As a Federal Government Department, the Department is governed by the Public Service Act 1999, which allows us a good degree of flexibility to manage our organisation both strategically and on a day to day operations basis. The Department has embraced the Australian Public Service (APS) Values and Code of Conduct and takes particular pride in our people orientation. Based on the broader APS values, the Department has developed the following Department-specific values which provide a good corporate governance framework for our people to conduct business in, both within our Department and with our external clients. We are:
- results oriented
- honest, professional and accountable
- client and stakeholder focused
- committed to improving our skills
- diverse, trusting and respectful of each other.
In our activities relating to audit processes, parliamentary services and legal action we have been honest, professional and accountable in our transactions with our clients and stakeholders.
To manage risk, the Department has established an overarching risk management plan and promoted a risk management culture. Business planning processes require each division to address risk management as an inherent part of its planning regime. In addition, a series of risk management workshops and seminars were run updating staff on appropriate risk management practices.
The current fraud risk plan is available to staff via the Departments Intranet. In light of the recent release of the updated fraud control guidelines the Department will be updating its Fraud Control Plan in 200203.
Internal audit services are largely provided by one consultant. Matters selected for internal audit are based on risk analysis, which includes the size and nature of the functional area; the inherent risk in the operations; the period since the last audit; and the results of prior reviews. In 200203 the Department will be reviewing its contract for the provision of internal audit and risk management arrangements.
Australian National Audit Office activity in the Department
During 200102 the following ANAO audit reports were tabled in Parliament. These reports included recommendations relevant specifically to the operations of the Department or general advice for Departmental agencies more broadly.
Audit Report No. 1Control Structures as part of the Audits of the Financial Statements of Major Commonwealth Entities for the Year Ended 20 June 2000
This was a cross-agency audit that included the Department. The report summarises issues relating to internal control structures financial systems, control and processes arising from the interim phase of the financial statement audits of major Commonwealth entities for 200001. The Department has taken action to address issues raised and priority has been given to ensuring all matters are cleared.
Audit Report No. 5Parliamentarians Entitlements: 19992000
This was a cross-agency audit that included the Department. The ANAO made 28 recommendations aimed at strengthening the stewardship of public money, improving the services provided to parliamentarians and enhancing public disclosure within the current parliamentary entitlements system. The Department has made changes to improve the administration of parliamentary entitlements.
Audit Report No. 29Audits of the Financial Statements of Commonwealth Entities for the Period Ended 30 June 2001
This was a cross-agency audit and summarised the final results of the audits of the financial statements of Commonwealth entities, forming the second report this year on financial statement audits for the period ended 30 June 2001. It complements Audit Report No.1, discussed above.
Audit Report No. 33Senate Order of 20 June 2001 to February 2002
This was a cross-agency audit. The Department is implementing changes to improve compliance with the Senate Order over time, given the degree of complexity in the arrangements and processes necessary to meet the requirements.
The Senate Order of 20 June 2001 required all FMA agencies to list contracts over $100,000 on the Internet. FMA agencies were to indicate, amongst other things, whether each contract contained provisions requiring the parties to maintain the confidentiality of any of its provisions, or whether any provisions of the contract were regarded by the parties as confidential. The Senate Order also requested the ANAO to conduct an examination of a number of such contracts, and indicate whether any inappropriate use of confidentiality provisions was detected in that examination.
Audit Report No. 34Management of TravelUse of Taxis
This was a cross-agency audit. The report made a couple of recommendations to enhance and strengthen control and develop and document comprehensive policies and procedures for official travel and the use of Cabcharge vouchers. The Department regularly reviews travel administration and procedures and will ensure the reports recommendations are taken into account in its reviews.
Audit Report No. 45Recordkeeping
An Assurance and Control Assessment audit of recordkeeping was undertaken across four Commonwealth organisations to assess whether their recordkeeping policies, systems and processes accord with requirements under the Archives Act 1983, with relevant Government policies, and with accepted standards and recordkeeping principles; and to identify better practices and recommend improvements. The audit addressed both electronic and traditional records.
The Department will take into account the best practice advice contained in the report.
Audit Report No. 48Regional Assistance Programme, Department of Transport and Regional Services
This was a cross-agency audit. The Regional Assistance Programme (RAP) is located in the Department, and the ANAO made six recommendations that the Department agreed to implement.
The audit examined the administrative processes that the Department has in place to support the administration of RAP. The objective of the audit was to determine whether funding was being allocated in accordance with the RAP policy guidelines and whether the Department was managing RAP contracts to ensure that desired outcomes were achieved.
The ANAO concluded that the Departments administration of RAP was generally efficient and effective. The Department has a sound governance framework and has made appropriate changes to the management of the programme during the last three years to promote a higher level of accountability. Funding for the RAP community-based projects was allocated in accordance with policy guidelines. There was a balanced distribution of funds to remote, regional and metropolitan areas.
Audit Report No. 61Managing People for Business Outcomes Benchmarking Study
This was a cross-agency audit. A benchmarking study across 14 agencies examined how line managers plan for and manage their staff and how the human resource function supports them to do that. People management was categorised into nine practice areas, to enable comparisons between the participating agencies. The study also assessed each people management practice area against four criteria: quality, human resource integration, effectiveness and efficiency, and business contribution. The Department has noted the findings of the audit and will take into account its suggestions in future human resources strategy and initiative developments.
Audit Report No. 66Aviation Safety Compliance Follow-up Audit Civil Aviation Safety Authority
The audit followed up the ANAOs original audit report into the aviation safety regulatory activities of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) (Audit Report No.19 19992000, Aviation Safety Compliance). The objectives of the follow-up audit were to determine, in respect of issues addressed by the original audit recommendations, whether CASA had made satisfactory progress to improve its aviation safety surveillance and compliance activities; and whether the introduction of new strategies for further improvement was being appropriately managed.
The audit found that overall CASA had improved its management of aviation safety compliance since the 1999 audit, particularly in areas such as the identification of risks at the operator level; the frequency and coverage of surveillance; and enforcement of the Act.
The Departments purchasing practices and procedures are consistent with the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines and Best Practice Guidance, and are pragmatic to help achieve programme objectives efficiently.
Best practice contracting and procurement guidance and advice is provided to divisions by the Contracts and Purchasing Advisory Group, which is located within the Legal and Coordination Branch.
General purchasing is fully devolved to divisions, and acquisitions and expenditure are monitored at the divisional level to ensure programme objectives are met. The Department encourages the participation of small to medium Australian and New Zealand enterprises in its purchasing activities.
In December 1997 it became mandatory for Commonwealth Government Departments and Agencies subject to the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 to source at least 10 per cent of their purchases from small to medium enterprises. At the conclusion of 200001 the Department has achieved 41.6 per cent participation rate. These figures were provided by the Department of Finance and Administration in mid 2002.
Competitive tendering and contracting (CTC)
Requests for Tender for the provision of Property, Accommodation and Security Services; Office Services; and HR and Finance Services were released during 200102. All were select, or restricted, tenders.
The Secretary decided to retain the provision of Legal Services in-house, and to enter into negotiations with KFPW Pty Ltd for the provision of Property, Accommodation and Security Services to the Department. A final decision on HR and Finance had not been reached as at 30 June 2002.