M I N U T E S ASC-2008-5
The Audit Subcommittee met on November 13, 2008, at 8:36 a.m. in the Council Chamber, Regional Administrative Headquarters, 10 Peel Centre Drive, Brampton.
|Members Present:||E. Kolb; G. Miles; R. Paterak; R. Whitehead|
|Members Absent:||C. Corbasson|
|Also Present:||D. Szwarc, Chief Administrative Officer; R. K. Gillespie, Commissioner of Corporate Services and Regional Solicitor; J. Menard, Executive Director, Human Services; N. Trim, Acting Chief Financial Officer; J. MacCrae, Director Human Services; B. Wilson, Director, Internal Audit; R. Martin, Committee Clerk|
Chaired by Councillor
1. DECLARATIONS OF CONFLICT OF INTEREST - Nil
2. APPROVAL OF AGENDA
That the agenda for the November 13, 2008 Audit Subcommittee meeting be approved.
a) Monique Hynes, Acting Director, Corporate Finance, Providing an Update Regarding Tangible Capital Asset Accounting
Monique Hynes, Acting Director, Corporate Finance, provided the Accounting for Tangible Capital Assets (TCA) update to the Audit Subcommittee and advised that the Region of Peel will be in compliance for the 2009 external financial statements.
Monique Hynes stated that the Tangible Capital Asset Accounting (TCAA) implementation was to ensure that the Tangible Capital Assets and corresponding amortization are fairly represented in the Region of Peelís financial statements. She noted that the process must be achieved in a cost effective manner since money directed towards accounting for tangible capital assets is diverted from front-line service delivery. The findings of this accounting process must also be auditable in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.
Monique Hynes stated the key responsibilities of the TCCA team which included:
- Finalize TCAA policy and guideline;
- Value the tangible capital assets;
- Finalize go-forward policy and procedures (for 2008 additions and disposals);
- Work with the departments to train staff;
- Communicate and implement the accounting;
- Share the TCAA information with area municipalities;
- Purchase low-cost TCA software.
Monique Hynes reported significant progress had been made in each of the key responsibilities outlined by the TCAA team. The TCAA policy and guideline have been completed. The TCAA team have completed 98 per cent of the inventory and 90 per cent of the go-forward policies and procedures have been completed. The TCAA team has trained staff on procedures and has communicated and implemented the accounting. Information related to TCAA has been shared with area municipalities and the TCAA team is currently testing the new TCA software.
Monique Hynes reported that KPMG is currently auditing the TCAA valuation and a report will be issued in December, 2008 which will highlight potential issues prior to the 2009 audit. Monique Hynes noted the next TCA update to the Audit Subcommittee will be included in the Corporate Report in February, 2009.
ouncillor Paterak requested further information on what the net benefit of the TCAA program will be to the Region of Peel. Monique Hynes responded that the TCAA program will determine what the asset valuation is, as well as, the annual depreciation of capital assets. It will also assist in determining future costs for capital asset replacement.
a) Pollution Control Audit
Presentation by Ric Robertshaw, Director, Wastewater Division, Environment, Transportation and Planning Services
Beate Wilson, Director, Internal Audit provided an overview of the process involved with the Pollution Control Audit. Beate Wilson stated the Internal Audit Risk Based Workplan allots time to assist management with special requests. The audit of Pollution Control was a special request from management as the existing processes had not been reviewed for several years and involved several manual administrative processes. Specific areas reviewed included the inspection process, sewer discharge sampling process, spill response and clean up, the billing processes and the process to monitor, follow up and report on non-compliant industries. Opportunities identified included the use of technology to reduce the manual administrative processes, improve information management, review and update performance targets and clarify roles and responsibilities. Management has been proactive to address the recommendations identified in the audit, and two of the recommendations have been implemented.
Ric Robertshaw, Director, Wastewater Division, Environment, Transportation and Planning Services and Elaine Gilliland, Supervisor, Pollution Control provided an overview of the Environmental Control, Pollution Control section.
Ric Robertshaw stated that one of the key responsibilities of the Pollution Control section is to protect, enhance and restore the environment. The following are the range of services provided:
- Administration and enforcement of sewer use by-laws;
- Perform inspections on 14,000 industrial-commercial facilities in the Region;
- Ensure environmental compliance for the protection of wastewater treatment plants;
- Respond to spills.
Ric Robertshaw reported that in order to improve role clarity and accountability along with developing a balanced workload and improving efficiency and effectiveness, management wanted to have a third party review the program. Internal Audit completed a full assessment of the Pollution Control Program. The review included visiting a number of sites within the Region and Pollution Control staff was fully engaged in the review process. The resulting audit report includes a management action plan which contained eight key improvements and completion dates for each.
Chair Kolb arrived at 8:45 a.m.
Councillor Miles congratulated Ric Robertshaw for working with Internal Audit to find ways to improve the Pollution Control section.
Councillor Paterak asked if the Region of Peel surcharge program is billing businesses at a premium rate. Elaine Gilliland responded that businesses paying the surcharge are paying a premium rate as well as costs for sampling and testing.
