Performance Auditing of EU Co-Funded Investments by the European Court of Auditors

Performance Auditing of EU Co-Funded Investments by the European Court of Auditors

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This highly practical course presents all aspects of each stage of the performance audit process. It includes the unique feature of providing an insight into how the European Court of Auditors plan, prepare and implement their audit assignments

About this course

The European Court of Auditors (ECA) carries out three types of audit in the area of the EU Cohesion Policy: financial, compliance and performance audits. Each of them has different objectives, addresses different audit questions and applies different methodology.

The legal framework 2014–2020 had the ambition to be a more results-oriented spending framework, where performance and results were the keywords. Performance will be even more important in the next programming period 2021–2027, for which preparations are in full swing.

This highly practical course presents all aspects of each stage of the performance audit process. It includes the unique feature of providing an insight into how the European Court of Auditors teams plan, prepare and implement their audit assignments, covering real-life audit case studies and experiences, and the advice of the Court’s teams.

It also explains the rules proposed for performance measurement for the 2021–2027 period, which has some unique features and insights with regard to cost–benefit analysis (CBA), and explains key tools used such as benchmarking, and how to use key performance indicators (KPIs).

Who will benefit most?

Audit, Managing and Certifying Authorities, Intermediate Bodies, beneficiaries of EU funds, independent auditors dealing with or interested in EU funded projects and programmes; consulting companies specialised in auditing EU co-funded programmes and projects, and representatives of ministries dealing with, and responsible for, spending public (national and EU) money.

What you will learn in this course

After the presentation of each stage of a performance audit, you will work on real-life case studies in small working groups with direct involvement and guidance of experts from the European Court of Auditors. After the exercises, presentations from each group will allow cross-learning, sharing experience and taking advice from the trainers.

What will you be able to do with what you learn?
You will improve your practical knowledge about each stage of the performance auditing carried out by the European Court of Auditors. This will allow you to carry out performance audits in your institution (or to be well prepared for future performance audit visits). You will also be able to apply this knowledge for developing a results-based analysis system within your organisation, and you will learn about the rules proposed for 2021–2027 and how this will affect your organisation.

Michael Burnett (UK)

Michael Burnett (UK)

Public Procurement / PPP / Public Sector Management

Luc T’Joen

Luc T’Joen

European Court of Auditors
Senior Administrator, Investments for Cohesion, Growth and Inclusion

Guido Fara

Guido Fara

European Court of Auditors
EU Structural Funds

Practical information

Course venue
Hotel International
Miramarska Cesta 24
10000 Zagreb
Croatia

Programme Organiser
Ms Winny Curfs
Tel: + 31 43 3296320
w.curfs@eipa.eu

Fee
The fee includes documentation and refreshments, two lunches and a dinner. Accommodation and travel costs are at the expense of the participants or their administration.

Discounts
EIPA offers a 10% discount to all civil servants working for one of EIPA’s supporting countries, and civil servants working for an EU institution, body or agency.

Who are the supporting countries?
Civil servants coming from the following EIPA supporting countries are entitled to get the reduced fee: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.

For all other participants, the regular fee applies.

Meals
Lunch(es) will be served at the hotel restaurant and dinner will be held at a restaurant in town. Special dietary requirements (e.g. vegetarian, diabetic) can be indicated once you receive the confirmation of the seminar.

Confirmation
Confirmation of registration will be forwarded to participants on receipt of the completed online registration form.

Payment
Prior payment is a condition for participation.

Cancellation policy
For administrative reasons you will be charged €150 for cancellations received within 15 days before the activity begins. There is no charge for qualified substitute participants.

EIPA reserves the right to cancel the activity up to 2 weeks before the starting date. In that case, registration fees received will be fully reimbursed. EIPA accepts no responsibility for any costs incurred (travel, accommodation, etc.).

