Auditor-General's overview and strategic direction

Statement of Intent 2013-2016.

I am pleased to submit my Statement of Intent 2013–2016.

A time of change

Change has been the dominant theme for much of the world during the past couple of years. New Zealand has not been immune from the effects of the scale and pace of change that is happening as a result of the global financial crisis, environmental disasters, and rapidly evolving technology and mass communication platforms.

As a nation, we are still coming to terms with the rebuilding of Canterbury, the fluctuating fortunes of those we do business with, and the changing nature of our communities. The Government responded to pressures on the economy by setting ambitious targets for better outcomes and asking the public sector to find ways to provide better public services for less money.

New Zealand is fortunate to have a strong and capable public sector that is envied by other jurisdictions around the world. However, we cannot take for granted the integrity of, and high level of trust in, the New Zealand system; nor can we expect that our public sector will be unaffected by the demands and pressures of tighter economic circumstances and some structural changes.

Next three years

During 2012/13, my Office carried out work on the theme Our future needs – is the public sector ready? to see how well the public sector was preparing for the future. We will conclude that work by the end of 2013. In 2013/14, we are proposing a focus on service delivery to see how well the public sector is providing services to the public. And, in 2014/15, we propose to look at governance and accountability, given the proposed changes in legislation, structural form, delivery mechanisms, and accounting standards.

We intend to continue a recent development of producing sector reports summarising the results of our financial audits and other work. In 2014/15, we will propose a five-year rolling work programme that we will ask members of Parliament to comment on. The work programme will include what we are required to do by law – for example, annual audits of every public entity, our proposed performance audit topics and overall auditing themes for each year, our sector reporting schedule, and our resource plans for major inquiries and other reporting.

Strategy 2013-17

Our strategy for 2013-17 will be published in mid-year after final consultation with staff and other interested parties. It draws on a set of strategic goals created for international audit institutions, with some added Kiwi characteristics.

Our four strategic goals for 2013-17 are to strengthen the public sector, focus on the citizen, be a model organisation, and position the Office for the future. Each goal addresses the growing complexity of the public sector and the higher expectations of the public.

To achieve our goals, our whole Office will need to embrace new ways to do our work, connect with others, and integrate, share, and extract value from the information we hold and gather. Investments in our technology platforms and systems during the past year will give us a good starting point, but it will require leadership and commitment from us all to realise the most benefit.

Accounting and auditing standards

We are taking a supportive role in helping the public sector to prepare for the adoption of a new accounting standards framework during the next three years. We do not expect the change to be a time-consuming or difficult exercise for public entities.

Our international contribution

My Office continues to be held in high regard for our significant contribution to the international audit community, as part of our commitment to improving the standard of public sector auditing globally. In particular, our support for developing public sector auditing expertise in the Pacific has seen significant progress, and we intend to continue this important role.

Concluding comments

Midway through my seven-year term as Auditor-General, I am pleased to acknowledge the unwavering commitment of my staff and contracted audit service providers to carrying out the role of this Office for the good of all New Zealanders. We are determined to meet the challenges ahead and, through our audits and other work, to help "improve the performance of, and the public's trust in, the public sector".

I thank select committees for their consideration of my Draft statement of intent 2013–2016, and note that there were no comments on that document.

Signature - LP

Lyn Provost
Controller and Auditor-General

26 April 2013

page top