Frequently Asked Questions
What is a performance audit?
A performance audit looks at how well things are done. It focuses on a specific organization or program to see if it is running as smoothly as possible.
It’s not a financial audit. Find out more about our performance audits.
Is this an audit by the provincial government?
No. Our office works at arm’s length from the provincial government. We have sole authority to select topics and local governments to be audited.
How are your audits 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.
Financial audits focus on compliance and ensuring that financial statements are fairly stated.
Our performance audits look at how your government delivers a service. We highlight where you’re doing well and recommend ways that you may be able to save money, time or resources. At the end of the day, our goal is to help local governments deliver better services to their communities.
How are audit topics selected?
Our audit topics are selected after consulting with local governments. We rely on this engagement to help us identify the key issues and risks that they face.
How do you select a local governments for an audit?
There are many reasons that we may select a local government for an audit. Usually it’s a combination of factors. When deciding who to audit, we:
- consider how relevant and important the audit topic is to the local government. (For instance, if our audit topic was tsunami preparedness, we may choose to look at a coastal community.)
- ensure that our audits include local governments of all sizes, types and locations
- may choose to look at a local government that has good practices in place, so that we can highlight them for other local governments
Is the audit process confidential?
Yes. The information we gather throughout the audit process is highly confidential.
Our 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 accessed through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.
How long does the audit process take?
Since each performance audit is unique, the time required to complete an audit will vary. Usually, the process will take anywhere from six months to one year to complete.
Are your reports available to the general public?
Yes. Our final performance audit reports are made public on our website.
Can you force a local government to implement your recommendations?
No. Like other auditors general, we do not have the power to enforce our recommendations.
It’s up to the local government to decide whether—and how—to respond to our recommendations.
In our experience, however, we have found that most of our recommendations are accepted and implemented. You’ll find an action plan, prepared by the local government, in each of our audit reports.