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Audit details

Audits in progress

Last updated: 17 September 2014

Emergency Response ICT systems

Victorians expect emergency services to promptly and efficiently respond to crisis incidents.

To deliver required outcomes, emergency service systems must involve both ICT systems and people performing key tasks.

Like all ICT systems, emergency response ICT systems require certain periods of down time for scheduled maintenance and, from time to time, unplanned outages can occur and disrupt operations. An emergency services organisation needs to be able to cope with these outages and continue to deliver critical services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Given the critical nature of the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority's role, the audit will examine the suitability, resilience and operation of key ICT systems and investigate the impact on service delivery of periods of partial or total system failure. It will examine measures taken to manage system failures and efforts to improve business continuity and make critical systems more resilient.

The report is expected to be tabled in October 2014.

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Heatwave Management: Reducing the Risk to Public Health

Heatwaves represent a significant risk to public health. More people died in the 2009 heatwave than in the Black Saturday bushfires. The elderly, young children and people with chronic diseases are particularly at risk.

The focus of the audit is on whether the Department of Health’s Heatwave Framework has been effective in reducing the impact of extreme heat on public health. This framework includes—Victoria’s heatwave plan, which guides a statewide response to heatwaves; the development of heatwave plans in local councils; a heat health alert system; various communication resources; and a heat health surveillance system that monitors the impact of heatwaves on human health.

The audit includes the Department of Health, the Department of Human Services, Ambulance Victoria and Victoria Police. A small number of councils and health services have also been included.

The report is expected to be tabled in October 2014.

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Mental Health Strategies for the Justice System

A significant proportion of people coming into contact with the criminal justice agencies have a mental illness. National and international evidence shows that the rate of mental illness amongst people involved with the criminal justice agencies is much higher than for the community generally. Those who complete a period of imprisonment often return to unstable, disadvantaged situations without effective social support.

Organisations in the justice, health and human services portfolios have closely related, and sometimes interdependent, responsibilities for people with mental illness. The number of agencies involved, together with the difficulties of managing, supporting and rehabilitating people with mental illness, means that a coordinated approach to planning and service delivery is required if outcomes are to be improved.

The audit will assess the effectiveness of planning and coordination for mental health undertaken by Victoria Police, the Department of Justice, the Department of Health and the Department of Human Services. The audit will consider whether:

The report is expected to be tabled in October 2014.

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Public Sector Performance Measurement and Reporting

Effective measurement and reporting of public sector performance is essential to achieving transparency and accountability in government. Past audits and a 2014 review by the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee identified ongoing shortcomings with departmental performance information.

The audit will examine the effectiveness of public sector performance measurement and reporting.

It will consider whether publicly reported information by a selection of departments meaningfully demonstrates performance and the achievement of outcomes that are important to the Victorian community. The audit will also examine whether departments have properly applied the government’s performance measurement and reporting system and whether the Department of Treasury and Finance has effectively overseen the development and application of an updated and effective public sector performance measurement and reporting system.

The report is expected to be tabled in October 2014.

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Auditor-General's Report on the Annual Financial Report of the State of Victoria

 This report will provide the result of the audit of the state's 2013–14 annual financial report. It will provide analysis and commentary on the financial performance and position of the state at 30 June 2014 as reported to Parliament in the Annual Financial Report of the State of Victoria, 2013–14. It will also address the quality and timing of financial reporting and provide greater transparency regarding significant state projects by consolidating details not easily identified in general purpose financial statements.

The report is expected to be tabled in October 2014.

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Information and Communication Technology Controls: Results of the 2013–14 Audits

The report provides an analysis of common themes relating to IT audit findings and the maturity of IT controls across 39 entities and highlights key and emerging issues observed as part of the IT audits.

The report is expected to be tabled in October 2014 for the results of financial year 2013–14. .

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Additional School Costs for Families

In Victoria, education is compulsory for children aged 6–17 years. Through primary and secondary schools, the government provides free instruction in the standard curriculum program—the arts, English, health and physical education, languages other than English, mathematics, science, studies of society and environment, and technology.

In addition to Commonwealth and state government funding, government schools may charge parents fees for goods and services associated with the delivery of free instruction and optional extras, and may also ask for voluntary donations. The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) is responsible for administering a parent payment policy, which outlines the types of payments schools may request. Each school is responsible for determining the amount parents are charged.

There is increasing community concern about the extent to which education costs are being borne by families and the potential impact this may have on the educational experience of those unable to afford such costs. There is a need to ascertain whether parent charges are reasonable, fair and consistent with government and school policies.

