Auditors keep eye on public cash

| 09/06/2020 | 12 Comments

(CNS): A new report released by the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) Tuesday outlines its plans to keep an eye on government’s handling of public cash during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although this year’s audit plan has changed, Auditor General Sue Winspear said the document sets out the basic principles guiding the OAG and its review of how government is managing the public purse during this period and beyond.

“As auditors we have a fundamental role to play in providing assurance on the use of public funds and supporting scrutiny and accountability,” Winspear said as she released the report.

“Despite the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in all non-essential public sector offices and facilities closing their doors on 24th March, this does not mean that our work has stopped at all and from day one, the staff in my office have been working from home to ensure that we continue to fulfill this vital role,” she added.

Winspear said the civil and public service’s speedy response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the adaption of many of their services online was pleasing. She was also pleased about the amount of financial audits that were completed despite the lockdown. But she said it was important that her office kept up the performance audits of government entities switching focus to the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown and the costs.

“The pandemic has forced us to look at the performance audits that we had intended to start from May onward,” she said. “As a result, we will put some audits on hold and add in some new audits including a report on government’s spend and commitments arising from COVID-19 and another on the transition to online services by government.”

Winspear said government and the public sector had to respond quickly to manage the pandemic, including sourcing and buying emergency supplies, and provide people hit by the economic crash with financial support, and as a result it was important that her office takes a look at how it handled that.

“At times like this it is even more important that the principles of sound financial management and strong, effective governance are followed,” she said. “Policies and procedures provide essential checks and balances. It is therefore important that public servants find a way of following policies and procedures while also allowing efficient and timely decision making.”

In the report the auditor said that planned performance audits of both the Health Services Authority and Cayman Airways would be shelved to give the entities time to recover, as they have both been directly impacted by the pandemic.

“We aim to keep our PA programme as flexible as possible. We will continue to review emerging risks and challenges and consider if they merit a performance audit or public interest report,” Winspear writes in the report.

But the office is still expected to release to audit reports based on work largely completed before the imposition of the coronavirus shelter-in-place orders.

The much anticipated report Efficiency and Effectiveness of Utility Regulation and Competition Office (OfReg) as well as Budgeting, Financial Management and Financial Sustainability were both being finalised and would be published before the end of this month.

See the report in the CNS Library

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Category: Government Finance, Government oversight, Politics

Comments (12)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    1:37am… I think Moses paying the fees for the grounded Max!🤣🤣🤣🤣😂

  2. Anonymous says:

    I wish someone would audit what’s going on with the free masks that were supposedly being handed out. Still haven’t seen one in my part of BT. I thought they said Dart and the other private investors had bought enough for everyone on all 3 islands but where are they? Had I been one of these investors I would be pretty pissed to find out that the masks are not being distributed as originally intended.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Sight must be bad….they are campaigning with 8 million to a select few.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Still waiting when they audit iguanas cull. At least perform analytical procedures and tests of controls.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I would love to know what percent of the fully paid public servants are in fact delivering 8+ hours of service a day while working from home. Since we are paying them full salaries (while so many in the private sector have had their salaries entirely extinguished, or significantly cut) it would be good to know the extent of fiscal prudence with the public’s money.

    • Anonymous says:

      Shut up as Jon-Jon, the Gov & Alden said everyone in goverment is working long hard hours. You jealous or a foreigner. Raise the pay!!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Same percent as in the private sector law firms, banks and insurance companies that are also paying their employees to work at home. Do you think public servants have different blood in their veins or something? My experience over 40 years of dealing with government and the private sector employees suggests there is crappy performance in BOTH areas. Stop demonizing only the government workers.

  6. Covid Man says:

    Who cares as Honorable Seymour says they have been managing the money fantastically for the past years so now they can go on a spending spree – Whoopee!

  7. Anonymous says:

    The mask should be over the eyes,

  8. anon says:

    Cayman Airways recovers every year after it receives it’s ginormous annual subsidy.

    • Anonymous says:

      We are probably the only airline in the world still paying its aircraft leasing bills, especially for the MAXs grounded even before the crisis started.

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