IT’S TIME FOR SOME ACCOUNTABILITY
City report with 40+ recommendations on ‘performance auditing’ gathering dust
Early in January, I had the opportunity as vice chair of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee to make a presentation to Hamilton Council as part of the city’s 2008 public budget process. Our presentation focused on a review of the internal audit process of the City of Hamilton as a priority and the benefits of a Value for Money Audit process, also known as Performance Auditing.
We discovered that an Internal Audit Review Report which made 40+ recommendations for priority changes had been done for the City of Hamilton two years ago through an RFP (Request For Proposal) process. Council approved the report and implementation of the recommendations.
The firm conducting the review was paid more than $45,000. We also discovered that there was no record that the report or the 40+ recommendations identified as priority audit changes were ever implemented or acted on. The city provided us with copies of both public documents.
Value for Money auditing is used to assess the stewardship of your public tax money ensuring that good value is received for money spent. It is also extensively used in other municipalities as well as the federal and provincial levels and in some charitable organizations.
The process can also assist in providing for a strong control environment by keeping a focus on the need for the right controls to be in place to provide for safeguarding of assets, compliance with laws and regulations, integrity of information as well as the efficiency and effectiveness of staff and council deliberations.
We asked City Council and staff to provide a status report on the implementation of the 40 recommendations identified. We are hopeful this important report paid for with taxpayers money is not sitting on a shelf collecting dust. Council instructed staff to look into recommendations and provide a written status report on the implementation.
The sooner these recommendations are acted on, the sooner we can accurately access potential tax savings and safeguard our assets.