Tuesday March 30, 2021 | VICTORIA, BC
by Mary P Brooke, Editor | Island Social Trends
Ten performance audits on the list of the BC Auditor General’s office are on hold “due to unforeseen circumstances”, and generally due to respecting the workloads of government officials in many areas of the public service as they are working hard to deal with the many pressures and changes (including many new programs) brought on by dealing with the COVID pandemic.
The audits on pause due to “evolving circumstances” were listed out: Access to timely cancer care, BC Hydro – Site C Dam Project (government asked for more time for review), Corporate Succession Management in the BC Public Service, Internal Audit, Legislative Assembly Audits (“to evaluate changing practices” but also to “avoid repeating work”), Management of Hazardous Material Spills, Mental Health Services Wait Times, Substance Use Services – formerly known as Opioid Crisis Response (human resources in that area presently focussing on the clinical response to the pandemic as well), Gender Pay Equity, and Palliative Care at Interior Health – formerly known as End-of-Life Care.
Today the AG’s office issued a Report at a Glance and a video to provide an overview of this information, with the goal of providing public transparency, said Auditor General Michael Pickup.
He says that such reports aim to include current info, along with the goals of being relevant and adding value.
Delays not uncommon:
“Delays are not uncommon,” said Pickup in his session with media today. “It’s not abnormal to delay some,” he said, indicating that they balance their independence to do the work with the realities of the entities that they audit.
“Audits come with a certain level of burden” to the offices and personnel being audited, Pickup explained. So if there is good reason given to not being able to accommodate the audit process at a given time, that reason is listened to, he said.
COVID vaccine rollout:
The COVID vaccine rollout “is something that’s worthy of audit”, the Auditor General said proactively, not in response to any particular media question.
Gender Pay Equity:
Of all the audits listed in the report, the Gender Pay Equity audit, had no previously announced date. This is interesting in that Premier John Horgan has since day one of his government in July 2017 has made a high profile of gender equity in his government. Pickup’s report says that “limitations in government data made it difficult to audit (for gender pay equity), so we instead reported our preliminary findings and analysis to the Public Service Agency”.
Island Social Trends is looking further into the mechanisms and processes by which the BC Government hopes to assess and evaluate the path to gender pay equity.
The full Auditor General’s Status Report is available online. | Report at a Glance available online