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Press release

Court of Auditors of the Canton of Vaud

Posted on December 21, 2020

Monitoring of accommodation and catering activities by the municipalities of Château-d’Oex, Payerne and Villeneuve

The Court of Auditors carried out a performance and legality audit of the supervision of accommodation and catering establishments by the municipalities of Château-d’Oex, Payerne and Villeneuve. Among its main findings, it notes in particular that the management of surveillance activities at the municipal level is often incomplete, in particular due to a lack of planning and a lack of documentation of the checks carried out. The management of conflicts of interest within administrations also has room for improvement. With a view to improving the performance of public action, the Court issues a series of recommendations, all accepted by the three audited municipalities.

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The monitoring of accommodation and catering activities contributes to safeguarding public health, order and tranquility as well as the region’s tourist attractiveness. It also aims to improve the quality of the services offered, in particular by requiring the heads of establishments to follow training. Since 2015, in accordance with the wishes expressed by the Grand Council, the law on inns and drinking places (LADB) requires license holders to promote, at all times, local products from Vaud. This new obligation favoring local producers is of particular importance in the current social and economic context. The Court of Auditors has decided to audit this monitoring of operating establishments, from the angle of efficiency and legality, because of the importance of the underlying public policies and their impact on the population. Aware of the current crisis, in this audit she avoids the pitfall of increasing pressure on licensees.

Specific to Vaud, the surveillance of hotels and restaurants is the responsibility of the municipalities although the Canton retains a monopoly on the main penalties (ban on the sale of alcohol, temporary closure of establishments, withdrawal of license, etc.). This feature makes the system relatively complex. The collaboration of these two institutional levels to ensure the good performance of public action is therefore essential. In this context, the Court of Auditors analyzed the organization and functioning of the Cantonal Commercial Police, two inter-municipal associations and four municipalities, including Château-d’Oex, Payerne and Villeneuve. These local communities were chosen according to different criteria of representativeness.

The Court of Auditors first found that the standards enacted by certain municipalities did not always comply with cantonal law. This situation stems from the lack of regular updates of local regulations. It also noted that the steering of surveillance activities at the municipal level was often incomplete, in particular due to a lack of operational objectives (planning) and a lack of documentation of the general controls carried out. The administration is therefore not in a position to assess whether it is fulfilling its various missions, which consist in particular of supervising the promotion of local Vaud products. With regard to the risk of conflicts of interest, which is relatively high in small municipalities, the existing standards show some room for improvement, in particular when it comes to the exercise of ancillary activities and the acceptance of donations and other benefits.

Based on these various findings, the Court of Auditors formulated a series of recommendations aimed at improving the performance of the public action deployed by the municipalities of Château-d’Oex, Payerne and Villeneuve, without increasing the pressure exerted. on licensees. First of all, it recommends that municipalities strengthen the steering of surveillance activities by planning inspections and listing the checks carried out, in particular with the aim of evaluating the sector’s contribution to the development of the local economy. It also recommends defining more precisely the penalties resulting from the different types of offenses to ensure greater equality of treatment of accommodation and catering establishments. Recommendations finally relate to the funding policy for surveillance activities as well as to strengthening the management of conflicts of interest on a daily basis.

The full reports and their summaries are freely accessible on the website of the Court of Auditors of the canton of Vaud: www.vd.ch/cdc. The other reports concerning the Cantonal Commercial Police and three other local authorities will be the subject of a public presentation at the beginning of 2021.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.

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