Part 3: Management and Accountability (page 1)

This part describes the department's governance and accountability arrangements: its policies and strategies for managing its finances and for supporting its staff to undertake the department's business in a transparent and ethical manner.

Department structure

Business areas

Regional Strategy and Coordination Division

The Regional Strategy and Coordination Division works with regional communities and other tiers of government on major regional development initiatives. It also works collaboratively with other Australian Government agencies to ensure regional implications and opportunities are embedded in policies, programs and service delivery. The division's work on regional economic, social and environmental issues is underpinned by a sound evidence base and strong analytic capacity.

The division also supports the 55 Regional Development Australia committees that cover every community in Australia and works in partnership with local government and non-government organisations to develop policy initiatives that meet the needs of regional populations. The division provides guidance and analysis to foster regional economic and social development focused on the needs of individual communities.

The division's Office of Northern Australia provides policy advice to the Australian Government on sustainable development issues in, or affecting, northern Australia, and works to improve coordination between governments, businesses and communities to unlock economic growth in the north.

Local Government, Territories and Regional Programs Division

The Local Government, Territories and Regional Programs Division manages community and regional grant programs, such as the Regional Development Australia Fund.

It advises the Australian Government on local government matters and administers funding to local governments to deliver essential services and plan for future challenges.

The division manages the Australian Government's interests in the self-governing territories of Norfolk Island, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory. It also administers Australia's non-self-governing territories of Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, the Coral Sea Islands and the Jervis Bay Territory.

The division also supports the ongoing reconstruction and recovery efforts in the communities in Queensland and Victoria that were affected by extreme weather events since late 2010. It coordinates the Australian Government's contribution and leverages available funding to maximise value for money in recovery and reconstruction expenditure.

Office for the Arts

The Office for the Arts develops policies and administers programs to ensure the sustainability of Australia's arts and cultural sector. It does this by supporting artistic production, protecting and strengthening cultural heritage and expression and encouraging opportunities for public engagement with arts and culture.

The Office for the Arts helps to recognise and celebrate Indigenous cultures by coordinating the delivery of national Indigenous art, culture, language and broadcasting programs. It supports elite national arts training institutions and works with portfolio agencies to achieve the Australian Government's arts, culture and Indigenous policy objectives.

Office for Sport

The Office for Sport supports the Australian Government's sports policy objectives, which include encouraging all Australians to increase their physical and recreational activity and building stronger, more inclusive communities through sport. The Office for Sport also provides a strategic coordination role for the Australian Government to support major sporting events, ranging from operational support to government legacy outcomes.

The department works closely with the Australian Sports Commission, the Australian Sports Foundation, the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority and other agencies.

National Integrity of Sport Unit

The National Integrity of Sport Unit provides national oversight, monitoring and coordination of efforts to protect the integrity of sport in Australia from threats of doping, match-fixing and other forms of corruption.

Corporate Services Division

The Corporate Services Division provides wide-ranging support to the department and its ministers to ensure accountability and operational obligations are met. The division is responsible for providing financial and business management support, human resources and governance advice, and information technology and business services.

Figure 1 shows the department's organisational structure at 30 June 2013.

Figure 1: Organisational structure at 30 June 2013

a Until 30 June 2013, the National Portrait Gallery operated within the department's Office for the Arts. The National Portrait Gallery of Australia Act 2012 establishes the gallery as a separate entity within the Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport portfolio from 1 July 2013.

b The Referendum Taskforce was set up as a temporary unit to manage the referendum on the recognition of local government in the Australian Constitution.

c Bill Rowe, First Assistant Secretary, Office for Sport, was on secondment to the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority.

Executive team

Glenys Beauchamp PSM joined the department as acting Secretary of the Department of Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government in September 2010 and was appointed Secretary on 21 December 2010.

Following machinery of government changes on 14 December 2011, she became Secretary of the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport.

Deputy Secretary Stephanie Foster PSM has also been with the department since its inception in September 2010. Stephanie is responsible for regional policy and development initiatives, arts policy and preparations for a referendum on the constitutional recognition of local government.

Deputy Secretary Richard Eccles joined the department in December 2011 when the arts and sport functions were moved to the portfolio from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Richard has responsibility for sports policy and implementation, local government, territories, regional programs and corporate services.

