Auditor-General looking at how public sector meets needs of people affected by violence
Tue 26 Jul 2022
The Office of the Auditor-General is looking at how effectively Te Puna Aonui is working with non-government organisations, tangata whenua, and communities to meet the needs of people affected by family violence and sexual violence.
The 2022/23 Annual plan for the Controller and Auditor-General | Tumuaki o te Mana Arotake includes plans to audit how well government agencies are working together with non-governmental organisations and with others to understand the needs of those affected by family violence and sexual violence.
The Office of the Auditor-General (OAG) has provided further information about the planned audit, noting it will focus on the Interdepartmental Executive Board (IEB) of the Joint Venture, now called Te Puna Aonui. The OAG notes the audit will look at:
- "how well the IEB agencies understand the needs of those affected by family violence and sexual violence;
- how well the IEB agencies are planning to meet the needs of those affected by family violence and sexual violence; and
- how well the IEB agencies are working to ensure that responses are delivered in ways that best meet the needs of people affected by family violence and sexual violence."
The OAG also noted the goal for the audit:
"We will look to highlight good practice and identify where improvements can be made. This will include a focus on the benefits and challenges for government agencies, NGOs, tangata whenua, and communities in working together in more connected ways.
Our work will offer an opportunity for the Office to share lessons from the different approaches to working in these new ways."
The audit is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2023. You can contact the OAG to make a suggestion or ask a question about this audit by using the OAG's online feedback form.
This work is part of a multi-year programme of work to examine what public organisations are doing to reduce family violence and sexual violence. As part of this Annual plan, the OAG will also look at sexual harm in the workplace, specifically the New Zealand Defence Force’s progress on eliminating sexual harassment and bullying in the armed forces as part of Operation Respect. The OAG previously completed an audit of how well the joint venture on family and sexual violence had been set up. The Auditor-General published a report of the findings from this previous audit calling for improvements in the operation and function of the Joint Venture in June 2021.
The OAG has released a report on Māori perspectives on public accountability (July 2022). OAG commissioned Haemata Limited to research and write the report. Haemata Limited used kaupapa Māori research principles and discussions with 35 Māori participants to inform the report. The OAG has also published related reports on public accountability including Public accountability: A matter of trust and confidence (September 2019) and Building a stronger public accountability system for New Zealanders (October 2021). For more information see all OAG content on accountability.
The Protected Disclosures (Protection of Whistleblowers) Act 2022 came into force on 1 July 2022 and replaces the Protected Disclosures Act 2000. The purpose is to facilitate the disclosure and investigation of serious wrongdoing in the workplace and provide protection for employees and other workers who report concerns. According to Te Kawa Mataaho | Public Service Commission the key changes in the 2022 Act are:
- "extending the definition of serious wrongdoing to cover private sector use of public funds and authority and to cover behaviour that is a serious risk to the health and safety of any individual
- allowing people to report serious wrongdoing directly to an appropriate authority at any time, while clarifying the ability of the appropriate authority to decline or refer the disclosure
- strengthening protections for disclosers by specifying what a receiver of a disclosure should do
- clarifying internal procedure requirements for public sector organisations and requiring them to state how they will provide support to disclosers
- clarifying the potential forms of adverse conduct disclosers may face."
Organisations, both public and private sector, have responsibilities under the Act. For guidance see the Public Service Commission. For questions you can contact the Public Service Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org or +64 4 495 6600. Also see information on the Protected Disclosures Act from the Ombudsman.
The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) and Inland Revenue are consulting on plans to amend their Approval Information Sharing Agreement. From 1 July 2023, Child Support payments will be passed on to sole parents on a benefit. These payments will be treated as income for benefit purposes. Inland Revenue will share details of Child Support payments with MSD and Inland Revenue will charge the payments as income. As part of the revised process, MSD and Inland Revenue will revised their Approval Information Sharing Agreement. The agreement allows Inland Revenue to share Child Support payment information with MSD. The closing date to give feedback on the proposed changes is 17 August 2022. Learn more about the consultation on the MSD website.