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Audit details

Audits in progress

Last updated: 21 October 2014

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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Palliative Care

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 services.

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.

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Delivering services to citizens and consumers via devices of personal choice

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.

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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 stagnationan 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 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 whether:

The report is expected to be tabled in May 2015.

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