Reporting Performance Results to Albertans Followup
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 Reporting Performance Results to Albertans Followup report that was 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.
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:
Wildfire Management: Processes for Prevention and Improvement (November 2018)
Systems to Update Alberta’s Workforce Strategies (November 2018)
Design of Systems to Manage the Climate Leadership Plan and Adaptation (February 2018)
Funding Sustainable and Cost-Effective Legal Aid Services (May 2017)
Systems to Manage the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) Program (October 2016)