Social audit is a powerful social accountability tool. It has led to the conviction of public officials for violating the right to information law in Guatemala, a 50 per cent reduction in the costs of public construction works in Peru, and cancelling an illegal education fee in Ghana.
Social audit scrutinises public officials’ decisions and/or actions, looking for administrative or financial irregularities. It seeks to uncover discrepancies by comparing public documents, processes or services with how they should be. It can take many names and forms, ranging from social audits in Guatemala and anti-corruption brigades in Peru, to social auditing clubs in Ghana.
This report extracts lessons from the social audits implemented by Acción Ciudadana in Guatemala, Proética in Peru and Ghana Integrity Initiative in Ghana. The report examines the social audit outcome reports and other records shared by the three Transparency International chapters, and includes an extensive review of the wider literature on social audits. Based on these experiences, the report outlines 20 key steps to implement an effective social audit.