Premier and Cabinet

Progress and measurement of the Premier's Priorities

The Premier has established 12 priority areas that focus on growing the economy, delivering infrastructure, protecting the vulnerable and improving education, health and public services across NSW. Agencies are assisted in implementing these priorities by the Premier’s Implementation Unit (PIU) within the Department of Premier and Cabinet. This audit will assess whether the PIU is effective in facilitating progress of the Premier’s Priorities and reporting progress to the public. To do this, the audit will assess whether:

  • Target measures and information used to oversee and accurately report progress on the Premier’s Priorities are sufficient and reliable.
  • The PIU is effective at supporting Agencies to advance the Premier’s Priorities.

The audit is expected to table in June 2018.

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

Grants to non-government schools

In 2017-18, the NSW Government will provide $1.25 billion in grants to non-government schools. The NSW Department of Education is responsible for allocating, distributing and managing these grants. To be eligible for funding, schools must comply with a legislative requirement to operate as not-for-profit. In addition, a school must be registered with the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA). As part of registration, NESA ensure that schools comply with certain governance and public reporting requirements.

This audit will examine how effectively and efficiently grants to non-government schools are managed. In making this assessment, the audit will examine:

  • How the Department of Education determines eligibility for, calculates and distributes grants to non-government schools and system authorities
  • Whether grants are being used for their intended purpose.

 

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)

NSW Health aims to promote, protect, develop, maintain and improve the health and wellbeing of the people of New South Wales. Ensuring that staff are effectively rostered to meet demands on the health system is key to achieving this.  Effective rostering is also important to manage stress on clinical and frontline staff, who often have demanding and difficult jobs.

HealthRoster is a new rostering system that replaces multiple legacy systems around the state, allowing managers to more effectively roster clinical and frontline staff by time of day, day of week and skill level. Expected benefits from implementation include improved transparency of shift allocation, improved roster data to inform decision making and improved access to the system for clinical and frontline staff.

This audit will assess the effectiveness of the HealthRoster system in delivering business benefits.

Risk management culture and capability (in progress)

See full details under Treasury.

Planning and Environment

Regulation of water pollution in drinking water catchments and illegal solid waste disposal

Under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (Act), the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is the regulatory authority for the more significant waste generating activities which are scheduled in the Act and which require environmental protection licences issued by EPA. Local councils have regulatory responsibilities for such activities in their local government areas which either are un-licenced, or fall below specific thresholds listed in the Act. For water pollution, EPA is the sole regulatory authority under the Act.

Disposal of waste is considered illegal when deposited on land or into water without correct approvals such as environmental protection licences, or where construction or demolition material is used as landfill without approval. Water pollution occurs when any matter is introduced into waterways which change the physical, chemical or biological condition of the water. Water quality objectives for drinking water catchments are generally set by relevant bodies responsible for those catchments. These include water authorities such as WaterNSW and Hunter Water, as well as local councils.

The audit will assess the effectiveness of EPA’s regulatory response to water pollution in drinking water catchments, and illegal solid waste disposal.

We will address this by assessing whether EPA effectively:

a) assesses and monitors water pollution in drinking water catchments for EPA regulated activities defined in the Act
b) manages breaches of environmental protection licences related to water pollution in drinking water catchments
c) manages water pollution incidents, other than licence breaches, in drinking water catchments
d) responds to illegal solid waste disposal through its regulatory role under the Act
e) achieved the priorities and objectives outlined in the NSW Illegal Dumping Strategy 2014-16
f) addressed recommendations made in the June 2017 ICAC report titled “Investigation into a Regional Dumping Squad Officer and Others” which were not asbestos waste specific

To better understand any relevant issues local councils may be experiencing regarding EPA’s regulatory response to water pollution in drinking water catchments and illegal solid waste disposal, the Audit Office is seeking feedback from local councils to the following questions:

  • Has EPA’s response to instances of water pollution affecting water quality in council controlled drinking water catchments or town water supplies assisted your council?
  • Has EPA’s response to illegal solid waste disposal for which EPA has regulatory responsibility assisted your council?

Submissions in response to these specific questions can be sent to submissions@audit.nsw.gov.au by 31 January 2018.

We anticipate that the audit report will be tabled in parliament in late-June 2018

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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