As a public office holder, the IGT reports and is accountable to the Minister for meeting his statutory role. As the Accountable Authority (AA), the IGT is responsible for the operation and performance of his office pursuant to the PGPA Act.
The corporate governance practices of the IGT office are designed to take into account its small office environment by aligning or adapting its administrative and governance processes with those of the Treasury. This approach also provides synergistic benefits under the Service Level Agreement (SLA) entered into by the two agencies. A range of policies, plans and procedures are in place to support these governance arrangements.
The IGT and the Deputy IGT together act as the agency Executive (the Executive) and oversee these arrangements.
The IGT Audit and Risk Committee is also an important element of the governance structure. The committee is appointed by the IGT and its membership is independent of the Executive.
Fraud prevention and control
The IGT Fraud Control Plan accords with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Framework.
The IGT Fraud Risk Assessment forms the basis of the Fraud Control Plan and has been developed with appropriate controls, prevention, detection and investigation, and reporting standards.
The IGT has undertaken all reasonable measures to minimise the incidence of fraud and to investigate and recover the proceeds of fraud against the agency. No cases of fraud were identified in 2016-17. The IGT reports fraud information data annually to the Australian Institute of Criminology.
Audit and Risk Committee
As noted above, the Audit and Risk Committee is independent of management and provides valuable assurance and advice by reporting to the AA. The committee met on three occasions during 2016-17.
The IGT and the Deputy IGT comprise the Remuneration Committee. The IGT has an enterprise agreement with non-Senior Executive Service (SES) staff under the Fair Work Act 2009.
The IGT's Performance Management System provides for performance being reviewed, for remuneration purposes, on a six-monthly basis for all staff except for SES and Executive Level (EL) staff who are reviewed annually. The small office environment provides for regular and continual discussion of performance with staff. Since all staff report directly to either the Deputy IGT or the General Manager and have direct involvement with the IGT, they are provided with ongoing informal feedback on their performance.
Corporate planning and reporting
Corporate planning and reporting is undertaken by the Executive throughout the year.
The Deputy IGT as Chief Finance Officer (CFO) is responsible, with input from the IGT (as AA), for executive management of the portfolio budget statements and financial activities. Corporate governance, management and compliance reporting is also completed as required and overseen by the CFO.
As noted earlier, the IGT has a comprehensive SLA with the Treasury. Accordingly, financial and management activities, such as accounting preparation and processing, is undertaken by the Treasury.
For the IGT's work program of reviews and the role of tax complaints handling, reference should be made to earlier parts of this report under the headings of Overview and Performance Report.
The IGT meets specific risk management responsibilities under the PGPA Act through an integrated risk management framework. A suite of policies, plans and procedures has also been developed and adopted by the IGT which further contributes to the mitigation of risks.
The key components of the risk management framework are as follows:
- Accountable Authority's Instructions (AAIs) provide the policy and procedural framework for resource management in the IGT office and put into effect the requirements of the PGPA Act. They also contain topics relating specifically to risk management and internal accountability.
- The Fraud Control Plan complies with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Framework developed under the PGPA Act.
- The Business Continuity Plan includes processes for identifying and assessing risks and contingency plans for events that could disrupt normal IGT office operations.
- Security Risk Management is managed in accordance with the requirement of the Australian Government Protective Security Policy Framework.
- Risk assessments are to be reviewed annually as part of the process of applying for insurance renewal. The program is based on the Risk Management Standard AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009 and measures the IGT's performance in implementing risk management processes and policies against the national benchmark.
- The IGT's AAIs, Fraud Control Plan, Business Continuity Plan and the risk management framework itself are periodically reviewed by the IGT Audit and Risk Committee.
The IGT has strategies in place to ensure that risks associated with the delivery of IT services are identified and managed. The IGT office uses Treasury's IT infrastructure, governance and support systems under the SLA. Examples of such use include:
- the IT Disaster Recovery Plan (including Business Continuity Planning) which sets out strategies and processes to restore service disruptions;
- the Information Security Policy which sets out the technical requirements for the protection of electronic data and the expectations of all users of IT resources for the secure operation of IT systems. This overarching policy covers acceptable internet and email use as well as information storage, access and maintenance in conformity with Australian Government and legislative requirements; and
- website development standards and guidelines based on the Australian Government Digital Service Standard, the Information Security Manual and Australian Signals Directorate guidelines. The standards ensure compliance with best practice in relation to website security.
Staff awareness of risk management policies and procedures is maintained through training programs and staff notices circulated to Treasury and IGT officers and also available through the Treasury intranet.
No statements pursuant to paragraph 19(1)(e) of the PGPA Act were issued in 2016–17.
Ethical standards and accountability
The IGT embraces the APS Values and this is reflected in relevant corporate documents.
The IGT has taken steps to establish and maintain ethical standards through policies, plans and procedures such as the AAIs and by appropriately 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 the annual financial statement audit there have not been any audits of the IGT office undertaken by the ANAO. The IGT has an independent Audit and Risk Committee as part of the agency's governance framework.
The IGT's internal audit activities are carried out pursuant to the SLA with Treasury. The IGT Audit and Risk Committee may seek input directly from Treasury regarding such activities.
Reports on the operations of the IGT
There were no reports in 2016–17 on the operations of the IGT issued by the Commonwealth Auditor-General (Auditor-General) (other than the report on financial statements which are reproduced later in this report), a parliamentary committee or the Ombudsman. There was also no agency capability reviews regarding the IGT in 2016–17.
