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Request for feedback

Draft annual plan 2017/18.

I am pleased to provide you with my first proposed work programme as the Controller and Auditor-General of New Zealand. Over my term as Auditor-General, I am setting my Office the challenge to more effectively use its unique role and independent perspective to lift public sector performance and accountability.

This proposed programme of work aligns well with my ambition to ensure that my Office is strongly positioned to continue influencing and promoting an effective, efficient, and accountable public sector, now and in the future.

Under section 36 of the Public Audit Act 2001, I am required to consult the House of Representatives each year on a draft annual plan that describes my proposed annual work programme. This consultation will help me to ensure that our work will be relevant and useful to Parliament, public entities, and the public.

I am now seeking feedback from members of Parliament about this proposed work programme for 2017/18.

My Office plays an important role in strengthening accountability, integrity, and transparency in the public sector. Most of my Office’s work (about 87%) comprises the annual audit of about 3700 public entities and is required by law. Our annual audit work gives us direct interaction with, and insight into, how the public sector is operating. We use this unique perspective of the entire public sector to inform our wider work. Each year, we bring a focus to our work by applying a theme, and by signalling future themes.

This draft work programme is the sixth in our multi-year themed work programme. It includes reporting on our proposed performance audits and our other work.

Water is the proposed theme for 2017/18. Our previous themes were:
2012/13 – Our future needs – is the public sector ready?;
2013/14 – Service delivery;
2014/15 – Governance and accountability;
2015/16 – Investment and asset management; and
2016/17 – Information.

Future themes that we are considering are:
2018/19 – Procurement and contract management; and
2019/20 – Sustainable development.

As these future themes are explored, I have asked my staff to consider how our future work programme is planned. We want to ensure that the themes for future years align with our strategic intentions. This means we may make changes to the indicative programme for 2018/19 and 2019/20.

We intend to review our strategic intentions over the coming months. This was always planned for 2017. The review will pick up the challenge I have set the Office. It will help define how our work can support a stronger public sector that has the ongoing trust and confidence of citizens.

We aim to include any changes into our Annual Plan 2017/18 which will be finalised in June 2017. We also intend to publish our next Strategic Intentions document in June 2017.

We expect to publish a reflections report on the Information theme by mid-2018. This report will draw together the findings and insights from our information-themed work. We will use this to encourage debate, challenge and expand thinking, and identify and highlight examples of good or poor practice to help improve public sector performance.

Our proposed Water theme for 2017/18 reflects Parliament’s and New Zealanders’ growing interest in water. Public entities in both central and local government play critical roles as policy makers, regulators, and service providers in relation to water. These functions are often delivered in collaboration with other entities – for example, iwi and community organisations. With our overview of the entire public sector, we are well placed to examine how effectively these responsibilities for water are being managed by public entities.

The performance audits and other work we propose to carry out under the Water theme are described in Part 3.

Our work programme for 2017/18 will be confirmed after consultation with members of Parliament and other stakeholders. I welcome feedback and input from members (through select committees) on our proposed work in 2017/18, and on any other areas that members think my Office could usefully focus on.

I also ask members to be aware that the proposed work outlined in this draft work programme might be reprioritised or might not be able to proceed if I decide that the Office needs to carry out other unplanned work.

I look forward to your responses, which I will consider and incorporate into my statutory Annual Plan for 2017/18 as appropriate. I would appreciate receiving feedback by Friday 9 June 2017.

Thank you

Signature MM

Martin Matthews
Controller and Auditor-General

PO Box 3928
Wellington 6140

Telephone: 04 917 1500

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