Community Gaming Grants Program Needs Improvements – Auditor General
Prince George, B.C. – The provincial government “has a suitable framework in place” to manage its Community Gaming Grants program “but improvements are needed.”
That from B.C.’s Auditor General Carol Bellringer in a new report out this week.
She says one of those “improvements” should be enhancing “how it measures the program’s performance.”
Currently, she says government collects and publicly reports detailed information on how it distributes almost $135 million each year to about 5,000 eligible non-profit groups.
But Bellringer also notes: “Greater information is needed to allow stakeholders, like communities and non-profits themselves, to see the successes of the program, and to better understand how well this program is being managed.”
She added: “$135 million is a lot of money to give out without this kind of information.”
Bellringer also said the government needs to improve its processes to better ensure its funding decisions are consistent and defensible, and grants are used as intended.
“Ministry staff asses grant applicants against the program guidelines but the guidelines need clarifying and updating,” she said.
And because it’s been five years since the government reviewed the program, the report suggested it’s time the government reassessed it “to ensure its design is efficient and effective.”
Bellringer also noted that at the time of the audit the government was already working to improve on the program including an internal review of the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch.
She also noted last spring the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development took over the administration of grant awards to increase efficiency.
Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Peter Fassbender thanked Bellringer for her report noting he is “pleased that the audit found government has a suitable framework in place to administer the program.”
He also recognized that improvements were necessary and as such accepted all 10 recommendations laid out in the report.
Fassbender continued: “A number of steps have already been taken in 2016 that proactively address the report’s recommendations, including full consideration of the program into the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, improvements to the program guidelines and development of a comprehensive policy and procedures manual to support a consistent and high-quality review of applications.”
You can read the full report by clicking here.