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SBS Governance

Statement of Governance

SBS business practices are governed by clear delegations of authority; project (program) management; policies for statutory compliance; codes of conduct; review processes; budget information linked to all planning processes; and regular monitoring and reporting to the SBS Board and its Committees.

Good corporate governance at SBS is also based on an acceptance by all staff that the highest standards of integrity and ethical behaviour are expected of them, as well as transparency and consistency in all their actions.

SBS Finance Manual

SBS’s financial policies and procedures are contained in the SBS Finance Manual which is available to all staff on the SBS Intranet. Updates occur throughout the year.

SBS Risk Management Plan

The SBS Risk Management Plan and risk assessment identifies and addresses the major risks and opportunities associated with SBS activities. This includes the consideration of risk in achieving SBS’s strategic objectives. The SBS Risk Management Plan is reviewed annually and was approved by the Board in August 2018.

Risk management at SBS aims to:

  • provide assurance that SBS has identified its highest-risk exposures and has taken steps to properly manage these;
  • ensure that SBS’s business planning processes include a focus on areas where risk management is needed;
  • ensure the integration of the various and many risk control measures that SBS already has in place; and
  • be comprehensive and effective.

The SBS Audit and Risk Committee receives regular reports on the management of identified ‘highest risks’ facing SBS, with identification of risks allowing for the redirection or refocusing of resources to address key issues.

Australian National Audit Office audit of SBS governance

During the reporting period, the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) undertook a performance audit on the governance of SBS (the Audit). The report of the audit, Governance of the Special Broadcasting Service Corporation (Auditor-General Report No.35 of 2018–2019), was published on 26 April 2019.

Among other things, the Audit found that SBS governance and oversight arrangements are effective, SBS governance and administrative arrangements are consistent with relevant legislative and policy requirements, and that SBS Board operations are structured to support effective governance at SBS. It also found that the composition and experience of the SBS Board is consistent with SBS’s governance needs, and that the Board has implemented a sound approach to promoting the purpose of SBS as set out in the SBS Charter, including by integrating this purpose into SBS’s operating culture.

The ANAO made only two recommendations, both of which were accepted by SBS. These relate to the establishment of a Charter for the Board of SBS and a review of SBS’s risk framework in relation to the identification and treatment of certain risks.

SBS Disaster Recovery Plan and Business Continuity Plan and Incident Management

SBS continues to maintain a Disaster Recovery site at Next DC which has significantly enhanced SBS’s television broadcast resilience capabilities, providing redundancy to facilities in Melbourne and Canberra and enabling continued operations in the event of any issue impacting on broadcasting capabilities from Sydney or Melbourne facilities.

SBS maintains a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) to ensure business recovery in the event of a full or partial loss to the SBS premises. In line with a commitment to continuous improvement, the plan is reviewed, tested and updated annually. In May 2019, testing considered the impacts of a pandemic on the business. In contrast to previous years, this year’s exercise was run in a workshop format with an evolving scenario to prompt discussion and ideas.

SBS’s Emergency Control Organisation provides head wardens and area wardens for each office, comprised of management, security and staff. Annual training ensures consistent management of on-site incidents and evacuation protocols.

SBS Security

In 2018-19, SBS strengthened its security operations across key sites, in line with operational changes and risks. The Sydney premises maintains a 24/7 security presence, 365 days a year. Site operating procedures for the Sydney premises were updated and aligned to the Site Security Plan and escalation processes. An increased focus on audience management and screening saw the introduction of a walk-through metal detector, and safety and security training modules provided to all employees through the SBSU online learning platform have significantly increased general security and safety awareness.

SBS Fraud Control Plan

The SBS Fraud Control Plan reflects the organisation’s responsibility to effectively manage the risk of fraud and demonstrates its commitment to the requirements of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (the PGPA Act) and section 10 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 (the fraud rule) as well as the Public Interest Disclosure (PID) Act 2013.

The SBS Fraud Control Plan was developed using the methodology outlined in the International Standard for Risk Management, (AS ISO 31000:2018). The SBS Fraud Control Plan is reviewed biennially and was most recently approved by the Board in August 2019 The Board is satisfied that SBS is taking all reasonable measures to prevent, detect and deal with fraud and is meeting its obligations under section 10 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 (PGPA Rule).

