A short description of tasks and responsibilities
Each year, the Belgian Court of Audit publishes the list of mandates, functions and occupations and the corresponding remuneration of public representatives. It also releases a list of those who have neglected to file their list of mandates or declaration of assets. By having these lists published, the legislator seeks to increase the citizen’s trust in the government.
A lot of public representatives (such as members of parliaments or governments, provincial governors, mayors or aldermen), higher executive officers or directors of semi-public legal entities are requested to submit annually to the Court all their mandates, functions and occupations, including a declaration of assets in a sealed envelope. The legislator (and in some cases government-designated officials) determines which public entities and representatives fall under this obligation. The public entities concerned – through a provider of information designated by law – communicate the data of the public representatives who have to report to the Court. The Court then verifies whether all public representatives have submitted their list of mandates and declaration of assets.
The Court publishes the lists of mandates, functions and occupations with the corresponding remunerations (list 1) in the Belgian Official Gazette and on its website where it provides a search engine. It also publishes a list of public representatives who have neglected to submit their list of mandates (list 2) or declaration of assets (list 3). The declarations of assets filed with the Court are not meant to be published but to be kept in a sealed envelope.
The legislation on lists of mandates was amended on 1 January 2019 to increase transparency and public confidence in politics. The changes – obligation to submit a list of mandates extended to new categories of public representatives, electronic filing of the lists and obligation to report the corresponding remunerations – are further detailed in French, Dutch and German on the Court’s website (“Mandats”, “Mandaten”, “Mandate”).
The Court pays great attention, both proactively and during the audit, to the quality and completeness of the submitted lists of mandates. The web application called Regimand has made it easier for the public representatives to file their list of mandates. Regimand indeed provides them with a draft list of mandates based on their previous statement. The public representatives also receive additional information and guidance throughout the electronic filing process. The Court actively guides them using various information channels (vademecum and FAQ, helpline, postal or electronic mail). When the Court suspects an error, it contacts the person involved in order to correct it if necessary.