Victoria’s auditor-general’s office plans to have 28 performance audits and three follow-up audits by the end of June 2017, and a further 22 performance audits and three follow-up audits by the end of June 2018.
The first round of audits will cover such issues as public participation in government decision-making, regulating gambling and liquor, effectiveness of the Victorian Public Sector Commission, and information and communications technology strategic planning in the health sector, and other important topics.
Who is in the firing line? Dr Peter Frost, the acting auditor-general, has added several new performance audits that have not previously been announced. The new additional agencies being audited in the next 12 months include:
- Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning
- Environment Protection Authority
- Department of Health & Human Services
- Selected EDs at major metropolitan and major regional hospitals
- Victorian Public Sector Commission
- Department of Premier & Cabinet
The full list of audits, scope and agencies targeted is available on the VAGO website.
Frost welcomes follow the dollar powers
Five new audits may make use of the newly passed Integrity and Accountability Legislation Amendment (A Stronger System) Act 2016, which gives VAGO new so-called “follow the dollar” powers where public money flows outside the public sector into contractors and other entities. Dr Frost welcomed this change:
“This new legislation provides my office with the capacity to consider and report on the performance of bodies delivering government services under contract. While it goes a long way towards delivering on the Victorian Government’s pre-election commitment to provide us with robust and unfettered follow-the-dollar powers, further reforms are needed to bring the Act up to date with the contemporary public sector, preserve the independence of Parliament’s auditor, and improve transparency and accountability to the Victorian community.”
These new audits that can make use of the follow the dollar powers include:
- Managing private prisons
- Managing future water security challenges
- Community-based youth services
- Community health centres
- ICT disaster recovery planning