Premier and Cabinet

Government advertising (in progress)

The Government Advertising Act 2011 requires the Auditor-General to conduct a performance audit on at least one government advertising campaign run in each financial year. These audits must include, but are not limited to, assessing whether a government agency is carrying out activities in relation to government advertising campaigns effectively and doing so economically and efficiently and in compliance with this Act, the regulations, other laws and the government advertising guidelines.
This audit will examine two campaigns:

  • 'Stronger Councils, Stronger Communities' for 2015–16
  • 'Dogs deserve better' (Greyhound racing closure) for 2016–17

Assessing progress of Premier's and State priorities (including Premier's Delivery Unit)

The NSW Government has established 12 Premier's Priorities and 18 state priorities to grow the economy, deliver infrastructure, protect the vulnerable, and improve education health and public services across NSW. This audit may consider whether measurable goals and targets have been set against which to track performance on the Premier's and State Priorities, and assess whether this performance is being measured effectively and transparently.

Regional assistance programs  

See full description under Transport.

Unsolicited proposal to acquire 50 per cent of Ausgrid

See full description under Treasury

Treasury

Risk management culture and capability (in progress)

Risk management is a critical element of good corporate governance. Effective risk management enables agencies to improve their decision making by allowing them to make informed decisions about risks. It is now widely accepted that organisational culture plays a key role in implementing a robust risk management framework. Neglecting the ‘soft’ side of risk management – which includes fostering a culture where risks are proactively communicated and risk management is integrated into daily activities - can prevent institutions managing the risks that threaten their success. This audit will examine how effectively NSW Government agencies are building risk management capabilities and embedding a sound risk culture throughout their organisation.  To do this the audit will examine whether:

  • Agencies can demonstrate that senior management has provided a mandate for, and is committed to, risk management
  • Information about risk is communicated effectively throughout the agencies
  • Agencies are building risk management capabilities.

The audit will examine risk management in NSW Treasury Corporation (TCorp), NSW Police Force, Ministry of Health, and the Fair Trading function within the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation. The Treasury will also be included as an auditee as the agency in charge of the NSW Government risk management framework.

Ausgrid unsolicited proposal

On 20 October 2016, the NSW Government announced it had accepted an unsolicited proposal to acquire a 50.4 per cent interest in Ausgrid, delivering $16.2 billion gross (estimated to be around $6 billion net) to the NSW Government. This performance audit will likely examine how well the NSW Government managed the governance and assessment of this unsolicited proposal.

Finance, Services and Innovation

Cyber security (in progress)

The NSW Government uses digital technology to deliver services, organise and store information, manage business processes, and control critical infrastructure.
The increasing interconnectivity between computer networks has increased the risk of unauthorised users obtaining access to systems. Recent global security incidents highlight the importance of NSW government agencies having adequate systems and processes for detecting and responding effectively to security incidents.
This audit will assess how well cyber incidents are monitored and remedial advice is communicated in the NSW public sector. In making this assessment, the audit will examine whether:

  • Cyber security incidents are monitored efficiently and effectively
  • Agencies receive timely and quality advice on cyber incidents and remedial action

The audit will focus on the role of the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation in coordinating the Information Security Community of Practice and the information security event reporting protocol.  The audit will also examine ten case study agencies to develop a whole of government perspective on how agencies detect and respond to incidents. 

Property asset utilisation

In response to recommendations of the Property Asset Utilisation Taskforce the NSW Government set out in 2012 operational and guiding property principles that Property NSW and NSW Government agencies must follow. Property NSW was assigned the mandate to improve the management of the NSW Government's owned and leased real property portfolio.

This audit may examine the effectiveness and efficiency of Property NSW's initiatives to improve the management of NSW Government's owned and leased property portfolio.

Risk management culture and capability (in progress)

See full description under Treasury. 

Education

Sharing school and community facilities (in progress)

The NSW population is growing rapidly, particularly in Sydney. NSW and local governments are facing fiscal constraints together with increasing demand for services and calls on their funding. In such an environment, assets should be used optimally so that government investment is economical.
The State Government has several policies that support the shared use of facilities. For example, the State Infrastructure Strategy recommends greater community use of school facilities out of school hours and co-use of open spaces, and coordinated planning for schooling across public and private sector to avoid unnecessary duplication and under-utilisation of assets.

