Auditor-General's overview

Annual Plan 2015/16.

I am pleased to submit this Annual Plan for 2015/16.

My Office plays an important part in strengthening accountability, integrity, and transparency in the public sector. By carrying out work that is credible and of high quality, we aim to improve the performance of, and the public's trust in, the public sector.

Most of my Office's work (about 88%) comprises the annual audit of about 3800 public entities as required by law. Our annual audit work gives us direct interaction with, and insight into, how the public sector is operating. We use this unique view of the entire public sector to inform our wider work. Each year, we extract even greater value from this information by applying a theme across our work, and by signalling future themes.

My 2015/16 annual work programme will be the fourth in our multi-year themed work programme. Our previous themes were:

  • 2012/13 – Our future needs – is the public sector ready?;
  • 2013/14 – Service delivery; and
  • 2014/15 – Governance and accountability.

I am now pleased to confirm that the theme for 2015/16 is Investment and asset management. The performance audits and other work we will carry out under this theme are described in Part 3.

Investment and asset management is critical to New Zealand's future. The public sector manages significant investments and assets that are essential to providing public services. It is important that these public resources are used wisely and that public assets continue to support long-term delivery of public services.

Although we cannot cover every aspect of this theme, I am confident that our selected topics cover aspects of those assets that are important to all New Zealanders – water, roads, health assets, and schools. This year's work programme describes my priorities and the work that we consider would be useful, based on our knowledge of the challenges, emerging issues, and trends in the public sector.

We are currently exploring the content of our proposed themes for:

  • 2016/17 – Information; and
  • 2017/18 – Water.

The Appendix provides an overview of our multi-year themed work programme. Each year's theme is the focus of our work for that year, but some larger pieces of work carry over into other years. The programme for the years beyond 2015/16 is indicative only and is still being explored and developed.

Each year, we draw together the findings and insights from our themed work into an overview report. We use this to encourage debate, challenge and expand thinking, and identify and highlight examples of good or poor practice to help improve public sector performance. My overview report on the 2013/14 Service delivery theme was published earlier this month.

Feedback from Parliament

Consultation with Parliament helps me to ensure that my Office's work is relevant and useful to Parliament, public entities, and the public. It is an important way in which I can ensure that the work of my Office remains responsive to the needs of these key stakeholders.

I consulted the Speaker and select committees about my proposed work programme and I thank them all for their consideration. The Finance and Expenditure Committee endorsed our Investment and asset management theme for 2015/16. The committee also conveyed to us comments from the Māori Affairs Committee, the Social Services Committee, the Local Government and Environment Committee, and the Regulations Review Committee. These committees indicated their support for various topics in the plan. The Māori Affairs Committee noted that they would like to see the Māori perspective in our work, and for us to provide more disaggregation by ethnicity. We will keep these comments in mind as we carry out our 2015/16 work programme.

Concluding comments

I thank all my staff and audit service providers who have contributed to the development of this Annual Plan. Their efforts have enabled my Office to focus its finite resources on work that will have the most impact in providing assurance to Parliament, public entities, and the public about the use of public resources and powers.

Signature - LP

Lyn Provost
Controller and Auditor-General

22 June 2015