Our billable staff productivity (the percentage of total staffing hours that we charge to our audit work) in 2017–18 increased from 57 per cent to 59 per cent. While an improvement on the prior year, we did fall short of our target by one percentile point or 4,000 hours. We missed the target because we invested additional resources into our corporate support areas to deliver key strategic projects such as our Data Centre Refresh Project (see below for further details).
Total staffing hours include time worked by all staff, including those responsible for administration and governance.
Enhancing technology infrastructure and systems
In 2017–18, we continued to enhance audit delivery through improved systems and processes. Technology achievements included:
- as part of our major Data Centre Refresh Project, one element of the ‘Technology and Process Innovation’ strategic initiative, we completely refreshed our data centre infrastructure, moving from on-premise systems to a cloud-based ‘Platform-as-a-Service’ solution hosted in the GovDC data centre. This project has delivered improvements in the performance and availability of our key systems, as well as being more resilient and secure. It will be a key enabler for future strategic initiatives including our Future Workplace Project, and provides a more agile environment to enable future changes
- piloted and rolled out new technology-enabled collaboration spaces for our staff, including one-click wireless presentation screens with interactive whiteboard touchscreens, and enhanced video-conferencing facilities
- implemented an enterprise service management platform across all Corporate Services units to improve tracking of issues and reporting.
We also continued to meet compliance and operational stability requirements by:
- maintaining certification of compliance with the ISO27001:2013 security standard
- maintaining systems availability above the target of 99 per cent
- refreshing our Business Continuity Plan and Crisis Management Plan under an improved maintenance framework aligned to relevant Australian and international standards
- developing a cyber security roadmap and new policies and standards for information security
- conducting an external penetration test.
Focus on performance management
The performance, behaviour and conduct of our employees are integral to our success. The Audit Office promotes a transparent performance management approach that aligns personal goals and individual development with the Audit Office corporate plan and vision.
In 2017–18, we continued focusing on performance management by:
- cascading the Audit Office corporate plan down into branch plans and individual performance agreements
- strengthening our performance management process, including performance conversations, two-way feedback and the link between performance and remuneration
- holding valuable collaboration sessions for all classification levels to ensure managers have an agreed and collective understanding of expectations.
Fair and responsible remuneration
Our approach to remuneration is focused on being procedurally fair and fiscally responsible, and in line with the NSW government’s wages policy.
Mid-year and end-year performance conversations were held between managers and employees. An end-year performance and remuneration assessment was conducted and the results were moderated across branches through leadership collaboration sessions.
The Remuneration Committee met twice during 2017–18 to consider auditor/analyst progression and the end-year remuneration review. The committee reviews recommendations to the Auditor-General on the application of the Audit Office’s remuneration policies and practices. These recommendations continue to improve the remuneration assessment process.
The year ahead
In 2018–19, we will continue to:
- cascade the Audit Office Corporate Plan 2017–2020 to branch plans and individual performance agreements
- pilot a performance feedback tool that enables managers to provide feedback to employees at the end of audit engagements
- ensure our approach to remuneration remains procedurally fair and fiscally responsible, and in line with the NSW government’s wages policy.
We will also in 2018–19, under our ‘Technology and Process Innovation’ strategic initiative, implement our cyber security roadmap and develop performance reporting dashboards for management decision-making.
For more information on our strategic initiatives see the year ahead.