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The management of Australia's overseas posts has not previously been scrutinised by the ANAO from a performance perspective. This audit is the first in a series planned to examine different aspects of the administration of Australian representation abroad, focusing particularly on DFAT and Austrade, as the agencies responsible for managing almost all overseas posts.
The diversity and complexity of issues at overseas missions of different sizes mean that posts generally cannot be treated as if they were all the same. This audit concentrated on small and medium-sized posts. The findings and conclusions should, therefore, not be regarded as automatically applicable to large posts.
The ANAO conducted a project audit of Competitive Employment, Training and Placement services, part of the Disability Services Program administered by the then Department of Human Services and Health, primarily because of parliamentary concerns relating to these services. Under the Administrative Arrangements Order of 11 March 1996, the Disability Services Program is now administered by the Department of Health and Family Services.
The primary objectives of the ANAO preliminary study were to gain an understanding of the concepts and associated processes used in the management of preparedness. This included the methodology for translating the Government's strategic guidance into military capability; the processes by which the Services translate preparedness directives into operational requirements; and how Headquarters ADF (HQADF) and the three Service Offices assure themselves that units can satisfy the requirements of preparedness directives.
Within the scope of this preliminary study the ANAO did not attempt to form a conclusion regarding the current ability of the ADF to satisfy the roles set by Government in strategic guidance; that is, its actual state of preparedness. It was important first to obtain a good understanding of the concepts and associated methodology used by Defence in managing preparedness.
The audit examined how well the Commonwealth's regulators of consumer product safety have used a 'whole of agency' approach to risk management to protect consumers. The audit also looked at the health costs associated with consumer product related injuries and deaths and the extent to which the legal remedies available under the Trade Practices Act are used.
The objectives of this audit were to assess planning, management, conduct and staffing of internal audit in the Department of Defence, with a view to providing assurance as to the standard of its work. Opportunities were taken to identify specific policies and practices that would improve the efficiency and effectiveness of MAB audit. Fieldwork for the ANAO audit was performed between May and August 1995.
whether the planning and implementation of the DSS Teleservice project has been adequate to ensure successful operations;
the efficiency and administrative effectiveness of Teleservice Centre management practices;
whether Teleservice Centres have been successful in delivering the anticipated improvements to client service; and
what opportunities might be available for improvement in the operation of the Centres.
An important aim of the audit was to ascertain with DSS what value could be added by identifying more administratively effective and efficient means of managing and operating their Teleservice Centre network. In addition, the ANAO considered that the experience gained and lessons learned from the introduction of Teleservice operations by DSS could improve the planning and implementation of major technology-based operational and client service initiatives in the future, both in DSS and the Australian Public Service (APS) generally.
In carrying out the audit, the ANAO undertook an extensive examination of the Teleservice environment including:
examining the experience and practices of private sector call centre operations;
reviewing the DSS Teleservice network, involving detailed discussions with departmental officers, examining files and data and observing Teleservice Centre operations; as well as
consulting a range of community groups and government agencies familiar with DSS's Teleservice Centre services.
Audit Report No.5 1993-94, Explosive Ordnance, Department of Defence, was tabled in the Parliament in September 1993. The report was structured in three parts. The first part covered explosive ordnance (EO) issues common to all three Services; the second part focused on the management of explosive ordnance by the Navy; and the third part was a follow-up of the 1987 audit report on Air Force explosive ordnance. The report made 39 recommendations. Defence agreed to implement most of them.
It was considered timely to undertake a follow-up audit into key issues of the recommendations contained in the audit report, given the elapsed time since the report was tabled and the issues associated with public safety.