The audit will assess whether DEECD and government schools are managing parent education costs economically, efficiently and effectively and in accordance with legislation and policies. To assess the objective, the audit will examine:

The report is expected to be tabled in February 2015.

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Effectiveness of Support for Local Government

Councils provide a significant social and economic contribution to their communities across Australia. In Victoria, Local Government Victoria (LGV) and the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) provide important support to the 79 councils to both assist them to carry out their duties and obligations and facilitate more efficient and effective council operations. Such support activities may include the provision of advice, advocacy, guidance and services such as training.

Previous performance audits in the local government sector have highlighted a need for improvement in key areas of council administration. With the significant social and economic contribution councils make to their communities, it is important to assess how effectively and efficiently the support to councils is delivered to achieve intended outcomes and to determine whether value for money is being achieved.

The report is expected to be tabled in February 2015.

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Responses to 2012–13 Performance Audit Recommendations

Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) performance audits include recommendations to address deficiencies identified by audit and improve the management and delivery of public services. Audited agencies are asked to respond to recommendations and state whether they accept them and how they will respond. Agencies are then required to monitor audit recommendations and enact planned responses under Standing Direction 2.6 (f) of the Financial Management Act 1994.

The objective of this audit is to determine the extent of agency response to, and monitoring of, VAGO performance audit recommendations. The audit will examine whether:

The report is expected to be tabled in February 2015.

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Efficiency of Purchasing and Using High-Value Equipment

Given rising healthcare costs and a growing and ageing population in Victoria, it is critical that the state’s public hospitals are maximising the use of high-cost, high-value equipment for the benefit of patients.

This audit will assess the economy and efficiency of managing high-value imaging equipment in public hospitals with a particular focus on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scanners. This equipment is found in most large hospitals and in addition to its diagnostic value consumes a substantial proportion of a hospital’s equipment expenditure through high replacement and maintenance costs.

The audit will also assess the roles of the Department of Health, as manager of the health system, and Health Purchasing Victoria, which has a mandate to improve hospitals’ collective purchasing power.

The audit is expected to be tabled in February 2015.

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Education Transitions

Within the education system there are a number of key transitions that shape a young person's learning and development. Transitions occur when young people move from grade to grade within school and when they move into and between schools. There are two major transition periods that children and young people undergo while in the schooling system: when moving from kindergarten to primary school, and then from primary to secondary school.

Effective transitions require education providers to plan and coordinate their support for students. Developing pathways to support the ongoing engagement of children with education is central to DEECD's current strategic plan.

The objective of the audit is to examine how effectively kindergartens, primary schools and secondary schools (education providers) and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development are supporting the transitions of children in the education system.

The audit is expected to be tabled in March 2015.

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Emergency Service Response Times

Emergency service organisations in Victoria include Ambulance Victoria, the Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board, the Country Fire Authority, the Victoria State Emergency Service and Victoria Police. The speed of response of these agencies to an emergency can significantly effect the outcome for those involved. A delayed response can lead to life-changing health, welfare and economic outcomes that may otherwise have been avoided. There is therefore strong public interest in the responsiveness of Victoria’s emergency services. Emergency response time information can be valuable in directing agencies to potential areas for improvement, providing the public with confidence in emergency services, and informing government of performance to guide resourcing and other decisions. Where such performance information is used, the relevance and reliability of the measures, underpinning data and reporting is critical.

The audit objective is to determine the extent to which emergency service agencies and relevant portfolio departments are accountable for emergency response time performance. To assess this objective, the audit will examine whether agencies:

The report is due for tabling in March 2015.

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Digital Dashboard: Status Review of ICT Projects and Initiatives

The Victorian public sector does not have a good track record with ICT projects. A number of VAGO performance audits and Ombudsman reports over the last decade have shown significant weaknesses in the planning and implementation of ICT projects, which often incur substantial delays and cost overruns.

An increasing reliance by government on ICT to manage and deliver programs and services, as well as an increasing demand by users for services to be provided on-line, means that the current poor performance of ICT projects needs closer and continuous monitoring to focus effort on the most productive investments, as well as identify challenging projects well before they become major problems.

In addition to examining performance, this audit will focus on identifying the quantum of spending on ICT investments across the Victorian public sector.

The transparency outcome of this audit will potentially make it harder for underperforming projects to go unnoticed, and easier for the government to focus rectification effort on the projects where it is most needed.

The scope and methodology for this audit has not been previously undertaken by VAGO. This audit is intended as a continuous review project with a series of reports to be tabled in Parliament within up to three financial years.

The first of these reports is expected to be tabled in April 2015.

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