This study contributes to the debate about control systems in the public sector by analyzing the characteristics and the activities of the Boards of Statutory Auditors in the Italian National Health Service. Extant literature has long emphasized the characteristics that auditing bodies are expected to possess in order to ensure audit quality. This paper offers an operationalization of such characteristics and discusses their peculiarities in a public-sector context. The relevant information was collected through an online questionnaire administered to the Boards of Statutory Auditors of all Italian public health-care organizations. The results show that the Boards’ characteristics are consistent with the literature’s suggestions and with the peculiarities of a public-sector setting. However, findings also underline some weaknesses in terms of both the adequacy of available resources and the relationship with other monitoring bodies and mechanisms.
Keywords: Board of Statutory Auditors, financial control, public health-care sector, control systems, governance.