The department’s operations are primarily administrative and are therefore not usually subject to formal external scrutiny.
Judicial and administrative decisions
During 2018–19, no judicial decisions or decisions of administrative tribunals or the Australian Information Commissioner had, or are anticipated to have, a significant effect on the operations of the department.
Reports on the operations of the department
In 2018–19, the Auditor-General did not table any reports directly relating to the administration of the department or its operations. The Australian National Audit Office provided an unqualified audit report on the department’s 2018–19 financial statements.
In 2018–19, the Commonwealth Ombudsman did not issue any reports on the operations of the department. There were no capability reviews of the department released during the period.
The department continued to support the Standing Committee on Appropriations and Administration’s consideration of the department’s funding requirements and budget position. During 2018–19, the committee met twice and tabled two reports: Report no. 16: Annual report 2017–18 and Report no. 17: Budget estimates 2019–20.
In its budget estimates report, the committee noted that the supplementary funding of $12.4 million provided over four years, starting from 2017–18, was being used to strengthen the department’s procedural capacity and provide additional support for the parliamentary committees administered by the department. In the same report, the committee noted that the department had been provided additional funding in 2019–20 to support the parliament to host the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum in January 2020, and in 2021–22 to support the parliament to host the Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth in January 2022.
Disability reporting mechanisms
Disability reporting now sits within the framework of the National Disability Strategy 2010–2020, which sets out a 10-year national policy to improve the lives of people with disability, promote participation and create a more inclusive society. A high-level two-yearly report will track progress against each of the six outcome areas of the strategy, and present a picture of how people with disability are faring. The first of these progress reports was published in 2014, and can be found at www.dss.gov.au.
Freedom of information
The department is excluded from the application of the Freedom of Information Act 1982, under section 68A of the Parliamentary Service Act.