Netherlands Court of Audit to investigate the corona crisis
The Netherlands Court of Audit is to investigate various aspects of the measures taken to overcome the corona crisis. It is planning 4 activities: 3 audits, which will be published after the summer, and a monitor to analyse the measures taken.
One audit will look at the policy to test members of the public for the corona virus, the available testing capacity and access to the tests. A second audit will focus on the risks to public finances due to the award of loans and guarantees. The third will consider the aid provided to large businesses and will consist of two parts. The first part will be descriptive in nature and will look at the lessons learned from government support for businesses in the past. The findings will be published at the end of June. The second part will look at the lessons learned from the provision of support and is planned for this autumn.
The Court of Audit will also monitor events in the Netherlands, the European Union and worldwide. Nationally, it will analyse and track the government measures to tackle the corona crisis. The monitor will be launched on the Court’s website at the end of June in order to inform parliament and the public of the organisation, cost and intended impact of the measures. The monitor will be regularly updated.
At European level, the Court will monitor developments in EU policy. This has already led to an update of the information on the EU on the Court’s website. The update includes a summary of the EU’s financial measures to mitigate the economic and social impact of the corona outbreak. It will also monitor the activities of other supreme audit institutions during the crisis.
In addition to the 4 activities that will be published this year, mitigating the corona crisis will be at the heart of this year’s accountability audit of central government.
‘Parliament, tend to your business’
With its investigation of the measures taken to mitigate the corona crisis, the Court of Audit is putting into practice its belief that democratic rules must also be observed even in times of crisis. On the submission of the 2019 accountability audit to the House of Representatives, the Court’s president, Arno Visser, pressed home this belief saying, “The rules apply not only in the easy times but also in crisis times and to crisis measures. Parliament, tend to your business!” Mr Visser also said parliament had to learn from the past, even if the current situation seemed to be unique.