In 2018–19, Finance used our own experience of change to provide leadership and stewardship across the APS to support wider transformation, collaboration and modernisation, while delivering on key initiatives.
I would like to acknowledge the professionalism and commitment of Finance staff in delivering and achieving across all our areas of responsibility during the year. In particular, I would like to highlight the following achievements, which have delivered on our purpose and priorities.
Independent Review into the operation of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and Rule
In September 2018, the report of the Independent Review into the operation of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) and Rule was released. Finance has worked with key stakeholders to support and implement its recommendations to improve the transparency of executive remuneration reporting and the accessibility of annual reports through transparency.gov.au. These recommendations were implemented by amending the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 (PGPA Rule). The implementation of other recommendations is well advanced, including those that go to performance reporting and audit committees.
Centre of Procurement Excellence
In March 2019, Finance launched the Centre of Procurement Excellence (CoPE) designed to build public sector capability in procurement, strengthen partnerships with the business community and encourage innovation to deliver better value for money.
CoPE has provided opportunities for entities to collaborate with stakeholders to shape a modern and fit-for-purpose procurement framework. Finance has also brought together senior members of key Commonwealth entities and the business community for the Secretary’s Procurement Roundtable to discuss issues related to Commonwealth procurement.
Service Delivery Office
As a shared services hub, the Service Delivery Office (SDO) within Finance delivered quality digital services to 13 entities and over 6,000 staff, supporting the Government in driving efficient corporate functions across the APS. The SDO has taken a lead role in expanding the Government’s corporate services under the whole-of-government Shared Services Program and has become the technological leader in the delivery of next generation Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems in the Government.
The Department is now a consumer of SDO services and will leverage its digital capability to drive improvements and efficiencies in how we run our own operations.
Digital Annual Reporting Tool
In 2018, Finance led a pilot Digital Annual Report project involving 13 entities, under which each produced and digitised their 2017–18 annual report on the transparency.gov.au platform developed by Finance and launched by the Minister for Finance on 13 March 2019.
In addition to streamlining the preparation of annual reports and standardising compliance requirements, the pilot launched the entry of digitised information into the Transparency Portal, with the 2018–19 reporting cycle to feature a complete set of annual reports for all Commonwealth entities and Commonwealth companies. This significantly enhances the Commonwealth’s accountability framework and supports digital access to information on how government works.
Government Business Analytical Unit
The Government Business Analytical Unit (GBAU) within Finance has grown its capability and increased the use of data to inform public sector policy and government administration. New data analytics expertise and investment in technology is enabling Finance to use data, including from across the APS, in a more sophisticated way to build an evidence base, inform policy-making, and enhance reporting and transparency including through analysis of APS Employee Census data.
Australian Accounting Standard AASB 16 — Leases
Implementing the new accounting standard Australian Accounting Standard AASB 16—Leases, Finance collated leasing data and calculated the financial impact at both entity and whole-of-government levels. This work ensures that we have reliable estimates for inclusion in the 2019–20 MYEFO, the first economic update after the new standard came into effect on 1 July 2019.
Shared Budget Workflow System
The Shared Budget Workflow System (SBWS) improved public sector productivity by automating manual components of the Budget process, resulting in more timely and reliable advice to the Government, enhanced data analytics and improved consistency and accuracy of reporting.
To deliver on key infrastructure projects, Finance engaged with and provided advice to Commonwealth Government Business Enterprises (GBEs) regarding corporate planning, financial and operational performance. Finance has continued to ensure that GBE governance frameworks are fit for purpose and operate efficiently, in support of the Finance Minister’s shareholder responsibilities, to help progress government commitments, including Snowy Hydro 2.0, large infrastructure projects such as Inland Rail, Moorebank Intermodal and Western Sydney Airport, Naval Shipbuilding and the National Broadband Network.