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This report summarises audit findings relating to entity internal control structures arising from the interim phase of the financial statement audits of major Commonwealth entities for 2001-2002. Examinations of such issues are designed to assess the reliance that can be placed on control structures to produce complete, accurate and valid information for financial reporting purposes.
The audit followed-up the ANAO's original audit report into the aviation safety regulatory activities of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) (Audit Report No.19 1999-2000 Aviation Safety Compliance). The objective of the follow-up audit were to determine, in respect of issues addressed by the original audit recommendations, whether CASA has made satisfactory progress to improve its aviation safety surveillance and compliance activities; and whether the introduction of new strategies for further improvement is being appropriately managed.
The audit reviewed the administrative effectiveness of ComSuper in providing benefits to members of the CSS and PSS. The objectives of the audit were to assess the effectiveness of ComSuper's performance in regard to the establishment of new purchaser/provider arrangements; the integrity of the ComSuper databases for the payment of CSS and PSS benefits; and the accuracy and effectiveness of benefit processing and payment for resignation, retirement and retrenchment.
The objectives of the audit were to assess the administrative and financial effectiveness of the Department of Finance and Administration's (Finance's) management of the Commonwealth's exposure under the DASFLEET Tied Contract; assess the effectiveness of Finance's monitoring of performance of the DASFLEET Tied Contract with Macquarie Fleet; and review the action taken by Finance in response to a recommendation of Audit Report No. 25 1998-99, Sale of DASFLEET.
The objective of this benchmarking study of the finance function was to obtain and report on over time, quantitative and qualitative data, relating to finance function activities as they operate in Commonwealth organisations. Over the three year period of the study, the majority of participating Commonwealth organisations have shown an improvement in their quantitative and/or qualitative benchmark results across the range of finance function activities. The Report does not provide specific reasons for differences in performance. However, it does provide guidance as to some of the better practices that participating organisations, and the wider public sector, may wish to adopt, or adapt in order to achieve improved performance in the activities of the finance function.
This benchmarking study across 14 agencies examined how line managers plan for and manage their staff and how the human resource (HR) function supports them to do that. People management was categorised into nine, practice areas, to enable comparisons between the participating agencies. The study also assessed each people management practice area against four criteria: quality, HR integration, effectiveness & efficiency and business contribution.
In 1999-2000, the ANAO conducted an audit in Centrelink to determine whether its planning, monitoring and costing arrangements provided a sound basis to underpin its delivery of quality, cost effective customer services. The report of that audit, Audit Report No. 43 1999-2000 Planning and Monitoring for Cost Effective Service Delivery, Staffing and Funding Arrangements, was tabled in Parliament in May 2000. The objective of this follow-up audit was to assess whether Centrelink had implemented a comprehensive costing system as a basis for planning productivity improvements and accounting for its expenditure of purchaser funds. The ANAO examined Centrelink's current costing system to determine if it reflected the design and implementation characteristics that were outlined in Audit Report No. 43.
The audit sought to assess the efficiency of Defence property management; provide assurance that probity and compliance requirements are being met; and make practical recommendations for enhancing property operations. It focused on Infrastructure Division's property management, with recognition that other areas manage certain property service contracts, such as those for electricity supply and cleaning.
The objective of the audit was to assess DIMIA's management of offshore measures to prevent and detect unlawful entry, and to identify opportunities for improvement. The audit did not cover the processing arrangements, referred to as the Pacific Strategy, introduced as part of the legislative changes in September 2001. Nor did it cover the range of measures use for prevention and detection at the border and on shore. As DIMIA is the lead agency responsible for the development of immigration policy, the audit focussed in the administrative effectiveness of the governance framework used by the department to implement and to support the achievement of Government strategies to prevent unlawful entry to Australian Territory.
The objective of the audit was to determine whether DIMIA's workforce planning systems are effectively supporting human resource management practices, which contribute to the efficient and effective achievement of project outcomes.
Although the audit examined broader aspects of the ATO's administration (such as, tobacco excise governance arrangements, intelligence capability and compliance and investigations activities), we placed particular emphasis on the strategies used by the ATO to address the proliferation of chop-chop (Australian grown tobacco sold illicitly in a chopped up form for $80 to $100 per kilogram. In comparison, 50 grams of legal roll-you-own tobacco costs around $16 i.e. $320 per kilogram) in the Australian markets, as it is an area of major risk to tobacco excise revenue.
