Friday, May 21, 2010

City's Procurement Audit Presented to Committee

Although no “indicators of fraud and misuse,” have been found to date, systemic problems in how The City awarded contracts were reported yesterday as The City’s Auditor presented her Procurement Process review to committee.

Tracy McTaggart, The City of Calgary's Auditor, said that of all the contracts looked at over the two-year audit, they did consider “indicators of fraud and misuse and did not find any.”

Statistically however, due to the size of the organization it is possible there is some form of dishonesty.

“In a corporation of this size, I can guarantee you that there will be fraud,” said McTaggart.

City Manager Owen Tobert said he is aware of a small number of situations related to procurement that are being investigated.

“Are we perfect? No, we are human, and we are huge – as an organization,” said Tobert.

“While The City is probably like other large complex corporations, because of the magnitude of our operations and the number of people who work here, we do everything we can to reduce the risk that something can go wrong,” said Tobert. “That’s why our Code of Conduct, Conflict of Interest and Whistleblower program is so important.”

Tobert said management is implementing changes begun last year related to improving procurement policies and adherence to them, educating staff involved in the process and enhancing the documentation that must follow the award of contracts. The City conducts its procurement activities under the auspices of several regional and national trade agreements, including the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) and the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA).

The Audit Committee approved and added a number of recommendations that will go on to Council for consideration on June 7.

*** An interview with City Auditor Tracy McTaggart after presenting the Procurement Audit Policy report to the Audit Committee.

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