The programme

8.30 Registration of participants
9.00 Welcome address and opening of the seminar
Michael Burnett, Expert, European Public Management, European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA), Project Manager, EPSA 2019, Maastricht (NL)
N.N. from a Ministry of Croatia
Ivana Maletić, Member of the European Court of Auditors, Luxembourg (LU)
9.30 Introduction to the programme, objectives and methodology
Tour de table: presentation of participants to assess the level of practical experience and specific training requests
Luc T’Joen, Senior Administrator – Performance Audit, European Court of Auditors, Luxembourg (LU)
Part I      Setting the scene: what is a performance audit, and how do we plan one?
10.00 Performance audit approach and objectives: overview of the performance audit cycle; the three ‘E’s’ (economy, efficiency, effectiveness); the distinction between financial, compliance and internal auditing; the European Court of Auditor’s mandate
Luc T’Joen
11.00 Questions and answers
11.30 Coffee break
12:00 The preliminary study and risk assessment
Guido Fara, Auditor – Head of Task, European Court of Auditors, Luxembourg (LU)
13.00 Lunch
14.15 Outlining the performance audit plan
Luc T’Joen
15.30 Workshop II: WHAT exactly should we audit and HOW should we plan it?
Case studies:

  • airports
  • seaports
  • high-speed rail
  • transport megaprojects

Using a briefing note and material prepared, each participant will work in a team on one of the following case studies in order to practise

  • programme logic modelling,
  • risk assessment: how to identify the main risks, and assess their likelihood and importance
  • developing audit questions based on a choice of one of the three ‘E’s’.

Luc T’Joen and Guido Fara

17.00 Plenary session with short group presentations, and advice from the trainers
17.30 End of the first day
19.30 Dinner at a local restaurant
9.00 Key performance audit tools: A look into

  • cost–benefit analysis (CBA) – key issues to know
  • benchmarking: methodology and examples

Guido Fara

10.15 Workshop II: Can you spot the CBA errors?
Using the detailed feedback of the morning presentation on the CBA participants will continue working in teams, guided by the Court’s experts, on a few practical cases to allow them to gain experience and practical knowledge in dealing with CBA data.
After the workshop, the trainers will provide the explanations and corrections in a plenary session.
Luc T’Joen and Guido Fara
Part II     Implementing a performance audit: real-life findings of ECA audits
11.30 Coffee break
12.00 Presentation of real-life findings of transport audits (seaports, maritime transport and airports performance audits)
Luc T’Joen
13.30 Lunch
14.45 Presentation of real-life findings of high-speed rail and transport megaprojects performance audits
Guido Fara
Part III   Reporting on a performance audit
16.00 Drafting a performance audit report: main principles and quality checks; drawing conclusions, techniques and making recommendations to improve spending quality
Luc T’Joen
16.30 Workshop III: Which report would you publish?
Using the detailed feedback of the morning presentations on the real-life findings on the performance audit developed, participants will continue working in teams, guided by the Court’s experts, on:

  • What would be the main parts and headings of your audit report?
  • What conclusions would you draw, and in what order?
  • What recommendations would you make?

Luc T’Joen and Guido Fara

17.00 Plenary session with short group presentations and advice from the trainers
17.30 End of the second day
Part IV   Impact and follow-up of a performance audit
9.00 Examples of impact of performance audits follow-up of recommendations
Guido Fara
Part V     Implementing a performance audit in your organisation
10.00 A presentation of a few real-life findings outside transport (e.g. energy efficiency, air quality, rural infrastructure, start-up aid to young farmers), and a discussion on possible practical cases in your organisation with suggestions from the ECA experts
Luc T’Joen
10.30 Coffee break
Part VI   Performance audit in the programming period 20212027
11.00 The use of performance audit in the programming period 20212027: A future outlook. What may change, how, what do you need to know, and what do you need to do?
Luc T’Joen and Guido Fara
11.30 Questions and answers
12.00 Workshop IV: Creative thinking
Each participant will work in a team to practise on a few specific exercises to test their ability to work as a group while thinking about solutions ‘out of the box’.
After the workshop, the trainers will provide the explanations and corrections in a plenary session.
Luc T’Joen and Guido Fara
13.30 Q&A session and final questions
14.00 Closure of seminar and issuing of certificates to participants
Michael Burnett and Luc T’Joen