2015/16

A list of our work produced between 1 July 2015 and 30 June 2016.
Consulting the community about local authorities' 10-year plans

August 2015: Overall, local authorities have responded well to the new requirements in the 2014 amendments to the Local Government Act 2002. However, the consultation documents we audited varied in quality, as did the infrastructure strategies. But they have provided a good base for local authorities to improve on.

Inquiry into Health Benefits Limited

October 2015: We looked at the costs and benefits of HBL’s work in the health sector and identified 11 lessons that might benefit HBL’s successors and other shared services programmes. HBL's difficulties included an ambitious and complex programme, inadequate communication with DHBs, a lack of timely and accurate information for HBL’s board, and no overall project management. Some DHBs’ commitment to change appears to have been limited. From early 2014, HBL's board improved relationships with the health sector and the governance and management of change programmes...

Reviewing aspects of the Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative

October 2015: Progress with technical aspects – such as reaching design solutions, developing procurement options, and budget management – has been strong. But Auckland Transport needs to improve the focus on relationships with stakeholders, contractor performance, and the benefits delivered to date, as part of the monitoring and reporting. We made 12 recommendations to help Auckland Transport strengthen AMETI’s governance, accountability, and programme management arrangements.

Queenstown Lakes District Council: Managing a conflict of interest in a proposed special housing area

October 2015: We found that the chief executive’s involvement did not influence or contribute to any substantive aspects of the Council’s policy for special housing areas. The Mayor and Council took appropriate steps to manage the conflict of interest. The chief executive took no part in recommendations or decisions about special housing areas after declaring his interest. We also found that the conflict affected the chief executive’s ability to advise the Council about special housing areas and provide leadership to council staff in this area.

Governance and accountability of council-controlled organisations

October 2015: This report updates our earlier publications on local authority subsidiaries and re-examines the principles for good governance of subsidiaries that we proposed in 2001. It also identifies and discusses the issues relevant to CCOs that have come to our attention since 2002.

Audit committees

November 2015: Principles, shared experiences, tips, tools, and other insights.

Earthquake Commission: Managing the Canterbury Home Repair Programme - follow-up audit

December 2015: EQC has continued to manage some things well. These include the management of actual repair costs, the management of health and safety, securing reinsurance, and high levels of surveyed customer satisfaction with the quality of repairs immediately on completion of the repairs. Despite the improvements made, EQC could still learn better from complaints and improve its customer focus and interactions.

Matters arising from the 2015-25 local authority long-term plans

December 2015: This report sets out the main findings and observations from our audits of local authorities’ 2015-25 long-term plans (LTPs). It follows on from our report Consulting the community about local authorities’ 10-year plans, which included our observations from our audits of local authorities’ consultation documents.

Central government: Results of the 2014/15 audits

December 2015: This report sets out the results of our audit of the Financial Statements of the Government for the year ended 30 June 2015 and of carrying out the Controller function. It highlights a number of matters arising from that work, including costs associated with the Canterbury rebuild, and investing in and managing the Crown’s assets.

Governance and accountability for three Christchurch rebuild projects

December 2015: This report looks at the governance arrangements for three projects to rebuild essential facilities in Christchurch: the Bus Interchange, the New Central Library, and the Acute Services Building at Christchurch Hospital. We found that governance was most effective when there was a clear structure and when accountabilities, roles, and responsibilities were well defined and understood. Strong leadership was an important part of effective governance, and being clear about who is accountable for project outcomes supports effective governance.

Improving financial reporting in the public sector

February 2016: This report reflects on the concerns raised in 2009, sets out our views about how well these concerns have been addressed, and provides some insight into the future of financial reporting. There have been positive changes to accounting standards during the last six to seven years, which we expect to lead to improvements in financial reporting. The positive changes include setting up an independent body to set accounting standards and adopting a new Accounting Standards Framework for all reporting entities...

Public sector accountability through raising concerns

March 2016: In this report, we discuss how easily people can make their complaints and raise their concerns through various channels and what we have learned about the strengths of, and challenges facing, six particular inquiry agencies. The inquiry agencies we looked at are facing increasing challenges, including increased demand for their services, increased complexity of issues brought to them, and resource constraints.

Local government: Results of the 2014/15 audits

April 2016: Communities continue to expect that their council will manage spending well and keep rate increases to a minimum. But the demand for services, and the need for investment in infrastructure, is generally not reducing. Councils must think about the long term and consider how to adapt.

Effectiveness and efficiency of arrangements to repair pipes and roads in Christchurch - follow-up audit

May 2016: We found out that the public entities have made good progress in addressing the recommendations that we made in our 2013 report. SCIRT has made solid progress in repairing damaged pipes and roads. Also, the public entities have improved the governance arrangements over SCIRT. These improvements include clearer roles and responsibilities, more effective guidance and clearer direction to SCIRT, and improvements in reporting.

Immigration New Zealand: Supporting new migrants to settle and work

June 2016: The progress made so far looks promising but it is too early to say how settlement outcomes of new migrants have been affected ‒ in particular, whether the barriers faced by secondary skilled migrants and temporary work visa holders have reduced. The Ministry needs to keep monitoring, and reporting on the effectiveness of settlement services. This is to ensure that resources are targeted where they are most needed, and that the settlement needs of new migrants are met.

Education for Māori: Using information to improve Māori educational success

June 2016: This report focuses on the use of information across the education sector to support Māori educational success. Although Māori educational achievement is improving overall, results for Māori students from roughly similar communities, being educated in roughly similar settings and circumstances, are very different. Schools must collect, analyse, and use information about Māori students to ensure that they are doing everything they can to give Māori students the best chance at a great education.