26 September 2023

Auditor checks Agencies for compliance

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An annual review from the Auditor-General, Andrew Greaves, examining whether public sector Agencies implement his Office’s performance audit recommendations and respond to them in a timely way, has found most Agencies accept and act on recommendations.

Mr Greaves said his annual review and report, Responses to Performance Audit Recommendations: Annual Status Update June 2021, monitored how Agencies addressed audit findings and provided greater transparency and accountability about how Agencies responded to audits.

“When we audit the performance of public sector Agencies, we often identify opportunities for them to improve how they work,” he said.

“We make recommendations to help them address the risks and the root causes of any poor performance.

“However, Agencies are not legislatively required to accept, complete or publicly report on our recommendations.”

Mr Greaves said his Office reviewed 76 audits tabled between 2015–16 and 2019–20; 102 Agencies; and 1,063 audit recommendations.

The Auditor-General said his Review found 63 per cent of all 1,054 accepted recommendations were completed as at 31 March 2021 and Agencies took a median time of 13 months to complete them.

“However, 72 unresolved recommendations are more than three years old in 27 Agencies across 28 audits,” he said.

“It is unclear whether risks relating to these have been mitigated by other means or remain unmanaged.”

Mr Greaves said Agencies had rejected performance audit recommendations because existing records didn’t allow for indirect costs to be allocated to services and/or mandatory training for all staff was not practical within expected timeframes.

He said the Department of Education and Training (DET) had the highest completion rate of 74 per cent; the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) had a relatively high completion rate of 70 per cent; the Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF) and the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR) also had high completion rates of 72 per cent; the Department of Justice and Community Safety (DJCS) had low completion rates of 51 per cent; and the Department of Premier and Cabinet’s (DPC) completion rate was also relatively low at 55 per cent.

Mr Greaves said that of the 93 non‐Departmental Agencies included in the Review, 35 had completed all of their recommendations.

The Auditor-General’s 266-page Report can be accessed at this PS News link.

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