The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) is a specialist public sector agency providing a full range of audit and assurance services to the Parliament and Commonwealth public sector entities and statutory bodies.
The purpose of the ANAO is to support accountability and transparency in the Australian Government sector through independent reporting to the Parliament, and thereby contribute to improved public sector performance.
The ANAO delivers its purpose under the Auditor-General’s mandate as set out in the Auditor-General Act 1997, and in accordance with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and the Public Service Act 1999.
The executive arm of government is accountable to the Parliament for its use of public resources and the administration of legislation passed by the Parliament. The Auditor-General scrutinises and provides independent assurance as to whether the executive is operating and accounting for its performance in accordance with the Parliament’s intent.
The Governor-General, on the recommendation of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit (JCPAA) and the Prime Minister, appoints the Auditor-General for a term of 10 years. As an independent officer of the Parliament, the Auditor‑General has complete discretion in performing or exercising the functions or powers under the Auditor-General Act 1997 (the Act). In particular, the Auditor‑General is not subject to direction in relation to:
whether a particular audit is to be conducted;
the way a particular audit is to be conducted; or
the priority given to any particular matter.
In exercising the functions or powers under the Act, the Auditor‑General must have regard to the audit priorities of the Parliament, as determined by the JCPAA.
Under the Act, the Auditor-General’s functions include:
auditing the financial statements of Commonwealth entities, and Commonwealth companies and their subsidiaries;
conducting performance audits, assurance reviews, and audits of the performance statements and measures of Commonwealth entities and Commonwealth companies and their subsidiaries;
conducting a performance audit of a Commonwealth partner as described in section 18B of the Act;
providing other audit services as required by other legislation or allowed under section 20 of the Act; and
reporting directly to the Parliament on any matter or to a minister on any important matter.
The ANAO supports the Auditor-General in this role.
The ANAO upholds the Australian Public Service (APS) values as set out in the Public Service Act 1999. The ANAO places particular focus on respect, integrity and excellence — values that align with the APS values and address the unique aspects of the ANAO’s business and operating environment. The ANAO’s values guide the office in performing its role objectively, with impartiality and in a manner that supports the Parliament.
To deliver on the ANAO’s purpose, the Auditor-General has organised the ANAO into five functional areas:
Assurance Audit Services Group provides independent assurance on the financial statements and financial administration of all Australian Government entities. It also conducts assurance reviews.
Corporate Management Group leads corporate strategy and change for the ANAO. It provides services based on specialised knowledge, best practices and technology that enable the delivery of the ANAO’s purpose and audit outcomes.
Performance Audit Services Group conducts performance audits, audits of performance statements and measures, and assurance reviews of Australian Government entities and their activities, and produces related publications and other information reports.
Professional Services and Relationships Group provides technical accounting, audit and legal advice and support to the Auditor-General; establishes, manages and monitors the implementation of the quality assurance framework; and manages the ANAO’s external relations.
Systems Assurance and Data Analytics Group provides IT audit and data analytics support to the ANAO’s assurance and performance audit work and other information reports.
The ANAO’s organisational structure at 30 June 2020 is shown in Figure 2.1.
PASG = Performance Audit Services Group; MPR = major projects report; PGPA = public governance, performance and accountability.