Rounding off and looking forward in times of corona
For the Netherlands Court of Audit, the past year was one of rounding off and looking forward. We rounded off major topics that we had been auditing intensively for the past 5 years. We also presented our strategy for the next 5 years and despite the persistent challenges brought about by corona, the Court’s staff issued 68 publications in 2021 on the efficiency, effectiveness and regularity of government expenditure.
The annual report looks back at the Court’s work during the year. As in 2020, we again worked a great deal from home in 2021. Working from home still presents challenges regarding our contact with ministries and stakeholders at home and abroad. Nevertheless, the number of publications in 2021 (68) was similar to that in 2020 (67), a sign that we are making better use of new working methods.
Completion of 5-year audit programmes
We completed several 5-year audit programmes in 2021, ranging from future-proofing public finances and further development of the Accountability Audit to the contributions-based care and social security sectors. These programmes entailed not only our performance of audits but also our acquisition of knowledge and development of methods and techniques. We will continue to work with such programmes in the years ahead. For example, we have launched a new programme on energy transition.
New strategy: Trust in Accountability
We presented our new strategy for the period 2021-2025 last year: Trust in Accountability. It makes a number of decisions on the direction our work will take. We will put citizens and businesses more firmly at the centre of our audits. Furthermore, we will not confine ourselves to simply analysing the efficiency of government policy but will also express an opinion on its efficiency more often. Finally, IT and data management will hold a more prominent place in our work, also in our annual Accountability Audit.
The year 2021 marked the end of our 10-year membership of the governing board of EUROSAI, the European organisation of supreme audit institutions. We also worked with foreign supreme audit institutions during the year, for instance on an efficiency audit of the African oil and gas industry and in the Sharaka programme, a 5-year project with the supreme audit institutions of Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, the Palestinian territories, Sudan and Tunisia. The Sharaka project is part of a larger programme to promote the democratic rule of law in those countries.