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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: Corporate 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: Oversight and Monitoring
We found that, on average, the Ministries and the Boards provided insufficient or ineffective oversight to public bodies and Agencies, which contributed to delays or the inability to meet project objectives, as well as project slippage. As a consequence, some entities failed to achieve their mandate, as well as to implement planned projects and programmes within the agreed timelines.

Theme 3: Transparency and Accountability
There were instances where public bodies were not held accountable by Parliament and the public for their use of public resources and execution of their mandate. For example, we found instances of non-submission of quarterly, half-yearly and annual reports (including audited financial statements); thereby depriving the Portfolio Ministries and Parliament of timely and relevant information on the performance of public bodies. Although, the preparation of financial transactions has been automated in majority of the MDAs, they continue to struggle to prepare financial reports in a timely manner. This has continued to hinder Parliament in making sound and timely decisions on relevant financial data.

Consequently, our resources have been committed to clearing long outstanding audits and resolving outstanding issues on incorrect financial reports submitted by MDAs. Our assessment revealed that as at November 30, 2016, 326 financial reports were not submitted by MDAs for audit.

Theme 4: 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 5: Procurement and Contract 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.

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