The objective of the audit was to assess the administrative effectiveness of Australian Customs Services (Customs) drug detection strategies for air and containerised sea cargo and small craft activity. Within the scope of the audit, the following areas were examined :
intelligence and law enforcement cooperation;
air and containerised sea cargo;
cargo examinations and technology;
small craft activities;
Customs funding arrangements (including funding for NIDS initiatives): and
The audit objective was to determine whether organisations had implemented adequate control frameworks and processes to mitigate the risks associated with GST obligations and transactions. The scope of the audit covered all aspects of GST processing relating to the revenue and expenditure accounting cycles in six Commonwealth organisations. Audit testing of transactions was based on a statistical sample of 160 GST transactions at each of the organisations.
Robust internal budgeting processes are an essential part of effective financial management and are critical in the successful implementation of the accrual-based, outputs and outcomes framework. Effective internal budgeting should be closely intergrated with business planning processes and require a comprehensive and collaborative approach, involving input from throughout the organisation.
The Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing, Mr Stephen Smith, wrote to the Auditor-General on 11 March 2002 formally requesting an investigation into certain matters in relation to the 'Co-Location of National General Practice Organisations', a message detailed in the Health Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements 2001-02. The Federal President of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) Limited wrote to the Auditor-General on 11 March 2002, requesting a comprehensive audit of funding decisions by the Minister for Health and Ageing. The Australian National Audit Office has undertaken a preliminary examination of relevant papers relating to the 'GP House' matter. The preliminary examination focussed on whether or not due process was followed in making the decision to transfer funds between Outcomes. The preliminary examination also considered the procedures adopted by the Department of Health and Aged Care in developing the funding proposal, the advisory role played by the Department of Finance and Administration and specific advice provided by both departments to their Ministers. The examination further considered the disclosure of the related budget measure.
The audit reviewed Commonwealth National Parks involving total assets of $105 million with net operating costs of $41.77 million. Nineteen Commonwealth reserves are declared comprising six terrestrial national parks, one botanic garden and twelve marine parks and reserves totalling some 23 million hectares across Australia, its external territories and Commonwealth marine areas. The objective of the audit was to examine and report on the adequacy of the planning, management and reporting systems which support the Director of National Parks in the achievement of required functions under relevant legislation and agreed outputs and outcomes.
The audit examined the administrative processes that the department has in place to support the administration of RAP. The objective of the audit was to determine whether funding was being allocated in accordance with the RAP policy guidelines and whether the department was managing RAP contracts to ensure that desired outcomes are achieved
The 30 per cent Private Health Insurance Rebate is a financial incentive for individuals to purchase health insurance cover. The rebate provides for a reimbursement or discount of 30 per cent of the cost of private health insurance. It is available to all Australians who are eligible for Medicare and have private health insurance. The objective of the audit was to determine the effectiveness of Commonwealth Government agencies administration of the rebate.
The Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) uses information technology (IT) extensively in providing services to Australia's veteran and defence force communities. The audit reviewed DVA's management of its IT outsourcing contract. The audit considered DVA's planning to meet its strategic IT needs through the IT outsourcing contract, the provisions of the contract, contract administration, management of the impacts of the outsourced services on DVA's business and the outcomes of DVA's approach to the contract.
An Assurance and Control Assessment audit of recordkeeping was undertaken across four Commonwealth organisations to assess whether their recordkeeping policies, systems and processes accord with requirements under the Archives Act 1983, with relevant government policies, and with accepted standards and recordkeeping principles; and to identify better practices and recommend improvements. The audit addressed both electronic and traditional records.
The audit sought to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the ADF's management of fuel and lubricants and to identify possible areas for improvement. The audit focused on major aspects of the fuel supply chain, in particular the strategic management of fuel (eg. the coordination of fuel requirements and stockholding policy). The audit also reviewed fuel procurement practices, storage and handling issues. The audit coverage addressed the fuel supply aspects of these matters rather than transport, distribution and equipment issues. Although directed principally towards operational fuels, the audit took into consideration issues associated with ADF's requirement for oils and lubricants.
To improve educational outcomes for Indigenous Australians, two main forms of assistance administered by the Commonwealth, namely the Indigenous Education Strategic Initiatives Programme (IESIP) and the Indigenous Education Direct Assistance programmes (IEDA), are currently available. The objective of the audit was to assess whether the department had efficiently and effectively managed the development and implementation of the IESIP agreements for the 2001 to 2004 quadrennium.
The Commonwealth electoral roll is managed by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) and lists the names and addresses of people entitled to vote in federal elections. The objectives of the audit were twofold. The first objective was to provide an opinion on the integrity of the electoral roll, for the purpose of the audit, integrity was defined as accuracy, completeness, validity and security. The second objective was to examine the effectiveness of the AEC's management of the electoral roll in ensuring the roll's integrity.
