2001 Fall Report - Volume 2: Report highlights Government need to manage key risks

December 13, 2001

Regina, December 13, 2001—Fred Wendel, Acting Provincial Auditor, today released Volume 2 of his 2001 Fall Report. Volume 2 covers nearly 140 government agencies and reports on the Government’s management of public resources.

For the most part, the government agencies covered by the Report have adequate systems and practices to safeguard and control public resources. However, the Report highlights the challenges government agencies face in managing their key risks, particularly in the areas of infrastructure, governance, and population changes.

“Infrastructure is an important focus for our Office because of the size of the Government’s investment and in light of what we found in earlier audits,” said Wendel. Government agencies require sound project management of infrastructure projects, including computer systems. The audit of the implementation of the new LAND System indicates that, for the most part, Information Services Corporation is using adequate project management practices. “To allow legislators and the public to assess the merits of the LAND system,” said Wendel, “Information Services Corporation should set measurable and verifiable benefits for the new System and report publicly on whether it achieves them.”

Other key risks involve governance. Without effective governance, public resources are not properly safeguarded and controlled. For the year ended March 31, 2001, Liquor and Gaming did not have adequate practices to supervise SIGA. For the same period, SIGA’s practices allowed the improper use of public money. Since that time, however, both Liquor and Gaming and SIGA have made good progress in improving their management of public money. The Auditor also notes improvement in the management and accountability practices of the Department of Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs, and those of the Trustees of the First Nations Fund. “While much has been accomplished at these organizations,” said Wendel, “much remains to be done. We will continue to monitor and report on their progress.”

Government agencies also need to manage key risks arising from changes to Saskatchewan’s population. The changing makeup of the population poses challenges and provides opportunities. For example, Saskatchewan’s Aboriginal population is increasing and, on average, getting younger. The rest of Saskatchewan’s population is decreasing and, on
average, becoming older. The Auditor found that the Department of Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs is doing a good job of coordinating action in its “Framework for Cooperation” which aims to improve the long-term future of Métis and off-reserve First Nations people and increase their participation in the Saskatchewan economy.

The Government continues to improve its overall public accountability. The Report describes the Government’s Accountability Project, involving government departments, and its “Balanced Scorecard” initiative in the Crown sector. “We support the Government’s continuing efforts to promote accountability,” said Wendel. “We look forward to better management and improved public reporting through these initiatives.”

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This Report is available on the Internet at www.auditor.sk.ca.

For more information, contact:

Mr. Fred Wendel, CMA, CA
Acting Provincial Auditor Saskatchewan
1500 –1920 Broad Street
Regina, Saskatchewan S4P 3V7
Telephone (306) 787-6361
Fax: (306) 787-6383
 

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