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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 the Executive forming the 2 decision making bodies of the ABCC – the Corporate Board and Operations and Compliance Board.

Corporate Board

The Corporate Board is responsible for guiding and overseeing the ABCC’s corporate and financial performance. This includes setting the ABCC Corporate Plan and KPIs, approving strategies and initiatives, and assessing and mitigating risks.

The Corporate Board meets monthly and the Commissioner Chairs the meetings.

Operations and Compliance Board

The Operations and Compliance Board is responsible for overseeing the ABCC’s agency-wide operations, compliance activities and resource allocation.

The Operations and Compliance Board is the monitoring and decision-making body for the ABCC’s operational and compliance strategies, priorities and activities, including advisory services, operations, Code, litigation, stakeholder engagement, education, media and communication activities.

The Operations and Compliance Board is Chaired by the Deputy Commissioner Operations and meets every 2 months. Operational and legal staff are standing attendees at these meetings.

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 2020–21, the Audit and Risk Committee met 5 times (4 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.

In 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 2020–21. 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 2020–21 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.

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

Table 20: Audit and Risk Committee members

Name

Position

Meetings attended

Skills and experience

Remuneration

Additional information

Lyn Baker

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

$13,807

Lyn Baker attended the following meetings during the reporting period:

  • 9 September 2020
  • 17 September 2020
  • 2 December 2020
  • 29 March 2021
  • 22 June 2021

Remuneration is set in line with the NSW Government's Prequalification Scheme: Audit and Risk Committee Independent Chairs and Members.

Bronwyn Davies

Deputy Chair/independent member

5

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 Practicing Accountant, Certified Internal Auditor, Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors

$6,125

Bronwyn Davies attended the following meetings during the reporting period:

  • 9 September 2020
  • 17 September 2020
  • 2 December 2020
  • 29 March 2021
  • 22 June 2021

Remuneration is set in line with the NSW Government's Prequalification Scheme: Audit and Risk Committee Independent Chairs and Members.

Malcolm Knight

Internal ABCC member

4

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

Bachelor of Arts, Graduate Diploma of Law

$0

Malcolm Knight reached the end of his 2-year tenure on 12 March 2021.

He attended the following 4 meetings during the reporting period:

  • 9 September 2020
  • 17 September 2020
  • 2 December 2020
  • 29 March 2021

Gayle Ginnane

Independent member

1

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

Bachelor of Economics, Bachelor of Arts (Mathematics and Statistics), Master of Defence Studies, Graduate Diploma in Strategic Studies, Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Affiliate Member of the Australian Institute of Actuaries

$1,348

Gayle Ginnane was appointed to the Audit and Risk Committee with effect 1 May 2021.

She attended her first meeting on 22 June 2021.

Remuneration is set in line with the NSW Government's Prequalification Scheme: Audit and Risk Committee Independent Chairs and Members.

Information Governance Committee

The Information Governance Committee is a consultative forum intended to assist in the management and coordination of the agency’s information and data management frameworks, strategies and policies. It supports the agency’s information management strategy by monitoring effectiveness, promoting best practice information management and ensuring that records, information and data are managed throughout their lifecycle. This includes addressing key risks associated with cybersecurity, access, privacy, business continuity and cost. This Committee reports to the Corporate Board.

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 outcomes of each meeting are shared with staff.

The WHSC consists of 4 employer representatives (including the Chair) appointed by the Commissioner, and 9 employee representatives elected by staff.

The ABCC will be introducing a Harassment and Diversity Contact Officer (HDCO) network in 2021–22. The role of Health and Safety Representative will be expanded to include duties of a HDCO.

People Forum

The People Forum comprises members from each ABCC office and is currently chaired by the Executive Director Operations. It is a consultative committee for the agency that provides a forum for two-way engagement between staff and the Executive. Members of the People Forum are active in ensuring that staff have the opportunity to raise issues concerning the workplace environment to senior management.

Business planning

Consistent with the PGPA Act, the Corporate Plan is the ABCC’s primary planning document. The Corporate Plan sets the agency’s strategic direction for 2020–21 through to 2023–24. 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 2020–21, the agency participated in the Comcover Benchmarking Survey and continued to update its risk management capabilities and processes to align with agency needs, the Commonwealth Risk Management Policy and ISO 31000:2018 Risk management – Guidelines.

Fraud control framework

The ABCC’s approach and compliance to fraud control 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 ABCC takes all reasonable measures to minimise the risk of fraud and has appropriate mechanisms in place for preventing, detecting, investigating or otherwise dealing with and recording and reporting fraud. As part of the ABCC Corporate Compliance Program the agency also conducts training on fraud awareness and other modules relating to ethical behaviour. Fraud can be reported through internal and external reporting mechanisms, including the ability to report anonymously and under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013.

No reports of fraud committed against the ABCC were made in the 2020–21 financial year.