Request for your feedback

Draft annual plan 2020/21.

To provide feedback, email

Tēnā koutou katoa.

My Office has a range of functions that help Parliament and the public to hold public organisations to account for their use of public money. The purpose of everything we do is to improve trust and promote value throughout the public sector.

Ensuring trust and confidence in the public sector is particularly important as New Zealand responds to the current Covid-19 pandemic. The consequences of this pandemic will fundamentally change the operating context for all public organisations for the foreseeable future.

Covid-19 will also significantly affect the financial and service performance of many public organisations, and the public sector will need to manage these impacts for many years to come. Therefore, a focus for our work over the next few years will be on examining the public sector’s response and recovery from the impacts of Covid-19.

The information from the annual audits of every public organisation helps Parliament and the public scrutinise the effectiveness, efficiency, and accountability of public organisations. The mandatory annual audit work we do accounts for nearly 85% of our resources.

We use the rest of our resources to provide advice and support to select committees for their effective scrutiny of public organisations, conduct performance audits (where we look at the effectiveness of spending by public organisations), inquiries (where we consider the appropriateness of behaviours of public organisations and their use of resources), and special studies (where we seek to research and publish information that will benefit public sector performance and accountability).

Although we cannot generally plan our inquiries work, we have included our planned performance audits and special studies in our annual work programme. Our annual work programme forms part of a multi-year work programme that we refresh every year.

I am pleased to present our Draft annual plan 2020/21 for your feedback.

This year, we have organised our work into the following four broad areas:

  • How well is the public sector improving the lives of New Zealanders?
    We are planning work in a range of areas where we consider New Zealanders will want confidence that the government is helping to improve the lives of New Zealanders. These areas include reducing family violence, improving housing and educational outcomes, and improving outcomes for Māori.
  • How well is the system working as a whole?
    We continue to pay attention to the fundamentals that underpin good management and accountability, such as ensuring the integrity of public organisations, that those organisations manage procurement well, and that they plan for the future effectively. We also continue our work to influence public sector reforms, and examine how the public sector is implementing a well-being focus and contributing to sustainable development goals.
  • Keeping New Zealanders informed about public sector performance and accountability
    Our regular reporting is an important way we keep New Zealanders informed about how public entities are performing. However, during the next few years, we also plan to better understand the issues that are important to communities so we can make relevant information more readily available.
  • Sharing insights about what good looks like
    We continue to update our suite of good practice guides, but we are also looking at other ways we can encourage entities to share their experience with each other. We are also looking at other parts of the system that can promote better practice – such as independent audit and risk committees and monitoring agencies.

We are also developing a programme of work that will examine aspects of the response to Covid-19. This work will seek to inform Parliament and the public about how the public sector has managed these challenges and how well it is positioned to support New Zealand to recover.

Although we have started some work on Covid-19 matters, the overall work programme is still in development, so we have not included details about it in this document. We are working to complete our planning so we can include it our final annual plan in June 2020. To help us prepare that plan, we invite your views on specific matters related to Covid-19 where you think we can add value.

Seeking feedback on our work is one way in which the Auditor-General supports Parliament’s scrutiny of executive government. It also helps to ensure that we invest our resources in work that will make the most difference in improving the performance of public organisations. However, to preserve the independence of my Office, I will make the final decisions about the work programme.

We request your feedback by Friday, 29 May 2020 so that we can complete our final annual plan and present it to Parliament before the end of June 2020, as required by the Public Audit Act 2001.

The rapidly changing operating environment in which we work means that we need the agility to respond to unexpected events. Covid-19 is an obvious, current example. We will publicly report any substantial changes to our plan.

I look forward to receiving your feedback, which my staff and I will consider when finalising our annual plan for 2020/21.

Nāku noa, nā

Signature - JR

John Ryan
Controller and Auditor-General

29 April 2020