The National Disability Strategy 2010–2020 (the strategy) is Australia’s overarching framework for disability reform. It acts to ensure the principles underpinning the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities are incorporated into Australia’s policies and programs that affect people with disability, their families, and carers.
All levels of government will continue to be held accountable for the implementation of the strategy through biennial progress reporting to the COAG. Progress reports can be found at www.dss.gov.au.
Disability reporting is included the Australian Public Service Commission’s State of the Service reports and the APS Statistical Bulletin. These reports are available at www.apsc.gov.au.
The governance of the NDIS Commission is in accordance with normal practices for non- corporate Commonwealth entities. The NDIS Commissioner is the Accountable Authority, and is the sole statutory officer overseeing all functions of the NDIS Commission. The NDIS Commissioner delegates powers through instruments of delegation, including instruments of delegation for:
- financial governance, including powers under the PGPA Act
- human resources related matters including powers under the Public Service Act and other relevant legislation
- the NDIS Commissioner’s functions and powers under the NDIS Act and related Rules
- matters relating to functions and powers under the FOI Act
- matters relating to functions and powers under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013.
We provide relevant instructions on the use of those powers through a set of Accountable Authority Instructions supported by a variety of policies and practices.
Key committees providing governance for the NDIS Commission include:
- the Executive Leadership Team, which focuses on strategic organisational decisions
- the Compliance and Enforcement Committee, which focuses on operational compliance and enforcement decisions
- the ICT Investment Committee, which focuses on key decisions relating to the ongoing development of the Commission Operating System (COS): a purpose-built ICT system which is used for business processing requirements.
We have an Audit Committee to provide appropriate assurance and oversight. Our Audit Committee’s charter can be found at www.ndiscommission.gov.au/document/2326. The below table shows Audit Committee membership during 2019–20, the number of meetings attended by each member during the year, and the total remuneration that each member received.
Audit Committee 2019-20
Mr Nick Baker
- Bachelor of Arts in Computing Studies
- Graduate Diploma in Professional Accounting
- Certificate IV Commonwealth Fraud Investigations
- Fellow Certified Practising Accountant Australia
- Member Australian Computer Society
Ms Jenny Morison
- Bachelor of Economics
- Fellow - Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand
- Fellow - Australian Institute of Management
- Specialist in government financial reforms, governance, and consulting
- Independent member and Chair of Commonwealth audit and risk committees and financial statement sub-committees for large and small government entities
$12,945.44 (GST excl)
Ms Carolyn Strange (General Counsel of the NDIS Commission)
- Master of Laws
- Bachelor of Laws
- Bachelor of Arts
- Commercial litigation Solicitor
- General Counsel at the NSW Public Service Commission
- General Counsel, NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission
Mr Ian McPhee*
- Bachelor of Business
- Bachelor of Arts
- Financial management and budget experience, Department of Finance
- Fellow of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand
- Fellow CPA Australia, and the Institute of Public Administration Australia
- Financial statement and performance audit experience with Australian National Audit Office
We comply with section 10 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 (PGPA Rule). Our Fraud Control Framework reflects the requirements of the Commonwealth Fraud Control Framework and establishes the systems and processes for the prevention, detection, monitoring, evaluation and reporting of fraud matters within the NDIS Commission.
The Accountable Authority Instructions provide the instruction to officials for fraud control. The Fraud Control Policy operationalises the instructions.
We maintain a fraud control plan informed by assessing fraud risks and the implementation of controls and treatment strategies to mitigate fraud risks. Mechanisms to deal with matters of fraud are compliant with the Australian Government Investigations Standards and the Commonwealth Fraud Control Framework.
We have a zero-tolerance approach to fraud and have taken all reasonable measures to deal with the risk of fraud. We recognise the importance of being vigilant in relation to fraud risk and communicate the importance of fraud awareness and prevention to staff and contractors. Fraud awareness training is a mandated requirement for all staff and contractors operating within the NDIS Commission.
Senior officers have provided assurance for the year 2019–20 of their obligations in relation to the implementation and operation of the systems designed to prevent and detect fraud. Senior officers have also asserted that no cases of irregularities, fraud, or misappropriation were reported to them over the period, and they have no knowledge of any irregularities, fraud, or misappropriations.
We take seriously our responsibility for ensuring public resources are used appropriately, and in 2020–21 will be introducing an enhanced Fraud Control Framework to better support the management of fraud risk to the NDIS Commission.
For clarity, the above disclosure relates to management of fraud risk within the NDIS Commission. For matters of fraud relating to the NDIS, we have established fraud referral arrangements with the NDIA. We are establishing further information sharing arrangements with other law enforcement agencies to identify and take administrative and/or enforcement action whereby individuals and/or providers are found to have defrauded the NDIS. Administrative and enforcement action includes the suspension and revocation of registration and making banning orders that prohibit a person or entity from providing disability supports or services to participants.
