Appendix 1: Our proposed performance audit work programme for 2009/10

Annual plan 2009/10.

The Auditor-General proposes to conduct the following performance audits and other studies in 2009/10. For completeness, we also provide a list of work described in previous annual plans and due to be finished in 2009/10.

The actual work programme we deliver in 2009/10 may differ from this proposal. Our proposed annual work programme is necessarily determined many months in advance of the year to which it relates. As time elapses, we may need to alter our priorities. For example, other urgent work such as an inquiry may intervene, or government policy or the circumstances of a particular public entity may change so that a particular audit is no longer relevant. The reports for some audits that will start in 2009/10 may not be presented to the House of Representatives until 2010/11.

Performance audits to be started in 2009/10

New Zealand Police response to the Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct

In March 2007, the Report of the Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct was released. The Commission of Inquiry recommended that the Auditor-General be invited to monitor, for the next 10 years, how the Police implement a range of projects and initiatives related to, and arising from, the Commission of Inquiry. The Auditor-General accepted that invitation.

Work in 2009/10 and future years will build on our 2008/09 review of the governance and management of the Police response to the Commission of Inquiry. In the medium term, we will focus on specific policing improvement initiatives and their relationship to the response to the Commission of Inquiry.

ONTRACK follow-up audit: Maintaining and renewing the rail network

Our 2008 report Maintaining and renewing the rail network identified that ONTRACK has significantly more work to do before its systems, plans, policies, and procedures for maintaining and renewing the rail network are complete, connected, and able to be used together where necessary. The report included 10 key recommendations.

We propose to carry out a follow-up audit starting late in 2009/10 to check ONTRACK’s progress in implementing the recommendations in the 2008 report.

Defence acquisitions

We have identified a need for the defence agencies to report more comprehensive and useful information about the progress of major defence acquisition projects to provide assurance to Parliament and other stakeholders that these projects are managed well and deliver the expected capabilities. We are currently identifying what type of information key stakeholders expect to see reported about these projects. In the remainder of 2008/09 and during 2009/10, we will be working with the defence and central agencies to develop and implement an approach to future reporting on major defence acquisitions that provides more complete and useful information about these projects.

Inland Revenue’s management of child support debt

Child support is money paid by parents who are not living with their children to help support them financially. The child support scheme operates under the Child Support Act 1991. The aim of this legislation is to ensure that parents take financial responsibility for their children when marriages and relationships end. The person caring for the child receives the child support payments. Inland Revenue administers the child support scheme.

At 30 June 2008, child support debt was $1.3 billion, $834 million of which was penalty debt. This has grown from $380 million in 2000.

We recognise that the administration of the child support scheme can be difficult, because it deals with people who are going through changing and challenging circumstances. However, given the size of the debt, we consider that it is important to examine Inland Revenue’s management of child support debt.

We propose an audit of the Inland Revenue’s management of child support debt. Particular areas of focus will be the effectiveness of collecting outstanding debt, including locating liable parents living overseas, and strategies and initiatives to address the growth in debt.

Ministry of Social Development: Management of debt

The Ministry of Social Development has debt management responsibilities for a major component of the debt owed to the Crown. As at 30 June 2008, debt owed to the Ministry was $836 million. The debt mainly comprised recoverable assistance and overpayments to current and former clients. The total debt owed to the Ministry has increased by $15 million in the last two years, although the total number of beneficiaries has decreased.

A report by the Treasury in 2006 noted the difficulties in assessing the effectiveness and efficiency of the Ministry’s debt collection because of the lack of benchmarks for a comparable population – that is, a high proportion of the Ministry’s debt is owed by clients who may have a limited ability to pay.

We therefore intend to carry out an audit looking at the Ministry’s debt management function. We will consider how the debt arises in the first place, and look at the effectiveness and efficiency of the Ministry’s management of it, including the Ministry’s debt prevention and debt recovery initiatives.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Overseas property management

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade manages about 300 properties, located at 50 posts overseas. The Ministry’s properties support Ministry staff and staff working in other agencies under the “NZ Inc.” banner to promote New Zealand’s interests overseas. About 27% of these properties are owned by the Ministry and have a value of about $420 million. The rest of the Ministry’s overseas properties are leased.

