Setting direction

We have a strong commitment to strategic planning


(based on ASX Principle 1)

Lay solid foundations

The Audit Office of New South Wales is a statutory authority established under the Public Finance and Audit Act 1983 to conduct audits for the Auditor-General. The Auditor-General is accountable to the NSW Parliament and is responsible for the Audit Office and its activities.

Our strategic plan

Our 2016–19 strategic plan was developed by the Office Executive and the Leadership Team to meet the strategic priorities of the Audit Office.

The four focus areas for 2016–17 were:


Our quality products and services have impact, relevance and value.

Systems and Processes

Our contemporary systems and processes are integrated, efficient and fit for purpose.


Our people are engaged, confident, capable and adaptable, working together in a constructive environment.


Our financial frameworks are fiscally responsible, future-focused, and ensure our sustainability.

The strategic initiatives that underpinned our four focus areas are outlined below.


Local Government

Goal for 2016–17:

Understand the reform agenda, articulate our value proposition, prepare for expectation gaps, and build required capability.

Key achievements include:

  • put in place audit arrangements for 140 councils across New South Wales
  • completed an auditor accreditation process resulting in new firms joining us as accredited audit providers
  • conducted both whole-of-office and specialist training, and released a staff local government resource centre
  • launched a local government information site on our external website
  • completed recruitment for additional resources
  • updated our audit methodology and developed templates for local government audits
  • secured funding for three annual performance audits of local government
  • conducted extensive stakeholder engagement including State-wide information sessions, held numerous workshops, including for audit and risk committee chairs and contract audit agents, attended relevant conferences and forums, and consulted with key stakeholders
  • identified council expectation gaps and strategies to address them.


Influencing for Impact

Goal for 2016–17:

Better engage with our external stakeholders, ensure our products meet their needs, and maximise engagement channels.

Key achievements include:

  • identified priority stakeholders and obtained greater awareness of stakeholder engagement opportunities
  • mapped our current engagement with external stakeholders
  • explored both the internal and external view of what ‘impact’ means
  • hosted stakeholder workshops such as the Program Evaluation industry briefing and ARC Chair events.


Data Analytics

Goal for 2016–17:

Develop a Data Analytics Strategy aimed at improving the relevance, value and impact of both the Audit Office’s performance audit and financial audit products and services.

Key achievements include:

  • identified data champions to share ideas on the use of data across the organisation and identified potential audit processes that could be automated
  • identified potential areas to pilot data analytics in financial and performance audits
  • conducted a pilot with the NSW Data Analytics Centre in scoping the performance audit Efficiency of NSW Ambulance Services
  • Auditor-General presentation delivered at the Certified Practicing Accountants Congress ‘Innovation in auditing using data analytics’
  • communicated with and collaborated across other audit offices, NSW Government agencies and private accounting firms.


Reporting Process

Goal for 2016–17:
Implement systems, tools and processes that support efficient and effective report development and publishing, and that meet the objectives of the ‘Influencing for Impact’ strategy.

Key achievements include:

  • identified best practice by examining public websites and publications, and interviewing other audit offices about their experiences, processes and systems
  • aligned financial and performance audit reporting processes and timetable
  • streamlined financial audit reports and engaged an external expert to guide the design of a new volume on ‘Financial Governance and Internal Controls’
  • explored more dynamic reporting options using our existing website.


Working Better, Working Together

Goal for 2016–17:

Bring our people closer together across teams and branches to improve communication and collaboration, development opportunities, resourcing, and staff engagement.

Key achievements include:

  • researched and identified a desired view of the future in the areas of work, worker and workplace
  • developed pilot initiatives to improve collaboration
  • developed a Diversity Inclusion and Accessibility Framework with initiatives implemented such as the Indigenous Internship Program and International Women’s Day event.


The year ahead

Our 2017–20 Strategic Plan builds on the explorative and transitional work achieved in 2016–17, having identified a new vision and desired future state. This future state will be achieved by building organisational capabilities through continued work on the five strategic initiatives established in 2016–17.

More details on our strategic initiatives for 2017–18 can be found here.