The Department’s governance framework provides the structure for informed decision-making, efficient and effective program management, risk management and accountability. In 2007–08, the following high level committees provided the Department with a transparent, rigorous and robust capacity for effective governance across all areas of operation.
Figure 3.1.1: Department of Health and Ageing Corporate Governance Framework
The Executive Management Committee provided the Department with leadership and strategic guidance and considered recommendations from the Policy Strategy Committee, the Risk and Security Committee and the Planning and Performance Committee. The Executive Management Committee, supported by the Executive Group, made major decisions on departmental policy, and financial and operational issues. It also assessed expenditure proposals involving major investment and was responsible for strategic people management. This included the development of the Collective Agreement and remuneration policy for departmental staff. Discussion relating to the Department’s Collective Agreement can be found in the 3.2 People Management chapter.
The Policy Strategy Committee provided a forum to promote and facilitate cross-departmental cooperation in the development of policy. It enabled the provision of advice to the Executive Management Committee on major policy issues, including policy priorities and gaps, and advice and recommendations about priorities for the Department’s research agenda. It also helped First Assistant Secretaries to increase their knowledge and understanding of issues that are of broad relevance to the portfolio, outside of their day-to-day work.
The Planning and Performance Committee provided advice to the Executive Management Committee on major strategic resourcing issues. It was responsible for the performance of administered programs and capital expenditure. The committee also focused on Information Technology systems and applications proposals, and funding priorities and pressures.
Following a commissioned review of departmental business planning, the committee gave considerable attention to the business planning process, with a particular focus on workforce planning. The committee was kept informed of the 2008 Departmental Financial Review and considered a number of business cases for capital funding following assessment by the Business Investment Committee. It also endorsed a Workforce Strategy for future dissemination (discussed in the 3.2 People Management chapter).
The Risk and Security Committee ensured that the Department had appropriate risk management, security, and business continuity frameworks in place, including an Enterprise Risk Management Plan, policies, guidelines, standards, business processes and operational performance reporting. At a strategic level, the committee monitored, encouraged and supported compliance with these frameworks.
In 2007–08, the committee monitored the progress of risk treatments outlined in the Enterprise Risk Management Plan, endorsed a new Agency Security Plan, and reviewed the Department’s Business Continuity Framework. The committee supported the conduct of protective security risk assessments of its premises and noted the Department’s improved performance against key result areas in the annual Comcover Risk Management Survey. The committee also continued a progressive regime of testing elements of its Business Continuity Plan which incorporated exercises to ensure business continuity preparedness for APEC 2007 and World Youth Day 2008.
The Audit Committee provided independent assurance and advice to the Secretary on the Department’s risk, control and compliance framework, and its external accountability responsibilities. This included reviewing the Department’s financial statements and advising the Secretary regarding their signing. The committee also reviewed the internal audit coverage and annual work plans, and provided input and feedback on the financial statement and performance audit coverage afforded by the Australian National Audit Office. Further discussion relating to the Audit Committee can be found in the 3.5 Internal Audit Arrangements chapter.
The Department’s commitment to maintaining high ethical standards is reflected in the Department of Health and Ageing Corporate Plan 2006–09, which guides team leaders and staff on how to approach their work. These principles are underpinned by the Australian Public Service Values.
During 2007–08, the Department provided all new staff with a copy of the Australian Public Service Values and Code of Conduct. In addition, each new staff member was made aware of his or her responsibilities under the Public Service Act 1999, through orientation training and induction sessions.
The Department continued its Respect campaign to reinforce that workplace harassment will not be tolerated. Through this campaign, the Department highlighted the linkages to the Code of Conduct and emphasised the expected workplace behaviours and responsibilities of all staff. Discussion relating to other Respect campaign activities can be found in the 3.2 People Management chapter.
Any alleged breaches of the Code of Conduct are taken seriously. Formal investigations into these matters are undertaken when there is a prima facie case to answer and are managed in accordance with Australian Public Service guidelines.
In addition, the Secretary advised all staff of new Australian Public Service Commission guidelines to help them declare and manage any conflicts of interest in carrying out their duties. Staff were reminded that all employees must notify their managers and declare to the Secretary financial and personal private interests that could present a real or apparent conflict with their official duties.
Produced by the Portfolio Strategies Division, Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.
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