Auditor-General's overview

Annual Plan 2012/13.

I am pleased to submit this Annual Plan for 2012/13.

Our annual plan focuses on the question: Our future needs – is the public sector ready? It's a question that I know is important to Parliament, citizens, public entities, and their staff, and my own staff. I know it's important because choosing this focus was the result of feedback and development of ideas from a wide range of people during several months in 2011. We have shaped our 2012/13 annual plan around the issues that people told us were important to them. By exploring these issues, we aspire to make a lasting difference.

As far as possible, we will draw on all the audit and assurance work we carry out to consider the questions and concerns that were raised with us about the public sector's contribution to New Zealand's future. Our proposed work programme also sets out specific initiatives that call on most of the Auditor-General's reporting responsibilities. We know there is much to gain from sharing our knowledge, so our work will draw on expertise from throughout the Office and the public sector, and also from the academic, non-governmental, and private sector communities.

As well as our work focused on the future, there are several significant and complex inquiries that we will be carrying out over the next few months, and our ongoing development effort toward the five themes that we have been working on during the past two years:

  1. the local government reorganisation in Auckland;
  2. performance reporting;
  3. analysis and reporting of sector information (sector knowledge);
  4. changes to financial reporting standards (and, more broadly, auditing standards and regulation of auditors); and
  5. adding value through our almost 4000 annual audits, inquiries, and performance audits.

We are currently working on an Auditor-General's Strategy for 2013–17 that we will implement in 2013. The new strategy will take account of ongoing changes in the external environment and in the auditing and accounting professions.

Consultation with Parliament

I consulted the Speaker and parliamentary select committees about my proposed annual work programme. I thank them all for their consideration. The Finance and Expenditure Committee, which co-ordinated the consultation process with select committees, advised me that it had no comments. However, the Finance and Expenditure Committee referred to me comments that it received from the Social Services Committee, making suggestions about the particular focus of some of the studies we proposed in our draft annual plan. As required by section 36(4) of the Public Audit Act 2001, I have noted on page 15 one set of suggestions (about the analysis of local authorities' long-term plans) that will not specifically be covered by the work we propose this year. I will be responding directly to the Social Services Committee on all its suggestions.

Consultation with Parliament helps me to ensure that the work we do in addition to our annual audit work 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 2012/13 includes my Statement of Intent 2012–2015 (SOI), which was presented to the House of Representatives at the time of the Budget this year. The SOI includes the forecast financial and service performance for my Office in 2012/13.

Concluding comments

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, to carry out audit work that addresses the change in and growing complexity of the public sector and the higher expectations of the public.

Signature - LP

Lyn Provost
Controller and Auditor-General

21 June 2012

page top