Manual of Performance Audit

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Manual

Performance audits

02 February 2006 Audit Department II European Affairs & Government-wide Performance Audit Division Netherlands Court of Audit, Lange Voorhout 8, P.O. Box 20015, 2500 EA The Hague, The Netherlands

CONFIDENTIAL This draft document is the property of the Netherlands Court of Audit. It contains confidential information that is intended solely for administrative or official comment.

Performance audits 2

Contents

Preface

6

1 1.1

Introduction Efficiency and effectiveness audits conducted by the Netherlands Court of Audit

8

8 8 9 10 11 12

1.1.1 1.1.2 1.1.3 1.1.4 1.2

Have the objectives been achieved? Has the target group been reached? Effectiveness audits Efficiency audits Summary of contents

2 2.1 2.2 2.2.1 2.2.2 2.2.3 2.2.4 2.2.5

General framework for efficiency and effectiveness audits Introduction Legislative framework Duties of the Netherlands Court of Audit Powers of the Netherlands Court of Audit Administrative responsibility From policy budgets to policy accountability Dutch Central Government Performance Data and Evaluative Studies Regulations

14 14 14 14 15 16 17

17

3 3.1 3.2 3.2.1 3.2.2 3.2.3 3.2.4 3.3 3.4 3.4.1 3.4.2 3.4.3 3.4.4

Audit subjects and types of audit Introduction The public-sector production process Outputs Outcomes Throughput Input Explaining the causes Audit scope and methods What steps should the audit involve? How do you decide which type of audit to perform? Ministerial responsibility How do you deal with decentralised policy?

19 19 19 20 23 24 25 25 28 28 29 34 34

Performance audits 3

3.4.5

How should you audit outputs and outcomes for which non-central government bodies are responsible? 35

4 4.1 4.2 4.2.1 4.2.2 4.2.3 4.2.4 4.2.5 4.3 4.3.1 4.3.2 4.4

Audit strategies Introduction Objective, problem and audit questions Objective Problem Audit questions Hypotheses Other details on the nature of the audit Audit methods Choice of audit methods Methods Methods matrix

38 38 38 39 39 40 40 41 41 42 46 62

5 5.1 5.2 5.2.1 5.2.2 5.2.3 5.2.4 5.2.5 5.3 5.3.1 5.3.2 5.3.3 5.3.4 5.3.5 5.3.6 5.3.7 5.3.8 5.3.9 5.3.10

Analysing policy aims and policy information Introduction Policy aims General Reconstruction and operationalisation of policy aims Standards for policy aims Assessing the formulation of policy aims Recommendations Policy information General What policy information? Sources of information on outputs and outcomes Quality of policy information (as a product) Quality of policy information (as a process) Assessing the use made of policy information Checklists for assessing policy aims and policy information Provision of information to the House of Representatives Other points of interest Recommendations

64 64 64 64 65 66 67 67 68 68 68 70 72 73 76 77 78 78 79

6

Audits of the achievement of objectives (and the reaching of target groups) 81 81 81 81 82 82

6.1 6.2 6.2.1 6.2.2 6.2.3

Introduction Audits of the achievement of objectives Problem definition and audit questions Criteria Audit design

Performance audits 4

6.2.4 6.2.5 6.2.6 6.3 6.3.1 6.3.2 6.3.3 6.3.4 6.3.5 6.3.6

Performance indicators Outcome indicators Recommendations Audits of the reaching of target groups Problem definition Audit questions Criteria Audit design Target group indicators Recommendations

83 84 85 85 85 86 88 90 90 90

7 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7

Effectiveness audits Introduction Problem definition and audit questions Criteria Audit design Audit methods Effectiveness indicators Recommendations

91 91 91 94 95 97 98 98

8 8.1 8.2 8.2.1 8.2.2 8.2.3 8.2.4 8.3 8.3.1 8.3.2 8.3.3 8.3.4 8.4 8.4.1 8.4.2 8.5 8.5.1 8.5.2 8.5.3 8.5.4 8.5.5 8.6 8.6.1

Efficiency Audits Introduction Format of efficiency audits Objective Problem definition and audit questions Criteria Recommendations Terms Outcomes, outputs and inputs Comparison Quality Explanations Defining the limits of the audit subject General or...
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