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Corporate goverance

Commission staff seated in a meeting room discussing and taking notes on a laptop

The Commission’s corporate governance framework promotes the principles of good governance and encourages all staff to be accountable for their actions and to focus on their performance. The framework upholds the Australian Public Service (APS) Values and Code of Conduct.

The framework supports the General Manager in meeting her responsibilities for the Commission’s performance, financial management and compliance with the PGPA Act and the Public Service Act.

Governance bodies

The Executive is the key decision-making body with strategic oversight of the Commission’s administration and resourcing. It comprises the General Manager and four Executive Directors and meets fortnightly. More information about the branches and Executive Directors is in the Overview. The Executive is supported by the Audit Committee and Major Projects Control Committee as set out in Table 38.

Table 38: Governance bodies, 2018–19



Audit Committee

The Audit Committee provides independent assurance to the General Manager on the Commission’s financial and performance reporting, risk oversight and management, systems of internal control and internal audit program.

The General Manager appoints Audit Committee members. Three of the four committee members (including the Chair) are independent, satisfying the requirement that a majority of committee members not be Commission officials.

Representatives from the Australian National Audit Office are invited to attend each meeting as observers.

The Audit Committee meets quarterly.

Major Projects Control Committee

The Major Projects Control Committee is responsible for high‑level strategic governance of major organisational and capital expenditure projects. The committee comprises the Executive and senior managers and meets monthly.

Fraud management

The Commission has a fraud control plan and conducts fraud risk assessments annually and when there is a substantial change in the Commission’s structure, functions or activities. The fraud control plan and fraud risk assessments establish mechanisms for preventing, detecting, investigating and reporting on fraud and suspected fraud within the Commission.

There were no known instances of fraud committed against the Commission in the 2018–19 financial year.

Fraud control certification

In accordance with s.10 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014, I hereby certify that I am satisfied that the Fair Work Commission:

  • has prepared fraud risk assessments and fraud control plans
  • has in place appropriate mechanisms for preventing, detecting incidents of, investigating or otherwise dealing with, and recording or reporting fraud that meet the specific needs of the Commission
  • has taken all reasonable measures to appropriately deal with fraud relating to the Commission.

 Bernadette O’Neill GM singature

General Manager

26 September 2019

Risk management

In 2018–19, the Commission continued to embed a contemporary risk management culture and practices across the organisation, in line with the risk management framework introduced by the PGPA Act.

As part of its risk management strategy, the Commission develops an annual internal audit program. The program, developed in consultation with the Executive and endorsed by the Audit Committee, reflects the Commission’s purpose and identified strategic and operational risks and relevant regulatory requirements. Audits can cover any of the Commission’s financial and non-financial activities and performance, policies and procedures. Internal audit reports are provided to the General Manager and Executive and discussed at meetings of the Audit Committee.

In 2018–19, the Commission’s internal auditors were RSM. The following internal audits were undertaken during the year:

  • assurance review of project to build a new case management system
  • cyber security
  • information management and governance review – Part 2
  • physical security (will be completed in 2019–20)

These audits presented opportunities for the Commission to update its policies and practices in a number of areas.

Compliance with the finance law

The Commission made no reports of any significant issues that relate to non-compliance with the finance law as it relates to the Commission in 2018–19. Finance law incorporates the PGPA Act, including rules and instruments created under the PGPA Act, and Appropriation Acts.

Ethical standards

The Commission’s ethical standards are governed by a legislative framework common to non-corporate Commonwealth entities, including the PGPA Act, Public Service Act, Australian Public Service Commissioner’s Directions 2016 and Public Service Regulations 1999.