Image: The Secretary and the two Deputy Secretaries posing for a photograph in the foyer of the department's offices.

The Executive team comprises the Secretary Glenys Beauchamp (centre), Deputy Secretary Stephanie Foster and Deputy Secretary Richard Eccles.

Portfolio Overview

The department worked with a number of ministers to advance the regional Australia, territories, local government, arts and sport agendas in 2012–13. In addition to the department, the portfolio comprised 16 agencies across the arts, territories and sports functions.


The Hon Simon Crean MP was Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government and Minister for the Arts until 21 March 2013. On 25 March 2013, three ministers and a parliamentary secretary were appointed to the Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport portfolio as part of the new ministry:

  • The Hon Anthony Albanese MP, Minister for Regional Development and Local Government
  • The Hon Catherine King MP, Minister for Regional Services, Local Communities and Territories
  • The Hon Tony Burke MP, Minister for the Arts
  • The Hon Michael Danby MP, Parliamentary Secretary for the Arts.

Senator the Hon Kate Lundy was Minister for Sport and Senator the Hon Joe Ludwig was Minister Assisting the Attorney-General on Queensland Floods Recovery during 2012–13.

Portfolio agencies

At 30 June 2013, the Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport portfolio comprised the department and the following 16 agencies.

Australia Council for the Arts
Mr Tony Grybowski, Chief Executive Officer
National Archives of Australia
Mr David Fricker, Director-General
Australian Film, Television and Radio School
Ms Sandra Levy, Chief Executive Officer
National Capital Authority
Mr Gary Rake, Chief Executive
Australian National Maritime Museum
Mr Kevin Sumption, Director
National Film and Sound Archive Australia
Mr Michael Loebenstein, Chief Executive Officer
Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority
Ms Aurora Andruska PSM, Chief Executive Officer
National Gallery of Australia
Dr Ron Radford AM, Director
Australian Sports Commission
Mr Simon Hollingsworth, Chief Executive Officer
National Library of Australia
Ms Anne-Marie Schwirtlich, Director-General
Australian Sports Foundation Limited
Mr Rod Philpot, General Manager
National Museum of Australia
Mr Andrew Sayers AM, Director b
Bundanon Trust
Ms Deborah Ely, Chief Executive Officer
Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House
Ms Daryl Karp, Director
Creative Partnerships Australia a
Ms Fiona Menzies, Chief Executive Officer
Screen Australia
Dr Ruth Hartley, Chief Executive Officer

Creative Partnerships Australia commenced operations on 1 January 2013; it was previously known as the Australian Business Arts Foundation.

b On 27 March 2013 Mr Andrew Sayers announced his intention to retire from his role, effective 1 July 2013.

Corporate Governance

The department's corporate governance arrangements are designed to deliver a high level of accountability and organisational performance in an ethical and transparent environment.

Under the Public Service Act 1999 and the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997, the Secretary is accountable for the department's performance and its compliance with legal requirements. The Secretary is supported by a structure of committees, systems and procedures to ensure that performance and compliance obligations are met.

Governance committees

The department's corporate governance structure includes the Executive Board and various committees that advise the Secretary and the board (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: Governance structure

Figure 2: Governance structure

Executive Board

The Executive Board advises the Secretary on the strategic direction of the department and its organisational strategy. The board is also responsible for monitoring achievement of outcomes, allocating departmental resources, risk management and overseeing ministerial support and interaction.

The Secretary, Deputy Secretaries and all First Assistant Secretaries are members of the Executive Board.

Risk and Audit Committee

The Risk and Audit Committee provides independent assurance and assistance to the Secretary on the department's risk, control and compliance framework and corporate governance requirements, in accordance with Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) guidance. In 2012–13 the committee met five times.

The committee is responsible for implementing an annual audit work plan, overseeing organisational risk management processes and the department's financial statements process. The committee also oversees the implementation of recommendations made in external and internal audits, including audits by the ANAO.

The department engaged independent audit providers throughout 2012–13 to conduct audits scheduled in the internal audit work plan.

