During this phase, OAG will follow-up on the organization's progress in implementing the recommendations contained in the report.
Follow-ups are a necessary process for ensuring that recommendations are addressed and that British Columbians receive full value from the Auditor General’s work. On behalf of the Legislature's Select Standing Committee on Public Accounts (PAC), the Office of the Auditor General follows up with agencies in varying formats, including action plans, agency self-assessments, progress assessments and progress audits.
Agencies are always asked to provide, within three months of the publication of the report, an action plan describing how and when they will implement the recommendations. This can often be started during the reporting phase and, if completed in time, will be included in the published report as part of the agency's formal response to the report. If the action plan is not available in time to publish in the report, we post it on our website alongside the audit report once it is received.
Since 2008, the OAG has published semi-annual follow-up reports. Approximately three months before the publication date, audited organizations are sent a self-assessment form in which to describe the progress they have made in implementing the OAG’s recommendations and their plans going forward. Organizations will have 2-3 weeks to complete these short forms. These submissions are then published unedited and in their entirety so that readers can assess for themselves whether or not progress is satisfactory.
Most initial follow-ups are conducted approximately one year after the report is issued, although this timeframe is shortened to six months for:
- Urgent matters;
- Situations where the organization had the opportunity to address significant issues in advance of the report’s release; and
- Information Technology audits, due to the need to stay current.
The OAG expects that most recommendations will be cleared with the first follow-up. However, subsequent follow-ups may be required on outstanding recommendations or certain key recommendations that have not been satisfactorily addressed. Published within one year of the initial follow-up, subsequent follow-ups are also unedited self-assessments from the agency. In order to remain relevant, successive follow-ups are conducted when necessary, generally up to a maximum of two years.
A third form of follow-up involves assessing the organization’s self-assessment of all or certain recommendations to confirm their reliability. The results of progress assessments are published in the next available semi-annual follow‑up report.
The fourth form of follow-up is the progress audit whereby audit level assurance is provided as to the validity of the entity’s self-assessments. This involves conducting the entire audit again. Given the resources required to complete this form of assessment, the Office has yet to conduct work of this nature and would only do so when prudent.