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The ANAO’s primary relationship is with the Australian Parliament, particularly the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit (JCPAA).
The ANAO also has an important relationship with the accountable authorities of Commonwealth entities, who have primary responsibility for and control over public sector entities’ operations. This relationship is supported by the ongoing engagement undertaken with officials of audited entities and audit committees.
Further, the ANAO invests in a number of relationships to support its ability to be a learning organisation through the two-way exchange and sharing of information and practices, and to support other nations through peer-to-peer institutional capacity development. These relationships include the Australasian auditing community as a member of the Australasian Council of Auditors-General (ACAG). The ANAO also has close links with the international and regional auditing community through the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) and its regional working groups, and contributes to the delivery of the Australian Government’s aid program in the Indo-Pacific region. The ANAO values its relationships with the Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB) and the Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (AUASB), in their roles of setting and maintaining professional and ethical standards for the accounting and auditing professions, which underpin the delivery of quality audit services.
The Auditor-General and ANAO support the work of the Parliament by providing independent reporting, assurance, opinions and assistance. Assistance to the Parliament occurs through the provision of submissions and information to the Parliament, appearances before Parliamentary committees, and briefings to parliamentarians. The Parliament and its committees also scrutinise the work of the ANAO.
More information about the role of the Auditor-General in resolving matters referred to in a Parliamentary Committee report when a Government response, or explanatory statement, has not been presented within six months, or questions on the explanatory statement have not been answered to the satisfaction of the committee, is available .
Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit
The Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit (JCPAA) is the ANAO’s parliamentary oversight committee. The JCPAA is one of the joint committees of the Commonwealth Parliament, and is established by the Public Accounts and Audit Committee Act 1951. The JCPAA provides a formal link from the Auditor-General to the Parliament.
Among its responsibilities, the JCPAA: approves the proposed appointment of the Auditor-General; advises the Auditor-General on the Parliament’s audit priorities; and considers the operations and resources of the ANAO, including consideration of the ANAO draft budget estimates and making recommendations on it to both Houses of Parliament. The JCPAA is also required to review all ANAO reports that are tabled in Parliament and to report the results of its deliberations to both Houses of Parliament.
Accountable authorities of Commonwealth entities
The ANAO has an important relationship with the accountable authorities of Commonwealth entities, who have primary responsibility for, and control over entities’ operations. This relationship is also supported by the ongoing engagement undertaken with officials of audited entities and entities audit committees.
The ANAO engages with auditees at a number of levels to strengthen relationships and promote improved public sector performance.
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
The ANAO sits within the Prime Minister and Cabinet Portfolio for administrative purposes and the department exercises a number of policy functions relating to the Auditor-General Act, including the appointment of the Auditor-General and amendments to the Auditor-General Act.
Department of Finance
The ANAO maintains a professional working relationship with the Department of Finance. The department plays a policy ownership role in relation to the management of public resources and is responsible for setting many of the requirements against which the ANAO audits, including public sector resource management, governance and accountability frameworks.
Like other public sector entities, the ANAO is required to comply with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013, which is administered by the Department of Finance.
The ANAO hosts the Audit Committee Chairs Forum as a joint initiative with the Department of Finance. For further information on upcoming Audit Committee Chairs Forum visit Events and seminars.
Chief financial officers and auditees
The ANAO engages with auditees at a number of levels to strengthen relationships and promote improved financial reporting and public sector administration.
The ANAO hosts a Chief Financial Officer’s (CFO) Forum, which provides opportunities for dialogue between CFOs and the ANAO. In these forums the ANAO shares information about issues arising in audits, key focus areas of the audit program and provides insights and themes on the effectiveness of public administration.
For further information on upcoming CFO Forums visit Events and seminars.
Chairs of audit committees
The Audit Committee Chairs Forum is a joint initiative of the Department of Finance and the ANAO and includes the Audit Committee Chairs for Commonwealth entities. Audit committees play an important role in the public sector governance framework, and the forum is an opportunity to share insights from the audit program. The forum also seeks to provide relevant updates and information to assist committees to meet the requirements of the PGPA Act and Rules.
For further information on upcoming Audit Committee Chairs Forums visit Events and seminars.
Audit committees and are a key point of contact for the ANAO. ANAO staff attend entity audit committee meetings as observers, and are able to speak to matters relating to the ANAO and provide other assistance to the committee as required.
The ANAO attends audit committee meetings to brief committees on entity-specific financial statements and performance audit coverage and assurance reviews where applicable, as well as to make a contribution by bringing a public sector wide perspective obtained through our audit and assurance work across the sector.
Contracted audit firms
The ANAO contracts audit firms to perform some of its audit work where additional resources or skills are required. For financial statements audits, public sector specialist audits are performed by the ANAO. This includes audits of Departments of State, entities key to the General Government Sector and national security, regulatory body audits and bodies key to the functioning of the Australian public sector. These entities also tend to account for the majority of the ANAO’s performance audit program. Audits that require specialist or sectorial knowledge, or that are located outside the ACT, are generally project managed in partnership with a contracted private sector firm. For performance audits, audit firms are contracted where specialist expertise is required, or to supplement ANAO resources and capability where required.
The ANAO runs seminars for contracted audits firm to outline their responsibilities when performing audits on behalf of the ANAO.
