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Organisational Governance

Organisational structure

The Departments organisational restructure was initiated in response to the Governments policy agenda needs and an external review of our corporate governance arrangements which commenced in 200001. The new arrangements took effect on 1 January 2002 and have improved the transparency of the Departments accountability framework and internal and external reporting functions by enabling the Department to focus on the outcome we are seeking to achieve. Refreshed horizontal linkages have been established, as have new Group Executive Teams led by our two Deputy Secretaries ensuring the Department is a high performing with clearly defined responsibilities and accountabilities.

Corporate governance

Corporate governance in DOTARS is based on the premise that good results are most likely to be delivered through good systems, structures and processes.

Our emphasis on good corporate governance ensures we strive towards achieving our Portfolio Outcomes of a better transport system for Australia and recognition and development opportunities for local, regional and Territory communities, while maintaining our accountability to the taxpayer as we deliver our services and manage our organisation.

Specifically, corporate governance is a framework of interrelated mechanisms that assist us in operating efficiently and effectively with a focus on consistency and integration. Our framework facilitates the meaningful engagement of stakeholders in policy development, programme delivery, organisational decision-making and risk management.

In May 2001, the Department commissioned the National Institute of Governance (NIOG) to undertake a review of the Departments corporate governance arrangements. The objective of the review was to outline the range of governance arrangements in the Department and their effectiveness. It was also aimed at identifying areas for ongoing improvement and strategies to achieve better practice corporate governance in the Department.

To complement the NIOG review, also during 2001 the Department commissioned an audit of the Departments information technology (IT) governance and engaged a consultant to assess the Departments performance management requirements and develop improved and integrated organisational performance planning and reporting over 200102. We also streamlined our human resource governance by adopting the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) model of nine people management practices outlined later in Part 5 under Management of human resources.

NIOGs review confirmed that the Department has a good foundation for effective corporate governance. The Department is implementing the action plan arising from the review, focusing on areas of continuous improvement including advice to staff on corporate governance, a legislation directory and a catalogue of Transport and Regional Services portfolio agencies.

The key priorities for action in 2002 include developing a whole of Department approach to:

  • performance monitoring against the Departments outcomes and outputs framework
  • knowledge management
  • stakeholder management
  • monitoring and evaluation of programmes and processes
  • managing communication flows
  • continuous improvement of corporate governance.

Information technology governance

The 2001 audit of the Departments IT governance looked at the structure of relationships and processes that direct and control our IT environment in order to balance risk versus return in IT and the business processes that it supports.

The 2001 audit found that the Department could significantly improve its IT processes and reduce risk through the implementation of several key recommendations:

  • The Department should establish its business enterprise architecture.
  • The Department should establish an IT strategic plan.
  • The Department should establish a standard IT project management methodology.
  • The Department should establish an IT programme office.
  • Information Services Group should restructure to achieve organisational separation between new project work and ongoing delivery and support.

All of these recommendations were implemented in the latter part of 2001 and now provide a significantly improved governance framework to support the implementation of a number of new IT initiatives and projects.

As a result of the audit an internationally accepted standard for IT governance, known as CobiT (Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology) has been adopted by the Department. The standard has been approved and adopted by the ANAO and provides guidance within the four domains of planning and organisation, acquisition and implementation, delivery and support, and monitoring.

Corporate planning and reporting

A key priority for action from the governance review was the development of a whole of Department approach to performance monitoring against our outcomes and outputs framework. Over the 200102 period we have focused on improving the alignment of our planning and reporting mechanisms across, and between, the individual, Divisional and Departmental levels.

The more integrated approach is based on the cascading planning and reporting model in the 200203 to 200304 Corporate Plan (Figure 6), which includes development of more robust quarterly performance reporting at Divisional and Departmental levels during 200203. The model includes:

  • the Corporate Plan, which sets out key messages on the Departments values, roles, changing environment and its objectives as an organisationin 200203, a new three-year Corporate Plan will be developed for the 200306 period.
  • the Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS), which identify our outputs and outcomes and their associated performance indicators, along with the budgets proposed for the portfolio
  • Divisional Business Plans and the individual Plan on a Page (linked to a Business Plan) that detail measurable activities under the Departments output and administered programmes as detailed in the PBS
  • quarterly performance reports, which will be supported by a range of indicators to measure the achievement of external (outputs, finances and clients and stakeholders) and internal (people and business improvement) business drivers and provide the Executive with information on how the Department is performing against its PBS.

These provide guidance for our work and the results we want to achieve.

Figure 6: Department's performance planning and reporting

Figure 6: Department's performance planning and reporting

Committees and working groups

The Department has several committees and working groups that are integral to our governance framework. These are listed below and include corporate and human resources governance groups. These committees and working groups are responsible for the decision making and consultation processes within and external to the Department.

Table 5: Portfolio committees and working groups

Committee and membership Role and responsibilities Frequency and structure of meetings

Portfolio Business Meeting
Minister Anderson
Senior Advisers
Deputy Secretaries

Provides a forum for the Executive of the Department to discuss issues on a regular basis with Ministers and their senior advisers.


whenever possible.

Meetings with agenda but no formal papers.

Portfolio Chief Executives Forum
Secretary (Chair)
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Airservices Australia
CEO Civil Aviation Safety Authority
CEO Australian Maritime Safety Authority
CEO National Capital Authority

Provides a forum for CEOs of the Departments portfolio agencies to discuss issues of common interest.


Structured meetings with agenda, papers and minutes.

