Volume Six 2010 focus on Human Services and Technology

The Auditor-General, Mr Peter Achterstraat, today released his Volume Six Report to Parliament for 2010. The report includes comments on his financial audits of NSW Government human services and technology agencies. The audits of these agencies’ financial reports for the year ended 30 June 2010 each resulted in an unqualified Independent Auditor’s Report.

Increased accommodation for people with a disability

“It is pleasing that the number of supported accommodation places for people with a disability has increased by 517 during 2009-10”, Mr Achterstraat said.

Community Services caseworker shortage

“Community Services has a shortage of caseworkers. On average, twenty per cent or 497 of the 2,481 positions were vacant in 2009-10’” Mr Achterstraat said. “The caseworker to child ratio is 1 to 29, more than double to the ratio recommended by the 2008 Wood Commission report of 1 to 12”, he added. “Total child protection reports fell from 309,676 in 2008-09 to 256,088 in 2009-10 due in part to the reporting threshold being raised from “risk of harm” to “risk of significant harm”, Mr Achterstraat said.

More capacity in Juvenile Justice centres

The average daily number of young offenders in custody increased from 390 in 2007-08 to 434 in 2009-10. Twenty seven extra beds were provided in 2009-10 and there was a 90 per cent occupancy rate at Juvenile Justice Centres.

Weaknesses in accounting controls

“Community Services, Ageing Disability and Home Care and the Home Care Service of NSW all have weaknesses in accounting processes and controls that I have raised for a number of years. These need to be addressed promptly”, Mr Achterstraat said. “Government agencies must have good accounting processes and controls, otherwise errors will be made, money will be misspent and resources poorly utilised”, he added.

State unable to adequately archive digital information

Despite a ministerial memorandum acknowledging the increasing use of digital information, the State Records Authority is declining NSW Government agencies’ requests to archive digital information as it does not have the infrastructure to access it.

Further information

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