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Our 2022 Report – Volume 1 includes the results of six non-financial performance audits, 19 follow-up audits, and annual integrated audits of 58 different agencies with fiscal year-ends between July and December 2021. These include integrated audits of three Crown corporations and agencies, 27 school divisions, and 18 pension and employee benefit plans. Appendix 1 lists each agency along with its year-end date, whether matters are reported, and, if so, in which Report.
This Section includes only new concerns with IT controls at certain school divisions. Prairie South School Division No. 210 and Northern Lights School Division No. 113 need to appropriately restrict user access to their financial systems. Appropriately restricting privileged user access reduces the risk of staff either obtaining inappropriate access or making improper transactions.
Also, 13 school divisions use a key financial IT system—managed by a third-party service provider—with identified system vulnerabilities that exposes them to increased cybersecurity risks. An opportunity exists for the Ministry of Education to work with the impacted school divisions not only to improve the monitoring of the IT system and the service provider, but also to mitigate identified risks and reduce cyber threats.
Performance audits take a more in-depth look at processes related to the management of public resources or compliance with legislative authorities. Performance audits span various topics and government sectors. In selecting which areas to audit, we attempt to identify topics with the greatest financial, social, health, or environmental impact on Saskatchewan. Three highlighted performance audits 'At A Glance' are as follows:
Overall, agencies implemented less recommendations on an overall basis (42%) than our recent Report (2021 Report – Volume 2: 55%). The percentage of recommendations not implemented (at 18%) is similar to our past Report (2021 Report – Volume 2: 18%). The extent to which agencies implement recommendations demonstrates whether the recommendations reflect areas that are important to improve public sector management, and whether agencies act on them quick enough.
SGI implemented all four recommendations made in 2019 related to monitoring automated speed enforcement fines. SaskEnergy also implemented all three recommendations made in 2020 around keeping existing transmission pipelines operating safely. We were also pleased to see SaskPower fully implemented five of the seven recommendations we first made in 2018 in regards to maintaining above-ground assets used to distribute electricity. SaskPower implemented a broader strategy for managing its distribution assets. Adopting this strategy is changing how employees complete maintenance work and how senior management makes key maintenance decisions.
There are some agencies that have further work to do.
Stemming from our original 2017 audit of MRI services in Regina, the Saskatchewan Health Authority has not yet formally assessed the quality of MRI services that radiologists provide, but is in the process of developing a peer-review program to do so. Such a process will help confirm whether a patient receives an appropriate diagnosis.
Workers’ Compensation Board is also undertaking a significant claims transformation process initiative that it expects will result in better coordination of injured workers’ return to work. The initiative anticipates increased standardization, communication, and monitoring and should be complete by December 2025.
Our Office’s mission to promote accountability and better management of public resources, while preserving our independence, provides legislators and the public with an independent assessment of the Government’s use of public resources. We do this through our audit work and publicly reported results, along with our mutual involvement with legislative committees charged with reviewing our Reports.
This 2022 Report – Volume 1 provides legislators and the public critical information on whether the Government issued reliable financial statements, used effective processes to administer programs and services, and complied with governing authorities. It includes the results of examinations of different agencies completed by May 4, 2022 with details on annual integrated and performance audits, as well as our follow-up work on previously issued recommendations by our Office and by the Standing Committees on Public Accounts and Crown and Central Agencies.
All prior reports are available here for your reference.