Access Canberra didn't have a meaningful business plan for the first two and a half years of its existence, and when it got one, it was often ineffective.
As a result, it was difficult to measure how successful it was.
That's according to a recently released ACT Audit Office report examining Access Canberra's business planning and monitoring.
The audit office found once Access Canberra did have a business plan it often lacked purpose and was difficult to report on its performance.
Access Canberra was established in 2014 as a function within the Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorial, describing itself as a "one stop shop" for ACT government customer and regulatory services.
It didn't have a meaningful business plan until 2017, but once it got one it was not effectively monitored, according to the audit.
The business plan had two forms - a two page narrative version and an "unusual and eye-catching" ideographic version.
But the report said no performance measures or targets were put in the Access Canberra business plan when it when it began in July 2017.
"Performance measures for its 2017-18 activities were only agreed on 22 June 2018 and performance measures for 2018-19 only agreed on 2 November 2018 and implemented on 8 February 2019," the report said.
"This is too late to be effective in influencing performance monitoring and remedial action during the year."
The audit analysed the first performance measures that Access Canberra created in June 2018 so it could track how it was implementing its priorities in the business plan.
It found there was only one aim where its success was able to be effectively reported on, while many were unable to be measured making it impossible to gather whether they had been successful.
While plans identified broad strategies to be pursued by the agency over three years, they did not have clear ways to measure whether the aims had been completed.
Aims included "flexible working is the norm" measured by "the number of people who could sit at another desk tomorrow if required".
With no baseline provided, the audit office was unable to determine how good the progress had been.
There was some improvement for its measures for the 2018-19 aims, but four of the 12 sets of measures needed improvements to be accurately assessed.
Among the aims were "using drones to improve public safety" and "less paper, even more digital".
The agency's individual team plans were also found to be "variable" in quality, with many not addressing important aspects such as priorities for the year, identifying internal and external stakeholders and linking team plans to Access Canberra's broader plan.
Access Canberra welcomed the audit's findings.
"Access Canberra found this to be an engaging performance audit, which will add notable value to our business planning and monitoring processes," the statement said.
"We understand the importance of good governance to support effective regulation.
"Especially in an agency with as many moving parts as Access Canberra.
"As I often comment to my team, today we'll make more than 8,000 regulatory decisions - decisions to issue licenses or registrations, decisions to inspect or investigate matters, and decisions to exercise formal powers to enforce the law.
"And our community needs to have confidence in every one of those decisions and their impact."
"We especially commend the audit team on their willingness to roll up their sleeves and spend some time with our team members to build a wholesome understanding of our business."
Auditor General Michael Harris said Access Canberra's recent emphasis on business planning should lead to improved governance across the agency.