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Side by side with people: Korea's experience on participatory auditing

March 30, 2015


The Board of Audit and Inspection of Korea (BAI) plays a unique role in the national accountability and control processes in terms of operational independence, audit capacity, and audit remit.

Since its establishment in 1963, the BAI has gradually expanded the dimensions of its cooperative relationship with the citizenry. It has gone from the information and consultation stages to the stage of partnership for decision-making with citizens. It takes advice on its audit direction and formally receives audit requests from the citizens. In addition, it takes tips on fraud, waste, or mismanagement of public funds along with civil petitions and complaints from the citizens. The BAI also makes all audit reports available to the citizenry through its website. 

BAI annually receives over ten thousand petitions or complaints from the citizenry and the business community, which reflects the significance of this cooperative relationship. It also receives about 200 audit requests per year from Korea’s citizens.

This paper addresses three key issues associated with the Supreme Audit Institution’s (SAI) engagement with citizens based on the BAI’s varied cooperation experiences with citizens: i) the values and benefits of SAI’s engagement with citizens; ii) the potential risks; and iii) practical approaches to ensure the identified values and benefits while controlling the risks.

This paper on the experience of the Korea Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI) is the first in a new series of learning notes developed by the program on Public Participation in the Budget and Audit Process (PPBA). The learning note series will codify good practice examples from around the world to share it among Bank’s client countries, Policy Research Organizations, Academia, Civil Society Organizations and donors.