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The objective of this audit is to examine the status of the ‘clear read’ principle across the full 2017–18 performance reporting cycle of selected entities, following the implementation of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act).
This would be the first audit of its kind since the implementation of the PGPA Act and would include the full performance reporting framework of individual entities, encompassing corporate plans, portfolio budget statements and annual performance statements, as well as other material in entities’ annual reports. The establishment and management of the framework by the Department of Finance would represent a key part of the audit, assessing the incentives provided for entities to improve the line of sight across the full performance reporting cycle.
In its December 2017 report on the Commonwealth performance framework, the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit recommended that the ANAO consider conducting an audit of one complete Commonwealth performance reporting cycle, including whether a clear read of performance information has effectively been established, with consistent terminology and improved line of sight across performance reporting documentation.
The audit would examine the effectiveness of the management of cyber security risks within the selected entities.
The scope would include:
reviewing the actions taken by selected entities in prioritising cyber security to support the themes stated in Australia’s Cyber Security Strategy;
assessing cyber security controls implemented against the entities’ cyber security frameworks; and
comparing the entities’ cyber security frameworks and controls implemented against the mandatory controls required under the Protective Security Policy Framework and the Australian Signals Directorate’s Essential Eight Maturity Model.
The audit would examine the effectiveness of the Department of Human Services’ data-matching arrangements with other entities.
Data matching is used to detect potential overpayments to Human Services’ customers by identifying where information held by the department differs from that held by external sources such as the Australian Taxation Office and the Department of Health.
An audit would consider the arrangements established between Human Services and other entities, including around the security of data provided to Human Services. The audit could also examine the extent to which Human Services has considered efficiency in developing data-matching arrangements.
This audit would examine the Department of Human Services’ management and delivery of programs, services and payments on behalf of other Australian Government entities, as well as the department’s performance against its respective obligations and service standards.
Human Services provides a range of programs, services and payments for, and on behalf of, a number of Australian Government entities, such as income support payments for the Department of Social Services, and aged care payments and the maintenance of various health-related registers for the Department of Health. Arrangements for these services and payments are outlined in various memorandums of understanding and business partnership agreements. In the 2017–18 Budget, Human Services estimated that it would process around $175 billion in payments on behalf of other government entities.
The proposed audit would provide assurance that business agreements support Human Services in meeting the expectations of entities on behalf of whom it delivers payments; and that roles, responsibilities and performance reporting arrangements are clearly defined.
This audit would examine the effectiveness and efficiency of the design and implementation of the Streamlining Government Grants Administration (SGGA) Program.
Announced in 2015–16 Budget as part of the Digital Transformation Agenda, the Department of Finance led the SGGA Program initiative as part of the Government’s vision for a smaller, smarter, and more productive and sustainable public sector. Two grants hubs have been established: the Business Grants Hub in the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science; and the Community Grants Hub in the Department of Social Services. Finance also implemented GrantConnect, the Australian Government’s whole-of-government grant information system.
The SGGA Program is expected to reduce red tape for grant applicants and recipients and result in administrative efficiencies for government. This audit would examine the Department of Finance’s design and implementation of the SGGA Program to achieve efficiency savings, provide transparency about grant processes and outcomes, and facilitate sufficient assurance over administrative processes for participating entities.
This audit series would assess the effectiveness of governance arrangements in selected entities for monitoring and implementing agreed ANAO performance audit and parliamentary committee recommendations.
In their reports, the ANAO and parliamentary committees identify areas where administrative improvements can be made and make recommendations to improve the delivery of outcomes. Once entities have agreed to implement performance audit recommendations, or in the case of parliamentary committee reports, the Government has committed to the implementation of recommendations, timely implementation in line with the intended outcome of the recommendation is important in achieving the full benefit of the recommendation.
The objective of the audit is to examine the progress of the implementation of the annual performance statements requirements under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 by selected entities for 2018–19.
This would be the fourth in a series of audits of the implementation of the annual performance statements requirements, and complement the corporate plans and risk management audits also completed, and those proposed.
This audit would examine whether the implementation of the Northern Australia White Paper was timely and provided value for money.
The white paper was released in June 2015. It has a 20-year implementation schedule involving 51 measures, backed by government investment of over $6 billion, which includes $5 billion for the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund. In its October 2017 report, the Office of Northern Australia stated that, two years into the implementation plan, over half of the 51 measures have been delivered and the remaining are well underway.
The audit would examine the use of incentive to retire provisions for Senior Executive Service (SES) officers in the Australian Public Service (APS).
Accountable authorities have the discretion to offer an SES employee an incentive to retire under section 37 of the Public Service Act 1999. The Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) has provided advice and guidance about the basis for offering an incentive to retire; determining the offer amount; and the minimum time period before re-entering the APS. APSC guidance is that such incentives may be offered where the SES employee is in excess of requirements or no longer has the skills to perform at their SES classification. In determining the incentive amount, a balance is to be struck between an offer that gives the employee sufficient incentive to retire and the requirement to ensure the proper use of public money. APSC guidance is that the standard non-SES redundancy formula of two weeks’ pay per year of service, to a maximum of 48 weeks, is an appropriate reference point, and that agency heads are to consult the Australian Public Service Commissioner where a payment in excess of 48 weeks is considered.
Incentive-to-retire payments are subject to the restrictions applying to subsequent employment in the APS set out in section 48 of the Australian Public Service Commissioner’s Directions 2016.
This audit would examine the effectiveness of selected entity use of panel arrangements to procure goods and services, including decision-making to use panels and the achievement of value-for-money outcomes.
Procurement panels are a tool for the procurement of goods or services regularly acquired by entities. Panels are established through procurement processes, with a number of suppliers appointed through a contract or deed of standing offer. In appropriate circumstances, a panel established by one entity may be used by another entity.
This audit would assess the effectiveness of advice by the Attorney-General’s Department (AGD) to entities in the preparation of Statements of Compatibility with Human Rights for associated bills and legislative instruments, and would review the effectiveness of structures and processes across a selection of entities for ensuring that these documents have clear and complete justifications and are based on appropriate legal advice.
Under the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 (the Act) all bills and legislative instruments within the meaning of section 42 of the Legislation Act 2003 must be accompanied by a Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights (Statement of Compatibility). The Statement of Compatibility aims to demonstrate the alignment of the proposed legislation with the rights and freedoms recognised in the seven core international human rights treaties which Australia has ratified. An entity developing a bill on behalf of a Minister is responsible for drafting the associated Statement of Compatibility. The AGD provides guidance papers, tools and templates to assist in this regard, however there is no specific policy requirement for entities to consult with AGD in the preparation of a Statement of Compatibility. When consulted, AGD primarily plays the role of checking that entities have identified all of the relevant human rights, and that their justification for compatibility with these rights is reasonable. Any questions of a legal nature will be referred to the Office of International Law within AGD.
The Act establishes the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights (the Committee). The Committee is comprised of five members from the House of Representatives and five members from the Senate, and is responsible for examining Bills, Acts and legislative instruments for compatibility with human rights obligations. The Statement of Compatibility is the key document scrutinised by the Committee in its exercise of these responsibilities.