An update from the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) on operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) continues to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Transparency and accountability is important – more so at a time of fast-paced implementation.

ANAO staff are continuing to work from home and undertaking financial statements audits as normal, and re-engaging with entities on performance audits following a pause on engagement during April 2020.

The ANAO seeks to have its mandatory suite of financial audits completed in normal timeframes for the Government to have accurate numbers for accounting and budget purposes, and to enable ministers to table annual reports in the Parliament within statutory timeframes. Entities have been encouraged to arrange remote access to data for audit teams to minimise the need for onsite work.

The Auditor-General paused engagement with entities on performance audits during April 2020 in recognition of the efforts of APS entities to implement the Government’s stimulus agenda, and to prepare entities for new working arrangements to meet recommended health measures. The ANAO is working with entities with a view to commencing new performance audits, and re-engaging on performance audits that were in-progress before the engagement pause.

As a result of the engagement pause during April 2020, some audits may be delayed beyond the month published on the ANAO website. You can subscribe to be notified of further updates to the expected timing of tabling of our audits, using the subscribe feature on in-progress audit pages.

Completed audits continue to be tabled in Parliament under normal out-of-session arrangements in the Senate. ANAO staff are available to brief members of Parliament on tabled audits (through teleconferences). Briefings can be arranged by contacting ANAO External Relations.

The Auditor-General has decided to conduct assurance reviews of the Advances to the Finance Minister (AFM). These reviews will be conducted in accordance with section 19A of the Auditor-General Act 1997 (the Act). They will provide more timely assurance to the Parliament than the annual review undertaken by the ANAO, in the current circumstances in which the appropriation for Advances to the Finance Minister has been significantly increased to support Australian Government activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Reports on the assurance reviews are expected to be tabled in Parliament each month, with the first one due to be tabled in the week commencing 4 May 2020.

The Annual Audit Work Program 2020-21 is under development. The response to COVID-19, including its individual measures, is being assessed for inclusion in that program. The draft program will be published on the ANAO website for public consultation during the week beginning 11 May 2020.