Institute for Public Accountability (IPA)

About IPA
In 2011, MSI established the Institute for Institute for Public Accountability (IPA). Using the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s model for conducting financial, compliance and performance audits, we are positioned to assist governments in their efforts to reduce corruption and safeguard public resources.

The IPA is dedicated to enhancing the audit capacities of Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) and their accountability counterparts within government ministries. More effective SAIs can thereby provide their chief clients—Parliaments and citizens—with timely and non-partisan assessments of government program effectiveness. The Institute’s technical assistance and training will adhere to Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards (GAGAS yellow book) and the International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAI).

Why an Institute?
As governments grapple with budget constraints, accountability organizations will play a critical role in evaluating the efficient use of public programs and funds. Within developing countries, effective SAIs will also be needed to assuage donor demands to demonstrate progress in achieving the 2015 Millennium Development Goals.

SAIs carry out the external audit function of public sector bodies and are one of the key links in the formal system of financial accountability in most countries. The key term is “accountability.” A traditional audit institution often assesses the financial statements of government ministries or evaluates compliance with program laws and regulations. A modern accountability organization expands its oversight umbrella to assess the performance of government programs and the agencies responsible for their implementation. Absent an evaluation on performance, a government program could pass muster on its financial controls but achieve little program impact.

Our Approach
The Institute assists SAIs to make the transition from monitoring financial statements to carrying out robust performance audits. Capacity building involves an iterative, participatory process that begins with a diagnostic of the accountability office’s authorities, capability and needs. Institute mentors create short-and medium term plans to develop, strengthen or expand the accountability organization’s core competencies.

Such core competencies include:
• Developing Strategic & Operational Plans
• Defining Agency Protocols
• Establishing Risk-Based Criteria for Audit Selection
• Defining Audit Objectives
• Creating Data Collection and Assessment Tools
• Enhancing Report Writing and Dissemination
• Sustaining Accomplishments

Based on client needs and desires, we tailor short-term technical assistance to enhance specific audit skills, as well as a long-term program to strengthen SAI capacity across all auditing domains. All of our capacity building services are displayed on the reverse page.

Our People
The Institute was founded by Joseph Christoff, former Director of International Affairs at the U.S. GAO. We offer a network of former U.S. GAO audit experts and international GAO Fellows.

Read more about how IPA helps build capacity through audit institutions.