Controlling Bodies

In Austria, the public authorities' financial dealings, legislation, and administrative actions are subject to scrutiny by the auditing authorities.

 

Central Auditing Office

The purpose of the Central Auditing Office is to monitor the activities of the public authorities defined by law.

The Central Auditing Office compiles a report and submits it to Parliament. The Central Auditing Office is directly answerable to Parliament.

The Central Auditing Office is independent of the Federal Government and the State Governments and is subject only to the provisions of the law. Its staff is made up of a president and auxiliary employees.

The president of the Central Auditing Office is appointed upon the recommendation of the Main Committee of the `Nationalrat` for a twelve-year term. He may not be re-elected. Before taking office, the president of the Central Auditing Office is sworn in by the Federal President.

The President of the Central Auditing Office may not be a member of a statutory representative body, nor may he or she have belonged to the Federal Government or a State Government within the last four years.


Administrative Control

The administration is subject not only to financial but also to parliamentary control. The two chambers of Parliament have the power to monitor the activities of the Federal Government, to question members of the Federal Government on all issues pertaining to executive action, to request all relevant information, and to voice their wishes on the implementation of executive powers in the form of parliamentary resolutions.

 

Legislative Control

At the instigation of the Administrative Court or the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court declares federal or state legislation to be constitutional or not. The Constitutional Court may also examine the constitutionality of state legislation at the instigation of the Federal Government or the constitutionality of federal legislation at the instigation of a State Government.

 

The Austrian Ombudsman Board

The Austrian Ombudsman Board, established in 1977, is an institution to which any person may turn directly if he or she feels mistreated by a public administrative authority.

When confronted with a complaint, the Ombudsmen have the unconditional right to inspect the relevant documents. After completing their investigations, the Ombudsmen may issue a recommendation to dismiss the official in question.

The Ombudsman Board is an independent institution answerable only to the 'Nationalrat', to which the Ombudsman Board submits an annual Report.

The Austrian Ombudsman Board is a collegiate body made up of three Ombudsmen. The presidency rotates on an annual basis.

The Ombudsmen are elected by the Nationalrat on the basis of nominations by the three largest parliamentary parties. The legislation governing the Ombudsman Board is part of the Federal Constitution.