Auditing the right area at the right time is the key to achieving better public services for Queenslanders.
Our Annual report 2020–21 tabled in parliament yesterday, on 30 September 2021. You can read our annual report here.
2020–21 was a period of reflection following considerable change and challenges for all organisations large and small.
We worked closely with our clients and stakeholders as we adapted how we worked together following the evolving impacts of COVID-19. By August 2020, we reverted to business as usual, and were glad to visit our clients in person across Queensland for our 2021 audits.
Our work continued to give us insights into the performance of the public sector and local governments, which we then shared through our day-to-day engagement with our clients, in our reports to parliament and via our wide range of other resources.
This year, we tabled 18 reports on the results of our audit work, insights, and recommendations for improvement. They covered the topics important to Queensland, from Delivering successful technology projects (Report 7: 2020–21) to Effectiveness of audit committees in state government entities (Report 2: 2020–21), Awarding of sports grants (Report 6: 2020–21) and Regulating firearms (Report 8: 2020–21). Our tabled reports contained 80 recommendations for entities and 15 suggested actions, such as understanding the true cost of service delivery, and improving collaboration between entities and between people.
We also progressed a number of key projects that will afford us even greater insights and efficiencies, including developing a new approach for how we track entities’ progress in implementing our recommendations, and trialling new tools for assessing the efficiency and effectiveness of entities’ internal controls.
While we reflect on the financial year that has passed, 2020–21 is also a special milestone for QAO. On 27 September 2020, QAO celebrated its 160th anniversary. The first Auditor-General, Henry Buckley, was appointed in 1860, the year after Queensland’s separation from New South Wales, and they have been an independent officer since.
While the office has changed significantly since 1860, it remains a tremendous privilege to serve the people of Queensland. As Sir Leo Hielscher AC wrote in a letter to QAO for submission to the Queensland Greats Awards 2020—
‘The Auditor-General’s Department has enormous responsibilities to keep the financial affairs of the State Government bereft of fraud or theft and inline with State Legislature’s directions. The Queensland Auditor-General’s Department has honoured this obligation to the full. Its achievements and reputation are superior indeed and deserve recognition at the highest level.’
Today, the modern QAO is an innovative, diverse and collaborative organisation.
In 2020–21, we had 181 full-time employees, with 29 per cent from non-English speaking backgrounds. Fifty-six per cent of staff are women, including 36 per cent of directors and above and a third of our Executive Management Group. One person identifies as having a disability, we represent a wide range of age demographics, and our staff bring broad work experiences and backgrounds to our team.
An important and key part of our team is our 20 contracted audit service providers who support us across Queensland, and this year performed 44 per cent of our audits.
We look forward to QAO’s future, and will continue to deliver value from our services, share our insights widely and achieve quality in all our work.
Read more about our incredible past via the interactive timeline below.