Auditor General’s follow-up work finds some recommendations remain unimplemented, leaving taxpayers exposed to risks24 February 2022
FREDERICTON (GNB) – In his report tabled today at the legislative assembly, auditor general Paul Martin highlights areas of unimplemented recommendations in prior years’ performance audit chapters that leave taxpayers exposed to ongoing risks, potentially worsening over time.
The report includes status updates on the implementation of recommendations made in performance audits from 2015 to 2019.
The follow-up work uncovered that entities have implemented 65 per cent of recommendations, including both self-reported and verified results.
“Overall, I am disappointed to see the amount of recommendations that have yet to be implemented based on previous years’ performance audits,” said Martin.
Detailed follow-up work on recommendation implementation included chapters from 2015 and 2017 on Residential Property Assessment – Special Examination (2017), Financial Assistance to Atcon Holdings Inc. and Industry (2017 and 2015), Climate Change (2017), and Advisory Services Contract (2017).
Recommendations related to property tax assessment in the area of data validation and the independence of the statutory officer remain unimplemented. In total, only 64 per cent of the recommendations made in this chapter have been implemented.
With regards to the work on financial assistance to Atcon Holdings and Industry, the detailed follow-up work found that 86 per cent of recommendations have been implemented. Work remains to be done by Opportunities New Brunswick on public reporting of performance results and declarations to cabinet when significant high-risk financial assistance is being considered.
Also, recommendations to the Department of Environment and Local Government and NB Power regarding the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change adaptation were only 50 per cent implemented. Recommendations to Social Development from the Advisory Services Contract chapter found only 38 per cent of recommendations have been implemented to date. The department has yet to fully track actual savings from contracts or publicly report on impacts to client service quality from contracted services.
The auditor general said it is unfortunate that recommendations from four to six years ago remain unimplemented.
“I understand that some of these recommendations may be complex, however, we encourage departments and crown agencies to continue their work on unimplemented recommendations,” he said.
The Follow-Up chapter is available online as part of Volume II of the 2021 Auditor General Report.