Joint Statement - Municipal Auditor General Informal Working Group

An independent Auditor General Office will provide additional oversight of over a billion and a half in operating and hundreds of millions in capital budgets, and further support a culture of excellence through transparent, accountable review and reporting on behalf of the public.

The establishment of an independent Auditor General is an initiative of Vancouver City Council that was unanimously approved. Once in place, the IAG will be directly accountable to Council.

The legwork to develop the framework, bylaws and establishment of relevant IAG Council Committees has been conducted over the past months by an Informal Working Group of Council with support from the Canadian Audit and Accountability Foundation and the City Solicitor.

By its very nature, the IAG function is independent of City staff in order to maintain the integrity of the office. By necessity, the work was performed independently of staff, so it is entirely appropriate and expected that the city manager’s office would not be in a position to endorse. Accordingly, Vancouver City staff have no oversight of the function which is why concurrence of the City Manager was not sought or required for this report.

Council Working Group Quotes: (alphabetical)

“The office of the auditor gener al will fill a unique role in fostering accountability around spending, efficiencies and general stewardship of public funding and programs. We have a responsibility to ensure the office remains at arms length and fully independent of regular organizational management. The important work of this committee is to shepherd the establishment of the office of the auditor general through this process while maintaining that independence”. - Councillor Rebecca Bligh

“Our role as elected councillors is to put public interest first, the establishment of an Independent AGO compliments and supports that commitment, in a fair and unequivocal way.” – Councillor Adriane Carr

“An independent auditor general compliments the City’s existing internal audit function and annual external audit. It adds a level of transparency and accountability to ensure both high quality services and good value for money”. - Councillor Lisa Dominato

“An Auditor General office will be a great tool for our city moving forward. I think it provides an important layer of transparency and accountability for the public, and for the organization it serves a good evidence based analysis to test feasibility, practicality and cost-effectiveness of our work.” – Councillor Pete Fry

“The most fundamental characteristic and principle of the auditor general model is independence. The principle of independence means that AGO Vancouver must be independent from both City administration and City Council. This means that City administration should not control or influence the Office’s budget, staffing, or mode of reporting, and City Council should not direct the subjects to be audited or the content of audit reports”.  - Councillor Colleen Hardwick

“The fulfillment of Council’s commitment to establishing an Independent Auditor General will demonstrate we’re delivering on our promise of increased transparency at Vancouver City Hall. Having an Independent Auditor General can provide residents and businesses with assurance that public funds are being spent appropriately and that public services are being delivered effectively. I also think it’s important to recognize that Canadian cities with IAG’s across the country have demonstrated the function delivers a net positive contribution to city budgets over time.” -  Councillor Sarah Kirby-Yung