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Brussels Mobility has no control over budget or deadlines, says Court of Audit in scathing report

16:48 24/09/2021

The Court of Audit has issued a rather scathing review of Brussels Mobility, the agency that manages transport policy and infrastructure in the capital-region. According to the court, not only does Brussels Mobility not know the state of the region’s roadways at any given time, it does not know the condition of infrastructure underneath the roadways, such as the sewer system.

The Court of Audit, a body of the federal parliament that carries out audits of publicly funded services, carried out its analysis between early 2019 and early 2020. The goal was to determine if management of all works related to transport in the region were planned, carried out and co-ordinated efficiently.

The Court of Audit carried out the same analysis of public transport system Stib and federal buildings investment fund Beliris.

There are some 120,000 works large and small to transport infrastructure in the capital region every year. While Stib’s audit was positive, noting that it has a solid overview of its own improvements in terms of timing and co-ordination, Brussels Mobility is failing to achieve the same level of quality.

Improvements made, says agency

The Court of Audit examined the progress of several projects in different departments of the agency. It found that files were not handled with any kind of consistency, and follow-up on questions and problems was poor, something it did not find at Stib or Beliris, it said.

“No single actor at Brussels Mobility has a global overview or knows the complete history of any given file,” said the court. “It has neither deadlines nor budget under control. Beliris is disciplined with regard to costs, but the same can’t always be said about meeting deadlines. Stib has both of these aspects well in hand.”

Brussels Mobility responded by saying that since the audit was completed – which was 18 months ago – it has evaluated and restructured much of its administration. “We have appointment project leaders, who co-ordinate a global approach to files in consultation with the various professionals involved.”

In addition, she continued, “our inspectors are in the field daily to examine the condition of roads,” said Inge Paemen of the agency. “It is precisely the result of these inspections that we have been able to prepare a multi-year investment programme for both the roads and the pavements.”

N-VA parliamentary leader Cieltje Van Achter would like hearings to be organised with the Court of Audit. “In 2017, an audit indicated that the entire management and work culture of Brussels Mobility was flawed,” she said. “Did the previous and current mobility ministers Pascal Smet and Elke Van den Brandt learn nothing from this? Van den Brandt needs to make a priority of dealing with this.”

Photo ©Alexandros Michailidis/Shutterstock

 

Written by Lisa Bradshaw