The audit did not reveal any indications that the funded entity would not, in general, be in accordance with the decisions on discretionary government transfers. However, the costs of the project have increased considerably. When the audit was completed at the end of 2020, the final costs of the project were not yet known. The state aid process from decision-making to granting was not appropriate in all respects. The supervision carried out by the state aid authority did not meet the requirements of the complex and long-term project. The state aid decisions did not fully comply with the Act on Discretionary Government Transfers.
The audit was targeted at the renovation project of the Olympic Stadium and the funding allocated to it in the budget from 2012 to 2020. The state aid authority in the project is the Ministry of Education and Culture. The renovation project is managed by the Stadium Foundation (Stadion-säätiö), to which the discretionary government transfers are granted. The project is funded by the City of Helsinki and the state with equal contributions. The audit focused on the Ministry of Education and Culture as the state aid authority and the Stadium Foundation as the state aid recipient.
The audit was implemented as a compliance audit. In order for the principles of good governance and cost-effectiveness to be implemented, it is important to ensure that projects financed by the state either in full or in part have complied with the state budget and related provisions and regulations and that the projects have been duly managed.
The audit did not reveal any indications that the funded entity would not, in general, be in accordance with the decisions on discretionary government transfers. However, the costs have risen considerably from the needs analysis and project study.
It was found in the audit that the state aid process from decision-making to granting was not appropriate in all respects. Information on the uncertainties related to the estimated project costs was not fully provided in a timely manner and to a sufficient extent to serve as a basis for funding decisions.
The payment basis of the contract model selected for the project is contrary to the state’s funding principles: the state has defined the maximum amount it will contribute to the project costs, whereas no fixed price ceiling has been defined for the key contract in the project but the price ceiling changes as additional works and modifications are approved.
The state aid decisions did not fully comply with the Act on Discretionary Government Transfers. The decisions did not always disclose the information required under the Act.
The supervision by the state aid authority did not meet the requirements of the complex and long-term project, and the steering group appointed for the project failed to manage the costs of the project appropriately.
Based on the audit findings, the National Audit Office has given recommendations for the granting, use and supervision of the use of discretionary government transfers. Some of the recommendations are related to the project report that the Stadium Foundation must submit to the state aid authority by the end of June 2022. The decision on the extension of the time limit and the postponement of the report deadline was taken on 12 January 2021.