The COVID-19 Pandemic, and the Australian Government’s response to it, significantly affects national public sector risks. This change in risk environment directly impacts work undertaken by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) across performance audits, financial audits and other assurance activities.
The ANAO 2020–2021 Annual Audit Work Program (AAWP) includes the ANAO’s strategy for auditing COVID-19 related measures and is designed to: respond to the interests and priorities of the Parliament of Australia; provide a balanced program of activity informed by risk; and promote accountability, transparency and improvements to public administration. The strategy is flexible and will continue to evolve over time as the government announces new initiatives or adjusts existing policies to address the changing pandemic situation and its impact on citizens and the Australian economy.
The ANAO has also created a page on its website outlining COVID-19 related work: http://www.anao.gov.au/work-program/covid-19.
There will be three stages of performance audit for COVID-related measures across the sector:
- Stage One: early audits focusing on risk management, emergency procurement and coordination;
- Stage Two: examining the preparedness, planning and implementation of measures; and
- Stage Three: assessing the whole of sector response and its effectiveness to meet objectives.
The COVID-19 situation presents new key risk areas for ANAO audit operations and financial statement preparation processes. Given the evolving nature of the COVID-19 response, the ANAO is reassessing and revising audit plans for the 2019–2020 and 2020-2021 financial statement audit cycles. Potential evolving risks may require audit teams to change audit approaches.Audit Insights
The April 2020 edition of ANAO audit insights, “Rapid Implementation of Australian Government Initiatives,” highlights key messages from Auditor General reports that examined the rapid implementation of government initiatives.
The focus is on key lessons learned from audits of past rapid response activities, which are likely to have wider applicability to the Australian Public Service as it supports the national COVID-19 Pandemic response.