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The audit objective was to assess whether agreements between Australian Government (Commonwealth) agencies reflect sound administrative practices. To meet this objective, the audit reviewed current government policy and a range of better practice guidelines, conducted interviews with agencies and examined cross-agency agreements, to formulate suitable audit criteria and subsequently develop better practice principles.
The Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA), administers the Commonwealth's settlement programs, which seek to assist migrants and refugees to participate in Australian society. Provision of English language training to newly arrived migrants and refugees has been a long standing and significant part of this settlement support, with some 1.5 million new arrivals assisted in this way since 1948. The objective of the audit was to examine DIMA's management of the Adult Migrant English Program Contracts, focusing on performance outcomes; strategic contract management and coordination; program expenditure, with emphasis on contract funding arrangements; and whether contract monitoring and performance information adequately support effective program management. The ANAO made six audit recommendations aimed at improving program performance management and reporting; strategic management and coordination; management of financial risks; and monitoring of contractor performance, which were all accepted by DIMA.