Because of the strategic importance of the Ministry’s property portfolio, we propose carrying out a performance audit to examine the effectiveness of the Ministry’s management of its overseas properties. This will include properties the Ministry owns and leases overseas, encompassing the Ministry’s chanceries (office accommodation), official residences, and staff houses. The proposed audit will focus on the Ministry’s overseas property management systems, processes, procedures, and practices.

Teacher registration and initial teacher education course approval processes

Having teachers who are well equipped with the necessary skills to teach in our schools is a significant objective of the education system, given the role of the system in preparing our youth for the future. Research has shown a correlation between initial teacher education, quality of teaching, and student achievement.

A range of stakeholders contribute to ensuring that graduate teachers are well equipped when they enter the classroom, including the New Zealand Teachers Council, the Ministry of Education, the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, among others.

Our proposed performance audit will assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the processes for assuring the quality of teacher graduates – from the approval of initial education provider programmes through to the provisional registration of teachers. The audit will examine the Council’s initial teacher education programme approval (and re-approval) process and the teacher registration process. It will also examine other key functions, such as the TEC’s funding role, and the degree to which the various public entities understand their roles and responsibilities and co-ordinate their efforts to achieve an optimal outcome.

Management of after-hours primary health care services

District Health Boards are currently required to ensure the availability of after-hours services for 95% of their population, within 60 minutes of travel. They must also (in collaboration with Primary Health Organisations, after-hours service providers, and hospital emergency departments) develop and implement a planning and funding strategy for after-hours care for their district. This strategy must provide accessible, effective, and resilient after-hours primary health care services.

We propose a performance audit to determine whether the required standards for after-hours service are being met, and to assess the quality of DHBs’ planning and monitoring of after-hours services to meet those standards.

Certification and monitoring of residential care and home-based support for the aged and the disabled

As at June 2008, about 28,000 people aged 65 and over were living in around 750 aged residential care facilities nationwide, and another 60,000 were receiving home-based support services. Public funding for aged residential care services and home-based support services was $875 million in 2007/08.

Residential disability care services and home-based support services are also available for people under 65 who have intellectual, physical, psychiatric, and sensory disabilities. As at January 2008, 7000 people with mental and physical disabilities lived in residential care.

The provision of the residential care and home-based support services needs to be effectively and efficiently monitored to ensure that people using the services are well cared for and that the funding is well spent. Monitoring helps to provide assurance about the standard of care provided by residential facilities for older people, the process used to certify providers to allow them to deliver residential services, and the ongoing quality of service provision in these facilities.

Our initial work has identified that the certification, monitoring, and audit systems for residential care and home-based support services appears to be complicated, with multiple layers of audit and monitoring by multiple audit agencies and contract managers. We propose to examine whether the certification, monitoring, and audit systems for residential care and home-based support services (for people in two age groups – 65 and over, and under 65) is effective and efficient.

Our audit will also identify specific areas where we may carry out further audit work in the future.

The demand for water – Auckland region

Water supply is an essential service for safeguarding the health and well-being of residents and communities in a district or region.

We are currently doing a performance audit examining whether eight local authorities outside the Auckland region that provide water supply have adequately assessed future water demand for residents and communities in their district and have strategies in place to meet this demand.

In 2009/10, we will be looking at the same issues in a selection of local authorities in the Auckland region.

Department of Building and Housing: Effective management of tenancy services

The Department of Building and Housing administers the Residential Tenancies Act 1986. This role requires it to provide information, education, and advice services for tenants and landlords, to provide dispute resolution services, and to administer residential tenancy bond money.

More than 31% of New Zealand households are residential tenancies, and the number of households renting long term is expected to increase. This forms a substantial private and public rental housing market.

