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Corporate governance

The ABCC's corporate governance framework determines how the agency exercises authority and delivers outcomes. The framework promotes and upholds the Australian Public Service (APS) Values, Code of Conduct and Employment Principles.

The corporate governance framework comprises the agency’s enabling legislation (the BCIIP Act) and other relevant legislative instruments, policies, strategies, and managerial procedures and practices.

The ABCC has corporate governance practices that ensure clear lines of accountability and well‑defined, effective management of its performance. These practices are overseen and supported by the following frameworks and committees.

ABCC Executive

The ABCC Executive drives the strategic direction and leadership of the ABCC and provides advice to the Commissioner regarding key strategic, operational, financial and corporate matters. The Executive consists of the Commissioner, Deputy Commissioners and SES staff. It meets on a regular basis with meetings chaired by the Commissioner.

Audit

The ABCC reviews its internal control systems and takes steps to improve on its existing strong foundation. The Audit and Risk Committee and internal auditors provide expert advice to the ABCC in the interests of continual improvement.

During 2019–20, the Audit and Risk Committee met five times (four standard meetings and one financial statements meeting) and continued to look at key corporate and regulatory processes. The committee reviewed all internal and relevant external audit activity and reported on performance against its charter.

Over the reporting period, internal audit services were provided through co-sourced arrangements. Three internal audits were completed and accepted by the Audit and Risk Committee. The committee monitors all audit recommendations and reviews a selection of closed recommendations to confirm implementation over the longer term.

Australian National Audit Office performance audits

The ABCC did not participate in any Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) performance audits tabled in 2019–20. However, these were monitored for any relevant shared learnings.

Audit and Risk Committee

The Audit and Risk Committee provides independent assurance and assistance to the Commissioner and the ABCC Executive on the agency’s financial and performance reporting responsibilities, risk oversight and management, and systems of internal control. The Audit and Risk Committee is also responsible for reviewing the annual financial statements.

The Audit and Risk Committee continued to operate throughout the 2019–20 reporting year. The charter for the Audit and Risk Committee sets out the committee’s role in relation to internal audit, which includes:

  • oversight of the audit function
  • reviewing and recommending to the Commissioner on the internal audit program
  • pre-approval of all internal auditing services to meet the approved audit program.

The charter also provides the framework for the conduct of the internal function of the agency, which is to:

  • ensure that sufficient resources are available to deliver the annual audit program
  • monitor progress and consider the implications of internal audit findings for the control environment
  • monitor a register of audit recommendations.

Details of committee members, attendance, experience and remuneration is set out in Table 20.

Table 20: Audit and Risk Committee members

Name

Position

Meetings attended

Skills and experience

Remuneration

Jon Issacs1

Chair / independent member

2

Other board experience, risk management, internal controls, industry/regulatory, government/public policy, governance, financial management, business, legislative drafting

Bachelor of Arts (Honours), Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors

$6,276

Lyn Baker2

Deputy Chair / Chair / independent member

5

Other board experience, risk management, internal controls, industry/regulatory, government/public policy, governance, business

Bachelor of Arts, Master of Business Administration, Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors

$11,924

Bronwyn Davies3

Deputy Chair / independent member

3

Official of Commonwealth entity, other board experience, risk management, internal controls, government/public policy, information technology systems, financial management, governance, business, accounting

Graduate Certificate in Technology (Business Systems), Bachelor of Economics, Certified Practising Accountant, Certified Internal Auditor, Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors

$3,675

Malcolm Knight

Internal ABCC member

5

Official of the entity, industry/regulatory, government/public policy, legal

Bachelor of Arts, Graduate Diploma of Law

$0

1 – Jon Issacs resigned from the Audit and Risk Committee after the 17 September 2019 meeting.

2 – Lyn Baker became Chair of the committee from 1 November 2019. Lyn was Deputy Chair for two meetings and Chair for three meetings.

3 – Bronwyn Davies was appointed as Deputy Chair and independent member from 1 November 2019.

Representatives from the ANAO are invited to attend and have attended each Audit and Risk Committee meeting as observers. Along with the Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer, other ABCC officers may be invited to attend Audit and Risk Committee meetings as needed.

Vacancy Management Committee

The Vacancy Management Committee considers and advises the Commissioner on vacancies, recruitment and temporary acting opportunities throughout the agency to ensure that the ABCC has a fair, transparent and consistent approach to workforce planning decisions. It is chaired by the Commissioner and consists of the Deputy Commissioners and Senior Executive Service staff.

Workplace Health and Safety Committee

The Workplace Health and Safety Committee (WHSC) reviews and reports on the implementation of relevant legislation, policies and practices as well as advising the Commissioner and the Executive on policy matters concerning the health and safety of employees.

The WHSC consists of two employer representatives (including the Chair) appointed by the Commissioner, and seven employee representatives elected by staff.

Business planning

Consistent with the PGPA Act and the enhanced Commonwealth Performance Framework, the Corporate Plan is the ABCC’s primary planning document. The Corporate Plan sets the agency’s strategic direction for 2019–20 through to 2022–23. Results against the ABCC’s stated purpose and strategic objectives, outlined in the Corporate Plan, are formally reported in the annual performance statement (see Part 2).

Each team at the ABCC has a business plan, which provides the link between the agency-wide Corporate Plan and individual performance agreements. The business plans show how each team will contribute to the ABCC’s strategic objectives over the course of the year.

Risk management framework

The risk management framework provides an overview of the risk management processes adopted by the ABCC. It outlines the process for reporting on risk and the ongoing monitoring and review of risk management activities. The Audit and Risk Committee is responsible for monitoring and assessing the performance of the risk management framework.

In 2019–20, the agency commenced a review to tailor its risk management capabilities and processes to align with agency needs and the Commonwealth Risk Management Policy and ISO 31000:2018 Risk management – Guidelines. The program will be completed in 2020–21.

Fraud control framework

The ABCC’s approach to fraud prevention and compliance is in accordance with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Framework and is supported by the agency’s Fraud Control Plan, Fraud Risk Assessment, and Fraud Control Strategy.

The agency conducts training in ethical behaviour and fraud awareness as part of the ABCC’s Corporate Compliance Program.

The ABCC takes all reasonable measures to minimise the risk of fraud and has appropriate procedures in place for recording and reporting fraud. All reports of fraud must be forwarded to the Agency Security Adviser (ASA). Staff can report fraud by completing the fraud reporting form or by email and can receive the protections (such as anonymity) under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 by making the disclosure to an authorised officer.

If a matter of suspected fraud requires investigation, the ABCC ASA informs the Commissioner, who will appoint an investigation officer. The appropriate law enforcement agency will be notified in the event of serious or complex fraud against the Commonwealth.

No reports of fraud committed against the ABCC were made in the 2019–20 financial year.