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Governance

The Fair Work Ombudsman is committed to good governance, recognising that we must actively engage with risk, particularly in times of uncertainty to achieve our Purpose.

We have established a series of boards and committees that lead and support us in this endeavour.

Corporate Board

The Corporate Board makes key strategic and operational decisions on financial and corporate matters, and ensures compliance with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013, Public Service Act 1999 and other Commonwealth legislation and government policies.

The Corporate Board is chaired by the Fair Work Ombudsman and consists of the SES Band 2 Officers from each Group.

Changes in the Entity’s environment that result in heightened risk, such as the impact of COVID-19, are monitored and managed through activity-specific working groups that report to the Corporate Board.

The Corporate Board is also supported by a series of Committees:

  • The Accountability Committee has oversight of security incidents, compliance with the Protective Security Policy Framework and decisions with respect to risks arising from the FWO’s customer commitment, data analytics methodologies and information management.
  • The Information Technology Committee has oversight and makes recommendations for approval of information and communications technology related matters and projects.

Enforcement Board

Risks arising from the application of our statutory powers and functions under the Fair Work Act are overseen by the Enforcement Board, which ensures a risk-based and proportionate approach is taken in respect to our compliance and enforcement functions. The Enforcement Board also leverages opportunities to enhance our impact by identifying our strategic priorities and determining that our research, educational and other activities align with these.

The Enforcement Board is chaired by the Deputy Fair Work Ombudsman – Compliance and Enforcement (or their nominee) and its membership comprises the Fair Work Ombudsman and Deputy Fair Work Ombudsman from the Compliance and Enforcement, Policy and Communication and Corporate Groups. The Chief Counsel and other senior officials regularly attend to advise and assist the Enforcement Board.

Senior Executive Staff Forum

Senior executives meet on a quarterly basis to discuss key strategic issues such as agency planning, professional development and other Entity-wide initiatives. Senior representatives from the FWO also meet regularly with representatives from the ROC pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding.

Audit and Risk Committee

The Audit and Risk Committee provides independent assurance to the Fair Work Ombudsman, as the accountable authority, on the FWO’s and ROC's financial and performance reporting, risk management framework, internal control systems, and legislation and policy compliance. The Audit and Risk Committee’s Charter can be found on our website.

In 2019–20, the Audit and Risk Committee comprised three independent members (including the Chair) and one senior officer from the FWO. During the period, the committee considered the following internal review topics:

  • Performance Measurement and Monitoring (KPIs)
  • Maintenance of Knowledge Library
  • ICT Strategy, Implementation and Management – Phase 2.

Two further reviews were commenced, however due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic these reviews were not completed during the financial year:

  • Implementation of New Compliance Strategy -- Phase 1
  • Risk Management.
Membership details of Audit and Risk Committee

Member’s name

Qualifications, knowledge, skills or experience (include formal and informal as relevant)

Number of meetings attended / total number of meetings

Total annual remuneration

Jeff Lamond PSM Independent Member and Chair

Formal economics and accounting qualifications, graduate qualification in legal studies. Substantial experience (seven years) as CEO of small company. 34 years public service employment (13 years at SES including B1 and B2, and 6.5 as a Statutory Office Holder – APS Merit Protection Commissioner). Managed own consultancy since 2008 covering employment, values and ethics and personnel policy. For 10 years served as Internal Ombudsman in two agencies addressing personnel, entitlements and management issues. Substantial experience with audit - chaired or sat as independent member on 7 Audit and Risk Committees for a range of Australian Government Agencies.

4/4

$14,400 excl GST

Jennifer Taylor PSM Independent Member

Formal management qualifications. Substantial experience as CEO of the Statutory Agency Comcare and various Deputy Secretary positions. Experience in public sector operating environment including sound understanding of all legislative and policy requirements and financial statements review. Member Australian Institute of Company Directors.

4/4

$10,000 excl GST

Craig Storen PSM Independent Member General Manager, Customer Compliance Division, Services Australia

Formal accounting and finance qualifications. Substantial experience (ten years) as a Chief Financial Officer in the Australian Government. Working experience in financial statements production and review, budget, project and risk management.

3/4

$0 (Nil)

Janine Dennis, Internal Member

Executive Director Legal

Formal legal qualifications and over 15 years’ of legal experience as a practising lawyer. Over nine years’ experience working in a regulatory environment and strong operational knowledge of the Fair Work Ombudsman and Registered Organisations Commission Entity. Broad experience across risk management activities, budget management, project delivery, legislative requirements and governance arrangements.

4/4

$0 (Nil)

Health and Safety Committee

The Health and Safety Committee reviews and provides recommendations for matters involving work health and safety, including implementing preventative initiatives and reporting on the implementation of relevant legislation and practices.

Business planning

Organisational goals are set out in our Corporate Plan and the FWO Purpose. These form the basis for the development of business plans that contain internal performance measures. Business plans provide a link between the Corporate Plan, strategic goals and individual performance plans.

Plans are updated to reflect changes in priorities, and performance against the plans is monitored by the Corporate Board and senior management. Our Corporate Plan and Purpose are made available to external stakeholders via our website and the Corporate Plan is submitted to the Department of Finance and Portfolio Minister annually.

Business continuity

We are actively implementing our newly revised Business Continuity Management Framework to ensure we manage the continuity of, not only our business, but that of the broader Australian Public Service. This involves the active consideration and management of COVID-19 risks and the implementation of controls and treatments designed to ensure the ongoing business continuity of our operations and the safety of our people.

As a result of the pandemic, the FWO activated its Crisis Action Team in mid-March. The team was made up of representatives across all parts of the organisation to manage the early response to the pandemic, and to ensure business continuity plans were enabled.

We seek to manage shared risks by collaborating with other government entities, particularly in supporting the whole-of-government response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Risk and fraud management

A risk management framework facilitates the identification, management and monitoring of risks across operational and corporate areas and informs the internal audit plan. Owners are assigned to risks, and controls and treatments are identified through a strategic risk register.

Following consultation, an internal audit plan was developed for 2019–20 that targets identified risk areas. The Audit and Risk Committee monitors the plan and risk reporting.

Fraud controls and investigations

Our 2018–20 Fraud Control Plan and risk assessment enables us to manage and monitor identified fraud risks through prevention, detection and response initiatives.

All reasonable measures were taken to minimise fraud risk and to investigate possible fraud against the FWO and the ROC. Particular attention was given to this risk in the COVID-19 environment.