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Corporate governance framework

The Commission’s outcome and anticipated use of resources are set out in our Portfolio Budget Statements 2012–13 and strategic plan for 2011–14. Actions to achieve the Commission’s outcome are detailed in group business plans and individual performance agreements, which provide the framework for staff compliance and accountability.

The Commission’s corporate governance framework (Figure 4) brings together all the components necessary to manage and monitor the achievement of the Commission’s outcome.

Figure 4: Corporate governance framework, 2012–13

Corporate committees

The Executive establishes the directions and work program of the Commission and directs the agenda for the Commission Management Committee. The Executive approves business plans and budgets and determines senior staffing matters. It meets as a group monthly.

Four advisory committees support the Executive in its management and accountability role.

Commission Management Committee

The Commission Management Committee is chaired by the Commissioner and comprises the Executive and group managers. The committee meets fortnightly and is the forum for scoping strategic challenges and direction and for providing updates on Commission activities. It also monitors progress against our strategic priorities.

Audit and Risk Management Committee

The Audit and Risk Management Committee is established in accordance with the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 and its responsibilities are detailed in the audit charter. The committee met four times in 2012–13.

Workplace Relations Committee

The Workplace Relations Committee is responsible for advising the Commissioner on the implementation and development of the Commission’s enterprise agreement. The committee met four times in 2012–13.

Work Health and Safety Committee

The Work Health and Safety Committee is responsible for advising the Commissioner and other officers under the legislation on the administration of the Commission’s work health and safety policies and practices. The committee met four times in 2012–13. Information on work health and safety matters is provided in Appendix C.

Risk management

Risk management is integrated into the daily activities of the Commission. The systematic application of risk management supports good decision-making, enables sound judgements and promotes the cost-effective use of resources throughout the Commission.

The Commission’s risk management framework is reviewed each year and consists of:

  • a risk management statement from the Commissioner, which is published on the Commission’s website
  • a risk management policy
  • a risk assessment handbook.

The aims of the Commission’s risk management policy are to:

  • develop a Commission-wide understanding of risk management
  • create an environment where all employees assume responsibility for managing risk
  • ensure that relevant risks are considered in decision-making processes
  • ensure that significant risks faced by the Commission are identified and understood
  • ensure that material risks are appropriately monitored through documented review processes and that key mitigating actions are reported to management on a regular basis.

During 2012–13, the Commission conducted a comprehensive risk analysis to identify risks to achieving our outcome and priorities. The Commission-wide risks concerned the risk to the Commission’s reputation in a situation where:

  • the quality of our work does not meet our clients’ and stakeholders’ expectations
  • the capability and capacity of the Commission (both financial and staffing) fail to meet the needs and demands of our clients and stakeholders
  • our capacity and capability to remain relevant, to anticipate the future needs of the APS and to drive change in the APS is not recognised
  • our clients and stakeholders perceive that the Commission does not demonstrate the best practice it advocates for the APS.

During 2012–13, strategies to mitigate these risks were developed and implemented and they are monitored by the Commission’s Audit and Risk Management Committee.

The Commission continued to participate in Comcover’s annual risk management benchmarking survey. In 2012–13, the Commission received a discount of 5.25% on our Comcover insurance premium for 2013–14.

Commission plans

The Commission had in place a number of plans in 2012–13 to implement our strategic priorities, develop our workforce, provide fraud control and ensure business continuity.

Strategic priorities

The Commission’s strategic priorities for 2012–13 were:

  • One APS—build a unified, citizen-centric APS by leading APS organisational and human capital strategies
  • APS agencies—lead APS agencies’ adoption of best human capital practices and assure agencies’ organisational capability
  • APS leaders—develop outstanding leaders and shape a cohesive leadership network
  • APS values—instil and enliven APS ethics and values to inspire excellence
  • APSC capability—invest in and grow the Commission’s capability to deliver our expanded role.

These priorities are reflected in specific objectives and deliverables under the Commission’s programs and group business planning. All involve a whole-of-Commission approach.

As part of our business planning, the Commission identified the following objectives and priorities for 2012–13:

One APS

  • improve the alignment and quality of APS human capital planning and management in order to enhance whole-of-APS and agency capability
  • improve consistency and parity of employment conditions to support a unified APS

APS agencies

  • enhance APS organisational capability to provide stronger policy and delivery support to government and citizens
  • embed an attitudinal and behavioural change to the management of performance to build a high-performance culture across the APS
  • enhance the diversity of the APS workforce to ensure that it reflects and is responsive to the wider community

APS Values

  • embed the APS Values and support amendments to the PS Act to drive change across the APS

APSC capability

  • align our workforce to our strategic priorities and operating models through capability development, including succession planning and knowledge transfer
  • use existing web-based tools more strategically to enhance our internal governance arrangements and our interface with clients.

