Outcomes of Investing in Regional Victoria

Tabled: 2 May 2019

Appendix B. Implementation of VAGO's 2015 audit recommendations

Figure B1
VAGO assessment of RDV's implementation of our 2015 audit recommendations

Recommendation

Assessment

That DJPR increases awareness of the initiatives to ensure the best possible projects are funded

Fully implemented

RDV supplies public information about the fund through its website, offices, forums and Regional Partnerships.

RDV's client satisfaction results reflect this outcome.

That DJPR implements robust governance arrangements, including an effective role for assessment committees in funding decisions

Partially implemented

RDV have a RJIF management committee to monitor the fund's implementation. It uses a combination of internal and external committees to evaluate grants depending on the program.

RDV has a monitoring and reporting framework stipulating the timeliness, content and recipients of its reports to enable oversight of RJIF's implementation. However, the data in these reports can be inaccurate.

RDV has showed commitment to implementing the 2015 audit recommendations, by utilising an oversight committee and reporting regime.

In assessing grants, RDV has used undocumented policies to apply weightings to its assessment. This increases the risk of inconsistency and reduces transparency in decision-making.

RDV have not kept enough grant documentation to enable transparency of decision making and managerial oversight.

That DJPR develops and documents detailed pre-application funding processes that are transparent and demonstrate that the best available applications are funded

Partially implemented

RDV has tracked pre-application cases in GEMS. This enables it to report on potential opportunities prior to it receiving a formal application.

However, we found that as RDV inconsistently captures information about its pre‑application engagement it cannot demonstrate that it is advancing the 'best available' grant applications.

That DJPR implements identified risk management actions and plans

Substantially implemented

RDV has developed a range of reporting that includes grant, program and strategic risks.

While RDV's reports identify risks they require greater detail of the mitigation activities, including who is responsible and when RDV will implement the changes.

RDV plan to review its risk management framework by 30 June 2019.

That DJPR implements robust monitoring and reporting systems and processes

Partially implemented

RDV has developed an appropriate monitoring and reporting framework that contains the necessary types of information required for the management of RJIF.

However, significant issues with data quality undermine the reliability of the reporting.

That DJPR develops a robust evaluation framework including relevant and appropriate performance measures, benchmarks, targets and baseline data

Partially implemented

RDV has established an evaluation framework for RJIF, however, it does not fully meet the recommendation as it lacks benchmarks and targets, does not document baseline data for identified indicators, and is missing measures for some of the fund's objectives.

That DJPR undertakes regular reviews and evaluation activities to demonstrate that grant initiatives are meeting their goals and objectives

Partially implemented

RDV includes outputs in grant agreements and monitors project implementation. It also reports internally and to the Minister on the funds administered, projects approved and outputs produced (e.g. jobs created).

RDV was unable to evaluate the RGF or PVGF—its attempt in 2016 to comprehensively review RGF was unsuccessful.

RDV is preparing to evaluate RJIF after its completion, but advises it is too early to evaluate the fund's outcomes.

However, grant recipients had completed $60 million worth of RJIF projects by 30 June 2018—12 per cent of the fund. RDV did not include an interim evaluation in its plan. It therefore cannot report on outcomes to date and did not use the opportunity to test its evaluation approach on this sample.

That DJPR demonstrates the achievement of objectives by:

  • monitoring and reporting on all outcomes of the initiative
  • developing guidelines, in line with better practice, for making appropriate adjustments to outcomes prior to reporting
  • accurately and fairly reporting outcomes attributable to the initiative

Partially implemented

RDV has developed a monitoring and reporting framework and uses GEMS to report on outputs and outcomes. RDV has also established an evaluation framework and plan to report on the outcomes of the fund after its conclusion.

RDV's evaluation plan includes high-level indicators and their attribution to RJIF to assess its success. However, there are gaps in the framework that may leave RDV unable to evaluate its performance against all the fund's objectives.

RDV has not developed guidelines for adjusting data prior to reporting.

RDV continues to attribute all jobs created by a project to RJIF regardless of the relative value of the grant to the overall project cost.

That DJPR demonstrates the effective use of public money by:

  • developing robust guidelines and frameworks to assess value for money
  • establishing and effectively implementing benchmarks and targets for all programs
  • providing advice to government on value-for-money thresholds

Substantially implemented

RDV has developed a framework for assessing value for money and provides advice to government on the fund's and grants' value-for-money outcomes. Its planned cost-benefit-analysis evaluations should support this approach, however, RDV have not provided their methodology to us for examination.

RDV has not developed benchmarks or targets against which to assess a grant's value-for-money outcome.

Note: Recommendations were made to the then Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, which transitioned to DJPR on 1 January 2019.

Source: VAGO, based on RDV information.

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