Communicating effectively with stakeholders
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Effective, engaging and accessible communication remains an ongoing focus for the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO), given the important role that we play in providing assurance to the Parliament of Australia, and improving public sector administration.
In this edition of audit insights we discuss our external communication and engagement activities including website email subscriptions, our draft annual audit work program, contribute to an audit, our transparency and accountability initiatives, and social media.
The Auditor-General of Australia is an independent officer of the Australian Parliament.
The inaugural edition of audit insights, available on the ANAO website, provides more information about the Auditor-General’s mandate and functions, and the purpose of the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO).
Effective, engaging and accessible communication remains an ongoing focus for the ANAO, given the important role that we play in providing assurance to the Parliament of Australia … and improving public sector administration.
The ANAO has adopted a range of digital communication approaches that build on the fundamental expectations of principle 6: ‘Communicating effectively with stakeholders’ in ISSAI (International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions) 12: The Value and Benefits of Supreme Audit Institutions – making a difference to the lives of citizens.
These approaches are designed to better target key audit messages to interested audiences; enable and promote closer engagement with the audit process; and, improve the understanding of the ANAO’s audit work and results.
We target key audit messages through initiatives such as:
- providing a facility on our website where users can subscribe to receive updates to work in progress, including individual performance and financial statements audit work … and also the ability to subscribe to receive updates at a government portfolio level;
We enable and promote closer engagement with the audit process, through:
- publishing on the website the draft 2017–18 annual audit work program, and inviting feedback from the public on the proposed performance audit coverage; and
- allowing interested parties to contribute information through the website for consideration during the evidence collection stage of a performance audit;
And we continue to improve the understanding of the ANAO’s audit work and results by:
- redesigning the style and format of financial statements and performance audit reports, to enhance accessibility and more clearly communicate the key audit messages; and
- promoting the range of audit services through social media, and particularly when audits are open for contribution; when we release new publications including reports; and other major announcements. We provide updates to social media followers about once per day on average, and our follower numbers on platforms such as twitter are growing at a steady rate.
To demonstrate the ongoing relevance of the ANAO’s primary relationship with the Australian Parliament, we publish on our website:
- the Auditor-General’s receipt of, and response to, requests for audit from Members and Senators of the Parliament of Australia; and
- briefings provided, on request, to Parliamentarians and Parliamentary Committees, about audits and related services.
The ANAO, as an organisation, aims to meet the same standards of performance that it measures other public sector entities against. Our transparency and accountability is demonstrated through the publishing on our website of:
- the Auditor-General’s expenses;
- a subset of the data from employees reporting any offered gift or benefit;
- external audits and reviews.
- the most recent Independent Auditor report, Review of Communication Processes, was tabled in Parliament on 18 December 2015. The report included three recommendations for the ANAO to enhance its communications processes, all of which have been implemented;
- and … reporting on performance in the annual performance statement in our annual report, including survey results of entity views on changes to performance audit report design and structure.
The ANAO is exploring options to provide stakeholders with additional insights into public sector administration. A specific focus will be the development and publication of materials that draw together key learnings from across the ANAO’s work, with the aim of assisting entities to improve their delivery of programs and services. These products will be published on the ANAO website as audit insights.
To find out more about the work of the Auditor-General and the ANAO, please visit our website.