State policy is lured into the Accounts Chamber – Newspaper Kommersant No. 218 (7180) dated 12/01/2021

The set of control tools of the Accounts Chamber (JV) can be expanded – a bill on this has been submitted to the State Duma. The document should consolidate the authority of the joint venture on a comprehensive strategic audit and introduce a new mechanism into practice – an audit of the compliance of the activities of state bodies with legislation, as well as the best practices of public administration. This will allow the JV to prepare extended recommendations for eliminating violations and adjusting legislative and regulatory acts. The chamber plans to strengthen control over the execution of state contracts: in addition to state customers and state-owned companies, the state audit can be extended to subcontracting agreements. Such contracts are invisible to the state, although subcontractors can do most of the work.

A draft amendment to the law “On the Accounts Chamber” has been submitted to the State Duma – formally, they were required due to amendments to the constitutional legislation that changed the powers of the branches of government, including the procedure for appointing state auditors. However, the significance of the amendments is broader: the document gives the Accounts Chamber a place in the system of adjusting legislation and state policy to achieve strategic goals. To improve the quality of analysis and control, the joint venture will have access to the information systems of not only ministries, but also other government agencies, governing bodies of extra-budgetary funds and federal government agencies, and will be able to recommend adjustments to the composition and procedure for collecting data and modernizing state information systems.

Also, amendments to the law on the joint venture expand its powers for strategic audit (control over the achievement of the strategic goals of the Russian Federation and the compliance of this work with the law on strategic planning). So far, such an audit applies only to the president’s annual message, strategies of socio-economic development, national security, etc. Now, “other documents” can also be audited, which will provide a “comprehensive analysis” of the audited, “based on the achievement of strategic goals and decisions tasks “of national projects and their components, is indicated in the explanatory note to the project.

A new tool of the joint venture will be a compliance audit – an assessment of the compliance of actual data on the activities of the object of control with regulatory legal acts. The project does not contain details, but the joint venture explains that such an audit is already being carried out, and its essence boils down to “assessing the actions of the object not only to regulatory legal acts, but also to various other documents, in particular, methodological documents containing the best (proper) management practices” … The amendments will allow this activity to standardize and consolidate in the Russian legislation international public sector audit practices (the ISSAI 4000 international standard, developed by the INTOSAI Association of State Auditors). Thus, in addition to stating the problems of public administration, the joint venture will be able to include in the reports of state auditors comprehensive recommendations for eliminating their causes, and the auditors themselves, within their competence, can participate in the legislative activities of state bodies, as well as initiate proposals to legislators and the government on improving budget legislation and developing the financial system. … Similar norms will also affect the sphere of state property: in fact, in it, state auditors will also be able to express their opinion not only about whether the state property is effectively used and maintained, but also about whether the state needs it in such an amount in principle and whether the plans for his attitude.

The bill can improve the efficiency of control over the execution of government contracts: now subcontracting agreements remain invisible to the state (while in some cases suppliers can delegate up to 75% of the contract volume). The amendments can eliminate this loophole: they give the joint venture the authority to audit subcontracts of both government customers and state-owned companies. At the same time, unlike the continuous treasury support, the JV mechanism will be softer: post-control will be selective, but it will help to reduce potential violations.

Diana Galieva

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