Judicial, administrative tribunal or Australian Information Commissioner decisions
No judicial decisions, decisions of administrative tribunals or decisions by the Australian Information Commissioner were made that have had, or may have, a significant impact on the operations of the IGT.
Management of human resources
The IGT, as a small office, seeks to promote 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 skill requirements, staff are recruited on the basis of merit and current competence with the expectation that career progression will generally occur within the wider public service/professional environment. Staff are encouraged and supported to provide their best performance while in the service of the IGT.
The Performance Management System is based on an annual performance cycle with a formal six-monthly review for all staff except SES and EL staff whose performance is subject to formal annual review and an informal half-yearly review.
The IGT has been utilising the design features and infrastructure of the Treasury Performance Management System in its own system. An important feature is transparency in the process used by the Executive in measuring performance and communicating to each staff member.
IGT non-SES staff are employed under an enterprise agreement pursuant to the Fair Work Act 2009. Table 7 below sets out the salary range paid to such staff, by classification.
Table 7: Salary scales — non-SES staff
The IGT may provide alternative remuneration arrangements in specific circumstances.
At 30 June 2017, one permanent SES employee was engaged under an employment agreement and one was engaged under a determination. The table below sets out the salary range paid to such staff, by classification.
Table 8: Salary scales — SES staff
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 competency. 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 a periodic 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.
The IGT has provided a considerable range of skills training for staff in this financial year to bolster the development and expansion of its complaints handling and broader review functions.
Table 9 details the number of staff employed in the IGT office, by classification and gender. The IGT is a statutory appointee. All other staff are employed under the Public Service Act 1999 and are required to apply the APS Values.
Table 9: Operative staff by classification and gender
(30 June 2017)
Procurement and assets management
The IGT adopts the Treasury's policies for procurement and utilises the Treasury's services under the SLA. For example, IT procurement is undertaken by the Treasury IT Procurement Unit. Accordingly, these policies and procedures are consistent with the IGT's AAIs and the Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPRs).
To maintain procurement expertise and procedural compliance with the CPRs, 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 that 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 IGT supports small business participation in the Commonwealth Government procurement market. Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) and Small Enterprise participation statistics are available on the Department of Finance's website: www.finance.gov.au/procurement/statistics-on-commonwealth-purchasing-contracts.
Consistent with paragraph 5.4 of the CPRs and through adoption of the Treasury's procurement policies, the agency provides appropriate opportunities for SMEs to compete and ensures that SMEs are not unfairly discriminated against. For example, the Treasury uses the Commonwealth Contracting Suite for low-risk procurements valued under $200,000. Many small businesses do not have the sufficient scale, skills or resources to prepare complex tender documents. Using this suite, which has simple and consistent contract terms and insurance requirements, simplifies this process and makes it easier for SMEs to bid for work.
The IGT has an asset management framework which includes:
- a register of all assets which are subject to an annual stocktake;
- the Treasury asset management guide which sets out the Treasury's policies and asset management guidelines for the day-to-day care and custody of assets52; and
- a capital management plan that sets out the IGT's longer term asset requirements and funding sources for ongoing asset replacement and investment. This is integrated with the strategic planning and capital budget process that occurs before the beginning of each financial year in conjunction with the IGT's annual operating budget process.
The IGT engages consultants where it requires specialist expertise or when independent research, review or assessment is needed. Consultants are typically engaged to investigate or diagnose a defined issue or problem, carry out defined reviews or evaluations or provide independent advice, information or solutions to assist the agency's decision making.
Prior to engaging consultants, the agency takes into account the skills and resources required for the task, the skills available internally, and the cost-effectiveness of engaging external expertise. The decision to engage a consultant is made in accordance with the PGPA Act and related regulations including the CPRs and relevant internal policies.
During 2016–17, four new consultancy contracts were entered involving total actual expenditure of $239,634. Selection of two of these consultancies was by Limited Tender and the remaining two by Open Tender. In addition, two ongoing consultancy contracts were active during the period, involving total actual expenditure of $6,936. Selection of one of these consultancies was by Limited Tender, and the other by Open Tender.
The above consultants were engaged to provide specialist expertise not available within the IGT to assist with the relocation to new premises, independent evaluation of the agency complaints handling service, and the provision of an independent report relating to an IGT review.
Annual reports contain information about actual expenditure on contracts for consultancies. Information on the value of contracts and consultancies is available on the AusTender website, www.tender.gov.au.
Australian National Audit Office access clauses
The IGT is required to provide details of any contract entered during 2016–17 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 in this reporting period.
The IGT has not exempted any contracts or standing offers from being published on AusTender in this reporting period on the basis that it would disclose exempt matters under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act).
The IGT, as noted earlier, recruits its small workforce based on merit and current competence. In doing so, it is mindful of the need for workplace diversity in terms of gender, age and ethnicity. Table 10 below demonstrates the significant level of diversity achieved in the IGT office.
Table 10: Operative staff by equal employment opportunity target group
(30 June 2017)
The IGT evaluates the Treasury's policies and plans regarding workplace diversity and continues to consider options available to a small agency. For example, this year, the IGT published the Gender Equality Action Plan 2017–201953 which contributes to the government initiative to improve gender equality and diversity within the APS.54
Disability action plan
The Commonwealth's National Disability Strategy 2010–2020 sets out a ten-year national policy framework to improve the lives of people with disability, promote participation and create a more inclusive society. A high level two-yearly report will track progress against each of the six outcome areas of the strategy and present a picture of how people with disability are faring. The first of these progress reports was published in 2014, and can be found at www.dss.gov.au.
52 Further details on the IGT's asset policies are in note 2.2A of the IGT's Financial Statements.