Following the submission of the Local Government Audit Report for 2020 to the Speaker of the Knesset, MK Yariv Levin, on July 14, 2020, and a discussion of the report's findings in the State Audit Committee, the Division of Local Government Audit in the State Comptroller's Office held a conference on July 20, 2020 unveiling the audit report for 2020. In the conference participated the State comptroller and Ombudsman Mr. Matanyahu Englman and the Director General of his office, Mr. Yishai Vaknin, the chairman of the State Audit Committee, MK Ofer Shelach, the Director General of the Ministry of the Interior, Mr. Mordechai Cohen, and its internal auditor, Ms. Iris Nachmani Shochat.
In accordance with Covid-19's restrictions, the number of participants was limited and the event was filmed and broadcast with the assistance of the Government Press Office to all local authorities and other officials in the local authorities Federation in Israel. The chairman of the Local Authorities Federation, the mayor of Modi'in-Maccabim-Reut, Mr. Haim Bibbs, also congratulated the participants of the conference, as did Ms. Einav Peretz, the chairman of the Association of Local Authorities Audit in Israel.
Mr. Matanyahu Englman, State Comptroller and Ombudsman noted in his remarks that the local authority has an impact on each and every one of us and naturally every person is interested first and foremost in what is happening on the doorstep of his home. One of the goals is that the audit will be relevant and effective for both the authorities and the recipients of the services from the local authorities. The State Comptroller noted that this audit report includedhorizontal and individual issues,and examined whether the authorities acted economically and efficiently, while complying with the rules of good administration. The report pointed out the deficiencies that need to be corrected in order toimprove the work of the authorities for the benefit of the residents. The State Comptroller also noted that his office considers the importance of innovative and creative reports and that therefore a special chapter is devoted to the activities of the authorities and elected officials in social networks and the relationship with the residents in these networks. The State Comptroller expressed hope that all the local authorities will look into the findings and recommendations of the report.
At the beginning of the meeting, the director of the division, Mrs. Miri Razin, presented the main issuesof the report. The division director emphasized the importance of local government as being one of the pillars of the public sector and in fact the democratic body that represents the interests of local communities. Local government provides a wide range of services that residents need on a daily basis, and in times of emergency its importance is increasing, as the arm that has the true and unmediated familiarity with the community and the executive capabilities to face the challenges that lie ahead. The director of the division also stated that the report includes 12 chapters: 8 horizontal audits and 4 individual audits, in which 62 local authorities, 44 local planning and construction committees and 9 municipal corporations were examined. The report deals with a variety of issues from the core areas of local government in aspects related to the safety and security of residents, financial management of the authorities, ensuring service to the resident and his well-being, environmental protection, human resources management, etc. The director of the division signed her remarks by thanking the employees of the division and all its managers as well as all the employees of the ministry who took part in the preparation of this important audit report.
As part of the conference, employees of the Local Government Audit Division presented five reports out of the 12 published reports, as well as the audit report on the financing of local government elections that took place in October 2018 and was published in March 2020, on the following topics:
- Actions to increase road safety in the areas of local authorities in Arab society;
- The authorities' handling of the coastal cliff destruction processes;
- The use of local authorities and their elected representatives on social networks;
- Construction supervision in local planning and construction committees;
- Local authority activities through community centers for culture, youth and sports;
- Audit of the 2018 local government elections.
The State Comptroller signed the conference noting this is the first conference of its kind in the division and that he intends to hold similar conferences every year close to the publication of the report, in the hope that next year we will be able to hold a multi-participant conference, without restrictions.