Audits in progress
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
The audit is expected to be tabled in March 2015.
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:
- understand response time performance
- use response time information to drive response time
- report response time performance to relevant stakeholders.
The report is due for tabling in March 2015.
Managing Regulator Performance in the Health Portfolio
Past performance audits identified significant issues with the
performance of several regulators. Ineffective regulatory practices
have the potential to reduce business innovation, productivity,
competition, job creation and economic growth. The government has
clear policy goals of reducing red tape and reducing the burden
regulators impose on businesses, while improving their
effectiveness and reducing their cost base through more efficient
This audit will assess the progress towards achieving
government’s goals of improving regulator effectiveness and
efficiency and reducing the red tape they impose on those they
regulate. It will examine whether selected regulators within the
health portfolio have used available resources to efficiently
achieve intended outcomes while reducing the red tape they impose
on regulated businesses and occupations. It will also assess
whether the Department of Health has effectively overseen the
regulators in their portfolio and supported them in addressing
Government’s policy goals. In addition it will examine whether the
Department of Treasury and Finance has adequately acquitted its
responsibilities in relation to supporting the Statement of
Expectations process and coordinating and reporting on
whole-of-Government regulatory reform.
This audit is expected to table in March 2015.
Digital Dashboard: Status Review of ICT Projects and
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
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
Research indicates that while most people with a
life-threatening illness would prefer to die at home, or in a
home-like environment, only a minority achieve this wish, with most
people still spending their last days in acute hospital settings.
This situation not only ignores the wishes of people at the end of
their life, but also places a significant burden on acute health
The audit will examine specialist palliative care services
available to admitted patients in Victorian public health services,
and specialist palliative care services to non-admitted patients
where offered by Victorian public health services. The audit
objective is to determine whether Victorians with a terminal
illness have access to high-quality palliative care that is timely,
coordinated and responsive to their needs and wishes.
The report is expected to be tabled in April 2015.
Victoria’s Consumer Protection Framework for Building
Domestic building activity in Victoria generates significant
employment and economic activity. Between 1 July 2013 to the
end of May 2014, over 76 000 permits were issued for domestic
building works with an estimated value of more than $11.5 billion.
For individual consumers the construction or renovation of a house
is often the single largest investment in their lifetime.
The current domestic building consumer protection framework
involves a range of agencies with functions extending from
registration and monitoring of building practitioners, to dispute
handling and the provision of domestic building insurance. While
consumers fund the framework, past VAGO audits, including the 2011
Compliance with Building Permits, and a series of other reviews and
inquiries together with ongoing issues raised by consumers, have
highlighted areas where it is failing to meet their needs.
The audit will assess whether key elements of the current
domestic building consumer protection framework are effectively
managed by relevant entities, including examining whether the
Victorian Building Authority, Building Practitioners Board and
Consumer Affairs Victoria are performing their existing functions
effectively and have adequately addressed recommendations from
previous audits. It will also assess whether the Victorian Managed
Insurance Authority's provision of domestic building insurance is
effectively and economically managed.
The report is scheduled to be tabled in April 2015.
Early Intervention Services for Vulnerable Children and
Early intervention services target vulnerable children and
families. Children and young people are vulnerable when the
capacity of their parents and families to effectively care, protect
and provide for their long-term development and wellbeing is
Vulnerable families may show risk factors for child abuse and
neglect, such as family violence, alcohol and substance abuse,
mental health problems, and poverty. If not addressed, these
factors could ultimately lead to the child and their family
becoming involved in the child protection system.
This audit focuses on early intervention services for vulnerable
children and families who are at risk of requiring child
protection. In particular, the audit will focus on Child FIRST and
Integrated Family Services, which are funded by the Department of
Human Services. Child FIRST is an information and referral service
that links vulnerable families with appropriate family or other
services. In 2013–14, around 12,200 vulnerable families were
referred to Child FIRST.
The audit will examine whether these services are readily
accessible to, and effective in improving outcomes for, vulnerable
The report is expected to be tabled in April 2015.
Delivering Services to Citizens and Consumers via Devices of
There are now more than 12 million smartphones in use in
Australia. During 2014, internet usage by such devices is expected
to overtake desktop internet usage.
The delivery of government services by digital channels can
increase efficiency, cut lengthy wait times at traditional 'bricks
and mortar' locations, and cut the costs associated with
traditional service delivery approaches.
This audit will examine government efforts to allow key
transactions to be performed online and using digital devices,
including whether these services are effective and efficient when
compared to traditional service delivery modes.
The report is expected to be tabled in May 2015.
Tendering of Metropolitan Bus Contracts
Buses are a significant form of public transport, providing
cross-town transport, local services and linkages to the rail
network. Bus patronage figures are starting to increase after
several years of stagnation—an estimated 127.6 million
passengers travelled on Melbourne’s metropolitan bus network in the
2013–14 financial year, up from 115.7 million in the previous year.
For people in Melbourne’s middle and outer suburbs, buses are often
the only readily accessible public transport available.
There are two distinct sets of arrangements for the provision of
bus services in metropolitan Melbourne:
- The Melbourne Metropolitan Bus Franchise
(MMBF) agreement—established in 2013 with a single operator and
covering roughly 30 per cent of services.
