Article 38 of Act no. 2011-1862 of 13 December 2011, codified in Articles L. 112-8 and L. 112-15 of the Financial Jurisdictions Code, provides that members of the Cour des comptes and of the Regional and territorial chambers of accounts (RTCAs) “are bound to comply, while carrying out their duties, with the professional standards set out by the First President” after having heard the opinion of both the Advisory board of the Cour des comptes and the Advisory oard of the RTCAs.
Furthermore, ISSAI 20, which has been adopted by the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) of which the Cour is a member, provides that: “Supreme audit institutions adopt audit standards, processes and methods that are objective and transparent”.
Professional standards set out and develop the principles suitable to ensure that the different missions of the Cour and of the RTCAs are effectively and efficiently carried out.
In this respect, they constitute terms of reference enabling reasonably diligent performance of investigation work and formalise in a transparent manner the conditions required to obtain supported decisions. Exceptional circumstances may lead to all or part of a standard not being applied. If so, they are documented.
These standards are published and opposable. They do not replace legal provisions – contained in particular in the Financial Jurisdictions Code – governing the organisation, the missions and procedures of the Cour and of the RTCAs. They may be refered to as needed.
Professional standards are developed in order to achieve the four following objectives :
- to describe how the Cour and the RTCAs conduct their work, in all material respects;
- to offer the necessary and sufficient methodological developments to allow those who carry out the work, those concerned by it and those to whom this work’s outcomes are intended, to understand them;
- to refer an identical structure and homogeneous layout, without reference to internal texts or tools;
- to form an autonomous whole consistent with the International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAI) issued by the INTOSAI.
Each of the main missions of the Cour and of the RTCAs (jurisdictional audit, compliance and performance audit, public policy evaluation, financial statements audit) is subject to specific professional standards in addition to a set of common standards.
The implementation of professional standards is a condition for the legitimacy and value-added of the publications of the Cour and of the RTCAs for citizens, democratic institutions and public bodies.