Integrated report 2020 of the Netherlands Court of Audit

For the second year in succession the Netherlands Court of Audit published an integrated report on Accountability Day. Integrated reporting is not common practice among public sector organisations in the Netherlands. The Court wants to set an example by reporting the link between the use of public funds and the results attained. The aim of the independent auditor of central government is to demonstrate more clearly what impact and added value it has for citizens and businesses.

The Court of Audit adapted its audit programming and strategy in 2020. It intends to carry out audits that make a positive and noticeable contribution to society by improving government policy.

Audits of the measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic

The Court of Audit published 6 audit reports in 2020 on government measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. They looked specifically at the risks of the support the government provided to businesses, the possible misuse and improper use of the NOW job retention scheme and the consequences of guarantees and loans for public finances. The Court also examined the COVID-19 testing policy in the first months of the pandemic and the security risks of working from home. It also published an interactive dashboard to track the use of public money spent on combatting the pandemic. This Corona Account will again be regularly updated in 2021.

New audit programme: energy transition

The Court of Audit launched a multiyear programme in 2020 to audit energy transition. The key question is whether government measures to prepare for and realise energy transition are economical, efficient and effective. The audit programme considers the government’s justification of its policy choices for energy transition and the effectiveness, efficiency and financial consequences of how they are implemented.

Staff establishment and finances

After a period of spending cuts and reorganisations, the Court of Audit’s staff establishment has returned to full strength. With 248.31 FTEs, divided across 272 members of staff, the staff establishment falls within the set maximum of 249.8 FTEs. The Court’s expenditure in 2020 was €1.15 million lower than budgeted. This was due largely to the COVID-19 restrictions. Less was spent on hiring external staff and far less on commuting allowances, international official trips and catering. All expenditure in 2020 can be found in an open database on the Court of Audit’s website.