Complaints to the Ottawa City Fraud and Waste Hotline more than doubled in 2020, and the auditor general is wondering if that’s because there are more mentors at home during the pandemic.
Residents will have to wait until April 2022 to see suspicious activity being reported anonymously fraud line When Natalie Gojon compiles and presents her annual report.
Previous complaints have led to investigations where employees have been disciplined or fired. They found out that they stole the patient’s medicine and worked for other organizations during sick leave, or Leaked confidential information For friends and colleagues to help them pass regional exams.
The number of complaints received by Gougeon’s office recently exceeded 500 for 2021, and the year is not over. In 2020, more than 204 typical complaints appeared and the auditor had exceeded 300 complaints just once in the past decade.
Gougeon said the advice covered a variety of concerns when council members asked her to explain the increase.
“I also understand that this is consistent with the trends that council members are going through with their own offices and receiving complaints,” she said. “People may have more time on their hands during the pandemic, but that would only be speculation.”
Gougeon noted that reviewing all of those reports, sorting them out, and deciding what needs to be investigated, takes work and time.
To help with the workload, the auditor’s office will add two full-time jobs next year with a total of 11 positions and a budget of $2.9 million.
Even with this headline increase, Gougeon reports that it has a lower proportion of the municipal operating budget than its counterparts in other Canadian cities.
Complex audits ahead
The costs of the upcoming high-level audit of the first phase of light rail are not included in the auditor’s budget for 2022. The Board agreed that the audit of light rail would be covered using transit operating reserves – an unusual but necessary arrangement, the city treasurer explained, because Gougeon’s budget You cannot absorb it.
Gougeon said it has not yet received details from the Ontario government about what it intends to cover in its public investigation. She is waiting to know her scope so that her office audit does not repeat the work.
This isn’t the only big file in the works. Auditors are already working on investigations into Ottawa’s community housing, the city’s response to the pandemic, and the city’s chosen electric bus technology.
Gougeon launched an audit of electric buses as soon as the city announced plans for a major purchase of a fleet of 450 vehicles. In her first year on the job, the auditor made it clear that she would choose audits based on the risks to the city, and would try to be smart to deal with emerging concerns.
Her team said Friday that it may readjust its plans as well if it becomes clear that planning of the OC Transpo route or a Phase 2 light rail project requires more scrutiny.
As it stands, the Office of the Auditor has officially identified a list of areas to be reviewed in 2022 and 2023:
- Electronic security.
- Affordable housing.
- Controls and guarantees in the revenue branch.
- Procedures and processes for preventing violence and harassment in the workplace.
- Achieving the objectives of the institutional diversity and inclusion plan.
- Risk management when making decisions.
- achieve goals Climate change master plan.
- Road management.