What the OAG expects of public organisations

Case study for students: Wānanga inquiry.

In the OAG's view, organisations in the public sector are very different from private organisations because they receive public money from the government. This makes them accountable to the public for their spending.

The OAG expects public organisations to use public money responsibly, as outlined below. They should be able to explain what they have spent public money on, and why. The guidelines relate to three areas in which the OAG identified poor practice at TWOA.

Spending of public money

Public organisations should:

  • carefully plan, assess and authorise any major spending
  • get several quotes from suppliers
  • clearly document their assessment and final spending decisions.

See the OAG's good-practice guidelines on procurement (buying goods and services)

Conflicts of interest

In the public sector, a conflict of interest occurs when a person's private interests could affect their ability to make objective, fair decisions in a public organisation.

Public organisations should:

  • promptly identify and declare any conflicts of interest
  • consider how the public might view the conflict of interest, even if the people involved are honest and fair
  • manage the conflict of interest appropriately.

See the OAG's good-practice guidelines on conflicts of interest

International travel

Public organisations should:

  • clearly document travel plans, approvals, budgets and actual expenses
  • use business credit cards for business expenses only, not personal ones
  • only use first-class air travel in exceptional situations
  • not give cash donations to foreign officials.

See the OAG's good-practice guidelines on sensitive expenditure