Table 6: Departmental committees and working groups

Committee and membership Role and responsibilities Frequency of meetings
Executive Board (EB)
Secretary (Chair)
Deputy Secretaries
All Division Heads
Chief Finance Officer
Assistant Secretary (AS), Parliamentary
and Legal Services (Secretariat)

The EB is the key decision making body for the Department and supports the Secretary in his strategic responsibilities.


Structured meetings with agenda, papers and minutes.

Departmental Executive (Group)
Meetings (DEM)
Secretary (Chair)
Deputy Secretaries
All Division Heads
Chief Finance Officer
AS Parliamentary and Legal Services
Special Counsel

The DEM provides a mechanism for regular communication and discussion of immediate issues impacting on the Department.


Structured meetings with agenda and notes from all divisions.

Group Executive Teams (GETs)
Regional GET
Two Deputy Secretaries (one as Chair)
Three Regional Division Heads
Three Regional Branch Heads
Three Non-regional Branch Heads
Three Non-Senior Executive Service
(SES) officers
Communications Unit representative

Transport GET
Two Deputy Secretaries (one as Chair)
Three Division Heads
Three Transport Branch Heads
Three Non-transport Branch Heads
Three non-SES officers
Communications Unit representative
to the EB.

The GETs have been set up to develop cross portfolio and strategic issues, using a number of specialist working groups to address the policy issues. Each GET reports to the EB.


GET working groups meet more regularly and report to the GETs on a schedule appropriate to their projects.

Audit Committee
Deputy Secretary (Chair)
Three Division Heads
  • General Manager (GM), ISES
  • First Assistant Secretary (FAS), ERPP
  • FAS, Transport Programmes
One Branch Head
  • AS, Regional and Statistics
Independent External Member
  • Mr Paul McGrath AM
Other Members
  • Secretary attends as required
  • GM Business Services attends but is not a full member
  • Chief Finance Officer
  • ANAO representative
  • Director Internal Audit

Provides advice to the Secretary on the governance of the Department. The Audit Committee reports as required to the EB on broader issues impacting on the Department.

Six times a year.

Structured meetings with agenda, papers and minutes.

Departmental Consultative
Committee (DCC)

Management representatives
Secretary (Chair)
Two Deputy Secretaries
AS, People and Performance
Director, Employee Services
Elected Staff Representatives
17 non-SES staff members each representing a division

Union representatives

  • Two Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) representatives
  • One Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance representative
The DCC is the Department's peak consultative body and provides a forum to present issues of staff concern to management and to oversight the development of the Certified Agreement. There is no direct link to EB. The Secretary reports to the EB on issues as required.

Every six to eight weeks.

Structured meetings with agenda, papers and minutes.

People Management Committee (PMC)
Deputy Secretary (Chair)
Two Division Heads
  • GM, Business Services
Three Branch Heads
  • AS, Strategic Transport Planning
  • AS, Aviation Security Policy
  • AS, People and Performance
Four non-SES staff members

The PMC provides strategic advice to the People and Performance Branch who then present relevant issues to EB on people management issues.


An agenda is developed but meetings are informal. Papers are tabled as required.

Graduate Development Committee (GDC)
One Division Head
  • FAS, Territories and Local Government
Seven Branch Heads
  • AS, People and Performance
  • AS, Regional Policy Development
  • AS, Stronger Regions
  • AS, Strategic Transport Planning
  • AS, Australian Transport Safety Bureau
  • AS, Non-self-governing Territories
  • AS, Regional Programmes Reform Task Force
Graduate Coordinator (non-SES staff member of the People and Performance Branch)

The GDC has responsibility for the effective management of the Graduate Programme and for its continuous improvement. GDC reports to EB on critical issues.

Every four weeks.

An agenda is developed but meetings are informal. Papers are tabled as required.

Health and Safety Committee
One Division Head
  • GM, Business Services One Branch Head rotated
    Director, Employee Services
    A non-SES representative from each division
    Two CPSU representatives
    One APESMA representative

Provides advice on the implementation of the Department's OH&S Strategy and addresses health and safety issues at an organisational level.


Structured meetings with agenda, papers and minutes.

Workplace Diversity Committee
One Division Head (Senior Sponsor and Chair)
  • GM, ISES
    Workplace Diversity Coordinator Non-SES representatives from each division
The Workplace Diversity Committee develops, implements and reviews the Departments Workplace Diversity Strategy.

Approximately four to five times a year.
Workplace Harassment Contact Officer Network
Workplace Diversity Coordinator (Chair)
Non-SES representatives from each division

The harassment contact officers work with staff to address harassment issues and alleged incidents.

Some of the representatives also belong to the Workplace Diversity

Approximately four to five times a year.

An agenda is developed but meetings are informal.

Divisional Business Managers' Forum
Business Manager for Business Services (Chair)-the Chair of the group reports on outcomes of the meetings to the GM
Business Services
All Divisional Business Managers
Departmental Continuity Managers

Provides a forum for Business Managers to meet with the Business Services Business Manager and Continuity Managers to discuss issues relating to the delivery of business services in the Department.

Decisions are taken by the GM Business Services who reports on issues as required to EB.


An agenda is developed but the meetings are informal. Papers are tabled as required.

Departmental Security Committee
GM, Business Services (Chair)
GM, ISES (IT Security Adviser)
One Division Head
Agency Security Adviser
Departmental Security Staff
Four non-SES staff members from the divisions

Provides a forum for discussing departmental security issues. Implements measures arising from external reviews and EB decisions.


An agenda is developed but meetings are informal.