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External scrutiny

We are accountable to the Parliament through the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Digital Transformation. Other external scrutiny of our agency is provided through Parliamentary Committees, the Commonwealth Ombudsman, Australian Information Commissioner and Australian National Audit Office.

During the year our agency was not the subject of any judicial decisions or decisions of administrative tribunals or the Australian Information Commissioner in 2017–18. We were not the subject of any reports by the Commonwealth Ombudsman or capability reviews by the Australian Public Service Commission.

Australian National Audit Office

During 2017–18 our agency was one of six included in an independent performance audit by the Australian National Audit Office, Mitigating Insider Threats through Personnel Security, report number 38 of 2017–18.

The audit identified some areas needing improvement and made five recommendations relating to our agency, recommending we:

  • conduct a personnel security risk assessment that considers whether changes are needed to our protective security practices
  • take immediate action to comply with the Protective Security Policy Framework governance requirements
  • implement quality assurance mechanisms to reconcile our personnel records with the Australian Government Security Vetting Agency’s clearance holder records, and start clearance processes for any personnel who do not hold a required clearance
  • review our policies and procedures for eligibility waivers to ensure we are compliant with Protective Security Policy Framework mandatory controls
  • implement the Protective Security Policy Framework requirement to undertake an annual health check for clearance holders and their managers.

We acknowledged the importance of these recommendations, and agreed to implement them by 31 July 2018.

Senate inquiry

In August 2017 the Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee began an inquiry into the digital delivery of government services, with particular reference to:

  • whether planned and existing programs are able to digitally deliver services
  • strategies for whole-of-government digital transformation
  • digital project delivery.

We provided a submission to the inquiry, defining the nature and scope of our role. The Committee tabled its report in the Senate on 27 June 2018. The report made a number of observations around digital policy, user experience, accountability measures, resourcing of the ICT workforce and education and training on digital competence for the Australian Public Service.

Senate Estimates

During the reporting year, we appeared before the Senate Estimates (Finance and Public Administration Legislation) Committee on 23 October 2017, 27 February 2018 and 21 May 2018.