Addressing public inquiry recommendations – Emergency response agencies

The Auditor-General for New South Wales, Margaret Crawford, released a report today examining how effectively NSW emergency response agencies address public inquiry recommendations.

The audit found that agencies’ governance arrangements to address public inquiry recommendations have important and consistent gaps. 

The agencies did not sufficiently verify that they had implemented accepted recommendations as intended, and in line with the outcomes sought. This creates a risk that issues with disaster prevention or responses highlighted by public inquiries are not addressed in a complete or timely way and may persist or recur in the future. 

The audit also found that agencies did not always nominate milestone dates or priority rankings for accepted recommendations, and so could not demonstrate they were managing or monitoring them effectively.

The audit examined how five emergency response agencies – Fire and Rescue NSW, National Parks and Wildlife Service, NSW Rural Fire Service, NSW State Emergency Service and Resilience NSW – have addressed accepted recommendations from public inquiries over the last ten years. The audit assessed the effectiveness of governance arrangements to track recommendation implementation.

The report makes six recommendations to improve disaster response agency arrangements to address public inquiry recommendations.  

While the focus of this audit was agencies that responded to natural disasters, the findings and recommendations from this report have the potential to be applied across the NSW public sector in response to public inquiries related to other areas of government activity.

For media enquiries please contact Ian Goodwin, Deputy Auditor-General on 9275 7347 or by email.

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