Granskningens (glömda) kostnader
Auditing of public administration entails major costs for those who perform the audit work. Although it also involves additional costs for the auditees they are seldom calculated or discussed, and never so at the time when new audits are intro- duced. In this article we discuss these hidden costs and, especially, the administrative work that arises from audits but which often becomes invisible. What does a calculation of audit costs comprise? Are the audits worth their price? Our conclusion is that, in addition to the reviewer’s direct expenses, audits also involve indirect costs for the audited organization, what we may term an “underhead”, as well as hidden costs, in terms of “audit avoidance administration” and of new patterns of behavior. Lastly, we distinguish social costs, in terms of poorer working condi- tions, increasing stress and the erosion of trust between the person being audited and the auditor. A more general question is when do the costs of an audit, whether direct, indirect or hidden, exceed the benefit which it is supposed to give rise to?