Audit objective and criteria
The objective of the audit was to assess the effectiveness of the transition of the Remote Jobs and Communities Program to the Community Development Programme including whether the Community Development Programme was well designed and administered effectively and efficiently. To form a conclusion against the audit objective, the ANAO adopted the following high level audit criteria:
- Sound analysis and advice informed the design of the Community Development Programme and transition from the Remote Jobs and Communities Program.
- The Community Development Programme was effectively and efficiently administered.
- Performance was appropriately monitored and outcomes were measured, reviewed and reported to the Minister.
The transition from the Remote Jobs and Communities Program (RJCP) to the Community Development Programm (CDP) was largely effective. The CDP was supported by stakeholder consultation, as well as risk management and evaluation frameworks. In addition, PM&C has strengthened its approach to monitoring and responding to compliance issues impacting on provider payments. There would be scope to review the incentives created by the revised provider payment structure.
The implementation of the CDP was supported by an external review of Indigenous Training and Employment, stakeholder engagement, and an effective communication strategy. However, the design of the CDP was not informed entirely by sound analysis of the RJCP.
The timeframes in which the RJCP was transitioned to the CDP impacted on the ability of providers to understand the changes prior to implementation. In addition, PM&C did not have arrangements in place to ensure funding commitments made by providers from their RJCP Participation Accounts met program requirements. Finally, aspects of the revised provider payment structure may reduce provider incentives to transition jobseekers into ongoing employment.
PM&C has established appropriate governance, key program frameworks and guidance material to assist in the administration and delivery of the CDP. PM&C has also strengthened its approach to compliance and fraud prevention in light of identified program risks.
PM&C has established transparent performance monitoring and reporting arrangements for CDP providers. These performance indicators are measurable and linked to the CDP’s policy objectives, and have shown improvements in terms of 13 and 26 week employment outcomes; as well as aggregate hours of attendance by participants.
PM&C established complementary policies—the Employer Incentive Fund and the Indigenous Enterprise Development fund—aimed at addressing gaps in regional labour markets. However, these programs were significantly undersubscribed. In addition, there is scope to improve the targeting of funding to remote areas by monitoring the number of businesses created to better integrate the CDP Funding Arrangements with related policies.
PM&C has developed and implemented a program evaluation strategy for the CDP; however the timing of the review was not aligned to the Government’s consideration of further funding in the 2017–18 Budget.