Follow-up Audit of the Strategic Communities Investment Fund
9 Pages
English
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Follow-up Audit of the Strategic Communities Investment Fund

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Learn all about the services we offer
9 Pages
English

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Follow-up Audit of the Strategic Communities Investment Fund – Program Management Report – Fiscal Year 2003/04 Audit Directorate Final Report March 2006 TABLE OF CONTENTS OBJECTIVES .................................................................................. 1 SCOPE............................................................................................ 1 METHODOLOGIES......................................................................... 1 RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SCIF AND ICF................................... 1 AUDIT RESULTS ............................................................................ 2 Post Payment Audit (MAP – Recommendation 2) .................... 2 Components of the Program (MAP – Recommendation 3)....... 3 Client Service Standards (MAP – Recommendation 4) ............ 4 OVERALL CONCLUSION............................................................... 5 Audit Directorate Follow-up Audit of the Strategic Communities Investment Fund – Program Management Report – Fiscal Year 2003/04 OBJECTIVES The objectives of this follow-up engagement were to: • Identify the recommendations from the 2003 Strategic Community Investment Fund (SCIF) Audit of Program Management and determine the risk associated with each; • Review and document the actions taken by management in response to the 2003 SCIF Audit ...

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Follow-up Audit of the
Strategic Communities Investment Fund –
Program Management Report –
Fiscal Year 2003/04
Audit Directorate
Final Report
March 2006
TABLE OF CONTENTS
OBJECTIVES.................................................................................. 1
SCOPE............................................................................................ 1
METHODOLOGIES......................................................................... 1
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SCIF AND ICF................................... 1
AUDIT RESULTS............................................................................ 2
Post Payment Audit (MAP – Recommendation 2) .................... 2
Components of the Program (MAP – Recommendation 3)....... 3
Client Service Standards (MAP – Recommendation 4) ............ 4
OVERALL CONCLUSION............................................................... 5
Audit Directorate
Page 1
Follow-up Audit of the
Strategic Communities Investment Fund –
Program Management Report –
Fiscal Year 2003/04
OBJECTIVES
The objectives of this follow-up engagement were to:
Identify the recommendations from the 2003 Strategic Community
Investment Fund (SCIF) Audit of Program Management and determine
the risk associated with each;
Review and document the actions taken by management in response
to the 2003 SCIF Audit of Program Management; and,
Provide management with results from the follow-up audit.
The examination was conducted during December 2005 and January 2006 and
covered activities that have occurred since the issuance of the SCIF Audit report.
SCOPE
The scope of this audit included three of the four recommendations from the
original audit report. The findings were considered to be of moderate to high risk
and included:
Post-Payment Audit (MAP, Recommendation 2)
Components of the Program (MAP, Recommendation 3)
Client Service Standards (MAP, Recommendation 4)
In addition, the audit reviewed the relationship between SCIF and the new
Innovative Communities Fund (ICF) Program.
METHODOLOGIES
Interviews with SCIF Program Officer; and,
Document review relating to SCIF achievements.
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SCIF AND ICF
Funding through the SCIF Program ended in March 2005 and the Program is
currently considered to be in payout years. The new ICF Program which was
launched in 2005 will have the same clients and follow the same procedures as
Audit Directorate
Page 2
the SCIF Program. Similar to SCIF, ICF will also have as its main objective to
create stronger and more sustainable communities. Fundamentally, ICF will be
managed in the same way as SCIF, including an ICF Working Group which will
be composed of representatives from the regions and head office.
AUDIT RESULTS
Post Payment Audit (MAP – Recommendation 2)
SCIF Audit Report
The SCIF program planned to use the payment system in place for the Business
Development Program (BDP). The payment system for the BDP was developed
in 1995 for the implementation of the BDP and included a Post-Payment Audit
(PPA) system that was designed to assess the level of control on an ongoing
basis.
The payment system has been found to maintain good control of
payments.
The post-payment audit system used for BDP was developed specifically for that
program taking into consideration the volume of payments, mix of commercial
and non-commercial projects and payment risk. To use the PPA approach for
the SCIF program, the payment system should be assessed and the PPA
sampling approach should be designed to evaluate the effectiveness of the SCIF
payment system on an ongoing basis.
In the 2003 Audit of Program Management, it was recommended that the
payment approach for SCIF and the design of the PPA system used to monitor
the effectiveness of control of payments be assessed to determine if the system
will provide decision making information about payments and the level of
payment risk.
Management agreed to proceed with the PPA for SCIF taking into consideration
all recommendations from the Audit.
Follow-up Audit
The follow-up audit found that PPAs have been completed for SCIF.
Assessment of the process will be completed by the Audit Directorate by the end
of April 2006.
Conclusion
With the completion of the SCIF Program in March 2005, there are no further
recommendations for SCIF; however, we would recommend that a PPA process
be considered for the new ICF Program.
Audit Directorate
Page 3
Management Response
Management agrees with the recommendation. We understand that the PPA
