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The Attorney-General’s portfolio covers a range of functions and policy areas, including privacy; family law and marriage; evidence; international law; administrative law; freedom of information; personal property securities; and native title. It also includes international crime cooperation; drugs; firearms; anti-money laundering; whole-of-government integrity, including corruption; cybercrime; cyber security; counterterrorism; and protective security.
Read an overview of the Attorney-General's portfolio including details of key activities, expenses and staffing levels. The audit focus section outlines the influences on the ANAO’s allocation of financial audit resources and the selection of performance audit topics and other activities. Also included is a list of material and non-material entities within the portfolio with their corresponding risk profile and key risks. Any risks that are considered key audit matters (KAMs) by the ANAO are separately identified.
This audit would examine the Australian Taxation Office’s compliance with model litigant obligations (MLOs), and the assistance provided to Commonwealth entities by the Attorney-General’s Department in maintaining compliance with the MLOs.
Pursuant to a Legal Services Direction issued by the Attorney-General under the Judiciary Act 1903, Commonwealth entities have an obligation to act honestly and fairly in handling claims and litigation. This includes responsibilities to reduce costs and delays in the handling of litigation, and requires that entities do not commence legal proceedings unless satisfied that litigation is the most suitable method of dispute resolution.
The Office of Legal Services Coordination within the Attorney-General’s Department is responsible for assisting Commonwealth entities in complying with the MLOs.
The Australian Taxation Office is one of the largest litigants in the civil justice system. It has litigation advantage over the vast majority of companies and individuals given its access to resources, expertise and experience as a repeat litigant.
This audit would assess the efficiency with which the Office of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) manages cases referred to it by investigative entities.
The Office of the CDPP received 3147 briefs of evidence in 2016–17 from 58 investigative entities. It had more than 5000 matters before courts, with 99 per cent of finalised prosecutions resulting in a conviction.
The audit would examine the National Archives of Australia’s (NAA’s) effectiveness in implementing the Digital Continuity 2020 Policy, including its role in monitoring, assisting and encouraging entities to meet a variety of targets specified in the policy. The policy aims to promote a consistent approach to information governance across the Australian Government and within individual entities. The policy has an objective of all Commonwealth entities eventually transitioning to full digital work processes, and the NAA is responsible for leading the implementation of the policy.
In April 2017, the NAA published its first public report on progress in the implementation of the policy across Commonwealth entities. Key results are as follows:
The number of agencies reporting that they manage most records digitally rose 44 per cent between 2010 and 2015, and stood at 74 per cent midway through 2016.
Over a third of agencies were still in the early stages of digital transition.
39.4 per cent of agencies reported that business decisions were not being informed and influenced by digital information management costs and benefits.
46.1 per cent were not adequately managing their digital information’s retention, migration or destruction, leading to risks including the loss of valuable government information.
The audit would examine compliance with the arrangements established by the Department of Human Services to balance the collection, storage and sharing of customer data, including how the department facilitates access to its data to support research and analysis, with the appropriate protection of customer privacy.
As a result of the department’s responsibility for delivering Medicare, Centrelink, pension payments and other services, it holds data relating to most Australians. Maintaining confidence in the department’s ability to protect the private information of customers is a key reputational risk that requires active and ongoing management.
The Department of Human Services’ Customer Management Framework 2015–2019 establishes how customer information held by the department or exchanged with third parties is to be managed. In addition, the department engages with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner on how to handle, use and manage personal information under the Australian Privacy Principles contained in the Privacy Act 1988. The audit would focus on whether the department’s practices, procedures and systems are robust and effective.
The objective of the audit is to continue to examine the progress of the implementation of the annual performance statements requirements under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) and the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 (PGPA Rule) by selected entities.