Report highlights: Education 2021

What the report is about

The results of the Education cluster (the cluster) agencies' financial statements audits for the year ended 30 June 2021.

What we found

Unmodified audit opinions were issued on the Department of Education (the department), the NSW Education Standards Authority and the NSW Skills Board's financial statements.

An 'other matter' paragraph was included in the Technical and Further Education Commission's (the TAFE Commission) audit opinion drawing attention to legislative non-compliance concerning financial delegations during the reporting year.

The number of misstatements identified in the financial statements of cluster agencies decreased from 14 in 2019–20 to seven.

What the key issues were

The department and the TAFE Commission revalued their land assets this year, recognising collective increases of $863.8 million.

The department and the TAFE Commission are not scheduled to perform comprehensive revaluations of their buildings until 2022–23. Construction costs, which are a key input in their current replacement cost valuation methodologies for buildings, may have increased by an estimated nine per cent since the last comprehensive revaluation in 2017–18 based on broad based indices used by the department and the TAFE Commission. While the estimated index increase indicates the fair value of buildings may exceed the carrying values, the use of such high-level indicators has a degree of estimation uncertainty due to the specialised nature of the assets. Therefore, both agencies did not adjust the values of their buildings.

The number of issues we reported to management decreased. Fifty per cent of issues were repeated from prior years.

Of the 11 newly identified moderate rated issues, seven related to internal control deficiencies, with six identified in procurement and payroll controls.

What we recommended

The department and the TAFE Commission reconsider policy settings governing the frequency of revaluations; and refine and consider the outcomes of interim fair value assessments to ensure asset carrying values reflect fair value at each balance date.

Cluster agencies should prioritise and action recommendations to address internal control deficiencies.

Fast facts

  • The Education cluster, comprising four agencies, administers and delivers education and training services for NSW students, workers and industry.
  • $38.6b property, plant and equipment as at 30 June 2021
  • $21.2b total expenditure incurred in 2020–21
  • 100% unqualified audit opinions were issued on agencies’ 30 June 2021 financial statements
  • 22 moderate risk management letter findings were identified and reported to management
  • monetary misstatements were reported in 2020–21
  • 50% of reported issues were repeat issues

Further information

Please contact Ian Goodwin, Deputy Auditor-General on 9275 7347 or by email.