Sunday, February 25, 2024

New audit finds BC Legislative Assembly staff incurred expenses without approval

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A new report from the office of the Auditor General of British Columbia has found inconsistencies and inappropriate reporting of expenses in the offices of the speaker, clerk and sergeant-at-arms in the Legislative Assembly.

The audit highlights weaknesses in the expense policy framework for the aforementioned offices, and in some cases, notes that staff and officers of the Assembly neglected to follow the policies that were in place.

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The office reviewed a total of $47,000 transactions totalling $2.2 million.

This review found frequent travel expenses incurred without clear documentation to support the purpose of travel.

Other instances of expenses made without approval or a clear business purpose included purchases of clothing and gifts. Such transactions were highlighted as outcomes of a lack of clear policy guidelines.

“We found that there was no specific travel policy for staff and officers of the Legislative Assembly,” said Carol Bellringer, auditor general. “The practices we observed in this area would not have been allowed in ministries.”‘

While the Legislative Assembly did have a policy regarding purchasing cards, there were several instances in which purchasing card practices did not align with the policies in place.

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When it came to reporting these violations, the audit found that there was no effective mechanism in place to report them to the Legislative Assembly Management Committee (LAMC).

They further argue that these problems could have been mitigated if the Assembly had assigned an authority to be responsible for ensuring that policies were followed.

“LAMC needs to ensure the administration of the Legislative Assembly sets the bar for controlling, overseeing and ensuring the efficient and effective use of public resources in an organized fashion,” Bellringer said.

“To that end, we made nine recommendations to the legislative assembly.”

This report is the first in a series of audits that will be released on the Legislative Assembly.

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Brishti Basu
Former Senior Staff Writer and Content Manager at Victoria Buzz.

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