The Department of Home Affairs (the Department) is responsible for administering legislation, developing policy, managing and delivering programs, ensuring compliance, and delivering Government services. Given the breadth of our responsibilities, it is essential that we have a clear framework for our governance and decision‑making, and that roles and responsibilities are clearly defined to ensure we achieve our objectives. Our governance arrangements are agile to ensure that even when dealing with crises we continue to meet our obligations and support effective decision-making.
The governance arrangements outlined in this chapter apply to the Department and are consistent with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act). They also support transparent and effective decision-making both horizontally and vertically.
In recognition of its operational independence, the Australian Border Force (ABF) has its own governance arrangements. However, the governance and working committees of the Department and the ABF are linked through membership and functions to enable the Secretary to properly acquit his PGPA Act responsibilities. These arrangements also align the ABF’s operational functions and the Department’s policy, program, enabling and support functions.
Figure 8 – Department of Home Affairs Enterprise Governance Arrangements, as at 30 June 2020
In 2019–20, the Executive Committee was the Department’s premier strategic forum, focused on future facing, enterprise-wide issues, priorities and direction. It was chaired by the Secretary, the Accountable Authority under the PGPA Act. The Secretary was the final decision maker on matters brought before the Executive Committee.
The Executive Committee was supported by the Enterprise Business Committee, the Policy Committee, and the Resources and Capability Committee.
Enterprise Business Committee
The Enterprise Business Committee oversaw enterprise-wide issues concerning the effective management and performance of the Department. In 2019–20, the Enterprise Business Committee was chaired by the Chief Operating Officer.
The Policy Committee provided high-level direction and leadership on strategy-centred and strategy-led policy priorities, including those that impact on immigration and people mobility, settlement and social cohesion, major threats and risk, law enforcement and transnational crime, national security and international-focused policy. In 2019–20, the Policy Committee was chaired by Deputy Secretary Policy.
Resources and Capability Committee
The Resources and Capability Committee had oversight of capability development and financial management frameworks. It also allocated resources in support of these frameworks and provided advice on investment priorities, capability development, financial strategy, and budget allocation and management. In 2019–20, the Resources and Capability Committee was chaired by Deputy Secretary Policy.
The Risk Committee oversaw the performance of the Department’s Risk Management Framework, including the ongoing review of the Department’s Strategic and Enterprise Risks and the effectiveness of risk controls, and provided advice on critical risks and improving risk management. It also focused on integrating risk management within governance and strategic business and planning processes to embed consideration of risks in decision-making. In 2019–20, the Risk Committee was chaired by Deputy Secretary Policy.
The People Committee made recommendations on enterprise-wide strategic workforce and integrity matters. It was responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Department’s People Strategy 2025, and incorporating current and emerging business priorities into the development of workforce planning, inclusiveness and culture, integrity, work health and safety, and workforce capability strategies. In 2019–20, the People Committee was chaired by the Chief Operating Officer.
Australian Border Force Governance Arrangements
Throughout 2019-20, the ABF's governance arrangements complemented those of the broader Department and positioned the ABF to effectively contribute to the Department's enterprise governance arrangements.
The ABF Commissioner was supported by the:
Strategic Command Group (SCG)
Senior Leadership Group (SLG)
ABF Operations Group (OG)
Figure 9: Australian Border Force Governance Arrangements, as at 30 June 2020
Strategic Command Group
The SCG was the most senior governance body in the ABF and was chaired by the Commissioner. The SCG set and maintained the strategic direction, organisational priorities and support requirements of the ABF.
SCG made decisions and provided guidance in relation to workforce and culture, budget, and enterprise risk and assurance. It positioned the ABF to effectively contribute to broader Home Affairs’ governance arrangements.
SCG monitored trends and issues affecting the ABF that may have required action or intervention and had responsibility for ABF administrative settings and oversight.
Senior Leadership Group
The SLG guided the development and implementation of workforce and capability strategies and investment to support operational outcomes. The SLG was chaired by the Deputy Commissioner Support. The SLG ensured financial sustainment and appropriate usage of budgetary resources, with its key focus being to drive and enable the delivery of the ABF’s operational activity. The SLG also maintained the ABF’s oversight of enterprise and strategic risk, business planning, and audit and assurance.
