Investments in social services are accompanied by low targets, availability of beds in residential/nursing homes remains a challenge

Press Release on audit No 20/22 – 16 August 2021

The SAO focused on how the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MoLSA) spent funds on investments in social services between 2017 and 2019. The auditors examined funds from two programmes1, which were aimed at increasing the capacity of social services’ residential facilities, improving the quality of these services, promoting mobility and so on. For this purpose, the MoLSA allocated a total of CZK 5.9 billion under the two programmes. The auditors examined how the MoLSA managed the distribution of money, whether the objectives set had been achieved and how those objectives had been set, but they also looked into how the ministry selected projects eligible for support. The audit revealed weaknesses in both programmes. For one of them, the MoLSA set targets in such a way that it would not be possible to evaluate what the allocated funds generated, while in another case the targets were set in such a way that they could not significantly improve the situation. In several cases, the MoLSA also failed to comply with its own conditions for the payment of subsidies.

One of the objectives of the allocated funds was to build new bed places to increase the overall housing capacity in social facilities. The MoLSA planned to create 605 new bed places, but in practice this did not correspond to a real need or demand from social service providers. In 2016, i.e., at the time of the approval of the programme, the Czech Republic had 72,110 bed places for selected residential services. In the same year, the number of unmet applications for placement on these bed places reached almost 92,0002. For such a low target, it could have been assumed from the outset that there would be no significant improvement in the availability of bed places. In view of demographic developments, the availability of these services can also be expected to deteriorate unless major changes are made. The amount of the subsidy per new bed place is based on an average of CZK 946,000.

Weaknesses were also detected by the SAO in the MoLSA’s assessment of aid projects. For one of the MoLSA programmes, it had set efficiency indicators which it did not take into account in the evaluation. In other cases, there was a lack of uniform and verifiable rules for some procedures. Such shortcomings reduce the transparency of the selection of projects eligible for support.

Furthermore, the auditors found that the MoLSA had paid the beneficiaries the maximum amount of grants at a time when their supported projects had not yet been completed and the actual amount of total expenditure was therefore not known. This was the case for two of the twelve projects examined. In practice, for one of the projects, this meant that the MoLSA paid almost one and a half million Czech crowns more than it actually should have.

1] Programme 113 310 — Developing and restoring a material technical base for social services (started as of 1 June 2007), Programme 013 310 — Developing and restoring the material technical base of social services (started as of 1 February 2017).

2] The number of unmet applications is not equal to the number of people not provided with the social services in question – one person may submit multiple applications and so on.

Communication Department
Supreme Audit Office

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