Independence is widely regarded as one of the key principles of effective auditing. This article explores the understanding of the nature of auditor independence at the level of practice in the public sector using the case study of Indonesia’s Supreme Audit Institution (Badan Pemeriksa Keuangan-Republik Indonesia–BPK-RI). The research uses a case study methodology involving in-depth interviews with a stratified sample comprised of four groups of BPK-RI auditors. The results confirm that independence is perceived by all respondents as a fundamental auditor value. Independence was found to be a multifaceted concept which was perceived by respondents to have personal, professional and organisational aspects. However, depending on one’s location in the organisational hierarchy there are different emphases about the relative importance of the different aspects of auditor independence.