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REGINA, May 27, 2008—Public protection and financial management practices at several government agencies must improve, according to Provincial Auditor Fred Wendel. The Auditor’s comments accompanied the release of the Auditor’s 2008 Report—Volume 1. The report covers about 130 government agencies.
The Ministry of Health prepares a report on surgical wait times. The wait times report is based on information provided by regional health authorities. Health uses this information to help manage its services. The information is not complete, accurate, or consistent among regions. Health needs to follow quality control processes to correct errors in the information and needs to be clear about the information’s use and limitations. “Better information would help the Ministry make appropriate resource allocation decisions,” said the Auditor. “It would also allow patients to make more informed decisions about their own care.”
The Ministry of Corrections, Public Safety and Policing delivers programs to rehabilitate inmates of correctional centres and reduce re-offending. The Ministry needs to carry out timely assessments and case plans to help ensure that inmates receive rehabilitation services. The Ministry also needs to monitor whether re-offenders received rehabilitation services to help it assess the performance of its programs.
The Ministry of Environment is responsible for regulating contaminated sites in Saskatchewan. However, Environment’s systems for tracking sites do not have accurate and up-to-date information. The Ministry also needs to complete risk assessments for sites and improve its guidance for employees to focus on sites posing the greatest risks. “The Ministry of Environment needs a complete and accurate record of contaminated sites in order to effectively assess and manage the risks that these sites pose," said the Auditor.
The Teachers’ Superannuation Commission administers a pension plan and several benefit plans for teachers. The Commission does not have adequate accounting policies and procedures to prepare accurate financial reports for the pension plan. Reports prepared by the Commission were incomplete and inaccurate. The Commission also did not keep proper financial records for the benefit plans. The Commission must maintain proper records and educate employees on proper procedures to control public money. “The Commission needs reliable financial information to make appropriate decisions,” said the Auditor. To help it address its issues and manage risks, the Commission needs to develop and implement a strategic plan as well as a human resource plan.
Investment Saskatchewan uses an outside agency to manage investments worth about $400 million. Investment Saskatchewan remains responsible for its investments and the oversight of them. However, Investment Saskatchewan has not adequately set out how it will assess the investment manager’s performance. Nor has it set out its expectations in sufficient detail to allow a comprehensive performance review. “An effective, thorough evaluation process is critical to allow Investment Saskatchewan to assess the investment manager’s performance and specify necessary changes.”
The 2008 Report—Volume 1 is available on the Internet at www.auditor.sk.ca.
For more information, contact:
Mr. Fred Wendel, CMA, CA
Provincial Auditor Saskatchewan
1500-1920 Broad Street
Regina, Saskatchewan S4P 3V2
Telephone: (306) 787-6361
Fax: (306) 787-6383
2008 Report - Volume 1: Auditor calls for better public protection and financial management (PDF)