ON THE SWISS FEDERAL AUDIT OFFICE
(of 28th June 1967)
The Federal Assembly
by virtue of Art. 85 sub-paras. 10 and 11 and Art. 102 sub-paras. 14 and 15 of the Federal Constitution,
and after examination of a Message of the Federal Council* dated 25th November 1966,
I. Status and organization of the Federal Audit Office
1 The Federal Audit Office is the supreme federal organ of financial control. It assists
a.the Federal Assembly in the exercise of the latter’s constitutional financial powers and supervision of the Federal Administration and Judiciary;
b.the Federal Council in the exercise of the latter’s supervision of the Federal Administration.
2 The Federal Audit Office shall be independent and autonomous within the scope of the legal provisions hereof. For administrative purposes it shall constitute a division of the Federal Department of Finance and Customs.
1 The Federal Audit Office shall be headed by a Director to whom shall be assigned the requisite specialist and office personnel.
2 The Director shall be appointed by the Federal Council. Such appointment shall require the ratification of the Joint Committee on Finance of the Federal Parliament.
3 The Federal Council shall determine the number of specialist personnel to be assigned to the Federal Audit Office after having consulted with the Joint Committee on Finance thereon.
Engagement of experts
The Federal Audit Office shall be entitled to draw upon the services of experts where the execution of its tasks demands specialized knowledge.
Authorization of giving of evidence and handover of documents
The Director shall be competent to authorize the giving of evidence and the handover of documents in judicial proceedings. Prior thereto he shall obtain the consent of the head of the department in whose sphere of responsibility the matter falls.
II. Functionn, scope and exercise of financial control
Criteria of financial control
The Federal Audit Office shall conduct financial control on the criteria of correct application of the law, efficiency and economy as well as accounting regularity.
Particular control functions
1 The Federal Audit Office shall in particular perform the following duties:
a.the continuous scrutiny of the entire federal financial administration during all stages of the implementation of the budget, including the establishment of the Federal annual accounts;
b.the supervision of the controls to be carried out by the departments in respect of funds allotted to them and of long-term appropriations;
c.the countersignature of orders for registration of entries in the Federal accounts;
d.the countersignature of payment orders and transfers;
e.the audit of accounts and inventories.
2 The Federal Audit Office shall have the task of ensuring that the departments make prudent and appropriate use of the funds allocated to them.
Co-drafting of accounting regulations and giving of expert opinions
1 The Federal Audit Office shall participate in the drafting of regulations pertaining to the internal control and auditing services, the accounting, payment transfer and inventory systems. It shall advise on all matters which affect financial control.
2 The Federal Audit Office may be invited to participate in the discussions of the departments charged with preparing the budget and the Federal annual accounts. Its services may also be drawn upon with regard to appropriation requests.
Scope of supervision
1 Subject to the financial control of the Federal Audit Office shall be:
a.the departments and divisions thereof;
b.the Federal Chancellery;
c.Federal bodies that are autonomous for accounting purposes;
d.non-governmental bodies and organizations that are charged by the Federal Government with public tasks or which receive funds (subsidies, loans, advances) therefrom.
2 The Federal courts shall only be subject to the financial scrutiny of the Federal Audit Office insofar as the supervision through the Federal Assembly shall be furthered thereby.
3 The Federal Audit Office shall also exercise financial control where in pursuance of legal provisions or regulations a system of internal control has already been set up.
1 The Federal Chancellery shall furnish the Federal Audit Office with all decrees and resolutions passed by the Federal Assembly and the Federal Council which relate to the administration of Federal finances.
2 The departments, the divisions thereof, and the Federal courts shall inform the Federal Audit Office of all directives and ordinances which they issue in pursuance of the said decrees and resolutions.
3 At the request of the Federal Audit Office the departments and their divisions shall furnish it with all documents and records pertaining to legal acts and binding declarations inasmuch as they concern the administration of Federal finances.
Obligation to give information and administrative assistance
1 Notwithstanding any obligations to maintain secrecy the Federal Audit Office shall be authorized to request information and, in particular, to examine documents and records. The postal and telegraphic secret shall in all events be guaranteed.
2 Whoever in subject to the supervision of the Federal Audit Office shall be obliged to give it all the necessary assistance in the execution of its duties.
Relationship to special internal and external auditing services
1 The internal and external auditing services of the Federal Administration, including the Federal courts and llary bodies, shall be responsible for the financial control in their arean of activity. They shall report to the Federal Audit Office on their findings and on all matters which could be of relevance to it as the supreme organ of financial control.
2 The Federal Audit Office shall monitor the effectiveness of such control and be responsible for its co-ordination; it may submit to the Federal Council proposals regarding the subordination, organization and working methods of the internal and external auditing services.
III. Procedure in the case of complaints, rendering of reports and administrative intercourse
Findings, complaints and requests
1 The Federal Audit Office shall draw up a written report on its findings and opinions. In the case of a formal or material complaint it shall inform the division concerned and may combine a request therewith.
2 Where a complaint or request is not dealt with or settled within the time-limit set by the Federal Audit Office, it shall submit the matter to the superior authority of the division concerned. The Federal Council shall decide thereon in the final instance.