process for all programs will be amalgamated in the new fiscal year. We support
the need for results to be program specific and will help ensure that a sufficient
level of PPAs are undertaken to provide an opinion on the payment system for
ICF.
Components of the Program (MAP – Recommendation 3)
SCIF Audit Report
The objective of SCIF was to focus on rural communities and support strategic
initiatives that help communities adopt new technologies, enhance the
competitiveness
of
their
industrial
base,
and
develop
their
economic
infrastructure. SCIF operated under a well-defined program framework.
Emphasis was placed on projects that increased the region’s capacity for
innovation and knowledge-based opportunities or which otherwise enhanced the
region’s capacity to generate trade and investment opportunities and assist in the
development of key sectors. Both new-economy and resource sectors which had
potential to expand or diversify in the knowledge-based economy were included.
The nature of the SCIF program was interpreted by the OAG in Chapter 6 of the
2001 report to be “conditionally repayable and non-repayable contributions to
assist in building new partnerships that will increase the capacity of Atlantic
Canadians to compete in an increasingly global, knowledge-based economy.”
The 2003 Audit of Program Management found that the range of projects being
approved was less distributed among the various components of eligible
initiatives than some might expect.
The Audit recommended that the Agency explore the need to broaden the range
of actual projects among the various elements of program objectives. Further,
the Agency was encouraged to work with communities to ensure SCIF projects
were in line with community strategic plans, thus potentially improving the
strategic element of projects.
Management agreed to hold discussions with officials responsible for SCIF in
each region and will continue to work with the communities on projects that
reflect their needs.
Follow-up Audit
In the follow-up audit, evidence was found that Account Managers worked with
clients and met regularly with community interest groups such as associations
and municipalities to help expand the range of projects being approved. Further,
Audit Directorate
Page 4
accomplishments have been made in the IT sector and have been documented
by SCIF management for monitoring and reporting purposes.
Finally, preparations for the Summative Evaluation of SCIF will begin in
January 2006 and will report on the results of SCIF in helping communities adopt
new technologies to enhance their capacity for innovation and knowledge-based
opportunities, enhance their capacity to affect greater trade and investment
opportunities and assist in the development of key sectors.
Conclusion
Management’s commitment to broaden the range of projects to meet program
objectives was met with success. No further actions are recommended.
Client Service Standards (MAP – Recommendation 4)
SCIF Audit Report
The SCIF Program was launched without benefit of established overall
turnaround times, or of targets for each step in the process. This made it difficult
for those dealing directly with clients or potential clients to provide meaningful
estimates of when a project decision could be expected.
Naturally enough,
without recourse to a published standard, delays on some projects were
permitted to creep into the process.
The Agency has recognized the need for establishing client service objectives,
specifically related to timeliness of response.
Currently underway within the
Agency is an initiative to develop process maps for SCIF project evaluation. The
results will be used to identify and deal with activities which do not add value, in
order that meaningful and reasonable service standards can be developed.
We
believe
there
may
be
opportunities
to
further
improve
program
responsiveness by examining the delegation of authority structure of Agency
programs. This, combined with process mapping and other ongoing work with
respect
to
client
service
objectives,
may
permit
improvements
to
the
effectiveness and the efficiency of program delivery.
It was recommended that the Agency establish client service objectives and
standards for each program and publish those standards to permit objective
analysis of service. The 2003 Audit also encouraged the Agency to continue with
the process mapping initiative currently underway and to use the results to help
establish client service standards.
Management agreed to finalize the process mapping initiative for SCIF and to
participate in any future reviews of the Agency’s program delegations in order to
establish Agency-wide client service standards.
Audit Directorate
Page 5
Follow-up Audit
During the follow-up audit, we determined that process maps were completed.
According to SCIF Management, regional offices are now able to refine and
streamline their work process for project evaluations and update the process
maps as changes occur. Further, results from research based on the use of the
process maps, have been communicated to Program Directors to assist with the
establishment of Agency-wide client service standards.
Client service standards have not been established for SCIF. However, the issue
of service standards for ACOA, in general, is being discussed by ACOA’s Service
Quality Committee with the intention of updating Agency service standards which
will benefit all programs.
Conclusion
With due consideration of the needs of ICF, we recommend that ACOA, with the
assistance of the Service Quality Committee, establish Agency-wide client
service standards.
Management Response
The issue of service standards for ACOA in general are being discussed by the
Service Quality Committee.
We understand that there is an expectation to
update/change the service standards across the Agency. We will ensure that the
needs of SCIF/ICF will be included in these discussions.
OVERALL CONCLUSION
Following an examination of the activities performed by SCIF Management since
the Audit, we conclude that, with the exception of developing client service
standards, ACOA has responded to the recommendations made in the SCIF
Audit of Program Management. It is anticipated that the need for client service
standards will be addressed by the Agency as a whole.