In 2010–11 the IGT maintained established governance arrangements. Governance processes continued to be based on many of the well-established policies and processes in place in the Treasury. The IGT has two distinct roles. As a public office holder, he reports and is accountable to the Assistant Treasurer and the Treasurer for meeting his statutory role. As the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the IGT office, the IGT is responsible for the operation and performance of his office. The corporate governance practices of the IGT office are designed to take into account the small size of the office and that it is inextricably linked with the governance processes of the Treasury. This is as a result of the Service Level Agreement (SLA) entered into by the two agencies. The IGT as CEO and the Deputy IGT as Chief Finance Officer (CFO) together act as the agency Executive. They have developed a range of governance policies, plans and procedures appropriate to the situation of the agency comprising seven people in a single office location.
Pursuant to section 46 of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (FMA Act), the IGT continues to maintain an Audit Committee. The Audit Committee is independent and provides valuable assurance and advice to the CEO. The Audit Committee met on two occasions during 2010–11.
The IGT and the Deputy IGT comprise the Remuneration Committee. The IGT has entered into an enterprise agreement with non-SES employees under the Fair Work Act 2009. The IGT’s performance management system provides for performance being reviewed formally on an annual basis and informally on a six-monthly basis. The small size of the agency allows for regular and continual discussion of performance with all staff members. Since all staff report directly to the Deputy IGT, and have direct involvement with the IGT, they are provided with ongoing informal feedback on their performance.
Corporate planning and reporting
Corporate planning is undertaken by the IGT Executive throughout the year, including the development of a work program which shapes and determines the activities of the agency. Corporate reporting is reviewed and overseen by the IGT Executive. Administratively, the agency draws heavily on the facilities of the Treasury under the SLA. All day-to-day account processing is undertaken by Treasury utilising its accounting system infrastructure. However, a financial controller (part-time) is employed on a contract basis and reports directly to the CFO (Deputy IGT). The Deputy IGT (as CFO) is responsible, with input from the IGT (as CEO), for settling portfolio budget statements, ongoing maintenance of cash flow and monthly reporting of financial position. Periodic corporate management and compliance reporting is also completed as required. In relation to the IGT’s review reporting, reference should be made to Part 2.
The IGT meets his specific risk management responsibilities under the FMA Act through the application of an integrated risk management framework. A suite of additional policies, plans and procedures have also been developed and adopted by the IGT which further contribute to the mitigation of risks. The following are the key components of the risk management framework:
- Chief Executive Instructions (CEIs) provide the policy and procedural framework for financial management in the IGT office and put into effect the requirements of the FMA Act. They also contain topics relating specifically to risk management and internal accountability.
- The Fraud Control Plan complies with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines issued under regulation 19 of the Financial Management and Accountability Regulations 1997.
- The Business Continuity Plan includes processes for identifying and assessing risks and contingency plans for events that disrupt normal IGT office operations.
- Physical security risk reviews continue to be arranged, and the office design and associated access security meet required standards and have been reviewed and approved by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation’s Group T4.
- Risk assessments are to be reviewed annually as part of the process of applying for insurance renewal. The programme is based on the Risk Management Standard AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009 and will measure the IGT’s performance in implementing risk management processes and policies against the national benchmark.
The IGT’s CEIs, Fraud Control Plan and Business Continuity Plan are periodically reviewed by the IGT Audit Committee.
The IGT has strategies in place to ensure that risks associated with the delivery of information technology (IT) services are identified and managed. This is against a background of the nature of the IGT’s work and flexible operating environment, creating a relatively low-risk environment. The IGT office utilises the IT infrastructure and support systems of the Treasury under the SLA. Components of the Treasury IT governance off which the IGT leverages include:
- The IT Disaster Recovery Plan sets out the strategies and processes to restore services if a complete or partial loss of the Treasury central computing infrastructure occurs. The plan aims to restore services within an appropriate timeframe.
- Business Continuity Plans apply to all Treasury IT application systems.
- TheIT Security Policy developed by the Treasury addresses the requirements to protect information holdings and secure operation of IT resources. The policy is based on the protective security policies and standards in the Australian Government Protective SecurityPolicy Framework and the Australian Government Information Security Manual.
- The Treasury Internet and Email Acceptable Use Policy sets out individual user’s responsibilities for the appropriate use of the internet and email facilities and services. This policy refers to the Australian Public Service (APS) Values and Code of Conduct, the Public Service Act 1999, other relevant Australian Government legislation and the IT Security Policy.
- Website Development Standards and Guidelines are based on ISO 9001, the Information Security Manual and Defence Signals Directorate Guidelines. The standards ensure compliance with best practice in relation to website security.
- The IT Change Management process has been implemented in order to provide a structured process for making changes to the IT production environment, with minimal impact to business processes. Proposed changes are reviewed and assessed based on the associated risk and potential impacts on the current level of services and functionality provided. Changes are required to conform to specific documentation and process criteria including but not limited to appropriate design, successful testing, risk mitigation and remediation planning.
- An IT Risk Management Strategy has been developed in accordance with Defence Signals Directorate Guidelines and identifies technical risks associated with IT infrastructure and IT management practices.
Staff awareness of risk management policies and procedures is maintained through training programmes and staff notices circulated to Treasury and IGT officers and also made available through access to the Treasury intranet.
Ethical standards and accountability
The IGT’s values embrace the APS values. In particular, the IGT Employment Conditions refer prominently to the APS values. The IGT has taken steps to establish and maintain ethical standards through developing policies such as the CEIs and by actively adapting relevant policy documentation developed by the Treasury. This includes such matters as the use of the internet, email, conflict of interest guidelines, consultant engagement and management guidelines.