We propose to examine and report on the effectiveness of the Department’s systems, policies, and procedures for managing tenancy services, and on the processes used by the Department to assess whether these services are meeting the needs and expectations of tenants and landlords.

Sport and Recreation New Zealand: Promoting participation in sport and physical recreation

Sport and Recreation New Zealand (SPARC) was set up in 2002 to promote participation in physical activity by all New Zealanders for their health and well-being – through its own efforts and by working with others. It must work with many organisations at national, regional, and local level (including schools; regional, central, and local government; and physical recreation, sports, and health organisations) to:

  • encourage greater participation; and
  • ensure that infrastructure for physical recreation and sport is maintained and developed.

SPARC estimates that there are about 100 national organisations, 15,000 clubs and gyms, and 500,000 volunteers in sport and physical recreation. It also recognises that sports clubs are struggling in many areas, including getting and keeping volunteers and members.

We will examine SPARC’s effectiveness in improving all New Zealanders’ participation in sport and physical recreation, by assessing how effectively SPARC is working with national sporting organisations to improve participation at national, regional, and club level.

Department of Internal Affairs: Grants administration

As part of a programme of work looking at grants administration by public entities, we propose to audit the management of two grant programmes administered by the Department of Internal Affairs through which money is distributed for community purposes. The first programme is the distribution of lottery grants. The other programme is the Community Organisation Grants Scheme. About $140 million is distributed through these programmes annually. The audit will examine matters such as adherence to approved policies, the identification of risk, the quality and consistency of decision-making, and monitoring arrangements.

Department of Corrections: Management of prisoner employment

The Department of Corrections provides prisoner employment opportunities, work experience, and training that are designed to reduce the underlying causes of criminal offending. The Department provides these opportunities in prisons to increase the chance that prisoners have the skills, ability, and motivation to obtain sustainable post-release employment.

We propose to carry out an audit to examine how well the Department administers prisoner employment initiatives, and how effective these initiatives are in reducing re-offending. The aim of this audit is to provide assurance that prisoner employment initiatives are being managed efficiently, making an effective contribution to prisoners’ rehabilitation, and supporting the Department’s overall goal of reducing re-offending.

Co-ordination of maritime patrol and surveillance assets

The National Maritime Co-ordination Centre (NMCC) co-ordinates civilian use of maritime patrol and surveillance assets, including information. Our proposed performance audit will examine the role of the NMCC in co-ordinating civilian maritime patrols. It will examine whether:

  • there are appropriate governance frameworks in place for co-ordination, including access to New Zealand Defence Force capability;
  • other agencies provide the NMCC with the information it needs to prioritise patrols;
  • the NMCC has a framework for prioritising patrols in keeping with the Government’s strategic maritime goals; and
  • information collected from patrols is shared between agencies where appropriate.

The audit may also examine how effectively the NMCC co-ordinates maritime surveillance for a particular purpose, such as to detect illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.

Social marketing campaigns

Social marketing campaigns are a form of government advertising used to raise awareness, encourage service use, and influence the attitudes and behaviours of the public. Common subjects of social marketing campaigns include road safety and healthy lifestyle choices. The effectiveness and value of social marketing campaigns are considered by some to be questionable.

We propose a performance audit to examine how selected social marketing campaigns are decided on, developed, managed, and evaluated by public entities for effectiveness and value for money.

Performance audits described in previous annual plans and due to be finished in 2009/10

Accident Compensation Corporation: Management of funds
Civil Aviation Authority: Follow-up of the Auditor-General’s 2005 report
District Health Boards: Asset management planning
District Health Boards: Effectiveness of managing patients under Active Review
Inland Revenue Department: Management of Child Support debt
Local government: Water services management
Ministry of Education: Better Outcomes for Children action plan
Ministry of Education: Effective management of the Crown’s financial interest in integrated schools
Ministry of Justice: Management of court workloads
New Zealand Defence Force: Defence Sustainability Initiative
New Zealand Transport Agency: State highway maintenance
Tertiary Education Commission: Monitoring of tertiary education institutions
Transpower: Managing the national grid
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