Friday, October 19, 2012

National Audit Office invites the public to contribute to departmental audits

In what I believe is a global first, Australia's National Audit Office (ANAO) has launched a pilot program inviting members of the public to contribute to selected audits in progress, aimed at promoting closer citizen engagement in the audit process.

The system allows the public to provide contributions related to the efficient and effective implementation of government programs, policies, projects or activities—including whether the intended benefits are achieved.

Contributions can be provided via an online form, mail or in a document (MS Word or PDF) and will be kept confidential except for defined purposes (a legal requirement under sections 36 and 37 of the Auditor-General Act 1997).

This confidentiality may allow public servants - who often know a lot about how programs operate in practice - to contribute in ways that protect them from retribution in the office.

The pilot program will run until early 2013 and the ability to contribute is limited to certain audits (at least for now). However this is a great start and a huge step forward for one of our most important institutions.

The seven audits currently open for public contributions are listed in this page: http://www.anao.gov.au/Publications/Contribute-to-an-Audit-in-Progress

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