EU-Funds (EFRE): simplification of provisions (Working Group on the Structural Funds)
Report ID: 15


Ziel der Überprüfung im BKA sowie in den Ländern Burgenland, Salzburg und Vorarlberg war es, insbesondere zu beurteilen, in welchem Ausmaß unter den geltenden Rahmenbedingungen ausgewählte, in den Jahren 2008 bis 2011 in Kraft getretene EU–Maßnahmen zur vereinfachten Abwicklung von EU–Förderungen im Rahmen des Europäischen Fonds für Regionale Entwicklung (EFRE) in Österreich umgesetzt und ob die von der EU angestrebten Vereinfachungen auch auf Ebene der Förderungsempfänger wirksam wurden.

Coordinated audit of the funds earmarked for the funding of projects implemented within the Operational Programme Cross-Border Cooperation the Czech Republic and Poland
Report ID: 40

Both audits carried out by the NKU on the Czech side and by the NIK on the Polish side of the border have shown that the level of identified irregularities did not exceed the materiality threshold. The implementation of the OP CBC CZ-PL, including the management and control system performance and the realization of selected projects, was successful.

Actions taken by the audited entities established within the management and control system, limited the risk of improper expenditure of funds, as well as the possibility of failure to utilize the available ERDF funds. What indicates the effectiveness of the operations carried out within the Operational Program is a high level of achievement of the results, which was also confirmed by the social evaluation of projects´ completion.

Report on the parallel audit on the simplification of regulations in Structural Funds
Report ID: 66

In 2011, the Contact Committee of the heads of Supreme Audit Institutions (SAI) of the Member States of the European Union (EU) and the European Court of Auditors (ECA) mandated the Working Group on Structural Funds to continue its review of issues relating to Structural Funds, more specifically, to carry out a parallel audit on the ‘Simplification of the Regulations in Structural Funds.’
The Working Group consisted of 12 EU Member State SAIs and audited the impact of nine simplification measures. The following are the key conclusions:

 In general, the simplification measures were infrequently used and affected only a small proportion of all projects, largely due to a number of factors relating to the management of Structural Funds at national and supranational level, including:
• Introduction at a late stage by amendatory regulations;
• Not all measures were suitable for all Operational Programmes (OP) and/or projects;
• Limitations relating to the resources required for the implementation of measures; and
• A lack of clarity and legal certainty experienced by national authorities.

 Whenever the measures were used, most of them were considered to represent genuine simplification. Factors relating to why national authorities chose not to use the measures differed considerably, depending on the European system1, the national legal system, the organisation of Structural Funds in each Member State, as well as the specific features of each OP. These conditions influenced the potential scope of application of measures and their respective benefit.

The key findings of the report were the following:
 Measures 1, 2 and 3 (flat-rate for indirect costs, flat-rate costs based on standard scales of unit cost, lump sums):
In the case of national authorities, the process of establishing the methodology relating to the application of the above-indicated measures led to administrative burdens and was regarded as difficult and involving an element of risk; furthermore, developing the methodology and acquiring the Commission’s approval were often lengthy processes. The lump sum was perceived as too low and the ‘all or nothing-principle’ led to a reluctance of the measure’s use. Whenever these three measures were used, they constituted genuine simplification.
 Measure 4 (in-kind contributions to financial engineering schemes):
This was the only measure that was not used in any of the audited OPs within the participating Member States.

Parallel audit on disaster rehabilitation and reconstruction phase
Report ID: 86

The objective of the parallel audit is to test out the draft ISSAI 5520. Therefore, it is expected to provide a list of feedback to enhance the draft ISSAI 5520 on Audit of Disaster-related Aid: Guidance for Supreme Audit Institutions.

Based on their experiences during the parallel audit program, the participating SAIs found that the following matters might need to be considered so as to help improve ISSAI 5520:

a. Risk evaluation associated with disaster management and disaster-related aid management. Post-disaster management, as described in ISSAI 5520, may need to include planning and housing recovery activities.

b. An audit process should be divided into three main activities, namely, planning, execution, and reporting. Furthermore, the details and expected output of each activity should be explained.

c. An audit design matrix is a very useful audit tool and serves as a platform for the conducting of audit work in the field. It can be applied to both performance and compliance audits.

d. Audit case studies should be updated to include more disaster-related audits.

Parallel international audit on disaster Risk Reduction
Report ID: 87

The current accountability framework covers the accountability of the government, bureaucracy and politicians to the public and parliament. In this framework, participation of parliament and particularly citizens in this process remains limited. On the other hand, private sector, citizens, and even international community are directly interested in disaster risk reduction’s (DRR) concerns. It is obvious that the existing accountability framework in this field does not cover all parties. In the global matters such as DRR and climate change,we believe that the accountability has to be expanded beyond the basic structure in order to respond to the needs of the national and international communities. In this paper, with the goal of overcoming the limitations attached to current accountability framework for DRR.