Part 4: Plan to improve progress reporting on defence acquisition projects

Reporting the progress of defence acquisition projects.

In Parts 2 and 3, we described the current limitations in the quality and amount of information on progress against approved costs, time frames, and essential user requirements for defence acquisition projects. In this Part, we describe our plan for working with the defence agencies to improve their reporting about the progress of these projects.

We intend to work with the defence agencies during the next two financial years to make the changes needed to improve the quality, transparency, and usefulness of their reporting about defence acquisition projects.

Our work with the defence agencies will be in two stages. We will reconsider our approach after stage 1.

In stage 1, we will look at how well the defence agencies’ reporting of the progress of defence acquisition projects meets the information requirements of internal and external stakeholders, and recommend improvements where necessary.

In stage 2, we will consider, with the defence agencies and other stakeholders, how we can ensure that the recommended improvements are made so that a more effective and useful reporting framework is created.

Stage 1: Meeting the information requirements of stakeholders

The main focus of stage 1 will be on how well the defence agencies meet the information requirements of internal and external stakeholders, including Parliament, when reporting the progress of defence acquisition projects. This was part of our original audit, but the difficulties we encountered with the Ministry’s information systems have made it a necessary first step towards our long-term objective of providing Parliament with assurance about the management of defence acquisition projects.

We will examine the defence agencies’ project monitoring and reporting systems to identify the improvements needed. As part of that work, we will seek the Committee’s and other stakeholders’ views on the quality of the existing reporting, particularly its strengths and weaknesses. We will gather views on the information stakeholders would like to receive on project progress. We will then be able to establish what changes are required to the defence agencies’ systems to enable them to produce the type of information that internal and external stakeholders consider should be reported.

Stage 2: Future reporting about acquisition projects

Depending on the findings from stage 1, we will then consider, with the defence agencies and relevant external stakeholders, what further work we may need to do to ensure that the defence agencies’ reporting is useful for them and for others.

In encouraging the defence agencies to create a revised reporting framework, we will need to take account of New Zealand’s defence acquisition environment, defence acquisition project reporting practices in other jurisdictions (for example, the United Kingdom and Australia), and the implications of the Treasury’s Capital Asset Management Review. This approach will ensure that the framework is relevant and practical.

We intend to use our annual plans to keep Parliament and other interested parties informed about the progress we and the defence agencies make against this plan.

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