Gov’t agencies correct breaches
AN EVALUATION of the steps taken by government agencies to correct breaches highlighted in audit reports released by the Auditor General’s Department (AGD) has found that the agencies have either implemented or are in the process of implementing the recommendations made.
The study, which was conducted by Jeanette Calder of the Jamaica Civil Society Coalition, examined 41 audit reports over a six-year period.
Using special performance and information technology audit reports submitted by the AGD between 2010-2015, Calder requested information from the agencies audited to ascertain if the recommendations were implemented and if officers responsible for breaches were held accountable.
Although only 41 per cent of ministries, agencies and departments from which information was requested responded, the study found that they have been responsive to concerns.
“Of the nine institutions that responded to requests for information, the majority of the concerns were found to have been fully remedied or were in the process of being remedied,” Calder said in the report detailing the findings of the study.
The report highlighted the ministries of health, education, and labour and social security as the entities which, “stand out quantitatively and qualitatively for the frequency, nature and level of breaches”.
Even while acknowledging the formal follow-up mechanism employed by the auditor general to ensure recommendations are implemented, the study called for this to be bolstered.
“There is a formal follow-up mechanism at the Auditor General’s Department. However, in light of the level of breaches, there is a need for additional resources to ensure responsiveness to the recommendations and the Public Accounts Committee. The Public Accountability Inspectorate could be tasked with this responsibility,” the report of the findings said.
Other mechanism suggested by Calder in the report include the enacting of legislation which separates the responsibilities of the auditor general from the Financial Accountability Act, review of the Public Bodies Management Accountability Act and the establishment of an online database that records the breach and the remedial measures taken by delinquent entities.