Section 11 of the Audit Act 1994
The Auditor-General and his staff have powers to access
information for audits. These powers are outlined in section 11 of
the Audit Act 1994. Generally authorities provide us with
the information we ask for, but when they do not we can issue a
notice under section 11 and in accordance with our
Procedure for Issue of Section 11 Notices, compel them to
We have the power to request and take copies of a broad range of
documents, including documents that:
- are Cabinet-in-Confidence
- are in draft form
- do not belong to a person but are in their possession.
The information on this page provides guidance about the
Auditor-General’s information access powers. It should be read in
conjunction with section 11 and our
Procedure for Issue of Section 11 Notices.
Frequently asked questions
What information do I have to provide?
We will ask for particular documents and information to assist
with the audit and may ask you to attend a voluntary face-to-face
meeting. This could be before we have provided the final scope of
the audit. We may ask for additional documents and information at
any time during the audit.
What is involved in attending a voluntary face-to-face meeting
to provide documents and answer questions?
You may be asked to attend a
voluntary face-to-face meeting to produce documents or
This meeting will be scheduled at a specified
time and place, usually on VAGO premises.
VAGO must ensure that you have adequate support such as a
parent, guardian, independent person or competent interpreter
present if you attend a voluntary face to face meeting and you:
- are under 18
- do not have sufficient English language skills to be able to
understand or answer questions
- have a mental impairment.
What if I am asked to provide documents that do not seem
The Auditor-General has discretion to request
any documents and information that he considers relevant to an
When do I have to provide information by?
We will give a time frame when we request
documents. We may agree to give you extra time if you request this
before the original time frame has lapsed.
Why do I have to provide information within a certain time
We request documents within a certain time
frame so that we are able to efficiently complete audits. Setting a
time frame also allows us to report on the audit results in a
timely and relevant way.
What happens if I do not provide the requested
Authorities usually give us the requested
documents on time or ask for an extension.
If you do not give us the requested documents
on time, we will:
- contact you to ask why you have not given us the documents
- consider your reasons for not providing the documents
- decide whether to allow you extra time to give us the documents
or whether to issue a section 11 notice.
What is a section 11 notice?
A section 11 notice is a notice requiring that
a person attend a compulsory appearance. The appearance will
usually be held on VAGO premises.
A section 11 notice will require the person to
bring particular documents to the compulsory appearance. A section
11 notice will also outline the matters that will be discussed at
the appearance, except when the Auditor-General or his staff have
reasonable grounds to believe that alerting the person to the
matter would be likely to prejudice the audit, or would be contrary
to the public interest.
We rarely issue section 11 notices as
authorities usually provide the requested documents.
When will a section 11 notice be issued?
The Auditor-General will consider the
following factors before issuing a section 11 notice:
- the authority’s reasons for not providing the requested
- the authority’s history in cooperating with our requests for
- the volume of documents requested
- the urgency of the request
- any other relevant factors.
Do I have to comply with a section 11 notice?
Under section 14 of the Audit Act 1994, it is an
offence to not comply with a section 11 notice.
If you do not comply with a section 11 notice,
we will ask you for an explanation. We will consider your
explanation before deciding what further action to take.
What are my rights at a compulsory appearance?
You are entitled to seek legal advice from, and be represented
by, a legal practitioner. Your legal representative will be
permitted to be present during the appearance, and to provide
advice to you on any matter relating to the audit or to your
rights, liabilities, obligations and privileges under the Audit
What happens at a compulsory appearance?
Before a compulsory appearance begins, we will ask you to read
this statement. We will
also ask you to swear an oath or take an affirmation. All
compulsory appearances are audio or video recorded.
You will be provided with a copy of the audio or video recording
and any transcript created, unless the Auditor-General has
reasonable grounds to think that the provision of the recording or
transcript may prejudice the audit. If you are not provided with a
copy of the recording or transcript, you will be allowed to listen
to or view the recording at VAGO premises at any reasonable
Before you are asked any questions or required to produce any
documents, your legal representative will be advised of the
relevant secrecy obligations under the Audit Act 1994.
We will not give you a list of questions before the compulsory
appearance. You may, however, bring any documents to the
examination that you think may be useful.
Under section 20A of the Audit Act 1994, compulsory
appearances are confidential. The Auditor-General may, however,
include information from a compulsory appearance in a report if the
information is relevant and in the public interest.
You might need further information to properly answer questions
asked at a compulsory appearance. If so, we may suspend the
compulsory appearance to another time and place to provide you with
an opportunity to obtain the information.
Last updated on 22/03/2017