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-established structures for a range of functions, such as human resources, information technology, governance and financial operations, purchased under an agreed cost structure. However, some structures are supplemented by bespoke resources to meet eSafety’s unique operational needs. 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 holder, the eSafety Commissioner is not subject to the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA). However, the Commissioner abides by all PGPA requirements, and administrative arrangements are in place to 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.
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 12 in Part 1: Australian Communications and Media Authority annual report 2020–21 for eSafety’s financial reporting information.
All employees of the Office of the eSafety Commissioner (with the exception of the Commissioner and directly recruited contract staff) are staff of the ACMA.
Audit and risk management
eSafety is not required to have a separate audit committee; however, the eSafety Risk and Compliance Committee meets regularly to support the system of internal controls and due diligence within eSafety. 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-us/corporate-documents/freedom-of-information.
The eSafety enquiries team receives large volumes of general enquiries via the enquiries [at] esafety.gov.au mailbox and website ‘contact us’ form. The enquiries team coordinated over 3,508 responses to general enquiries during 2020–21.