Alberta’s Auditor General Merwan Saher presented his February report to the Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) of Alberta and to Albertans, affirming some areas where government is doing well and identifying other areas needing improvement in accountability for the cost-effective use of public resources.
Despite the diversity of the departments, agencies and topics of the eight reports that make up this report, Saher noted there is a common underlying theme to our findings in each of them — the importance of oversight.
“Oversight is at the very core of good government. It is the means by which those who serve, either through being elected or as members of the public service, can earn the public’s confidence that they are managing public resources wisely,” Saher said. “Good oversight will invariably produce better systems to achieve desired results.”
“Our findings in this report show areas where oversight is working, but unfortunately, we also found many cases where it needs to be improved,” Saher said. “Our identification of areas in which oversight is weak should be of concern to MLAs and the public, as it means that the opportunity has been missed to demonstrate, with evidence, the cost-effective short- and long-term management of public resources.”
The reports in the Report of the Auditor General of Alberta – February 2018 include:
- The seventh annual update, or “report card,” on the financial control systems and processes of 16 of Alberta’s post-secondary institutions
- An audit of the processes to manage the Class Size Initiative in Alberta’s schools, an initiative in which $2.7 billion has been invested since 2004
- A progress report on improving student attendance in Northland School Division
- An audit of the management by the Alberta Petroleum Marketing Commission (APMC) of the $26 billion commitment to supply bitumen to the Sturgeon refinery over a 30-year period
- An audit, prompted by a request from an MLA, of the contracting processes for two Alberta Health grants
- A follow-up audit on whether the Department of Transportation is consistently applying its policy of progressive sanctions against commercial carriers that persistently fail to comply with transportation legislation
- An audit of six departments’ systems to verify compliance with policies for travel, meal and hospitality expenses of the offices of the premier, ministers and their staff, for which the office examines the compliance systems in an annual rotation
The report also includes an initial audit on Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan (CLP), the findings of which will be included in a National Collaborative Audit on Climate Change to be released in the coming weeks.
The full report — along with video and executive summaries of the individual reports — is available at www.oag.ab.ca.