According to B.C.’s Auditor General, John Doyle, the province’s Legislative Assembly’s financial records are a mess. The report shows substantial irregularities regarding the Legislature’s financial accounting, in addition to poor governance, a media release from the Office of the Auditor General of B.C. said.
“The audit identified a large number of significant and serious issues. As a result, I am unable to conclude as to whether the amounts recorded in the financial records we examined are correct,” said Doyle. “I recommend that the Legislative Assembly take immediate steps to address numerous deficiencies identified within the audit.”
A previous audit done by the Office in 2007 had identified a number of areas for improvement, such as improving internal controls (which help protect against fraud or error) and providing publically-available audited financial statements.
“Had the Legislative Assembly implemented the recommendations from my Office’s 2007 report, the results of this audit work would have been much more positive,” said Doyle. “As it stands, the Legislative Assembly is falling well short of the basic financial management practices established for the rest of government.”
Detailed observations and recommendations were provided to the Clerk of the House, the Legislative Comptroller and the Speaker, who chairs the Legislative
Assembly Management Committee, the governing body of the Legislative Assembly, but their responses have been underwhelming.
“Unfortunately, I have not been provided an opportunity to discuss any part of this audit with the governing body of the Legislative Assembly,” said Doyle. “And, while Legislative Assembly management has provided responses to the management letter recommendations arising from this audit, neither their responses nor their action plans adequately address many of my concerns.”
The Legislative Assembly has resisted the 2007 recommendation to produce financial statements, which has meant the Auditor General’s Office audited the trial balances for fiscal years 2009, 2010 and 2011. According to the Office, the audit excluded the use of members’ constituency allowances, except for payment of salaries, at the request of the Speaker.