26 September 2023

Audit expects more from major program reports

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A performance audit into whether the Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF) and other Victorian public sector entities consistently reported on major projects’ performance in a transparent way has found that they did not.

In his report Major Projects Performance Reporting 2022, Auditor-General Andrew Greaves said this was his Office’s second annual examination of major project information reporting by DTF and the 13 public sector entities responsible for 133 major projects.

“These projects are expected to cost more than $100 million each,” Mr Greaves said.

“DTF and public sector entities do not consistently report on major projects’ performance in a transparent way,” he said.

“Without this information, Parliament and the community cannot hold responsible entities accountable.”

Mr Greaves said issues uncovered in his 2021 Major Projects Performance report had continued, including inconsistencies in how entities presented data, a lack of reporting about expected benefits, and entities not explaining changes.

He said that to understand why a project had changed or experienced delays, Parliament and the community still needed to combine and cross-reference information from Budget Paper 4 of the Victorian Budget and each responsible entity’s strategic plans and annual reports.

“This is a task that takes substantial time and effort,” the Auditor-General said.

“Further, information in annual reports is often limited to financially complete or practically completed projects.”

Mr Greaves said his Office had published a data dashboard alongside this year’s Report which showed how DTF could help Parliament and the community better understand how entities were managing major projects.

He made one recommendation to DTF about making and maintaining a public-facing dashboard that showed how major projects were performing.

The Auditor-General’s 104-page Report can be accessed at this PS News link.

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