26 September 2023

Defence audit check finds actions unfinished

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A performance audit of the Department of Defence’s implementation of recommendations to improve the effectiveness of personnel security arrangements has found that not all the recommendations have been put fully into practice.

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) said the recommendations were made either by itself or by Parliament’s Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit (JCPAA) in 2018 and 2019.

“This audit assessed whether the recommendations made to Defence had been implemented in a timely manner,” the ANAO said.

“In respect to the two JCPAA recommendations and one ANAO recommendation made to improve Defence’s security vetting information technology and information security, Defence has implemented one JCPAA recommendation, partly implemented the second and partly implemented the ANAO recommendation. “

It said Defence had implemented the three ANAO recommendations relating to improved processes for conditional clearances and information sharing.

Defence welcomed the latest ANAO report.

“The report documents a range of measures Defence has implemented since 2018 to safeguard information and ensure quality control, including an active accreditation and assurance program for external security vetting providers to meet Defence and Government security requirements,” the Department said.

“Defence continues to prepare for modernisation under its Vetting Transformation Project, which is still subject to Government consideration.”

It said Defence took seriously the oversight of the complex activities and was taking steps to further strengthen the governance of risk and implement the Auditor General’s recommendation.

The ANAO’s online audit report can be accessed at this PS News link and its 52-page report at this link.

The ANAO’s audit team was Ailsa McPherson, Renee Hall, Kim Murray, Nate Wirihana, Song Khor and Sally Ramsey.

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