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Governance framework

The department's governance framework comprises 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

Our senior leadership team as at 30 June 2017 comprised the following:


  • Chris Moraitis PSM

Deputy Secretaries

  • Michael Kingston, Australian Government Solicitor
  • Iain Anderson, Civil Justice and Corporate Group
  • Nicole Rose PSM, Criminal Justice Group
  • Katherine Jones PSM, National Security and Emergency Management Group

More information about the department and our organisational chart is included in Part 1 of this report.

Senior management committees

A number of core governance fora 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 Financial 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 six 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 Financial Officer, the department's Governance Office and the ANAO 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.

Corporate planning

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

Diagram of a blue triangle with a white circle in the centre. Text in the white circle is Corporate Plan. The top section of the triangle has text Portfolio Budget Statements and an arrow pointing into the Corporate Plan circle. The left corner of the triangle has text Internal Group and Divisional plans and an arrow pointing into the Corporate Plan circle. The right corner of the triangle has text Annual Report and Annual Performace Statements and an arrow pointing out from the Corporate Plan circle.
Figure 2: Our planning and performance framework

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 integrates risk management into business planning, budget allocation and internal audit planning processes. Risk management is incorporated into staff training and individual performance agreements.

We share risks with our stakeholders, including other Australian Government entities, other jurisdictions (state, territory and international), ministers, suppliers and vendors, grant recipients, industry and communities. We continue to engage in high levels of consultation and cooperation to effectively understand and manage these risks.

Security and Risk Management Committee

The Security and Risk Management Committee is responsible for ensuring a cohesive and coordinated departmental approach to departmental risk, fraud, business continuity and information, physical and personnel security. The committee is chaired by the Deputy Secretary, Civil Justice and Corporate Group.

Fraud prevention and control

We promote the effective and efficient use of departmental resources and protect the integrity and reputation of the programs we deliver. We take all reasonable measures to prevent, detect and deal with fraud relating to the department. Our fraud control processes are based on the Commonwealth Fraud Control Framework and are incorporated into staff training.

The department takes fraud very seriously, especially given our role as the owners of fraud control policy for the Australian Government. We are committed to preventing fraud and corruption perpetrated by staff and suppliers and deal with it appropriately if it occurs. We endeavour to reduce these risks to the lowest acceptable level within available resources.

Internal audit

We have an internal audit program that specifically considers our strategic priorities and risks. The program strikes a balance between compliance and performance activities as well as between internally focused corporate functions and externally focused outcomes or outputs. The program is approved by the Executive Board after consultation with senior executives and the Audit and Risk Management Committee.

Ethical standards

The department supports a culture of commitment to the APS Values. Maintaining ethical standards in the workplace is intrinsic to our performance and development framework. The framework sets clear expectations for employees to deliver high-quality professional public service and to provide ongoing feedback and support through regular performance conversations.

Our induction program provides guidance for new employees in relation to the APS Values, Code of Conduct and Employment Principles. All new employees are provided with a copy of these documents. All employees sign a statement acknowledging they have read and understood these provisions.

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

The APS Values, Code of Conduct, Employment Principles and the Secretary's Instructions are incorporated, as appropriate, into departmental policies, guidelines and instructions, and are available to all staff in the department. We actively promote awareness, including through mandatory training on risk and fraud.

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