU can take to adapt its own strategies, approaches and audit programming to provide valuable insight and foresight to policy makers in the centre of government. In this way, it can help ensure that policies and programmes are forward looking and based on evidence.

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  • Foreword

    Brazil’s supreme audit institution (SAI), the Tribunal de Contas da União (TCU), has a distinctive mandate to shape the underpinnings of good governance. TCU is responsible for examining public accounts to hold officials accountable, and its performance audits and evaluations have a direct bearing on the effectiveness, efficiency and economy of government. In this role, TCU is a critical inducer of change in the Brazilian government towards better governance in a complex and fluid policy environment.

  • Acronyms and abbreviations
  • Executive summary

    Supreme audit institutions (SAIs) have a unique mandate in government for ensuring that policies are well-informed, coherent and forward-looking. In the last decades, many SAIs have embraced a role that goes beyond traditional oversight and holding governments accountable for public expenditures. These SAIs have become critical purveyors of insight and foresight for policy makers through new approaches to audits and advisory work. Their evolution reflects a drive towards more informed policy making, particularly within the Centre of Government (CoG), as well as evidence-based programme delivery to ensure citizens’ needs are met.

  • Strengthening the contributions of TCU to good governance in Brazil

    Supreme audit institutions (SAIs) face a demanding auditing environment, where governance challenges persist and consistently present new risks. In this context, SAIs must remain flexible and responsive to changes and emerging risks in their own planning and auditing. This chapter explores opportunities for the Tribunal de Contas da União (TCU), Brazil’s SAI, to make improvements to its own strategy and operations in order to more effectively contribute to good governance in Brazil. This includes a greater focus on the institutional characteristics that position TCU to better support the policy cycle – formulation, implementation and evaluation – with evidenced-based solutions and insights that focus on long-term policy outcomes. This chapter explores steps that TCU can take to ensure it systematically upholds the principles of good governance in its own work, including its strategies, audit programming and internal mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation.

  • Auditing for greater policy coherence in Brazil

    Government-wide policy coherence is the quality of having unified and consistent public policies and programmes. It requires an overarching view of the functioning of government, and often falls under the remit of central institutions. Supreme Audit Institutions too can leverage audits across public sector entities, sectors and programmes to deepen the understanding of policy coherence in government. At Brazil’s federal level, there are numerous entities with decision-making power but with little incentive or requirement to co-ordinate. A siloed approach does not work in an era marked by cross-cutting policy challenges, and intertwined commitments to sustainable development, that require co-ordinated action. This chapter explores how Brazil’s supreme audit institution, the Tribunal de Contas da União (TCU), can promote (i) strengthening of institutional mechanisms for coherence and (ii) an understanding of policy interactions and policy effects. It is informed by activities of other supreme audit institutions seeking to reduce waste and inefficiency across government that is borne by a lack of coherence.

  • Auditing for more strategic and sustainable budgeting in Brazil

    Guided by OECD’s Recommendation of the Council on Budgetary Governance, this chapter promotes action that Brazil’s supreme audit institution, the Tribunal de Contas da União (TCU), can take to encourage more sustainable and strategic budgeting over the long-term. In particular, this chapter looks at Brazil’s budgetary structure with respect to four key trends that have emerged amongst OECD member countries in the last decade, including: (i) integration of medium-term perspectives in the budget, (ii) the integration of performance information into, evaluation and value-for-money into the budget, (iii) strengthening of fiscal discipline and (iv) long-term fiscal sustainability. Recommendations are made to TCU as to how to support improvements in each area through its audit and advisory work.

  • Auditing for more robust internal control and risk management systems

    This chapter explores select challenges the Brazilian government faces related to internal control and risk management, considering the role of numerous actors, and emphasising the contributions of Brazil’s supreme audit institution, the Tribunal de Contas da União (TCU). This chapter offers recommendations for TCU to nuance its work in this more traditional area in a way that promotes risk management, control and integrity that is more targeted to the changing policy landscape. Recommendations are framed around international principles in (i) government-wide systems of internal control and risk management (ii) entity-level ownership and capacity for implementation of internal control and risk management and (iii) capacity for use of tools for implementation. The time is now for actors in Brazil to prioritise a more robust internal control and risk management system that supports the government in achieving objectives, while reducing risks of fraud, corruption, waste and abuse.

  • Auditing for more effective government-wide monitoring and evaluation

    Supreme Audit Institutions play a unique role in supporting monitoring and evaluation across government as third-party evaluators of government institutions, processes, policies, programmes as well as by evaluating evaluators within the Executive branch. Brazil’s supreme audit institution, the Tribunal de Contas da União (TCU), has similarly played both roles. This chapter explores the current approaches to evaluation in Brazil’s federal administration vis-à-vis international principles and practices at three levels, looking at (i) the system of monitoring and evaluation across government, (ii) monitoring and evaluation at the entity or programme level, and (iii) the communication and co-ordination in improving the culture of monitoring and evaluation. Recommendations are consequently made to TCU as to how it can reorient external control approaches towards supporting more consistent and reliable generation of evidence on policies and programmes in Brazil’s federal administration.

  • Glossary

    Administrative burden The Index for Public Integrity considers administrative burden a measures of the extent of domestic bureaucratic regulations. The component is constructed based on the average numbers of procedures and time it takes to start a business and pay corporate taxes (IPI 2016).

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