Publications produced during 2020

This is a list of the publications produced in 2020 (the most recent items are listed first).
Central government: Results of the 2019/20 audits

December 2020: This report sets out the results of our audit of the Financial Statements of the Government of New Zealand for the year ended 30 June 2020 and of carrying out the Controller function.

Tertiary education institutions: 2019 audit results and what we saw in 2020

November 2020: This report summarises the main findings of our 2019 audits of the 27 public tertiary education institutions. We also comment on the tertiary education sector’s operating environment in 2020, including the effects of the reforms of vocational education and Covid-19, and what this might mean for the sector in 2021.

Accident Compensation Corporation case management

November 2020: In 2014, we looked at how well the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) used a case management approach to support claimants to recover and rehabilitate from serious injuries. We have carried out a follow-up audit to see what progress ACC had made in addressing the recommendations from our 2014 report.

Inquiry into the University of Auckland’s decision to purchase a house in Parnell

November 2020: In November 2019, the University of Auckland purchased a house in Parnell for about $5 million. The University said the house would be used for accommodation, business-related operations, and functions. We have looked at how the University managed the purchase of the Parnell house from a sensitive expenditure perspective.

Results of the 2019 school audits

November 2020: This detailed information sets out the results of the school audits for 2019. We have provided this information, and a list of recommendations, to the Secretary for Education.

Auckland light rail City Centre to Māngere Project

November 2020: We've written to the Ministry of Transport about the Auckland light rail City Centre to Māngere project. Concerns were raised with our Office about the decision to run a "parallel process" to select a delivery partner for the project. In particular, the concerns raised were whether the process complied with the Government Procurement Rules.

Controlling sensitive expenditure: Guide for public organisations

October 2020: Sensitive expenditure is any spending by an organisation that could be seen to be giving private benefit to a staff member, their family, or friends. It risks harming an organisation’s reputation and the public sector more generally. This guide provides practical guidance on specific types of sensitive expenditure and outlines the principles for making decisions about sensitive expenditure.

Annual report 2019/20

October 2020: Our work is focused on improving the trust in, and the value of, our public sector. This report looks at how we contributed to this in 2019/20, and how we are positioning ourselves for the future.

Getting the best from panels of suppliers

September 2020: Each year, public organisations spend about $42 billion on goods and services. One way that organisations can manage purchasing goods and services is by setting up a panel of suppliers – a list of suppliers that have been pre-selected and have agreed to the terms and conditions of supply. We carried out work to learn more about panels of suppliers and how public organisations use them.

Controller update on Government spending on Covid-19 Controller update on Government spending on Covid-19

17 September 2020: While carrying out our Controller work this year, we have been giving special attention to the Covid-19 spending. In this Update, we report on what has been approved, and what the Government has spent, on the Covid-19 response for the year ended 30 June 2020.

Managing the Provincial Growth Fund

July 2020: In December 2017, the Government announced that it was setting up the Provincial Growth Fund (the Fund) to increase growth and development in regional New Zealand. There has been a high level of public interest in the Fund. It was established at pace and included a range of different types of funding arrangements. Therefore, as well as completing additional annual audit work on the departments administering the Fund, we decided to do a more in-depth review of the Fund's systems and processes.

Using information to improve public housing services

July 2020: For this follow-up report we looked at how Kāinga Ora, the Ministry of Social Development, and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development have responded to the recommendations in our 2017 report.

Controller update on Government spending on Covid-19 Controller update on Government spending on Covid-19

27 July 2020: We have examined the Government’s financial records for spending approved and incurred for the 11 months ended 31 May 2020. From what we have seen, the Covid-19 spending has been correctly approved.

Unite for the Recovery advertising

24 July 2020: We have written back to the New Zealand Taxpayers' Union about its concerns over Unite for the Recovery advertising in some media.

District health boards: Main findings from the 2018/19 audits

July 2020: Brief summary of the main matters arising from the 2018/19 audits of district health boards. These matters include Covid-19, financial sustainability, Holidays Act 2003 compliance, procurement and contract management, and proposed changes to the health system.

