Update on the Auditor General for Local Government

On Tuesday, delegates were informed of changes that are underway related to the governance and operations of the office of the Auditor General for Local Government (AGLG).

Jacquie Dawes, Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development told delegates that the Province of B.C. remains committed to the work of the AGLG office: “We feel [the office] is now operating as it should and serving the interests of taxpayers.” Ms. Dawes affirmed that UBCM’s report from earlier this year would help to inform where the office will go in the future.

The Acting Auditor General for Local Government, Arn van Iersel, outlined changes that have already been implemented in the office in response to the recommendations from an independent review and the report by UBCM. Mr. van Iersel indicated that further training of staff has been undertaken and that UBCM has been approached to provide further suggestions for upgraded training.

Mr. van Iersel also said the office would scale back the number of audit and perspective reports published annually. The AGLG office will also dedicate their own staff to undertake all fieldwork and gradually reduce the use of external contractors. Audit topics that are currently under consideration by the office include water systems and human resources.

Audit Council member Tim Wood told delegates that he believed “performance auditing is a fundamental means of protecting democracy” since it helps to build public confidence and trust in government. Mr. Wood also indicated that the Audit Council wants to build on the positive momentum that van Iersel has generated in the AGLG over the past six months.

Mayor Wayne Baldwin voiced appreciation for work that has been undertaken to date. Mayor Baldwin, who is also a member of the UBCM Executive, expressed concern that as yet consultation on proposed legislative changes to the office had not taken place with UBCM. The province announced that legislation would likely be introduced in the fall legislative session this year. Mr. Baldwin also noted that Minister Fassbender has been engaged with this file since his recent appointment, and expressed hope that better collaboration will result at the direction of the Minister.

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