BC Auditor General Carol Bellringer’s latest report calls for improvements to the province’s Community Gaming Grants program.
The report believes the province provided suitable program framework but four key areas need improving.
To start, Bellringer would like to see more transparency on how money is being spent. The government breaks down how it distributes the $135 million per year to non-profits, but she’d like a more clear, public understanding of the program’s operating costs. She also suggests keeping an eye on whether funds are being used as intended, and that reports include any external funding or labour is leveraged through the grants like volunteers and donations.
“More robust performance monitoring and reporting would provide government and stakeholders with better information on the program’s operations and impacts,” she says, “more information is good for both government and the stakeholders.”
She found the original grant application process was being properly analysed and executed, but there were few guidelines to reassessing a group once its foot was in the door. She’s calling for more consistency during the grant awarding process; the report found the post-review approval rate was very high and often times the “documentation was not adequate to justify the reconsideration decision.”
“A more robust process is needed to help ensure that grant applications are reassessed against the original criteria and that the decision is well-documented.”
The whole process itself hasn’t been updated in five years, so she’d like to see the government re-evaluate it. This includes adding or reducing the number of sectors that can apply for grants (there are currently six), if $135 million a year is still an adequate funding amount, and whether there’s a better funding model out there.
The province is already looking to make these updates, and improving the awarding process.
79 Prince George groups received funding through this program this fiscal year.