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Focus On Series

Efficiency of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions

Efficiency of the Office of the Director of Public ProsecutionsAudit Summary

Publication Date:
March 2008

Audit Office:
Audit Office of New South Wales

Link to full report:

Audited Entities

  • Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP)

Audit Objective(s)

  • The audit examined whether the ODPP can demonstrate how efficient it is and whether it has adopted good management practices.

Audit Scope

  • The audit looked at the efficiency of the ODPP, focusing on its prosecution activities. The audit did not examine:
    • the effectiveness of the ODPP;
    • the efficiency of the justice system;
    • the adequacy of the ODPP’s budget; and
    • the NSW Police prosecutions.
  • The audit did not question the merits of Government policy objectives.

Audit Criteria

  • The ODPP could demonstrate that:
    • it has an adequate set of efficiency indicators
    • it has valid and reliable information on its services, costs and efficiency
    • its efficiency is high and improving
    • it reports clearly its efficiency to the government and Parliament.
    • it has adequate internal governance arrangements
    • its information systems support efficient management
    • its management arrangements and work practices support efficient operations
    • it systematically identifies and takes action to address efficiency constraints.

Main Audit Findings

  • The efficiency indicators the ODPP has been using are not yet sufficiently relevant and appropriate. It does not have service or efficiency targets, and does not adequately compare its performance over time or to others. Data management practices are not adequate to ensure that information is valid and reliable.
  • The ODPP still does not have valid, reliable and comprehensive information on the cost of its services.
  • The ODPP does not have adequate information on the costs of its services and how staff use their time.
  • The ODPP has a number of systems in place to manage the efficiency of individual solicitors and other employees, although they are not routinely and consistently applied.

Selected Audit Recommendations

The audit recommended that the ODPP:

  • continue to build on recent improvements to its service and efficiency indicators. In so doing the ODPP should:
    • by the end of 2007-08, clearly articulate its services, and how these services contribute to the results it is trying to achieve
    • by the end of 2007-08, develop indicators of quantity, timeliness, total cost and unit cost for each service
    • from the beginning of 2008-09, include these indicators in its planning and internal reporting
    • select from these a smaller number of ‘headline’ indicators to use in its reports to Parliament and to the Minister
    • start building a data development agenda and report progress alongside its reporting on service performance
  • collect accurate and comprehensive information about the costs of its services and activities and use this to assess its efficiency and cost effectiveness. In so doing the ODPP should:
    • bed down its prosecution service and activity costing methodology and ensure the costing process adopted is able to accurately identify the cost of delivering prosecution services
    • apply appropriate costing methodologies to its other key services such as witness assistance, contribution to an efficient justice system, and advice to government on proposed legislation
    • use service costing information to enhance its reporting
  • use service costing information to improve its service delivery, efficiency and resource allocation. In so doing the ODPP should use service costing information to:
    • inform its planning, decision-making and cost management
    • benchmark costs between different groups in the organisation and other agencies