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Corporate governance

The Commission is an executive agency established under the Public Services Act 1999 and is a non-corporate Commonwealth entity under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act).

The CEO is the accountable authority under the PGPA Act and is responsible for the governance and performance of the Commission. The Commission includes an Advisory Board made up of a Chair and a number of Mental Health Commissioners (as determined by the Minister from time to time), as well as the CEO as a Commissioner.

The Commission executive is currently made up of Ms Christine Morgan (CEO), Ms Maureen Lewis (Deputy CEO) and Ms Kim Eagle (COO/CFO). Maureen Lewis was the Commission’s Interim CEO from the beginning of the reporting period to 3 March 2019. Christine Morgan was appointed to the CEO position on 4 March 2019.

The Commission executive are responsible for ensuring the Commission’s operations are efficient and effective and carried out in accordance with statutory and government requirements, including financial management, resource management, delivering outcomes against the Corporate Plan and Work Plan, people and culture and stakeholder engagement.

The executive meet on a weekly basis to discuss the management of the Commission. The Commission has structures and processes in place to implement the principles and objectives of corporate governance.

The Commission’s Audit Committee met
four times in 2018–19. The Committee reviewed and endorsed the Commission’s Financial Statements, the Internal Audit Report, Annual Performance Statements and our Corporate Plan 2018–2022.

The Audit Committee also reviewed and endorsed revisions to governance documents including the Risk Management Policy and Framework, the Business Continuity Plan and the Fraud Control Plan.

The 2018–19 Internal Audit was conducted by Walter Partners. The objective of the audit was to assess the effectiveness of the internal control framework for financial management activities, ensuring compliance with relevant Commonwealth regulations, including procurement, contracts, financial delegations, travel and credit cards. The annual report on internal controls found that the Commission’s financial processes and internal controls were operating in an efficient, effective, economical and ethical manner.

The Commission’s Charter and Operating Principles provide guidance to the Commissioners of the Advisory Board.

The Commission’s Accountable Authority Instructions set out appropriate controls and directions for staff in relation to requirements under the PGPA Act and relevant policies of the Australian government. The Commission operates in a corporate services shared services environment provided by the Department of Health and regularly reviews internal systems and procedures to simplify and streamline our operations and make best use of resources.

The Corporate Plan 2018–2022 and Work Plan 2018–19 were also in place to guide the work of the Commission to achieve its objectives and are available on the Commission’s website.

There were no significant issues reported to the Minister under paragraph 19(1)(e) of the PGPA Act that relate to non-compliance with Finance law and any action taken to remedy non-compliance.