Audits during the corona crisis

People all over the world are feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Like the governments of many other countries, the Dutch government has been compelled to address all sorts of new and as yet unknown issues and try to contain and remedy problems in relation to social care, prosperity and welfare. Acting under great pressure of time, it has taken a series of decisions and communicated them to the general public.

Our job is to audit central government in order to ascertain whether it is acting lawfully and whether government policy is both effective and efficient. Exceptional times require exceptional forms of governance, and yet there also remains a need for democratic processes to continue as before. Checks and balances are a key part of these processes, even at times such as these. That’s why we feel it is our duty to monitor the measures the government is now taking, so that we can appraise them and audit government expenditure further down the line.

It goes without saying that we will take account of the context in which decisions are now being taken and that we will factor this new reality into our audits.

The situation today is that we have closed our office premises and that our staff and Board members are working from home as much as possible. We continue to do our job, taking full account of the exceptional circumstances prevailing at ministries and government agencies who are working hard to find solutions to the problems currently besetting the country. As a result, we may have to miss deadlines and defer certain publications. It’s simply a question of deciding where our priorities lie.