August 29, 2019 – The Auditor General has issued two reports to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta:
Public Agency Board Member Recruitment and Selection
August 29, 2019
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada … Auditor General Doug Wylie says processes to recruit, select and appoint individuals to public agencies, boards and commissions are not consistently followed across government, and can be enhanced to be more effective and efficient.
The audit—Public Agency Board Member Recruitment and Selection—issued August 29 examined the Government of Alberta’s recruitment, screening, selection and appointment processes, as described in the Guidebook for Appointments to Alberta’s Public Agencies, and the principles of the Public Agencies Governance Framework.
“We found in many cases the appointment processes we examined followed the steps outlined in guidebook and adhered to the framework,” Wylie said. “However, we also found that these appointment processes were not followed consistently by all departments.”
- Open competitions were held for the reappointment of incumbent candidates rather than the efficient reappointment process described in the guidebook.
- Appointments did not occur in a timely manner, and some boards had multiple vacancies for longer than six months.
- In some cases, there was a lack of evidence on how the skills, specialized knowledge, experience and attributes described in position profiles were used to decide who was appointed.
Wylie stated consistent and effective processes to recruit and select sufficiently experienced and skilled individuals to govern Alberta’s public agencies is crucial to ensure the delivery of the programs and services these organizations provide.
“Public agencies manage and administer almost 50 per cent of the province’s budget,” Wylie said. “If public board members do not have the right skills and experience to provide effective oversight, it can impact how well programs and services are delivered to Albertans.”
In his report, he recommends the Public Agency Secretariat:
- Improve the use of succession plans and reappointments
- Improve guidance to departments on the use of professional recruitment services
- Strengthen the recruitment, screening and selection processes followed by departments to improve assessment of candidate competencies and conflicts of interest
- Improve its information systems to monitor processes to track competitions and appointments across government
The audit looked at the processes for board recruitment and selection between July 2017 and February 2019. The audit was completed and recommendations were presented to management of the Alberta Public Service Commission, which oversees the Public Agency Secretariat, in July of 2019.
Reporting Performance Results to Albertans Followup
August 29, 2019
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada … Government still needs to improve how it reports to Albertans on what government is achieving and at what cost, Auditor General Doug Wylie says in an August 29 report presented to Members of the Legislative Assembly.
“The results analysis section of a ministry annual report is the main communication to Albertans of ministry performance and progress on key strategies and ministry programs,” Wylie said. “Alberta ministries are still not reporting as effectively as they could on what results are being delivered for the investment of taxpayers’ dollars.”
Reporting Performance Results to Albertans Followup reports on recommendations from two previous audits conducted in 2012 and 2014 respectively examining the processes used by ministries to analyze and report on performance measure variance in annual reports, and on overall results analysis information publicly reported to Albertans through ministry annual reports.
The followup audit notes the department of Treasury Board and Finance implemented two past recommendations to improve ministry annual report processes for variance analysis and approval and performance measure reporting guidance and standards. It also improved processes on guidance, training and compliance monitoring, but further improvements are required.
“Good results analysis creates a meaningful and complete picture to Albertans on what value is gained for the money spent and what changes should be made in future to generate even greater value,” said Wylie. “A lack of sufficient and appropriate results analysis compromises government’s ability to apply lessons learned to operations and to future planning.”
The ministry annual reports examined were inconsistent in providing integrated financial and non-financial information on key strategies, and on any lessons learned from those results. Twelve of ministries examined did not effectively explain the results achieved by each key strategy identified in their business plan, nor any of the lessons learned from analyzing performance.
Ministry annual reports also do not sufficiently identify or analyze significant issues, and contain inconsistent levels of costing information.
“Albertans use costing information to make countless decisions every day, ranging from whether they can afford to buy a coffee or purchase a vehicle,” Wylie said. “Government is no different. Limited costing information reduces the government’s ability to make informed decisions to obtain value for taxpayers’ dollars.”
Treasury Board and Finance needs to improve how it monitors ministry compliance to its reporting guidelines. As a result, the report repeats a previous recommendation to Treasury Board and Finance to improve the processes on how government reports its performance results to Albertans.
Wylie said the need for improvement in ministry results analysis reporting is consistent with findings in other audits, which have outstanding recommendations on better results reporting to Albertans on government programs and strategies. These include:
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