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Auditing Decentralised Policies in Brazil

Collaborative and Evidence-Based Approaches for Better Outcomes

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Public policies and services, such as education, health, welfare, infrastructure and sanitation, are increasingly developed and provided via different levels of government (national, regional and local), creating co-ordination and governance challenges. This report describes how Brazil’s 33 courts of accounts can use their oversight function – including audits – to help make such decentralised policies more effective and coherent. It presents the results of a 3-year project to improve how the courts can work together, using the area of education as a pilot for testing the use of indicators in the strategic selection of audits. The report offers a model for audit institutions to assess multi-level governance, and explores governance models for stronger collaboration among the courts of accounts in Brazil. These approaches may inspire and inform other supreme audit institutions with responsibilities for auditing decentralised policies and programmes involving central, regional and local governments.

English Also available in: Portuguese

Executive summary

Public policies that provide key services to citizens, such as education, health, welfare, infrastructure and sanitation, are increasingly developed and delivered involving different levels of government. The expectation is that this decentralisation will lead to better local public service delivery through greater citizen engagement and local accountability. For effective delivery of decentralised policies, adequate multi-level governance conditions are needed, such as a fiscal framework, regulatory processes and local capacity. The lack of effective multi-level governance can lead to gaps, duplication and overlap in policy delivery. This not only results in poor value for public money, but also opens the door to regional disparities in the delivery of public services and the potential undermining of citizens’ trust in government.

English Also available in: Portuguese

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