The ACIC uses and manages resources in line with the principles of the Commonwealth Resource Management Framework, which is underpinned by the PGPA Act and related regulations, directions and guidance.
A full physical stocktake of tangible assets across all locations was planned for 2019–20, and stocktakes were completed in the Australian Capital Territory, Queensland and South Australia. However, COVID-19 restrictions impeded the progress of the stocktakes in other locations. The national stocktake will be finalised after COVID-19 restrictions are eased.
During 2019–20, we again engaged an independent professional valuer to undertake a materiality review of the ACIC’s leasehold improvements and property, plant and equipment assets. A materiality review determines whether there have been any material changes in asset book values since the previous year’s financial statements. The 2019–20 report concluded, ‘After undertaking qualitative, quantitative and uncertainty analyses for the asset classes, we are of the opinion that there are no significant material differences between the carrying amounts and fair values for the ACIC assets'.
Under ACIC policy, all assets (excluding intangible assets) are to be independently valued every three years and a materiality valuation is to be conducted each year in between. The full asset valuation will be undertaken in 2020–21.
The ACIC also conducted its annual review of intangible assets to confirm whether intangible assets are still in use, and to determine whether there is any impairment. No material financial impacts arose from our 2019–20 review of intangibles. The review helps us to maintain the currency and accuracy of our records.
As newly required by Australian Accounting Standards Board Standard AASB 16, our 2019–20 Statement of Financial Position includes assets held by the agency under leases as right-of-use of assets.
Our asset mix (including assets under construction) at the end of 2019–20 comprised:
- $14.609 million of leasehold improvements
- $42.096 million of property, plant and equipment
- $37.302 million of intangibles
- $43.681 million of leased right-of-use building assets.
We have ACIC offices in each capital city to support the delivery of our national service. Premises in Hobart and Darwin are provided by those jurisdictions’ police forces and are not subject to formal lease arrangements. All other offices are under lease until at least 2022; most of those leases are due to expire from 2024 onward.
We will move our Victorian State Office into Victoria Police’s new centre at 311 Spencer Street, Melbourne, in late 2020. The Minister for Finance and the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works approved this project during 2017–18.
We monitor our property performance nationally with a view to minimising our property footprint and taking advantage of efficiency initiatives, including opportunities to share facilities. Overall, the agency has a fit-out density of 13.0 square metres per workpoint.
Our approach to procuring property and services, including consultancies, is consistent with Australian Government policy and legislation covering procurement. The Commonwealth Procurement Rules are applied to activities through the Accountable Authority Instructions and supporting operational policies and procedures, which are reviewed for consistency with the Commonwealth Procurement Framework.
The procurement framework reflects the core principle governing Australian Government procurement—value for money. Our policies and procedures also focus on:
- competitive, non-discriminatory procurement processes
- efficient, effective, economical and ethical use of resources
- accountability and transparency.
During 2019–20, we continued to participate in whole-of-government, coordinated procurement initiatives and used clustering and piggybacking opportunities to lower tendering costs and provide savings through economies of scale.
Table 3.13 gives details of our use of consultants in 2019–20.
Table 3.13: Consultancy contracts
No. of new contracts entered into during the period
No. of ongoing contracts engaging consultants that were entered into during a previous period
Total actual expenditure during the period on ongoing contracts (including GST)
During 2019–20, three new consultancy contracts were entered into involving total actual expenditure of $1.735 million. No ongoing consultancy contracts were active during the period.
Consultants are typically engaged to investigate or diagnose a defined issue or problem, carry out defined reviews or evaluations, or provide independent advice, information or creative solutions to assist in the ACIC’s decision-making. Prior to engaging consultants, we take into account the skills and resources required for the task, the skills available internally, and the cost-effectiveness of engaging external expertise.
We make decisions to engage consultants in accordance with the PGPA Act and related regulations, including the Commonwealth Procurement Rules and relevant internal policies.
Information on the value of contracts and consultancies is available on the AusTender website at www.tenders.gov.au.
During 2019–20, we did not enter into any contracts of $100,000 or more that excluded provision for access by the Auditor-General.
Contract details are exempt from being published on AusTender if those details would disclose exempt matters under the Freedom of Information Act 1982. No such contract details were excluded from being published on AusTender in 2019–20.
Procurement initiatives to support small business
The ACIC supports small business participation in the Australian Government procurement market. Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) and small enterprise participation statistics are available on the Department of Finance’s website at www.finance.gov.au/government/procurement/statistics-australian-government-procurement-contracts.
We support the use of SMEs through various means, including the use of template contracts for both low-risk and higher risk procurements, and compliance with the government’s Supplier Pay On-Time or Pay Interest Policy.
The ACIC recognises the importance of ensuring that small businesses are paid on time. The results of the survey of Australian Government payments to small business are available on the Treasury’s website www.treasury.gov.au.
Advertising and market research
Section 311A of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 requires us to provide details of amounts paid for advertising and market research in our annual report.
In 2019–20, the ACIC did not conduct any advertising campaigns or make any payments for polling, direct mail or campaign advertising. The ACIC did not make any payments related to non-campaign advertising that were higher than the reporting threshold of $14,000.
A total of $25,481 (including GST) was paid to Andrews Group Pty Ltd to undertake work on the 2018–19 and 2019–20 stakeholder-related surveys.
The ACIC did not award grants during 2019–20.
Ecologically sustainable development
The five principles of ecologically sustainable development identified in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 are integration, precautionary, intergenerational, biodiversity and valuation.
We are aware of these principles in our daily operations. We strive to operate in an environmentally responsible manner, including by making efficient use of resources and managing waste effectively.
We are committed to reducing our impact on the environment through ongoing minimisation strategies and new technologies and resources, including:
- using electronic document management systems and web-based information-sharing tools that reduce or eliminate the need to print and retain paper copies of documents
- using video and telephone conferencing where possible to reduce the need for local and interstate travel
- reviewing leased buildings and encouraging owners to improve their buildings’ energy performance
- ensuring that new leases entered into comply with the Australian Government’s energy policy
- procuring energy-efficient equipment and lighting solutions, including smart lighting that activates only when areas are occupied
- providing recycling facilities in breakout areas.
The integration of energy efficiency practices into our organisation and planning allows us to reduce our energy costs and our consumption of valuable resources.