Premier and Cabinet 2016

There are opportunities for agencies in the Premier and Cabinet cluster to improve financial controls and governance of outsourced service providers. These are the key findings of a report released today by the New South Wales Auditor-General, Margaret Crawford.

Deteriorated performance in approving purchase orders and paying suppliers on time

A number of agencies in the Premier and Cabinet cluster raised and approved purchase orders after the goods and services had been ordered. The performance of most agencies in the cluster in paying suppliers invoices on time also fell significantly during the year.

'Agencies in the Premier and Cabinet cluster should ensure purchase orders are raised and approved before goods and services are ordered and then pay supplier invoices on time,' the Auditor-General said.

Many cluster agencies use shared service arrangements that process financial transactions and provide a range of other services. Cluster agencies using ServiceFirst were transitioned to the private sector operator GovConnect during the year. Significant breakdowns in internal controls at both ServiceFirst and GovConnect during 2015-16 contributed to the poor performance in raising purchase orders and paying invoices and also increased the risk of fraud and error.

Premier’s and State Priorities

The Department of Premier and Cabinet is responsible for driving initiatives to deliver the 12 Premier’s Priorities and first reported on progress in October 2016. The Department is also supporting NSW public sector agencies in the delivery of 18 State Priorities by March 2019. At the time of writing the audit report, there had been no public reporting on progress with the 18 State Priorities.

Governance arrangements for clusters across the NSW public sector are not clear

The Department of Premier and Cabinet is yet to release an updated NSW Public Sector Governance Framework to address legislative and policy changes since February 2013 An updated Framework is needed to provide clarity over cluster governance arrangements across the NSW public sector and provide guidance on cluster roles and responsibilities.

Many cluster agencies self-assessed their governance and fraud control frameworks

The report highlighted that many agencies in the Premier and Cabinet cluster benefited from self-assessing their governance framework against the Audit Office's 'Governance Lighthouse – Strategic Early Warning System' and their fraud framework using the Audit Office’s Fraud Control Improvement Kit.

Further information

Barry Underwood, Executive Officer, on 9275 7220 or 0403 073 664 and email