Auckland Crown entities information updates

More than 85 clients and staff attended an information update “Improving performance, improving public trust” at Eden Park on 22 June.

Stephen Walker opened the update with an overview of the importance of public reporting and posed some questions for attendees to consider:

  • Do you know enough about all aspects of what your entity does and how it’s being reported?
  • What might you need to find out more about?
  • How do you choose to conform to your reporting requirements?
  • How much focus do you put on telling your organisation’s story, and are you looking for ways to improve your entity’s reporting?

Stephen also talked about the need for reporting to keep evolving:

Look for ways to improve the way you tell your story. Make it a compelling read for your audience. Don’t fall into the ‘compliance mind set’.”

John Marney from the Treasury followed with a comprehensive presentation on annual reporting guidelines, investment management and asset performance, and the economic and fiscal context. John’s session was well received and he had a number of questions to answer from the floor.  

Stephen Lewis delivered a well-regarded session on financial reporting.  As one delegate said: “Erudite, interesting presentation on an intrinsically esoteric subject”.

Stephen covered:

  • The transition to IPSAS
  • Revenue from non-exchange transactions
  • Grant expenditure
  • New standards
  • Improving disclosures

Lyn Provost, Controller and Auditor-General gave the keynote session: Improving performance, improving public trust. 

The public’s trust,” Lyn said, “is something we – all of us – have to earn every day. Once lost, it’s very hard to get back.”

Lyn recommended her recent report, Reflections on Governance and Accountability as useful reading.

After lunch and networking with colleagues from across the sector, Alan Clifford, Director, Information Systems Audit and Assurance for Audit New Zealand, facilitated a panel session with Jonathon Berry, Consulting Partner, InPhySec; Heather Ward, Principle Advisor, Cyber Security Policy, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet; and Bruce Edwards, Manager Information Systems Audit and Assurance for Audit New Zealand.

The panellists each gave a short presentation followed by a lively question and answer session. Cyber security is certainly very topical at the moment and, as one delegate mentioned, it was good to raise awareness about personal cyber security as well as entity-level security.

Mike Scott, Assistant Auditor-General - Performance Audit Group, then gave a presentation about Accountability through performance reporting and handling of complaints. Mike’s presentation included two videos of Performance Auditors talking about recent reports. 

To earn trust, said Mike, entities must provide a true account of themselves.

The day finished with a round-up by Stephen Walker.

The key to considering Steve’s questions perhaps lies in the Chinese proverb he shared near the start:

Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.”

Attendees left with plenty of ideas to work towards improving performance, improving public trust.