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 Corporate governance

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The department's governance framework provides a structure that ensures transparency, accountability and integrity and encourages efficient and ethical behaviour in all staff. Our governance framework includes appropriate committees and oversight structures, risk management, fraud prevention and control, strategic and business planning, project management, business continuity, performance management, audit and evaluation, and financial management elements, and assures clear direction and oversight from senior leadership.

Governance structure

The department's governance structure includes executive committees, the Chief Executive Instructions, the Strategic Plan 2012-15, divisional business plans, performance reporting, the risk management framework, a fraud control plan and the business continuity program.

Figure 3.1: Our governance structure

Figure 3.1: Our governance structure. Text boxes showing structure. Box with blue shading: Government priorities. Existing and emerging opportunities and risks. Off that box are two boxes. One says Strategic Plan 2012-15 and the other one says Business Plan 2013-14. In the middle there are three pink boxes. The first one says: Finances. financial Strategy 2013-15. Three Year Budget Plan. Property Management Plan. The second box says: People. Workforce Plan 2010-15. Learning and Development Plan 2012-15. The third box says Information . Information Management Framework. ICT Strategic Plan 2013-15. Strategic Communications Framework. Below those three boxes are three boxes in blue. The heading over those three boxes is: Business and Governance Requirements. The first box says: Protective Security Plan 2012-14. Chief Executive Instructions. Project Management Framework. The second box says: Risk Management Framework. Fraud Control Framework. The third box says: Business Continuity Framework. Performance Management Framework. 

Senior leadership as at 30 June 2013


  • 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

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

Senior management committees

The department has a number of core governance forums set up to support the Secretary and ensure effective governance throughout the department.

Executive Board

The Executive Board comprises the Secretary, the Deputy Secretaries and the First Assistant Secretary — Strategy and Delivery Division. The Executive Board advises the Secretary on the administration and strategic direction of the department, and considers matters referred for decision by the Senior Management Committee.

Senior Management Committee

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

The Committee acts as the Investment Review Board, monitoring capital expenditure and recommending investment proposals for approval to the Executive Board. The Committee ensures capital investments and projects are aligned with the department's strategic priorities and are financially stable.

Quarterly Reviews

Quarterly Reviews provide an opportunity for Executive Board members to meet with senior management and relevant employees from each Division throughout the year. The meetings focus on strategic priorities, emerging challenges and opportunities for the department, resource allocation and progress of key initiatives.

Audit and Risk Management Committee

The Audit and Risk Management Committee comprises two external and three internal members. The Secretary, the General Manager — Corporate Division, the department's Governance Office and the Australian National Audit Office are represented at the meetings. The Committee provides independent assurance about the adequacy of the department's internal controls, risk management framework and fraud control arrangements, financial reporting, and assesses compliance with relevant laws, rules, regulations and directions.

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 review mechanisms are in place.

Figure 3.2: Our planning and performance framework

Figure 3.2: Our planning and performance framework. Under 'Planning' are four boxes. The first says: Portfolio Budget Stateents. Program ojbectives, targets and deliverables. The second box says: Strategic Plan: Outlines mission and objectives. Key strategic priorities for 2012-15. The third box says: Division and Branch Business Plans. Key activities and projects. The fourt box says Work plans. Individual role in achieving priorities. Under the 'Reporting' column there are four boxes. The first box says: annual Report. Informs Parliament and public about performance against outcomes and programs. The second box says: Portfolio Budget Statements. Describes our outcomes and programs framework and the basis for funding. The third box says: Performance Measurement and Evaluation. Performance evaluation against business and work plans—drives improvement. The fourth box says: Governance Mechanisms. Executive Board. Senior Management Committee. Quarterly Reviews. Audit and Risk management Committee. 

Risk management

The department is committed to a culture where consideration of risk is integrated into everyday management and operations. The department's risk management framework is based on the AS/NZS ISO 31000: 2009, Risk Management Principles and Guidelines, and informed by the Comcover Better Practice Guide: Risk Management. The framework focuses on risk identification, integrating risk management into business planning and continually improving departmental outcomes and performance.

Fraud prevention and control

The department is committed to promoting transparency and accountability, and ensuring that the integrity of programs delivered by the department 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 department's fraud control plan complies with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines 2011 and has been incorporated into staff induction packs and training.

Ethical standards

The department's 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 team members attend a session on the Values and Code of Conduct. In addition, the department offers online training to all staff on the Values and Code of Conduct which 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 provided to individual work areas to cover specific ethics 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.

In March 2013, the Secretary circulated Guidelines for Managing Conflicts of Interest in the Attorney-General's Department which is a reference document collating various policies for the information of staff. This document has been incorporated into staff induction packs and training.

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 to all staff in the department.

Corrections to errors in previous reports

The following information was inadvertently omitted from the 2011–12 Annual Report.

Compliance with the Legal Services Directions 2005

In 2011–12, the Office of Legal Services Coordination (OLSC) opened 94 new reviews of possible non-compliance with the Legal Services Directions 2005 (the Directions).

In 2010–11, OLSC opened 38 new reviews of possible non compliance with the Directions, and in 2009–10, OLSC opened 43 new reviews of possible non-compliance with the Directions.

Substantiated instances of non compliance in 2011–12 generally related to failures to act as a model litigant or consult appropriately with other agencies as required by the Directions. Further, 24 agencies failed to either provide a certificate of compliance or report legal services expenditure within 60 days of the end of the financial year.

Year Matters carried forward New matters Examined and found non-compliant Examined and found compliant Matters still under review at year end
2009–10 16 43 24 30 6*
2010–11* 6 38 17 8 16
2011–12 16 94 42 18 50

* NB: These figures supersede the figures appearing in the 2010-11 Annual Report.

Staffing Trends Headcount

Total staff figures for 2010–11 and 2011–12 inadvertently excluded casual staff.
  2007–08 2008–09 2009–10 2010–11 2011-12 2012-13
TOTAL STAFF 1544 1547 1554 1553# 1532# 1491
Ongoing 1353 1387 1395 1394 1420 1295
Non-ongoing 148 123 118 128 83 170
Irregular/intermittent/casual 43 37 41 31 29 26
Average age 38 38 38 38 38 38
Average length of service (years) 3.7 4.1 4.2 4.4 4.9 4.8
Proportion female (%) 64 63.5 62.3 61.4 62.8 62.7
Proportion male (%) 36 36.5 37.7 38.6 37.2 37.3
Proportion part-time (%) 7.7 7.6 8.3 10.5 10.1 13
SES* 78 94 78 75 78 64
EL1 and 2 equivalent* 608 625 651 700 654 633
APS 1–6 equivalent* 858 826 784 773 771 768
Total excluding casuals 1501 1510 1513 1522 1503 1465

* Classifications based on substantive positions

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