Program implementation, performance measurement and reporting are high on the list of targets for the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) in the coming year as it releases its work program for 2014-15.
According to the ANAO, program implementation and management is "core business" for the Public Service and "features strongly in our proposed audit coverage, in particular in the areas of service delivery, procurement and grants management."
The Office said past audits had identified opportunities for entities to undertake the targeted activities more efficiently and effectively and had helped them achieve better outcomes.
According to the ANAO, the program is divided into two sections: financial statement audits and other assurance activities; and performance audits, in progress and proposed.
It said the Program of audits sought to achieve coverage across a wide range of entities and portfolios, either as entity-specific audits or as part of broader cross-entity audits.
In 2014-15, the ANAO said it expected to complete 49 performance audits (including cross-entity audits); and three updated better practice guides.
The Office said the ANAO's work in the area of performance measurement and reporting had consistently demonstrated over a number of years that many entities had fallen short in developing and reporting performance measures that demonstrated the achievement of stated program or activity objectives.
It said the evaluation of programs was uneven and the design phase of programs could include greater consideration of the best way to measure a program's impact or to achieve a program's objectives, not just at its conclusion but periodically during the life of the program.
The ANAO said performance audits would continue to have a focus on program and activity performance measurements, and the program also included a cross-entity audit on planning and management of evaluations.
According to the program, potential audits included: AusTender, Control of Credit Card Use, Management of Australian Government Travel Arrangements and Access to Online Services - Digital First Policy.
It said the ANAO would also undertake work to refresh and update the following Better Practice Guides and expected to publish a minimum of three during 2014-15.
The Guides were: Successful Implementation of Policy Initiatives, Public Sector Audit Committees: Independent assurance and advice for chief executives and boards,
Preparation of Financial Statements by Public Sector Entities Update, SAP Security and Control, Fraud Control, Developing and Managing Internal Budgets and Business Continuity Management.
Current and recent editions of the Audit Work Program are available at this PS News link.
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