ABF Operations Group
The ABF OG was responsible for using the ABF’s Operational Priorities as the basis to provide direction to Commands to drive the operational activities required to deliver the ABF’s outcomes and objectives. The OG was chaired by the Deputy Commissioner Operations. The OG:
provided oversight and reviewed performance against the Operational Priorities, reviewed operational effectiveness to guide command decisions, and managed operational performance reporting and operational risk
monitored and addressed changes in the strategic and operational intelligence picture, along with operational risks and issues that may have affected operational outcomes and objectives
considered operational issues escalated from the Tactical Tasking and Coordination Group (TTCG) and tasked TTCG to coordinate ABF joint operations. The OG worked with the SLG in ensuring lessons learnt from operational activities were reported back into the capability lifecycle to improve future operational performance
initiated improvements to systems and operations, ensuring cross-functional integration.
COVID-19 Temporary Governance Arrangements
Maintaining strong governance oversight during the COVID-19 pandemic has been essential in ensuring that the Accountable Authority and departmental executives are provided with a holistic understanding of the Department’s activities to support the Government’s COVID-19 response.
During 2019–20, the Department and the ABF established temporary COVID-19 governance arrangements to give effect to the new, existing and refined accountability mechanisms, governance oversight, and record keeping processes in place to support the Government’s response to COVID-19.
These governance arrangements facilitate a fluid and tiered approach, reflecting the strategic, operational and assurance activities in place to support the COVID-19 response and business continuity of critical functions:
Strategic activities: the higher level, forward leaning mechanisms which guide the operations of the Department and the ABF in managing the non-health-related whole-of-Government response to COVID-19.
Operational activities: the integrated operations and activities which give effect to strategic direction and priorities, including processes and procedures that govern our day-to-day response to COVID-19 as an organisation.
Assurance and oversight activities: the activities that provide confidence that the Department is operating effectively, efficiently and lawfully through appropriate delegations that support our temporary governance arrangements.
The governance arrangements are systematic, deliberate and continuous, which enables effective and informed decision-making and allocation of resources to higher value activities.
Consistent with section 45 of the PGPA Act, the Secretary maintains an Audit Committee. This Committee’s primary role is to review and provide independent advice to the Secretary and the ABF Commissioner on the appropriateness of their risk oversight and management, system of internal controls, financial reporting and performance reporting.
The Audit Committee comprises external members and internal members from the Department and the ABF. The Chair reports to the Secretary and the ABF Commissioner on the Audit Committee’s activities and key issues arising from each meeting.
A Financial Statements Sub-Committee supports the Audit Committee by meeting regularly to review the preparation of the Department’s annual financial statements.
Qualifications, knowledge, skills or experience (include formal and informal as relevant)
Number of meetings attended during 2019–20 / total number of meetings held during period of membership in 2019–20
Total annual remuneration1
Current Chair from 1 January 2020 – 30 June 2020
External Member from 1 July 2019 –30 June 2020
Ms Lilley is an Independent board director and Audit Committee chair and member of a number of Australian Government audit committees. She was a Partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers and has over 20 years’ experience in financial statement audit, internal audit and project and risk management with a particular focus on government.
Ms Lilley also holds a number of qualifications and professional memberships in commerce, accounting and auditing and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.
$83,081.60 (excluding GST)
Current External Member from 26 May 2020 – 30 June 2020
Ms Clark has an extensive background in business and governance through a career as an Investment Banker and as a Non-Executive Director since 1991.
She has been the chair, deputy chair or member of over 20 audit committees and boards in the Commonwealth and private sectors over the past 30 years. She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has substantial experience in financial and performance reporting, audit and risk management.
$11,454.60 (excluding GST)
Current External Member from 17 April 2020 – 30 June 2020
Mr Cross is the chair or member of several audit committees and sub-committees, and was a senior partner at KPMG and a lead partner for KPMG’s key strategic government accounts. Mr Cross has experience in government program delivery and reform, financial statement audit and internal audit for policy, regulatory and service delivery agencies.
Mr Cross holds numerous qualifications and professional memberships in accounting, fraud control, business, and auditing and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and a Certified Practicing Accountant.
External Member from 1 July 2019 – 18 March 2020
Mr John Lawler AM APM is a 34 year career law enforcement officer. He served from 2009 to 2013 as the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) having previously served for 29 years with the Australian Federal Police (AFP). Mr Lawler retired from the Australian Public Service in October 2013. He has extensive experience in a wide range of law enforcement disciplines performing roles at the local, national and international levels, including Community Policing, Investigations, Protection, Intelligence, International Operations and Executive Services.
