Parliament follows up on agency progress in implementing our recommendations
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) holds agencies to account for implementing the actions they agree in response to performance audit and financial audit recommendations. It does so through follow-up inquiries conducted a year after the reports are tabled. The PAC makes further recommendations for action when it considers them necessary.
In 2015-16, the PAC completed one inquiry on reports we tabled in 2013–14, following up on 11 of our performance audits. As part of the review process, the PAC seeks details from agencies about their response to our recommendations and may, if required, hold public hearings. We also provide comments on agencies’ submissions and appear at inquiries.
The Chair of the PAC said in his foreword to its March 2016 report ‘Examination of the Auditor-General’s Performance Audit Reports September 2013 – July 2014’:
'The Committee has a well-established process of reviewing performance audits conducted by the Auditor-General, in order to follow up on action taken by agencies in response to the Auditor-General’s recommendations ... The process has proven to be an effective means of testing action taken on performance audits and maintaining a high level of scrutiny of the agencies under review. With some noted exceptions, the Committee is generally satisfied that the responsible agencies are now implementing the Auditor-General’s recommendations.
I am pleased to present this Report and thank the Auditor-General and Audit Office staff for their assistance in this inquiry.'
This PAC report makes four recommendations designed to improve the performance of government agencies, building on matters already identified by the Auditor-General. This includes improving the ability of the Department of Education and Communities to identify and respond to casual teachers with performance issues, and whole-of-government measures to improve legal and safe driving among Aboriginal people. The Committee notes that:
'Significant work has been undertaken to address issues raised in the audits. It is clear that agencies have taken the audits seriously and instigated processes to implement recommendations that were accepted. Some of the recommendations will take time to implement or are being addressed through the implementation of larger projects. The Committee encourages agencies to follow through on the work already started and commitments made, so that the potential benefits of the audits are fully realised.'
In 2016–17, we plan to further strengthen our support to parliament and the PAC by:
- developing a strong relationship with the Public Accounts Committee, led by our new Auditor-General
- supporting changes to the Public Finance and Audit Act 1983 which strengthen our efficiency and independence
- continuing to respond promptly and thoroughly to all requests from parliament for Audit Office support, including all audit suggestions
- producing 17 performance audit reports.