Regional government reform - a challenge for the whole audit branch

The implementation of the objectives laid out for the regional government reform are assessed by independent auditors. All of us who are working at the National Audit Office are preparing for our new role and more extensive auditing rights in cooperation with a large number of other actors. At the same time, we are also keenly following how the reform is making its way through Parliament.

How should the reform proceed so that we would not lose our faith in it, despite its vast size and complexity? As the changes are being implemented, each actor should consider how best to contribute to a well-managed change process. This reform is significant and it will also encourage us to create new operating models, which means that amid all the changes, we should also focus on the development of our own organisation.

With the regional government reform, the mandate of the National Audit Office will also be extended to cover the counties. We have started preparing for the changes in our own role and for the more extensive auditing rights under the new system through active networking and by establishing contacts with preparatory organisations at regional level as well as with other audit and evaluation bodies. Managing the change is easier when you can openly share your views around the same table.

We have already held a number of meetings with other audit actors to analyse the challenges facing us. Even though we all work in different duties and we all have to deal with our own specific problems, we have had wonderful joint discussions and we have also formed a common view on our roles, tasks and obligations as auditors of county-level activities.

The exchange of views has helped us to clarify our role as members of an organisation in the complex system of county-level administrative and audit actors. One can say that others have coached us and that, hopefully, we have also been able to coach others.

We are currently informing each other of expert consultations that may be arranged as part of the reform. We have prepared a memorandum for joint use, which has been published on the regional government reform website maintained by the Ministry of Finance. We have learned a great deal about each others’ activities and goals and we have established networks allowing us to use each others’ in-depth expertise in a wide range of different situations.

The regional government reform should not only be seen as a collection of risks, threats and complex structures. It will also open up opportunities for new types of cooperation and networks. In our view, the aim should be to create a network of experience, expertise and knowledge offered by a broad range of different parties. By establishing networks, we can support each other and set our sights on the future.