On 10 November, the Office of the Auditor General submitted a document concerning the follow-up of performance audits that have been considered by the Storting – Document 3:1 (2009–2010). Normally, the Office of the Auditor General follows up performance audits three years after they have been considered by the Storting. If the necessary changes have not been implemented after three years, the matter will be followed up again the following year. Document 3:1 concerns the follow-up of 14 cases. Nine cases have been concluded.
The OAG’s investigation into sustainable use of reindeer grazing resources in Finnmark – Document No 3:12 (2003–2004)
The investigation in 2004 showed that the grazing situation was not consistent with the goal of ecologically sustainable reindeer husbandry. In order to reverse the negative trend, the number of reindeer would have to be reduced to a sustainable level in both the short and long term. Attempts to achieve voluntary adjustment of the number of reindeer through financial measures had not been successful in western Finnmark.
In December 2008, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food issued new guidelines for the stipulation of an ecologically sustainable number of reindeer, and this year the Ministry has issued new regulations relating to publicly controlled reindeer counts. The actual number of reindeer is still not in accordance with the stipulated maximum limit. The work of developing reindeer grazing resources management is a long-term project, and the Office of the Auditor General notes that it is still too early to say whether the measures will ensure sustainable use of grazing resources in Finnmark. In this light, the Office of the Auditor General will continue to follow up this case.
The OAG's investigation of the simplification of regulations and the reduction in the number of forms to be submitted by the business community - Document No 3:10 (2004–2005)
The Office of the Auditor General’s investigation into developments in the overall burden of forms on the business community showed that the burden of forms was reduced by a total of 2.9 per cent from 1998 to the first six months of 2004. The reduction in the burden for the period amounted to 199.8 full-time equivalents. The investigation showed that the number of provisions in central regulations targeting the business community in particular had been reduced by 3.3 per cent during the period from 2002 to 2004. This reduction was negated by an increase in the length of the applicable central regulations by 12.5 per cent during the same period. The investigation showed that, to a large extent, the enterprises still perceive official regulations as being an unnecessarily heavy burden. Although results have been achieved in individual areas, the investigation showed that the overall scope of the regulations that the business community had to comply with had not been reduced.
Between 2005 and 2009, the burden represented by reporting forms has been reduced by 1,000 full-time equivalents, and the work has been continued in the action plan Tid til nyskapning og produksjon (Time for innovation and production – in Norwegian only) and the further development of Altinn. The goal is to further reduce the business community’s costs. The Office of the Auditor General will monitor the progress of the Ministry’s work to reduce the burden of forms on the business community in order to evaluate whether the measures in the action plan and the development of Altinn have the desired effects.
The OAG’s investigation of goal achievement in the correctional services – Document No 3:14 (2004-2005)
The investigation from 2005 uncovered a number of weaknesses and great variation in goal achievement relating to rapid enforcement of penal sanctions and the content of prison sentences. The investigation also uncovered a lack of binding agreements between the Norwegian Correctional Services and other public agencies with a view to ensuring that inmates have access to the services and rights to which they are entitled.
The number of persons waiting to serve their sentences has been considerably reduced. In the Office of the Auditor General’s view, it is too soon to evaluate the effect of the measures that the Ministry has implemented or is in the process of implementing in order to improve the content of prison sentences. In this light, the Office of the Auditor General will continue to follow up the case.
The OAG's The Office of the Auditor General’s investigation of the management and supervision of measures aimed at substance abusers - Document No 3:12 (2004–2005)
The investigation uncovered a number of weaknesses in the municipalities’ follow-up of substance abusers as well as deficient reporting from the municipalities to the central government about the follow-up of substance abusers. At the time, it was questioned whether the Ministry had the necessary management information in this field.
The Office of the Auditor General notes that the Ministry of Health and Care Services has presented an Escalation plan for the drugs and alcohol field 2007–2010. Work is also under way on guidelines to strengthen efforts in this field. Several of these guidelines have not yet been implemented, and it is therefore too soon to evaluate the effect of these measures and whether the municipal social services' follow-up of substance abusers has improved and become more coordinated. A satisfactory reporting system has still not been established to report municipal needs. In the Office of the Auditor General’s opinion, there is still reason to question whether the Ministry has sufficient management information about municipal services for substance abusers.
The Office of the Auditor General’s investigation into the management and control of fisheries resources in the Barents Sea and Norwegian Sea – a parallel audit by the Norwegian Office of the Auditor General and the Russian Audit Chamber – Document No 3:2 (2007-2008)
The investigation from 2007 showed that there had been substantial illegal overfishing of cod in the Barents Sea and the Norwegian Sea, but that the Russian and Norwegian authorities did not agree on its extent. The investigation also showed that some of the Joint Norwegian-Russian Fisheries Commission’s decisions on the exchange of information had not been fully implemented. Norwegian and Russian marine researchers had experienced difficulties in carrying out the planned joint research programme. There was also room for improvement in the Norwegian regulations with a view to ensuring effective control and sanctions in the event of violations of the regulations concerning the sale of fish.
The Norwegian Office of the Auditor General and the Russian Audit Chamber have decided to continue their parallel audit for the period 2008 to 2010. The Office of the Auditor General’s follow-up investigation for 2008 shows that illegal overfishing in the Barents Sea and the Norwegian Sea has been considerably reduced, but, in the OAG’s opinion, illegal unreported fishing is still a serious problem. The investigation shows that Norwegian and Russian fisheries authorities are close to reaching an agreement on how the total catches of cod and haddock are to be calculated. There are still deficiencies in the implementation of the Fisheries Commission’s decisions concerning the exchange of information, and the joint Norwegian-Russian research programme has not been fully implemented during the period 2006 to 2009. The new Marine Resources Act will improve opportunities for control of and sanctions against violations in connection with sales.