Agency annual reports are an important means of informing Parliament and the community about the performance of the public sector. They play a key role in public sector transparency and accountability, and therefore the quality and accuracy of information should be a high priority.
Agencies are required to prepare, submit and publish annual reports in accordance with relevant legislation and government policies. Annual reporting requirements are specified in the Public Sector Management Act 1994, Financial Management Act 2006 (FMA), Treasurer’s Instructions (TI) and other government policy statements.
What we did
The focus of this audit was to assess whether agency information relating to the financial statements, key performance indicators (KPIs) and financial estimates is reported accurately and consistently throughout the annual report.
We assessed the 2014-15 annual reports at 50 agencies using the following lines of inquiry:
- Have agencies reported the audited version of their financial statements and KPIs in their annual reports on their website and have they provided that annual report for reporting on Parliament’s website?
- Have agencies included any declarations, comments or information in their annual report that are inconsistent with the audited financial statements and key performance indicators?
- Have relevant agencies reported financial estimates in their annual report in accordance with section 40 of the Financial Management Act and the Treasurer’s Instructions? (This criterion applied to 10 of the 50 agencies.)
We conducted this across government benchmarking audit (AGBA) under section 18 of the Auditor General Act 2006 and in accordance with Australian Auditing and Assurance Standards. AGBAs assess and benchmark agencies against common business practices to identify good practices and control weaknesses so that agencies, including those not audited, can compare their own performance.