Governance committees and advisory groups
We support sound management of our accountability and ethical and legislative responsibilities through the Risk Assessment and Audit Committee, and the Human Research Ethics Committee. We also have numerous research advisory groups providing advice on the research projects.
Risk Assessment and Audit Committee
The Risk Assessment and Audit Committee reports to the Director and plays a key role in our corporate governance. It helps ensure effective and efficient use of resources by reviewing the performance and operations of internal controls and performance management systems. It approves our internal audit program and advises the Director on risk, fraud, compliance and performance. It also provides assurance to the Director on preparing and reviewing financial statements. An external member chairs the committee. Membership includes the two Deputy Directors and three independent members external to the Institute. The committee met four times during 2019/20, addressing a range of issues including the review of budgets.
The charter determining the function of the Risk Assessment and Audit Committee is available at: aifs.gov.au/risk-assessment-and-audit-committee
Human Research Ethics Committee
The role of our Human Research Ethics Committee is to ensure the ethical standards outlined in the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Research Involving Humans, and elaborated in our ethics statement, Ethical Issues in the Research Process (1996), are met in all research projects undertaken by us.
In particular, the committee must ensure projects meet the three key principles of: respect for persons, beneficence and justice, as set down in the National Statement. The committee is registered with the Australian Health Ethics Committee, a subcommittee of the National Health and Medical Research Council.
The Ethics Committee meets to consider new project proposals, receive brief oral and written reports on ongoing projects, consider any complaints or problems that may have arisen regarding ethical issues in our research, and review the complaints procedures, as required.
The committee met five times in 2019/20 and undertook expedited considerations on six occasions, assessing 20 ethics applications for new, revised or extended research projects. The committee has an expedited review process in place for projects that need approval between meetings of the committee.
Members of the Ethics Committee are appointed for three-year terms, with the exception of one member who has sought an extension of their appointment for a shorter term.