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Weaknesses in the Ministry of Defence’s administrative practice and in the traceability of advice on policy - Document no. 3:9 (2006-2007)

Major resolutions in the dialogue between the Ministry of Defence and the Norwegian Defence Military Organisation have not been satisfactorily documented. A lack of documentation of large-scale decision-making processes has also been revealed. In addition there are grounds to question whether the Storting has been adequately informed about certain advice on policy.
Published 6/26/2007 11:46 AM

This is stated in Document no. 3:9 (2006–2007) The Office of the Auditor General’s investigation of the Ministry of Defence’s administrative practice and the traceability of advice on policy that was submitted to the Storting on 1 June 2007.

Following major overruns of the defence budget in 2004 and two open extraordinary parliamentary hearings in spring 2005, the Storting decided to ask the Office of the Auditor General (the OAG) to conduct a special investigation of the Ministry of Defence’s administrative practice and to prepare an assessment of the traceability of the advice given on policy.

The investigation shows that there are grounds to question whether the dialogue about the goal that was set in 2004 concerning downsizing the Norwegian Defence Logistics Organisation by 1000 man-years has been satisfactorily documented. Similarly it is not clear how the Norwegian Defence Military Organisation and the Ministry of Defence reached agreement after the Chief of Defence Norway gave the advice to reduce the downsizing goal for the entire Norwegian Defence Military Organisation in autumn 2003.

The investigation also shows a lack of traceability in the decision-making processes related to the restructuring of the ICT division of the Norwegian Defence Logistics Organisation and the introduction of a special budget chapter for internal invoicing (horizontal collaboration) between the Logistics Organisation and other parts of the Military Organisation. There is no adequate documentation of the considerations that form the basis of the decisions, nor of how the risk and challenges involved were investigated and assessed.

The Ministry of Defence endorses the fact that serious and specific objections to any matters must be submitted to the Storting, even though they may be at variance with the Government’s proposals. However, the investigation shows that there are grounds to question whether the Storting has been adequately informed about certain advice – for example the advice on management given by the Chief of Defence Norway involving a total man-year limit of 15 000 in the Norwegian Defence Military Organisation.

The investigation shows that improvements have been made since 2004 to both traceability and quality in the financial reporting. However in 2006 there was a substantial under-use of investment funds. The OAG emphasises the Ministry of Defence’s general responsibility and questions whether suitable measures were taken in the implementation of the 2006 budget to ensure that the allocated resources were employed as intended.

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. 3:9 (2006-2007), cf. Section 18, paragraph 2 of the Auditor General Act, has been repealed.



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