Mr Lawler has qualifications in business banking and management, and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Mr Lawler resigned from the committee for personal reasons on 18 March 2020.
Chair from 1 July 2019 – 31 December 2019
Mr Ridley is Chair of several audit committees. He was previously a senior partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers over a period of 20 years where he held a number of leadership roles with the firm in risk management and assurance, with a particular focus on complex ICT environments and technology driven projects in financial services, energy utilities and government organisations.
Mr Ridley holds several qualifications and professional memberships in accounting, commerce, risk and information systems management, and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia.
Current Internal Member from 1 July 2020 – 30 June 2020
Ms Saunders in her role of Deputy Commissioner ABF Operations delivers high-level strategic direction across all operational activities around the border. This includes the management of travellers, goods and cargo, as well as enforcement and maritime operations. Prior to joining the ABF, Ms Saunders was a member of the AFP for 29 years and a member of the senior executive since 2005. As the Chief Police Officer of the ACT, she ensured ACT Policing delivered on government and community expectations in terms of operational delivery, whilst also driving and implementing significant cultural and capability reforms aimed at developing a sustainable and effective policing service for the future.
Ms Saunders holds qualifications in leadership, management and social sciences.
Internal Member from 11 October 2019 – 15 April 2020
As at 30 June 2020, Mr Grigson was Deputy Secretary National Coordination Mechanism Taskforce. He joined the Department’s Portfolio leadership team from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, where he was Australia’s Ambassador to Indonesia from January 2015 to February 2018.
Mr Grigson holds various qualifications, including a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance from the Securities Institute of Australia.
Current Internal Member from 1 July 2019 – 11 October 2019 and 15 April 2020 – 30 June 2020
Chris Teal was appointed Australia’s inaugural National Counter Foreign Interference Coordinator. The National Counter Foreign Interference Coordinator delivers an effective, efficient and consistent national response to foreign interference by providing a focal point for coordinating policy and program development, and leading engagement with private sector areas.
As the National Counter Foreign Interference Coordinator, Chris held the position of Deputy Secretary in the Department of Home Affairs on secondment from the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation where Chris has had over 20 years of experience in national security.
Mr Teal holds qualifications in economics and business administration.
1 Remuneration includes preparation for and attendance at meetings of the Audit Committee, as well as meeting preparation, additional briefings and attendance at sub-committees or other governance committees as required. The total remuneration of internal members is reported on in Appendix D. Internal members are not remunerated for their role on the Audit Committee.
Corporate and business planning
The Department of Home Affairs 2019–20 Corporate Plan was adopted as the primary planning document for the Department and the ABF. The 2019–20 Corporate Plan set out the Department and the ABF’s updated performance framework and provided a collective understanding of the purposes, key activities and the operating environment over a horizon of up to four years. In recognition of this, the Department implemented an enhanced business planning approach across the Department and the ABF, aligning operational activities to the purposes and the strategic performance measures within the 2019–20 CorporatePlan. Each Division within the Department and Group within the ABF had a business plan in place for 2019–20, guiding the delivery of key projects and business as usual activities.
Throughout 2019–20, the Department and the ABF’s corporate and business planning approach was underpinned by thorough assurance processes, including quarterly reporting on both business plans and corporate plan performance metrics to the Enterprise Business Committee and the Department’s Audit Committee. This approach provided appropriate oversight of performance, tracked progress against relevant targets and provided the Department and the ABF the opportunity to course correct throughout the financial year.
Throughout 2019–20, the Department developed the Enterprise Performance Framework and a Business Planning policy statement, both of which will support the Department and the ABF in continuously maturing its approach to performance reporting and enterprise planning in subsequent financial years.
The Department’s Risk Management Policy defines our approach to risk and risk appetite, and supports the Secretary and Commissioner to establish and maintain appropriate systems of risk oversight, management and internal control. It outlines our approach to managing risk and guides officials when undertaking risk management activities.
Our updated Risk Management Policy is now embedded into our risk management practices, and is consistent with relevant legislation and regulation, including:
section 16 of the PGPA Act
Commonwealth Risk Management Policy
Australian and New Zealand accepted international standard ISO31000:2018 Risk Management—Guidelines.
Senior governance committees, supported by the Risk Committee, Audit Committee and Chief Risk Officer, oversee our approach to risk management. The Department continues to monitor changes to threats and trends that affect the Portfolio, providing a regular overview of deviations from forecasted baselines to highlight significant emerging risks early and support active management of our Strategic and Enterprise Risks.
