The Court of Audit’s tasks and competences
The Court mainly performs financial and legality audits and examines the sound use of public funds. Its audits relate to the revenue and expenditure of the Federal State, the Communities, the Regions and the Provinces.
The results of these three types of audit activities are regularly reported to the parliamentary assemblies.
The Court of Audit is also entrusted with a jurisdictional mission towards public accounting officers, as well as specific tasks assigned by law, decree or ordinance, such as the verification of the lists of mandates or election expenses.
The Court of Audit checks the Federal State, the federated entities (i.e. the Communities and Regions) and the provinces, as well as the public services and the entities that depend on them. The Court has no supervision power over the cities and municipalities.
The Court issues comments, opinions and recommendations. During the adversarial debate included in the audit process, the public authorities and the competent ministers are consulted and given the opportunity to put forth their arguments as to the findings’ accuracy.
Once the audit is completed, the report is sent to the parliamentary assemblies so as to allow them to exercise supervision over the executive power in a well-informed way.
As a collateral body of the Federal Parliament, the Court of Audit is granted an annual allocation established by the Chamber of Representatives.
The Court sets its own procedures and methods of supervision and communication in accordance with the international standards on auditing.
Besides, the Court has adopted a code of ethics for its members and personnel, which sets out and develops the values of independence, excellence, integrity, impartiality, confidentiality, loyalty and respect. Everyone is committed to observe such values while carrying out their daily duties.
Besides its legal obligations regarding financial control, the Court devises an annual audit programme based on an analysis grid allowing it to prioritise the most relevant topics. The parliamentary assemblies may also request the Court to carry out specific audits.
First, the Court plans its activities and defines its audit objectives in multiannual strategic plans and in annual operational and management plans.
Its activity programmes include the annual verifications it is required to perform by law and the thematic audits of its own selection.
The Court’s audits are carried out ex post, i.e. at the end of the decision-making process within the public authorities under its scrutiny. The audits are assigned to audit teams working together with the public entities involved. The teams base their verifications on supporting documents. They are required to sustain their findings, comments, opinions and recommendations with evidence.
Then, the draft reports are discussed with the public authorities and ministers concerned during an adversarial debate giving them the opportunity to express their opinions on the audit results.
The conclusions resulting from the adversarial debate are included in the report that is sent to the competent parliament.
The Court of Audit’s publications
The Court mainly publishes Reports of Findings and special reports.
Every year, it provides an overview of its activities in an annual report as well.
All these documents are available on this website.
The Court’s website also contains the anonymised judgements delivered as part of its jurisdictional mission.
The reports on the certification and the comments on the public administrations’ and entities’ accounts are published in the various reports of findings of the Court of Audit sent to the parliaments of the relevant levels of government. They are also published on this website.
Working at the Court of Audit
The Court employs about 500 French- and Dutch-speaking people.
Most of them are auditors and assistant auditors who provide support to the members of the Court in the performance of their duties. The Court also regularly recruits staff for the support services (translation, IT, human resources, secretarial and logistic services).
The auditors and assistant auditors are in charge of budget analyses, financial audits, certification of public accounts, legality audits or audits regarding the sound use of public funds. They also contribute to specific missions, such as the verification of the lists of mandates or the election expenses.
Most positions at the Court are statutory, but contract staff members are also hired to cover temporary or specific needs.
Staff members are recruited by competition, after successfully completing the selection procedure specific to the position that needs to be filled.
The recruitment competitions are advertised on the Court’s website and through targeted press campaigns, etc.
The successful applicants are hired on an as-needed basis. Statutory staff members are appointed permanently after a probationary period of two years at level A and one year at other levels.
Visiting the Court of Audit
The part of the Court located in the former palace of the Count of Flanders is open every 21 July for the Belgian National Day. It can also open its doors to the public in certain years, depending on the theme chosen for the Heritage Days in Brussels.
The Court’s library is private; only staff may consult and borrow documentation. However, with the prior written consent of one of the secretary generals, a third party may be admitted to the reading room for a limited period of time.