Saturday, December 2, 2023

Auditor-General annual report reflects Office resilience

The Office of the Auditor-General has today published its annual report 2022/23.

Auditor-General, John Ryan said that over the 2022/23 period, his auditors delivered 3,074 audit reports, continuing to deliver reports despite the continued impact of COVID-19 on public organisations and audit delivery.

“Annual audits form most of our work and are fundamental to the work the Office does to contribute to trust and confidence in the public sector,” Mr Ryan said.

“We completed most audits on time for large public organisations, which is a significant achievement.”

The Auditor-General said the Office also made good progress on deferred audits for other large public organisations and were well placed to return to pre-COVID statutory reporting time frames for 2023/24 and beyond.

While this is important progress, school audit delivery, in particular, remains challenging, he said.

“Another key priority is ensuring that our in-house audit provider, Audit New Zealand, is financially sustainable and well positioned for the future.”

“While audit costs have increased markedly over recent years, increases to audit fees for many public organisations were constrained during the pandemic.

“We have been reviewing and moving to sustainable audit fees in sectors where fees have not kept pace with the rising costs of providing a quality audit,” said Mr Ryan.

The Office’s core audit role is supplemented by other work to influence improvements in public sector performance, including performance audits, inquiries, research reports, and good practice guidance.

“We reported on a wide range of matters, including the application of eligibility criteria for Cost of Living Payments, progress on addressing harmful behaviours in the New Zealand Defence Force, the Provincial Growth Fund reset, progress in supporting and implementing Whānau Ora, four initiatives supporting improved outcomes for Māori, and how public organisations are working together to understand and respond to the needs of people affected by family violence and sexual violence.”

“In 2022/23 we continued to advocate for improvements in the information that public organisations provide about their performance. This is crucial for Parliament and the public to understand the performance and value for money of public spending.

“We welcome the new rules for parliamentary scrutiny set out in the recent report of the Standing Orders Committee, and the recommendation of that Committee for an inquiry into performance reporting.”

These changes create significant opportunities for Parliament and the public to better understand, and to hold to account, the public sector for its performance and use of public money, said Mr Ryan.

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