The Auditor General serves the Legislative Assembly, and in turn, all Manitobans. Those who benefit from the services of the Auditor General include ministers, deputy ministers and departmental managers, as well as representatives of Crown corporations and agencies.
Public Accounts Committee
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is an all-party Standing Committee of the Legislature. Its primary role is to examine the financial administration of public assets and the spending of public funds.
All reports issued by the Auditor General are tabled in the Legislature by the Speaker and are referred to the PAC. During its meetings, the PAC considers the audit reports, questions witnesses, and when it has finished deliberating, passes the reports (meaning the committee has no further questions).
Role and responsibilities
Chapter 10 of the Rule Book – Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, Procedural Guidelines for the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, references the role and responsibilities of the Auditor General in relation to the PAC as follows:
- Section 114 – “The Auditor General should be in attendance at all Public Accounts Committee meetings to provide advice and opinions and answer questions on matters of accounting, administration and reports issued by the Auditor General, except where the Committee feels the circumstances do not require such attendance.”
- Section 118 – “The Auditor General shall at the discretion of the Committee, attend all meetings of the Committee that are held in camera.”
In addition to attending and preparing for PAC meetings, the Committee can impact Office operations by requesting the Auditor General conduct specific reviews or tasks:
- Section 120 – “The Public Accounts Committee may request the Auditor General to perform specific reviews or tasks.”
- Section 121 – “Requests to the Auditor General for reviews or special tasks shall be passed as a motion by the whole Committee and terms of reference should be provided to the Auditor General in writing.”
Implementation of recommendations
An effective PAC can play a significant role in ensuring the Office has the desired positive impact on the performance of public sector organizations. This is because government departments and Crown organizations are accountable to the PAC for the implementation of recommendations from the Office (recommendations, it must be stressed, that deal with administrative and management practices, and not with the merits of government policy decisions.)
The PAC, through its follow-up of the implementation status of recommendations and its own reports to the Legislative Assembly on the results of its work, can bring to bear the full authority of the Legislative Assembly to ensure departments do what is needed to properly address the issues underpinning each of our recommendations.