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Governance, management and accountability

The Office of the Merit Protection Commissioner, established under section 49 of the PS Act, is an independent office located within the Australian Public Service Commission. Ms Annwyn Godwin was reappointed as Merit Protection Commissioner by the Governor-General in January 2013 for a five-year term.

During 2015–16, Ms Amanda MacDonald acted as Merit Protection Commissioner for the period 1 July to 21 August 2015 and Ms Kay Ransome for the period 22 August to 11 September 2015.

The Merit Protection Commissioner's functions are set out in sections 50 and 50A of the PS Act and Parts 2, 4, 5 and 7 of the Regulations. This report and further information about the Merit Protection Commissioner's role and services are available at www.meritprotectioncommission.gov.au.

The respective responsibilities of the Merit Protection Commissioner and the Australian Public Service Commissioner (the Commissioner) are established in the PS Act. The two roles are complementary, particularly in relation to maintaining confidence in public administration.

The Commissioner is responsible for upholding high standards of integrity and conduct in the APS. The Merit Protection Commissioner assists by ensuring consistent standards of decision-making and people management practices and providing an important assurance role for the APS.

Corporate governance

The Commissioner, as the head of the Commission, is responsible for its corporate governance.

In 2015–16, the Merit Protection Commissioner had managerial responsibility for the work of the employees in the Office of the Merit Protection Commissioner and was a member of the Commission's Executive—a senior management group chaired by the Commissioner.

The Merit Protection Commissioner has held the position of the independent chair of the Commission's Audit and Risk Management Committee since 2008 and in that capacity also attended the Audit Committee Chairs Forum meeting. Ms Godwin chaired her last meeting of the Audit and Risk Management Committee in May 2016. At that meeting, the Commissioner thanked Ms Godwin for her excellent service to the committee and her professional and innovative approach to the task.

Organisational structure

The staff who support the work of the Merit Protection Commissioner are made available by the Australian Public Service Commissioner in accordance with section 49 of the PS Act. The Merit Protection Commissioner and the Commissioner have a memorandum of understanding for the provision of staff. The current memorandum of understanding was signed in June 2015.

The Merit Protection Commissioner's review and fee-related service activities are performed in the Commission's Sydney office. The Merit Review Policy team is based in Canberra. During 2015–16, the Merit Protection Commissioner was supported by one full-time delegate, who is also the Principal Adviser, and two part-time delegates, one business manager, one policy officer, four review advisers and three administrative staff.

Information publication scheme

Information about the Merit Protection Commissioner is included in the Commission's plan, which is available at www.apsc.gov.au/about-the-apsc/Freedom-of-information.