Today, the Auditor General of Alberta, Merwan Saher, CA, arranged for tabling of the Report of the Auditor General of Alberta—April 2011 in the Legislative Assembly. The report contains the results of one new systems audit, 11 follow-up systems audits and our annual reporting on certain Alberta post-secondary institutions. There are 16 recommendations—11 are new and five are repeated. The highlights of our report include:
A systems audit in 2007 examined the Department’s systems for royalty review and we made five recommendations on how royalty regimes are described, reviewed, measured and publicly reported. In our follow-up audit, we have concluded that all recommendations have been implemented, with one exception. The Department has improved performance measures for conventional oil and natural gas royalties but has not yet developed performance measures for the oil sands royalty regime (page 31).
We have made 14 recommendations, of which four are repeated because of limited progress toward implementation. The repeated recommendation (no. 3—page 75) to Grant MacEwan University is because the University is unable to demonstrate that it is managing the risks that arise from starting projects without the protection that contracts provide.
These results reflect the rebalancing of the Office’s work plans to do an increasing number of follow-up audits. Verifying that recommendations have been successfully implemented is important because the benefit of our work can only be demonstrated when we can confirm implementation. Follow-up audits confirm that sustainable change has taken place. It is the payback on the investment of audit dollars in producing a recommendation. We approach follow-up audits with the rigor Albertans expect from this Office, and will repeat our recommendations when managers have not satisfactorily implemented them. We will continue to work through outstanding recommendations in the coming months—applying the same rigor that we apply to all our audit work—to ensure that positive change in government operations continues.
Up to and including our October 2010 Report, our assessments of management control systems (as part of our financial statement audits) and our stand-alone systems audits resulted in 308 outstanding recommendations. That number is now 280, not including the 11 new recommendations in this report.