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County Governor has to deprioritise important tasks - Document no. 3:14 (2006-2007)

The resources granted to the county governor offices are not commensurate with their extensive responsibilities and the demands made on them by several ministries. As a result of unrealistic budgeting, government offices have to resort to external financing to deal with ordinary tasks. When resources are limited, a number of government offices do not meet important performance targets in the areas of health and social welfare, child welfare, education, and public security and contingency planning.
Published 11/23/2007 3:33 PM
This is revealed by the Office of the Auditor General’s survey of goal achievement and efficiency in the county governor offices, Document 3:14 (2006-2007), which was submitted to the Storting on 20 September 2007.
The OAG questions whether the Ministry of Government Administration and Reform has budgeted realistically for the county governor offices, since the Ministry has been making corrective reclassifications of expenses for a number of years. In practice, this means that when the offices use external resources to perform their ordinary tasks, this will not be shown in the Ministry’s accounts.

The survey shows that when resources are limited, the county governor offices give priority to individual legal protection such as patient complaints and complaints pursuant to the Act relating to Social Services. In some cases, the county governor also has to prioritise between public security responsibilities. As a result, some county governor offices do not maintain adequate supervision in the areas of health and social welfare, child welfare and education.

Tasks involving development and taking initiatives are the first to be deprioritised by the county governor offices. The investigation reveals that development tasks in public security and contingency planning, for example preparing county risk and vulnerability analyses, are either not carried out or are repeatedly postponed. The OAG also questions whether the supervision of municipal contingency planning work is coordinated with the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, and whether the supervision of municipal authorities is efficient and effective enough. The investigation shows that public security and contingency planning are deprioritised at a time when these responsibilities are expanding and becoming more demanding.

The OAG is of the opinion that in the central government budget (Report no. 1 to the Storting) the Ministry of Government Administration and Reform does not provide the Storting with an overall view of the real priorities of the offices, and of whether targets have been achieved in key performance areas for the various sectors. As a result of the lack of overview in the presentation of priorities and achievement, the authorities appropriations have an inadequate basis for making the correct decisions on appropriations and for making a real assessment of the responsibilities of the offices.

The document can be ordered from Akademika booksellers, tel. +47 22 18 81 23.

The provision concerning delayed public access to documents that are compiled by or sent to the Office of the Auditor General in connection with Document no. 3:14 (2006-2007), cf. Section 18, paragraph 2 of the Auditor General Act, has been repealed.

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