NSW Audit Office - NSW Auditor-General announces Performance Audit  Topics for 2006-07
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NSW Audit Office - NSW Auditor-General announces Performance Audit Topics for 2006-07

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ƒƒƒƒƒƒƒNSW AUDITOR-GENERAL ANNOUNCES PERFORMANCE AUDIT TOPICS FOR 2006-07 Auditor-General Bob Sendt today released his provisional list of performance audit topics for 2006-07. [See list attached] “Performance audits are special in-depth assessments of value-for-money in government agencies and activities. We know that Parliamentarians and the public look to our performance audit reports for their independence and the issues they raise.” “Our 2006-07 program again tackles important topics in a wide variety of government agencies and endeavours.” When Will the Reports be Released? The program shows all audits that we will be working on in 2006-07. Some have already started as part of our 2005-06 program, and some are yet to start. A number of the audits that we are starting in 2006-07 will be released by June 2007, but some will still be underway at that time. Once an audit is started, we show an indication of its likely release date on our web-site at www.audit.nsw.gov.au. If you would like to receive e-mail notifications a few days before each report is tabled, contact Barry Underwood on 9275-7220 or at barry.underwood@audit.nsw.gov.au. What are We Trying to Achieve, and How are the Topics Chosen? Our performance audit program comprises follow-up audits and new audits. Follow-up audits are designed to establish the extent to which action has been taken on issues raised in an earlier audit we carried out. In determining ...

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NSWAUDITOR-GENERALANNOUNCESPERFORMANCEAUDITTOPICS FOR2006-07 Auditor-General Bob Sendt today released his provisional list of performance audit topics for 2006-07.[See list attached]“Performance audits are special in-depth assessments of value-for-money in government agencies and activities.We know that Parliamentarians and the public look to our performance audit reports for their independence and the issues they raise.” “Our 2006-07 program again tackles important topics in a wide variety of government agencies and endeavours.”
When Will the Reports be Released? The program shows all audits that we will be working on in 2006-07.Some have already started as part of our 2005-06 program, and some are yet to start.A number of the audits that we are starting in 2006-07 will be released by June 2007, but some will still be underway at that time.Once an audit is started, we show an indication of its likely release date on our web-site atwww.audit.nsw.gov.au. If you would like to receive e-mail notifications a few days before each report is tabled, contact Barry Underwood on 9275-7220 or at barry.underwood@audit.nsw.gov.au.
What are We Trying to Achieve, and How are the Topics Chosen? Our performance audit program comprises follow-up audits and new audits. Follow-upaudits are designed to establish the extent to which action has been taken on issues raised in an earlier audit we carried out. In determining the areas in which to select ournew audits, we have classified all government activity into one or more of seven “outcome areas”, which our research indicates is how Parliament and the community look at the performance of government. These areas are as follows: ƒensuring the effectiveness of strategies to develop and maintain the State’spublic infrastructureƒhelping the State to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of itstransportservices ƒidentifying ways to improve State agencies’ ability to ensurelaw, order and public safetyƒpositively impacting the provision ofhealth and welfareservices ƒidentifying opportunities to better manageeducationdeliver more effective and services ƒidentifying opportunities to improve the State’s strategies and programs for environmental protection andfor sustainable management ofland and water resourcesƒidentifying ways to improvegovernance and public sector management.
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Our goal is to achieve a balance of performance audits across these areas over a three-year period that reflects the relative level of interest in those areas by Parliament and the community. Within each of these outcome areas, specific topics selected for audit emerge from a range of channels through which we receive suggestions and information, and also through our own research.We seek input from a wide range of sources, including Members of Parliament and agency chief executives.We also receive suggestions from lobby groups, employees in government agencies and from the public. We look at a number of criteria in deciding which topics to pursue, for example: ƒthe level of expenditure on the activity to be reviewed ƒthe potential for our audit to improve service levels or value for money ƒwhether our findings may apply in other government agencies ƒwhat other reviews of the activity have been done recently or are underway ƒwhat resources we need to undertake the review.
Why is the List Provisional? There are many reasons why we need to review our proposed audits regularly.New topics are always arising that call for our attention.Existing topics may become more urgent, or we may see that the agency has addressed the issues without our audit. Because we only have limited resources to carry out performance audits, any one change can have flow-on effects to the rest of our program.
What are Performance Audits? Ourfinancial auditsWelook at the accuracy of agencies’ annual financial reporting. carry out this role in each government agencies each year. Performance auditsbuild on our financial audit role by reviewing whether taxpayers’ money is being spent efficiently, effectively and in accordance with the law. Because of the resources involved in each performance audit, we are limited in the number we carry out each year. Each performance audit takes an average of 6 to 9 months to complete.We carry out extensive research at the beginning of the audit.This ensures that we understand the issues and can learn from any other reviews that have been carried out on the topic, both in Australia and overseas.It also enables us to plan and scope the proposed audit to provide the greatest value.It is during the planning phase that the audit’s scope, objectives and criteria are developed, in discussion with the relevant agencies.These are formally advised to the relevant agencies before the audit proceeds into the conduct phase. During the audit, we consult extensively with the government agencies we are reviewing. Thisensures that we get the facts right and our conclusions are soundly based. Finaldraft reports are given to the agency (as required by our legislation) so we can include its response to our findings in the report tabled in Parliament.
