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Corporate governance

As required by the Commonwealth’s Enhanced Performance Framework, the Office developed and publicly released its 2018–19 Corporate Plan in August 2018. The Plan framed the Office’s strategic vision, objectives, deliverables and key performance indicators for the next four years.

Figure 24—Committee structureFigure 24—Committee structure

Senior Leadership Group

The Senior Leadership Group (SLG) comprises the Ombudsman, Deputy Ombudsman, Senior Assistant Ombudsman (SAO) and the Chief Operating Officer (COO). It is the Office’s overarching leadership and management committee, and meets monthly to make decisions in relation to corporate governance, performance, resource allocation and operational issues.

Strategic Policy Board

The Strategic Policy Board comprises of the Ombudsman, Deputy Ombudsman, SAOs and the COO. The board was established in March 2018 and meets monthly to consider the strategic priorities of the Office, such as consideration of public interest issues and business intelligence to inform the selection, prioritisation, scoping, resourcing, timing and delivery of strategic projects. Such projects include own motion investigations, issues papers, submissions, products and targeted engagement activities by the Office in fulfilment of its statutory mandate.

Audit and Risk Committee

The Office has established an Audit and Risk Committee in compliance with s 45 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) and PGPA Rule s 17 Audit Committees for Commonwealth Entities.

In January 2019 the Office made the decision to incorporate the risk management committee into the Audit Committee and changed the name to the Audit and Risk Committee.

The role of the Committee is to provide independent assurance to the Ombudsman on the Office’s financial and performance reporting responsibilities, risk oversight and management and systems of internal control. A copy of the Audit and Risk Committee charter is available on our website.

The Audit and Risk Committee met four times during the year and comprised the following membership during the reporting period, detailed in Table 18.

Table 18—Audit and Risk Committee Members



Period of membership during year

Meetings attended

Will Laurie

External member and Chair

1 July 2018–30 June 2019

4 out of 4

Jaala Hinchcliffe

Member and Deputy Ombudsman

1 July 2018–30 June 2019

3 out of 4

Paul Pfitzner

Acting Deputy Ombudsman

Acting member

1 out of 1

Joanna Stone

External member

1 July 2018–30 June 2019

3 out of 4

Alfred Bongi

External member

1 July 2018–30 June 2019

4 out of 4

Regular observers at committee meetings included representatives from the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO), the Office’s internal auditors (Bellchambers Barrett from July to December 2018 and RSM from April to June 2019), the COO and the Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

Management Committees

Management committees assist the Ombudsman with governance and decision-making.

Work Health and Safety Committee

The Office’s Work Health and Safety Committee is made up of elected staff representatives from each of our offices and is chaired by the SAO of the Program Delivery Branch. The committee meets on a quarterly basis throughout the year. It has a strategic role in reviewing work health and safety matters and procedures to ensure we meet the terms of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

Workplace Relations Committee

The COO chairs the Workplace Relations Committee. It comprises of employee, management and union representatives and is the forum for regular exchanges about change and workplace issues.

Information Governance and Management Committee

The Information Governance and Management Committee (IGMC) is chaired by the Deputy Ombudsman. It provides strategic oversight and guidance on the development and implementation of information management and ICT policy, processes and systems. The IGMC provides the SLG with advice and recommendations on information management and ICT issues impacting the Office.