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Corporate governance


Mr Michael Phelan, the CEO of the ACIC, is the Director of the AIC. He was appointed to both roles on 13 November 2017.

Audit Committee

In accordance with responsibilities under section 45 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013, the Director has established and maintains an independent Audit Committee. The Audit Committee’s authority is established under its Charter, which sets out the committee’s functions and responsibilities.

The Audit Committee functions as a joint audit committee for the AIC and the ACIC and endorses the Internal Audit Charter, approves the annual audit plan, reviews progress against the plan and considers all audit reports. It also monitors implementation of all internal and external audit recommendations and takes a keen interest in the implementation of recommendations arising from other reviews, including those of the Australian National Audit Office and the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

The Audit Committee provides advice on matters of concern raised by internal auditors or the Auditor-General and advises the Director on the preparation and review of the AIC’s financial statements and certificate of compliance.

The Audit Committee includes an independent external chair and three members as well as an observer from the Australian National Audit Office. The committee meets quarterly to review internal and external audit reports, to consider findings and recommendations, and to oversee the internal audit program. The committee also holds an additional meeting once a year to review the financial statements. In addition, the committee monitors risk, internal controls, fraud and corruption prevention activities, and performance reporting.

Management committees

Research Managers Committee

The Research Managers Committee meets every two weeks to consider both strategic and operational aspects of the AIC’s research program and provides advice to the Executive Committee on research priorities and risks. The meetings are regularly attended by other senior management staff to discuss specific management topics. Its members at 30 June 2019 were:

  • Dr Rick Brown, Deputy Director (Chair);
  • Dr Russell Smith, Principal Criminologist;
  • Mr Matthew Willis, Research Manager;
  • Mr Anthony Morgan, Research Manager;
  • Dr Samantha Bricknell, Research Manager; and
  • Ms Jane Shelling, JV Barry Library Manager.

Human Research Ethics Committee

The AIC’s Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) has been operating since 1992. Its eight members have backgrounds in law, religion, social work and research, as stipulated in the National Health and Medical Research Council’s guidelines for ethics committees.

The HREC’s role is to advise the Director (or Deputy Director) whether approval to proceed should be granted for proposed research involving human subjects. The HREC regularly reviews proposed projects to ensure that appropriate safeguards exist to ensure the conduct of the research is consistent with ethical standards.

During 2018–19, the HREC reviewed and approved 18 new proposals. The HREC met on three occasions: 1 November 2018, 28 February 2019 and 6 June 2019.

The committee chair in 2018–19 was Professor Nicolas Peterson PhD, Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. The committee’s other members at 30 June 2019 were:

  • Mr Derek Jory (layman);
  • Ms Christine Freudenstein (laywoman);
  • Professor Debra Rickwood PhD, MAPS (person with knowledge of, and current experience in, the care, counselling or treatment of people);
  • Miss Dolores Schneider LLB (lawyer);
  • Reverend Martin Christensen (person who performs a pastoral care role in a community);
  • Associate Professor Tony Krone PhD (person with knowledge of, and current experience in, research regularly considered by the HREC); and
  • Ms Samantha Lyneham BSocSc, PGDip Crim, PhD candidate (person with knowledge of, and current experience in, research regularly considered by the HREC).

Risk Management

Fraud and corruption control

As required by the Commonwealth Fraud Control Framework, the Director certifies he is confident that:

  • a fraud and corruption risk assessment and fraud and corruption control plan has been prepared in accordance with the requirements of the Commonwealth Fraud Control Framework;
  • appropriate fraud prevention, detection, investigation and reporting procedures and processes are in place; and
  • annual fraud data that complies with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Framework has been collected and reported.

Fraud and corruption risks were assessed as part of the ACIC’s fraud and corruption risk assessment process. The inclusion of corruption control in the fraud control plan recognises the ACIC’s organisational environment as a target for infiltration and corruption. No fraud or corruption was reported or identified in 2018–19.

Protective security

As an Australian Government agency, the AIC is required to follow the Commonwealth Government Protective Security Policy Framework and the Commonwealth Government Information Security Manual. The AIC’s protective security requirements are managed by the ACIC.

The AIC runs a stable and secure ICT network in accordance with the Commonwealth Government Protective Security Policy Framework and related information security requirements. The AIC continues to enhance the performance of its systems and reduce the overheads associated with its ICT service.

Backup and disaster recovery systems have been upgraded and improved to strengthen the protection of AIC systems and data.

In collaboration with Australian Survey Research, the AIC has developed a data collection system for the Drug Use Monitoring in Australia program. The system allows offline survey data collection to be integrated into the online survey environment. The process enables the offline collection of data and significantly reduces costs and processing time by eliminating hard-copy survey instruments and the labour-intensive data entry and validation process. An improved version has been developed and is currently in use.

Staff consultation

All-staff meetings are held fortnightly and give managers an opportunity to discuss achievements or events over the past two weeks. These meetings also provide an open forum for staff to discuss any relevant issues.

The AIC’s intranet is its main vehicle for sharing and developing knowledge. It provides links to information in the JV Barry Library catalogue, the external databases to which the library subscribes and the public domain. By providing access to research projects, datasets and presentations, the intranet encourages researchers to build on and extend previous AIC research.

The AIC contributed to the 2019 Australian Public Service Employee Census. This survey gave staff the opportunity to communicate perceived weaknesses and strengths to management anonymously.