Controlling sensitive expenditure: Guidelines for public entities

These guidelines are our view of good practice that public entities should use to control sensitive expenditure. The guidelines outline expectations and guidance that we may use when carrying out performance audits or inquiries under section 16 or section 18 respectively of the Public Audit Act 2001, or in annual financial audits. The expectations and guidance are neither exhaustive nor exclusive.

Expectations we will apply

Parts 2 and 3 outline the ground rules and organisational approach we expect entities and individuals to follow when designing and implementing sensitive expenditure policies and procedures, and when making sensitive expenditure decisions.

Our expectations are principles-based. They do not tell entities and individuals what decisions to make.

The principles we provide are not a substitute for good judgement in designing and implementing sensitive expenditure policies, procedures, and decisions. However, the principles should support good judgement.


Parts 4-8 provide guidance material only. They outline the areas of sensitive expenditure we think all entities, and individuals making sensitive expenditure decisions, should consider.

These Parts are not an exclusive list of all the areas of sensitive expenditure or a set of rules. Rather, they list issues in the main areas of sensitive expenditure as we see them.

The guidance provided in these Parts is intended to assist entities and individuals to design and implement suitable policies and procedures, and to enable them to exercise good judgement in sensitive expenditure decisions.

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