Fred J. Dunn, FCA, Auditor General of Alberta, released his 2004–2005 Annual Report today.
Mr. Dunn said that government is making satisfactory progress with last year’s key issues. Audit focus continues to be on safety and welfare of Albertans; security and use of provincial resources; and governance and ethics. The Report contains 60 recommendations—37 are numbered and require a formal response from government. The following 6 issues are key to improving the effectiveness of government operations:
- Recruiting, evaluating and training boards (page 26)—Government must establish a common and current understanding of what good governance means so it can guide Boards of Directors, who govern over 100 organizations in the Alberta public sector.
- Internal audit (page 30)—We believe that the government could assist audit committees by providing guidance for overseeing internal audit departments in the public sector. And audit committees need to increase their support of their internal audit departments.
- Agriculture (page 109)—Department has not made satisfactory progress evaluating the performance of its grant programs. As well, Agriculture Financial Services Corporation needs to improve controls over its loan and indemnity programs.
- Alberta Treasury Branches (page 193)—We repeated our recommendation that atb ensure its lending officers comply with corporate lending policies. atb has a high number of loan files with a breach of a key control.
- Energy (page 163)—To achieve their respective mandates, the Department and the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board should evaluate the assurance they need over oil and gas production volumes. The benefit of strengthened control will outweigh the cost, especially as there is opportunity for increased efficiency from improved collaboration.
- Seniors care and programs (page 53)—Recommendations from the May 2005 report are repeated so government can formally respond. The key finding was that standards are not current and monitoring is inadequate. We have not carried out any follow-up auditing but we have summarized the actions that Departments have taken.
Potential public interest—the following matters, although not identified as key, are likely of interest to the public: Mount Royal College retention bonuses (Page 100), Wild Rose Foundation grants to Applewood (page 136), Economic Development’s grant to Athabasca Oils Sands Transportation Corporation (page 152), and the Government Air Fleet (page 250).
Work in progress—The audits of Alberta Social Housing Corporation land sales in Fort McMurray and the Alberta Securities Commission enforcement system are still in progress. The reports are scheduled for release near the end of October.