New transactional banking arrangements for FMA agencies came into effect on 1 July 1999. The audit reviewed selected agencies' implementation and ongoing management of contractual banking arrangements; agencies' tendering for the procurement of banking services; and identified practises that have improved administrative arrangements. The audit examined Finance's role in planning and implementing the new arrangements as well as implementation in the Australian Customs Service (Customs) the Department of Transport and Regional Services (DTRS), the Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST), and the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA).
The audit was undertaken following advice from the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit (JCPAA) to the Auditor-General that assurance that ABC programming adequately reflects the ABC's Charter was an audit priority of Parliament. The objective of the audit is to provide Parliament with this assurance. The focus of the audit was on the governance arrangements of the ABC Board and management that enable the ABC to demonstrate the extent to which it is achieving its' Charter obligations, and other related statutory requirements, efficiently and effectively. The scope of the audit was as follows:
Review the ABC's corporate governance framework against better practice models. The ANAO had regard to the ABC's unique role as a national public broadcaster established as a budget funded Commonwealth statutory authority subject to the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997.
Examine the ABC Board's approach to the interpretation of the Charter requirements of the ABC and the setting of strategic directions, and management's administrative arrangements for implementing the strategic directions established by the Board.
Examine the ABC's performance information framework, the development, documentation and use of performance measures in relation to targets and/or objectives, the monitoring and reporting of performance and its' inter-relationship with the corporate planning and budgetary processes, particularly in relation to the strategic directions set by the Board.
The audit did not examine the overall management of the ABC. In keeping with the audit scope, the audit examined ways in which the ABC aligns its' strategic directions with its' Charter requirements for programs broadcast on radio, television and on-line and assures itself, and Parliament, about the achievement of its' Charter obligations. Further, the audit did not examine the operations of ABC Enterprises or symphony orchestras that operate as ABC-owned subsidiary companies.
The audit reviewed the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) management of the provision of employment services information to job seekers up to the point where job seekers are referred to Job Network. The objective of the audit was to examine the administrative effectiveness of DEWR's management of the provision of information to job seekers, focusing on determining what information should be provided, developing an effective means of providing information, and assuring that information is being delivered effectively.
ANAO Opinions is published to provide audit clients with information on developments in financial reporting and disclosure, together with details of recently completed performance audits and Better Practice Guides. It also lists those audits scheduled for completion in the near future.
The audit reviewed the planning and management of the Australian Defence Force deployments to East Timor, including the support of those deployments. The audit focused on planning for the deployments and the role of Australia as the lead nation in the International Force in East Timor (INTERFET); and financial, personnel, logistic and other systems used to deploy and sustain Australia's military presence in East Timor.
This was a follow-up of Audit Report No. 40 of 1997-98, Purchase of Hospital Services from State Governments. That audit examined the administration by the Department of Veterans' Affairs of the Purchase of Hospital Services from State Governments. The objective of this audit was to assess the extent to which the Department had implemented the nine recommendations of Report No. 40, taking account of any changed circumstances or administrative issues that the Department identified as affecting their implementation; and to offer continued assurance to the Parliament on the management of the purchase of hospital services.
In view of the significant level of investment by Commonwealth agencies in the implementation and production of Financial Management Information Systems (FMISs), the ANAO, in conjunction with Gartner, undertook a benchmarking study within the Commonwealth budget sector with the objective of determining and reporting on FMIS:
implementation and production costs; and
The benchmarking study also provides some data on resource support, size, volume and utilisation of the FMIS information. These data and metrics have significant implications for FMIS product selection. This study follows on from ANAO Audit Report No.12 'Selection, Implementation and Management of Financial Management Information Systems in Commonwealth Agencies', which was tabled in September 2001. That report provided details of the results of FMIS selections and implementations across the same eight Commonwealth budget sector agencies (the Commonwealth peer group) considered in this benchmarking study.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) established a task force in 1996 to develop a greater understanding of the factors involved and to devise a coordinated approach in dealing with the cash economy. The objective of the performance audit was to report to Parliament on the ATO's progress in addressing the cash economy, including its monitoring and reporting of outcomes. The audit focused on the ATO's implementation of its Cash Economy Task Force recommendations in the light of the tax reform that has taken place over the last two years.
The audit reviewed the use of taxis in six Commonwealth agencies. The objective of the audit was to provide assurance that organisations were effectively managing associated risks and complying with legislation and guidelines in relation to the use of, and payment for taxi services.
