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External scrutiny

The department’s operations are primarily administrative and are therefore not usually subject to formal external scrutiny.

Judicial and administrative decisions

During 2019–20, 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 2019–20, 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 2019–20 financial statements.

In 2019–20, 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 2019–20, the committee met five times and tabled one report: Report No. 18: Annual report 2018–19.

The committee focused on a number of areas over the year, including physical security, ICT security and building upgrade works at Parliament House. Due to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the budget cycle, the committee did not table a report on the department’s budget estimates during the period.

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. Progress reports, as well as an independent review report, 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.