Go to top of page

Risk management

Throughout 2018–19, the department committed to effective risk management at all levels, integrating risk management in governance, strategic decision-making and business planning processes.

The executive, including the Secretary, is accountable for risk oversight and oversees the adequacy and effectiveness of our enterprise risk management framework. Risk oversight is also integrated into departmental governance committees, which oversee project and service delivery. The executive also sets the department’s risk appetite — the amount and type of risk that the department is willing to accept in the course of achieving its strategic objectives.

In 2018, the department established a central enterprise risk section to assist in everyday work involving risk management and promote a holistic view of risk. As part of this, a risk plan hierarchy was developed to simplify the structure of risk plans and align risk management to the department’s business planning cycle.

The collaborative approach the department adopts in delivering programs and policies requires effective management of shared risk. The department promoted sound risk-sharing practices during 2018–19, including the use of monitoring mechanisms to check that shared risk management processes are operating to expectations.

The department is also dedicated to continuous improvement of risk management, including the management of critical risks such as those relating to child safety. In 2018–19, the department delivered activities to support the Commonwealth Redress Scheme and requirements under the Commonwealth Child Safe Framework, including a Child Safety and Wellbeing Risk Plan and required training. The department had ongoing engagement with other Commonwealth agencies and the National Office for Child Safety in planning its implementation of the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations, which is required by February 2020.

During 2018–19, the department continued to promote a positive risk culture in which risk management benefits decision-making and strategic direction. This includes considering enterprise risks and shared risks during decision-making. As a fund member, the department works in partnership with Comcover to promote a positive risk management culture to support the efficient and effective delivery of programs and services. The department consistently achieves strong results in the Comcover benchmarking program for risk maturity, demonstrating a well-embedded and mature culture of risk management.

In 2019–20, the enterprise risk section will focus on the continual improvement of risk management and oversight activities. This includes more deeply embedding a holistic view of risk across the department with a focus on common language and risk rating criteria to encourage reporting synergies.