UBCM Executive Meets with AGLG

Ms. Basia Ruta, the recently appointed Auditor General for Local Government (AGLG), met with UBCM's Executive during its recent meetings in Victoria.  The Executive asked questions of Ms. Ruta as she prepares to deliver her first service plan by March 31st, 2013.

Ms. Ruta told Executive that her first task was to develop a risk based audit plan that will provide the themes and criteria for the office's first service plan.

The Executive asked Ruta whether the complexity of the accountability model for the office would affect the independence of the AGLG, and how the office would manage demands to perform specific audits coming from government, the general public, media or local government.  Ruta noted the primary role played by the Audit Council in evaluating her work, and the limited roles for both the Minister and the Legislative Assembly. Ruta also said that legal advice she had received assured her that it would be her call to determine the audits that would be undertaken.

The Executive also raised the issue of “scope creep”, particularly if the work of the office will include comparing service delivery between local governments, since the policies that underlie service delivery vary from community to community.  Ruta said that she believed that making comparisons between local governments was integral to the role of the AGLG, and that it would be useful to conduct “horizontal audits” across a group of local governments to consider a specific topic, such as procurement practices.

Ruta invited the UBCM Executive to send staff to a two-day workshop to develop aspects of the strategic framework for the new office.  The Executive agreed to support this request and thanked Ms. Ruta for taking the time to meet so early in her term. 

The Auditor General for Local Government Act sets out the guidelines for the appointment, mandate and powers of the AGLG, including the selection of audits and limit on audits.

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