Workforce plan

The Commission’s workforce plan guides the development and maintenance of a skilled, capable and diverse workforce that is valued and engaged, and identifies strategies to ensure that our workforce is directly linked to the Commission’s future directions and priorities.

Fraud control plan

During 2012–13 the Commission undertook a comprehensive fraud risk analysis and assessment and developed a fraud control plan for the period 2013–15 which establishes the framework for detecting, reporting on and investigating fraud within the Commission. The plan also outlines ongoing fraud awareness steps to ensure that staff are aware of their responsibilities under the plan.

Business continuity plan

The Commission’s business continuity plan details the steps to be taken in the event of a disruption to business operations.

The plan’s objectives are to maintain the continuity of essential services as far as is practicable and to minimise the impact of any disruption to the availability of services. The plan provides practical assistance and guidance to staff on how to ensure that the Commission is able to resume normal business operations following a disaster.

Environmental management

The Commission aims to minimise the use of non-renewable resources. Ongoing activities include the use of recycled paper products for most work activities, maximising the benefits from energy-saving devices, and undertaking purchasing with energy efficiency in mind. Appendix F provides more detail on the Commission’s environmental performance.

Commission website

Since launching the refreshed website in May 2012, the Commission has continued to improve our online presence by providing timely and accurate information about key initiatives, news and events in a more usable and accessible format. The Commission continues to maximise the capabilities of the website through better management of the preparation and distribution of publications, wider use of alert services and automated (just-in-time) release of content.

During 2012–13, the Commission delivered a range of projects across the website including development of the APS induction program, the State of the Service Report, the APS remuneration survey results and the APS Statistical Bulletin. Other activities involved promotional campaigns for the APS Indigenous Pathways Program, the APS employee census and the new APS Values, Employment Principles and Code of Conduct.

In preparation for the commencement on 1 July 2013 of the amended PS Act and Public Service Regulations, and the new Commissioner’s Directions, the website was used as a primary source for agencies to access information on policy and procedural changes. A series of advices and promotional resources relating to the legislative changes was made available, as well as a question-and-answer facility for APS staff who sought further clarification on the changes.

Electronic document and records management system

In 2012–13, the Commission looked to enhance our investment in the new electronic document and records management system (‘Squirrel’) implemented in the previous year. Initiatives to make the system easier to use included the provision of instructional video material to staff.

One year after implementing the system, the Commission conducted a staff survey to identify the levels of satisfaction with the system and to inform future improvements.

Compliance and accountability

Every six months the Commission conducts a review of our compliance with the financial management and accountability framework. The results of the 2012–13 reviews confirmed that our internal control environment is operating effectively.

The Commission has an ongoing process of reviewing our human resource policies to ensure that they are consistent with better practice and contemporary human resource management principles.

Ethical standards

The Commission supports a culture of strong commitment to the APS Values, and has mechanisms in place to ensure that the APS Values are reflected in the Commission’s day-to-day work. For example:

  • A set of action items are identified in the Commission’s strategic plan that support the embedding of the APS Values in ‘the way we do things around here’. These actions cascade down from business plans to individual performance agreements.
  • The Commission’s performance management framework requires employees to demonstrate their commitment to the APS Values. Managers are required to provide feedback to employees on their performance against both business outcomes and adherence to the APS Values and Code of Conduct.
  • Leadership behaviours for senior staff have been developed, in consultation with Commission employees. The Executive and SES of the Commission are held to account against these behaviours, which include being role models of the APS Values. A recent 360-degree feedback process for the Executive and SES was designed and implemented based on these leadership behaviours.
  • The Commission’s induction package for new staff includes information on the Code of Conduct and the APS Values and the Commission’s expectations of employees.

The Commission’s Executive has also reviewed the results of the 2013 employee census conducted for the purposes of the State of the Service Report. The census included several questions about adherence to the APS Values and Code of Conduct.

Internal audit

During 2012–13, the Commission’s internal audit function was undertaken by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.

Compliance checks on financial data analytics and performance audits of business continuity management, the information management framework and the APS bargaining framework were completed. The Commission is implementing the recommendations accepted.

As at 30 June 2013, no internal audits were underway as the Commission was transitioning to a new internal auditor, Ernst & Young, for 2013–14.