Local Authorities (Members’ Interests) Act 1968: A guide for members of local authorities on managing financial conflicts of interest

June 2020: The Local Authorities (Members' Interests) Act 1968 (the Act) is somewhat out of date and difficult to understand, and the rules are not always easy to apply in a modern local government context. That is why we have written this plain English guide. We want members who are covered by the Act, and those advising them, to be aware of the Act's rules and the steps they need to take to ensure that they do not inadvertently breach them. This guide also explains our statutory functions under the Act.

Annual plan 2020/21

June 2020: We set out our proposed work programme for 2020/21 and the work that we are considering for the following two years. We intend to use all our core functions to inform our work and, in particular, our assessment of the Covid-19 response and recovery effort. Other key work programmes will also continue, including assessing how well the public sector is delivering on outcomes for New Zealanders and progressing our multi-year programmes on procurement, public accountability, and well-being.

Ministry of Health: Management of personal protective equipment in response to Covid-19

June 2020: In April 2020, we agreed with the Ministry of Health to independently review its management of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the early stages of the country’s response to Covid-19. In times of crisis, people need to have trust and confidence in the systems and arrangements set up to support them. We decided that it was important to take an independent look at how the Ministry has been managing both the national reserve of PPE and the supply of PPE during the pandemic.

Controller update on Government spending on Covid-19 Controller update on Government spending on Covid-19

11 June 2020: We have examined the Government’s financial records for spending approved and expenses incurred against these approvals for the 10 months ended 30 April 2020. From what we have seen, the Covid-19 spending approvals have been managed appropriately. We report on one area where spending has been incurred without the correct approvals.

Local government procurement

May 2020: Last year we visited 21 councils throughout New Zealand to see how they carry out procurement. We heard about the challenges councils are facing and where they felt they could improve. Based on these visits, and observations from our other work on procurement, we wrote an article that poses a series of questions about procurement practice and culture.

Controller update on Government spending on Covid-19 Controller update on Government spending on Covid-19

12 May 2020: We have examined the Government's financial records for expenditure approved and expenses incurred during March 2020. From what we have seen, the Covid-19 expenditure has been approved correctly. We have not identified any expenditure incurred during March without Parliament and Cabinet approvals.

Implementing the firearms buy-back and amnesty scheme

May 2020: As part of its response to the Christchurch mosque attacks, Parliament introduced a firearms buy-back and amnesty scheme. We examined how effectively and efficiently the Police implemented the scheme.

Controller update on Government spending on Covid-19 Controller update on Government spending on Covid-19

9 April 2020: There will be an unprecedented amount of public money spent over the coming months as the Government responds to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. We will monitor the Covid-19 spending and will report to the public and Parliament about how the Government is accounting for it.

Controller update: July to December 2019 Controller update: July to December 2019

4 March 2020: Most government spending for the first six months of 2019/20 has been properly authorised and was within the law. However, we have confirmed three instances that were not properly authorised.

Reflecting on our work about water management

February 2020: People expect the water from their taps to be clean and safe, wastewater and stormwater to not pollute the environment, and our rivers, lakes, and oceans to be healthy ecosystems that are safe to swim in and to gather kai moana. We've looked at how well public organisations are managing water resources and delivering water-related services for the benefit of New Zealanders ...

Response to our inquiry into the Saudi Arabia Food Security Partnership

5 February 2020: In 2016, we published the findings for our inquiry into the Saudi Arabia Food Security Partnership. In our report, we said that we expected the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (the Ministry) and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) to assess and report on what the Partnership has achieved once all of the goods and services covered by the contract for services were provided. The Ministry and NZTE fully accept our findings and have written to the Auditor-General with their assessment of what has been achieved as a result of the Partnership. This letter closes off the key recommendation in our report.

Submission on the Public Service Legislation Bill Submission on the Public Service Legislation Bill

3 February 2020: The Governance and Administration Committee is seeking submissions on the Public Service Legislation Bill. The Bill sets out the role of the public service in supporting New Zealand’s system of government. As well as establishing the purpose, principles, and values of an apolitical public service, it also sets into legislation the role of the public service in supporting the Crown in its commitment to Māori and outlines the set of possible organisational arrangements that can be created in the public service. We provided a submission in January.