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The audit reviewed the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's administration of consular services. It focussed on DFAT's travel advice to alert Australians to potential travel risks; case management systems to record and monitor action on more complex consular cases; performance information for the management of consular services; and contingency planning for major consular incidents. The audit also reviewed action taken by DFAT and other agencies to implement the recommendations of a 1997 Senate Committee report on consular services.
The audit examined the review of decisions on veterans' disability compensation. The audit objective was to examine the management of internal review by the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) and external review by the Veterans' Review Board (VRB) of decisions by the Repatriation Commission on veterans' claims for disability compensation.
The audit was structured to provide an overview of the administration of Commonwealth assistance to the agrifood industry. In particular, the ANAO sought to form a view on the extent to which four key agencies (Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry-Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Department of Transport and Regional Services and Austrade) are able to demonstrate their success in achieving the Government's objectives for the Australian agrifood industry by assessing agencies' agrifood-related: planned outcomes; performance information; and reporting.
The Commonwealth has significant foreign exchange risk exposures including $A8.4 billion of foreign currency transactions with the Reserve Bank of Australia in 1998-99. Under the Financial Management and Accountability Act and its associated Regulations, all agencies are required to assess and, where possible, manage, foreign exchange risk. The audit reviewed four agencies that have substantial foreign currency payment exposures namely:
the Department of Defence;
the Australian Agency for International Development;
the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; and
the Department of Finance and Administration.
The objective of the audit was to identify and assess the efficiency and cost effectiveness of the management of foreign exchange risk across the selected agencies, also to identify opportunities to improve the management of foreign exchange risk, including any associated potential financial savings that could accrue to the Commonwealth.
The audit objective was to form an opinion on the Department of Veterans' Affairs administration of its activities to maintain and enhance the health and independence of veterans and war widows in their homes and in the community.
The audit reviewed Australian Development Scholarships (ADS). ADS's are the principal mechanism by which Australia provides scholarship assistance for individuals from developing countries to undertake studies at Australian education institutions. The scholarships help to meet the human resource development needs of developing countries and contribute to their development across various sectors. Scholarships also have an important role in fostering and sustaining Australia's relations with developing countries, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. The objective of the audit was to evaluate AusAID's management of the ADS scheme.
The audit objective was to determine the DVA's performance in the economy, efficiency and administrative effectiveness of the delivery of income support payments to veterans and war widows. It was found that overall, DVA is paying the correct pension to the correct people in a timely fashion within the required accuracy levels.
Consistent with the ANAO's practices, and in response to a request from AusAID, a follow-up audit was conducted in the period May to November 1998 to assess the extent of implementation of the recommendations of a 1996 audit into the Management of Funding to Non-Government Organisations (NGOs)and whether the implementation of recommendations has effectively improved the management of funding to NGOs. The ANAO examined AusAID's key funding accountability documentation, tested the revised accountability arrangements and consulted a number of key stakeholders, including NGO representatives.
The Australian Diplomatic Communications Network was developed to provide a secure communication and automation capability for domestic offices and overseas posts. The audit focussed on project management of the ADCNET project, and in particular:
how effectively the ADCNET project was managed;
how effectively project risks were managed; and
the extent to which project management processes have established whether ADCNET meets the specifications set by, and the expectations held by, DFAT, as well as any lessons to be learnt for this and other future projects.
The ANAO's audit aims were to: examine the efficiency and effectiveness of DFAT's human resource management; and identify good practice, which could position the Department, and other APS agencies, to maximise opportunities afforded by the Government's emerging public sector reform agenda. The audit addressed a range of issues including the effectiveness of HR planning and forecasting, staff selection and deployment, performance management, and the fostering of relevant skills and knowledge.
This follow-up audit examined the actions taken by the Department of Veterans' Affairs to address the ANAO's recommendations made in Audit Report No.28 1993-94 regarding the use of private hospitals on behalf of the Repatriation Commission. The recommendations from that audit were aimed at improving the basis and consistency of contracts with the private sector for the use of private hospitals and providing added assurance that quality care was available to the veteran community.
The objective of the audit was to review the Department of Veterans' Affairs' management of the outsourcing of its data centre in Sydney from February 1992, specifically with respect to the management of its contractual arrangements. The audit sought to identify the extent to which DVA achieved its objectives of outsourcing and the effectiveness of its management of the arrangement with the supplier.
The focus of the audit was to examine recent selected property sales within the portfolios owning the majority of Commonwealth property, ie. those of Defence, Administrative Services and Veterans' Affairs. The approach taken in the audit was to select property sales from each of the three agencies and review the files and transactions related to those sales. The sales were evaluated against criteria which included establishment of sales timetables, sales methods, and completion processes such as the criteria for the selection of tenders and accountability. The objectives of the audit were to assess departments' management of the sale process associated with selected property sales with regard to:
the extent to which the individual property sale objectives were achieved;
how departments managed the sales to ensure that the Commonwealth received fair value;
whether the departments' sale arrangements adequately protected the Commonwealth's interests, including minimising ongoing Commonwealth risk; and
identifying principles of better practice employed by agencies in connection with these sales.
The objective of the audit was to review AusAID's management of funding to Non-Government Organisations, to assess whether:
the objectives of overseas development programs to be delivered by NGOs were clearly established;
funding mechanisms for the delivery of aid programs by NGOs were clearly defined, consistently applied, and in compliance with the law; and
whether AusAID could provide assurances that NGOs delivering development projects using Commonwealth monies are accountable for: proper expenditure of Commonwealth monies; the achievement of stated objectives; and the achievement of value for money.
The ANAO examined AusAID documentation on overseas development programs delivered by NGOs, looking particularly for clear objectives, performance measures, and evaluation mechanisms. Three levels of documentation were examined:
This is a follow-up audit to Audit Report No.8 1992-93, Compensation Pensions to Veterans and War Widows and Audit Report No. 15 1994-95, Follow-up of an Efficiency Audit on Compensation Pensions to Veterans and War Widows. This audit examined the performance of the Compensation sub-program operations in order to ascertain the impact of previous audit reports and to recommend areas that could be further improved.
The purpose of the audit was to ascertain the extent to which financial management arrangements helped the department to achieve its objectives and the way that these could be improved in the light of the department's management reforms generally.
Elements of the Financial Management Improvement Program, and the accrual reporting framework, were at an evolutionary stage in the department. The audit therefore focused on quite fundamental financial management issues, including:
the ability of financial management systems to provide information that was timely, accurate and relevant to the needs of management and other users; and
the extent of coordination and control of financial management across departmental programs and between National and State Offices.