The Goal project (Governance, Oversight and Accountability in Lebanon) aims to strengthen the oversight and accountability mechanisms of Lebanon’s public institutions, while promoting citizens’ access to information and providing civil society organisations with entry points for tackling corruption in the public sector. Siren is working directly with Lebanon’s control agencies, legislative oversight bodies and civil society groups to drive robust and long-lasting institutional reform in this area.
Central Inspection is Lebanon’s main investigative and inspection agency, and is the cornerstone of the country’s civil service accountability system. Since October 2019, Siren has supported Central Inspection to develop its organisational capability, audit methodology and standards, human resources and coordination with other control institutions.
Central Inspection sits alongside the Audit Court, the Civil Service Board and the General Disciplinary Council. Its inspectors have broad prerogatives in their task of ensuring the administration’s optimal performance. They establish organisational indicators, and overlook financial governance, internal audit mechanisms, compliance with regulations, public service efficiency, and human resource management. Their jurisdiction is also broad, covering most of the public administration and civil service, ministries, autonomous agencies and municipal employees.
Siren uses an evidence-based approach for institutional strengthening to help Central Inspection to consolidate the mechanisms for public sector accountability in Lebanon. This approach is guided by the framework established by the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions, which covers professional standards, methods and practical guidelines for developing public-sector auditing institutions and government accountability.
Our focus is on three main outcomes:
- Supporting Central Inspection to improve its capability to perform efficient and effective oversight, and to conduct audits and inspections according to international professional standards.
- Enhancing the impact of the institution’s reporting and recommendations by establishing a data-driven approach and fostering constructive collaboration between control institutions and civil society.
- Strengthening the legal and institutional framework for government accountability by driving the adoption of drafted legislation and supporting its implementation.
This approach targets three overlapping thematic clusters whose development will enhance Central Inspection’s capability and performance.
- Legal framework: Siren completed a full mapping study assessing the bylaws and overlap of roles among all control agencies in the country. The study highlights gaps in the structure and workflow of these agencies, and proposes ways to strengthen transparency and accountability, and clarify the roles and functions of Central Inspection. Siren is following this study up with roundtables involving the relevant stakeholders to discuss the findings and agree on next steps.
- Internal capacity: Siren’s continual support to Central Inspection covers both technical assistance and broader organisational development. This includes providing substantial assistance on how to align its methods and work processes with international standards, and modern management practices, systems and processes. We are also helping Central Inspection to automate its workflows and tasks. This includes complaints and investigations, inspections, audits, archiving and managing human resources. Siren has also set up an analysis unit to complement this work, which produces risk analysis and other reports, and acts as an internal data collection and information sharing platform.
- Communication and stakeholder management: Siren is also providing strategic communication support to the institution. Overall effectiveness in the functioning of public sector entities and in promoting accountability depends critically on the relationships Central Inspection can establish and maintain with relevant stakeholders. These include the public administration and the general public. Communication is therefore a central component of the project, ensuring that oversight and accountability are not being enhanced in a bubble but are rather associated with the development of a participatory civic culture.