Professional development

Ongoing investment in our talent

6 training days on average per employee

Well-developed skills

Our learning and development program ensures our staff have the skills and capability they need to do their job well, and ensure they are supported to meet their career goals.

In 2017–18 we:

  • expanded local government training to ensure staff are prepared for our new mandate to audit local government
  • ensured senior managers have the required skills to present at local government public meetings through training and coaching
  • delivered detailed accounting standards training
  • developed and implemented a new Study Support Policy
  • Senior Auditors and Audit Leaders facilitated parts of the graduate induction program
  • delivered cultural awareness training to support the Indigenous internship program
  • developed an ‘About Government’ online learning module for recruits hired from outside the public sector
  • partnered with the Committee for Economic Development in Australia (CEDA) which has enabled our Office Executive and Leadership Team to attend meetings and events with government leaders.

We continued to help staff gain their professional accounting qualifications in 2017–18 by reimbursing 100 per cent of fees and providing study leave. Seven staff qualified as Chartered Accountants and one as a Certified Practising Accountant. In addition, we had one staff member complete their Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) Certification.

The implementation of our new Study Support Policy has solidified our ongoing support of formal education. This includes supporting non-audit staff with tertiary education by paying a percentage of fees for studies relevant to their role. In addition to financial support, approved staff are also granted study leave to maximise their potential for success.

General training in 2017–18 included a combination of online training, face-to-face sessions, quizzes, external courses, seminars and conferences. In addition to this, staff continue to consistently learn and develop whilst on the job. Internal coaching and face-to-face training delivered by Audit Office subject matter experts continue to form an integral part of our learning program.

Leadership development

In 2017–18, we developed a Leadership Development Framework that links to the NSW Public Service Commission’s Capability Framework. Leadership development of our Office Executive group has been the first step in the framework’s implementation with a team development workshop conducted in February 2018. (See the case study on page 47 for further details on our Leadership Development Framework.) We also focused in 2017–18 on women’s leadership development.

Technical development

Financial audit staff in 2017–18 were trained across a variety of subject areas, including Plain English, audit methodology, accounting standards, on-the-job coaching and auditing local government.

Corporate Services staff received relevant industry-specific training and continued to develop through attendance at seminars, training sessions and conferences.

Performance audit staff attended industry conferences, and developed advanced report writing skills through face-to-face training and coaching.

Staff development

Throughout 2017–18, we continued to offer our staff a diverse range of development opportunities both externally and internally. Staff continue to be given the opportunity for internal movement which includes acting at higher levels.

We also continued our ongoing commitment to offering staff development experiences with external organisations. In 2017–18, we seconded 13 staff to accounting firm PwC Australia, including two information systems auditors as a part of a new pilot program. This program received positive feedback. In addition, two staff were seconded to accounting firm BDO.

Training days steady but overall spend down

In 2017–18, we delivered six training days per staff member on average which is consistent with last year, but below our target of seven days. We were also well below our target for overall learning and development expenditure, with $472,000 spent in 2017–18, compared to last year’s $743,000. Although our expenditure reduced, we managed to keep training days per staff member steady as many of our staff attended free seminars, and we delivered some training internally. The main reason we did not meet our expenditure target was a delay in developing our Leadership Development Framework, which was not finalised until the end of 2017–18.

Learning and development spending $’000


Average training days per staff member


The year ahead

In 2018–19, our learning and development program will include:

  • implementing our Leadership Development Framework
  • implementing, an online learning platform
  • continuing to focus on women’s leadership development
  • providing all-of-organisation anti-bullying, harassment and discrimination training
  • developing a Learning and Development Strategy.