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The audit reviewed the process of engaging consultants in four Commonwealth agencies. The objective of the audit was to provide assurance to Parliament that Commonwealth agencies comply with relevant procurement policies and procedures that have been developed to ensure value for money in government procurement.
This performance audit is the first property management audit that the ANAO has conducted since the FMA Act came into effect in 1997, with the associated devolution of responsibility to agency heads. The audit included coverage of office accommodation currently leased in Australia from the private sector. This office accommodation was housing the functions and activities of clerical, technical or professional staff, including conference and meeting rooms and ministerial suites but excluding basements, car parks, theatrettes, and cafeterias.
The audit reviewed the operation of the payment of accounts function in 8 Commonwealth organisations against their internal control framework. The main objectives of the audit were to determine whether organisations had implemented appropriate risk management strategies for the processing of accounts and whether payment for goods ans services had been properly authorised. The audit also reviewed progress since the payment of accounts audit undertaken in 1996 ( Audit Report No. 16, 1996-97, Financial Control and Administration Audit, Payment of Accounts).
This audit followed up the ANAO's 1997 performance audit report on ADF health services (Audit Report No.34 1996-97 Australian Defence Force Health Services), which focused on the delivery of non-operational health services to entitled members. The objective of the follow-up audit was to assess Defence's implementation of recommendations made in the original audit report and their effectiveness in improving ADF health services.
The ANAO concluded that DHAC's administration of the National Cervical Screening Program is generally sound. The ANAO found that the department has a key role in the Program by providing secretariat services and other support to the NAC, which provides policy advice to AHMAC, and by supporting initiatives to further develop the Program. Some areas of DHAC's administration of the Program provide examples of good practice. Related examples are the early identification of the need to monitor the Program, the early identification of possible data sources for monitoring, and the use of an independent body to provide advice, through the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, on performance indicators and data sources. A further example is DHAC's administration of the provision of cervical screening funding assistance to the States and Territories through Public Health Outcome Funding Agreements, which complies with the principles for sound Specific Purpose Payments program administration advocated by the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit in their Report 362. On the other hand, the ANAO has identified areas for improvement in quality assurance for the analysis of Pap smears by pathology laboratories.
The audit was conducted as a joint financial statement and performance audit of HIC's IT systems. The objective of the financial statement component of the audit was to express an opinion on whether HIC could rely on its IT systems to support production of a reliable set of balances for the financial statements. The objective of the performance audit component was to determine whether HIC's IT systems' outputs met quality and service delivery targets.
Aviation traffic data plays an important role in informing decisions about the safety of the airways system, including such matters as the need for navigation facilities, communication links, air traffic control towers and rescue/fire fighting services. The objective of the limited scope audit was to examine the accuracy of the data on air traffic movements collected by Airservices Australia.
Quarantine policies and operations are the responsibility of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry - Australia (AFFA). The objective of this audit was to assess AFFA's management of plant and animal quarantine services, and the implementation and impact of the Government Response (1997) to the Quarantine Review Committee Report. The audit in particular assessed the setting of quarantine priorities through assessing and managing risk; management of the continuum of quarantine operations; and management of Import Risk Analyses to deliver and review quarantine policies. Stakeholder consultation and advisory processes were also assessed in addressing these issues. A key issue examined was the effectiveness of AFFA quarantine operations in international mail and airports preventing the entry of quarantinable material. The ANAO made eight recommendations aimed at improving operational risk based resource allocation; pre-border management of quarantine risk; the effectiveness of quarantine operations at the Australian border; and priority setting and transparency of the IRA process. AFFA agreed to all eight ANAO recommendations.
The objective of the audit was to report to Parliament on the ATO's management of its performance reporting within the outcomes and outputs framework and to identify potential areas for improvement in specifying, measuring, administering and reporting under that framework.