Forecast non-financial performance information reports: Guidance for entities

As part of their 2008/09 audit work, auditors appointed by the Auditor-General will be reviewing entities’ 2009-12 Statement of Intent (SOI), 2009/10 Forecast Statement of Service Performance (SSP), and associated information contained in the Information Supporting the Estimates (ISE). This review work is to help the auditor form a view about the appropriateness of the forecast SSP as a basis for reporting.

The OAG is working with the Treasury and SSC with the aim of supporting improvement in the quality of non financial performance reports. As part of this work, the following key areas of focus have been identified in relation to the review of SOIs:

  • Is the performance story and the overall performance framework clear?
  • Is there a clear line of sight between the outputs (services) and the impacts and outcomes the entity is seeking to achieve?
  • Is the SOI clear about the capability and resources needed to deliver the outputs and achieve the impacts and outcomes sought?
  • Are outcomes, impacts, and outputs clearly identified and distinct?
    • Outcomes – a state or condition of society, the economy, or the environment; and includes a change in that state or condition.
    • Impacts – how outputs contribute to change in outcomes.
    • Outputs – the goods and services delivered to third parties.
  • Are outcomes, impacts, and outputs sensibly aggregated, and measures applied at the most logical place in the performance framework?

These areas have been incorporated in the guidance that has been issued to auditors, the content of which is reflected in the attached Appendix, which is designed to help entities understand the approach being taken by auditors to the review of forecast non-financial performance information reports.

While this guidance aims to capture the aspects that we expect to see reflected in the accountability documents, we recognise that entities and their auditors may identify additional areas that require further consideration.

Ultimately, auditors will use the results of their work to inform their judgement in assigning a grade to the Service Performance Information and Associated Systems and Controls for inclusion in the Ministerial Letter. It is important to recognise that the individual grade assigned is dependent on the cumulative consideration of the deficiencies and associated improvements identified in the overall context of the entity. It is not dependent on individual aspects of the SOI in isolation.

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