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Accountability arrangements

Accountability arrangements

Under section 67 of the EOS Act, the ACMA is required to assist the Commissioner to perform functions and exercise powers to such extent as the Commissioner reasonably requires, making available resources, facilities and members of staff of the ACMA. eSafety uses ACMA resources for a range of functions, such as human resources, information technology, governance and financial operations, purchased under an agreed cost structure. As a result of this legislative arrangement, administrative and financial controls are consistently applied across the ACMA and eSafety. For the purposes of the preparation of financial statements, the ACMA and eSafety report as a single financial entity.

As a statutory office, the eSafety Commissioner is not subject to the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013. However, administrative arrangements in place provide assurance to the ACMA that the activities of eSafety are conducted in an efficient, effective and ethical manner, and all transactions are captured and reported within the appropriate ACMA financial and human resource information systems.

Financial arrangements

Funds for eSafety form part of the ACMA appropriation. Specified departmental and administered funds are credited to the Online Safety Special Account.

The Special Account is administered by the ACMA; however, any amount debited from the Account requires written approval of the Commissioner.

See Appendix 14 in Part 1—Australian Communications and Media Authority annual report 2018–19 for eSafety’s financial reporting information.

Staffing eSafety

Other than the Commissioner, all employees working for eSafety remain employed by the ACMA under the Public Service Act 1999. They continue to be subject to the same laws, regulations, instructions, policies and guidelines as ACMA staff working under the direction of the ACMA.

Audit and risk management

eSafety is not required to have a separate Audit Committee. The Commissioner can undertake independent audits and eSafety falls under the mantle of the ACMA’s internal controls, processes and systems. As ACMA employees, the staff of eSafety are subject to the ACMA’s risk and fraud management frameworks.

Freedom of information

Agencies subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) are required to publish information as part of the Information Publication Scheme (IPS), under Part II of the FOI Act. The Commissioner is an agency for the purpose of the FOI Act. Information on eSafety’s IPS, including the agency plan, can be found at esafety.gov.au/about-the-office/privacy-and-legal.