Western Economic Diversification Canada
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Executive Summary

The audit of the Alberta Regional Operations was identified in Western Economic Diversification Canada’s approved 2010-2013 Risk-Based Audit Plan. The audit objective was to provide reasonable assurance to the Deputy Minister that the Alberta Region has sound governance, forecasting, and reporting processes to support effective decision making.

The audit covered the period from April 2009 through to March 2010. The audit focused on governance structures and strategic directions, planning, budgeting, forecasting, and performance reporting in the region. In addition, transaction processing and appropriate delegation of authorities were examined. The audit team interviewed key personnel in the region and examined relevant documents, reports, and files to support the conclusions reached.

Findings

An appropriate governance framework was in place in the region to support decision making. Committees existed with clearly defined mandates and documented terms of reference. Minutes to meetings were kept and often posted on the intranet. Project officers were included in the decision making process through presentations made at Grants and Contributions Committee meetings. Regular town hall meetings were held in the region with all employees.

There is a process in place to identify financial resource requirements for delivering on departmental priorities. The audit noted that 81% of expenditures in the region occurred in the last quarter of the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

Departmental guidelines for financial reporting were followed in the region. Reports were comprehensive and there was an active process in place for adequate review. Forecasted information was accurate at predicting year end results and the variance between forecast and actual for salary and operating and maintenance expenses was less than 1%.

The region has good management practices and processes in place with respect to performance reporting. Performance reporting would be more effective and useful for regional senior management’s decision making if outcome results, reasons for significant variances from established targets and actions planned to address any gaps, and business plan strategies that require management attention to meet targets are reported and documented.

Transaction processing was found to be accurate and no exceptions were noted. Third party delivery coding was reviewed, and three of four third party delivery programs were correctly coded. The coding of the Community Futures Network was an isolated non- compliance with the program guidelines resulting in an immaterial misstatement of reported strategic outcomes.

Compliance with the Delegation of Authority instrument was reviewed, and found to have been met.

Statement of Assurance

In my professional judgement as Chief Audit Executive, sufficient and appropriate audit procedures have been conducted and evidence gathered to support the conclusion that the Alberta Region has sound governance, planning, budgeting, forecasting and reporting processes in place, subject to the implementation of the recommendations in the report.

The assurance is based on a comparison of the conditions, as they existed at the time, against pre-established audit criteria that were agreed upon with management. The assurance is applicable to the policies and processes examined. The evidence was gathered in accordance with Treasury Board policies, directives, and standards on internal audit for the Government of Canada. The evidence has been gathered to be sufficient to provide senior management with the proof of the conclusions derived from this audit.