3 Audit reports on non-governmental organizations and bodies shall be communicated by the Federal Audit Office to the Federal division responsible for the administration of the audited funds.
4 Pending the final settlement of a complaint or request voiced or made by the Federal Audit Office all payments shall cease and no commitments may be entered into which affect or could affect the subject-matter of the proceedings.
Obligation to inform the Central Office on Questions of Organization of the Federal Administration
Where in the course of its supervisory activity the Federal Audit Office discovers deficiencies in organization or working methods it shall bring this to the attention of the Central Office on Questions of Organization of the Federal Administration.
Rendering of reports to the Joint Committee on Finance of the Federal Parliament
The Federal Audit Office shall furnish the Joint Committee in Finance with all records pertaining to the business conducted by it. The latter shall also be furnished with interim reports on prolonged audits.
1 The Federal Audit Office shall have and hold direct intercourse with the Standing Committees on Finance and the Joint Committee on Finance of the Federal Parliament, the Federal Council, the Federal Chancellery, the departments and divisions thereof, the Federal courts, the Federal bodies which are for accounting purposes and the non-governmental organizations and bodies that are subject to financial control.
2 The Federal Audit Office shall inform the head of the Federal Department of Finance and Customs of all matters on which it has direct dealings with other departmental heads, the Federal Chancellor or the Federal Council.
IV. Financial control at Cantonal level
Scope of Federal supervision
1 Within the scope of its powers the Federal Audit Office shall monitor and conduct audits on the use made by the Cantons of Federal moneys (subsidies, loans, advances) allotted to them provided such control is foreseen by a Federal law or decree.
2 In all other cases the Federal Audit Office may only examine the use of Federal funds with the consent of the Cantonal government concerned.
3 As a rule the Federal Audit Office shall work together with the Cantonal auditing services to whom it may delegate certain auditing assignments.
4 The competent administrative divisions of the Cantons shall convey and give to the Federal Audit Office all and every support necessary for the execution of its tasks and assignments.
1 Where in the course of its monitoring and auditing activity pursuant to Art. 16 para. 1 hereinbefore the Federal Audit Office discovers irregularities in the Cantons or divisions set up by them, it shall approach and inform the competent Federal division thereof. The latter shall settle the matter finally in conjunction with the Cantonal divisions concerned. As to the relations between the Federal divisions and the Federal Audit Office the provisions governing the procedure in the case of complaints (Art. 12 hereinbefore) shall apply mutatis mutandis.
2 In the event of the Federal Audit Office discovering irregularities in the instances governed by Art. 16 para. 2 hereinabove it shall at the same time inform both the Cantonal government and the competent Federal divisions thereof and make the necessary proposals.
V. Secretariat of the Standing and Joint Committees on Finance of the Federal Parliament
Secretariat of the Standing and Joint Committees on Finance of the Federal Parliament
1 The Secretary of the Standing Committees on Finance and the Joint Committee on Finance shall manage and run the joint Secretariat in accordance with the provisions of Articles 48 to 50 of the Federal Law on Parliamentary Procedure of 23rd March 1962. He shall have to this effect the same powers at his disposal as the Federal Audit Office to obtain documentation and information, to examine documents and to request administrative assistance. He shall liase between the Standing Committees and Joint Committee on Finance on the one hand, and between the Federal Audit Office and the authorities and departments subject to financial scrutiny on the other hand.
2 The Secretary shall be appointed by the Federal Council. Such appointment shall require the ratification of the Joint Committee on Finance. The Secretariat shall be assigned for administrative purposes to the Federal Audit Office which shall make available to it the necessary staff. Art. 2 para. 3 shall apply accordingly.
3 As for the rest, the Standing Committees and Joint Committee on Finance shall regulate the management of the Secretariat in their own standing orders.
VI. Final provisions
1 The Swiss Federal Railways and the Swiss Industrial Injuries Insurance Institute shall not come under the financial control of the Federal Audit Office. In the case of the Swiss National Bank the activity of the Federal Audit Office shall be limited and confined to the measures provided for in the Federal Law on the Swiss National Bank, namely the control of the production, supply, withdrawal and destruction of bank notes.
2 Other special arrangements must be expressly provided for by law.
Relations to the Standing and Joint Committees on Alcohol
The herein enacted provisions governing the relations between the Federal Audit Office and the Standing Committees on Finance of the Federal Parliament and the Joint Committee thereof shall apply mutatis mutandis in respect of the Standing Committees on Alcohol of the Federal Parliament and the Joint Committee thereof.
Implementing provisions shall be enacted by a generally binding Federal decree not subject to a referendum.
Entry into force, repeal of former law
1 The Federal Council shall fix the date of the entry into force of the present law.
2 On the same date the Regulations on Federal financial control (passed by the Federal Assembly on 2nd April 1927) shall be repealed.
The Swiss Federal Council decrees:
The present Federal law, promulgated on 6th July 1967, shall be incorporated in the Collection of Federal Laws and come into operation on 1st January 1968.
Berne, 23rd October 1967
* The Federal Council
* the government of Switzerland