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The Office of the Auditor General's follow-up investigation of the Ministry of Justice and Public Security's work relating to civil protection and preparedness

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Summary

​Background and objectives of the investigation

In 2015, the Office of the Auditor General published an investigation of the Ministry of Justice and Public Security's work on civil protection and preparedness. Because of the serious nature of the findings, a majority in the Standing Committee on Scrutiny and Constitutional Affairs asked the Office of the Auditor General to perform a corresponding administrative audit relating to preparedness during the following two years.

The goal of the new investigation was to examine the follow-up by the Ministry of Justice and Public Security and the Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection (DSB) of the Office of the Auditor General's previous investigation.

Findings

Follow-up of the auditing of ministries has improved, but the underlying requirements remain unclear in key areas

  • Several new measures have been introduced to strengthen the follow-up of the ministry audits, including requirements concerning clearer conclusions, closer follow-up of audits and government review of audit reports.
  • The Office of the Auditor General considers it reprehensible that requirements in key areas have not been adequately clarified.
  • Four out of eight ministries audited during the period 2014–2016 demonstrated breaches of requirements relating to risk and vulnerability. Such overviews are crucial for the quality of the preparedness work being carried out by the ministries.

More systematic evaluation and follow-up has been performed following exercises and incidents; however, there are challenges associated with the follow-up of measures across the sectors

DSB has worked to systematise experiences from exercises and incidents, but challenges still remain with regard to the follow-up of exercises and incidents across sectors, partly linked to the allocation of tasks and responsibility and the specification of learning outcomes.

The balance between the tasks and resources of county governors is better than was previously the case; however, there are considerable differences in the performance of preparedness work between the counties and ongoing challenges associated with management

  • New instructions for county governors were implemented in 2015, which has helped to clarify the tasks that the offices must perform relating to civil protection and preparedness.
  • The Office of the Auditor General believes that the work of county governors to strengthen and guide the municipalities within the area of preparedness varies considerably from one county to another.
  • Number of breaches of requirements per ministry and theme for audits performed during the period.

Both agency and public governance have improved

  • Better clarification of roles and responsibilities has been established between the Ministry of Justice and Public Security and DSB.
  • Both the Ministry of Justice and Public Security and DSB have implemented a number of measures to address the challenges highlighted in the previous investigation.

The Office of the Auditor General's recommendations

The Office of the Auditor General recommends that the Ministry of Justice and Public Security:

  • Clarify the underlying requirements concerning auditing of the preparedness work being conducted by the ministries;
  • Take the initiative to ensure that the county governors' follow-up of the municipal preparedness work is more uniform, and that emphasis is placed on the results of the offices' preparedness work in the management;
  • Strengthen the inter-sectoral follow-up of exercises and incidents; and
  • Reinforce the work with the agency and public governance of DSB.
Ministry/ministries:

Riksrevisjonen, Storgata 16, P.O. Box 8130 Dep, 0032 Oslo, Norway

Phone: +47 22 24 10 00

Org.nr: 974 760 843