Corporate governance in DOFA focuses on providing a streamlined
decision making framework that encourages responsiveness to government,
while ensuring the sustainability and accountability of the organisation.
Four core organisational values underpin DOFA's corporate governance
- our Ministers are our customers - they are always our
first priority and we aim to exceed their expectations in the
services that we provide
- performance driven - we are motivated by a desire to
excel - we aim to be the best in our field of providing advice
and services to Ministers
- responsive, adaptable and open to change - we are prepared
to innovate, create and challenge the status quo
- absolute integrity and the highest ethical standards
- we are open and honest in our dealings with one another. We
do not cut corners on ethics or compromise our integrity.
The provisions of the Public Service Act 1999, passed in
December, further reinforce these values. The new Act devolves responsibility
to Agency Heads for employment decisions. This devolution allows
Agency Heads greater flexibility and authority in managing their
workplaces. The Act has a clearly defined values base for the Australian
Public Service, which enhances the accountability for using these
Since its creation in 1997, DOFA's management framework has evolved
to achieve DOFA's goal of becoming a high performance organisation.
Some original management initiatives remain, such as Management
Board, while others were modified to meet the changing environment
and DOFA's new priorities.
The Management Board is DOFA's peak decision-making body. The
board is responsible for establishing strategic directions and managing
DOFA's overall performance. It meets weekly and also holds an off-site
meeting each quarter to discuss longer term strategic issues. The
Departmental Secretary, Peter Boxall, chairs the board.
The Remuneration Committee has operated since August 1999. The
committee reviews new Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs) and
variations to agreements (including the Certified Agreement and
Australian Workplace Agreements). It also considers other remuneration
and employment framework issues, such as superannuation. The committee
is proving an effective instrument for implementing new approaches
to remuneration and employment. The Departmental Secretary chairs
this committee, which includes the General Manager, Corporate and
the Chief Financial Officer as ex-officio members.
The Audit Committee reviews, monitors and recommends improvements
to internal control and financial reporting processes. It also oversees
DOFA's internal and external audit processes. The committee provides
independent advice to the Secretary and Management Board on matters
pertaining to DOFA's accountability and financial responsibility.
During 1999-2000, the Audit Committee considered and endorsed 180
probity reviews performed on contracting activities conducted by
DOFA. Philip Prior, First Assistant Secretary, Budget Group, chairs
Members of these committees (as at 30 June 2000) were:
- Peter Boxall (Chair)
- Stephen Bartos
- Phil Bowen
- Alistair Cochrane
- Roger Fisher
- Alastair Hodgson
- Jenny Morawska-Ahearn
- Diana Wright
- Peter Boxall (Chair)
- Stephen Bartos
- Alistair Cochrane (Chief Financial Officer)
- Jenny Morawska-Ahearn (General Manager, Corporate)
- Phillip Prior (Chair)
- Phil Bowen
- Alistair Cochrane
- Jim Kropp (independent member)
- John Nicholson.
DOFA also has two reference committees, Knowledge Management and
Human Resources. Jenny Morawska-Ahearn, General Manager of the Corporate
Group chaired both committees in 1999-2000. However, from 1 July
2000, Chair of the Knowledge Management Committee will transfer
to the occupant of the newly created role of General Manager, e-Solutions
Group, Dr Diana Wright. Jenny Morawska-Ahearn will continue to chair
the Human Resources Committee.
Highlights for 1999-2000
The main activities during the year included preparation for the
New Tax System, implementation of a new audit system and ensuring
- Adopting the theme, 'Getting Fit for GST', DOFA initiated a
number of educational and operational measures to ensure it was
well prepared for this important government reform. DOFA provided
broad awareness training for staff, as well as specific training
on elements of the New Tax System. DOFA also posted GST information
for staff on its Intranet
- DOFA implemented a new internal audit structure involving outsourcing
the internal audit management function to a third party provider
and developing a risk based internal audit plan. During 1999-2000,
DOFA undertook 19 planned reviews and ten ad hoc reviews in budget
development, contract management, devolved banking and GST preparedness
- To ensure Y2K compliance, DOFA established a steering committee
chaired by the Secretary. DOFA achieved 100 per cent Y2K compliance
for all of its business critical systems by 30 September 1999.
Property Group undertook Y2K remediation tasks on government owned
assets both in Australia and overseas. The group based its work
on the compliance audit it conducted from February 1998 to June
1999, and used remediation tasks to bring properties to the agreed
standard for Y2K compliance. It completed all these remediation
tasks by early December 1999, and consequently, no incidents occurred
during the Y2K roll over period.
Business Planning and Performance Reporting
DOFA's business planning and performance reporting is a key component
of its ability to deliver for its customers. Each business group
prepares a business plan at the beginning of the financial year
to outline the strategies it will use to achieve desired outcomes
and goals. Business Groups encourage staff to provide input to the
plans during the drafting process. The plans then are discussed
and finalised at Management Board and made available to staff on
DOFA uses its database and performance monitoring facility, DOFA
Vista, available on staff PCs, to provide regular feedback to all
staff on DOFA's performance against key business drivers.
DOFA Vista reports on those aspects of performance critical to
- responsiveness to Ministers
- Ministerial satisfaction on quality and briefings
- staff performance ratings
- financial outcomes.
During the year, Corporate Group undertook the redevelopment of
DOFA Vista. The new version, DOFA Vista2, launched early in 2000-01,
reports on a monthly basis and automatically appears on staff PC
screens on the tenth day of each month.
DOFA's business planning also requires external service providers
to produce annual business plans to match DOFA's business requirements.
The production of these plans ensures alignment between service
provider activity and DOFA's outcomes and outputs, and makes apparent
new initiatives and any service enhancements that annual review
processes highlight as necessary.
DOFA recognises that risk management is a corporate and individual
responsibility. Anticipation of risks and subsequent management
increases DOFA's ability to provide accurate and timely advice.
To strengthen its risk management capability, DOFA established a
Risk Management Coordination Branch in late 1999.
DOFA recognises investment in, and commitment to, managing risks
is a continuous process. To properly examine and take into account
the element of risk in its planning, DOFA has developed guidelines
on risk management, Take an Active Role in Risk Management -
How to Better Manage Risks in DOFA. The guidelines are based
on the broad framework set by the Australian/New Zealand Standard
for Risk Management and form part of an integrated package which
includes DOFA-wide awareness sessions, a risk management web site
and development of risk profiles at the business unit level.
Additional initiatives to strengthen and more effectively provide
for risk management in DOFA include:
- incorporating departmental policy to identify, assess and manage
risk in DOFA's Chief Executive Instructions
- fully integrating risk identification, assessment and management
with business and project planning at all levels, as well as in
individual performance plans and assessments
- reviewing risk management policy, procedures and application
within DOFA's individual business groups.