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NSW Auditor-General's Report Vol 9

December 3, 2015

The Acting NSW Auditor-General, Tony Whitfield, has released his Volume Nine 2015 Report re the Department of Planning and Environment.

A summary of the key points are as follows:

  • Financial management: Some agencies in the Planning and Environment cluster undertake limited analysis of financial performance and sustainability. In addition, most cluster agencies recorded material variances between actual and budgeted results in 2014-15. Agencies in the Planning and Environment cluster should adopt a more robust and consistent approach to assessing financial performance and sustainability and further review budgeting processes to improve financial management.
  • Asset management: The 2014-15 audits identified that agencies in the cluster with significant land, buildings and infrastructure assets could improve service delivery outcomes if they had more effective asset management frameworks and asset management plans. Asset Management Plans require improved whole-of-life costings data, non‑financial performance indicators and systems to collect and analyse asset management information.
  • Shared service model: Most agencies in the Planning and Environment cluster have transitioned to an internal shared service model for finance, human resources and information technology services. The Department of Planning and Environment is responsible for the governance and administration of these shared services, however, service partnership agreements are not yet in place.The Department of Planning and Environment should finalise service partnership agreements to ensure clarity over service levels, cost allocations, key performance indicators and service expectations.
  • IT controls: Stronger controls are needed to reduce the risk of inappropriate access to data in financial systems. Better management of IT systems and process knowledge will reduce key person risk.
  • Contract management: Some agencies are yet to self-assess contract management processes against the Audit Office’s Better Practice Contract Management Framework. All agencies should address identified gaps in their frameworks promptly.
  • Financial reporting by Councils: Fewer local councils met financial reporting deadlines in 2014-15. The Office of Local Government will need to develop initiatives to ensure councils fulfil their financial reporting responsibilities.

Many of the Acting Auditor-General's improvement opportunities apply to all entities; not just the Department of Planning & Environment. They apply equally to the private and NFP sectors too. The Centium Group has had decades of experience in each of the above areas.

It often pays to have a fresh set of eyes look over things and none are fresher (or more experienced) than Centium's. We welcome you to have a chat with us about any of the above matters. You can contact us via email at info@centium.com.au, phone on 1300 BEST 100, or visit us at our Sydney office.

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