Auditor-General's overview

Annual Plan 2011/12.

As I finalise this Annual Plan 2011/12, my thoughts are again with the people of Christchurch and their friends and families, and the many people from New Zealand and overseas who are doing whatever they can to help our second largest city recover from a series of major earthquakes and continuing aftershocks. Our resilience as a nation has certainly been under intense pressure in recent times and I have given considerable thought to how my Office can use its resources in ways that will be most effective and relevant in this context.

I am aware how much our priorities as a country have changed as a result of events such as the Christchurch earthquakes and the influence of prevailing economic conditions. My Office has put a lot of thought and development work into preparing the proposed work programme outlined in this Annual Plan. However, in the context of rapid change in the wider environment, I will consider amending specific proposals or substituting other work should the need arise.

I consulted the Speaker and parliamentary select committees about my proposed annual work programme. I thank them all for their feedback and supportive comments. In particular, the Speaker endorses our study on road safety and has suggested further work in this area in future. The Finance and Expenditure Committee, which co-ordinated the consultation process with select committees, is satisfied with the content of my annual plan and is looking forward to us finalising and implementing the proposed work programme. No issues of concern were raised by select committees.

My Draft Annual Plan 2011/12 included a proposed performance audit of the management of care and protection services for children and young people in care. However, I have decided not to proceed with this work. I acknowledge the importance of this topic and that the Social Services Committee noted its interest in this audit. However, after wider consultation, it is clear that others are planning or doing useful work in this area and that involvement by my Office will be better timed in a year or two. I intend to assess the ongoing work to determine when and how my Office can provide insight of most benefit. At that stage, I will consider whether to examine this topic across the range of agencies involved with the care of our young people.

Consultation with Parliament helps me to ensure that the work done using my discretionary audit reporting powers will be relevant and useful to Parliament, public entities, and the public. It is an important way in which I can continue to ensure that the work of my Office remains relevant and responsive to the needs of my key stakeholders – Parliament and the public.

This Annual Plan 2011/12 includes my Statement of Intent 2011–14 (SOI) that I prepared under the Public Finance Act 1989 and which was presented to the House of Representatives at the time of the Budget this year. My SOI includes the forecast financial and service performance for my Office in 2011/12.

I am committed to making sure that my Office continues to be well positioned to contribute to a more effective and efficient public sector by helping to speed up the learning process around the effective use of public resources. This will include looking at our own operations and processes. It is in everyone's best interests to ensure that the public sector adapts quickly and smoothly to a more efficient model without losing effectiveness.

Signature - LP

Lyn Provost
Controller and Auditor-General

17 June 2011

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