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Previous Audit Reports – Common Themes and Issues

Over the years, we’ve noticed that when management is busy working within their division, they may not see or be learning from broader lessons that may help to move their divisions and the City forward as one City.

In this report, the Auditor General has identified three common themes in audit recommendations that will, if applied City-wide, help the City move forward in a positive way.

These themes include:
1. Shifting mindsets and culture so that the Public Service works as one to achieve Citywide objectives and outcomes
2. Strengthening oversight and accountability for contracts by more effective procurement, management, and monitoring
3. Modernizing processes, integrating technology, and leveraging data to deliver programs and services more effectively and efficiently

The number of recurring issues we see in our reports could be reduced if every manager runs their division, agency or corporation with a ‘one City’ mindset focused on outcomes and accountability. Recurring issues will also be reduced if managers can make better use of technology, leveraging data to inform their business processes.

By narrowing these lessons down to three themes, and by expanding them with examples, the Auditor General hopes these lessons will remain top of mind for each and every manager. The examples are provided to illustrate that issues are recurring in several reports. It supports management in identifying underlying problems that will prevent similar issues in the future. In the particular examples shown, however, the division or organization may have already taken action to implement the recommendations shown.

To achieve lasting change, every leader should ask themselves the following questions after each audit report is published:
• Is our division experiencing similar issues?
• Are there opportunities and lessons learned that we can leverage?
• Who is involved with delivering on the service? Is someone else doing what we are
doing? How can we work together?
• Who has overall responsibility?
• Are we empowered to make the needed changes?

We endorse the City Manager’s key message that trust and confidence is, in part, achieved “through our actions and decisions,” which he stated in the Toronto Public Service’s Corporate Strategic Plan. We also support his move to Results Based Accountability as a performance management and accountability framework.

The lessons learned from this common themes report supports the City Manager’s focus on achieving outcomes, ensuring accountability, and using data. This report will be helpful in guiding the actions and decisions of staff accountable for achieving results.