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To fully assess the extent to which the Secretariat effectively managed TB Vote 35, the audit was structured according to two sub-objectives, specifically:
Each sub-objective was in turn assessed against the overall audit criteria. The audit results presented below are organized accordingly.
It was expected that the Secretariat assessment criteria be clear, well-defined, and documented.
The audit team examined whether the Secretariat assessment criteria were documented, approved, and available within the Secretariat and across government.
It was found that the Secretariat criteria for accessing the vote were documented and approved by the senior executive responsible for the administration of the vote within the Secretariat. A letter sent to senior financial officers (SFO) of departments detailed the criteria, and an electronic version of the letter was made available on the Secretariat's Publiservice site, an intranet website accessible to government organizations.
The audit team also examined whether the assessment criteria were clear and well-defined. This was done by first reviewing the criteria and then assessing whether there was common understanding of the criteria by Secretariat officials through interviews and documentation review.
It was found that:
It was expected that the Secretariat's criteria for TB Vote 35 be consistently applied.
The audit tested a judgmental sample of TB Vote 35 requests against the Secretariat's three assessment criteria to ensure proper due diligence on behalf of the Secretariat. Audit results are presented for each Secretariat criterion below.
Assessment criterion 1: Allocations should be in support of Canada's Economic Action Plan (included in Chapter Three of Budget 2009).
Assessment criterion 2: Requests must include a valid cash flow outlining specific cash requirements before the next Supply period.
Assessment criterion 3: A valid and compelling reason exists as to why the cash payment must be made before the next Supply period.
Conclusion for audit sub-objective 1:
The Secretariat's assessment criteria were found to be clear, well-defined, documented, and consistently applied.
Since there were no direct expenditures against TB Vote 35, the reporting of allocations from this vote provides key information to the general public concerning the usage of TB Vote 35. It is therefore essential that the information being reported is accurate and complete.
It was expected that allocation transfers be fully and accurately recorded.
The audit first examined recording from a broader perspective to determine whether the approved allocation was an appropriate charge against the vote.
According to the vote wording, an allocation must meet the following five requirements, by being: subject to approval by Treasury Board; between April 1 to June 30, 2009; for initiatives in the Budget tabled January 27, 2009; expenditures not otherwise provided for;11 and within the legal mandate of the government organization.
The audit then assessed recording from an administrative perspective to determine whether TB Vote 35 allocations were accurately recorded in the Secretariat's allotment control system.
More specifically, the audit verified approvals by Treasury Board12 or the President of the Treasury Board against information (e.g., amount of allocation) in the allotment control system.
It was expected that allocation transfers be fully and accurately reported in the 2009–10 Supplementary Estimates A.
Reporting on the usage of TB Vote 35 is important because of the potential reach of TB Vote 35 allocations across a number of government departments. Therefore, the audit tested the accuracy and completeness of reported TB Vote 35 allocations.
Between the initial approval of this audit (April 2009) and the end of the examination period (August 2009), TB Vote 35 allocations were reported in the 2009–10 Supplementary Estimates A and as an annex to Canada's Economic Action Plan: A Second Report to Canadians June 2009. However, the audit limited its assessment of the accuracy of reporting to the 2009–10 Supplementary Estimates A, because it contained more detailed information concerning the allocations than the June 2009 status report.
More specifically, the audit team compared approvals by Treasury Board or the President of the Treasury Board against information (e.g., amount of allocation) listed on the summary table.
Conclusion for audit sub-objective 2:
TB Vote 35 allocations were found to be both fully and accurately recorded and reported.
Overall, the management of TB Vote 35 within the Secretariat was effective.
Specifically, the Secretariat developed and documented clear assessment criteria that were reasonably well-defined and applied consistently. Further, items approved by Treasury Board were properly recorded and reported as allocation transfers from TB Vote 35 to the respective departments. The assurance statement presented at the outset of this report reiterates this conclusion and provides details regarding the level of assurance and methodology.
TB Vote 35 was a special one-time vote created to expedite the flow of funds in support of Budget 2009. The allocation of funds from this vote took place between April and June 2009. Since there is no expectation of continued usage of TB Vote 35 and no major deficiencies were found, there are no recommendations outlined in this report.