The Profession of Government: The Public Service in Europe

By Brian Chapman | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 13
Financial Control

The control of public funds and the financial operations of public authorities raise issues similar to those dealt with in the chapters on administrative courts. Financial control involves both legality and policy. It is not always easy to see where one begins and the other ends.

The general control of financial policy is usually constitutionally in the hands of the legislature, and the field of parliamentary procedure and general politics is beyond the scope of this chapter, and to some extent of this book.

The formal control of financial legality is everywhere in Europe confided to special institutions. These institutions normally have a national jurisdiction, although the German Länder each have their own bodies. They are generally on a collegial basis, and most of them control the finances not only of the central ministries and agencies but of all public authorities. These institutions can be ordinary administrative courts, or special financial courts, or bodies specially created by parliament to act as its agent in this field and report to it directly. In theory the ordinary courts could act as examiners of public accounts, but there is no case of this actually happening. The ordinary courts may sometimes be involved in a formal legal enquiry, for instance where corruption or embezzlement are alleged, but they are then acting within their normal civil or criminal jurisdiction, and not as technical administrative controlling bodies.

It does not seem necessary here to enter into details of the organization and structure of the special financial courts. The most famous are probably the French Cour des Comptes and the German Bundesrechnungshof. They work on the same lines as the ordinary administrative courts already described. The

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The Profession of Government: The Public Service in Europe
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Preface 5
  • Contents 7
  • PART ONE - COMPOSITION 45
  • Chapter 2 - Recruitment 74
  • Chapter 3 - Training 99
  • PART TWO - CONDITIONS OF SERVICE 131
  • Chapter 5 - Security of Tenure 145
  • Chapter 6 - Pensions 153
  • Chapter 7 - Discipline 158
  • Chapter 8 - Promotion 164
  • PART THREE - CONTROL 179
  • Chapter 10 - The Structure and Personnel of Administrative Courts 199
  • Chapter II - The Powers of Administrative Courts 206
  • Chapter 12 - The Ombudsman 245
  • Chapter 13 - Financial Control 260
  • PART FOUR - POLITICS AND PUBLIC 271
  • Chapter 15 - Public Service Trade Unions 296
  • Chapter 16 - Public Officials and the Public 308
  • Bibliography 323
  • Index 345
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