The purpose of internal auditing is to provide independent assurance and consulting services. This improves Niagara Region's operations and brings a disciplined approach to the evaluation of:
The Internal Controls and Organizational Performance division has a professional obligation to develop a comprehensive risk-based annual audit plan. This is consistent with recommendations by professional associations, including the Institute of Internal Auditors and the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada.
The 2019 Internal Audit Plan was developed based on the following sources:
The following projects have been approved by Regional Council as the 2019 Internal Audit Plan.
Rationale: Recent high profile and publically reported frauds detected in other comparable organizations.
Risks: Inaccurate processing of employee health, dental or other extended medical benefits resulting in overpayments by Niagara Region. Fraudulent behaviour or usage of employee benefits may erode public trust resulting in a loss of the corporation's reputation.
Rationale: This audit will have a targeted focus on single / sole-sourced procurements which tend to generate a higher degree of public interest, particularly in the public sector. High volume of transactions and materially significant (approximately 550 purchase orders / $44 million in 2017 and 530 purchase orders / $24 million in 2018).
Risks: Non-compliance to procurement policies, procedures and by-law, or uncompetitive behaviour may lead to financial or legal implications. In addition, a loss of community trust may occur if the procurement process is perceived to be uncompetitive.
Rationale: Staff direction from Audit Committee on October 31, 2017 after discussing the 2018 Audit Plan (AC-C 6-2017). Employee hiring practices were noted during interviews and within Burgoyne Bridge Audit.
Risks: Non-compliance to Human Resources or Information Technology processes or procedures may result in financial, legal or privacy implications. Control gaps may also lead to operational inefficiencies, employee morale or labour relations issues and loss of public trust.
Rationale: This is a standard audit performed by multiple Ontario municipal audit teams. Performing the audit in-house will result in cost savings for the Public Works department compared to outsourcing.
Risks: Meeting or exceeding the Ministry of Transportation's regulatory requirements are mandatory to continue participating in the Driver Certification Program. Continued participation in the program has numerous benefits including higher staff engagement and lower driver training and testing costs.
Rationale: Waste Management's contractor is Niagara Region's largest vendor at $21 million in annual spent -- 8 percent of all purchase orders. High pubic attention, complex operational requirements, and high financial impact.
Risks: Insufficient service levels by the contractor may directly impact Niagara residents. Financial, legal and reputational risks may also occur if compliance to the service agreement is not maintained.
Rationale: Independent and objective audit was requested by the Community Services department to enhance accountability amongst industry service providers.
Risks: Homelessness service providers are under contract with Niagara Region to care for vulnerable sectors of Niagara's population. A high degree of public attention and trust is placed on these service providers to provide quality care within Niagara Region's standards. Non-compliance to Niagara Region's standards of care may result in insufficient care for vulnerable people, a loss of public trust (reputational risk) and / or inefficient usage of Community Services' budget.
Rationale: Through a comprehensive risk assessment, this was identified as one of the top risks in the organization. Specifically, a high complexity of operations, high degree of regulatory / statutory compliance requirements, high employee turnover, a risk event would result in a major loss of stakeholder confidence (high reputational risk), and high financial impact to annual Regional budget.
Risks: A significant injury or death to a long-term care home resident under the care of Niagara Region would be a major risk event with financial, legal, regulatory and political implications.
Rationale: Through a comprehensive risk assessment, this was identified as one of the top risks in the organization. Specifically, a high degree of regulatory / statutory compliance requirements, a risk event would result in a major loss of stakeholder confidence (high reputational risk) and high financial impact to annual Regional budget.
Risks: A major disruption or contamination of Niagara Region's clean drinking water would have severe financial, legal, regulatory and political implications.