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Thematic Map

The Department has incorporated a forward-looking approach in conducting audits for the next three years. In developing this approach, an assessment of our audit reports issued from April 2011 to November 2016 was undertaken to identify the common weaknesses across the MDAs. The findings were then classified under 19 sub-themes, which were then further analysed resulting in the identification of five key themes based on the characteristics and interrelatedness of the sub-themes.

Use of the Audit Themes

Each theme incorporates an analysis of our findings and the impact on the entities’ resources. Accordingly, we have included extracts from our audit reports, which illustrate the typical findings. It is envisaged that the themes will be used by the MDAs to assess the effectiveness of the internal controls and operational management of their entities as well as guide them in identifying appropriate solutions for inherent weaknesses.

The Auditor General’s Department utilizes five thematic areas when developing its annual audit plan. The areas identified were derived from a review of reports issued by the Auditor General’s Department which signaled the need for increased focus on these areas of corporate governance.

Theme 1: Governance
The Government of Jamaica signalled in September 2012, its increased focus on governance in the public sector through the promulgation of the Public Bodies Management and Accountability (PBMA) Act, Accountability and Corporate Governance frameworks along with various guidelines. However, public sector bodies have not fully adhered to the tenets espoused in the laws and guidelines to strengthen overall governance arrangements. As a result, there is a need for greater oversight and monitoring of Government programmes and activities to ensure transparency and accountability in the use of public resources.

Corporate Governance encompasses the principles of accountability, fairness, transparency and independence which are needed to ensure that public sector bodies are properly managed.

Theme 2: Project Management

Project management is an effective tool to handle complex activities with due regard to the control of time, cost, quality and progress in achieving the project objectives. Our audits revealed the absence of KPIs, irrelevant or inappropriate performance measures, and lack of post evaluation. As a result, there was uncertainty whether projects achieved their intended outcomes. In addition, some public bodies did not undertake proper due diligence prior to the execution of projects and as a consequence projects had to be re-scoped or abandoned, thereby incurring significant cost and time overruns. Public bodies also had difficulty achieving their core mandate given the weak performance outcomes. We noted two major areas of concern under the Project Management audit theme namely, Planning & Evaluation and Implementation & Monitoring.

Theme 3: Resource Management

Within the context of the public sector, resource management is the efficient and effective deployment and allocation of the country’s resources when and where needed. Resources include money, human skills, information and communications technology, natural, production and inventory. Money is used to procure all the other resources that are needed to provide quality public services. The Government has implemented various control elements in order to monitor and manage resources. Control elements include the Ministry of Finance & the Public Service, Internal Audit Units within various MDAs, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC), the Office of the Auditor General, and the Office of the Contractor General.

Theme 4: Procurement and Contracts Management

The Government has in place procurement laws and clear policies that are outlined in the GOJ Procurement Handbook. However, we found that the procurement of goods, services and construction works was not always fair, transparent and open to competition. MDAs did not clearly outline the scope of works or include measurable deliverables to assess performance. In some instances, we found that the methodology for selecting contracts did not involve competitive tender, resulting in uncertainty as to whether value for money was obtained.

There is a need for contracts management planning activities, in all phases of the procurement process, to include needs assessment, feasibility study, cost-benefit and business case analyses and the preparation of a Contracts Management Plan. This will enable MDAs to develop timelines for procurement needs and not treat routine contracts as emergency and thereby employ the sole source methodology or segment contract to avoid scrutiny. Audits conducted by the AuGD revealed several weaknesses in the procurement and contracts management processes.

Theme 5: Information & Communications Technology

The public service is gradually being transformed from a largely manual operation to full automation with integration of human resource, administration and financial management functions, through the adoption of Information and Communications Technology (ICT). Further key operational processes carried out by Principal Receivers of Revenue, such as the collection of taxes and custom duties, have been automated and in some instances require users to submit documentation online. However, we have found that although Government entities have embraced ICT, the management of the risk associated with the varying types of technologies remains inadequate. Information technology audits conducted since 2009 revealed that weaknesses were generally related to System Acquisition & Implementation, Information Security, Business Continuity Management (BCM), E-Commerce and Third Party Service Management.

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