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Release of the Annual Report of the Auditor General 2005-2006

The Auditor General of Alberta released his two volume 2005–2006 Annual Report today. This year we examined the government programs for drinking water, food safety, reforestation, and regional health authority global funding. The focus of the recommendations is on two key themes:

  • government needs to better monitor and enforce compliance with existing standards, and
  • it needs the right information to assess if programs are effective.

Four major systems audits

  • Drinking water (Vol. 1, page 25)—the government’s drinking water program is well designed. However, the systems do not always operate as designed.
  • Food Safety (Vol. 1, page 63)—government has well-designed food safety systems; however, improvement is needed in inspection programs and information systems.
  • Reforestation (Vol. 1, page 109)—the Department of Sustainable Resource Development has improved its regulatory activities but it needs to do more to ensure reforestation is successful. The lack of performance information is a critical problem.
  • Regional Health Authority Global Funding (Vol. 1, page 133)—Global Funding is effective and efficient; however, the government has not analyzed the success of, or addressed all concerns with, the Global Funding model.

Audit work in ministries and other entities

  • Information Technology project management (Vol. 1, page 171)—performance in achieving IT project objectives is inconsistent across government. Deputy Ministers and their Chief Information Officers need to provide the oversight necessary to ensure that IT projects are successfully completed on time and on budget.
  • Monitoring of apprenticeship program (Vol. 2, page 9)—the Department of Advanced Education should improve its monitoring of employers and their worksites to ensure that apprenticeship training standards are met, and that trades people have been certified.
  • Farm Fuel Benefit program eligibility (Vol. 2, page 37)—the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development needs to improve its administration of the Farm Fuel Benefit program; otherwise, it may be paying benefits to ineligible people.
  • School board budgeting (Vol. 2, page 65)—the Department of Education needs to help school boards improve their budget process, and help school board trustees with their financial oversight responsibilities.
  • Assurance on well and production data and royalty revenue adjustments (Vol. 2, pages 76 and 79)—progress was slower than expected so we repeated a recommendation to the Department of Energy to evaluate its assurance that well and production data is complete and accurate. Also, as a result of our audit, the Department reversed an adjustment it had made to reduce revenue by
    $237 million.
  • Health care costs (Vol. 2, Pages 116 and 118)—we have recommended that the Ministry of Health and Wellness explain and quantify annually, in its annual report, key factors affecting health care costs. The Ministry also needs to link health care costs to outputs for the Ministry as a whole. These recommendations will help Albertans understand why costs are increasing and help them assess if steps to control and reduce costs are working.
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