Audit operations: A Safe, Healthy and Affluent Society

One of the focus areas of the National Audit Office is A Safe, Healthy and Affluent Society, which consists of six sub-areas.

Sub-areas of the topic A Safe, Healthy and Affluent Society are social security benefit systems, social and health care service system, employment and entrepreneurship, continuous learning, research, development, and innovation as well as comprehensive security.
Figure: Sub-areas of the impact area A Safe, Healthy and Affluent Society

Multi-channel financing, where the state is one of the providers of financing, is typical of these areas. National steering plays a prominent role in the operating environment, while the results and impact are created regionally and locally. Social and health, education and training, and employment policies fall within the scope of national regulation, whereas in security, growth, and research, development and innovation policies a major role is played by EU cooperation and funding.

We provide reliable information on complex issues through our audits by focusing our resources on topical issues that are significant for society and by utilizing the characteristics of different audit types, the competence of our personnel, and external specialist services in a versatile manner.

Our audits focus on assessing the functioning, efficiency and impacts of different areas of an affluent society and their interconnections. The audits are often conducted from the perspective of indirect economic impacts. The focus in the audits is on social security benefits that are significant to general and central government finances and on the organization, economic efficiency and impacts of services related to these benefits ─ such as social and health care, employment, education and learning services ─ as well as innovation. On the basis of previously published audit reports related to comprehensive security in society, we produce briefing papers and articles to support decision-making.

Social security benefit systems

We will audit the knowledge base of central government finances and financial management on which the decisions on the social security reform are based by

  • assessing the interconnections of benefits and services, their efficiency, and their impacts in relation to each other and the targets set

  • identifying risks related to central government finances and financial management

  • providing information on systemic interdependencies for the preparation of the social security reform

  • assessing, to the extent possible, the effects of social security expenses on the development of general government finances.

We will draw up briefing papers, other articles, and expert statements on the results of the audit of the social assistance system to be completed at the beginning of 2020. In addition, we will launch an audit of the reconciliation of social security and different forms of income generation.

Social and health care service system

Based on the results of our previous audits and expert opinions, we will publish an up-to-date briefing paper on the functioning and efficiency of the social and health care service system. The briefing paper can be utilized as support when the structural reform is prepared.

In 2020, we will conduct three audits related to the social and health care system. One of the audits will assess whether the data production, metrics and assessment model of social and health care services can give a true picture of the financing needs and sufficiency of the counties’ social and health care services and of the efficiency of the operations. In one of the two audits targeted at the oversight of the social and health care system, we will examine whether the administrative branch of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health has taken consistent actions when planning, steering and overseeing the quality management and self-monitoring in social and health care. The other audit will focus in greater detail on the purchase and oversight of private social and health care services.

Employment and entrepreneurship

The audit theme “Management of employment” will be completed in the spring of 2020. The audits will deal with the employment policy, the operations of TE Offices, and the impacts of employment measures from various perspectives. The results of the audits will be reported to Parliament in the NAOF’s annual report 2020 and in briefing papers, articles, and expert statements. We will also launch an audit on the measures to promote the growth and competitiveness of regional trade and industry.

Continuous learning

In 2020, we will audit the implementation of the objectives set for the reform of vocational education and the reconciliation of its implementation with savings.

In early 2020, we will complete an audit of the impact of youth workshops and outreach youth work.

Research, development, and innovation (RDI)

During the past two government terms, the RDI funding has become short-term project funding. In the current government term, one-off RDI funding constitutes 80 per cent of the additional state funding for supporting RDI. We will assess the extent to which the state’s research funding supports and promotes companies’ innovation and business operations.

Comprehensive security

We will publish a briefing paper on the results of the audit theme “Civil security in the changing operating environment”. The audits have been targeted at collaboration between the authorities, particularly in the security sector and sparsely populated areas, police traffic control, and the functioning of the steering of emergency medical services.