Other than annual financial statement audit activity, there have not been any audits of the IGT office undertaken by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO). The IGT has an independent Audit Committee as part of the agency’s governance framework.
The SLA with the Treasury includes provision for internal audit services. The Audit Committee established by the IGT may seek input from the Treasury internal audit on any matters relevant to the Office of which there were none in 2010–11.
Reports on the operations of the IGT
There were no reports in 2010–11 on the operations of the IGT by the Auditor-General (other than the report on financial statements contained in Part 4), a Parliamentary committee or the Commonwealth Ombudsman.
Judicial or Administrative Tribunal decisions
No judicial decisions or decisions of administrative tribunals were made that have, or may have, a significant impact on the operations of the IGT.
The IGT office consists of a small number of staff and seeks to provide a collegiate environment for staff to develop through their work and participation in a broad range of agency activities and corporate obligations. The nature of the work provides for a clear sense of achievement and satisfaction in performing an important community function. However, given the office’s small size and specific skills requirements, staff are recruited on the basis of merit and current competence with the expectation that career progression will generally occur in the wider public service/professional environment. Staff are encouraged and supported to provide their best performance while in the service of the IGT.
ThePerformance Management System is based on an annual performance cycle with a formal annual review and a less formal half-yearly review. The IGT has utilised the design features and infrastructure of the Treasury Performance Management System in its own Performance Management System. An important feature is transparency in the process used by the IGT Executive in measuring performance and communicating to each individual staff member. All staff report directly to the Deputy IGT. Within a very small office environment, monitoring and assessing performance on an individual basis is relatively direct. Comparative analysis is also considered for individuals against inter-agency benchmarking where this is appropriate.
All IGT staff are employed under employment agreements. The employment terms and conditions are consistent for all staff within the IGT office. Employment conditions and remuneration are determined by reference to the Employment Guidelines which incorporates a pay model (see Tables 4 and 5 for salary scales for non-SES and SES staff, as at 30 June 2011). The employment agreements do not provide for payment of performance pay. This arrangement provides underlying consistency for all employees while providing flexibility in recognising individual circumstances. The IGT’s employment agreements specifically refer to the APS Values in the context of setting out expected performance and behaviour.
The IGT may provide alternative remuneration arrangements in specific circumstances. At 30 June 2011, there was one permanent SES employee in the IGT office engaged under an employment agreement.
SES officers also have access to airline lounge membership, mobile phones and some home office facilities. The IGT’s remuneration package is determined by the Remuneration Tribunal.
The Deputy IGT consults with employees on matters in the workplace. The format and content of the IGT office’s workplace and individual arrangements reflect government policy at the time of implementation.
Recruitment and succession planning
The IGT recruits staff based on merit and current competence. The ability to make an immediate contribution to the role of the IGT is very important particularly given the small size of his office. The opportunity exists under the IGT Act to second staff to the office.
Learning and development
The IGT’s Employment Management Policies reinforce the IGT’s commitment to staff learning and development. As well as providing internal agency staff training on an ad hoc basis where possible, the IGT financially supports individual staff members who wish to complete post-graduate courses or attend specific learning and development opportunities where appropriate.
Table 6 details the number of staff employed by the IGT office, by category and gender. All staff are employed under the Public Service Act 1999. However, the IGT is a statutory appointee.
(as at 30 June 2011)
Note: IGT staff are employed on an ongoing full-time basis.
The IGT has adopted the Treasury’s procurement policies and utilises the Treasury’s services under the SLA. For example, all IT procurement is undertaken by the Treasury IT Procurement Unit. These policies and procedures are consistent with the IGT’s CEIs and the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines. To maintain procurement expertise and procedural compliance with the guidelines, all internal procurement documentation is available to the IGT’s staff on the Treasury intranet. The Treasury regularly updates the intranet site to incorporate contemporary procurement practice. The IGT publishes information about significant procurements the agency expects to undertake during the following year in an annual procurement plan, available on the AusTender website at www.tenders.gov.au.
The Treasury, for and on behalf of the IGT, manages both current and non-current assets in accordance with the guidelines set out in the IGT’s CEIs and the Australian Accounting Standards. Non-current assets are subject to an annual stocktake to ensure the accuracy of asset records.
Consistent with the CEIs and the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines, the IGT engages consultants and contractors on the basis of:
- value for money;
- open and effective competition;
- ethics and fair dealing;
- accountability and reporting;
- national competitiveness and industry development; and
- support for other Australian Government policies.
Typically, consultants are engaged to carry out defined research, provide independent advice or provide information or creative solutions to assist the IGT undertake his statutory function. The most common reasons for engaging consultancy services are:
- unavailability of specialist in-house resources in the short timeframe available;
- the need for an independent study or review; and
- specialist skills and knowledge are not available in-house.
Providers of consultancy services are selected through open tender, select tender, direct sourcing or panels. During 2010–11 no new consultancy contracts were entered into involving expenditure over $10,000 (inclusive of GST).
The IGT is required to provide details of any contract entered during 2010–11 of $100,000 or more (inclusive of GST) that does not provide for the Auditor-General to have access to the contractor’s premises. The IGT has entered into no such contracts.
The IGT has not exempted any contracts from being published on AusTender.
The IGT, as noted, recruits its small workforce based on merit. In doing so it also seeks to take account of workplace diversity, recognising gender, age and ethnicity in that process. In this regard, a reasonable balance has resulted. Broader community involvement is encouraged, with staff members being supported in their professional association activities.
(as at 30 June 2011)
Disability Action Plan
The IGT has evaluated the Treasury Disability Action Plan and will continue to consider options available to a small agency.
Indigenous Employment Strategy
The IGT has evaluated the Treasury Indigenous Employment Strategy and will continue to consider options available to a small agency.