Performance audits from 2008: Follow-up report.

This report to Parliament sets out the actions taken in response to the findings of 12 performance audits we completed in 2008.

We are publishing this report now because entities have had a reasonable length of time to begin responding to the findings of the performance audits we completed during 2008.

This report is not intended to be a full assessment of the benefits realised from implementing our recommendations. In most cases, the information presented in this report is based on the public entity's representation of the action it has taken and what we have learned during our continuing discussions with the entity. We have matched this information against what we know about the entity from the wider work of our Office to ensure that the information is consistent. We are satisfied that the information in this report fairly reflects, as at March 2010, the responses of the entities to our performance audit reports. All the entities involved have seen and agree with the comments we make in this report.

This follow-up report also allows us to reflect as an Office about the effectiveness of our work. It helps us to identify how we can improve the effectiveness of our performance audits so that they add value through the improvements they promote.

What is a performance audit?

A performance audit is a significant and in-depth audit covering issues of effectiveness and efficiency. It provides Parliament with assurance about specific issues or programmes and their management by the relevant public entity or entities.

Our mandate allows us to carry out performance audits of any public entity, including central government departments, local authorities, schools, district health boards, and the defence agencies.

We carry out performance audits under section 16 of the Public Audit Act 2001. A performance audit can examine:

  • how effectively and efficiently a public entity is working;
  • whether a public entity is complying with its statutory obligations;
  • any act or omission that might waste public resources; and
  • any act or omission that might show (or appear to show) a lack of probity or financial prudence by a public entity or one or more of its members, office holders, or employees.

The product of a performance audit is usually a report to Parliament that will identify good or emerging practices, raise any issues or concerns, and (where necessary) recommend improvements to the public entity's performance. All our performance audit reports are available on our website ( and distributed free when people request a copy.

Monitoring responses to performance audit findings

We follow up on the responses that public entities have made to our performance audits, and their progress in implementing our recommendations, to find out if our work has had a positive effect on the public sector. How we follow up on the responses to our performance audit findings varies, and can include:

  • informally discussing progress during annual audits and meetings with public entities;
  • receiving formal briefings from the management of a public entity on its progress in implementing our recommendations;
  • requesting written feedback from public entities on their response to our performance audit report;
  • providing information to select committees on our performance audit reports and suggesting lines of enquiry for committees to question public entities about their response;
  • following up, during the annual audit, on the issues raised in the performance audit; and
  • carrying out a formal follow-up performance audit to find out whether the issues identified in our performance audit have been or are being resolved.

Responses to the findings of our performance audits

Overall, we are satisfied with the responses to the findings of the performance audits we completed during 2008.

We made 89 recommendations in the performance audit reports that we published during 2008. All of these were accepted or partially accepted by the entities concerned. Of these recommendations:

  • 68% have been implemented or partially implemented;
  • 24% are in the process of being implemented; and
  • 8% have not yet begun to be implemented.

We encourage entities to ensure that they continue to implement the recommendations they are in the process of implementing. We also encourage entities to implement the recommendations they have only partially implemented, or have not yet begun to implement.

We will continue to monitor progress with entities that have not yet fully implemented all our recommendations.

Additional follow-up work

We noted in our 2007 follow-up report that we would report on the responses to our 2007 performance audit, Liquor licensing by territorial authorities, in our 2008 follow-up report. This is included in this report on pages 37-39.

In our 2007 follow-up report, we also noted that we would do further work on the responses by district health boards to our audit of the effectiveness of the "Get Checked" diabetes programme.1 This work will be reported to Parliament in a separate publication.

We are also exploring options for following up on our 2007 audit about the legislative compliance and performance reporting within statements of corporate intent.2

We have not followed up on our 2008 report on the Civil Aviation Authority's and the Ministry of Transport's responses to the Coroner's recommendations on the June 2003 Air Adventures crash. This is because we were satisfied with the entities' response at the time of our audit.

We have not provided follow-up comment on our 2008 report on Maintaining and renewing the rail network. As part of that performance audit, we made a commitment to carry out a follow-up audit in 2010/2011 in order to provide ONTRACK with enough time to implement the changes it is making.

Structure of this report

In this report, for each of the performance audits we report on, we set out:

  • brief background information;
  • an outline of the scope of the audit;
  • a summary of our audit findings; and
  • the entity's response to our audit.

The information is presented by the title of the performance audit report that we published, and grouped by select committee for the convenience of the Finance and Expenditure Committee, to which the Auditor-General's reports are now automatically referred. That Committee may wish to bring this report to the attention of the relevant select committees.

1: Ministry of Health and district health boards: Effectiveness of the "Get Checked" diabetes programme, published in June 2007.

2: Statements of corporate intent: Legislative compliance and performance reporting, published in June 2007.

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