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European Court of Auditors 2008 ENG

In 2007, the ECA asked four SAIs—Austria, Canada, Norway, and Portugal—to conduct a peer review in order to assess the quality and effectiveness of the Court’s audit practices and to identify areas that could benefit from further improvement.

The peer review assessed whether:

  • The ECA’s audit management framework provides reasonable assurance that its audits are carried out in accordance with established practices and are consistent with international auditing standards and good practices.
  • The ECA’s audit work is conducted in accordance with its established practices and procedures.
  • The ECA’s established audit management framework provides adequate support for carrying out its primary objective of conducting and reporting the results of its audit work.


Specific objectives of the peer review of the European Court of Auditors were established in a Memorandum of Understanding between the Court and the members of the peer review team. The objectives were:

  1. Audit planning and examination process—financial and performance audit
    • Are the audit planning and methodology, quality control, and quality assurance processes in place to ensure that all audits are performed in accordance with established ECA policies and procedures, as well as international standards and good professional practice?
    • Are these processes adequately designed and operating as intended?
  2. Reporting—special reports and the ECA’s annual report
    • Do the reports present a fair and factual reporting of the results of the audit, in a clear and concise manner?
    • Do the stakeholders and public find the reports relevant and useful in their decisionmaking processes? (Stakeholder groups: European Commission, European Parliament, ECOFIN, media, general public)
  3. Overall support for audit
    • Are the Court’s resources, including the use of IT resources and tools, in the audit processes used in an efficient and effective manner to maximize productivity and support the selection of relevant topics and the timely issuance of reports?
    • Do the Court’s HR management and training systems develop and maintain the professional skill set necessary, including IT skills, to deliver audit reports that meet professional standards?
    • Are there adequate policies and procedures in place to ensure appropriate knowledge management to facilitate knowledge transfer amongst professional staff?

The Peer Review Team

The peer review of the European Court of Auditors was carried out by an international team consisting of senior representatives from four SAIs.

  • Austrian Court of Audit—Helmut Berger, Caroline Puerrer-Zeisler
  • Office of the Auditor General of Canada—Rick Smith, Bruce Sloan, Tammy Squires, Sophie Miller
  • Office of the Auditor General of Norway—Therese Johnsen, Stig Kilvik
  • Portuguese Court of Auditors—Helena Abreu Lopes, Ana Bento

Many other individuals from these audit institutions assisted in the conduct of the peer review. Their assistance was most appreciated.