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Chapter 11 - Corporate governance

 

Corporate governance

The Attorney-General's Department's governance framework includes appropriate committee and oversight structures, risk management, fraud control, strategic and business planning, project management, business continuity, performance management, audit and evaluation, and financial management elements.

Senior leadership

Secretary

Roger Wilkins AO

Deputy secretaries

David Fredericks, Civil Justice and Legal Services Group

Elizabeth Kelly, Strategic Policy and Coordination Group

Tony Sheehan, National Security and Criminal Justice Group

First assistant secretaries

Iain Anderson, Criminal Justice Division

Jane Bailey, Information Division

Bill Campbell QC PSM, General Counsel (International Law)

Campbell Darby DSC AM, Emergency Management Australia Division

Kym Duggan PSM, Social Inclusion Division

James Faulkner PSM SC, General Counsel (Constitutional)

Warwick Finn, National Security Capability Development Division

Louise Glanville, Access to Justice Division and Strategy and Delivery Division

Maggie Jackson, Corporate Counsel

Katherine Jones, International Crime Cooperation Division

John Leahy PSM SC, Office of Legislative Drafting and Publishing

Stephen Lutze, Corporate Division

Greg Manning, International Law and Human Rights Division

Geoff McDonald PSM, National Security Law and Policy Division

Matt Minogue, Civil Law Division

Mike Rothery, National Security Resilience Policy Division

The governance framework

The department's core governance forums are the:

  • Executive Board
  • Secretary's Reviews
  • Senior Management Committee
  • Audit and Risk Management Committee
  • Investment Review Board.

Other governance elements include the Chief Executive Instructions, the Strategic Plan 2010-12, the developing 2012-15 Strategic Plan, divisional business plans, performance reporting, risk management framework, fraud control plan and business continuity program.

Senior management committees

The Executive Board comprises the Secretary and the three Deputy Secretaries. It advises the Secretary on:

  • the administration of the department
  • the strategic direction of the department
  • matters referred for decision by the Senior Management Committee.

The Senior Management Committee comprises the three Deputy Secretaries and each First Assistant Secretary. It is a forum for discussion by senior executive staff on strategic issues confronting the department and assists the department in achieving strategic and operational aims, and on monitoring departmental performance against a range of business strategies.

The Secretary's Reviews are quarterly meetings between the Secretary and the senior management of each division to discuss developments around the department's strategic priorities and to receive status reports on divisional progress against business plans.

The Audit and Risk Management Committee comprises a chair and four members. The chair and one member are external to the department; and the other three members are departmental staff members. Additionally, the Secretary, the Chief Financial Officer, the First Assistant Secretary - Strategy and Delivery Division, the Chief Audit Executive;
and the Australian National Audit Office are represented at the meetings.

The Audit and Risk Management Committee advises the Secretary on the department's systems of internal controls, risk management (including fraud risk), financial reporting, compliance with laws, and internal and external audit matters. The Committee met seven times during 2011-12.

The Investment Review Board comprises the three Deputy Secretaries and each First Assistant Secretary. The purpose of the Investment Review Board is to provide direction and leadership ensuring capital investments and projects are aligned with the department's strategic priorities and are financially sustainable.

Planning and review

The department's planning and performance framework is designed to ensure that activities and outcomes are aligned with priorities set by the Australian Government and that mechanisms are in place to review these. Figure 12.1 provides an overview of the department's planning and performance framework.

Figure 12.1: Planning and performance framework, 2011-12

Figure 12.1: Planning and performance framework, 2011-12

 

Risk management

The department's risk management framework is based on the Comcover Better Practice Guide: Risk Management and AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009, Risk Management Principles and Guidelines. The framework addresses communicating policy and accountability, integrating risk management into business planning, review and monitoring processes, and developing a positive risk culture.

The department conducted facilitated Group and division risk identification sessions and developed a consolidated register of enterprise risks which are periodically considered by the Senior Management and Audit and Risk Management Committees.

The department's Strategic Planning and Governance Section supports divisions on implementation of the risk management framework and provides status reports to the Audit and Risk Management Committee as a standing agenda item.

Fraud control

The department has a comprehensive fraud control management model which includes the department's Fraud Control Plan, regular reporting to the Audit and Risk Management Committee, separate functional areas for fraud control policy and fraud investigation, fraud awareness training, and inclusion of fraud risks within overall business risk assessment processes. The department's Fraud Control Plan complies the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines 2011.

