SIGMA has been conducting evaluations of public administration principles in candidate and potential candidate countries since 2015. Since 2017, these assessments have been conducted on the basis of the Methodological Framework for Principles of Public Administration. SIGMA's annual reports are included in the European Commission's annual progress reports on EU candidate and potential candidate countries. In the Report on SIGMA Monitoring of the principles of public administration of the Republic of Serbia for 2021, external audit is the best rated field in Serbia with a score of 4.5 compared to the highest score of 5.0, with the greatest progress compared to 2017 when it was rated 3.5.
In the area of external audit, i.e. indicators related to the effectiveness of the external audit system, Serbia is far ahead of the regional average in this field, which amounts to cca 3.3, according to the SIGMA Report. Grades in other Serbian fields range from 3.0. to 3.6.
SIGMA's annual report recognized the work of the SAI as a regional leader in the field of external audit, said Dr. Dusko Pejovic, President of the State Audit Institution and Auditor General.
The area of external audit is assessed through the scoring of two principles: Principle 15 "Independence, competence and organization of SAIs are established, protected by constitutional and legal framework and respected in practice" - the number of points for SAI increased compared to 2017 by one point and stands at 14 (out of 16). Principle 16 "SAI applies standards in a neutral and objective manner in order to provide high quality audits, which positively affect the functioning of the public sector" - the number of points increased compared to 2017 by nine and amounts to 29 (out of 30). In this manner, SAI has made external audit to be the highest rated field in Serbia, with the greatest progress compared to 2017.
SIGMA has recognized the contribution of the State Audit Institution in the field of public financial management, which will ensure further progress of Serbia on the path to European integration, said Dr. Pejović.
According to Dr. Pejović, the report states that the quality of public financial management has developed positively, especially in the effectiveness of the external audit system. In terms of the efficiency of the external audit system, SAI has made significant progress, particularly in ensuring larger audit coverage through conducting performance audits and increased audit quality control and assurance system.
The key areas for improvement, as stated in the report, are the coverage of SAI competencies, the introduction of new methodologies and procedures for quality assurance and, most importantly, greater involvement of the National Assembly.
The Supreme Audit Institution applies standards in a neutral and objective manner to ensure high quality audits, which has a positive impact on the functioning of the public sector.
The SIGMA Monitoring Report of the Principles of Public Administration of the Republic of Serbia for 2021 can be found here.