Annual Report

Corporate governance

Governance is the framework of relationships (people), structures (committees), systems, processes and culture that supports the operations of an organisation. Good governance helps us achieve our outcomes. It encompasses authority, accountability, stewardship, leadership, direction and control exercised in the Department.

As part of our commitment to good governance, the Department promotes a culture that encourages and supports all staff to be accountable for their actions; act with integrity, trust, honesty and respect; commit to excellence; focus on performance; and ensure the efficient, effective and ethical management of people and resources.

Elements of our corporate governance framework include business planning, audit and assurance activities, risk management, fraud prevention and control, committees, the Chief Executive’s Instructions, policies and guidelines, and performance agreements.


To support the Secretary in the achievement of our objectives, we have a number of committees. These are outlined in Figure 3.1.

Figure 3.1 Departmental committees

Committee Purpose
Executive Leadership Group (ELG) Deals with management decisions and issues across PM&C. It considers strategic issues impacting on the Department, including any ongoing or emerging risks, and monitors performance in delivering outcomes.
Corporate Management Group Discusses key issues and priorities affecting corporate services.
Senior Management Group Discusses key business issues, including business priorities, key commitments and any ongoing or emerging risks.
Audit Committee Provides independent assurance and assistance to the Secretary on PM&C’s risk, control and compliance framework, and its external accountability responsibilities.
Security Committee Provides advice to the Secretary on actions to counter or manage security threats and considers issues including ICT security policy, password policy changes, email security classification, website blocking, security breaches, security incidents and investigations.
Finance and Investment Committee Oversights and monitors the delivery of the Department’s Finance Strategy and provides advice and assurance to the Secretary on all financial issues, including recommending annual and forward budgets, and capital investment decisions for endorsement.
Information Management and Technology Committee Oversights and monitors the delivery of the Department’s Information Technology Strategic Direction to 2016 and provides advice and assurance to the Secretary regarding ICT management, operations and expenditure.
People and Leadership Committee (PLC) Provides strategic advice to the Secretary on integrating the Department’s people planning, including leadership priorities and development within the Department’s strategic direction and business priorities.
Health and Safety Committee A sub-committee of the PLC that facilitates discussion and cooperation regarding work health and safety (WH&S) issues and assists in the developing Health and Safety Management Arrangements through consultation with all staff.
Consultative Committee A sub-committee of the PLC that provides a forum for management and employees to discuss matters affecting the workplace. Employee representatives are elected from each division to provide employees with an opportunity to contribute ideas and raise concerns about our workplace.
Graduate Support Group A sub-committee of the PLC that ensures that the Graduate Development Program and graduate recruitment strategy meet the Department’s needs, and facilitate communication, consultation, cooperation and input from divisions and graduates on matters that affect the graduate program.
Capability Review Implementation Committee Monitors progress of implementation of the Department’s Capability Action Plan.

Risk management

A positive culture of risk management is a central element of our operations and key to our success in achieving outcomes. Risk management within PM&C is not a stand-alone activity; it is an essential element of good corporate governance and is integrated with the Department’s approach to all aspects of our business.

The Department’s risk management framework is consistent with the international standard ISO 31000:2009, and outlines the Department’s approach to effective risk management providing the basis for integrating risk management into everyday PM&C business activities. Risk is considered in key decision making activities and, in particular, when undertaking policy development and giving policy advice; in planning for and undertaking significant projects and procurements such as major events and taskforces; when outsourcing services, managing contracts and delivering programs; and when providing secretariat and support services.

Senior management committees routinely consider ongoing or emerging risks that may impact on the achievement of objectives. Monitoring and reporting on risk through these committees or, more formally, through the Department’s operational planning and reporting process ensures ongoing oversight of developments in this area.

The Department’s risk management plan is updated annually. The 2012–13 update was informed by feedback from senior managers, outcomes from the Department’s annual internal audit program, as well as the views of the Secretary, Audit Committee members and the ELG.

The Audit Committee recommends the plan for approval by the ELG, monitors the implementation of treatment strategies and tracks risks. The 2012–13 plan was approved on 9 November 2012.

Ethical standards

PM&C is strongly committed to promoting and maintaining the standard of behaviour outlined in the APS Values and APS Code of Conduct, as set out in the Public Service Act 1999. The APS Values and APS Code of Conduct are an integral part of the human resources framework and is part of the foundation of all HR policies and procedures.

Through our induction program, our employees are educated on their obligations as members of the APS and are made aware of the APS Values and APS Code of Conduct.

We actively participated in the Ethics Contact Officer Network through regular attendance at network meetings. The network plays a key role in supporting the ongoing work of the Ethics Advisory Service and provides best practice advice on ethical matters.

Fraud prevention and control

We maintain a comprehensive fraud control plan, based on fraud risk assessments, that complies with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines 2011. We regularly review fraud prevention and control measures and are committed to continuous improvement in fraud prevention and detection. Strategies for raising awareness and fraud prevention as set out in the Fraud Control Plan 2012–14 continue to be implemented.