Legal Agent Account Verification Process
April 2011

Appendix A – Methodology

The criteria for the audit were based on the Guidance on Assessing Control issued by the Criteria of Control Board (CoCo) of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, the TBS Management Accountability Framework (MAF), and other TBS guidance on auditing management frameworks.

The audit methodology consisted of:

  • an analysis of the management and financial control framework in place using a risk-based approach related to key elements of the framework;
  • a review of relevant policies at the departmental and central agency level;
  • preparing a detailed audit program with criteria;
  • interviewing the following stakeholder groups:
    • LPMC and CFO Branch staff at HQ;
    • staff at the British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec regional offices;
    • PPSC and LSU staff involved in processing legal agent accounts.
  • selecting a transaction sample:

    For fiscal year 2009-10 the Department of Justice statistical sampling (IDEA) system was used to select a transaction sample using the statistical parameters of a 95% confidence level with an approximate error rate of 5%. This resulted in the selection of 128 transactions with an amount for fees or disbursements, or as was the case in the majority of transactions, an amount for both fees and disbursements. A template was developed to assess the reasonableness of each transaction by ensuring such things as:

    • there is compliance with the terms and conditions of appointment;
    • appropriate rates of remuneration have been applied;
    • all fees charged are reasonable and necessary in the delivery of the mandated legal services;
    • all activities have been properly itemized;
    • case and billing numbers are appropriately inscribed on the account;
    • all disbursements have been itemized and recorded against the appropriate file;
    • all disbursements charged are reasonable and necessary, appropriately approved, and supported by receipts as required;
    • all amounts have been correctly totalled;
    • GST/HST has been appropriately applied on fees and disbursements;
    • the account has been properly certified by the legal agent.
  • reviewing the following documents:
    • business plans, audits, MOUs, reports, and written procedures;
    • policies and procedures within each regional office related to legal agent accounts;
    • accounting/charging and file procedures;
    • internal reporting procedures aimed at providing LPMC management with timely and accurate information on services to departments/agencies and associated costs.

The audit was undertaken in a manner consistent with the Treasury Board Policy on Internal Audit and related guidelines and procedures, and with generally accepted auditing standards.

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