Appendix C - External scrutiny
Australian National Audit Office
The department maintains a collaborative and productive relationship with the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) and welcomes the audit and assurance activities it undertakes.
Australian National Audit Office liaison
The department coordinates its internal audit activities with the ANAO's performance audit activities to help ensure the adequacy of audit coverage across the department and to minimise duplication of assurance effort. The department works closely with the ANAO throughout the annual financial statements audit cycle. The department also closely monitors implementation of ANAO performance audit and financial statements audit recommendations.
ANAO audits tabled in the Parliament in 2015-16
Report No. 36 of 2015-16, tabled 5 May 2016
Administration of the Financial Information Service
The audit objective was to assess the effectiveness of the department's administration of the Financial Information Service (FIS).
The ANAO found that FIS has not been fully evaluated since it was established in 1989. The ANAO also found that FIS does not have clearly documented objectives, targeting and performance measures to focus service delivery and administration, and provide a basis for assessing the achievement of its objectives. The ANAO made 2 recommendations to assist in improving the administration of FIS and to strengthen its performance framework. The department agreed with all recommendations.
Report No. 35 of 2015-16, tabled 5 May 2016
Administration of the Radiation Oncology Health Program Grants Scheme
The audit objective was to assess the effectiveness of the Department of Health's and the department's administration of the Radiation Oncology Health Program Grants Scheme.
The ANAO found a number of opportunities for improving programme administration relating to scheme reimbursement rates, publication of needs analysis data to support investment decisions, assessment of complex applications and capital allowances for equipment.
The ANAO also found that while the scheme has been the subject of a number of internal and external reviews which have resulted in changes to specific elements of the scheme, these reviews did not assess the scheme's outcomes against its objectives. The ANAO made 2 recommendations to assist in improving programme design and administration. The department agreed with all recommendations.
Report No. 18 of 2015-16, tabled 21 January 2016
Qualifying for the Disability Support Pension
The audit objective was to assess the Department of Social Services (DSS) and the department's administration of Disability Support Pension (DSP) eligibility and review processes.
In respect of the department' administration of DSP, the ANAO found that the assessment of new claimants' eligibility was in keeping with underpinning legislation, policy and guidance. The ANAO noted that eligibility processes to qualify for DSP are complex; that the department receives a large number of requests for internal review of rejected DSP claims; and that the overall level of activity undertaken by the department each year is significant. Against this context, the ANAO considered there were opportunities to improve the documentation of eligibility decisions, the targeting of medical review activity for some DSP recipients, and communication with DSP recipients about reviews and appeals.
The ANAO made 4 recommendations - 1 to the department, 2 to both the department and DSS, and 1 to DSS. Recommendations to the department concerned reviewing guidance and requirements for documenting eligibility decisions; identifying DSP recipients whose medical conditions have a greater prospect of improvement; and key performance indicators and data collection. The department agreed with all recommendations.
Report No. 12 2015-16, tabled 3 December 2015
Administration of the Child Dental Benefits Schedule
The audit objective was to assess the effectiveness of the Department of Health and the department's management and administration of the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS).
The ANAO found that day-to-day administration of the CDBS by the department and the Department of Health has been largely effective. The ANAO identified scope for improvement in relation to the Department of Health risk management planning for the programme and the department's quality framework for the manual data-matching process used to maintain the integrity of programme data. The ANAO made 4 recommendations - 3 for the Department of Health, and 1 for the department about improving performance measurement, reporting, and assurance on the quality manual data-matching processes. We agreed with the recommendation relating to the department.
Report No. 1 2015-16, tabled 8 July 2015
Procurement Initiatives to Support Outcomes for Indigenous Australians
The objective of this across entities audit was to assess the effectiveness of the administration of procurement initiatives to support opportunities for Indigenous Australians.
The ANAO found that, while the policy intent to leverage better Indigenous outcomes from Australian Government procurement activity has been clear, the frameworks developed by entities to achieve the objectives have not generally facilitated effective delivery of the outcomes sought. The ANAO did not make any recommendations to the department.
In September 2015 the Commonwealth Ombudsman published a section 15 report on One year on from the Centrelink Service Delivery Report. The report commented on the department's implementation of 12 recommendations made in the April 2014 report Investigation into service delivery complaints about Centrelink.
In February 2016 the Commonwealth Ombudsman published a section 15 report on Administration of Income Management for Vulnerable Youth. The Ombudsman made 10 recommendations.
In March 2016 the Commonwealth Ombudsman published a section 15 report on Income Maintenance Periods and Special Benefit Report. The Ombudsman made 3 recommendations.