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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 10 Hansard (7 December) . . Page.. 2770..

MRS CARNELL (continuing):

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts tabled its Report No. 4, which endorsed the Auditor-General's recommendations, on 1 June 1995. The PAC concluded that a standard framework for performance indicators, as recommended by the Auditor-General, would considerably assist better reporting by agencies, and that there should be a recognition within the framework of the need for qualitative as well as quantitative measures of performance.

The Government is committed to developing a customer focused public service committed to high levels of performance. The Government has endorsed the recommendations of the PAC and the Auditor-General's reports in this context. This Government has taken a number of positive and significant steps to improve both performance and accountability. The Government's financial management reform program has provided the basis for developing a more appropriate model for assessing the performance of ACT government agencies. This focuses on the planning, measuring and reporting of outputs. The quality, quantity, cost and timeliness of outputs delivered by agencies will be measured, rather than the traditional measurement of inputs - that is, staff, financial and other resources - consumed by agencies.

Under this approach we will know how effectively an agency is providing goods and specific services - that is, outputs - and how effectively these are contributing to achieving the Government's and, of course, this Assembly's, desired outcomes. This approach will better inform the Government in making choices about whether the public sector or the private sector will best provide a particular good or service. The Government, the Legislative Assembly and the community will also have available more meaningful information by which to assess the performance of the public service.

In the context of responding to the PAC and Auditor-General's reports, the Government has also defined a broad framework for performance reporting. This framework describes the various reporting requirements and accountability relationships, states who is responsible for reporting and what they are reporting on, and lists the range of performance reporting tools available for assessing performance. This performance reporting and accountability framework will meet the requirements of the financial management reform program and the Government's focus on transparency in accountability and reporting.

The framework also incorporates non-financial reporting and accountability requirements, such as reports to the Legislative Assembly, including the PAC and estimates committees, Ministers, the Government, the Auditor-General and, of course, the Commonwealth. The framework recognises that annual reports, budget papers, program reviews and evaluations, audit reports and Legislative Assembly reports together provide a comprehensive picture of agency performance. The Assembly passed the Government's annual reports legislation on 23 August 1995, and the Chief Minister's Department is developing proposals for information to be provided in future annual reports, including the use of performance indicators. The views of the PAC and the Auditor-General will be taken into account in this process. Mr Speaker, I commend the Government's response to the PAC and the Auditor-General's reports to the Assembly.

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