Belgium Created a Plan to Fight Poverty, but Cannot Assess Their Effectiveness
<p style="line-height: 20.8px;"><span style="line-height: 20.8px;">As part of the Europe 2020 strategy, the Belgian authorities undertook to reduce poverty of 2,200,000 people in 2010 to less than 1,814,000 in five years. Although the plan is "useful" and appropriate, the Court of Auditors contends that the plan should improve "considerably" because public service agencies are not informed about what actions to pursue.</span></p>
Europe 2020 is the strategy of the European Union (EU) to achieve five major goals in the following areas: employment, research and development, climate / energy, education, social integration and poverty reduction.
Months ago, we published in The Auditor.info a report in the Dutch control agency questioned the Sustainable Energy Plan of the Netherlands, aimed to consume 16% of the natural resource in 2023.
This time, the shortcomings were identified by the Court of Auditors (TC) of Belgium, specifically in its plan to combat poverty.
One of the goals of Europe 2020 is to "fight against poverty and social exclusion" reducing by at least "20 million the number of people" who are in that situation. It should be noted that the European Union has a total of 501 259 840 inhabitants.
To do this, Belgium pledged to "reduce poverty" of 2,200,000 people in 2010 to "less than 1,814,000" in five years.
While the Belgian Plan "is a useful tool" and "takes into account the needs of groups representing the poor", the ECA noted that the "quality" of the same "could significantly improve".
"The Plan should aim for a measurable target on poverty reduction," say the auditors, adding that "the public authorities responsible for its implementation must be involved in the decision-making process", and goal setting , programming, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
In this context, the watchdog argues that "the measures and objectives are formulated without quantifying the time or the budget estimates."
In 2011, the TC did research in 17 public service agencies to see if they were aware of the plan to combat poverty and found that "they had just had been called when it was drafted" and that "they were poorly informed of motivation and course logical action in the measures they themselves should carry out. "
In other words, the ministers who devised the plan did not provide agencies "a mechanism for translating the general measures into concrete actions."
On the other hand, "tax quarterly monitoring by the Council of Ministers does not meet expectations" because its "frequency is not respected and its content is insufficient."
To improve monitoring and increase the participation of public services, a network of officials "fight against poverty" was created, but "its role should be strengthened" through a "better definition of its operational framework and responsibilities".
So how do they monitor the effectiveness of the Plan? The only form of evaluation is the "Federal Barometer fight against poverty", but this instrument "is intended rather to create awareness" than to assess "the impact" of the program.
Given this situation, the Court considers that "evaluation is a key element in the shaping of public policies."