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Comcover Awards for Excellence 2004

National Capital Authority winners

National Capital Authority
Small Agency Category Winners
L-R: Lindsay Evans, Graeme Scott-Bohama & Phil Wales

Australian Maritime Safety Authority winners

Australian Maritime Safety Authority Innovative Initiative Category Winners
L-R: Tony Jordan, Di Rimmington & Chris Barnes

The winners of the 2004 Comcover Awards for Excellence in Risk Management were announced at a presentation ceremony on Thursday 25 November 2004. Mr Simon Lewis, General Manager - Asset Management, Department of Finance and Administration delivered the Key Note address at the 2004 Comcover Awards for Excellence in Risk Management presentation ceremony.

Ms Stacie Smith-Macnee, National Manager Comcover and Mr Kevin Knight, Vice-President of the Risk Management Institution of Australasia, who were both members of the Comcover Awards for Excellence Judging Panel announced the winners of the 2004 Comcover Awards for Excellence in Risk Management.

Twenty-five nominations were received from seventeen agencies in all five categories: 'Large', 'Medium' and 'Small' Agency; 'Innovative Initiatives'; and a new category this year 'Project Risk Management'.

'Winner', 'Highly Commended' and 'Honourable Mention' awards were made in the following four categories:

Click on the agency name to see what the judges had to say about the agency.

Category Winner Highly Commended Honourable Mention
Small National Capital Authority Indigenous Land Corporation
Large Health Insurance Commission
Innovative Initiative Australian Maritime Safety Authority
Excellence in
Project Risk
Australian Quarantine Inspection Service
(Dept Agriculture Fisheries & Forestry)
Director of National Parks
(Parks Australia)
Department of Veteran Affairs

Judges Comments on the Winning Agencies

Small Agency Category

National Capital Authority winners Australian Maritime Safety Authority winners

Australian Quarantine
Inspection Service
Excellence in Project Risk Management Category Winners
L-R: Greg Fullam, Meryl Stanton &
Bill Handke

The Director of National
Parks Australia
Excellence in Project Risk Management Category
Highly Commended
L-R: David Phillips & Peter Coyne

Winner - National Capital Authority (NCA)

The judges considered that there was a substantial improvement in the National Capital Authority's risk management practices since 2003 when it last won an Award for Excellence. The judges advised that the NCA's 2004 nomination demonstrated positive trends against Comcover's Benchmarking Key Performance Indicators indicating their new work process of risk management was highly integrated with strong commitment from the Chief Executive and Executive team.

In addition, the judges noted "ownership of risk" was established throughout the organisation, with evidence that risk management was embedded in practice, understood by staff, identified at a strategic level and then tied to accountability.

Honourable Mention - Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC)

The ILC's nomination discussed the key infrastructure that has been put in place to develop and effectively maintain the organisation's risk management program. This includes active committees at the Board and senior management levels, an approved risk management policy and corporate risk management plan, a unit with responsibility for coordinating risk management, a team of middle managers and operational staff with responsibility for integration of risk management into all aspects of ILC practice, a risk-based internal audit program, and communication protocols to underpin these arrangements.

The judges commented favourably that the ILC has developed a risk management program that supports its business outcomes through strong internal consultation. In addition, the judges noted that the implementation of risk management is evident throughout the agency's corporate planning processes, from the strategic level through to the operational planning level.

Large Agency Category

Honourable Mention - Health Insurance Commission (HIC)

The HIC's nomination discussed how risk management improved the organisation's effective business management and supported its governance responsibilities. HIC has dedicated risk management advisers who are the conduit for risk management information flowing from the Executive down to the business units, and from business units back to the Executive, supporting a shared understanding of trends and significant issues.

In recommending HIC for an 'Honourable Mention', the judges noted that HIC's risk management arrangements were integrated with its corporate governance and had high-level executive support. The judges also mentioned that much effort had been directed to the development of a comprehensive risk management framework and reporting system supported by the development of a common language and understanding across the organisation.

Innovative Initiatives Category

Winner - Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA)

The judges considered AMSA has a fully integrated best practice risk management system, which particularly assisted their ship inspection surveys. The sea worthiness of foreign ships is considered by AMSA to be a key risk mitigation factor in ensuring ship safety in Australian waters and protection of Australia's marine environment, particularly when these ships operate in sensitive areas like the Great Barrier Reef.

The judges considered that AMSA's performance indicators demonstrated an appropriate focus on high-risk ships, with risk factors identified and ranked in relative importance, linked to the probability to detecting unseaworthy ships. Under international law and maritime conventions, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority can detain ships until major safety deficiencies are rectified.

The judges also noted that AMSA's approach was based on benchmarking against international comparators and on verifying inspections against results. This approach had a large impact on improving the sea worthiness of ships arriving in Australia.

Excellence in Project Risk Management Category

Winner - Australian Quarantine Inspection Services (AQIS)

This nomination focused on how AQIS, in partnership with the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing (DOHA), State and Territory governments and industry implemented a comprehensive response to the quarantine risks at Australia's border posed by the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).

The judges considered that AQIS's nomination was an outstanding example of best practice in risk management in relation to a major project. They found evidence of a clear, comprehensive and mature risk management framework and described the project implementation as 'faultless'. The judges considered that the success of this project demonstrates that AQIS constantly focuses on how potentially new risks are identified and business improvement is achieved.

Highly Commended - Director of National Parks Australia (Parks Australia)

The Parks Australia nomination centred on providing visitors with the opportunity to see the spectacular Twin Falls, within Kakadu National Park without putting their lives at risk from estuarine crocodiles. Visitor safety is a key area of risk management in Kakadu National Park and Parks Australia devotes significant resources to maintaining visitors' safety.

The judges considered that Parks Australia had an excellent approach to risk, that embraced all the agency's activities. The Parks Australia Risk Management Policy provides a framework for identifying, assessing, managing and reviewing risks in all Australian Government National Parks and reserves, including Kakadu National Park.

Honourable Mention - Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA)

This project involved the introduction of a new information technology infrastructure into DVA. This project was managed jointly by DVA and IBM Global Services, with risk management featuring as a key project management element. The project affected all DVA staff thus requiring a change management strategy to be implemented concurrently with the change in infrastructure.

The judges concluded this agency had a good governance structure in place, and a mechanism that placed risk management squarely in the central management processes of the department. This assisted with the successful implementation of the project.

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