Auditor-General's overview

Annual plan 2022/23

E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā karangarangatanga maha o te motu, tēnā koutou.

I am pleased to present my Office's Annual plan 2022/23.

There is no doubt that we are all currently working in a challenging environment. The public sector is tackling ambitious, intergenerational, and important challenges while also implementing the Government's wide-ranging reform agenda. At the same time, the public sector continues to respond to the impacts of Covid-19, while maintaining existing services.

The purpose of my Office is to improve trust and promote value in the public sector. Our work helps Parliament and the public hold public organisations to account for their performance. In these challenging times, New Zealanders' well-being is even more closely linked to how well the public sector performs. Trust and confidence are under increasing pressure and, in turn, the importance of our role as independent public watchdog has never been more apparent.

This plan is primarily about our discretionary work programme – one we carry out using separate resources, and separate staff with different skillsets, than our mandatory annual audits. Annual audits do play an important role in helping us plan our discretionary work. They also form the foundation of our controller function, our sector reports, and our advice to select committees.

We will continue to focus on four broad priority areas over the next year:

  • how well the public sector is improving the lives of New Zealanders (including through the response to, and recovery from, Covid-19);
  • how well the public accountability system is working as a whole;
  • keeping New Zealanders informed about public sector performance and accountability; and
  • sharing insights about what "good" looks like.

We will continue to look at how well the public sector is achieving improved outcomes for New Zealanders. Equity, of both access and outcomes, forms a strong thread throughout much of this work.

The effectiveness of the public accountability system, critical to maintaining trust and confidence in the public sector, remains a priority. We will look at how the public sector is accountable to communities, and at the quality of reporting by public organisations to Parliament and the public. We will also keep supporting public organisations to improve their performance by sharing examples of good practice.

Thank you to everyone who shared their thoughts on our draft annual plan. We have included a summary in Appendix 1 of the changes we made following the feedback we received. Feedback was largely supportive, although some noted the plan seemed ambitious. We acknowledge the ambition in this plan and we have adjusted the timing of some of our work in response. However, we want to ensure that we address the areas of public sector performance that New Zealanders see as important.

I would also like to acknowledge the New Zealanders who contributed to a survey about our draft work programme, who confirmed the plan's key themes, and whose feedback led to us adding a further performance audit looking at the Government's work to reduce child poverty.

As always, we will be agile and responsive to unexpected events and emerging issues during 2022/23. These might delay some work; they might also give us new work to do.

This annual plan focuses on where we can make the best contribution to supporting trust and confidence in the public sector as it goes about its work. I thank my staff for their work in preparing and finalising this plan. I look forward to sharing with you the results of our work.

Nāku noa, nā

John Ryan
Controller and Auditor-General

22 June 2022