Parliamentary response to our work

Promoting improvements

Supported the Public Accounts Committee in following up 19 earlier performance audits

Parliament follows up on progress in implementing our recommendations

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) holds the entities we audit to account for implementing the actions they agree in response to Auditor-General’s report recommendations. It does so through follow-up inquiries conducted a year after the reports are tabled. The PAC makes further recommendations for action when it considers them necessary.

In 2016–17, the PAC followed-up on 19 performance audit reports. The PAC’s first follow-up report was released in March 2017 and covered audit reports tabled from December 2014 to June 2015. The second report covered audit reports tabled from July 2015 to January 2016.

This follow-up includes asking entities about their response to our recommendations and the PAC may, if required, hold public hearings. We also provide comments on entities’ submissions and appear at inquiries. The PAC held two public hearings covering eight of the 19 performance audit reports it followed-up this year.

The Chair of the PAC said in his foreword to its March 2017 report ‘Examination of the Auditor-General’s Performance Audit Reports December 2014 – June 2015’:

 

‘In accordance with its established performance review process, the Committee examines performance audits conducted by the Auditor-General, in order to further investigate action taken by agencies in response to the Auditor-General’s recommendations. As part of this follow up, the Committee questions agencies on measures they have taken and, if required, conducts public hearings to gather additional information from agency representatives.

The process has proven to be an effective means of testing action taken on performance audits and maintaining a high level of scrutiny of the agencies under review.

With some noted exceptions, the Committee is generally satisfied that the responsible agencies are now implementing the Auditor-General’s recommendations.

I am pleased to present this Report and thank the Auditor-General and Audit Office staff for their assistance in this inquiry.’

 

This PAC report made six recommendations designed to improve the performance of government entities, building on matters already identified by the Auditor-General.

The year ahead

In 2017–18, we plan to further strengthen our support to parliament and the PAC by:

  • continuing our strong relationship with the Public Accounts Committee, led by the Auditor-General
  • continuing to respond promptly and thoroughly to all requests from NSW Parliament for Audit Office support, including all audit suggestions
  • producing 20 performance audit reports, including three under our new mandate to audit local government in New South Wales
  • participating in the PAC’s quadrennial review of the Audit Office. This is an independent review undertaken every four years of the auditing practices and standards of the Auditor-General under s.48A of the Public Finance and Audit Act 1983.