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Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, at our own initiative, the Senate has brought in outside auditors to look at different aspects of our operations.

Over the next few years, we will receive the results of these audits as they are undertaken and completed. Last year, three audits were completed.

The Annual Report on Internal Audits, 2009-2010 that I will table shortly, presents these three internal audit reports in their entirety, as prepared by the auditors from Ernst & Young, together with summary management responses.

The first audit covered service contracts, including financial and management controls over procurement and contracting processes for all personnel services, consulting and legal service contracts.

The Senate's management has made corrections to ensure that contract files are properly documented and to allow processing of legal service contracts through Senate contracting. Policy and guideline improvements are under development.

The second internal audit reviewed Senators' office expenditures, including travel, living expenses, and research and office budgets. That audit has resulted in many corrections and changes, and senators' office expenditures will now be reported publically.

Time frames for submitting certain expense claims have been tightened.

The third internal audit reviewed the job classification functions for employees of the administration, noting that effective controls and many effective management practices are in place.

Again, our Senate management has begun corrective actions such as establishing a cyclical job description review process and properly documenting files.

The findings in these three audits, where not particular to our unique environment, are not uncommon in similar audits of government departments and agencies.

Senators, your Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration is encouraged by the usefulness of the 2009-10 audits, and is committed to further implementing a strong audit function within the Senate.

I thank honourable senators who previously served on the Internal Economy Committee who had begun this process; specifically, Senator Furey and Senator Stratton, who had worked with their colleagues to begin this audit process and to begin this new era of transparency. Their leadership should be commended.