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 Corporate governance

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Governance framework

The department’s governance framework comprises committees and other management structures and processes that oversee risk management, fraud prevention and control, strategic and corporate planning, business continuity, performance measurement, audit and financial management. The framework enables clear direction and oversight from senior leadership, ensures transparency, accountability and integrity, and encourages efficient and ethical behaviour in staff.

Senior leadership as at 30 June 2016


  • Chris Moraitis PSM

Deputy Secretaries

  • Iain Anderson, Civil Justice and Corporate Group
  • Leanne Close APM, Criminal Justice Group
  • Katherine Jones, National Security and Emergency Management Group

More information on these groups and our organisational chart are included in Part 1 of this report.

The Australian Government Solicitor

  • Louise Vardanega PSM (A/g)

Senior management committees

A number of core governance forums support the Secretary and ensure effective governance throughout the department.

Executive Board

The Executive Board is the primary decision-making body. The board sets the vision and strategy for the department, oversees risk and ensures organisational performance. It is responsible for driving organisational capability, culture and strategic stakeholder engagement. It comprises the Secretary and Deputy Secretaries, the Australian Government Solicitor, Chief Finance Officer, Chief Information Officer, First Assistant Secretary Strategy and Delivery Division and Head of Human Resources. A representative from each of the SES Band 2 and Band 1 cohorts rotate as members every 6 months.

Senior Management Committee

The Senior Management Committee is a forum for sharing information about significant corporate and strategic whole-of-department issues. It also serves as the Investment Review Board, ensuring capital investments and projects are aligned with the department’s strategic priorities and are financially stable.

Executive reviews

Executive reviews enable Executive Board members to meet with senior management from each business unit throughout the year. The meetings focus on strategic priorities, risk management, emerging challenges and opportunities, workforce planning, resource allocation and progress of key initiatives.

Audit and Risk Management Committee

The Audit and Risk Management Committee comprises three external and two internal members. The Chief Operating Officer, Chief Finance Officer, the department’s Governance Office and the Australian National Audit Office are represented at the meetings. The committee provides independent assurance to the Secretary about the adequacy of the department’s financial reporting, performance reporting, risk management framework, systems of internal control and internal audit function. The Chair of the Audit and Risk Management Committee meets at least annually with the Secretary.

Strategic and corporate planning

The department prepares a corporate plan each year, in accordance with section 35(1)(b) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013. The plan is published on the department’s website in August. It identifies our strategic priorities for a four-year period, along with key activities we will undertake during the financial year to progress them, and corresponding performance measures.

Figure 2: Our planning and performance framework

This figure outlines the planning and performance framework used in the department. It shows the link back and forth between: Corporate Plan, Portfolio Budget Statements, Internal Group and Divisional Plans,Annual Report/Annual Performance Statement 

Risk management

The department is committed to a culture in which consideration of risk is integrated into everyday management and operations. The department’s risk management framework is based on the Commonwealth Risk Management Policy. The framework focuses on risk identification, integrating risk management into business planning and continually improving departmental outcomes and performance. Risk management is incorporated into departmental training.

The Security and Risk Management Committee

The Security and Risk Management Committee (SRMC) is responsible for ensuring a cohesive and coordinated departmental approach to departmental risk, fraud, business continuity, and information, physical and personnel security; promoting and embedding a positive risk and security culture; promoting fraud awareness; and advising the Secretary on the status of security and risk in the department. The SRMC is chaired by the Deputy Secretary, Civil Justice and Corporate Group, and meets monthly.

Fraud prevention and control

We are committed to promoting transparency and accountability and ensuring that the integrity of our programmes is not compromised. The department’s fraud control plan provides a framework for the prevention, detection and deterrence of fraud and includes mechanisms to ensure fraud risks are identified and addressed. The fraud control plan was developed in accordance with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Framework 2014 and has been incorporated into staff training

Ethical standards

The department’s Enterprise Agreement contains a commitment by the parties to delivering high-quality professional public service in accordance with the APS values. The department’s induction programme for new employees includes training on the APS values, Code of Conduct and Employment Principles. All new employees are provided with a copy of the APS values, Code of Conduct and Employment Principles, as well as relevant excerpts from the Crimes Act 1914, and must sign a statement asserting that they have read and understood these provisions.

Information sessions are provided to individual work areas to cover specific ethical and conduct issues as particular needs are identified. The department participates in the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) Ethics Contact Officer Network and information is available to employees regarding how to contact the Ethics Advisory Service directly to discuss any ethical concerns that they may have.

The APS values, Code of Conduct, Employment Principles, Secretary’s Instructions and other material relevant to ethical conduct are incorporated, as appropriate, into relevant departmental policies, guidelines and instructions, and are available to all staff in the department.

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