There’s a growing lack of public trust in traditional institutions, including government, and that makes objective analysis and transparent reporting more important than ever before.
That’s the view of Barry Underwood, the executive manager of governance at Audit Office of New South Wales, which provides independent opinions on the financial statements of NSW Government and local council entities, and examines whether public money is spent efficiently, effectively, economically and in accordance with the law.
Underwood notes that community expectations around the services governments provide are rising while, at the same time, agencies are having to do more with limited resources.
‘Governments are also increasingly working through non-government agencies and the private sector. Our challenge is to provide independent assurance that the services the government is paying for are delivered as intended.’
Underwood says the Audit Office will initially try to understand how well an organisation is governed as part of its preliminary plan for an audit of an entity's financial statements.
‘The better governed an organisation is, the more comfort we have that we can rely on its systems and controls to produce the vital information required to produce financial statements,’ he says.