Surveying our parliamentarians
Our mission is to help parliament hold the NSW Government accountable for its use of public resources, and it is critical that we understand parliamentarians’ views on our performance through their direct feedback on our reports and services.
We continually strive to ensure parliamentarians value our work and that we meet their expectations. We are committed to enhancing our public sector knowledge to ensure our work is relevant and impactful. This was driven by our ‘Influencing for Impact’ strategic initiative in 2016–17.
In the 2017 survey, of the 135 parliamentarians invited to complete the survey, 28 per cent responded, compared to 33 per cent in 2016.
Overall satisfaction remains high
Parliamentarians continue to have high overall satisfaction with the Audit Office’s reports and services. Ninety-two per cent were satisfied in 2017, a slight increase from 90 per cent in 2016. Parliamentarians were particularly positive about:
- the Audit Office’s reports and services providing valuable information on public sector performance, with 96 per cent in agreement, similar to last year’s 95 per cent result
- the Audit Office’s reports and services helping to improve public sector administration, with 96 per cent agreeing, up from 94 per cent in 2016
- in general, the Audit Office providing high quality reports and services, 100 per cent agreeing, consistent with 2016
- the Audit Office performing audits with integrity, with 94 per cent agreeing, the same result achieved in 2016
- the Audit Office operating independently from government, with 94 per cent agreeing, slightly down on 97 per cent in 2016.
These survey results also provide us with clear areas for improvement. Only 72 per cent of parliamentarians rated the responsiveness of the Audit Office as good or very good, a significant drop from 100 per cent in 2016. Our ‘Influencing for Impact’ strategic initiative will be developing a stakeholder engagement strategy in 2017–18 to improve the consistency of our responsiveness to key stakeholders such as parliamentarians, and ensure they are getting the most value from our reports as possible.
Satisfaction with financial audit reports declined
Although overall parliamentarian satisfaction with the Audit Office’s reports and services remains high, satisfaction with financial audit reports specifically has declined. The percentage of parliamentarians who agreed our financial audit reports clearly communicated the significant issues and their implications remained high, although there was a slight fall to 89 per cent from 91 per cent in 2016. There was a significant drop in the number who agreed that the reports were effectively presented in terms of layout and design, from 95 per cent in 2016 to 85 per cent.
There is also potential to improve how the reports help parliamentarians monitor the accountability and financial performance of the NSW public sector, as 73 per cent agreed with the proposition, compared to 87 per cent in 2016. This is a five-year low for this measure. The number of parliamentarians who agreed our reports are easy to understand remained the same at 89 per cent.
Our ‘Reporting Process’ strategic initiative will be implementing a new, more modern and accessible design for our reports in 2017–18 which aims to improve parliamentarians’ satisfaction with the layout and design of these reports, as well as how easy they are to understand.
Satisfaction with financial audit reports %
Survey not conducted in 2015 due to election year.
Satisfaction with performance audit reports %
Survey not conducted in 2015 due to election year.
Address key areas of
Performance audit satisfaction declined
Similar to satisfaction with our financial audit reports, parliamentarians have rated the Auditor-General’s Reports to Parliament for performance audits lower, with results generally declined on 2016. Eighty-four per cent agreed the reports were easy to understand, down from 94 per cent in 2016. Similarly, 87 per cent of parliamentarians agreed the reports clearly communicated significant issues and their implications, down from 97 per cent in the previous survey. Agreement that the reports were effectively presented in terms of layout and design remained steady, with 87 per cent agreeing compared with 88 per cent in 2016.
Forty-nine per cent of parliamentarians felt the performance audits addressed their key areas of interest to a high or very high extent, down from 60 per cent in 2016. This is a five-year low for this measure. Seventy-six per cent of parliamentarians agreed our reports helped them monitor the performance of the area being audited, down from 94 per cent in 2016.
Our ‘Influencing for Impact’ strategic initiative will be focused on developing strategies in 2017–18 to ensure we better meet the needs of parliamentarians through our reporting.
Our reports and services rate above other audit offices
Since 2005, we have been comparing our parliamentarian survey results against results from other participating Australian audit offices. In 2017, our results have been benchmarked against the Australian National Audit Office and the audit offices in Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania
On an overall measure of satisfaction with reports and services, 92 per cent of parliamentarians were satisfied. This is a slight increase from 90 per cent in 2016 and slightly above the 90 per cent average of participating audit offices.
We rated above the average of the other audit offices on three key areas. Ninety-six per cent of parliamentarians agreed that our reports provide valuable information on public sector performance, compared to the 93 per cent average. Ninety-four per cent agreed that our reports communicate issues clearly, above the 91 per cent average. Ninety-six per cent agreed that our reports help improve public sector administration, well above the average of 88 per cent.
Satisfaction compared with other participating Australian audit offices
The year ahead
In 2017–18, through our ‘Influencing for Impact’ strategic initiative, we will:
- develop a stakeholder engagement strategy that enables us to better engage with parliamentarians and ensure our reports are impactful and relevant
- build a new website to ensure our reports are delivered in a way that meets the needs or varied audiences
- strengthen government accountability through our collaborative relationship with the Public Accounts Committee (PAC)
- continue to ensure we live up to stakeholder expectations and fulfil our mandate.
Through our ‘Reporting Process’ strategic initiative, we will:
- redesign our Auditor-General’s Reports to Parliament to improve the look, layout and readability of our reports and better meet the needs of our stakeholders, including parliamentarians.
For more information on our strategic initiatives see the year ahead.