22 November 2011

The Auditor General has released her report on Central Government: Results of the 2010/2011 audits.

This annual publication always has a pearl or two buried among content that may excite auditors but few others. A consequence is that these reports are seldom referred to as an authority for anything in particular.

From an integrity perspective Part 8 of the 2003 / 2004 audits report is one of the pearls. This is the chapter on “Fraud – The responsibilities and duties of public entities”.

It sets out systems the Auditor General expects agencies have to minimise fraud and their response processes in the event of fraud. The content was repackaged as the “Result for fraud management strategies – prevention detection, incidents of fraud and fraud response” in the report on the “Cleanest Public Sector in the World – Keeping fraud at bay” published on October this year.

In this year’s report Chapter 6, about audits in government departments, lists nine particular issues. Of these, the three most common concerns are;

* management risks associated with structural changes, such as restructuring costs, loss of institutional knowledge, or weakening of internal controls

* weaknesses in procurement practice

* unappropriated expenditure

In essence these are integrity matters. They are addressed by the State Services Commissioner’s integrity standards, particularly those grouped under the public service principles of being Responsible and Trustworthy.