- Contracts with other private operators
established in 2008 for around 70 per cent of bus
The audit objective is to examine whether the state has
effectively secured value for money from the new Melbourne
metropolitan bus service franchising arrangements by assessing
- the project to establish the MMBF was
based on sound planning and was conducted in accordance with
purchasing, probity and ethical conduct requirements and
- management of the franchise agreement is
delivering value for money and improved performance.
The report is expected to be tabled in May 2015.
Applying the High Value High Risk
Process to Unsolicited Proposals (formely High Value High
The high value high risk (HVHR) review process aims to
address time and budget overruns and the extent of benefit from the
delivery of major infrastructure projects. The process applies to
all projects over $100 million, assessed as high risk, or
determined by government as warranting additional oversight. Given
the significance of these projects, VAGO is undertaking annual HVHR
audits examining how effectively the process is improving outcomes
for a range of projects and review action against past HVHR audit
VAGO's first audit of the HVHR process tabled in
Parliament in June 2014. It found that the Department of Treasury
and Finance's (DTF) increased scrutiny of projects through HVHR had
made a difference to the quality of the business cases and
procurements underpinning government's investments. It made eight
recommendations about how DTF should improve the application of
HVHR projects, including that it apply HVHR to projects over $100
million selected under the unsolicited proposals policy. An
unsolicited proposal is one where the private sector approaches
government with a proposal to build infrastructure or deliver
services. These proposals are not always subject to competition,
and therefore thorough scrutiny of such proposals is critical to
ensure value for money.
The objective of the audit is to determine whether the
HVHR process has been effectively applied to two unsolicited
proposals that government has identified as HVHR projects: the
Cranbourne-Pakenham Rail Corridor and the CityLink Tulla Widening
This audit is expected to be tabled in May 2015.
Violence and aggression against healthcare workers has serious
social, health and economic consequences, not only for those
immediately involved but for the health sector more generally.
Perpetrators of in-hospital occupational violence and aggression
are mainly patients, relatives or visitors, although co-workers can
also be a source.
Various reviews and inquiries—the Victorian Taskforce on
Violence in Nursing (2005); the 2011 Parliamentary Inquiry
into Violence and Security Arrangements in Victorian Hospitals
and, in particular, emergency departments; and VAGO’s 2013 report
on Occupational Health and Safety Risk in Public
Hospitals—have all highlighted significant systemic issues in
the Victorian health system and have made recommendations to
address these. New challenges in the external environment have also
emerged—such as the increased abuse of drugs that has been linked
to aggressive behaviour and drug-induced psychosis.
The objective of the audit is to assess whether agencies are
fulfilling their occupational health and safety responsibilities to
protect and support healthcare workers in regards to occupational
violence. The audit aims to:
- improve understanding of the extent and impact of this kind of
violence in Victoria’s public hospitals
- analyse the strengths and weaknesses in current systemic
approaches—including assessing progress made since the 2005
taskforce and 2011 inquiry
- identify examples of better practice that can be shared.
The report is expected to be tabled in May 2015.
Operational Effectiveness of
the myki Ticketing System
An effective ticketing system is essential for encouraging use of
the public transport system. Modern public transport ticketing
systems are much more than fare collection tools. They provide the
key interface with customers and, with smartcard technology, they
can also be a useful strategic tool for facilitating a range of
government transport policies. A well designed and implemented
system should be easy for commuters to use and benefit transport
operators through streamlined fare collection and access to
important data on travel behaviour.
The state committed to implementation of the myki system in July
2005 when it signed the contract for the system, and the myki
system was due to be operational by July 2007. However, there were
delays, scope changes and cost increases in implementing the
system. In December 2012, myki became the only form of ticket valid
on Melbourne public transport with the switching-off of the
previous ticketing system, Metcard. As of 2014, more than 5.7
million myki cards have been issued with the system processing
around 6 million touch-on transactions per week. Since
implementation, myki has experienced a number of issues including
slow card reader response times and the instability of devices, in
particular on trams and buses.
The significant investment in the myki system, together with the
additional costs and time required for its development, and
implementation and its initial operational issues, warrant an
assessment of its operational effectiveness.
The objective of the audit is to examine the operational
effectiveness of the myki ticketing system and whether it is
achieving expected benefits.
The report is expected to be tabled in June 2015.
Realising the Benefits of Smart Meters
In early 2006 the Victorian Government
approved the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) program that
aimed to replace electrical metering infrastructure in all
Victorian residential and small business premises' with digital
meters known as smart meters.
VAGO’s 2009 report Towards a ‘Smart
Grid’—the rollout of the Advanced Metering Infrastructure
found that there was a risk of an inequitable transfer of economic
benefits to industry, rather than consumers. Following this and
other government reviews of the smart meter program, major changes
were made to the program to ensure consumers receive the benefits
and to continue with an improved rollout, which made delivery of
consumer benefits the top priority.
Between 2009 to 2014, Victoria’s electricity
distribution businesses have installed roughly 2.8 million smart
meters at an estimated cost of $2 billion. As the smart meter
rollout is effectively complete, it is timely to undertake the
audit to assess the extent to which deficiencies in the AMI program
have been addressed, and whether benefits for consumers are being
The audit will assess whether the Department
of State Development, Business and Innovation:
- has effectively addressed recommendations from VAGO’s
Towards a ‘smart grid’—the rollout of Advanced Metering
- can demonstrate that the AMI program is delivering expected
consumer benefits and is set-up to maximise longer-term
The report is expected to be tabled in