(based on ASX Principle 5)
Accountability and transparency
The Audit Office supports the principle of accountability and transparency to the public for its use of public funds.
In 2015−16, we proactively released the following on our website:
- Pricing Approach – fundamental to achieving transparency in the way we set our prices
- Performance Audit Guide for Audited Agencies outlining the performance audit process
- Remuneration Committee Charter and Internal Audit Charter.
Other information we proactively release on our website includes our planned audit programs, corporate and auditing policies, Professional Update newsletters, client service resources, presentations and papers, and better practice guides.
In 2016–17, we will:
- update our Information Guide
- undertake our annual review of compliance with the GIPA Act.
The Remuneration Committee will further develop the assurance it provides over the appropriateness and application of Audit Office remuneration policies and procedures.
Open access information
We comply with the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (the GIPA Act or GIPA). The Audit Office holds a significant amount of government information, the majority of which we use for our audit services. We also hold a smaller amount of information dealing with administrative matters. Certain government information is made available to the public under the ‘open access’ provisions of the GIPA Act. The Audit Office’s ‘open access’ information includes:
- Information Guide – explains who we are, what we do and how to interact with us
- information about the Audit Office contained in any document tabled in parliament
- policy and charter documents
- disclosure log of access applications
- disclosure register
- register of government contracts.
We undertook a review of our compliance with the GIPA Act for 2015−16 using the standard checklist provided by the Information and Privacy Commission. Overall the review found we are compliant with the GIPA Act.
Members of the public can request information held by the Audit Office that is not on our website and we try to deal with requests informally with no charge. Information held by us which relates to our auditing, investigative and reporting functions is classed as ‘excluded information’ under the GIPA Act and is not released to the public.
During 2015−16, we received three formal GIPA access applications, all of which were deemed to be invalid as they requested access to excluded information.
We also received three informal requests for information. Two of those requests related to excluded information and therefore access was not granted. We also received four requests from other government agencies for our consent to release information. One was approved as the information belonged to the requesting agency, and the remainder were not approved as they related to excluded information. Statistical information about access applications is in Appendix Ten.
Award-winning annual report
Our annual report is a key part of our commitment to continuous disclosure and we voluntarily adopt full and open reporting on our performance. The report contains extensive comment on what our key stakeholders, parliament and our audit clients think of our services, and whether agencies have accepted and acted on our recommendations.
In recognition of our high standard in annual reporting, we won a Gold Australasian Reporting Award for our 2014−15 Annual Report, the seventh consecutive year we have received this award.
(based on ASX Principle 8)
The Audit Office’s Remuneration Committee consists of two members – an independent Chair, Dianne Hill and the Executive Manager Governance, Barry Underwood. Secretariat support is provided by the Governance Unit. The committee is directly responsible and accountable to the Auditor-General and provides independent advice on the appropriateness and application of the Audit Office’s remuneration policies and procedures.
This year was the first full year for the committee in its current form, after being reconstituted to be more independent and provide assurance directly to the Auditor-General. In consultation with the Auditor-General, the committee reviewed its role and made some minor refinements to its charter to make it clear that the committee was providing an advisory role and not taking on any management functions.
In 2015–16, the committee met twice and:
- completed written conflict of interest declarations and confidentiality agreements
- endorsed the committee’s updated charter
- reviewed management reports and made recommendations on the appropriateness and application of remuneration policies and procedures
- reviewed management sign-offs, including validating the financial impact of the recommended annual remuneration determination
- reviewed the remuneration risk assessment including associated controls.
See Appendix One for details of our executive remuneration.