Public Sector Transformation and ATO Efficiency Review
The Government intends to transform and modernise the public sector by reinvesting $500 million through some specific (though unannounced) initiatives. This investment is expected to net savings of $1.4 billion over the three years.
Specifically, in relation to the ATO, the Government seeks to achieve efficiency savings of $21.8 million over four years from 2016-17 by:
- Reducing stand alone and co-located ATO shopfronts in favour of myGov shopfronts
- Further promoting digital service delivery
- Expanding ATO external compliance assurance processes (we interpret this to mean an increase in automated data matching checks)
- Implementing more efficient processes for the external scrutiny of the ATO.
With regard to external scrutiny, we note that the ATO made a submission to the Standing Committee on Tax and Revenue on 11 March 2016 which suggested the following measures to increase ATO efficiency:
- Less frequent but more meaningful scrutiny including whole-of-organisation reviews
- Sufficient time lapse between reviews to allow for implementation and measurement of agreed, recommended improvements
- Time bound reviews
- Reviews that focus on material issues
- Disregard for recommendations that too easily impose more red tape without commensurate return
- Response procedures to be streamlined
- Implementation of differential regulation and earned autonomy for all scrutineers and across agencies for government and interagency reviews/checks.
The ATO has been asking for more targeted oversight for some time and any modernisation of the public sector is to be welcomed. However, we hope that removing specific ATO shopfronts and replacing them with myGov shopfronts will not lead to any decrease in service delivery.