THE OFFICE OF THE PRINCIPAL PERMANENT SECRETARY: Public Administration publishes its reply to the Auditor General’s report – 81% of recommendations implemented

For the fifth year running, the Public Administration has published its response to the Auditor General’s report, accepting almost 98% of his recommendations. This year’s publication is in reply to the Annual Report covering the financial year 2018 and other reports published in 2019.

The publication was launched by Principal Permanent Secretary Mario Cutajar at a press conference which was the final event organised during Public Service Week 2020.

Mr Cutajar said that out of 172 recommendations made by the Auditor General, 168 (98%) were accepted, leading to the drawing up of 305 actions to be addressed. Out of these 305 actions, 81% were implemented. This is a very satisfactory rate, even when compared to last year’s, which stood at 78 %.

The Public Service, Mr Cutajar said, is not built on people, because people change, but on structure, to offer permanence in all that we do. Over the last seven years, a change in culture has taken place on how we plan our work and how we deliver, and this is bearing fruit – as evidenced by the 42% decrease in the number of recommendations by the Auditor General if one compares the first publication (when 300 recommendations were made) with today’s publication (172 recommendations).

Mr Cutajar explained that the recommendations which were accepted dealt with, inter alia, shortcomings in relation to internal controls in the management of funds, deficiencies related to procurement procedures, and deficiencies related to inventory management.

This publication said the Principal Permanent Secretary, once again attests to one of the quality pillars on which the Public Service is founded, namely accountability. The publication also shows that despite everything the Public Administration has faced and is still facing this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it did not cease operating – it has indeed been strengthened and has also worked on the recommendations of the Auditor General.

Mr Cutajar mentioned that in his report, the Auditor General had words of praise for the Public Administration’s efforts and the progress made so far, noting examples of good practices.

As in the past year, the publication launched today also accounts for two Investigations, a Performance Audit, an IT Audit and a Joint Audit published by the National Audit Office during 2019. The publication includes brief reports on each of these exercises to explain what action has been taken by the department or entity concerned.

Following the press conference, Mr Cutajar visited Speaker of the House of Representatives Anglu Farrugia and Auditor General Charles Deguara and presented them with a copy of the publication. Mr Cutajar was accompanied by Permanent Secretary at the Ministry for National Heritage, Arts and Local Government Joyce Dimech as well as by the Head (Projects Implementation) within the Office of the Principal Permanent Secretary Carlos Tabone.

Source: Office of the Prime Minister