Linda_leRoux.jpgIt was time to consider further consequences for financial managers who fail to follow public sector policies and procedures, the auditor-general’s business executive for audit research and development, Linda le Roux, said last week.

“The lack of consequences prevents the creation of a culture of oversight like we hope to see in the private sector, but that is not in the government,” said le Roux.

Years of audit reports showed that little progress had been made in improving the skills of financial managers in the public service, she said.

Following a negative audit finding, the next year “we often find the same people, doing the same things,” she said. It is much easier to take action against officials “at a lower level, however it is much more difficult to take action against senior management.”

The lack of progress in service delivery and supply management was noticeable, particularly at the local government level, although the submission of documents had generally improved, she said.

In the 2011-12 audit report, 100 government departments and 116 public entities had not taken steps to prevent irregular expenditure, while 47 departments and 54 public entities had not acted to prevent fruitless and wasteful expenditure.