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Lessons from Reformers: Sierra Leone Improves Compliance with Audit Reports

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This case study is part of OGP’s Domestic Resource Mobilization and Economic Recovery in Africa. Read the full paper and other Lessons from Reformers case studies here.

Domestic Resource Mobilization and Economic Recovery in Africa Explore eight ways open government reform can help African countries recover from the immediate crisis and restore their progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Civil war and the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone laid bare the need to reduce corruption in planning and spending. Recognizing that public sector transparency can illuminate instances of corrupt spending, Sierra Leone has made efforts to open the budget and financial management. However, the weak capacity of oversight institutions and limited compliance with their recommendations continued to limit Sierra Leone from rooting out corruption and making service delivery to its citizens more effective and efficient.

Sierra Leone has worked through several channels, including OGP, to strengthen auditing bodies. In 2014, Sierra Leone used its action plan to commit to improve compliance with audit reports. The goal was to ensure that government agencies implemented at least 50% of the recommendations in the national audit report. If achieved, reformers believed this would allow the national auditing body to champion the fight to reduce public waste and promote value for money across the government. According to OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism, it would also strengthen government systems and eliminate loopholes where money may be lost to corruption.

At the end of the action plan cycle, Sierra Leone fell short of its goal; only about a quarter of the recommendations from the audit report were implemented by government ministries. Still, the commitment contributed to growing levels of momentum around auditing reform in Sierra Leone. In its 2016 action plan, and more recently in reforms outside of OGP, Sierra Leone worked to make audit reports more accessible to citizens and organized public hearings on report findings, which were to be aired on national television and radio.

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