CERTIFICATION OF DEPARTMENTAL FRAUD CONTROL ARRANGEMENTS

I, Roger Wilkins, certify that I am satisfied that for 2011-12, the Attorney-General's Department has:

  • prepared fraud risk assessments and fraud control plans
  • in place appropriate fraud prevention, detection, investigation, reporting and data collection procedures and processes that meet the specific needs of the department, and
  • taken all reasonable measures to minimise the incidence of fraud in the department and to investigate and recover the proceeds of fraud against the department.



 

Roger Wilkins AO
Secretary
22 August 2012

 

Conduct and ethics

The Attorney-General's Department Enterprise Agreement 2011 contains a commitment by the parties to delivering high quality professional public service in accordance with the APS Values. As part of the department's induction program, new starters attend a session on the Values and Code of Conduct. The department also offers online training to all staff on the Values and Code of Conduct which all new staff are encouraged to complete. All new employees are provided with a copy of the APS Values and Code of Conduct, 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 also provided to individual work areas to cover specific ethics and conduct issues as particular needs are identified. The department participates in the APSC's Ethics Contact Officer network and information is available to employees regarding the ability to contact the Ethics Advisory Service direct to discuss any ethical concerns that they may have.

The APS Values, Code of Conduct, Chief Executive Instructions and other material relevant to ethical conduct are incorporated, as appropriate, into relevant departmental policies, guidelines and instructions, and are available on the department's intranet.

Senior Executive Service remuneration

The terms and conditions for all current SES employees are covered by individual determinations made under section 24(1) of the Public Service Act 1999.

Remuneration for an SES employee, as set out in the section 24(1) Determinations, includes base salary, an Executive Vehicle Scheme vehicle or cash-in-lieu, a car park and superannuation.

Performance pay is not available to SES employees under the section 24(1) determinations.

Further information about SES remuneration appears on page 214.

Media and communications

The Strategic Communication Branch is responsible for providing strategic communication advice and services to the department, including media and crisis management, corporate communications, and the delivery of communication strategies and campaigns. During the year the branch introduced a Strategic Communication Framework to build capability and emphasise the importance of effective communication strategies to support policy and program work.

Media and crisis communications

In its crisis communication role, the branch coordinated the Australian Government's public communication functions during the eastern seaboard floods and the floods that impacted large parts of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, and for Cyclone Yasi.

Public communication support was also provided for a range of security incidents, including Norway 2011; Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry bomb hoax 2011; and the Air Mauritius Melbourne Airport bomb hoax 2012.

The branch's role in supporting whole-of-government public communication during a disaster also involved training and management of a sixty person national media liaison pool that operates as part of the Public Communication function of the Australian Government's Crisis Coordination Centre.

In this role the media and crisis communication team also participated in sixteen jurisdictional preparedness exercises, delivered media liaison officer training in each state and territory, and provided public communication support for ten Australian Government exercises.

The team was also responsible for managing the public communication security media arrangements for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, held in Perth in October 2011.

Extensive security media planning has also begun for the upcoming G20 meeting, the Asia Cup and the Cricket World Cup.

The team handled 368 media releases and 689 media enquiries during the year across a wide range of issues. It also supported key communication initiatives within the department, including criminal, civil justice and national security reforms.

Strategy and campaigns

The branch continued work on two funded public information campaigns and the development and implementation of communication strategies to support programs and policies.

The branch implemented the Personal Property Securities (PPS) Campaign which aimed to raise business and consumer awareness of PPS reform and to drive users to the new, national PPS Register. The campaign ran from 23 January until 30 June 2012 and included national print, online and radio advertising.

The National Security Public Information Campaign ran from 4 September until 8 October 2011 leading up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in late October. The advertising activity consisted of metropolitan and regional radio (including print-handicapped and in-language radio). The radio advertisement was translated into twelve languages in addition to English. The advertisements aim to increase the public's intention to report suspicious actions, behaviours or events to the National Security Hotline to help protect Australia from terrorism.

Work to prevent chemicals from misuse by terrorists continued, with the branch implementing a public relations campaign that secured over thirty feature articles in industry association newsletters and magazines that reached thousands of high risk industry groups at no cost to the department. Work also included other awareness raising and outreach activities such as hosting industry trade shows and developing targeted information products to build industry and consumer vigilance.

