A new report by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) has found the Department of Agriculture and Department of Human Services (DHS) to be largely on track with implementing past audit recommendations, with the Department of Agriculture lagging behind DHS in its use of an electronic monitoring system to streamline the implementation process.
The Implementation of ANAO Performance Audit Recommendations audit, conducted by Auditor-General, Ian McPhee, has found that of the 28 recommendations made to the Departments, 18 recommendations were adequately implemented, seven were partially implemented, and two were assessed as being not adequately implemented.
The Department of Agriculture was found to have the greatest room to improve between the two, with only five of 11 audit recommendations being adequately implemented, and a further four regarded as partially implemented. By comparison, the Department of Human Services has adequately implemented 13 of 17 recommendations, and is in the process of implementing another three.
The report found that the average time taken to implement recommendations was 12 months, with both Departments failing to establish and closely monitor timelines for putting recommendations into effect.
However, while both Departments were regarded as having “sound approaches” to enacting audit measures, the ANAO noted that the Department of Agriculture has further to go in improving its electronic monitoring system for assessing the success rate of the implementation of audit recommendations.
“The results of the audit suggest there is scope for the Department of Agriculture to further improve the information provided to the audit committee and to periodically review the adequacy of actions taken by management to implement audit recommendations,” the report said.
Among the DHS’ ongoing projects to deal with previous recommendations is the upgrading of Centrelink’s Complaint Handling System, addressing a fault which saw all previous national and area office reports populated with data from only one component of its Integrated Customer Feedback Database.
The DHS is understood to be developing an integrated, customer-centric feedback model, which remains in progress at present.