The Victorian auditor general has called for a “root and branch review” after highlighting “significant and persistent” weaknesses in performance reporting by government departments over the last 20 years.
Auditor General Andrew Greaves says there’s a significant gap in key information about whether government service delivery is achieving what it’s meant to.
“Without information on outcome achievement, the government lacks a sound basis for its future investment and policy decisions,” he says.
The reporting and service delivery audit examined the state government’s eight departments – which administer a budget of more than $78 billion – and honed in on treasury and finance (DTF), Education and the former DHHS as case studies.
It found departments don’t fully comply with the DTF’s Resource management Framework, don’t measure their service efficiency or effectiveness, and don’t provide their performance information in a way that makes any real sense.
Vague objectives and lack of data
The report found vague objectives, lack of baseline data and a tendency to measure services delivered rather than what those services are achieving.
It also found shortcomings in the way departments publish their results in the Budget papers, including data gaps and lack of explanations for variation in results.
“Departments do not measure or report on their performance well,” Mr Greaves said.
“This diminishes accountability for departmental service delivery and makes it difficult for parliamentarians and Victorians to identify what is working and what needs to improve.
“We continue to find the same issues whenever we examine departments’ performance reporting. This indicates that there is a need for a substantial review of the performance reporting framework.”
The report provides 11 recommendations for improvement.
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