During handholding, our team would sometimes hear excuses from managers and caretakers for why certain protocols were not being followed. When the same issues were flagged by the auditors, these individuals would not mention these excuses and promise to rectify the issue.
In addition to handholding, external auditing of facility operations is a useful tool for ensuring the protocols are being followed, providing users a more formal forum for voicing their opinions, and for lending credibility to operations. Especially when facilities are linked to the government and being provided funding, some type of auditing mechanism is necessary.
Audits were conducted by Help desk officers who were employed by the project but based within the municipal corporations. The Sammaanofficers conducted three audits in month: two audits of the facilitystatus, and one audit of the finances. These audit reports weresubmitted to the municipalities and to the community managers. Audit reports highlighted positive aspects, aspects needing immediate rectification, and issues needing assistance of the municipality.Typically, each audited took 45 minutes to 1 hour to complete.
These were conducted twice a month to assess whether the basic amenities are clean and in proper working condition. The auditor visits the community toilet to assess the following as well as interact with the users to collect their feedback.
|Condition of amenities||Roof, doors, windows, walls, toilet fixtures, plumbing fixtures, electrical fixtures, signage|
|Cleanliness||Cleanliness of amenities, smell from toilet stalls|
|Services||Running water, electricity|
|Attendance and uniform of caretaker & attendant|
|Availability of stock and resolution register, cleaning supplies|
These were conducted once a month to ensure that the financial records accurately represent the transactions at the community toilet. The auditor, during his/her visit to the community toilet, interacts with the caretaker and treasurer of the toilet to assess the following:
|User fee||User fee collection and regular deposit of fee in bank account|
|Maintenance of books||Regular update of bank passbook, cash book, payment voucher, stock register, resolution register|
|Salaries||Regular payment of caretaker and attendants’ salaries|
|Gap funding||Regular payment of coupon related discount & gap funding|
The findings of the audits would vary from site to site, with some sites struggling more to ensure proper cleaning, while other siteshad more issues with the documentation aspect of operations.
Major challenges faced by the auditors while conducting audits:
Unwillingness of managers to come and give time for the audit
Internal conflicts between managers and caretakers
Lack of attention paid by managers and caretakers to documentation
Skills required to conduct an audit:
Audit officers have to be able to deal politely with communitymembers, while also enforcing the rules and staying objective.Some core competencies include:
Good communication skills
Clear understanding of accounting
Good observation power
Even if you lack the resource to conduct audits as frequently or deeply as the Sammaan method, even a lighter version of auditing is useful to include in your monitoring strategy.
Check out our resources to see more details about the facility designs, including architectural designs for each typology, and tosee more detailed feedback from our stakeholders. We’ve also included suggested design modifications based on our experience.
How to conduct an audit and sample format
Common findings from audits of Sammaan facilities
Tips for identifying an audit officer