SBS’s fraud control arrangements were developed in the context of SBS’s overarching risk management framework, in accordance with the Commonwealth Risk Management Policy, and SBS has reviewed and aligned its fraud control frameworks and systems to the Commonwealth Fraud Control Policy.

External and Internal Audit

The audit of SBS’s financial statements is carried out by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO). The ANAO gave an unqualified opinion on the 2018-19 financial statements of SBS.

SBS has an agreement with EY for the delivery of the Internal Audit for SBS. EY performed audits throughout 2018-19 in accordance with the Internal Audit Plan approved by the SBS Audit and Risk Committee. Where applicable, recommendations for improvements to the control environment were brought to management’s attention and remediation plans are in place as agreed with management to address issues raised.

The following internal audits were conducted in 2018-19: Conduct and Integrity Review, Audience Insights, Digital Acceleration Plan – Platform Infrastructure Review, High Risk OHS on Assignment, Privacy Review and Media Asset Management – Post Implementation Review.

Indemnities and Insurance Premiums for Officers

As part of its general insurance protection, SBS has a Directors and Officers Liability Insurance Policy in place. The cost of this policy for 2018-19 was $64,843 (GST excluded).

Ministerial Directions and Notifications

SBS has not been notified by way of a government policy order under the PGPA Act of any general policies of the Australian Government that apply to SBS.

No ministerial directions have been issued under the SBS Act.

Compliance Report

Management provides a Quarterly Compliance Report to the Audit and Risk Committee (ARC) which includes details of compliance against the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act). In addition, a biannual assessment of SBS’s compliance status against its Corporate Compliance Obligations is reported to the ARC. There have been no significant issues reported in relation to non-compliance with the PGPA Act.

Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

SBS recognises that its normal business operations have an impact on the environment and seeks to mitigate the adverse environmental impacts of its business activities through a number of sustainability initiatives including recycling, improvements to energy efficiency and water conservation measures and the purchase of products made from recycled materials.

Projected energy consumption at SBS’s Sydney premises declined by almost 2MWh during 2018-19, reflecting an ongoing commitment to improve overall energy efficiency through the installation of more efficient building equipment, the progressive replacement of general office lighting with LEDs and improvements to the Building Management Control System. Over the five-year period since 2013-14, SBS energy consumption has decreased from 6.804 MWh to 5.812MWh, or approximately 14 per cent, in circumstances where the intensity of building usage has increased.

SBS maintains a proactive approach and responsive energy strategy to mitigate the effects of ongoing cost increases within the Australian retail energy market. The performance of the Sydney premises’ heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system is continuously monitored to maximise energy efficiency. Changes to date are largely responsible for the ongoing reduction in energy usage.

In 2018-19 the general office recycling program recycled a total of 77 tonnes of waste and 59 tonnes of paper and cardboard. Approximately 391 tonnes, or 82 per cent, of all waste generated by SBS was recovered, diverted from landfill or re-used; a significant improvement on the 75 per cent figure achieved in 2017-18.

3,687kg of e-waste were recycled, and dedicated programs continued to encourage staff to recycle toner cartridges, mobile phones, and phone batteries, redundant electrical and data cabling, fluorescent lighting tubes and waste generated through building refurbishment work.


A new SBS Green employee group was established in 2019 to increase awareness of SBS’s energy consumption and waste creation, encouraging staff to play an active role in reducing both.

SBS continues to purchase recycled paper for printing, photocopying, hand towels and toilet paper, in addition to products made from recycled materials for pin boards, acoustic panelling and furniture. A composting area has been established at SBS’s Sydney premises to reduce organic waste.


SBS Headquarters are located at 14 Herbert Street, Artarmon, NSW. SBS maintains an office and broadcast facilities in Federation Square, Melbourne, and an office at Parliament House, Canberra, ACT. It leases space for sales teams in Brisbane (ABC Centre, South Brisbane, QLD), Adelaide (Glenside, SA) and Perth (Subiaco, WA).