LIGHTHOUSE PRINCIPLE: DISCLOSURE
(based on ASX Principle 5)
Accountability and transparency
The Audit Office supports the principle of accountability and transparency to the public. Information we proactively release on our website includes our planned audit programs, corporate and auditing policies, Professional Update newsletters, client service resources, presentations and better practice guides.
In 2016−17, in compliance with section 7(3) of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (the GIPA Act), a review of proactive release of information was undertaken and reported to the Office Executive including information proposed for publication. Items proposed for proactive release, and subsequently published on the website, included information associated with our new mandate to audit local government, including:
- client service resources (for councils)
- resources for contract audit service providers
- a list of Audit Office directors allocated to councils
- information session presentation packs
- a performance audit guide for local government
- Memorandum of Understanding between the Audit Office and the Office of Local Government concerning the sharing of information and referral of complaints relating to local government (see case studies for more information on our expanded mandate).
Open access information
The Audit Office holds a significant amount of government information, mostly used for our audit services. We also hold a smaller amount of information dealing with administrative matters. Certain government information is made available to the public under the ‘open access’ provisions of the GIPA Act. The Audit Office’s ‘open access’ information includes:
- Information Guide – explains who we are, what we do and how to interact with us
- policy and charter documents
- disclosure log of access applications
- disclosure register
- register of government contracts.
Information held by us which relates to our auditing, investigative and reporting functions is classed as ‘excluded information’ under the GIPA Act and is not released to the public.
Access applications and informal release
The Audit Office welcomes requests for government information from the public and will, unless the request refers to excluded information, make every effort to make information readily available without charge.
During 2016−17, we received one formal GIPA access application which was deemed to be partially invalid as it was seeking access to excluded information. We also received a request from another government agency for our consent to release information. This was not approved as it related to excluded information. Statistical information about access applications can be found in appendix twelve.
We undertook a review of our compliance with the GIPA Act for 2016−17 using the standard checklist provided by the Information and Privacy Commission. Overall, the review found we are compliant with the GIPA Act.
Award-winning annual report
Our annual report is a key part of our commitment to continuous disclosure and we voluntarily adopt full and open reporting on our performance. The report contains extensive comment on what our key stakeholders, parliament and our audit clients think of our services, and whether agencies have accepted and acted on our recommendations.
In recognition of our high standard in annual reporting, in June 2017 we were awarded ‘Report of the Year’ by the Australasian Reporting Awards (ARA) for our 2015−16 Annual Report. We also received a Gold Award for the eighth consecutive year, and were a finalist for special awards in the ‘Online Reporting’ and ‘Workplace Health and Safety’ categories.
LIGHTHOUSE PRINCIPLE: REMUNERATION
(based on ASX Principle 8)
The Audit Office’s Remuneration Committee consists of two members – an independent Chair, Dianne Hill and the Executive Manager Governance, Barry Underwood. The committee is directly responsible and accountable to the Auditor-General and provides independent advice on the appropriateness and application of the Audit Office’s remuneration policies and procedures. In 2016–17, the committee met twice and:
- endorsed the committee’s charter
- reviewed management reports and made recommendations on the appropriateness and application of remuneration policies and procedures
- reviewed management sign-offs, including validating the financial impact of the recommended annual remuneration determination
- reviewed the remuneration risk assessment including associated controls.
See appendix one for details of our executive remuneration.
The year ahead
In 2017−18, we will:
- update our Agency Information Guide
- undertake our annual review of compliance with the GIPA Act.