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Practice Guide to Auditing Efficiency

Continuous improvement and innovation

Table 1(f) - Knowledge of business questions for an audit of efficiency focused on application processes

Note: Additions to the questions and risks in the Practice Guide are shown in italics.

Potential Risks to Efficiency

Knowledge of Business Questions

  • Opportunities for shared services (particularly with other application-processing operations in government) have not been explored.
  • Systems and processes do not make effective use of information technology.
  • Senior management challenge of the status quo is not sufficiently rigorous.
  • Does the organization periodically review its efficiency? If so, how is this done? Is a review of options for reducing waste and removing unnecessary activities conducted?
  • Has the organization identified and assessed the merits of alternative service delivery methods and models as potential means of increasing its efficiency?
  • Has the organization examined alternatives to verification of applications, such as identification of low-risk applicants (such as renewals) or use of sampling?
  •  Has the organization considered auto-adjudication options for low-risk applicants?
  • Has the organization assessed opportunities for efficiencies that could be achieved through better collaborative arrangements (such as pooling of resources, removal of duplication, and use of shared services)?
  • Have opportunities for shared services been explored? For example, are IT systems shared with other application processes in government? Are common functional activities (such as human resources management, financial management, and information technology) shared with other government organizations?
  • Does the organization know what continuous improvement models and frameworks are being used in similar public sector application-processing organizations?

Source: Many of these questions have been adapted from Northern Ireland Audit Office’s Improving Public Sector Efficiency: Good Practice Checklist for Public Bodies (2010), as well as from recent audits of efficiency.