Netherlands Court of Audit spurs ministers into action

Since 2015 ministers have on average adopted 62% of the Court of Audit’s recommendations. The percentage fluctuates widely from year to year, however, and has fallen sharply since 2018. The Court tracked the ministers’ response to its audit findings in its Progress Meter from 2015 to 2020.

Undertakings given on 62% of recommendations

Figuur 1 Progress Meter
Annual percentage of undertakings in response to the Court of Audit’s recommendations, 2015-2020.

In the past 6 years, the Court has made 590 recommendations in dozens of audits. Ministers responded by giving 366 undertakings. The percentage of undertakings varies widely from minister to minister. 5 ministers (with Economics and Climate Policy in the lead, followed by Justice and Security, Defence, Social Affairs and Employment, and Finance) promised to implement at least 67% of the recommendations. The ministers of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, and Education, Culture and Science adopted fewer than 40%.

The Court of Audit has also looked at whether ministers really did take action. Every other year it asked the ministries to report on the measures they had taken in response to its recommendations. It found that 58% of the undertakings had resulted in action and 33% had already been fulfilled. The analysis also found that ministers sometimes did not give undertakings but nevertheless took action in response to the Court’s audit findings. In this light, 72% of the recommendations resulted in action.

Action taken on 72% of recommendations

Figuur 3 Progress Meter
Response to the Court of Audit’s recommendations, 2015- 2020, as at July 2021.