Joint report on parallel audit of Procurement of public building and corruption prevention
Report ID: 41

In January 2011, the Supreme Audit Office of the Czech Republic (Czech SAI - NKÚ) and the Bundesrechnungshof of Germany (German SAI - BRH) agreed to conduct parallel audits both of the EU-wide awarding of building contracts and of corruption prevention.

The audit focused on the application of EU procurement law as transposed into national law and corruption prevention of contracts for building construction and road construction and/or transport infrastructure. The audit also covered contract awards below the EU thresholds with a view to corruption prevention.

The working groups of the two SAIs compared the legal frameworks and administrative regulations in the Czech Republic and in Germany and the results of their parallel audits which they conducted specifically in the fields of building construction and road construction.

The two SAIs´ audit findings are summarised in the joint report.


Parallel audit of the use of public funds for motorway construction
Report ID: 65

The European motorway network forms the backbone of the passenger and freight transport in the European Union. As this situation will remain unchanged for the time being, investments in the expansion and maintenance of the European Motorway network are very important. Thus, examining the use of public funds for financing motorway construction projects is a key responsibility of Supreme Audit Institutions.

This report informs about the findings produced by the parallel audit missions regarding the funds spent on building the A 73 motorway (A 73) in Germany (section Thuringia/Bavaria satate border - Lichten - fels) and the D 1 motorway (D 1) in the Slovak Republic (section Vrtizer - Hricovske Podhradie). The audit missions focused on the public procurement procedure and a comparison of building standards and costs relative to the A 73 and the D 1. In the years 2009 to 2011, the audits were performed by the German SAI and the Slovak SAI in their respective country in order to share their findings and make comparisons.

The parallel audits found that by awarding the public works contract concerning the D 1 to a general contractor, competition was restricted placing small and medium sized enterprises at a disadvantage.

The expenses on building the two motorways increased considerably owing to the general increase in construction costs, the hike in value added tax (VAT) and, above all, the inadequate preparatory works performed by the respective national road works administrations. The two administrations did not or not adequately invite tenders for required work and services, with the result that supplementary agreements had to be subsequently concluded. Since the costs stipulated in these agreements were fixed in an environment with reduced or even no competition the contractors were able to enforce higher prices.

Report on the parallel audit on the Management and Control Systems for Assistance Granted under the Structural Funds
Report ID: 68

This was a parallel audit on the application of the Structural Funds regulations, to ensure that all Member States establish appropriate audit trails and implement independent checks on 5% of transactions. The results of the audit will be used by all current and prospective new Member States in developing their own management and control systems.

The main conclusions were:

  • In most countries there is a sufficient audit trail as required by regulations, although some weaknesses in the audit trail were noted when examining individual projects, these were not usually systematic weaknesses, but individual project failings.
  • The progress reporting of projects was felt to be relatively weak, focusing largely on financial monitoring without providing any link to the outputs and outcomes of the projects.
  • In most countries the execution and reporting of the 5% checks complied with Commission Regulation 438/2001. Where this is not the case, the relevant authorities have taken steps in the right direction to ensure that the required checks will be carried out by the end of the programming period.
  • The independence of the organizations that carry out the 5% sample checks was guaranteed in all programmes.
  • The implementation of the 5% checks across all countries has been relatively slow and has often not been evenly spread over the period to date.
  • The way the Structural Fund rules are formulated by the European Commission (Commission) leaves room for ambiguous or even contradictory interpretations.
  • Furthermore, some Member States expressed concern about an increasing burden to implement the new provisions for the 2000 - 2006 Programme, with little opportunity to apply a risk-based approach, and associated resource costs that were out of proportion to the funding provided by the European Union.


Report on parallel audit on the processes of identifying reporting and following-up on irregularities
Report ID: 69

In total the 2000-2006 Structural Funds programme involved an expenditure of 141,5 billion Euro (without Community initiatives, innovative measures and technical assistance) to the nine Member States whose SAIs carried out the parallel audit.

The significance of the value of Structural Funds to all Member States prompted the Contact Committee in 2000 to establish a Working Group to carry out an exploratory survey of EU structural funds. A questionnaire was sent to the SAIs to gain an understanding of how these funds were controlled and managed by the various countries and to identify possible risk areas. Work was planned to coincide with the 2000-2006 funding cycle and revision of the regulations covering the funds.

The Working Group reported its findings from this work to the Contact Committee in November 2002 and recommended to conduct  a parallel audit aimed to identify parts of the controls that need to be improved, and provide an overview of best practice. It was determined that the best way to achieve this was to focus the parallel audit on the application of the regulations, to ensure that all Member States establish appropriate audit trails for transactions and implement independent checks on 5% of transactions. The results of the audit would be used not only for the Member States, but also for the new Member States.

Each SAI produced a Country Report which has been consolidated to provide an overall conclusion, identify good practice, weaknesses and recommendations arising from the work. Issues raised byindividual SAIs are annotated under each Objective where appropriate. The Working Group have then produced the combined report summarising the key findings and recommendations from those Country.

The audit approach was enhanced through the participation of the European Court of Auditors (ECA), in particular, towards the end of the report drafting process the ECA benchmarked the draft report findings and recommendations against those reported by the ECA. The report contains recommendations for  audit trails and 5% checks as well as for  future parallel audits.


Report on the parallel audit on the Performance of the Structural Funds programmes of the EU in the areas of employment and or environment
Report ID: 70

In 2006 the Contact Committee gave a mandate to the Working Group on Structural Funds to continue its reviews of Structural Funds issues and specifically to carry out a focused review on “Performance (output/effectiveness) of the Structural Funds programmes in the areas of employment and/or environment″. The Working Group agreed an Audit Plan which provided a framework for carrying out the review. Each SAI examined their respective national administration’s work on the planning, monitoring and evaluation of projects, measures, sub programmes or programmes (as appropriate) co-financed by the Structural Funds.

The SAIs of Austria, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republik, Slovenia, Spain and the United Kingdom participated in the audit. The SAIs of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Lithuania and the ECA were observers. The aim was to identify potential improvements in the Structural Funds’ programmes, especially in their planning and in their administrative management.

The review involved each SAI in an examination of the Structural Funds (objectives 1 and 2) in the areas of employment and/or environment, and concluding on the following:

• if and how national authorities monitored the sustainable success of the funded measures;

• to what extent aid measures (sub programmes, major projects and other projects) provided an effective and sustainable contribution to the strategic goals of the Structural Funds.

The subject of the audit was an important topic of relevance to both the 2000-2006 and 2007- 2013 Structural Funds’ programmes. The audit was concerned with the two Key Areas of the strategic planning and the evaluation of aid measures. Based on the examination of measures from the period 2000-2006 each of the SAIs aimed to conclude on the extent to which Member States have contributed to the realisation of the respective OP’s strategic goals. As the goals of the Structural Funds have continued from the 2000-2006 period to the programme period 2007-2013, the findings from the audit of measures from the period 2000- 2006 have been used to inform the recommendations for the improvement of the new period 2007-2013.

The report sets out good practice identified by individual SAIs, relevant for both programme periods 2000-2006 and 2007-2013. As a general matter of good practice, many of the lessons learned from the 2000-2006 programme period have been incorporated into Member States’ administrative arrangements for 2007-2013.