Annual report of the Netherlands Court of Audit for 2018

In the Annual Report for 2018 we account for the results of our work in 2018.

How do we look back on 2018?

Stronger staff establishment

2018 was the year in which the Netherlands Court of Audit strengthened its staff establishment again following the reorganisation in 2017. The government decided to increase our budget to bring it more into line with the performance of our statutory duties. As from 2018, the additional budget awarded to the Court will increase in steps from an extra 1 million in 2018 to an extra €3 million per annum as from 2022. We used the additional funds to make significant investments in the recruitment, training and development of our staff during the year. We recruited, inducted and trained 57 new members of staff.

Increase in staff numbers in 2018

Male/female balance remains unchanged

Annual report 2018

What did we audit in 2018?


We issued 58 publications in 2018: 36 audit reports, 21 letters to the House of Representatives and 1 update of a web dossier. Of the 36 audit reports, 21 concerned the 2017 Accountability Audit of the ministerial expenditures, operational management and policies presented in the ministries’ annual reports. (In 2018, we audited the annual reports for 2017, hence the title Accountability Audit 2017.)

New: what did the auditees think about our audits?

The 2018 Annual Report pays special attention to eight audits we carried out during the year. For the first time, the Annual Report includes short interviews with auditees. They present an insight into the impact of our audits on the people and organisations concerned in a particular economic area or policy field.

Three examples: Brexit, marine wind power and UN mission to Mali

Quotes from interviewees:

  1. Regarding the report Government preparations for the consequences of Brexit, Jochem Wiers, head of the Brexit Task Force at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said “The Court of Audit’s report enabled us to step up the pressure to convince private companies that they needed to prepare for Brexit.”
  2. Regarding the report Cost of marine wind power, Bert Wilbrink, senior policy officer at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, commented, “As policy makers we look to the future, whereas the Court of Audit’s report was more a fact checking exercise looking back at what had already been done. We would have had more benefit from a critical audit of the policy so that we could improve it where necessary. The quality of the report itself, however, was excellent.”
  3. Regarding the report Deployment of Dutch forces on UN mission to Mali, Edgar Heida, lieutenant colonel at the Ministry of Defence, said, “The Court of Audit held a mirror up to us and showed us the shadow side of the ‘can do’ mentality.”

The other five audit reports to include interviews were:

Accommodated by the Central Government Real Estate Agency
Revolving funds
Access to long-term care
Asylum inflow 2014 – 2016
Cooperation with Arab audit institutions (Sharaka programme) 

What joint projects did we carry out in 2018?

In the Sharaka programme we work with supreme audit institutions in partner countries in the Arab region. In cooperation with our Sharaka partners we have been working for more than three years on a review of the national preparations for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs).

The Palestinian supreme audit institution on the Sharaka programme

Lana Assi, Head of Public and International Relations of the State Audit & Administrative Control Bureau (SAACB) of Palestine: “The partnership with the Netherlands Court of Audit and the six audit institutions from the Arab region was very inspirational and successful.”

Umbrella organisations

The Court of Audit was again active in regional and global umbrella organisations in 2018:

  • EUROSAI (the European Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions)
  • INTOSAI (the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions)
  • Contact Committee of the Heads of the Supreme Audit Institutions of the European Union

What did the audit of central government cost in 2018?

The Court of Audit’s audit of central government cost €30.6 million in 2018.

Financial facts in brief

Personnel costs: the Court of Audit spent €26.2 million on personnel costs in 2018, equal to 86% of our total expenditure. We spent approximately €3.2 million, about 12%, on external workers. This is far more than in 2017 and higher than the government standard of 10%, but we had to hire external people in order to make up for understaffing and ensure the Court’s further development as an organisation.
Other expenditure (€4.4 million) related to assets, such as ICT and communication systems, services and resources.
We again incurred reorganisation costs in 2018; they actually increased from €1.3 million in 2017 to €1.5 million in 2018.
The published figures are provisional. We will publish definitive figures on all our expenditure in our open data file on Accountability Day 2019.