Appendix 2: Why and how we conducted our audit

Response of the New Zealand Police to the Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct: Second monitoring report.

Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct

In 2004, the Government set up the Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct (the Commission) to carry out a full and independent investigation into the way in which the New Zealand Police (the Police) had dealt with allegations of sexual assault committed by police members and associates. This followed the publication of allegations suggesting that police officers might have deliberately undermined or mishandled investigations into complaints of sexual assault that had been made against other officers.

The Commission’s report, released in April 2007, concluded that there were systemic flaws requiring attention from both police management and government legislators. The report’s findings included 60 recommendations, 47 of which were for the Police to respond to.

The Commissioner stated that, in her view:

Independent monitoring of and reporting on police progress will … be critical to ensure that the momentum established through the Commission is sustained.9

The Commission recommended that the Government invite the Controller and Auditor-General to monitor the Police’s implementation of all of the Commission’s recommendations, including the Police’s projects and initiatives of the type described in recommendation R58. This monitoring role was to last for 10 years and include regular reporting to Parliament.

In September 2007, the then Government invited the Auditor-General to carry out the monitoring role. The Auditor-General accepted the Government’s invitation.10

Our monitoring work

This report is the second in our 10-year monitoring programme. Figure 13 outlines the other work that we envisage as part of the monitoring programme.11

We might supplement the anticipated reports described in Figure 13 with other work. If the findings of our later reports or other information show that additional work is necessary, we will select from the range of audit and assurance tools available to us, to ensure that we use methods appropriate to the issues being examined.

Figure 13
Plan for monitoring the New Zealand Police’s response to the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct

Main focus Additional focus Completed by
Report 1 What is the Police’s work programme? Is it an effective work programme? 30 June 2009
Report 2 Have the Police effectively implemented the projects and initiatives in the work programme? Have there been changes to the Police’s work programme and is the amended work programme effective? 30 June 2010
Report 3 What sustainable improvements in policing for the New Zealand public have resulted from implementation of the work programme? Have there been changes to the Police’s work programme and is the amended work programme effective?

Have the Police continued to effectively implement the projects and initiatives in the work programme?
30 June 2012
Report 4 An overview of how the Police’s work programme has been implemented and the results it has produced. Consideration of whether any further work is required. 31 March 2017

Our first monitoring report is available on our website ( It found that, overall, the Police had responded in a committed manner to the Commission’s findings. There were several matters the Police needed to give attention to if progress was to be maintained.

How we carried out this audit

We carried out a performance audit to assess whether the Police have effectively implemented the projects and initiatives in their work programme for responding to the Commission’s recommendations.

To assess the Police’s progress, we conducted 55 interviews with Police staff located in Northland and Canterbury and at Police National Headquarters in Wellington. We chose these locations because, together, they covered a selection of rural, provincial, urban, and metropolitan policing.

We also spoke with the New Zealand Police Association, the State Services Commission, the Independent Police Conduct Authority, and members of Te Ohaaki a Hine – National Network for Ending Sexual Violence Together.

We reviewed and analysed a range of Police documents and we observed the Police’s corporate instrument and electronic complaints recording system. We surveyed each Police district about its ethics committee and community engagement and feedback arrangements. We also, with the Police’s permission, anonymously telephoned 18 police stations chosen at random seeking advice on how to make a complaint against the Police.

Our audit expectations

As part of establishing our expectations, we held a workshop with senior management within the Police to agree the key purpose of each recommendation in the Commission’s report.

We determined the elements of each recommendation that needed testing to determine whether its purpose had been met.

We then grouped the recommendations to match the Police’s workstreams. For each workstream, we developed an overall purpose and identified tests for effectiveness. These became our expectations for each workstream.

Our expectations for each recommendation and workstream are outlined in Appendix 1.

What we did not audit

We did not audit:

  • the responsibilities of the Commissioner of Police set out in section 16(2) of the Policing Act 2008, in which the Commissioner must act independently;
  • the competence or performance of individual police officers or other staff;
  • the Police’s responses to individual complaints about police conduct; and
  • the sustainable improvements and outcomes resulting from the Police’s work programme, because we expect these to be the subject of a later monitoring report.

9: "Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct", media statement by Dame Margaret Bazley, 3 April 2007.

10: The State Services Commission was also given a monitoring role for some of the recommendations in the Commission of Inquiry’s report. The specific recommendations are R37 (relating to performance management, discipline, and best practice in the public sector), R51 (relating to an organisational health audit of the Police), and R59 (relating to implementing and monitoring projects and best practice in the public sector).

11: It is important to note that approval of the specific elements of the 10-year programme depends on those elements being included in our Office’s proposed work plan for each year. The Auditor-General finalises the work plan for each year after consulting Parliament on the work plan’s contents.

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