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New public management and the rise of public sector performance audit

New public management and the rise of public sector performance audit In the context of global new public management reform trends and the associated phenomenon of performance auditing (PA), the purpose of this paper is to explore the rise of performance audit in Australia and examines its focus across audit jurisdictions and the role key stakeholders play in driving its practice.Design/methodology/approachThe study adopts a multi-jurisdictional analysis of PA in Australia to explore its scale and focus, drawing on the theoretical tools of Goffman. Documentary analysis and interview methods are employed.FindingsPerformance audit growth has continued but not always consistently over time and across audit jurisdictions. Despite auditor discourse concerning backstage performance audit intentions being strongly focussed on evaluating programme outcomes, published front stage reports retain a strong control focus. While this appears to reflect Auditors-General (AGs) reluctance to critique government policy, nonetheless there are signs of direct and indirectly recursive relationships emerging between AGs and parliamentarians, the media and the public.Research limitations/implicationsPA merits renewed researcher attention as it is now an established process but with ongoing variability in focus and stakeholder influence.Social implicationsAs an audit technology now well-embedded in the public sector accountability setting, it offers potential insights into matters of local, state and national importance for parliament and the public, but exhibits variable underlying drivers, agendas and styles of presentation that have the capacity to enhance or detract from the public interest.Originality/valuePerformance audit emerges as a complex practice deployed as a mask by auditors in managing their relationship with key stakeholders. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Accounting Auditing & Accountability Journal Emerald Publishing

New public management and the rise of public sector performance audit

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References (96)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
0951-3574
DOI
10.1108/aaaj-06-2017-2964
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In the context of global new public management reform trends and the associated phenomenon of performance auditing (PA), the purpose of this paper is to explore the rise of performance audit in Australia and examines its focus across audit jurisdictions and the role key stakeholders play in driving its practice.Design/methodology/approachThe study adopts a multi-jurisdictional analysis of PA in Australia to explore its scale and focus, drawing on the theoretical tools of Goffman. Documentary analysis and interview methods are employed.FindingsPerformance audit growth has continued but not always consistently over time and across audit jurisdictions. Despite auditor discourse concerning backstage performance audit intentions being strongly focussed on evaluating programme outcomes, published front stage reports retain a strong control focus. While this appears to reflect Auditors-General (AGs) reluctance to critique government policy, nonetheless there are signs of direct and indirectly recursive relationships emerging between AGs and parliamentarians, the media and the public.Research limitations/implicationsPA merits renewed researcher attention as it is now an established process but with ongoing variability in focus and stakeholder influence.Social implicationsAs an audit technology now well-embedded in the public sector accountability setting, it offers potential insights into matters of local, state and national importance for parliament and the public, but exhibits variable underlying drivers, agendas and styles of presentation that have the capacity to enhance or detract from the public interest.Originality/valuePerformance audit emerges as a complex practice deployed as a mask by auditors in managing their relationship with key stakeholders.

Journal

Accounting Auditing & Accountability JournalEmerald Publishing

Published: Jan 15, 2019

Keywords: Stakeholders; New public management; Auditor general; Audit society; Performance audit

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