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More Information? Our role is to report to Parliament, so we can’t divulge any of ourfindings beforeour reports are tabled. However if you would like further information about thescopea particular audit or of its progress, or if you have any information you believe could be useful to us, contact Stephen Horne, Assistant Auditor-General (Performance Audit) on 9275-7278 or at stephen.horne@audit.nsw.gov.au. 28 June 2006
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AUDITOR-GENERALSPERFORMANCEAUDITTOPICS FOR2006-07 A.Audits already in progress, to be released in 2006-07
Regulating the Clearing of Native Vegetation: Follow-up of 2002 Performance Audit (expected release July 2006) This performance audit will assess whether clearing of native vegetation is being managed in a way that is consistent with the Government’s policy objectives, and showing progress towards achieving those objectives.Our report will answer the following questions:has there been progress in conserving native vegetation and preventing inappropriate clearing since our August 2002 performance audit?has action been taken to address the key systemic issues from our August 2002 audit?Roads and Traffic Authority - Condition of our Roads (expected release August 2006) This performance audit will assess how well the RTA is maintaining state roads and bridges at minimum whole of life cost to ensure reliability, safety and retained value. Our report will answer the following questions: what condition should our State roads be in? what is their actual condition? what is the RTA doing to address any gaps?Special Education (expected release September 2006) This performance audit will assess whether special education services provided by the Department of Education are available to primary school students with moderate or severe disabilities and whether the services meet these students’ needs. Our report will answer the following questions: does the Department provide the right amount and right type of special education services where they are needed? do the Department’s special education services meet the specific needs of students? does the Department know whether its special education services are successful?Managing Nursing Resources (expected release 4th quarter 2006) Given that the available supply of nurses will be an issue for some time, this performance audit will assess how well hospitals manage the nurses they have and attract additional nursing staff.Our report will answer the following questions: are nursing resources well organised? do hospitals effectively attract and retain nurses?
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The Distribution of Legal Aid in NSW (expected release 4th quarter 2006) This performance audit will assess if legal aid is properly distributed to those who are entitled to it.Our report will answer the following questions: is information about eligibility for legal aid clear and well communicated? are decision-making processes sound?
Infectious Disease Outbreaks – Readiness to Respond (expected release 4th quarter 2006)
A major infectious disease outbreak, such as an influenza ‘pandemic’, occurs when a new virus subtype emerges, to which no-one is immune, which is easily spread between humans and is capable of causing severe disease. This performance audit will assess whether the NSW public health system is ready to respond to a public health emergency arising from such an outbreak. Our report will answer the following questions: is the public health system well organised to respond to an emergency? is the public health system preparing to respond to a full range of emergencies? is there likely to be sufficient and timely advice to all in cases of major infectious disease outbreaks? is there likely to be sufficient capacity in the health system for cases of major infectious disease outbreaks?Helping Elderly People Access Residential Care (expected release 4th quarter 2006)
An elderly person who needs residential care must be assessed for suitability by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT).NSW Health receives funds from the Commonwealth government to operate 48 teams across the State.Criteria for assessing suitability are determined by the Commonwealth government. This performance audit will assess how well the Department of Health assists elderly people to access residential care. Our report will answer the following questions: how accessible are ACATs for people seeking assessment? are assessment processes sound? how are people looked after in the period they wait for residential care following an ACAT approval?Management of Young Offenders (expected release 1st quarter 2007)
This audit was activated in June 2006 and is currently being scoped.The broad thrust of this audit will relate to how the relevant government agencies work together to meet the needs of this group, how the success of programs is measured, and whether decision makers and managers have adequate information to make sound planning decisions and recommend appropriate interventions for young offenders.
Services for the Homeless (expected release 1st quarter 2007)
This audit was activated in June 2006 and is currently being scoped.The broad thrust of this audit will relate to how the relevant government agencies work together to meet the needs of this group, how the success of programs is measured, and whether decision makers and managers have adequate information upon which to make decisions about directing resources.
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Dealing with Burglaries (expected release 2nd quarter 2007)
This audit was activated in June 2006 and is currently being scoped.The broad thrust of this audit will relate to how resources are directed to reduce the incidence of burglaries, and the extent to which services provided are able to address the needs of those who have been the victims of burglary.
B.New audits to commence in 2006-07
The following audits have not yet commenced, and the descriptions below are a guide only. We follow a scoping process for each audit when it begins, which defines in more detail what the audit will examine.The audits will commence at different points in the year, and some will not be released until 2007-08.
Police Rostering
The broad thrust of this audit would be to examine whether current rostering arrangements (including the use of 12-hour shifts) support efficient and effective policing.
Preventing and Responding to Signal and Points Failures on the CityRail Network
The broad thrust of this audit would relate to minimising the number, frequency and duration of service disruptions due to these factors.
Agricultural Water Use
The broad thrust of this audit would relate to the impact of demand management initiatives on agricultural water use.
Heavy Vehicle Safety
The broad thrust of this audit would relate to the effectiveness of measures designed to reduce the level of accidents involving heavy vehicles.
Park and Ride Facilities for Public Transport in Sydney The broad thrust of this audit would relate to how effective parking facilities are in encouraging increased use of public transport.
Agency Amalgamations/De-Amalgamations The broad thrust of this audit would relate to case studies of the costs involved and whether benefits were subsequently realised (eg DEC, Commerce, DIPNR).
Sustainable Management of State Pine Plantations The broad thrust of this audit would relate to arrangements to meet supply requirements and secure long-term sustainability of State pine plantations.
TAFE Online and Distance Education Services The broad thrust of this audit would relate to TAFE’s performance in delivering services via online and distance methods.
Using Computers in Schools for Teaching and Learning: Follow-up of our 2000 performance audit The broad thrust of this audit would relate to following-up the current status of accepted recommendations and establishing the current situation for this issue.
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Readiness to Respond, Ambulance Service: Follow-up of our 2001 performance audit The broad thrust of this audit would relate to following-up the current status of accepted recommendations and establishing the current situation for this issue.
The Police Assistance Line: Follow-up of our 2003 performance audit The broad thrust of this audit would relate to following-up the current status of accepted recommendations and establishing the current situation for this issue.
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