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The objective of the audit was to assess whether, in relation to appeals to the SSAT and the AAT, Centrelink undertakes its role effectively, so as to support the timely implementation of the Tribunals' decisions about customers' entitlements. In assessing Centrelink's performance, the ANAO examined whether:
the information provided by Centrelink, in relation to appeals to the SSAT and the AAT, effectively supported customers' and Tribunals' decision-making;
the relationships and administrative arrangements between Centrelink, DEEWR and FaHCSIA supported the effective management of the appeal process and the capture of issues that may have broader implications for legislation, policy and service delivery; and
Centrelink implemented SSAT and AAT decisions in an effective and timely manner.
The audit focused on the external review and appeal mechanisms and completes the cycle of audits on Centrelink's review and appeal system. The audit examined those appeals where an implementation action was required and did not consider SSAT and AAT appeals that were dismissed, withdrawn or were not within the Tribunals' jurisdiction.
The objective of the audit was to examine the effectiveness of Centrelink's approach to investigating and responding to external fraud. The ANAO's assessment was based on four key criteria. In particular, the ANAO assessed whether Centrelink:
had established a management framework, business systems and guidelines, that support the investigation, prosecution and reporting of fraud;
had implemented appropriate case selection strategies and controls to ensure resources are targeted to the cases of highest priority;
complied with relevant external and internal requirements when investigating fraud and referring cases for consideration of prosecution; and
had implemented an effective training program that supports high quality investigations and prosecution referrals.
The scope of the audit covered Centrelink's emergency management framework and community recovery assistance operations in general, with a specific focus on the 2009 North Queensland floods and Victorian bushfires. FaHCSIA's role during those disaster events was also considered as it played a key role in establishing the policy parameters of the services Centrelink delivered and addressing issues arising from policy implementation.
The audit objective was to assess the effectiveness of administrative arrangements for YA, including service delivery. The ANAO assessed DEEWR's and Centrelink's performance against three main criteria:
objectives and strategies for the ongoing management and performance measures for YA provide a firm basis for measurement against outcomes (Chapters 2 and 3);
YA services delivered are consistent with legislative and policy requirements, (Chapter 4); and
monitoring arrangements provide appropriate information for assessing service delivery performance (Chapter 5).
The audit was conducted as a joint financial statement and performance audit of Centrelink's Information and Technology (I&T) systems. The objective of the financial statement component of the audit was to express an opinion on whether Centrelink could rely on its I&T systems to support production of a reliable set of financial information for the financial statements. The objective of the performance audit component was to determine whether Centrelink's I&T systems outputs adequately met quality and service delivery targets.
The Age Pension is a social security income support payment available to Australian residents and eligible Australians residing overseas who have reached Age Pension age and whose income and assets are under certain limits. In 1999-2000, approximately $14 billion was paid to approximately 1.7 million Age Pension recipients. Payment of Age Pension is made under the Social Security Law and in accordance with the Guide to the Social Security Law prepared by the Department of Family and Community Services (FaCS). FaCS has contracted Centrelink under a Business Partnership Agreement (BPA) to administer the payment of Age Pension to eligible customers. The objective of the audit was to assess the extent to which new claims for Age Pension had been assessed in compliance with the legislation and other relevant guidelines developed by Centrelink, and whether Centrelink employed appropriate mechanisms to help ensure such compliance. In particular, the ANAO sought evidence with respect to: payment at the right rate, from the right date, to the right person with the right product, for new claims assessed during the audit sample period (that is, in accordance with the working definition of accuracy within Centrelink); the accuracy of Centrelink?s own reporting on compliance, as reported to FaCS under the BPA; and the application of appropriate mechanisms to help ensure such compliance.