Survey of Audit Committee Chairs

In 201415 VAGO surveyed a sample of Victorian public sector entity audit committee chairs. One hundred and six chairs were invited to participate and 92 responded (87 per cent).

The survey sought feedback on the audit committee chairs' impressions and expectations of VAGO, experiences of VAGO's financial statement audits, performance audits and reports to Parliament.

2014-15 Audit Commitee Chairs survey

General Impression and Expectations of VAGO

The survey found that audit committee chairs have a positive impression of VAGO, with five out of six statements recording high agreement ratings. Specifically, the majority of audit committee chairs ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ that VAGO:

  • has an important role (100 per cent)
  • is independent (99 per cent)
  • provides valuable assurance on the quality of public sector financial reports (96 per cent)
  • has integrity (95 per cent)
  • has credibility (94 per cent).

Audit Topics and Annual Plan

  • Two-thirds of all audit committee chairs agreed VAGO was targeting the right ‘high public value audit topics’.
  • Seventy-five per cent of audit committee chairs agreed that VAGO’s audits drill down to the right depth.
  • Fifty-four per cent agreed that VAGO performs well at addressing audit topics at the ‘right time’ when particularly high value can be obtained.

Performance Audit reports

Highlights include:

  • Ninety-seven per cent indicated that their committee had discussed the key findings and issues identified by performance audits.
  • Seventy-five per cent disclosed that their committee considered reports that did not directly relate to their organisation, but which had findings that were relevant.
  • For committees that indicated being involved in an audit:
    • eighty-three per cent agreed the final audit report communicated the audit findings and issues clearly (up from 62 per cent)
    • seventy-eight per cent agreed the final audit report presented the audit findings and issues in a balanced/fair manner (up from 44 per cent).
  • The majority of audit committee chairs provided positive ratings of the following aspects of performance audit, with four in five agreeing that:
    • the audit committee monitored the implementation of VAGO performance audit recommendations (82 per cent, lower than 86 per cent in 2013)
    • the organisation’s internal audit work program takes into account VAGO performance audits (81 per cent, lower than 100 per cent in 2013)
  • Increase in value of performance audits:
    • eighty-five per cent agreed the findings and/or recommendations have the potential to improve administration of the audited activity or current/future activities that are similar in nature (up from 66 per cent)
    • eighty-two per cent agreed that the committee benefits from good practice lessons and related issues raised in VAGO performance audit reports.

Financial Statement Audits

Highlights include:

  • VAGO adequately informed the audit committee about the financial audit strategy and key milestones for the audit and promptly informed it of significant issues identified during the audit (95 per cent).
  • Auditors communicated effectively when attending committee meetings (93 per cent, slightly lower than 99 per cent in 2013).
  • Auditors adequately understood the organisation (84 per cent, lower than the 2013 result of 92 per cent).
  • In excess of 88 per cent agreed that interim and final management letters and closing memorandums communicated the audit findings and issues clearly and were issued in a timely manner.
  • Ninety-one per cent agreed that the audit opinion was issued in a timely manner (94 per cent in 2013).
  • The majority of audit committee chairs valued VAGO’s financial statement audit services. At least 94 per cent of audit committee chairs agreed that their committee values:
    • the assurance obtained from the audit of the organisation's statutory financial statements (99 per cent, in line with 96 per cent in 2013)
    • VAGO's recommendations to improve financial management and/or risk management in the organisation (94 per cent, consistent with 92 per cent in 2013).

General comments

Themes arising from the survey include:

  • Audit committee chairs made several comments about VAGO's communication with them. While some chairs commented that they had a good working relationship with VAGO and that communication was continually improving, others asked for more direct, face-to-face communication from audit directors.
  • Audit committee chairs also made a number of comments about VAGO's performance, asking for us to have a better understanding of their organisation and to consider the continuity of staff.

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Last updated on 19/09/2016