B.C.’s auditor general says more work needed to assess risk of fraud in public sector

B.C.'s auditor general says more work needed to assess risk of fraud in public sector
Photo credit: Nicholas Pescod/CHEK News

VICTORIA – British Columbia’s auditor general says the government’s framework to manage fraud in the public service is well underway, but it’s not fully developed.

Michael Pickup says in a news release that fraud risk management in the province is decentralized and shared by ministries as well as the Office of the Comptroller General, which provides oversight and support.

His office has done an audit focusing on the comptroller general’s role in establishing an effective way to manage risk and whether it includes governance policies, risk assessment, detection, investigations and monitoring.

It shows most components are in place, including clear direction, staff training and regular reporting on losses due to fraud.

However, it says the comptroller general needs to complete a government-wide fraud risk assessment, not just for individual ministries, and the results should be reported to improve the effectiveness of how the government assesses the risk of fraud.

The fraud risk assessment by the comptroller general is scheduled to be completed by March 31 and is aimed at spotting potential exposure to fraudulent financial reporting, asset misappropriation or other illegal acts.

Pickup says in a statement that while the Office of the Comptroller General is making solid progress on its fraud risk management framework, it “needs to implement its fraud risk assessment as scheduled, keep it updated and communicate it.”

“This will help make sure the risk of fraud is fully understood and the right safeguards are in place.”

The audit says the comptroller general has accepted all three of the auditor general’s recommendations.

In reply to the recommendations, the Office of the Comptroller General said it will continue to work with the government to integrate fraud risk management as part of its daily operations. It has also completed the first round of ministry-level assessments and has a baseline to build on.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 8, 2022.

The Canadian PressThe Canadian Press

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