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Glossary

Accountable authority instructions

Instructions issued to manage the affairs of an entity to promote the efficient, effective, economical and ethical use of Commonwealth resources.

Activities

The actions/functions performed by agencies to deliver Government policies.

Administered item

Items that are usually managed by an entity on behalf of the Government. Entities do not have control over these items, which are normally related to activities governed by eligibility rules and conditions established by legislation (for example, grants, subsidies and benefit payments).

Annual performance statements

Commonwealth entities report, through their annual performance statements, on the extent to which they have fulfilled the purposes they articulate at the beginning of a reporting year in their corporate plan. They must also report on performance criteria in the portfolio budget statements, portfolio additional estimates statements or other portfolio estimates statements.

Appropriation

Public monies the Parliament authorises the Government to withdraw from the Consolidated Revenue Fund for a specified purpose.

APS employee

A person engaged under section 22, or a person who is engaged as an Australian Public Service employee under section 72, of the Public Service Act 1999.

Budget

Sets out the fiscal and economic outlook for Australia, and includes expenditure and revenue estimates for the current financial year, the budget year, and three forward financial years. It identifies the Government’s social and political priorities and how they will be achieved.

Clear read principle

Under the outcomes arrangements, there is an essential clear link between the appropriation bills, the portfolio budget statements, the portfolio additional estimates statements, and annual reports of agencies. Information should be consistent across these and other budget documents, and, where possible, duplication of reporting within the portfolio budget statements should be avoided. This is called the clear read between the different documents.

Under this principle, the planned performance in the portfolio budget statements is to be provided on the same basis as actual performance in the annual reports covering the same period, to permit a clear read across planning and actual performance reporting documents. Agencies should take this into account in designing their performance reporting arrangements.

Consolidated Revenue Fund

The Consolidated Revenue Fund consists of all revenues and moneys raised or received by the executive government of the Commonwealth. The fund is self-executing in nature, which means that all money received by the Commonwealth automatically forms part of the fund.

Consultant

A person or organisation providing professional, independent and expert advice or services. Typically the term is used to describe the application of expert skills to investigate or diagnose a defined issue or problem; carry out defined research, reviews or evaluations; or provide independent advice, information or creative solutions to assist an entity in management decision-making.

Contractor

A person engaged by an agency, usually on a temporary basis. Treated as an employee of the agency for the purposes of program performance reporting.

Corporate governance

The process by which agencies are directed and controlled. It is generally understood to encompass authority, accountability, stewardship, leadership, direction and control.

Corporate plan

The primary planning document of a Commonwealth entity that sets out the objectives and strategies the entity intends to pursue in achieving its purposes over at least four reporting periods. A corporate plan explains:

  what an entity’s purposes are

  what it will do to achieve its purposes

  how it will know that it has achieved its purposes.

Departmental item

Departmental items are usually appropriations managed by an entity, and over which the entity has control. That is, the entity's accountable authority has discretion in delivering the activities and/or allocating resources. Typically, these items include the day-to-day operations and program support activities of an entity.

Enterprise agreement

An employment agreement made directly between an employer and employees.

Financial results

The results shown in the financial statements of an agency.

Fraud

Dishonestly obtaining a benefit, or causing a loss, by deception or other means. Accountable authorities of Commonwealth entities

must take all reasonable measures to prevent, detect and deal with

fraud in accordance with section 10 of the Public Governance,

Performance and Accountability Rule 2014.

Full-time equivalent

The effective number of full-time employees in an entity, where

an FTE of 1.0 is the equivalent of one full-time person. Part-time employees are converted to full-time equivalents.

Grant

An arrangement for the provision of financial assistance by the Commonwealth or on behalf of the Commonwealth: under which relevant money or other Consolidated Revenue Fund money is to be paid to a recipient other than the Commonwealth which is intended to assist the recipient achieve its goals to help to address one or more of the Government's policy objectives and under which the recipient may be required to act in accordance with specified terms or conditions.

Materiality

Takes into account the planned outcome and the relative significance of the resources consumed in contributing to the achievement of that outcome.

Mid‑Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook

The Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) provides an update of the Government’s budget estimates by examining expenses and revenues in the year to date, as well as provisions for new decisions that have been taken since the budget. The report provides updated information to allow the assessment of the Government’s fiscal performance against the fiscal strategy set out in its current fiscal strategy statement.

Non‑ongoing APS employee

A person engaged as an Australian Public Service employee under subsection 22(2)(a) of the Public Service Act 1999.

Official Public Account

The Commonwealth's central bank account. The Official Public Account is one of a group of linked bank accounts, referred to as the Official Public Account Group of Accounts. Official Public Accounts are maintained by the Reserve Bank of Australia.

Ongoing APS employee

A person engaged as an ongoing Australian Public Service employee under section 22(2)(a) of the Public Service Act 1999.

Operations

Functions, services and processes performed in pursuing the objectives or discharging the functions of an entity.

Outcomes

The results, impacts or consequences of a purpose or activity, as defined in the annual appropriation acts and the portfolio budget statements, by a Commonwealth entity and company.

Performance information

Evidence about performance that is collected and used systematically, which may relate to appropriateness, effectiveness and efficiency and the extent to which an outcome can be attributed to an intervention. While performance information may be quantitative (numerical) or qualitative (descriptive), it should be verifiable.

Portfolio Budget Statements

The portfolio budget statements inform parliamentarians and the public of the proposed allocation of resources to government outcomes. They also assist the Senate standing committees with their examination of the Government's budget. Portfolio budget statements are tabled in Parliament on budget night and published as budget-related papers.

Programs

Commonwealth programs deliver benefits, services or transfer payments to individuals, organisations or the community as a whole, and/or policy advice to inform government decisions. A program is comprised of activities or groups of activities, as defined in the annual appropriation acts and portfolio budget statements, by a Commonwealth entity and company.

Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013

The Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) replaced the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 and the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 on 1 July 2014. As the primary piece of Commonwealth resource management legislation, the PGPA Act establishes a coherent system of governance and accountability for public resources, with an emphasis on planning, performance and reporting.

The PGPA Act applies to all Commonwealth entities and Commonwealth companies. A list of Commonwealth entities and companies can be found at: www.finance.gov.au/sites/default/files/pgpa_flipchart.pdf?v=2

Public service care agency

A public service care agency is defined in section 4 of the Carer Recognition Act 2010 to mean an agency as defined in the Public Service Act 1999 that is responsible for the development, implementation, provision or evaluation of policies, programs or services directed to carers or the persons for whom they care.

Risk management

The systematic application of policies, procedures and practices to clearly identify, analyse, evaluate, treat and monitor risks associated with identified opportunities. Risk is broadly defined as the effect of uncertainty on objectives or the impacts of unforeseen events or undesirable outcomes.

Senate Estimates hearings

Senate standing committees hold hearings to scrutinise the appropriation bills and any explanatory documentation tabled to accompany them. Public servants are called as witnesses to hearings.

Specific Purpose Payments

Commonwealth payments to the States for specific purposes in order to pursue important national policy objectives in areas that may be administered by the States.