Overview of the performance audit process
A performance audit is an independent, objective and systematic assessment of how well government is managing its activities, responsibilities and resources. These audits do not question the merits of government policies, rather they examine the government’s management practices, controls and reporting systems based on its own public administration policies and best practices. Some of our performance audits are cross-government. For example, we may examine a given topic of strategic importance across departments or other types of government organizations, such as Crown corporations.
Project selection is the process we use to select and narrow the focus of our audits to address areas of significance. We consider a number of factors including financial magnitude, impact of the subject matter on Manitobans and public interest.
As part of this phase, the team identifies its information needs and outlines entity areas, locations, or sites where the team expects to conduct preliminary fact-finding.
The audit team acquires appropriate knowledge of the entity under audit, activities or programs to be audited, and current issues facing the entity. The audit team makes various inquiries as part of the planning phase to gain an understanding of the audit subject. These inquiries include specific inquiries required by auditing standards. The audit team uses the gathered information to develop an audit plan.
The audit plan is provided to the entity at the end of the planning phase and includes information on the:
- Audit objective
- Audit scope and approach
- Audit criteria and their sources
- Responsibilities of the OAG and the entity
- Audit team
The audit team gathers evidence through interviews, site visits, and obtaining and reviewing documents to support its findings and conclude against the audit objective. At the end of this phase the audit team discusses its findings and conclusions with the entity.
At the end of the audit a draft audit report is produced which includes recommendations for improvement when there are significant differences between criteria and performance. The entity is provided the opportunity to review and discuss the draft and prepare a formal response for inclusion in the final report tabled in the Legislative Assembly. Once the report is tabled it is posted on our website.
A follow-up review is scheduled about 18 months after a project audit report is tabled, and then annual for 2 years (for a total of 3 years). These reviews follow-up on the implementation status of recommendations included in the report. After the third year, it is up to the Public Accounts Committee to decide if it wishes to continue following up on recommendations not implemented at that time.
Communication with the entity during the audit process
Throughout the audit process the OAG communicates both formally and informally with the audit entity. Here is a summary of the key communications during the audit process.