Auditor General Flags Declining Implementation of Past Audit Recommendations
For release April 18 - Rates have fallen for government's implementation of Auditor General recommendations from past performance audits and work is needed to get back on track, reveals a new Follow-up Report.
“Although government has completed 92% of 2018 recommendations, momentum has slowed to 61% and 35% in completing 2019 and 2020 recommendations, respectively. In the case of 2020, this is one of the worst follow-up rates in almost two decades,” says Auditor General Kim Adair.
“It’s incumbent on the Public Accounts Committee, as well as the general public, to hold government accountable to see these recommendations through to completion,” says the Auditor General.
The Office of the Auditor General conducts audits to provide practical and constructive advice to improve government performance. If recommendations aren't completed, the same issues will persist and expose government to continued risks, including public safety risks.
The Department of Public Works has completed just one of seven recommendations from the 2019 audit of The Selection and Quality Management of Bridge Projects in Central and Western Districts, including not completing bridge inspections as required and not prioritizing bridge repair and replacement with consistent criteria.
“By not completing these recommendations, the department might not identify the highest priority bridge repair projects and safety concerns may not be identified and addressed in a timely manner.”
Even though 92% of 2018 audit recommendations have been implemented, the Auditor General stressed five that are still outstanding.
"Given it has been over four years, we would expect all 2018 recommendations to be implemented by now," says Adair.
That includes a recommendation from the audit of Correctional Facilities, and four recommendations from the audit of Grant Programs.
Two of the five outstanding recommendations from 2018 audits include:
- The Department of Justice should complete a review of correctional facilities to ensure all correctional staff complete required training and recertifications
- The Department of Communities, Culture, Tourism and Heritage should establish performance indicators, measure performance, and regularly evaluate grant programs
The government has publicly said the agreed-upon timeframe to complete Auditor General recommendations is two years. When the reports were released during 2018, government agreed to the recommendations and made a commitment to complete them, says the Auditor General.
“The departments said at the time that they would implement these recommendations and committed to start as early as 2019; but they are still not completed.”
The Auditor General flags two recommendations from the audit of the QEII New Generation Project - Halifax Infirmary Expansion and Community Outpatient Centre.
As of the follow-up report date, October 14, 2022, the Department of Public Works and Nova Scotia Health have not implemented a contract management process nor completed work to make sure the master plan reflects hospital system end user needs. That recommendation remains important now that the government has changed course in its delivery of the project.
“We encourage all organizations to work toward the timely completion of every recommendation we make, to help promote better government for all Nova Scotians,” says Adair.