Public Sector Audit – The Principal Auditor’s perspective

Public Sector Audit – The Principal Auditor’s perspective

The Principal Auditor’s mandate is to report on whether government departments and statutory corporations, authorities and agencies use public money properly, and effectively; and to support the Gibraltar Parliament in its role of holding government departments and statutory bodies to account for their use of public money. In addition, although the Principal Auditor does not yet have specific statutory authority to carry out Value for Money (VFM) examinations, successive Principal Auditors have been doing so, with the support of the Government, since 1992.

In practical terms, this means that the Principal Auditor is the independent overseer of government spending, working on behalf of the Parliament. The Principal Auditor is independent of Government, and the GAO carries out its work professionally, impartially and objectively on behalf of the Principal Auditor. This role is carried out by undertaking:

  • Financial statement audits of the Government, statutory corporations, authorities and agencies; and
  • Compliance and VFM audits that promote the efficient, effective and economic use of public resources.

The work of the GAO focuses on how well the civil and public service implements Government policy. The Principal Auditor is politically neutral and therefore he does not comment on Government policy but on how that policy is implemented.

Audit is a fundamental element of accountability that supports the role of Government to effectively report on its use of public money. The Principal Auditor’s reports are submitted to the Gibraltar Parliament, government departments and statutory corporations, authorities and agencies, as appropriate.

The freedom to determine the content, timing and publication of reports is a fundamental principle of an independent audit function. Reports are submitted as timely as possible. Delays in reporting audit findings potentially make them obsolete and more significantly erode effective accountability.