The ABCC's corporate governance framework comprises the agency's enabling legislation (the BCIIP Act) and other relevant legislative instruments, policies, strategies, and managerial procedures and practices.
The corporate governance framework determines how the agency exercises authority and delivers outcomes. The framework promotes and upholds the Australian Public Service (APS) Values and Code of Conduct.
The ABCC has corporate governance practices that ensure clear lines of accountability and well-defined, effective management of its performance. These practices are overseen and supported by the following frameworks and committees.
The ABCC Executive Team is the agency's peak decision-making body. It comprises the Commissioner, Deputy Commissioners and all SES officers. Key outcomes of the Executive Team's monthly meetings are communicated to staff by the relevant SES manager. Executive Team meetings are chaired by the Commissioner.
The ABCC Audit Committee provides independent assurance and assistance to the Commissioner and the Executive Team on the agency's financial and performance reporting responsibilities, risk oversight and management, and systems of internal control.
The Audit Committee reviews and advises on:
- risk management
- accounting policies and processes
- control frameworks
- performance reporting
- legislative compliance
- internal audit
- external audit.
The Audit Committee is also responsible for reviewing the annual financial statements.
The Audit Committee is chaired by Jon Isaacs (external), and its members are Lyn Baker (external) and Ben Vallence (internal). Representatives from the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) are invited to attend, and have attended each Audit Committee meeting, as observers. Along with the Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer, other ABCC officers may be invited to attend Audit Committee meetings as needed.
The People Committee consists of nine employee representatives and was chaired by Cathy Cato until October 2017, when Piet Hooker took over as interim chair for the remainder of the reporting period. The People Committee provides a forum for employees to contribute to developing strategies that address people matters within the agency.
The People Committee's role is to find innovative solutions to resolve any issues relating to people management and proactively improve agency engagement and performance through initiatives developed in consultation with the ABCC Executive Team.
Workplace Health and Safety Committee
The Workplace Health and Safety Committee (WHSC), chaired by Peter Darlaston, advises the Commissioner and Executive Team on policy matters concerning the health and safety of employees. The WHSC reviews and reports on the implementation of relevant legislation, policies and practices.
The WHSC consists of four employer representatives, including the chair, appointed by the Commissioner, and nine employee representatives elected by staff.
Consistent with the PGPA Act and the enhanced Commonwealth performance framework, the Corporate Plan is the ABCC's primary planning document. The Corporate Plan sets the agency's strategic direction for 2017–18 through to 2020–21. Results against the agency's stated purposes, as published in the Corporate Plan, are formally reported in the annual performance statements (see Part 2).
Beneath the Corporate Plan, the ABCC has a Business Plan that provides a link between the high-level strategic goals set out in the Corporate Plan and individual team goals. Performance against these plans is monitored throughout the year by the Executive Team.
Individual performance agreements are linked to the agency Business Plan, so that individual staff member activities are focused on achieving the agency's strategic goals.
Risk management framework
The ABCC's risk management framework provides an overview of the risk management processes adopted by the ABCC. It outlines the process for reporting on risk and the ongoing monitoring and review of risk management activities. The Audit Committee is responsible for monitoring and assessing the performance of the risk management framework.
Fraud control framework
The ABCC's approach to fraud prevention and compliance with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Framework includes the agency's Fraud Control Plan, Fraud Risk Assessment, and Fraud Control Strategy.
The ABCC takes all reasonable measures to minimise the risk of fraud, and has appropriate procedures in place for recording and reporting fraud. All reports of fraud must be forwarded to the Agency Security Adviser (ASA). An officer can report fraud by completing the fraud reporting form or by email, and can receive the protections (such as identity protection) under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 by making the disclosure to an authorised officer.
In the event that a matter of suspected fraud requires investigation, the ABCC ASA informs the Commissioner, who will appoint an investigation officer. The appropriate law enforcement agency will be notified in the event of serious or complex fraud against the Commonwealth.
No reports of fraud committed against the ABCC were made in the 2017–18 financial year.
Ecologically sustainable development and environmental performance
Australian Government agencies are required to report on their performance on the environment and ecologically sustainable development, in line with section 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
The ABCC implements best practice in environmental management and ecological sustainability to ensure the most efficient use of energy resources possible. We do this by purchasing office equipment with low energy use and with power-saving modes, using Australian Forestry Standard certified printer paper for internal use, and recycling used printer toner cartridges.
During the reporting period, the ABCC focused on transition to Digital Continuity 2020 targets by facilitating and promoting the use of electronic records, with anticipated improvements in paper consumption.
Improvements in the agency's video conferencing capabilities have reduced the need for staff to travel, resulting in savings.
End-of-life information technology (IT) equipment, including printers, computers and mobile phones, are recycled.
The ABCC procures fleet vehicles in accordance with the environmental efficiency requirements of Australian Government policies. Bicycle parking is available at each of the agency's offices.
Changes to disability reporting in annual reports
The specific requirement for disability reporting in individual entity annual reports has been discontinued. Disability reporting now occurs through National Disability Strategy reporting to the Council of Australian Governments and within the State of the Service reports and the APS Statistical Bulletin, available at www.apsc.gov.au.
The National Disability Strategy 2010–2020 sets out a 10-year national policy framework to improve the lives of people with disability, promote participation and create a more inclusive society. A high-level, two-yearly report will track progress against each of the six outcome areas of the strategy and present a picture of how people with disability are faring. The first of these progress reports was published in 2014 and can be found at www.dss.gov.au.
Regulator Performance Framework
The Regulator Performance Framework (RPF) measures the performance of regulators against a common set of six KPIs. The ABCC falls within the definition of 'a Commonwealth entity with a statutory responsibility to administer, monitor, or enforce regulation', and as such is subject to the RPF.
The ABCC's self-assessments against the RPF are subject to external scrutiny by the National Workplace Relations Consultative Council. The report for 2016–17 was published in June 2018. The ABCC will aim to publish its self-assessment report against the RPF for the 2017–18 reporting period on its website, www.abcc.gov.au, by 31 January 2019.