In 2012–13, internal audits were conducted to review administrative processes in selected areas, contract management practices for major capital investments and service delivery arrangements. A detailed audit on elements of administered revenue collection was also completed.

Image: Members of the department's audit committee sitting at a table discussing audit matters.

The Risk and Audit Committee comprised (L–R): Richard Eccles (Chair), Stephen Arnott (Member), Simon Atkinson (Deputy Chair) and Geoff Knuckey (External Member).

Program Governance Board

The Program Governance Board ensures a coordinated and integrated approach to program design and delivery. The board is responsible for overseeing the department's programs and regional development initiatives. It monitors:

  • the development of new programs and initiatives to ensure compliance with the Commonwealth Grant Guidelines, the Financial Management and Accountability Act, and the ANAO's Implementing better practice grants administration better practice guide
  • the delivery of existing programs, including whether programs are meeting their milestones and objectives
  • the risks associated with projects, programs and initiatives and, where appropriate, the implementation of risk-mitigation strategies
  • the management of financial commitments and expenditure to ensure that all appropriate approvals are in place.

The board is chaired by the First Assistant Secretary, Local Government, Territories and Regional Programs Division.

Work Health and Safety Subcommittee

The Work Health and Safety Subcommittee oversees the department's programs and initiatives that provide for the health and safety of its workers and official site visitors. The subcommittee is responsible for ensuring the department is fully compliant with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

The subcommittee met quarterly in 2012–13. As a standing agenda item, members discuss proposals for minimising hazards and risks to continually improve work health and safety practices. During meetings, the subcommittee reviews statistics, reports and recommendations about work health and safety measures.

The subcommittee periodically reviews related policies and is supported by a work health and safety and injury prevention team, which is part of the department's human resources function.

Departmental Consultative Committee

The Consultative Committee was established in 2010 as part of the department's commitment to creating a workplace that values communication, consultation, cooperation and input from employees on matters that affect them. The committee's membership consists of management representatives appointed by the Secretary, elected employee representatives from regional and territories offices and union representatives.

Risk management

The department's risk management framework is tailored to its strategic direction and operational objectives.

The current risk management framework includes:

  • a risk management policy and guide that aligns with the ANAO's risk management guidance and ISO 31000:2009
  • a risk management methodology that is embedded in planning, decision-making and program delivery
  • quarterly briefings to the Executive Board on departmental risk.

The department's risk management architecture is designed to identify and manage risk at all levels. Operational and divisional risks are categorised to ensure alignment with and ensure mitigations are in place for enterprise risks. The Executive Board determines and reviews enterprise risk on a regular basis and ensures that controls and planned treatments of divisional risks are appropriate to support departmental outcomes. These activities are monitored by the Risk and Audit Committee.

The department participates in Comcover's risk management benchmarking assessments. In 2013, the department received a result of 7.8 out of 10 (an improvement from a result of 7.2 in 2012) and a level four (of five) for risk maturity rating.

Fraud control

The department has a zero tolerance approach to fraud. The department's fraud control framework is designed to protect public money and property and to protect the integrity, security and reputation of the department. The framework includes a fraud control plan, its development based on detailed fraud risk assessments.

The plan complies with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines.

The department reviewed and revised its fraud control plan during 2012-3. Fraud risk workshops were held across the department as part of the review, providing valuable insights into the department's potential fraud risks. Feedback from the workshops informed the development of the revised plan, which was endorsed by the Secretary in June 2013.

Ethical standards

The department is committed to maintaining the highest standards of integrity, good governance and ethics. It promotes and maintains the standard of behaviour outlined in the Australian Public Service (APS) Values and Code of Conduct as set out in the Public Service Act 1999. The APS Values and Code of Conduct are integral parts of the department's human resources framework.

The department has continued to embed and promote its policies and procedures for:

  • reporting conflicts of interest
  • dealing with whistleblower reports
  • dealing with reports of breaches of the APS Values and Code of Conduct
  • promoting respect and preventing bullying and harassment.

Through its induction process and other communication avenues, the department encourages staff to use the Australian Public Service Commission's Ethics Advisory Service.

During the year, the department conducted an extensive educational program to help staff prepare for the introduction of the new APS Values on 1 July 2013.

Prev. Index Next