2009 Report - Volume 1: Government agencies slow to fix problems, says Auditor

May 29, 2009

REGINA, May 29, 2009—Provincial Auditor Fred Wendel today released Volume 1 of his 2009 Report. According to the Auditor, most of the agencies covered by the Report had adequate controls to protect public resources. And where problems existed, most agencies acted promptly to fix them. But some agencies are taking too long to address serious control problems. “I am particularly concerned where agencies have not acted promptly to fix continuing problems,” said Wendel.

The Ministry of Corrections, Public Safety and Policing still does not do proper reconciliations of its financial records to bank statements. Regular reconciliations are a basic control to detect errors and fraud. The Teachers’ Superannuation Commission also does not do proper reconciliations. As a result, public money is at risk. “The Government needs adequate controls to protect public money from unauthorized use or loss. Controls help ensure that public money is spent prudently and for the intended purpose,” said Wendel.

The Auditor’s report goes on to cite new control problems at other government agencies.

SaskTel makes extensive use of computer systems to deliver its products and services. However, SaskTel does not have adequate controls to protect its computer systems and data. SaskTel needs to secure its wireless computer systems. SaskTel also needs to improve security over customer credit card information. Without adequate controls, the accuracy and completeness of SaskTel’s data is at risk and there is risk of unauthorized disclosure of information.

Government Services needs to do a better job of maintaining government buildings. Government Services is responsible for operating and maintaining almost 500 buildings, such as provincial office buildings, health-care facilities, technical schools, and correctional facilities. But the Auditor found that the Ministry does not have accurate and complete information about the state of repair of its buildings. Nor does it have adequate maintenance plans or processes to ensure maintenance is carried out. “Not having good processes to maintain buildings can lead to a loss in value, higher future repair costs, diminished services, and health and safety issues for employees and the public,” said Wendel.

Many control issues can be traced back to human resource capacity, according to the Auditor. “The Government’s ability to provide effective services to the public and to properly control public resources depend on the competencies of its employees,” said Wendel. “The Government needs to do a better job of building and maintaining its human resource capacity.” The Public Service Commission is the central human resource agency for the Government’s 20 ministries. The Commission needs better processes to develop leaders for the public service. In addition, several ministries require better human resource plans to help ensure that they will have the right people in the right positions when needed.

The Auditor’s 2009 Report—Volume 1 covers 136 government agencies. The rest of the Government’s approximately 280 agencies will be covered in Volume 3 of the Report, to be tabled near the end of the year. Volume 2, to be tabled in the fall, describes the state of the Government’s finances.

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The 2009 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
 

2009 Report - Volume 1: Government agencies slow to fix problems, says Auditor (PDF)

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