Alongside the Auditor-General's primary function, of carrying out annual audits for about 4000 public entities in the public sector, we are able to inquire in detail into issues of concern that are raised with us.
The Auditor-General is also an "appropriate authority" under the Protected Disclosures Act 2000. This means that public sector employees who are concerned that there may be serious wrongdoing in their organisation are protected if they disclose information to us under the Act’s procedures. We deal with protected disclosures as part of our general inquiries work.
This inquiries function is discretionary. We receive many requests for inquiries each year, and choose carefully which issues warrant investigation by this office. No-one can make the Auditor-General investigate a matter. We make these decisions independently.
Inquiries can be large or small, cover a wide range of issues, and take weeks or months to complete. Larger inquiries can involve significant amounts of staff time and other resources, for both our office and the entity we are investigating.
We carry out inquiries on our own initiative or on request from a member of the public, an employee, a member of Parliament, or another organisation. However, we are not a general complaints agency.
Page last updated: 12 January 2011