The lack of authorized officials in some Town Halls such as auditors, a key figure to oversee the economic activity of municipal governments, generates many setbacks in municipal management. In addition to this internal control, the Sindicatura de Comptes de Catalunya is the external body in charge of inspecting the accounts in the Catalan public sector. Despite this, the auditors consider that these filters are "insufficient" for which they ask for greater "financial control and transparency", especially from the Consistory. In this sense, they have proposed to the politicians in this electoral campaign that they commit to carry out "compulsory and systematic external audits" on an annual basis.
A report on auditing in the public sphere in Spain, recently published by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Spain, concludes that 92% of the expenditure of the City Councils in Spain is not audited, there is no internal control or it has not been directly provided said information. The authors of the study contacted the 149 municipalities with more than 50,000 inhabitants, but only received 27 responses, of which 12 indicated that they are auditing the annual accounts.
Extrapolated to Catalonia and without having official figures, the president of the College of Chartered Accountants of Catalonia, Antoni Gómez, estimates that the "great majority" of the Catalan Town Halls are not "voluntarily" audited by private professionals as it is not mandatory, its implementation being almost “anecdotal”. As an exception to the rule, one of the few that has done so is Barcelona City Council since 1992, when it agreed to international financing for the Olympics.
The president of the Catalan auditors adds that the Sindicatura de Comptes de Catalunya published 33 reports on its actions during the 2022 financial year, but comments that "they are limited to reviewing formal aspects" and their intervention "does not involve auditing the annual accounts presented ”. He insists that his control "does not reach the Town Halls" (947 in Catalonia) and gives as an example that this body in the previous year only did a complete financial review of a Consistory (Badia del Vallès for the year 2020) and two more of partially (Sabadell in 2019 and Montcada i Reixac in 2020).
In addition, it stands out that 27% of the Catalan municipalities presented accounts after the deadline and those that did so on time in 84% of the cases, deficiencies were detected, such as "lack of information, consistency or other anomalies", according to the report. regarding the General Account of Local Corporations on accounting data for 2020, published at the end of last year by the Sindicatura de Comptes.
Faced with this situation, the collegiate entity has sent a letter to the political groups urging the administration to force at least those Town Halls with a population of more than five thousand inhabitants to submit to an external audit annually, as is the case with companies that exceed a certain dimension. "Certainly, we believe that we have a problem of information and transparency in the public accounts of the City Councils," laments Gómez.