13. An SAI will exercise its public-sector audit function within a specific constitutional arrangement and by virtue of its office and mandate, which ensure sufficient independence and power of discretion in performing its duties. The mandate of an SAI may define its general responsibilities in the field of public-sector auditing and provide further prescriptions concerning the audits and other engagements to be performed.

14. SAIs may be mandated to perform many types of engagements on any subject of relevance to the responsibilities of management and those charged with governance and the appropriate use of public funds and assets. The extent or form of these engagements and the reporting thereon will vary according to the legislated mandate of the SAI concerned.

15. In certain countries, the SAI is a court, composed of judges, with authority over State accountants and other public officials who must render account to it. There exists an important relationship between this jurisdictional authority and the characteristics of public-sector auditing. The jurisdictional function requires the SAI to ensure that whoever is charged with dealing with public funds is held accountable and, in this regard, is subject to its jurisdiction.

16. An SAI may make strategic decisions in order to respond to the requirements in its mandate and other legislative requirements. Such decisions may include which auditing standards are applicable, which engagements will be conducted and how they will be prioritised.

INTOSAI ref. Fundamental Principles of Public-Sector Auditing(pdf) (ISSAI-100).
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