This audit will assess how effectively schools share facilities with each other, local councils and community groups. In making this assessment, the audit will examine whether the Department of Education:

  • has a clear policy to encourage and support facility sharing
  • is implementing evidence-based strategies and procedures for facility sharing
  • can show it is realising an increasing proportion of sharing opportunities.

Grants to non-government schools

The Australian Government provides funding to the Department of Education to assist with the recurrent costs of school education in non-government schools. In addition, non-government not-for-profit schools are eligible for State government funding assistance.

The audit is likely to examine whether the Department ensures that it obtains value-for-money from grants made to non-government schools.  

Family and Community Services

Social housing policy - governance and capability

Social housing is a safety net for the most vulnerable in the community – including the elderly, people with a disability or severe and chronic mental health illness, carers with long term caring responsibilities and those experiencing drug and alcohol misuse and domestic and family violence. In January 2016, the Government announced Future Directions for Social Housing in NSW which sets out the Government’s vision for social housing over the next 10 years. The program intends to reduce homelessness, provide more housing and support for those needing social housing and providing more support to help people divert from or successfully transition out of the social housing system. This audit may examine the governance of, and capability to deliver, the Future Directions for Social Housing in NSW program.

Health

Managing demand for ambulance services (in progress)

Ensuring that ambulance resources are used as efficiently as possible is a key challenge for NSW Ambulance. Demand for ambulance services has been increasing and the nature of that demand is changing due to population growth, demographic changes and an increasing focus on providing integrated health care services. In recent years, NSW Ambulance has introduced a range of demand management initiatives that aim to improve the efficiency of the use of ambulance emergency resources and provide the right type of care to patients. These include changes to the classification process for 000 calls, referring some patients to health services other than hospital emergency departments, and increasing the range of patient treatment options that paramedics have. This audit will assess the extent to which NSW Ambulance’s demand management initiatives have improved the efficiency of ambulance services.

Health roster benefits realisation (in progress)

Scope being finalised. Details pending.

Risk management culture and capability (in progress)

See full details under Treasury.

Planning and Environment

Energy rebates for low income households (completed)

The Department of Planning and Environment administers around $250 million in energy rebates to low income households each year.  Most rebates are paid by energy retailers directly onto energy bills of eligible households.  The Department also funds charities and NGOs to administer energy payment vouchers to households that are in financial crisis and at risk of being disconnected from energy services.

This audit will examine whether the rebate schemes are effective.  The audit will consider the structure of the rebate schemes, marketing of the schemes and the Department’s relationship with partner organisations who administer the schemes.

Regulation of waste and water

Details pending. 

Justice

Delivery of capital works

The Department of Justice manages extensive infrastructure assets for prisons and courts in NSW. In 2016-17, the Department received an additional $1 billion in capital investment to address prison overcrowding and capacity of courts across NSW.

This audit may examine the Department’s procurement and program management processes to ensure that this extensive capital investment program is well managed.

Risk management culture and capability (in progress)

See full description under Treasury.  

Transport

Regional assistance programs

The NSW Government commits substantial resources to regional assistance programs that broadly target:

  • infrastructure
  • jobs
  • individuals and small businesses
  • community amenity.

The NSW Government has committed to providing 30 per cent of the funds raised through the sale and lease of government assets to infrastructure in regional areas. At 30 June 2016, $1.7 billion had been committed for this purpose, with a further $6 billion expected in the future.

This audit may examine how well regional assistance programs are being targeted and managed.

Newcastle transport reforms

Description pending.

Speed and road safety cameras

Description pending.

Access to public transport for people with disability

According to the ABS, one in five Australian's have reported living with a disability. Restrictions to accessible and integrated transport infrastructure can limit the participation of a person with a disability to work, education or other community and economic activities and opportunities.  This audit may examine how well NSW public transport agencies are ensuring efficient and effective transport services are available to people with a disability.

Local Government

Council reporting on services

This audit will examine how well councils demonstrate service efficiency and effectiveness through their public reporting. The focus of this audit will be on identifying good practice principles and comparing council reporting against these principles. This audit will cover all councils that have published reports under the Integrated Planning and Reporting Framework.

Fraud control in local government

This review will provide a snapshot of fraud in local government and an analysis of council fraud controls against the Audit Office’s Fraud Control Improvement Kit. The approach is likely to mirror our recent special review on fraud control in NSW government agencies.

Shared services

This audit will seek to identify key enablers and barriers to effective and efficient shared services arrangements. Such arrangements are likely to include corporate services but may also include customer services such as waste collection, road maintenance or libraries.


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