Document 3:10 (2012–2013) The Office of the Auditor General’s investigation of whether government measures are satisfactorily assessed was submitted to the Storting, Norway’s parliament, on 11 June 2013.
The objective of the audit was to assess whether government measures are sufficiently assessed and possible causes of insufficiencies. The audit is based on information from five government measures, a review of 44 regulations, and data from investigations undertaken by the administration itself.
The Office of the Auditor General’s investigation is summarised with the following findings:
- consequences are insufficiently described and quantified, especially for players other than the Norwegian State
- socio-economic analyses are rarely conducted
- alternative policy instruments have little visibility in decision-making documents
- Support and guidance for the assessment work of specialist ministries is insufficiently targeted
- Organisation of the assessment work in the ministry community does not ensure satisfactory quality of the assessments
- This means that decision makers in many cases are not given enough basis for considering effect and costs, and it makes it hard to rank and prioritise different measures and efforts, says Kosmo.
The Office of the Auditor General’s review shows that budget consequences for the state are more clearly described than other consequences – which are rarely quantified. The potential effects of government regulations on industry and municipalities are in many cases not given enough attention before a decision is made, it is stated.
- The Ministry of Government Administration, Reform and Church Affairs should clarify the responsibility the specialist ministries have for ensuring that the consequences for municipalities and industry are sufficiently researched. It is important to avoid many measures collectively leading to unintended and undesired strain on municipalities, industry, etc., says Kosmo.
The audit shows that support and guidance for the ministries’ assessment work is insufficiently targeted, which contributes to a poor understanding of requirements pertaining to assessment work. Nor is there a central authority to ensure the overall quality of the assessments, which may be a contributory factor to consequences of measures not being thoroughly studied, e.g. by not carrying out socio-economic analyses.
- The Ministry of Government Administration, Reform and Church Affairs should consider alternative ways of ensuring quality control of assessment work, concludes Kosmo.
Minister of Government Administration, Reform and Church Affairs Rigmor Aasrud writes in her statement to the Office of the Auditor General that the Ministry has initiated work with the goal of improving the decision-making basis for government measures. The Ministry of Government Administration, Reform and Church Affairs and the Ministry of Finance will together assess the support and guidance for the ministries’ assessment work. The Minister states that the Ministry will also consider alternative ways of ensuring quality control of studies.
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The deferral of public access to documents prepared by or for the Office of the Auditor General in connection with Document 3:10 (2012-2013), cf. the Act relating to the Office of the Auditor General section 18 second paragraph, is hereby set aside.