Follow-up audits: more than 80 per cent of the recommendations were implemented
- Graz-Köflacher Bahn und Busbetrieb GmbH
- KELAG Wärme GmbH
- Selected Foundations at the Austrian Academy of Sciences
- Frontrunner Funding
Graz Köflacher Bahn und Busbetrieb GmbH (GKB): adapting the pension regulation
The Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology failed to implement the central recommendation of the ACA: to adapt the pension regulation applicable for the company’s civil servants to the pension regulation of the Austrian Public Railways (ÖBB). It continued to pay the part of the civil servants’ pensions that would have ceased to exist had the ÖBB pension regulation been applied. From 2008 to 2017, the Federation paid EUR 27.45 million for this so-called benefit obligation. Furthermore, the federal ministry did not take any measures to have the termination benefits or EUR 2.81 million financed from the budget of the Graz Köflacher Bahn und Busbetrieb GmbH; instead such financing was reimbursed by the Federation as a benefit obligation. The “Abfertigung ALT” (former termination benefit) was a part of the active salary and had, under certain circumstances, to be granted by the Graz Köflacher Bahn und Busbetrieb GmbH upon termination of employment, including the entry into retirement. The ACA reiterated its criticism that funds from the benefit obligation of the Federation earmarked for pensions of the company’s civil servants were used for the payment of termination benefits.
KELAG: Regulations on public procurement in force – deficiencies regarding the estimation of contract values
Of 13 recommendations, the KELAG Wärme GmbH (now KELAG Energie & Wärme GmbH) and its parent company KELAG Kärntner Elektrizitäts-Aktiengesellschaft (KELAG) implemented ten fully, two partly and one not at all. The KELAG put into force new regulations on public procurement, which took into account the measures recommended by the ACA and which were also adopted by the KELAG Wärme GmbH. However, the ACA detected deficiencies with regard to the estimates of contract values. It therefore recommends to carry out the needs assessments and the estimation of contract values with due diligence in order to ensure the correctness of the selected procurement procedure and to prevent additional claims by the contractors. As regards the appointment of management positions, the provisions of the Federal Act on the Filling of Positions (Stellenbesetzungsgesetz) should be fully observed: the names of the appointed persons and the names of the persons taking part in the appointment have to be published.
The Austrian Academy of Sciences and the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology implement the majority of the recommendations
As regards some funding cases of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, no report on the expenditure of funds had been submitted and no provisions with regard to the safekeeping of documents were in place. New investments took about up to 1.5 to 2 years. Therefore, funds amounting to around EUR 5 million (Anniversary Fund) and about EUR 1.70 to 1.80 million (Oelzelt–Newin’sche–Stiftung) bore almost no interest. The ACA recommended to ensure sufficient competition with regard to the means of the funding of research projects.
For the Frontrunner funding programme, the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology implemented numerous recommendations. Among others, it established a uniform management of the programme by the Austria Wirtschaftsservice Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung and the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG). The ministry carried out economic assessments before introducing new funding measures. The recommendation to adapt funding directives in such a way as to enable small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) to take part in the Frontrunner funding programme was implemented only partly.
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Graz-Köflacher Bahn und Busbetrieb GmbH; Follow-up Audit
In July and August 2018, the Austrian Court of Audit carried out a follow-up audit at the Graz–Köflacher Bahn und Busbetrieb GmbH in order to assess the state of implementation of its recommendations issued in its preceding audit “Graz–Köflacher Bahn und Busbetrieb GmbH” (Federation 2016/5, Styria 2016/4).
Of the ten assessed recommendations, the Graz–Köflacher Bahn und Busbetrieb GmbH implemented two fully, four partly and four not at all. Of the four assessed recommendations, the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology implemented one partly and three not at all.
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KELAG Wärme GmbH; Follow-up audit
In February and March 2018, the Austrian Court of Audit (ACA) carried out a follow-up audit at the Federal Ministry of Finance and the KELAG Wärme GmbH to assess the state of implementa-tion of its recommendations issued in its preceding audit “KELAG Wärme GmbH” (i.a. Federation 2016/2 and Carinthia 2016/1). The KELAG Wärme GmbH failed to implement the ACA’s recommendation to define the value limits for the required approval by the supervisory board for the purchase and sale of equity interests in a more concrete manner in the form of an overall view. The rules of procedure of the supervisory board, which had been amended in 2018, provided a more precise way of determining the value limits for the required approval by the supervisory board, but the responsible stakeholders failed to implement the new policy according to the recommendations of the ACA.
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Selected Foundations at the Austrian Academy of Sciences; Follow–up Audit
In October and November 2018, the Austrian Court of Audit (ACA) carried out a follow-up audit at the Austrian Academy of Sciences to assess the state of implementation of its recommendations issued in its preceding audit “Selected Foundations at the Austrian Academy of Sciences” (Federation 2015/9). The Austrian Academy of Sciences had elaborated – as recommended by the ACA – a strategy for the administration of foundations. However, in autumn 2018, the strategy was not yet in force. The Austrian Academy of Sciences planned its adoption by spring 2019.
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Frontrunner Funding; Follow-up Audit
The Frontrunner funding programme was geared towards companies that wanted to strengthen their position through an offensive frontrunner strategy. Such companies had to be headquartered in Austria and were either holding a technological leading position or were about to become top-class companies. The Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology started its initiative in 2013 together with the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) and the Austria Wirtschaftsservice Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung. Between EUR 20 million and EUR 30 million were provided for the Frontrunner funding programme per year, mainly from the ministry’s budget.
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