Strategic choices: trust in accountability
In its new strategy for 2021-2025, the Netherlands Court of Audit will conduct its audits more specifically from the perspective of citizens and businesses. More so than in the past, the independent auditor of government revenue and expenditure will also express an opinion on the efficiency and effectiveness of policy. And IT and data management will be given a more prominent position in its work, including in the annual Accountability Audit.
Relevance: citizens and businesses as the starting point
More of the audits the Court will carry out in the coming strategic period will be investigate the implementation of policy and will be performed more specifically from the perspective of citizens and businesses. Problems encountered in practice indicate that policy implementation is sometimes creaking at the seams. Examples include the benefit system, the Tax and Customs Administration’s outdated IT systems, problems issuing driving licences to the elderly and the organisation of personal budgets. Where possible, the communication of audit findings will clearly explain whether public money is being spent economically, efficiently and effectively – or not – and how citizens are affected.
More so than in the past, the Court of Audit will also express opinions on the efficiency (the relationship between costs and results) and the effectiveness (outcomes) of policy. Carefully selected words and images will be used to reflect the context in which the government works. The opinions will be independent and fair.
IT and data management
The government sometimes seems to be barely able to keep pace with advances in information technology. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown once again that properly functioning IT is vital to the continuity of government services. IT and data management will therefore be given a more prominent place in the Court of Audit’s annual Accountability Audit. In consequence, developments in the control, purpose and use of self-regulating algorithms will also be audited in the years ahead.
More efficiency audits will also be carried out to ask whether ministers are spending the right amount of money to achieve the intended results and determine whether the same results could be achieved in other (less expensive) ways.