Rechnungshof

Follow-up audits on university councils, procurement processes of construction works and financial flows

24.05.2019 - The recommendations of the ACA prove to be effective.

Infobox zu Follow-up-Überprüfungen - Copyright:

Almost half (25) of the recommendations had been implemented fully. 21 of the 53 recommendations had been implemented partly. Only seven recommendations were outstanding. The ACA presents the following follow-up audit reports:

University Councils,

Procurement Processes of Construction Works in Bruck an der Mur (Styria) and

 Financial Flows between Local Authorities with the Focus on Funding Allocations in the Provinces of Lower Austria and Styria.

Presseinformation vom 24. Mai 2019: Follow-up-Überprüfungen zu Universitätsräte, Zahlungsströme und Beschaffungsprozesse

University councils: selection decision was not documented

When the universities were spun off in 2004, each university was endowed with a university council as a body with control and management tasks. About 90% of the assessed recommendations issued in the preceding audit of 2016 had been implemented fully or partly by the audited entities (the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research, the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz nor at the Medical University of Innsbruck). In line with one of the ACA’s recommendations, the ministry defined criteria with regard to the requirement profile of university councils. For all of its members, the professionally balanced and gender-appropriate composition as well as a sufficient diversity were regulated. As regards individual universities, members with legal, business and financial knowledge were partly lacking also after the university councils had been newly filled for a term of office from 1 March 2018 to 28 February 2023. The recommendation regarding the selection decision of members of the university councils appointed by the federal government is still to be implemented. The decision was taken mainly on a political level based on two nomination lists of the government parties. The ministry failed to document based on which requirements the proposed candidates were deemed to be suitable. Due to the lacking documentation, the decision process was therefore not plausible for the ACA. 

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University Councils; Follow–up Audit

In June and July 2018, the Austrian Court of Audit carried out a follow-up audit at the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research, the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz and the Medical University of Innsbruck to assess the state of implementation of its recommendations issued in its preceding report “University Councils” (Federation 2016/10). Of the overall 21 recommendations of the ACA, the audited entities implemented 19 fully or partly, which equals 90%.

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Procurement processes of construction works in Bruck an der Mur (Styria): numerous recommendations were implemented, documentation in need of improvement 

While, of ten recommendations, the municipality of Bruck an der Mur implemented six recommendations fully, three partly and one not at all, the ratio at the Stadtwerke Bruck an der Mur GmbH, which implemented three not at all, three partly and three fully, was worse. The ACA has once again recommended to the latter to take over the procurement-related regulations of the municipality. As regards the effective functioning of the entities’ internal control system, both audited entities showed room for improvement concerning their procurement processes: the ACA pointed to the need of clear and unambiguous service specifications in a written form, written confirmation of orders without exceptions, documentation of the receipt and opening of tenders, the archiving of documents, as well as systematic and regular checks of procurement processes in order to identify weaknesses and undesirable developments in a timely manner. 

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Procurement Processes of Construction Works in Bruck an der Mur (Styria); Follow–up Audit

In October and November 2018, the Austrian Court of Audit carried out a follow-up audit of the municipality of Bruck an der Mur and the Stadtwerke Bruck an der Mur GmbH in order to assess the state of implementation of its recommendations issued in its preceding report “Procurement Processes of Construction Works in Bruck an der Mur (Styria), Gmunden (Upper Austria) and Hollabrunn (Lower Austria)” (Styria 2016/8). Of ten recommendations, the municipality of Bruck an der Mur implemented six fully, three partly and one not at all. Of nine recommendations, the Stadtwerke Bruck an der Mur GmbH implemented three fully, three partly and three not at all.

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Financial equalization: the ACA’s recommendations were implemented by the Federal Ministry of Finance and the provinces of Lower Austria and Styria

A further follow-up audit concerned the financial flows between local authorities with the focus on funding allocations in the provinces of Lower Austria and Styria. Funding allocations are municipality funds to be distributed by the provinces, e.g. for the cooperation between local authorities, for disadvantaged municipalities, for the merging of municipalities or the funding of projects. In 2017, the funding allocations for all provinces totalled some EUR 1.364 billion. After the ACA’s preceding report in 2016 had been published, the National Council adopted the Financial Equalization Act 2017 (Finanzausgleichsgesetz 2017), which changed the calculation and distribution of the funding allocations for municipalities. As called for by the ACA several times in its reports, the financial equalization partner could also take the first steps to simplify the financial equalization.

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Financial Flows between Local Authorities with the Focus on Funding Allocations in the Provinces of Lower Austria and Styria; Follow–up Audit

In April and May 2018, the Austrian Court of Audit (ACA) carried out a follow-up audit at the Federal Ministry of Finance and the provinces of Lower Austria and Styria to assess the state of implementation of its recommendations issued in its preceding report “Financial Flows between Local Authorities with the Focus on Funding Allocations in the Provinces of Lower Austria and Styria” (Federation 2016/4, Lower Austria 2016/2 and Styria 2016/2). Of the three assessed recommendations, the Federal Ministry of Finance implemented one fully and two partly. Of the six assessed recommendations, the province of Lower Austria implemented three fully, two partly and one not at all. Of the four assessed recommendations, the province of Styria implemented three fully and one partly.

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