No structured info database for youth ministry: OAG

Update: 8:05PM AUDIT findings from the Ministry of Youth and Sports’ youth grant program indicates the absence of approved standard operating procedures (SOPs) for administration of the grant.

In its 2016 report, the Office of the Auditor General noted that SOPs was set of step-by-step instructions created to help employees carry out routine operations, and the purpose being to achieve efficiency, quality output and uniformity of performance.

However, as at the date of audit, the OAG noted that the ministry was in the process of reviewing its youth grant program and formulating of SOPs.

It also noted that the ministry did not have a structured information database to consolidate and capture information on the types of assistance provided to the youth groups, location of the groups and the project progress and evaluation reports.

“Although the ministry provided some monitoring reports for audit verification, however, it was not able to provide details on the number of the projects monitored against those assisted in the last three years,” the OAG noted.

“Having up-to-date information on the progress of projects that have benefited from the different youth programs will assist management in making informed decisions regarding program design, policy and improved implementation of the program.”

The OAG recommended that the ministry should formalise its SOPs; ensure all projects assisted were effectively monitored; establish a database to consolidate and capture information to assist in reviewing the effectiveness of the program; and improving policies and guidelines.

In response, the ministry noted the need to establish an SOP for all its key programs and deliverables with a detailed outline of the monitoring component carried out by the divisions, and also the annual impact assessments conducted by the research and development unit. 

“The ministry is moving from monitoring and evaluating outputs to outcomes. The ministry is currently working on a SOP and once endorsed by the permanent secretary, it will be disseminated across the divisions and sections as an operational guide to their programmed execution,” the ministry stated in its response.

The ministry stated it was also finalising its database set up, which would also be utilised as a central data repository centre.

“Once generated in a live environment, it will also capture hard evidence and store the monitoring reports electronically. 

“There has been a lapse on normal hard evidence submission from divisions to headquarters when the Monitoring and Evaluation Unit of the Implementation and Coordinating Office of the Office of The Prime Minister was disestablished. 

“However, we are now encouraging the divisions to submit as usual but a proper structured system will be established once the ministry’s database is officially launched.”

In addition, the ministry stated that with the current funding of $2000 per division, it was very difficult to conduct a thorough monitoring given the geographical locations of those youth clubs with minimum resources available. 

“Thus, the ministry will review on this budget submission for additional funding or do a sample monitoring and evaluation process similar to the audit process.”

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