The branch also assisted divisions with the development of communication strategies covering topics including contract law, family law, graduate recruitment, learning and development, fraud control, disaster resilience, identity security, alternative dispute resolution, intellectual property and emergency management.

Corporate communications

The branch coordinated the editing, design, typesetting and printing of more than 150 publications and collateral materials including the Strategic Plan 2012-2015, the Communication Framework and the Social Media Policy. The branch also coordinated the production and tabling of the 2010-2011 Annual Report and was involved in a range of communication activities, including the design and promotion of the Strategic Plan, design and promotion of the Graduate Recruitment program, the promotion of NAIDOC week and the Mabo 20th Anniversary, and the design and promotion of the Leading and Development program. The branch was responsible for the redevelopment of the departmental website and coordinated the delivery of the planning and design phase of this project. As part of the branch's ongoing focus to improve internal communications, the intranet structure was redesigned and over fifty departmental news articles and videos were published on the site.

Reconciliation Action Plan and Reconciliation Committee

The department is committed to reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous people for the benefit of all Australians. The department's Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) is implemented and maintained by the department's Reconciliation Committee. The Committee focuses on engaging with staff to develop and promote cultural awareness and includes representatives from the senior management team, Indigenous Network, line divisions and Indigenous and non-Indigenous staff. The department is involved in the Attorney-General's Portfolio Reconciliation Network and co-hosted an event during National Reconciliation Week to reaffirm our commitment to the Portfolio's Statement of Commitment.

The department also participates in celebrating events of significance to Indigenous people including National Reconciliation Week, NAIDOC Week, Sorry Day and Mabo Day.

Corrections to errors in the 2010-11 annual report

  • on page 186, the total funding received by the Northern Territory Aboriginal Interpreter Service was listed as $1.8 million. The correct figure is $2.5 million, including $1.2 million under the ongoing appropriation and $1.3 million under the Closing the Gap initiative. This figure includes $750,000 additional funding, listed on page 87, to progress recommendations identified in the Commonwealth Ombudsman's report Talking in Language: Indigenous language interpreters and government communication
  • on pages 90 and 186, the number of projects identified as funded under the Indigenous Justice Program was incorrect. There were 57 projects funded under the Program in 2010-11, including twelve Petrol Sniffing Strategy Projects
  • on pages 71 and 89, the number of community engagement officers in the Northern Territory was incorrectly identified as 12. The correct number is 8.
  • on page 306, under the heading 'Extradition requests made by Australia', the figures reported that there were 22 new requests made and a total of 38 requests continuing. The correct figures are that there were 21 new requests made and a total of 37 requests continuing.
  • on page 63, under the subheading Compliance with the Legal Services Directions 2005, the compliance figures reported for the 2010-11 financial year were incorrect.

Table 11.1: Investigation of possible non-compliance with the Legal Services Directions, 2010-11

Year Matters carried forward New matters Examined and found non-compliant Examined and found compliant Matters still under review at year end
2010-11 6 38 17 8 16

 

Our people

Portfolio commits to reconciliation

building on the principles of respect, relationships and opportunities

As a portfolio, we are proud to formally acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first Australians. In late 2011, the department signed the Attorney-General's Portfolio Indigenous Statement of Commitment. The statement brought existing individual statements from portfolio agencies together into one, symbolising a unified approach towards the advancement of reconciliation.

Reconciliation is a long-term goal that involves recognition of the first Australians and the provision of practical and effective measures to address the economic and social disadvantage experienced by many of them.

Deputy Secretary David Fredericks is the department's Reconciliation Champion. In this role, David works closely with the department's Reconciliation Committee and Indigenous Network to cultivate working relationships between the portfolio, other government agencies and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

'I'm tremendously proud of the hard work our department and portfolio continues to do towards reconciliation and closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage,' David said. 'One of the ways we demonstrate this commitment is through the Reconciliation Action Plan. This was built on the principles of respect, relationships and opportunities.'

Practical action detailed in the statement includes commitment to improve service delivery outcomes and support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, employ more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our agencies and increase our understanding, knowledge and appreciation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

Theika Andrews is the current chairperson of the department's Indigenous staff network. 'The department provides opportunities to Indigenous staff and supports Indigenous staff in celebrating significant days throughout the year. Together, we will continue to work on the retention and development of staff within the department,' Theika said.