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Part 2: About our proposed 2017/18 theme – Water

Draft annual plan 2017/18.

We have drawn on our previous work and knowledge from across the public sector to determine our proposed theme for this year’s work programme.

The theme we are proposing for our 2017/18 work programme is Water.

Why is this proposed theme an area of interest?

Water is a critical natural resource that New Zealanders rely on for their long-term health and economic, environmental, social, and cultural well-being. Some of the most important environmental and economic issues that New Zealand currently faces are associated with water.

Management of water resources in New Zealand is spread across central and local government entities, often in collaboration with other entities – for example, iwi and community organisations. Public entities are the stewards of significant fresh and marine water bodies. Public entities set policy and regulate activities that affect the use of water resources, and manage assets that deliver services that affect water or make use of it.

We have selected a range of topics that will examine how well the public sector manages water, and delivers services that affect or make use of water. Our work will explore aspects of drinking water, freshwater, stormwater, and marine water. We also plan to prepare a scene-setting report to provide context for our proposed work and help the public to better understand how the public sector manages water in New Zealand.

Through our proposed work, we intend to provide independent assurance to Parliament and New Zealanders on:

  • the state of water stewardship and management in New Zealand;
  • how well public entities with water responsibilities are performing, including how they work with others; and
  • how well public entities are meeting their water-related regulatory obligations.

Our aim is to help improve public management of water now and in the future through sharing our observations of good practice and innovation, and identifying barriers to these.

We will not be commenting on the policies of the Government or local authorities. We also do not intend to duplicate any of the work of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

What we intend to focus on in 2017/18

In Part 3, we provide a brief description of each performance audit and the other work we propose to carry out.

In 2017/18, we also propose to:

Multi-year topics

  • do work on the Auckland Council – topic to be determined;
  • prepare a review of the Defence Major Projects Report 2017;
  • publish a further progress report on the Inland Revenue Department’s Business Transformation programme; and
  • publish our final monitoring report on the response of the New Zealand Police to the Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct.

Other analysis and reports

  • publish sector reports covering the results of our 2016/17 audits in central government and local government;
  • prepare a summary of the results of our 2016/17 audits for the Health and Port sectors;
  • prepare a summary of the results of our 2016 school audits; and
  • prepare follow-up reports on the implementation of the recommendations of our performance audits, inquiries, and other work.

Thought leadership

  • publish our Information reflections report; and
  • do work on the future shape of public management and accountability, including performance reporting.

Concluding work on our 2016/17 theme – Information

We plan to complete our work on our Information theme in 2017/18, and present our reflections report on the results of that work. Figure 2 lists the work under the Information theme that we started in 2016/17 and expect to finish in 2017/18.

Figure 2
Information theme performance audits started in 2016/17 and due to be finished in 2017/18

1 Infrastructure as a Service – Are the benefits being realised?
2 Social housing – how well Housing New Zealand uses information to manage investment, assets, and tenancies
3 Health patient information systems
4 Digital services and access to information and services
5 Using data to improve public services: the state of leadership, on-the-job learning, investment assessment, and capability development
6 Auckland Council – Review of service performance: Digital re-engineering of customer interfaces

Finalising other work from our 2016/17 Annual Plan

We intend to continue with work we started in 2016/17 on social sector contracting. We expect to report on this work in 2018/19.

We also intend to continue our work on performance reporting – next steps under a broader thought leadership work stream focusing on the future shape of public management and accountability.

Inquiry reports

We do not have a proposed work programme for inquiries because this work is unpredictable. The number of inquiries and the topics cannot be planned in advance. We budget for inquiries based on our knowledge of trends over the last 3-4 years.

Looking forward to our proposed themes for 2018/19 and 2019/20

The review of our strategic intentions may see further refinement of how we approach our multiyear planning, and the themes for future years. The themes we are proposing at this stage for 2018/19 and 2019/20 are outlined below.

For 2018/19, our proposed theme is Procurement and contract management. We consider this an important theme because procurement and contract management sit at the heart of the effective delivery of public services. They are also core business for our audit work. In our Annual Plan 2016/17, we signalled our intention to carry out procurement-related work over the following 2-3 years. We also signalled our intention to review and refresh our 2008 Procurement guidance. We now propose Procurement and contract management as the theme for our work in 2018/19. We are therefore planning to review our procurement guidance in 2018/19 under the Procurement and contract management theme.

For 2019/20, we are considering Sustainable development as our theme. We plan to examine how public entities are balancing the economic, social, cultural, and environmental aspects of their work. It is also an opportunity to consider how New Zealand intends to achieve the targets in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Many of our international counterparts also intend to consider the efforts of their governments. With a focus on current and future generations, we think looking at Sustainable development will help us with our aim of influencing and promoting an effective, efficient, and accountable public sector, now and in the future.

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