Integrity Agencies Group
The Auditor-General is a member of the Integrity Agencies Group that is chaired by the and consists of agency heads of integrity agencies who meet on a regular basis. The group seeks to coordinate, enhance, promote and embed integrity in Commonwealth entities.
Australasian Council of Auditors-General
The objective of the Australasian Council of Auditors-General (ACAG) is to promote and foster public sector auditing in the Australasian region through an exchange of experiences, ideas, training and development, and cooperation.
The ANAO participates in ACAG, attending regular meetings and facilitating an exchange of information between Auditors-General in the states and territories of Australia and Fiji, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
The International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) was created to promote the exchange of ideas and experiences between Supreme Audit Institutions around the world. Over 170 Auditors-General, or their equivalent, are members. INTOSAI operates through the conduct of triennial Congresses, publication of an International Journal of Government Auditing, establishment of committees and working groups to study and report on various issues of interest to members, and through the work of the INTOSAI Development Initiative to provide information exchange and training for both practitioners and those who train them. INTOSAI is managed through the Congresses and annual Governing Board meetings.
The ANAO is a member of the Professional Standards Committee through participation in the Performance Audit Subcommittee, the Working Group on IT Audit and Working Group on Environmental Auditing.
The Pacific Association of Supreme Audit Institutions (PASAI) was established in 1988, and is one of the Regional Working Groups of INTOSAI. PASAI membership currently comprises 23 countries. It is the objective of PASAI to encourage, promote and advance co-operation among members in the field of public audit. PASAI members meet annually and the ANAO contributes to the Pacific regional Working Group on Environmental Auditing. The ANAO became a member of PASAI in 2007 and contributes actively to the group.
The Asian Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (ASOSAI) represents 32 Asian audit institutions and is a regional grouping of INTOSAI. The objectives of ASOSAI include promoting understanding and cooperation through the exchange of ideas and experiences, providing facilities for training and continuing education, and serving as a centre for regional audit development. ASOSAI is managed by the members through an annual Governing Board meeting and a triennial conference. The ANAO actively participates in each conference.
The ANAO also participates in peer-to-peer forums that facilitate international public auditing dialogue such as the Commonwealth Auditor Generals Conference which is held every three years, and the annual Global Audit Leadership Forum (GALF). Since 1951, the Auditors General of the Commonwealth have met to discuss matters of mutual professional interest and concern and to share and exchange work experiences. GALF is a small and informal forum for heads of SAIs of about 20 member countries, which aims to enhance audit activities of member SAIs, address global and strategic issues, as well as to contribute to the INTOSAI community.
Engagement with other supreme audit institutions (SAIs) allows the ANAO to participate in the international dialogue about best practice public administration and developments in public sector auditing. Requests for information and participating in surveys are received directly from SAIs and responded to by the ANAO. The ANAO also hosts visiting delegations, supports study visits and secondments from international peers.
Australia’s international aid program
Through a partnership agreement with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the ANAO is participating in Australia’s international aid program to assist and support the Indonesia and Papua New Guinea audit offices to build institutional capacity and facilitate the sharing of auditing knowledge across all offices. The partnership supports the Australian Government’s sectoral aid initiative to develop effective governance institutions. Under the program, the ANAO contributes to strengthening the financial statements audit and performance audit capacity and the joint sharing of auditing knowledge and practice, including through the deployment of senior ANAO staff and through twinning arrangements.
Papua New Guinea Audit Office
The ANAO and the Papua New Guinea Auditor-General’s Office (PNG AGO) have worked together on the development of auditing practices since 2004. The ANAO manages twinning programs to place staff members from the PNG AGO into Australian audit offices for individual capacity building. These programs are coordinated by the ANAO and delivered in partnership with the Australian state audit offices of New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria. These twinning arrangements provide selected PNG AGO officers with development opportunities through exposure to technical expertise and culture in Australia. At the same time, the ANAO and participating state audit offices benefit from a greater understanding of challenges faced by auditors in Papua New Guinea and the approaches and practices employed by the PNG AGO in the delivery of its audit program.
To support the broader development of auditing practices in PNG AGO, the program also includes the placement of ANAO staff members in the PNG AGO to provide on-going technical support for performance and financial audit and to support twinning activities.
Indonesia Board of Audit
Since 2006, the ANAO has also been working with the Audit Board of the Republic of Indonesia (BPK). Under the program, the ANAO contributes to the strengthening the BPK performance and financial statements audit capacity through the delivery of a number of planned activities based on three streams: technical support, institutional leadership engagement and senior management engagement. Arrangements under the program have included: hosting secondees from BPK; delivering training courses to Republic of Indonesia officers; placement of a senior ANAO officer with BPK; and regular dialogue between senior ANAO and BPK officers. These arrangements have been supported by the ANAO’s relationships with Australian state Auditors-General through which the ANAO is able to draw on relevant knowledge from other Australian jurisdictions.
The ANAO is actively involved in the work of two professional accounting bodies in Australia: CPA Australia and Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand. Staff are encouraged to undertake the Chartered Accountants Program, the CPA Program or other relevant studies through the provision of study leave and financial assistance for study fees.
In recognition of the ANAO’s strong commitment to learning and development, the ANAO has ‘knowledge level’ status under CPA Australia’s Recognised Employer Partner program. Key benefits under the program include a simple method for members to demonstrate adherence to CPA Australia’s practical experience and continuing professional development requirements, and a recruitment advantage through promoting the ANAO’s partnership status in a variety of advertising and marketing forums.