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What is the Court of Audit?

The Court of Audit checks that the government spends public funds and conducts policy as intended.

Our position: High Council of State

As a 'High Council of State', the Netherlands Court of Audit is a central government body created to ensure that the democratic system works properly. High Councils of State are independent of the government. Other High Councils of State are:

  • the Senate
  • the House of Representatives
  • the Council of State
  • the National Ombudsman

The Court of Audit's tasks, powers and legal status are laid down in the Constitution and the Government Accounts Act 2001.


The Court of Audit's tasks

The Court of Audit audits whether central government revenue and expenditure are received and spent correctly and whether central government policy is implemented as intended. We are obliged to carry out these tasks by law. We express an opinion on government policy that has already been adopted; we do not express political opinions. We will never say, for example, that a particular law is 'wrong'. The Court of Audit can say, however, that a law is not working as intended. It is then up to the government and/or the House of Representatives to give a political opinion.


Our 'customers': the House of Representatives and the government

The Court of Audit's principal 'customers' are the House of Representatives and the government. We see it as our job to provide parliament with useful and relevant information so that it can decide whether a minister's policies are effective. Wherever possible, we match our audits to parliament's wishes and needs. As well as ministers and ministries we also count other audit offices (local and international) and academics among our main 'customers'. We also think members of the public should know what the Court of Audit does and what they can expect from us.


Independent institution with an expert opinion

We are an independent institution. That means that we decide what we audit. We often receive requests to carry out audits from members of parliament, ministers and state secretaries who need an independent expert opinion on a particular matter. But they cannot order us to do so because the Court of Audit is independent. In practice, we usually honour requests made by members of parliament or government if we can add value. We respond carefully to signs and reactions from society, the public, enterprises and organisations. We may decide, for example, to involve them in our audits.

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Read also

  • The Netherlands Court of Audit

    The mission of the Netherlands Court of Audit (NCA) is to assess and improve the regularity, efficiency, effectiveness and integrity of the State of the Netherlands and the institutions associated with it. Factsheet, May 2012.

  • Annual Reports

Netherlands Court of Audit Strategy for 2016-2020

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