‘Independence is the cornerstone of public sector audit’
The Auditor General reports directly to Parliament. Unlike public sector departments and agencies, the Office does not report to any government minister.
At all times the Auditor General must be free from pressure, influence or interference from any source that may erode that independence. He has complete discretion in the performance of his functions.
The Westminster system of government
In the Westminster system, Parliament provides all authority for government activity. Public sector agencies are therefore accountable to Parliament for their use of public resources and the powers conferred on them by Parliament.
The diagram below shows how the Auditor General’s role fits in with this system. The Auditor General provides independent assurance that agencies are operating, and accounting for their performance, in accordance with Parliament’s purpose. The Auditor General’s reporting relationship is separate and independent from executive government.
Other state ‘watchdogs’
The Auditor General is not the only independent ‘watchdog’ in the Western Australian public sector. The others are:
- Western Australian Ombudsman
- Information Commissioner
- Commissioner of the Corruption and Crime Commission
- Public Sector Commissioner
Collectively these member bodies form the Integrity Coordinating Group, a forum for sharing and collaboration among the five integrity commissioners.
A national association
The Auditor General for Western Australia is also a member of the Australasian Council of Auditors-General, a body formed to provide for mutual support and sharing of information nationally.