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Governance

The Commission’s governance arrangements are designed to achieve efficient, effective and ethical use of resources in delivering the Commission’s mandated outcome objective. The arrangements are also designed to ensure compliance with legislative and other external requirements in regard to administrative and financial management practices.

In keeping with good governance principles, the Commission’s governance arrangements encompass:

  • establishing clear responsibilities for decision‑making and the undertaking of mandated activities
  • ensuring accountability through the monitoring of progress, and compliance with legislative and other requirements, of mandated activities
  • underpinning these arrangements through the promotion of a risk management and ethical behaviour culture.

Key responsibilities

The Commission’s Chair is responsible for the overall management and governance of the Commission, its reputation and public handling of issues, and the quality of its output. The Chair is the ‘Accountable Authority’ under the PGPA Act.

The Chair is assisted in these tasks by the Head of Office and a Management Committee that addresses matters of strategic direction, organisational development, policies and practices, monitoring of performance and resource allocation. Management Committee comprises the Chair (as chair), Deputy Chair (if applicable), the Head of Office, the Executive Managers of the Melbourne and Canberra offices, and the Assistant Commissioner responsible for Corporate Group. It meets monthly, or more frequently as needed.

The Research Committee oversees the Commission’s self‑initiated research program to ensure delivery of high‑quality, policy‑relevant research in a timely way. It also oversees data analysis, and modelling capability and development to promote fit‑for‑purpose model use that is quality assured. It meets monthly and comprises the Chair (as chair), Deputy Chair (if applicable), a Commissioner, the Head of Office, the Executive Managers, the Head of Modelling, and the Assistant Commissioners for Research and Modelling.

Commissioners are responsible for the conduct and quality of the individual inquiries, studies or other activities to which they are assigned by the Chair, and the overall quality of Commission work via their contributions to monthly Commission meetings.

Accountability

Management Committee’s monitoring of the Commission is aided through the provision of regular reports covering staffing, expenditure, staff development and other operational matters.

Monthly Commission meetings — also attended by senior staff — are used to discuss and monitor progress across the Commission’s four mandated outputs. Specifically:

  • the responsible Commissioners on government‑commissioned projects report at each Commission meeting on significant issues and progress against key milestones
  • reports are provided on the status and future directions of the research program at each Commission meeting
  • the activities of the Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision, chaired by the Chair of the Commission, are reported on a quarterly basis
  • a Commissioner designated with responsibility for competitive neutrality issues reports to the Commission annually
  • the Head of Office provides monthly updates on key management issues.

The Audit Committee is a further source of accountability through its periodic review of particular aspects of the Commission’s operations. Its membership comprises a chairperson (a Commissioner) and two external members. The Commission’s contracted internal auditors generally attend meetings, as does a representative of the Australian National Audit Office on an ‘as required’ basis. The Audit Committee meets at least four times a year.

Risk management and fraud control

Risk assessments are undertaken within a formal risk management model specified in the Commission’s risk management plan. Senior management and the Audit Committee review the plan annually.

The Commission has prepared a fraud risk assessment and fraud control plan and has in place appropriate fraud prevention, detection, investigation reporting and data collection procedures and processes that meet the specific needs of the Commission and comply with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Framework. No instances of fraud were reported during 2018‑19.

Information about the Commission’s risk management procedures is available to all employees. It is brought to the attention of new employees on commencement, and awareness raising for existing employees is periodically undertaken.

Ethical standards

The Commission has adopted a range of measures to promote ethical standards.

  • It has embraced the Australian Public Service (APS) Values, Employment Principles and Code of Conduct.
  • Senior managers are encouraged to set an example through the ethical and prudent use of Commonwealth resources.

The Commission has a number of specific policies relating to ethical standards that have regard to its own operational context. These deal with matters such as email and internet use, harassment and bullying, discrimination, fraud, disclosure of information, and managing conflicts of interest. The policies are readily available to all employees, including as part of induction, and updated as required. Staff awareness and training sessions are offered periodically on these topics.