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The Prime Minister and Cabinet Portfolio is responsible for providing support and policy advice to the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and Ministers on public and government administration matters, including policy development and whole-of-government coordination.
The Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio is responsible for providing support and policy advice to the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and ministers on public and government administration matters, including policy development and whole-of-government coordination.
This audit would examine the Digital Transformation Agency’s implementation of the Australian Government Data Centre Strategy 2010–2025, including establishment of the Data Centre Facilities Panel, defining standards, working with smaller entities, and whether these activities have been satisfactorily delivered to allow entities to use the panel. The audit would also consider whether measures are in place to enable the outcomes envisaged for the second and third stages of the strategy to be achieved and measured. A subsequent audit could examine take-up by entities and whether this has resulted in the expected cost reductions.
The strategy aims to optimise government use of data centre facilities by the aggregation and standardisation of entities’ data centre requirements. It is estimated that costs of $1 billion could be avoided over the life of the strategy through increased efficiency in the use of electricity and ICT assets, and reduced data centre floor space and associated costs. In the initial five years of the strategy, the Government was to establish a panel to assist early adopters to move to shared solutions; define standards for data centre equipment and operations; and work with the smaller 50 per cent of government entities to consolidate their requirements. In the following five years, entities were to share solutions and technology to drive further cost avoidance. In the final five years, entities were required to adopt new opportunities for cost avoidance that arise from changes in technology, processes or policy.
Responsibility for the Australian Government Data Centre Strategy transferred from the Department of Finance to the Digital Transformation Agency as a result of machinery of government changes.
This audit would examine the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s management of data collection for, and reporting against, the National Indigenous Reform Agreement (Closing the Gap) performance indicators, and the department’s processes for establishing linkages between government policies and programs and the achievement of Closing the Gap targets.
In 2008, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) established a series of key indicators of Indigenous disadvantage and targets to ‘close the gap’ between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians across health, education and employment outcomes. Since 2009, the Prime Minister has presented an annual Closing the Gap statement to the Parliament, which reports on progress against these targets. The latest report, tabled in February 2017, showed only one target, Year 12 attainment, is on track to be achieved.
The National Indigenous Reform Agreement (Closing the Gap) established a series of service delivery principles for programs and services for Indigenous Australians. The accountability principle involved a commitment to measuring and publicly reporting on the performance of initiatives based on their contribution to the Closing the Gap targets.
This review would examine the Torres Strait Regional Authority’s (TSRA’s) administration of its program and service delivery functions, including following up on the recommendations of the ANAO’s previous performance audit of the TSRA (ANAO Audit Report No. 10 of 2013–14, Torres Strait Regional Authority — Service Delivery).
The TSRA is a corporate Commonwealth entity established by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Act 2005, and has a budget of $47.9 million in 2017–18. The TSRA formulates and implements programs for Indigenous people living in the Torres Strait, coordinates and monitors service delivery in the region, and advises the Minister for Indigenous Affairs on policy issues relevant to the region. The previous audit found the TSRA could strengthen its coordination and monitoring role and seek greater feedback from its clients about service quality.
This review would examine the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s framework for ensuring that the outcomes of Indigenous Advancement Strategy initiatives are identified, measured and evaluated, and that evidence from evaluations informs the design of future initiatives. The review would assess the department’s formal framework at an early stage of its implementation to ensure it provides a robust basis for evaluating investment outcomes and utilising evaluation evidence in future program design. This review would also assess the extent to which the recommendations from ANAO Audit Report No. 35 of 2016–17, Indigenous Advancement Strategy, have been implemented.
The Productivity Commission, in Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage: Key Indicators 2016 (November 2016), noted a lack of rigorously evaluated programs in the Indigenous policy area. The ANAO’s Audit Report No. 35 of 2016–17 found the performance framework and measures established for the strategy did not provide sufficient information to assess the achievement of program outcomes. Subsequently, in February 2017, the Minister for Indigenous Affairs announced funding of $10 million per year over four years to strengthen the evaluation of Indigenous programs, stating that the multi-year program of evaluations would be underpinned by a formal evidence and evaluation framework to strengthen reporting, monitoring and evaluation at a contract, program and outcome level.
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.