Peer Review

One of the strategic objectives of the Supreme Audit Institutions is to continuously improve the quality and adequacy of operation. Due to the specific legal status of SAIs (independent from any public audit body) and their situation (typically one SAI per country), the effectivity and compliance with national and international standards of functioning of the institution is usually evaluated by the SAI of another country. This evaluation process is known in the audit terminology as ‘Peer Review’. The Peer Review is always optional, both for the audited and the auditor SAI, on the one hand it is aimed to evaluate the performance of the audited SAI, on the other hand, to provide a basis for further quality-oriented development through recommendations.

Due to the complexity (the peer review may be preceded by one or more self-assessment processes) and significance of the peer review process (gives full insight into the SAI’s internal operations, revealing strengths and weaknesses) the INTOSAI has established a specific standard (GUID 1900), while the IDI has developed a performance-evaluation framework (IDI PMF). These principles specify that the peer review has to be carried out independently, considering the specificities of the audited SAI’s country, in most cases, following criteria of expediency, efficiency and effectiveness, in accordance with international recommendations. Participants decide on their own about the content, scope, and methodology of the process and utilization of the results. Self-assessment and Peer Review are internationally recognized methods for analyzing and evaluating the effectiveness of institutional operation.

Over the past two decades, the SAO of Hungary participated in several peer review processes and has carried out several self-assessments covering its independent legal status, quality assurance system, IT operations and media and social communication activities. The SAO has also carried out peer reviews in cooperation with other SAIs as such possess the necessary ability and capacity to participate in future projects.