Dutch audit office slams ministries
The government’s accountability report has been criticised by the audit office as too vague.22 May 2008
THE NETHERLANDS - The Dutch audit office has strongly criticised the government's annual "Third Wednesday in May" accountability report, in which it reviewed the progress of its programme, dubbed "Working together, living together".
The audit office says government objectives are too vaguely worded, making it impossible to assess whether policies have been effective or money well spent.
The tax office and defence ministry come in for the sharpest criticism.
For years, the defence ministry has not kept accurate records of the amount of munitions available to the armed forces.
If the situation persists in 2008, the audit office says it will take the strongest measure available to it and lodge an objection to defence ministry policy.
Criticism of the tax office centres on continuing problems with the administration of health and childcare allowances, and the audit office has decided to launch a fresh investigation.
Audit office board member Gerrit de Jong also accused the government of using excessive rhetoric in its report, commenting that "there is a certain asymmetry between the sales information and the after sales service".
Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende claims government policy is now beginning to bear fruit; 15 months after the cabinet came into office.
As successes, he cites increased funding to combat traffic congestion and improve public transport, an increase in the number of police on the beat, and a reduction in administrative red tape.
Commenting on the government's report, he said he finds it hard to understand why the public has so little confidence in government policy, adding that he thinks the Netherlands' self-image is too negative.
[Radio Netherlands / Expatica]