The ABS has a Fraud Control Plan in line with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Framework 2017 and requirements of Section 10 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 (the Fraud Rule). It includes strategies for ensuring all reasonable fraud control measures are taken and provides the framework and associated guidance for fraud prevention, detection, investigation or otherwise dealing, reporting, and procedures that meet the specific needs of the ABS and broader government obligations. This includes activities to build on fraud awareness and guidance for staff on reporting fraud through appropriate mechanisms. It is also supported by a fraud risk assessment which records identified fraud risks, treatment strategies, responsibilities, dates for implementation and reporting obligations.
The ABS Fraud Control Plan is reviewed and updated biennially. The fraud risk assessment is reviewed every two years or more frequently where the ABS has identified significant changes to fraud risk exposure. The ABS Audit Committee has oversight of ABS fraud control activity.
A fraud control assessment was conducted by an independent assessor in the December 2017–January 2018 period. This assessment found that ‘Compared to 2016, the ABS’ residual fraud risk has decreased due to increased oversight of existing controls and the implementation of new controls in key areas’. Nonetheless, changes in the nature of fraud risk mean that the ABS must continue to be alert to the potential for fraud. The fraud risk assessment specifically pointed to the growing use of flexible working arrangements and the risk posed by third parties as aspects of ABS operations that require close attention in future.
Compliance with finance law
Sections 17AG and 17BE of the PGPA Rule require that Commonwealth entities’ annual reports must include a statement of any significant issues or instances of non-compliance in relation to the finance law. Entities must also notify the responsible Minister under paragraph 19(1)(e) of the PGPA Act during the reporting period and outline the actions taken to remedy the non-compliance. As the Finance Minister has responsibility for the finance law, accountable authorities should also provide a copy of their notifications of significant non-compliance with the finance law to the Finance Minister.
The ABS has not identified any instances of significant or systemic non-compliance in 2018-19.