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Auditor throws book at resources

The Auditor-General has reported that efficiency dividends and cutbacks to funding for Government services have led to increased functions for his office despite those same cutbacks reducing the resources he has to perform his duties.

In his annual report to Parliament, Auditor General, Colin Murphy said his office was “not immune from the Government’s savings program.”

“This has had a two-fold effect on my Office,” Mr Murphy said.

“Firstly, I have where possible responded to the Government’s efficiency drive in the operations of my Office.

“This affects my budget and resourcing decisions, and ultimately how we deliver an increasing audit program.”

He said that on the other hand, the requirements on Agencies to achieve efficiencies and deliver more with less had given him more work.

“This requires increased audit scrutiny from my Office as potential gaps in systems and controls are exposed.”

He pointed out that the Government recently flagged the possibility of expanding the role of the Auditor General to conduct financial and performance audits of Local Governments.

“This has been raised a number of times since it was recommended by the Public Accounts Committee in 2006 and the Premier’s latest comments follow a recommendation made in a Corruption and Crime Commission report on Misconduct Risk in Local Government Procurement,” Mr Murphy said.

“If it were to occur, it will require a significant review of our Office resourcing and delivery of our key audit products.”

He said that during the year his Office had significantly increased its use of community surveys to inform its audit work, receiving just over 4,600 responses across four surveys.

“We also enhanced the ‘have your say’ function on our website to encourage community feedback on our upcoming audit work”, the Auditor-General said.

“Our annual Members of Parliament survey showed overall satisfaction with our reports and services increased to 97 per cent (from 90 per cent in 2013-14), which is our highest rating in over 10 years.”

Annual financial audit client surveys also showed high satisfaction rates, with 95 per cent saying they valued the Office’s recommendations to improve the financial management and internal controls of their organisations.

Mr Murphy said a new efficiency indicator, which measured how long the Office took to issue audit opinions to Agencies had been introduced.

“We were able to achieve an average turnaround of just 67 days, which was three days fewer than our target of 70 days. This is a fantastic result,” he said.

Looking to the future, Mr Murphy said the Office had begun work on developing its new strategic plan to replace the one ending in December.

Source: PS News

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