Volume Five 2015 Premier and Cabinet

The Department of Premier and Cabinet needs to update the NSW Public Sector Governance Framework to improve clarity over cluster governance arrangements and to incorporate legislative and policy changes since its February 2013 release, according to a report released today by the New South Wales Acting Auditor-General, Tony Whitfield.

'Governance can be improved at cluster agencies', the Acting Auditor-General said. In particular, agencies need more effective compliance management to prevent laws and regulations being unknowingly breached and clearer policies for dealing with incidents of fraud and corruption,” the Acting Auditor-General said. 'Agencies should use the Audit Office’s Governance Lighthouse checklist to identify areas where governance can be improved' he added. 

These were some of the findings the Acting Auditor-General reported in the Volume Five 2015 Report to Parliament, which covered Premier and Cabinet agencies such as the Department of Premier and Cabinet, Office of Sport, Venues NSW, Barangaroo Delivery Authority and Infrastructure NSW.

Financial reporting has improved but needs to get better

The 2014-15 audits did not identify as many misstatements compared to previous years, but those identified are getting larger. Large errors have a greater potential to affect the reliability of financial statements. All material misstatements were corrected during the audit.

'Agencies need to further embrace early close procedures to identify and deal with issues well before the busy year end reporting period', said Mr Whitfield. 

Except for the Internal Audit Bureau, which is in the process of winding up its operations and received an extension for financial reporting, unqualified audit opinions were issued for all cluster agencies 2014-15 financial statements. 

Mr Whitfield’s report also highlighted the need for agencies’ to further improve budgeting processes. Nearly all agencies had variances of greater than five per cent between actual results and original budgets for major financial statement line items.

Performance monitoring against the State’s goals and targets 

The Department of Premier and Cabinet did not report progress against the goals and targets in the NSW Government’s previous ten year State plan NSW 2021 in 2014-15. New priorities for the State were announced in September 2015 in NSW: Making it Happen.

The Department of Premier and Cabinet is working on processes to monitor and report against the State’s new priorities and targets.

Further Information

Please contact Barry Underwood on 9275 7220 or 0403 073 664; email barry.underwood@audit.nsw.gov.au