Friday, May 30, 2014

The Government Inspector, inspired by Nikolai Gogol

The Government Inspector by Simon Stone with Emily Barclay; devised by the cast featuring a short musical by Stefan Gregory; inspired by Nikolai Gogol.  At The Playhouse, Canberra Theatre Centre, May 28-31, 2014.

Dear Mr Stone and Company,

Thank you for your invitation to the National Commission of Audit to inspect your operation. 

To place our conclusions in an appropriate context, we refer you to those of our Terms of Reference relevant to your situation, as follows:


In relation to activities performed, the Commission is asked to identify:

–whether there remains a compelling case for the activity to continue to be
undertaken; and
–if so, whether there is a strong case for continued direct involvement of
government, or whether the activity could be undertaken more efficiently by the
private sector, the not for profit sector, the States, or local government.


Efficiency and effectiveness of expenditure

The Commission is asked to report on efficiencies and savings to improve the
effectiveness of, and value for money from, all expenditure, including:

–options for greater efficiencies such as:
:increasing contestability of services;
:adoption of new technologies in service delivery;
:consolidation of agencies and boards;
:rationalising the service delivery footprint to ensure better, more productive
and efficient services for stakeholders;
:flattening organisational structures and streamlining lines of responsibility
and accountability;
:consolidating support functions into a single agency; and
:privatisation of assets.
–potential improvements to productivity, service quality, and value for money
across the public sector, including better delivery of services to the regions; and
–anything that is reasonably necessary or desirable to improve the efficiency and effectiveness generally.

To save the Commission's time and expense, following is a brief Executive Summary of our Conclusions.

We recommend a revolving door structure and note that your operation in this regard is highly efficient.  We note that only on rare occasions have you flattened organisational structures, and consideration could be given to furthering this objective, in comparison, for example, to the complete flattening achieved in the Perplex operation (audited 10 April 2014).  We were suitably impressed by the almost continous contestability of services in your operation, to the point of saving on staffing via departures and death.  More productive and efficient services were evident in the high degree of multitasking in your staff.  The public sector has expressed its satisfaction with your operational service quality, including effective delivery of services, and the strategic planning of touring to regions including Uzbekistan.

Your operation began well in the matter of rationalisation of the service footprint, represented by a single pair of shoes, though there was some concern that the footprint became somewhat out-of-hand in an all-singing all-dancing finale.  Propriety and approbrium were issues at several points of the progression of the operation, leading some stakeholders to question whether there had been sufficient privatisation of some of the staff’s assets.

On the whole, the Commission has concluded that there remains a compelling case for the activity to continue to be undertaken, and that there is a strong case for continued direct involvement of the Australian Government, in partnership with the private sector, the not for profit sector, the States, and local government.


Frank McKone
Critically certified
29 May 2014

Operational staff in operation
Not necessarily Left to Right
In alphabetical order:
Fayssal Bazzi, Mitchell Butel, Gareth Davies, Robert Menzies, Zahra Newman, Eryn-Jean Norvill, Greg Stone