Research report

Corporate planning in the Australian public sector 2017–18

23 Apr 2018
Description

This is the third in a series of performance audits which examine entities’ implementation of the corporate planning requirement. The ANAO’s audit program has also examined implementation of the annual performance statements requirements and the risk management framework.

The objective of the audit was to assess the selected entities’ progress in implementing the corporate planning requirements under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and related Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 (PGPA Rule).

To form a conclusion against the audit objective, the ANAO adopted the following high level audit criteria:

  • the selected entities’ corporate plans were established as their primary planning document and outline how entities intended to achieve their purposes over the period of the plans;
  • the selected entities’ corporate plans met the minimum content and publication requirements of PGPA Rule; and
  • entities’ supporting systems and processes for developing their corporate plans and monitoring achievements against their plans were mature.

The four entities involved in the audit were at different levels of progress in their implementation of the corporate plan requirements introduced in 2015. Given this is the third year that entities have been required to produce corporate plans under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) and Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 (PGPA Rule) greater progress in implementation than what this audit indicates could have been expected.

In line with the policy intent of the performance framework, AUSTRAC and the Ombudsman had positioned their corporate plan as the primary planning document. Treasury had not fully done so and CSIRO had not done so.

Each of the selected entities has developed processes to support the development of the corporate plan and to monitor achievement against the plan. AUSTRAC and the Ombudsman have more mature systems and processes in place. The corporate plan has been integrated in their broader planning frameworks and they are using the corporate plan to support their decision making and manage the business.

Only CSIRO met all of the minimum requirements of the PGPA Rule. AUSTRAC, the Ombudsman and Treasury, to varying degrees, did not address each of the four reporting periods covered by the plan in each of the environment, performance, capability and risk oversight and management systems section of their corporate plan.

The ANAO’s assessment of the maturity of key mandatory sections of the selected entities’ corporate plans—relating to entity purposes, environment, performance, capability and risk oversight and management systems—indicates that there remains scope for improvement in a range of areas. In particular, the inclusion of purely descriptive information in respect to entities’ risk oversight and management systems is not consistent with one of the objects of the PGPA Act, which is to require Commonwealth entities to provide meaningful information to the Parliament and the public. There is also scope for the selected entities to review the reliability and completeness of the performance indicators included in their corporate plans, as a basis for providing a meaningful performance story in their performance statements.

This is the third year that entities have been required to produce corporate plans under the PGPA Act and PGPA Rule. It can reasonably be expected that entities have learned from previous experiences. This includes their own experience in the previous two years, the feedback and lessons learned processes undertaken by the Department of Finance, and the two ANAO performance audits of corporate planning which identified key learnings and opportunities for improvement. Entities should have moved beyond simple compliance with the minimum requirements set out in the PGPA Rule and established mature systems and processes to support the development and monitoring of the corporate plan—to ensure it provides a firm basis for reporting on entity performance in the annual performance statement to Parliament. They should also have embedded the corporate plan as the entity’s primary planning document, and progressed the development of meaningful risk management summaries and performance indicators.

Publication Details
Identifiers: 
isbn: 
978-1-76033-342-3
Issue: 
ANAO Report No.36 2017–18
Language: 
License Type: 
CC BY-NC-ND
Published year only: 
2018
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