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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 65525 Find in a Library
Title: VALUE-FOR-MONEY AUDITING - AFTER NINETY-NINE YEARS OF CONTROVERSY, AND IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS COME - CANADA
Journal: OPTIMUM  Volume:10  Issue:1  Dated:(1979)  Pages:39-46
Author(s): S SINCLAIR
Corporate Author: Information Canada
Canada
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: Information Canada
Ottawa, Ontario KIA OS9, Canada
Type: Program/Project Evaluation
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: THE ISSUE OF WHETHER CANADA'S AUDITOR GENERAL SHOULD REPORT ON FAIR VALUE RECEIVED FROM EXPENDITURES OF GOVERNMENT FUNDS IS EXAMINED THROUGH A DISCUSSION OF RELEVANT LEGISLATION.
Abstract: THE LIMITS TO THE AUDITOR GENERAL'S RESPONSIBILITIES HAVE BEEN DEBATED SINCE THE CREATION OF THE OFFICE IN 1878. THIS LEGISLATION NOT ONLY GAVE THE AUDITOR GENERAL AUTHORITY TO EXAMINE GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTS TO INSURE PROPER USE OF PUBLIC FUNDS, BUT ALSO PROVIDED EXTENSIVE POWERS TO CONTROL EXPENDITURES BEFORE THEY OCCURRED. THE FIRST AUDITOR GENERAL WAS VERY AGGRESSIVE IN PREVENTING WASTEFUL GOVERNMENT EXPENDITURES, BUT HIS IMMEDIATE SUCCESSORS CONCENTRATED ON THE ACCOUNTING ASPECTS OF THE OFFICE. LEGISLATION IN 1931 REMOVED RESPONSIBILITY FOR APPROVING EXPENDITURES FROM THE AUDITOR GENERAL, BUT THE INCUMBENT BEGAN TO KEEP A LIST OF OUTLAYS WHICH DID NOT RESULT IN ANY PUBLIC BENEFITS. REVISED LEGISLATION CONTAINED VAGUE PROVISIONS WHICH JUSTIFIED THIS PRACTICE. IN SUBSEQUENT YEARS UNDER A MORE AGGRESSIVE ADMINISTRATION, THE LIST OF NONPRODUCTIVE EXPENDITURES GREW AND BECOME MORE CONTROVERSIAL AS THE GOVERNMENT AND THE AUDITOR DISAGREED OVER INTERPRETATIONS OF TERMS SUCH AS EFFICIENCY AND EFFECTIVENESS. THE AUDITOR APPOINTED IN 1973 FELT THAT THE OFFICE'S POWERS AND RESPONSIBILITIES NEEDED TO BE DEFINED BY NEW LEGISLATION, AND A COMMITTEE WAS ESTABLISHED TO EXAMINE THE PROBLEMS. THE GROUP CONCLUDED THAT CONFINING THE AUDITOR GENERAL TO A PURELY ACCOUNTING FUNCTION WOULD BE INCOMPATIBLE WITH THE PUBLIC WILL AND MODERN TRENDS IN LEGISLATIVE ACCOUNTING. IN AN EFFORT TO COPE WITH THE SUBJECTIVE NATURE OF EVALUATIONS, IT ALSO RECOMMENDED THAT THE AUDITOR GENERAL SHOULD MONITOR AND EVALUATE EFFECTIVENESS STUDIES CONDUCTED BY THE ADMINISTRATION, BUT NOT UNDERTAKE ANY ASSESSMENTS. THESE SUGGESTIONS WERE TRANSLATED INTO LEGISLATION WHICH BECAME EFFECTIVE IN 1977. NOW THE ADMINSTRATION MUST PROVIDE PARLIAMENT WITH INFORMATION ON THE OBJECTIVE AND RESULTS OF ITS PROGRAMS OR RISK EXPOSURE IN THE AUDITOR GENERAL'S REPORT. FEW IF ANY GOVERNMENTS ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD ARE SUBJECT TO AN EQUAL DEGREE OF ACCOUNTABILITY. A SUMMARY IN FRENCH IS APPENDED. (MJM)
Index Term(s): Canada; Financial management; Graft; Profiteering; Program evaluation
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=65525

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