The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has welcomed the findings of an independent report on the Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) by the Office of the Auditor-General.
The OAG released the assurance report on its performance audit of the PGP today, providing an independent perspective on how well MPI is administering and implementing the PGP to achieve its intended outcomes.
Overall, the OAG found that MPI is administering the PGP effectively, says Ben Dalton, MPI’s Deputy Director-General, Sector Partnerships and Programmes.
“The OAG compliments MPI’s management of the PGP in a number of areas, giving us further assurance that we’re on the right track.”
“The OAG noted that MPI is protecting the public’s investment in PGP programmes effectively,” says Mr Dalton. “It also found that MPI takes a tailored approach towards setting up and managing partnerships with industry to reflect the diverse nature of the work and people involved, and foster trust.”
The OAG’s performance audit found that MPI places appropriate emphasis on the accountability of PGP programmes. For example, MPI’s monitoring and reporting of the progress of PGP programmes enables effective governance.
“Monitoring and reporting of the PGP and programmes are an important part of our work, and it’s great to have the OAG’s assurance that these are robust,” says Mr Dalton. “The OAG noted that we’re prepared to hold our industry partners to account for meeting their obligations under PGP programme contracts, which forms an important part of ensuring accountability across the PGP.”
The OAG also noted MPI’s strong focus on promoting more engagement with, and between, industry partners, and identifying opportunities to strengthen PGP partnerships.
“We recognised that, in addition to collaboration between MPI and individual industry PGP co-investors, facilitating engagement across PGP programmes takes collaboration to the next level,” says Mr Dalton. “It enables MPI and programmes to share information and expertise, and collectively increase our ability to successfully deliver benefits for New Zealand.
The OAG saw value in MPI’s improvements to the PGP, for example to its monitoring and reporting of the PGP as a portfolio, rather than purely at the individual programme level.
The OAG also noted the long term nature of PGP investment and outcomes, and that PGP programmes have started to achieve results that indicate progress towards long-term goals.
The OAG has made three recommendations to help MPI further improve the transparency and accountability of the PGP.
- using a consistent format for quarterly report summaries of PGP programme progress on the MPI website;
- improving aspects of current documentation of discussions and decisions by the PGP’s independent Investment Advisory Panel; and
- ensuring MPI’s work to improve monitoring of the PGP programme portfolio results in reliable tracking and evaluation of long term outcomes and economic benefits.
“We welcome the OAG’s recommendations and will make these adjustments,” says Mr Dalton.
“Increasing the visibility and transparency of the PGP has been a key focus for us, and we’ve made a number of improvements towards this. For example, we’ve published a wealth of information about the PGP on our MPI website, launched a monthly newsletter in 2013 and we hold annual PGP Expos that industry co-investors, media and members of the business community attend. The OAG’s recommendations will help us to make further improvements.”
Mr Dalton says that it is important the Crown’s investment in PGP programmes is carefully and appropriately allocated and managed, and that MPI has assurance this is the case.
“The OAG’s performance audit report provides additional assurance that we’re administering the PGP well, and its recommendations will enable us to further increase the effectiveness of the PGP,” says Mr Dalton.
“We would like to thank the OAG for the thoroughness of the performance audit.”
A copy of the report is available on the OAG’s website .
For more information, contact:
MPI media phone 029 894 0328