Councillor Paterak requested further information on Regional policy regarding testing of new industries in Peel. Elaine Gilliland reported that staff immediately inspects all new industries and implements a three step program which focuses on assisting the business to comply with environmental regulations.
Councillor Paterak asked if the Region of Peel is compensated by the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) for costs related to cleaning up spills. Elaine Gilliland responded there are two different ways the Region is compensated for clean up of spills. Under Section 10 of the Environmental Protection Act, the Region is eligible for compensation from the MOE for costs related to cleaning up a spill. The Region also sends a bill to the person or business responsible for the spill whenever possible.
hair Kolb asked if the Region tests the quality of wastewater before it enters the treatment plant and compares the results to the water once it is treated and returned to Lake Ontario. Ric Robertshaw reported that the Region does test the water entering the treatment plant and the results are compared with the test results of the water quality before it leaves the plant to measure the efficiency of the water treatment process.
b) Housing Centralized Waiting List Audit
Presentation by Jeff Kawakami, Manager, Social Housing, Human Services and Robert Woodford, Manager, Information and Management Technology Support, Human Services
Beate Wilson provided an overview of the involvement of Internal Audit with the Social Housing Centralized Waiting List process. In response to Centralized Waiting List (CWL) problems experienced in August 2007 at another service manager, Peelís Human Services department initiated a review of the processes and controls in its CWL. As a result of that review, Human Services staff implemented a number of changes and remedial actions. Social Housing management staff also engaged Internal Audit to review actions taken and provide assurance that proposed changes had been implemented as intended and were functioning effectively. Results of the audit showed that the proposed actions were completed as planned, and in a timely manner. Internal Audit observed and recommended that modifications made could be strengthened through the implementation of a number of additional actions. Staff has shown a strong commitment to improving security over the Centralized Waiting List and has already commenced work to address the recommendations.
Jeff Kawakami, Manager, Social Housing, Human Services, outlined the results of the Internal Audit review of the Social Housing Centralized Waiting List. The Peel Access To Housing (PATH) administers the centralized waitlist for social housing in the Region. As of December 31, 2007 there were 13,564 households waiting for a social housing unit and wait times for social housing can be up to 21 years. Jeff Kawakami reported that in August of 2007, there was an investigation at another service manager into alleged charges of bribery to obtain early access to social housing. These allegations brought into question the integrity of the waiting list process in other service manager areas. Regional staff responded to this situation with a number of specific actions which included:
- Initiating a pro-active review of systems and processes to confirm that sufficient controls were in place;
- An examination of records and files to confirm that no irregularities had occurred;
- Stricter permissions were put in place to further strengthen the controls that were already in place;
- Human Services requested assistance from Internal Audit to identify further opportunities for improvements;
- Human Services reported to the General Committee in December, 2007 on the initial actions that had been taken to address the concerns.
Jeff Kawakami stated that the Internal Audit review confirmed that the actions taken to improve security were implemented and identified additional opportunities to further improve the effectiveness of the implemented changes. Internal Audit recommendations included:
- Access rights to the Centralized Waiting Lists be documented and confirmed regularly; ē Audit trail procedures be documented and reviewed regularly;
- Development of exception reports for management review;
- Monitoring of the process be defined, documented and regularly reviewed.
Jeff Kawakami outlined the Management Action Plan that was developed in response to the Internal Audit findings and the anticipated results. Procedures regarding access rights will ensure that permissions are reviewed regularly for appropriateness and completeness. Procedures regarding the audit trail records will include a transaction approval structure and the regular review of records. Development of management exception reports will enhance oversight by highlighting significant changes. Procedures regarding the monitoring process will clarify roles and accountabilities.
Jeff Kawakami reported that the Region of Peelís social housing wait list system is secure and the Internal Audit recommendations are minimal in cost and effort and will not negatively impact service delivery. He thanked Internal Audit staff and the Human Services Information Management and Technology staff for their ongoing support and stressed the commitment of the Social Housing division to the management action plan.
Councillor Miles asked if Social Housing receives Freedom of Information requests relating to why people are either granted or denied placement in social housing and what are the limits of what can be disclosed if such requests were received. Kent Gillespie, Commissioner of Corporate Services and Regional Solicitor, stated that staff will provide Councillor Miles with the requested information.
5. COMMUNICATIONS - Nil
6. IN CAMERA MATTERS - Nil
7. OTHER BUSINESS
a) Region of Peel Authority to Audit the Finances and Management Practices of Conservation Authorities
That staff report back to the Audit Subcommittee on the rights of the Region of Peel as funder of conservation authorities to audit the finances and management practices of conservation authorities generally and in particular with respect to the Credit Valley Conservation Authority in as much as the Region of Peel is the major funding source for the Credit Valley Conservation Authority.
8. NEXT MEETING
Thursday, February 26, 2009
8:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.
Council Chamber, 5th floor
Regional Administrative Headquarters
10 Peel Centre Drive
The meeting adjourned at 9:25 a.m.