The Audit Office of New South Wales (the Audit Office) is a statutory authority, established under the Public Finance and Audit Act 1983, that conducts audits for the Auditor-General. For almost 200 years, the Auditor-General for New South Wales has assisted the parliament of New South Wales hold government accountable for its use of public resources. The Auditor-General does this by reporting directly to parliament on audits of government financial reports and performance. Financial audits provide an independent opinion on whether the financial statements of government entities, universities and councils comply with accounting standards and relevant laws, regulations and government directions. Performance audits review whether public money is spent effectively, efficiently, economically and in accordance with the law.
The Audit Office takes its responsibilities to parliament and the people of New South Wales very seriously. Protecting the reputation of the Audit Office is vital to ensuring its credibility and maintaining public trust in its work. Robust frameworks are in place that ensure the organisation is working to the highest levels of professional integrity. Disciplined adherence to policies, procedures and processes is at the core of what the organisation and its people stand for.
In December 2017, the Audit Office established the Future Workplace Project (the Project) to prepare for the end of its tenancy lease that was due to expire in July 2019. The expiry of the Audit Office’s lease (at a site it had occupied for 16 years) was identified as a unique opportunity to embed and drive change across the organisation and as a result, the Project became a flagship driver of change at the Audit Office.
The Project aimed to understand and articulate the Audit Office’s ideal physical environment, find a suitable site, and design and build an optimal working environment to support a current and future workforce that is dynamic, integrated, insightful, connected, agile and that develops potential. The Project was closely linked to the long-term goal of evolving to reflect the changing world, provide greater public value and be more appealing for employees.
The Future Workplace Project presented a unique opportunity to fast-track the Audit Office’s evolution to its desired Future State. With a strong focus on involving staff, the Project aimed to deliver a modern office environment and particularly focussed on helping the workforce be more dynamic, integrated and connected.
Spanning all aspects of the Project was change management, and the Audit Office utilised the ADKAR model of change management from start to finish. Emphasis was placed heavily on consultation, collaboration and communication and the Project aimed to ensure that all staff played a role in the change, and that the end result was something the organisation built together.
The Project aimed to appeal to employees by delivering a workplace with more mobility and choice, varied meeting spaces, enhanced technologies and more targeted digital communication channels.
The Project also aimed to further support the Workforce Vision outlined in the Audit Office Corporate Plan by creating a vibrant and appealing workplace that engages staff while enhancing connectivity, and encouraging a collaborative and integrated way of working.
In June 2019, the Audit Office relocated to its new premises at Darling Park, and all staff commenced working in an agile way. The Project was delivered one month prior to the expected completion date and within the approved capital budget. The high-quality aesthetic and functional features of the new working environment were produced for a very reasonable cost ensuring value for money was achieved.