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Swiss Federal Audit Office gets good marks from French Cour des comptes

02 / 03 / 2021

Press release

At the end of 2020, experts from the French Cour des comptes issued an audit report on the Swiss Federal Audit Office (SFAO). Their findings were presented to the Finance Delegation in February 2021. The results of this peer review were good. The French experts’ recommendations will be implemented by the SFAO management by the end of 2021.

Carried out in challenging circumstances because of the health crisis, the peer review examined four aspects of the SFAO: its independence, communication and relations with stakeholders, ethics, transparency and compliance with the principles of good governance, and finally its audit approach with regard to planning and tracking recommendations. This peer review also allowed for a broad consultation. It obtained input from the external entities audited by the SFAO, its clients in the Federal Administration, as well as various people in the Federal Council, Parliament and the media. At the end of 2020, the French Cour des comptes submitted its final report to the SFAO management, which publishes it on its website.

In its assessment, the French Cour des comptes indicated that a reflection on the SFAO’s level of affiliation and on the legal provisions defining its mandate could lead “to formalising its management autonomy and giving it general power to audit public finances and inform citizens”. The SFAO could also draw up its own code of ethics to comply with the profession’s standard (ISSAI 30).

With regard to communication, the French experts believe that diversifying media coverage or making better use of past publications and their follow-up could “further enhance people’s view of the SFAO’s role and work”. Finally, the French Cour des comptes found that the SFAO’s planned programme of audits is perfectly in line with the existing risks in the area of public policy and the management of the audited entities.

For the record, the SFAO underwent peer reviews in 2005, 2009 and 2015. It thus implements international best practices. As in the past, the SFAO’s management has undertaken to implement the recommendations made during this peer review. The implementation will take place by the end of 2021.