Skip to content. | Skip to navigation.

Navigation

An auditor's insight into service performance information

This video file is 32.4MB in size, and is 4 minutes and 19 seconds long.

Transcript of this video

We started auditing service performance information 20 years ago. The Public Finance Act introduced the concept of chief executives contracting for services with ministers. Our focus back then was on verifying the information reported and making sure that all aspects of a service were appropriately reflected.

In those early stages, it was generally viewed as a compliance exercise. Measures were often the easiest ones to report but not necessarily the best ones, it often bore no relation to what leaders, the managers of those organisations, actually used to manage an organisation.

what really stands out, certainly for those entities that do it well, is that they take pride in, and responsibility for, what they do.

It did, however, start us on a journey, and it emphasised the importance of non-financial information.

In the last few years we have seen a change in focus of entities, in the way they report their non-financial performance. In part this has been driven by a recognition by the Auditor-General that things needed to change, but it was also driven by ministers, chief executives, and senior managers recognising that results are what matters and that to get results, performance needed to be well planned, managed and reported.

So entities have upped their game and so have we, as auditors. We both have a responsibility to make sure users can take confidence from the information reported.

It’s a given that we all have a responsibility to ensure compliance with legislation. While that is an important aspect, particularly of our audit role, what’s as critical is for entities is that they are able to demonstrate what result they want to achieve, and how they plan to achieve it and at what cost.

what we all want is better public services and you to be able to report that through using a complete and accurate performance story

Our job is then to make sure that is reported well. We consider whether what’s reported is appropriate (or is in fact there a better way), and whether what is reported can be verified.

What we’re looking for is whether the performance framework used, the measures, and the non-financial and financial information reported tells a complete and accurate performance story. We want to work with you to make sure a good performance story is reported. Ultimately, though, it’s your information and you need to own it.

Our audit approach for service performance reporting has been changing over the last few years. The transition to the new requirements will be completed during the 2013 audits. By then, all entities within the core public service will be audited against the revised service performance reporting requirements.

The better your non-financial performance reporting is, the better the level of engagement you will have with your Minister, your monitoring agency, other stakeholders, and the public.

We see lots of good examples across the public sector of performance reporting and what really stands out, certainly for those entities that do it well, is that they take pride in, and responsibility for, what they do. They want to make a difference.

I would encourage you to think beyond compliance. Yes, it’s important, but what we all want is better public services and you to be able to report that through using a complete and accurate performance story. Best they can be, and reporting to tell a complete and accurate performance story. It’s what Parliament and ultimately the public want to see.

Page created: 13 September 2012

page top