Audit activities: Sustainable Governance and Public Administration

Development of public administration and sustainable development are themes that are broadly connected with the entire central government. Auditing will be targeted, for example, at the unity of the Government, the functioning and renewal of management and steering systems, the use of information in decision-making, and competence development.

One of the strategic goals of the National Audit Office is producing information to support the development of public administration, to strengthen the link between sustainable development and the management of central government finances, and to ensure the quality of legislation. The need for reliable information is underlined by reforms of public administration and the steering system, the aim to achieve a more unified and efficient public administration, and the preparedness for future challenges. The audit topics of 2022 include, for example, mergers and reorganizations, the use of operating environment and foresight information in decision-making, and recruitments and competence development in the central government. Another entity is formed by audits related to the role of government subsidies in safeguarding forest biodiversity, in the management of water resources and marine environment, and in agriculture.

Sustainable development and auditing

In accordance with its strategy, the National Audit Office enables sustainable development of central government finances through its activities. The national SDGs of Finland are specified in the Society’s Commitment to Sustainable Development, issued by the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development. The Government listed its own actions in its report in 2020. By February 2022, the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development will draw up Finland’s National Roadmap for Sustainable Development on the basis of the UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.

The National Audit Office is developing practical procedures for integrating the perspectives of sustainable development into its audits. The perspectives cover the dimensions of ecological, social, and economic sustainability. When planning each audit, we identify the link with the sustainable development goals and perspectives to be essentially taken into account in the implementation of the audit. The NAOF monitors and assesses how the central administration promotes the sustainable development goals. In addition, the NAOF audits whether the Government’s annual report provides true and fair information on the use of funds for sustainable development and on its effectiveness.

Processing of complaints and reports of suspected misconduct

The National Audit Office processes complaints submitted to it concerning compliance with the state budget, the lawfulness of the management of central government finances, or election campaign and political party funding. It also processes reports of misconduct as laid down in section 16 of the of the Act on the National Audit Office (676/2000).

Complaints and contacts other than those related to election campaign and political party funding have clearly increased over the past few years. In view of the current volume, the NAOF must prepare for processing up to a hundred complaints per year. The goal is to resolve a complaint usually within three months. The NAOF can start a compliance audit to resolve a complaint, in which case the goal is to resolve the complaint within six months.

Citizens’ contacts help us to recognize changes in the operating environment, to select audit topics, and to plan communications and auditing.