The use and management of public resources within the Commonwealth public sector is governed by the Commonwealth Resource Management Framework (the framework). The framework is underpinned by the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act), PGPA Rule and supporting directions and guidance.
A key objective of the principles-based framework is to establish a strong performance reporting system to demonstrate to the Parliament and the public that resources are being used efficiently and effectively by Commonwealth entities. Implementation of the framework was expected to improve both financial and non-financial performance information by placing obligations on officials for the quality and reliability of performance information.
The Minister for Finance is responsible for administering the framework and is supported by the Department of Finance (Finance). Finance is responsible, under the Minister, for the whole-of-government administration of the framework and related legislation. Finance is also able to issue directions and guidance on all elements of the framework.
Commonwealth entities spend significant amounts of public money to deliver government outcomes each year. The Commonwealth Resource Management Framework is intended to contribute to an accountable and transparent public sector by enabling the Parliament to hold the Government to account for the delivery of those outcomes through the scrutiny of entities’ performance reporting.
To form a conclusion against the objective, the ANAO adopted the following high-level audit criteria:
- the Department of Finance effectively established the clear read principle in the Commonwealth Resource Management Framework, and monitored its implementation; and
- the Department of Defence (Defence), the Department of Health (Health) and the Department of Home Affairs (Home Affairs) addressed Parliamentary expectations, and established a clear read through their 2017–18 performance measurement and reporting.
The audit finds that the Department of Finance’s design and the selected entities’ implementation of the clear read principle under the Commonwealth Resource Management Framework has been partially effective and Parliamentary expectations have not been fully realised.