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The objective of the audit was to examine the effectiveness of the management and control of program evaluation in the Australian Public Service. The ANAO made an assessment against criteria which were designed to test whether agencies were undertaking evaluations in a way which would enhance their overall effectiveness. The main issues examined were:
The objective was to assess the extent to which staff reductions have been managed in a sound strategic and cost-effective manner consistent with the Government's guidelines and the ANAO's 1996 better practice guide Managing APS Staff Reductions. The audit focussed on 3 agencies - the Australian Taxation Office, the former Department of Primary Industry and Energy, and the former Department of Transport and Regional Development. The ANAO found that the majority of staff reductions were achieved through retrenchment rather than natural attrition; and that decisions on the number of retrenchments were not always supported by an assessment of the impact of the reductions on the agencies' abilities to conduct their business.
The audit examined a range of issues in relation to the development of certified agreements in the APS with particular emphasis on the link between improved pay and conditions and increased productivity, and the funding of agreements. The objectives of the audit were to:
provide an overview of the range of wage outcomes included in the first round of APS certified agreements;
identify the administrative arrangements agencies have in place to measure any improvements in productivity that were linked to pay increases;
determine how agencies funded their certified agreements;
review the reporting and accountability arrangements agencies have in place to monitor progress and to evaluate the outcomes of their certified agreements;
determine the extent to which agencies complied with the employment terms and conditions outlined in their certified agreements that contributed to paying for their agreement or measuring and/or assessing improvements in productivity; and
examine the role of central coordinating agencies in reviewing agencies' certified agreements.
The objectives of the audit were to examine the benefits of diversity management in the APS and review the progress made towards equity in employment in the APS, including the EEO Program. It included:
an assessment of the progress towards achieving equity across the APS and by individual agencies;
an assessment of the quality of agency EEO programs;
an assessment of the role of the PSMPC in approving agency EEO programs and monitoring trends across the service;
a consideration of legal obligations and agencies compliance with these; and
the possible risks to, and opportunities for, equity under the WRA.
The audit concentrated on evidence of overall progress, the relative performance of individual agencies, and the examination of observed and underlying trends.
The objective of this follow-up audit was to provide assurance to the Parliament on the cost-effectiveness of public sector travel by:
ascertaining the degree of acceptance, and the extent of implementation, of the previous audit recommendations and better practice principles; and
establishing whether organisations were managing travel effectively, taking into consideration recommendations and findings detailed in the above Audit Reports and the Better Practice Guide Public Sector Travel.
Mr P.J. Barrett (AM) - Auditor-General for Australia, presented at the Public Seminar Series, Graduate Program in Public Policy, 'Democratic Governance: Improving the Institutions of Accountability', The Australian National University