Netherlands Court of Audit invites peers to review its quality and methods

International review results to be published in 2020

The Netherlands Court of Audit is about to undergo an international peer review. The High Council of State that audits ministries and other organisations associated with central government has invited the supreme audit institutions of Sweden, Canada and the United Kingdom to review the quality of its audits and its selection of audit topics. The objective is to determine whether and how the Court’s work can be improved.

The Court of Audit’s President, Arno Visser, and representatives of the supreme audit institutions of Sweden, Canada and the United Kingdom signed the Memorandum of Understanding to commence the peer review on 1 October 2019. The review is planned for completion in autumn 2020. The Court of Audit will then publish the report written by the review team’s experienced auditors.

Peer Review

President Mr Arno Visser of the Netherlands Court of Audit signs in the Hague on 1 October 2019 the memorandum of understanding with the supreme audit institutions of Sweden, Canada and the United Kingdom. Swedish project leader Mr Bengt Lewin is watching together with his colleague auditors Mrs Antonia Gracie (National Audit Office UK) and Mrs Caroline Jean (Office of the Auditor General of Canada).

Most rigorous form of review

A peer review is the most rigorous form of review that a supreme audit institution can undergo. Peers have been invited from Riksrevisionen (Sweden), the Office of the Auditor General of Canada (OAG) and the National Audit Office of the United Kingdom (NAO) to review the quality of audit selection and programming and the quality of the financial and performance audits the Court carries out. The peers from these three supreme audit institutions have a wealth of experience and international reputations in these fields. Riksrevisionen will act as the lead reviewer. The last time the Court of Audit underwent a peer review was in 2007.

Trust based on quality

The reviewers will have access to all relevant documents and will be able to interview the people involved both inside and outside the Court of Audit. The topics they will review are in keeping with the Court’s strategy for 2016-2020, Trust based on Understanding. The strategy sees modernisation of the Court’s work as the key to maintain quality and remain relevant. Audits deepen the insight into public finances. Parliament and the public must be able to trust the Court’s independent opinions. This High Council of State increases democratic accountability for the receipt and use of taxpayers’ money and other government revenues, and strengthens trust in the working of democracy.

Independent position

As independent organisations, supreme audit institutions cannot be reviewed by their governments or parliaments. They therefore organise their own reviews amongst themselves. The Court of Audit’s position is laid down in the Constitution. Its mission is to audit and improve the regularity, efficiency, effectiveness and integrity of central government and the organisations associated with it. It checks whether the government spends taxpayers’ money economically, efficiently and effectively and whether the public get value for money.