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Control and audit

The term 'control and audit' refers to the sound financial management of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF). Management and delivery of the programmes is largely devolved to administrations at national and sub-national levels. Member States must assure the Commission that the Funds are being spent effectively and in accordance with the Regulations. They must provide reliable accounting, monitoring and financial reporting systems and identify the responsible bodies and procedures to ensure an adequate audit trail.

An audit authority must be designated for each operational programme. This authority provides the Commission with an audit strategy and an annual audit opinion and annual control report, taking into account issues identified during audits carried out during the previous 12 months.

The Commission also has the right to carry out on-the-spot audits (at a minimum 10 days' notice) or may request a Member State to audit specific programmes or projects. The principle of proportionality is applied so that much smaller programmes do not require the same level of administration as far larger programmes.