Sunday, May 19, 2024

Auditor-General to roll out new ‘rapid’ audits

The Office of the Auditor-General has published its Draft annual plan 2023/24 and is seeking feedback on the proposed work programme.

The plan sets out the discretionary work that the Office intends to carry out during 2023/24.

“As always, the focus of our work will be on the areas where we can best influence improvements in the performance and accountability of public organisations. The draft plan is aligned with the priorities set out in our strategic intentions document,” Auditor-General, John Ryan said.

“One of our priorities is to strengthen our core assurance role. The public audit system is critical to ensuring robust public accountability and we must ensure that it is sustainable in the long term. This includes work to ensure the long-term sustainability of Audit New Zealand, our in-house audit service provider.”

The discretionary work programme includes performance audits, special studies, commentaries and research, regular reports and updates, and good practice guidance.

In 2023/24, the Auditor-General also plans to introduce a new product – a rapid audit. The rapid audit will be a shorter form of performance audit, designed to provide clarity or insight on matters of immediate public interest in a short time frame.

“We aim for these rapid audits to be completed in about 12 weeks. We have successfully completed audits within this timeframe in the past (examples include our work on personal protective equipment during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic and our work to look at the roll out of the Covid-19 immunisation programme) but we now intend to regularise this as part of our annual programme of work,” said Mr Ryan.

The proposed programme includes audits on cyber security, climate reporting, mental health services for young people, and reducing child poverty.

“We will also continue our public accountability research with a focus on government-community partnerships, and further focus on integrity and value for money,” said Mr Ryan.

This year, the Office surveyed around 1,000 members of the public to find out what was most important to them.

“As a result of the survey feedback, we could focus a new performance audit on value for money and resilience of infrastructure, or on the effectiveness of workforce planning in the health and education sectors. We welcome feedback on these options and will include work related to one of these areas as we finalise our plan.”

The Auditor-General has also retained capacity to consider areas of public interestesd related to the recovery from Cyclone Gabrielle as they arise.  

Feedback on the plan is requested by Friday 26 May 2023 and can be sent to enquiry@oag.parliament.nz.

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