The Senate Order of 20 June 2001, required all FMA agencies to list contracts over $100 000 on the Internet. FMA agencies were to indicate, amongst other things, whether the contracts contained provisions requiring the parties to maintain confidentiality of any of its provisions or whether any provisions of the contract were regarded by the parties as confidential. The Senate Order also requested the ANAO to conduct an examination of a number of such contracts, and indicate whether any inappropriate use of confidentiality provisions was detected in that examination. The Government agreed that agencies would comply with the spirit of the Order because it was committed to transparency of Commonwealth contracts. The Government also indicated that agencies' compliance with the Order would be progressive as agencies refine arrangements and processes to meet the requirements
This follow-up Audit reviewed the Department of Health and Ageing's implementation of the recommendations of Audit Report No. 36, 1999-2000, Home and Community Care. The objective of the follow-up audit was to assess the extent to which the Department had implemented the nine recommendations of Audit Report No. 36, 1999-2000. The audit examined areas relating to funding, guidance, fees, coordination with other aged and disability care programs, acquittals, accountability and data requirements, and records management.
The audit reviewed Defence's management of the Test and Evaluation (T&E) aspects of its capital equipment acquisition program. The audit sought to identify, from Defence T&E practice, any barriers that might limit the efficiency and effectiveness of its T&E activities.
This report summarises the final results of the audits of the financial statements of Commonwealth entities, forming the second report this year on financial statement audits for the period ended 30 June 2001. It complements Audit Report No.1 2001-2002 Control Structures as Part of the Audits of Financial Statements of Major Commonwealth Agencies for the Period Ended 30 June 2001. The report is in five parts:
Part One of the report discusses Commonwealth financial management and reporting issues. It also provides ongoing commentary on the structure of the Commonwealth's financial framework. Related reporting issues include developments in relation to the outcomes and outputs costing and appropriation framework. Comment is also made on the quality and timeliness of the preparation of entities' annual financial statements;
Part Two provides details of the audit of the Commonwealth's Consolidated Financial Statements for 2000-2001;
Part Three provides an overview of the current control issues noted in the financial statement audits of Commonwealth entities;
Part Four discusses the summary final results of the audits of the financial statements, providing details regarding qualifications and any matters emphasised in audit reports; and
Part Five provides the results of the individual financial statement audits and any additional significant control matters identified since Audit Report No.1 2001-2002.
This benchmarking study surveyed the roles and functions of CFOs from 15 Commonwealth organisations in 2000-2001. It also involved the CFOs providing self-assessments in response to questions about their role, responsibilities, priorities and challenges. In particular the study sought to identify: ·
the skills, qualifications and experience of Commonwealth CFOs; ·
the CFOs perceptions of their roles, responsibilities and priorities, and how these may have changed in relation to previous studies and available Andersen Global Best Practices (from the Andersen Global Best Practices® knowledge base); and ·
how Commonwealth CFOs viewed and used information technology to achieve their financial management objectives.
This audit is one of a series of fraud control audits undertaken by the ANAO. The audit focussed on Centrelink's arrangements for the prevention, detection and treatment of incorrect payments to its customers. The objective of the audit was to assess whether Centrelink had implemented appropriate fraud control arrangements in line with the Fraud Control Policy of the Commonwealth.
The audit process involved an assessment of the accounts receivable function in eight Commonwealth organisations. The objectives of the audit were to assess whether the processing, collection and overall management of the accounts receivable function was being performed in accordance with applicable legislation, government policy, applicable internal controls, and identify better practices in accounts receivable activities.
Major capital equipment contributes importantly to the capabilities of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to achieve the Defence mission, that is, the defence of Australia and its national interests. The Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) is the relatively new Defence organisation responsible for the acquisition and through-life support of Defence equipment and systems. DMO's stated purpose is to equip and sustain the ADF. In 2001-02, it will spend $2.9 billion on progressing some 270 major capital equipment acquisition projects. This preliminary study for the audit focused on DMO reporting on the status of major equipment acquisition projects.
The audit reviewed the broadcasting planning and licensing operations of the Australian Broadcasting Authority, which is responsible for planning the availability of segments of the broadcasting services bands used by radio and television for analogue and digital broadcasting. The objective was to assess the ABA's management of licence area planning and the subsequent issue of broadcasting licences, focussing on analogue radio planning and identifying improved administrative practices, where possible, together with the main factors that have contributed to the delays to date in achieving the planning timetable.
Personnel security, including the security clearance process, is a valuable and essential element of managing the risk inherent in allowing Commonwealth and other personnel access to sensitive information. This audit was designed to review security clearance and vetting policies and practices in a number of Commonwealth organisations and to consider if organisations were managing these processes effectively and efficiently and in accordance with Commonwealth policy, as outlined in the Protective Security Manual.