Frequently Asked Questions
What is a performance audit?
Performance audits, sometimes called “value-for-money” audits, are conducted by the AGLG to evaluate the operations of local governments. AGLG performance audits follow a consistent process that has four stages: initiating, planning, examination and reporting. Each of these stages includes a specific set of steps that enable the AGLG to gather the information they need to provide useful recommendations to a local government in the final audit report.
Is this an audit by the provincial government or is it an independent audit?
This performance audit is being carried out by the Auditor General for Local Government (AGLG), which operates at arm’s length from the provincial government. The AGLG has sole authority to select topics and those local governments to be audited.
How is this audit different from the regular audit of financial statements that all local governments do each year?
A performance audit is quite different from an audit of financial statements that local governments in B.C. currently have completed each year which focus on compliance matters and ensuring that financial statements are fairly stated. The AGLG’s performance audits look at the operations of local governments, specifically focusing on the economy and efficiency of those operations and the extent to which they are effective, efficient and economical in achieving the strategic policy directions set by the local government.
How are audit topics selected?
Audit topics are selected by the AGLG through a systematic audit planning process. The detailed planning and prioritization process includes consultation with local governments and other stakeholders to identify key issues affecting local governments in British Columbia.
How is a local government selected for an audit?
The AGLG’s selection of a particular local government that will be the subject of an audit is based on factors such as:
• The relevance of the audit topic to a particular local government and/or importance of the audit topic to the local government’s operations.
• Ensuring that the range of audits, over time, includes local governments of varying types, sizes, and geographical locations.
• Potential sources of good practices that may be identified and may be of value to other local governments.
Is the audit process confidential?
The performance audit process and the information gathered throughout the audit is highly confidential. AGLG audit-related information is exempt from the provisions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act so information gathered from local governments during an audit cannot be access through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request. Detailed information on confidentiality requirements during an audit can be found in sections 16 and 24 of the Auditor General for Local Government Act.
When long does the audit process take?
Since each performance audit is unique, the time required to complete an audit will vary. The AGLG estimates that the process for most audits is likely to take anywhere from six months to one year to complete, from start to finish, depending on the complexity of the audit.
Are AGLG reports available to the general public?
Yes. All final AGLG performance audit reports are made public on our website. The report will also include a summary of the local government’s comments and action plan.
Can the AGLG force a local government to implement its recommendations?
No. Like other auditors general, the AGLG does not have the power to force local governments to implement recommendations resulting from an AGLG audit report. The recommendations made in an AGLG audit report are intended to assist a local government in improving its performance. We have found that local governments accept most recommendations and implement them through an Action Plan which also forms part of the final audit report.