What the Auditor-General cannot do

Councillors' guide to the Auditor-General.

No private organisations

The Auditor-General cannot inquire into private organisations, including organisations that may have received funding from a public organisation.

However, the Auditor-General can look at the activities of a public organisation that is contracting with or directly funding a private organisation, and how the public organisation has monitored the private organisation's use of public funds.

No policy decisions

The Auditor-General does not have any authority to question matters of government policy or council policy. Making policy decisions is a job for elected representatives. For example, where a council has decided to acquire or dispose of a particular asset, the Auditor-General could consider how well the council had implemented that decision in keeping with the applicable policy, or whether the decision- making process met relevant standards, rather than whether it should or should not have acquired or disposed of the asset.

No judicial function

The Auditor-General does not have a judicial function, so cannot make findings on whether a public organisation has acted lawfully or whether someone is culpable for a particular action. The Auditor-General can express an opinion, but cannot overturn a public organisation's decisions or actions; that is for the courts to decide, such as through the judicial review process. The Auditor-General cannot provide any redress or remedies for particular concerns.

No executive function

The Auditor-General cannot direct a public organisation to act on findings or recommendations.

Not subject to the Official Information Act 1982

Although the Auditor-General is not subject to the Official Information Act 1982, the Office provides information about its activities and performance in the same way as other public organisations do. The Public Audit Act protects the confidentiality of the Auditor-General's investigative and assurance work.