The Disability Royal Commission was in operation during the reporting period. The NDIS Commissioner provided evidence to a public hearing of the Disability Royal Commission through a witness statement dated 11 February 2020, oral evidence on 27 February 2020, and a supplementary witness statement dated 13 March 2020. The NDIS Commission also provided information in response to notices requiring provision of information to the Disability Royal Commission. Amendments to the NDIS Act which commenced on 10 December 2019 enabled Royal Commissions to compel the NDIS Commission to provide information in response to formal notices; before this date, we provided information to the Disability Royal Commission voluntarily on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so. We also provided input into a number of Australian Government responses to the Disability Royal Commission’s public hearings and issues papers. The NDIS Commissioner and the NDIS Commission also provided less formal assistance to the Disability Royal Commission, such as through briefings.
The Aged Care Royal Commission was in operation throughout the reporting period. The NDIS Commissioner gave a witness statement to the Aged Care Royal Commission on 25 July 2019 and gave oral evidence on 16 September 2020. This input followed on from an Information Paper provided to the Aged Care Royal Commission in the prior reporting period.
The Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme was in operation during the reporting period. On 13 May 2020, this Committee tabled its Report into Supported Independent Living, which contained recommendations relating to the NDIS Commission. The Committee also commenced an inquiry into the NDIS Commission on 23 June 2020.
The Senate resolved to establish a Select Committee on COVID-19 on 8 April 2020. The NDIS Commissioner appeared before the Senate Select Committee on 30 April 2020.
The NDIS Commissioner commissioned an independent review into the NDIS Commission’s regulation of the provider of NDIS supports and services to Ms Ann-Marie Smith, an NDIS participant. Mr Alan Robertson SC was appointed in May 2020 and is to report to the Commissioner by 31 August 2020.
No judicial decisions, decisions by administrative tribunals or decisions by the Australian Information Commissioner had a significant effect on our operations.
No reports on our operations by the Auditor- General were issued other than inclusion of the NDIS Commission into the Audits of the Financial Statements of Australian Government Entities for the Period Ended 30 June 2019, issued on 17 December 2019. No reports were issued by Parliamentary Committees on our operations other than the inclusions in the Report on Supported Independent Living noted above. No reports on our operations by the Commonwealth Ombudsman were issued. No capability reviews of the NDIS Commission were released.
Our approach to procuring goods and services, including consultancies, is consistent with, and reflects the principles of, the Commonwealth Procurement Rules. These rules are applied to activities through our accountable authority instructions, supporting operational guidelines and Procurement Framework.
We engage consultants when we require specialist expertise or when independent research, review or assessment is required. Decisions to engage consultants during 2019–20 were made in accordance with the PGPA Act and related regulations, including the Commonwealth Procurement Rules and relevant internal policies. We use consultants to manage discrete one-off projects when specialist expertise is required for a limited time.
During 2019-20, two new consultancy contracts were entered into involving total actual expenditure of $231,800. In addition, one ongoing consultancy contract was active during the period, involving total actual expenditure of $131,610.
Annual reports contain information about actual expenditure on contracts for consultancies. Information on the value of contracts and consultancies is available on the AusTender website.
Australian National Audit Office clauses
No contracts with a value of $100,000 or more (inclusive of GST) were let during 2019–20 that did not provide for the Auditor-General to have access to the contractor’s premises.
No contracts with a value in excess of $10,000 (inclusive of GST) or standing offers were exempted by the Accountable Authority from being published on AusTender on the basis that they would disclose exempt matters under the FOI Act.
We support small business participation in the Commonwealth Government procurement market. Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) and Small Enterprise participation statistics are available on the Department of Finance’s website, www.finance.gov.au/procurement/statistics-on-commonwealth-purchasing-contracts. We recognise the importance of ensuring small businesses are paid on time.
We support the use of small and medium-sized businesses through using standardised contracts for low-risk procurements valued under $200,000.
Executive remuneration information is provided at Appendix 5.
Other mandatory information
We did not conduct advertising campaigns during 2019–20.
Information on grants awarded by the NDIS Commission during 2019–20 is available at www.ndiscommission.gov.au.
We have a Risk Framework that accords with normal Commonwealth practices, including a Risk Management Policy, a Risk Management Framework, and a set of Risk Management Guidelines. These documents prescribe our approach to managing risk, including methods for documenting and managing risk and our risk appetite. The Risk Management Framework outlines leadership and staff roles in overseeing and managing risk.
The Audit Committee provides external oversight of our risk profile.
For the purposes of section 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, we report that our activities accord with the principles of ecologically sustainable development outlined in section 3A of that Act, particularly through development of a management culture that ensures social, economic, and equitable considerations are factored into decisions. Our operations are, for the most part, not significant from an environmental perspective: our primary impact is through our operation of office premises. We receive environmental sustainability services from our property service provider, Jones Lang Lasalle, and our offices generally meet appropriate standards of energy efficiency. Only one NDIS Commission lease is of sufficient size to warrant a green lease schedule, and that lease includes a compliant schedule.
For the purposes of the Carer Recognition Act 2010, we report that we take appropriate measures to comply with sections 7 and 8 of that Act, including by making the Statement of Australia’s Carers available to NDIS Commission staff, which confirms our commitment to valuing and recognising the role of carers in society, and partnering with the carers of employees or clients with disability. We also incorporate due regard for carers into our human resources policy development as appropriate. We will continue to develop and evolve our approach in this regard as we mature.
Information required by other legislation
Other than the information as described as above, and throughout this report, no other information is required by other legislation.