Internal audit arrangements
The Internal Audit Plan is the overarching internal audit work plan for the Department and the ABF. The Internal Audit Plan provides assurance around key risks across the Department’s functions, including finance, IT and compliance. It is a rolling plan subject to six-monthly review. This allows for a strategic and flexible approach to pre-empt emerging risks and changing priorities.
The 2019–20 Internal Audit Program comprised 22 internal audits. All recommendations delivered through internal audits are tracked and monitored by the Audit Committee, supported by the Chief Audit Executive.
Further assurance activities such as management-initiated reviews, detention assurance reviews and compliance programs also form part of our overall program of strategic assurance.
Fraud control and anti-corruption measures
The Home Affairs Fraud and Corruption Control Plan and the ABF Fraud and Corruption Control Plan outline our commitment to effectively manage and mitigate fraud and corruption in the Department and the ABF. The Department, including the ABF, has zero tolerance for fraud and corruption. We have appropriate strategies in place to manage fraud and corruption, taking all reasonable steps to prevent, detect and deal with fraud appropriately.
In November 2019, the Department released the latest iteration of its Fraud and Corruption Control Plan. The Plan continues to acknowledge that the dynamic economic and security environment within which the Department operates continues to expose it to unique fraud and corruption risks.
The plans meet our accountabilities for compliance against the Commonwealth Fraud Control Framework 2017, including section 10 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014, the Commonwealth Fraud Control Policy, and Resource Management Guide No. 201—Preventing, Detecting and Dealing with Fraud.
Accountability, integrity and ethical standards
Establishing and maintaining ethical standards
All departmental employees must act with high standards of integrity and ethical behaviour. Adhering to set standards of professionalism ensures the Department maintains the confidence of the Australian Government, the Australian community and partner law enforcement agencies.
The Professional Standards Framework is an overarching framework of policies encompassing standards of integrity and ethical behaviour required by all employees of the Department. It includes the APS Code of Conduct, the APS Values, and the APS Employment Principles.
Since 2017, Operation Arête focused the Department’s efforts to strengthen integrity and professional standards frameworks, by fostering a workforce that has high levels of integrity, demonstrates strong values and always displays appropriate conduct.
Key work in 2019–20 included:
educating staff and contractors about integrity expectations:
71 integrity training sessions were delivered, including four sessions delivered offshore
84 per cent of staff were compliant with online integrity training modules in Quarter 1 2019–201
individual online modules were replaced by ‘The Essentials’ training package in September 2019, which includes the following core topics: Integrity Essentials, Safety Essentials, Records Essentials, Security Essentials, and Your Obligations
promoting a fraud aware culture through integrity-related reminders and messages delivered via internal communication channels
enhancing the assurance provided by the Department’s drug and alcohol testing program
expanding our intelligence capability, using dedicated teams of analysts and technologists to support integrity investigations and joint operations
working closely with internal and external stakeholders, including the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity, to support organisational integrity through investigations, intelligence and corruption prevention activities.
In March 2020, the Department finalised its Integrity Strategy 2025, replacing Operation Arête. This will guide the Department’s approach to integrity, leveraging and leading on from Operation Arête. The Integrity Strategy 2025 positions the Department to dynamically respond to integrity risk.
Looking forward, the Integrity Strategy 2025 will see a strategic focus on prevention, education and early intervention, through:
proactive, targeted and tailored training, education and awareness-raising activities, informed by our understanding of threats, issues and emerging corruption vulnerabilities
addressing high risk behaviours with a view to disrupting and deterring inappropriate conduct
promoting a culture of openness and transparency regarding integrity issues and outcomes to raise awareness about the consequences of conduct not aligned with the Department’s Professional Standards Framework.
The Integrity Strategy 2025 was informed by our current understanding of environmental challenges, risks and other vulnerabilities. Based on this understanding, we will strengthen organisational integrity by implementing a series of initiatives through to 2025.
Non-compliance with Finance law
There are no matters to be reported under section 19(1) of the PGPA Act.
The Department did not initiate any capability reviews in 2019–20.
Compliance with mandatory training is calculated based on due dates for completion of training. If the due date for completion of mandatory training has not yet passed, staff are compliant. If the due date has passed, training is overdue and staff are non-compliant.↩