Part 2: About our 2017/18 theme - Water

Annual Plan 2017/18.

The theme for our 2017/18 work programme is Water.

Water is a critical natural resource that New Zealanders rely on for their long-term health and economic, environmental, social, and cultural well-being. Some of the most important environmental and economic issues that New Zealand currently faces are associated with water.

Management of water resources in New Zealand is spread across central and local government entities, often in collaboration with others – for example, iwi and community organisations. Public entities are the stewards of significant fresh and marine water bodies. Public entities set policy and regulate activities that affect the use of water resources, and manage assets that deliver services that affect water or make use of it.

The topics in our work programme will examine how well the public sector manages water. Our work will explore aspects of drinking water, freshwater, stormwater, and marine. We will also prepare a scene-setting report to provide context for our work and help the public to better understand how the public sector manages water in New Zealand.

Through our work, we will provide independent assurance to Parliament and New Zealanders on:

  • the state of water stewardship and management in New Zealand;
  • how well public entities with water management responsibilities are performing, including how they work with others; and
  • how well public entities are meeting their water-related regulatory obligations.

Our aim is to help improve public management of water now and in the future through sharing our observations of good practice and innovation, and identifying barriers to these.

We will not be commenting on the policies of the Government or local authorities. We also do not intend to duplicate any of the work of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

Our focus in 2017/18

In Part 3, we provide a brief description of each performance audit and the other work we will carry out.

In 2017/18, we will also:

Multi-year topics

  • do work on the Auckland Council – topic to be determined;
  • prepare a review of the Defence Major Projects Report 2017;
  • publish a further progress report on the Inland Revenue Department's Business Transformation programme; and
  • publish our final monitoring report on the response of the New Zealand Police to the Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct.

Other analysis and reports

  • publish sector reports covering the results of our 2016/17 audits in central government and local government;
  • prepare a summary of the results of our 2016/17 audits for the Health and Port sectors;
  • prepare a summary of the results of our 2016 school audits; and
  • prepare follow-up reports on the implementation of the recommendations of our performance audits, inquiries, and other work.

Thought leadership

  • publish our Information reflections report; and
  • do work on the future shape of public management and accountability, including performance reporting.

Concluding work on our 2016/17 theme

We will complete our work on our Information theme in 2017/18. Figure 2 lists the work under the Information theme that we started in 2016/17 and expect to finish in 2017/18.

Figure 2
Information theme performance audits started in 2016/17 and due to be finished in 2017/18

Infrastructure as a Service – Are the benefits being realised?
Social housing – how well Housing New Zealand uses information to manage investment, assets, and tenancies
Health patient information systems
Digital services and access to information and services
Using data to improve public services: the state of leadership, on-the-job learning, investment assessment, and capability development
Investment to improve the information about local government assets
How secure is data in the public sector?
Auckland Council – Review of service performance: Digital re-engineering of customer interfaces

Finalising other work from our 2016/17 Annual Plan

We will continue with work we started in 2016/17 on social sector contracting. We expect to report on this work in 2018/19.

We will complete our work on the Overseas Investment Office – How effectively does it collect and manage information relevant to decision-makers? We will also continue our work on next steps in performance reporting under a broader thought leadership work stream focusing on the future shape of public management and accountability. In addition, we will complete our review of the Defence Major Projects Report 2016 and our Review of the Treasury's 2016 statement on New Zealand's long-term fiscal position.

Concluding work on our 2015/16 theme

The remaining work on our Investment and Asset Management theme that we expect to complete in 2017/18 is:

  • Schools: How the management of school property affects the ability of schools to operate effectively;
  • Return on investment in modernising the courts; and
  • Reflections report on Investment and asset management theme.

Inquiry reports

We do not have a proposed work programme for inquiries because this work is unpredictable. The number of inquiries and the topics cannot be planned in advance. We budget for inquiries based on our knowledge of trends over the last 3-4 years.

Looking forward to our proposed themes for 2018/19 and 2019/20

We may make changes to our approach to our multi-year planning, and the themes for future years. The themes we are currently proposing for 2018/19 and 2019/20 are outlined below.

For 2018/19, our proposed theme is Procurement and contract management. We consider this an important theme because procurement and contract management sit at the heart of the effective delivery of public services. In our Annual Plan 2016/17, we signalled our intention to carry out procurement-related work over the following 2-3 years. We also signalled our intention to review and refresh our 2008 Procurement guidance. We now propose Procurement and contract management as the theme for our work in 2018/19. We are therefore planning to review our procurement guidance in 2018/19 under the Procurement and contract management theme.

For 2019/20, we are considering Sustainable development as our theme. We plan to examine how public entities are balancing the economic, social, cultural, and environmental aspects of their work. It is also an opportunity to consider how New Zealand intends to achieve the targets in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Many of our international counterparts also intend to consider the efforts of their governments. With a focus on current and future generations, we think looking at Sustainable development will help us with our aim of influencing and promoting an effective, efficient, and accountable public sector, now and in the future.