by Elena Doina Dascălu, Vice President of the Romanian Court of Accounts and Cristina Breden, Director, Audit of Public Procurement, Methodology and Training
Last year, the Romanian government approved the National Strategy on Public Procurement, which bears the primary objective of reforming the institutional framework of the Romanian public procurement system. This reformation will be achieved through the incorporation of European directives into national law, as well as transforming the institutional framework and ensuring functionality.
The Romanian Court of Accounts was actively involved in issuing this strategy, especially regarding the ex-post control, primary and secondary legislation. The Court provided commentary on draft laws and secondary legislation prior to adoption, and representatives participated in debates organized by the specialized committees of the Romanian Parliament, the ministries and the National Agency for Public Procurement.
Due to the provisions of the newly adopted laws on public procurement, it became necessary to strengthen the role of the Romanian Court of Accounts. In total, 300 additional public auditor positions have been approved by law to increase the capacity of the Court to perform public procurement audits. The recruitment process began earlier this year and is still ongoing (and projected to continue well into 2017). The Chamber of the Romanian Court of Accounts has also approved the establishment of a directorate that will be an immediate report to the President of the Court. This new directorate will:
- Develop comprehensive guidelines for public procurement audits;
- Harmonize the Court’s audit procedures and methods with those carried out by the Audit Authority, which performs audits of EU-funded public procurement. (This will help to achieve consistency in approaches and interpretations).
- Monitor the legislative process in Romania, mass media and international bodies concerning issues in the public procurement arena.
- Identify risk factors associated with public procurement, particularly in areas where there is heightened probability for public funds misuse; record such factors indicated by the National Agency for Public Procurement, National Agency for Integrity and the Competition Council; and post pertinent information on the directorate intranet in an effort to promote data accessibility to all auditors and assist in audit plan development.
- Prepare studies, assessments and reports concerning irregularities in the public procurement system.
- Train roughly 1,000 auditors working for the Romanian Court of Accounts at the central and local offices. The training program will commence at the end of 2016 and will continue during the first quarter of 2017.
- Perform audits of public procurement in high-risk areas.
All these measures are designed to strengthen the role of the Romanian Court of Accounts in the audit of public procurement, as well as enhance the quality of the country’s overall audit work.
For more information, visit the Romanian Court of Accounts online at www.curteadeconturi.ro.