Since 1874 the General Intervention Board of the State Administration (IGAE) has developed two basic functions for the evolution of the tax authorities, i.e. for the management of public funds raised through the taxpayers system: Government control (as in internal control dependent on the executive branch itself and not on each administration body but on the Government itself led by the Administration and as far as its power to manage reaches) and public accounting as an administration body (direct keeping of the accounts of the Ministries; compiling the State General Accounts the Government provides to the Court of Auditors and therefore to the Parliament) and as a managing body (accounting standards and guidelines for all public entities). Very few institutions in the Spanish Government have such an extensive service charter performing two virtually uninterrupted functions, essential for the functioning of the State, continuously developing and in progressive and constant improvement, serving the Spanish tax authorities and ultimately society and its citizens.
As a supervisory body, the IGAE is responsible for verifying, through prior monitoring of the legality as well as financial control and public audit, that the economic and financial state of the public sector activity conforms to the principles of legality, economy, efficiency and effectiveness..
As an administration and management body of public accounting, it is responsible for providing reliable, complete, professional and independent accounting information about public management. And in this sense, it has the responsibility of compiling the economic accounts of the public sector according to the methodology of the European System of National Accounts, the most concrete and specific outcome of which is the determination of the amount, key in the economic life of the nation, of public deficit and of both the total public authorities and each of its subsectors (Central Government, Regional Governments, Local Authorities and Social Security).
Since 1989 it has also been in charge of monitoring the proper use by beneficiaries of grants and public aid of the funds received and, in this sense, fall within its scope of activities those arising from the exercise of control of EU funds, in particular as in regards to the exercise of the functions of audit authority in accordance with EU legislation itself and the recognition and accreditation of such by the EU authorities in those programmes in which the IGAE has that status.
Also, since 1996, it has been the body responsible for programming, designing and implementing the IT policy of the State Secretary for the Budget and Expenditure.
All these functions are exercised and developed with functional autonomy and professional independence, taking place essentially in the context of the training and probity of officials framed in the two bodies that were also, practically from their inception, established to develop these tasks in a specialist way: Senior government financial controllers and auditors, and the technical audit and accounting unit, with the key support of senior civil servants and information technology officers, and other civil servants and personnel in their respective jobs in this body.
Without detriment to its degree of autonomy and independence, also since its inception, the IGAE has been placed, for administrative purposes and within a budgetary and organisational frame, as a management body higher than the Ministry of Finance (since 1996 with the rank of Under-Secretariat), and today through the State Secretary for the Budget and Expenditure, as an exponent of the development of these functions in the field of public finance management.
Through these pages, various publications, statistics and reports prepared by the IGAE can be accessed, reflecting the functions listed above and the updated regulations in the field of government control and public accounting, directly or through their own databases. In short, this is the institution that I, now and circumstantially, have the great honour to lead, accentuated by my professional membership for over 35 years of the two groups mentioned above and their professional service.