Queensland Audit Office Annual report 2018–19—Highlights

Auditor-General's foreword

I would like to thank our workforce, clients, stakeholders, and audit service providers for a great year.

QAO is undergoing significant change as we position our business positively for the future and harness the opportunities and challenges facing us.

We have recently conducted strategic workforce planning and developed a blueprint for how we will achieve our objectives—and desired end state—over the next five years.

The plan anticipates the transformations we expect will occur in our internal and external operating environments. We have identified key risks and developed strategies to proactively address them. Our audit service providers also feature in our planning, and we will continue to develop these relationships for the benefit of our clients.

A key focus going forward is to Think and Act One QAO. This means our services are fully integrated, as we give our clients insights from across our business. Working together means we can give our clients more consistent experiences, and it enhances our operational efficiencies. Importantly, staff and our audit service providers feel like they belong to one organisation. They work as a team towards shared goals, and they support each other.

This year, we successfully refurbished our accommodation and moved to activity-based working, which gives staff a choice of work settings as per intended work outcomes and engagement approaches. The new way of working is already enhancing our collaboration and our staff and client experiences. I would like to thank staff for their enthusiasm and tenacity. Their willingness to try new things means we are already benefiting from the change. In the coming months, we will use staff feedback to make improvements.

We provided insights for our clients on the challenges, issues, and opportunities about performance we see arising. To achieve our vision of better public services, we must communicate the learnings and insights from our audit work across the wider public sector and local governments, as well as to individual clients. To make change happen at the service level for Queenslanders, we need to urge and support agencies to act on our advice. We also value the important role parliament has in effecting change and accountability.

Following on from last year, I continued to travel throughout Queensland to meet with clients and stakeholders—to understand what they need from us—including trips to more remote parts of Queensland to see councils, health and hospital services, water boards, and our audit service providers. I attended around 95 meetings.

I am committed to listening to any concerns our clients and stakeholders may have and finding ways for us to achieve more mutually beneficial outcomes. I appreciate seeing firsthand how our clients work and sharing their feedback with staff. Our auditors also continued to work alongside their clients to complete important audit milestones.

While we reflect on our performance and achievements in this annual report, we also take the opportunity to mention shortfalls. We can improve, particularly our client engagement. We must connect with our clients and build trust over the long term. We must help our clients to trust us, so they are more willing to listen to our advice, and we need to bring them on the journey with us.

I am proud to be Queensland’s Auditor-General and to lead an organisation with the vision of better public services. I look forward to seeing you in 2019–20.

Brendan Worrall, Auditor-General

2018–19 highlights

196 active employees and 20 contracted audit service providers

53 per cent are women

26 per cent from non-English speaking backgrounds

Australian Association of Graduate Employers Award—Sixth out of 75 organisations Australia-wide. Top Queensland employer

Provided 61 hours professional development per person—Recognised CPA Australia employer

We are sustainable as a contemporary public sector audit practice. We are in a good position to deliver our planned audit programs using efficient and effective technology and practices

Made around 1,000 recommendations to individual clients

Served around 600 clients, issuing 396 opinions—clients gave us a satisfaction rating of 76 to 80 points

Tabled 21 reports to parliament—containing 81 recommendations, all accepted by clients

Received 70 referrals on public sector financial waste or mismanagement—up 12 from 2017–18

Gave 17 briefs to parliamentary committees plus ongoing advice

89 per cent of members of parliament were happy with our services—up eight points from 2016

Launched a QAO blog—viewed nearly 20,000 times

Enhanced our capability development and efficiency with a new staff resourcing model

Gave our clients deeper insights though audit analytics

Won the Qlik Excellence Award in Public Sector at the 2019 ANZ Health and Public Sector Analytics Summit Awards

Embraced activity-based working, reducing our footprint by 345sqm, while enabling more collaboration

Increased our use of digital materials, moving to a paper-light and more environmentally friendly office