Comcover, the Australian Government’s self-managed insurance fund, provides insurance and risk management services to the government sector. Comcover was established in 1998 and is administered by the Department of Finance.
From Gareth’s Office ...
It is six months since I joined Comcover and, as we come to the end of 2019, I want to reflect on some of the key activities and achievements during my time here.
Let me start by congratulating the winners of the 2019 Comcover Awards for Excellence in Risk Management. On 6 November, the Assistant Minister for Finance, Charities and Electoral Matters, Senator the Hon Zed Seselja, presented trophies to the Enterprise Wide category winner, the
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Risk Initiative category winner, the Department of Defence Joint Logistics Command, for its Defence fuel network project. Congratulations to all. You can read more about how each of these entities became worthy award winners in this issue of Comcover Connect. We will profile other nominees in future issues.
The completion of the Financial Services Royal Commission provided food for thought for entities across the Commonwealth. It highlighted the importance of getting the culture right in any organisation. Fostering a culture that supports informed risk taking — within clearly defined boundaries — remains a challenge for the public and private sectors. Audit and risk committees across the Commonwealth were asking for ‘lessons learnt’ from the Royal Commission which they could reflect on when reviewing and comparing the operations of their own organisations.
A key finding from the Independent Review of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 reinforced that entities need to focus on addressing a lack of engagement with risk. In 2019 we conducted several projects aimed at assisting entities to define their culture and appetite for risk.
These projects all demonstrated how things can change notably when an entity’s executive is actively involved. Messaging to staff becomes clearer about the acceptable level of risk taking, and decision making is underpinned by consideration of risk.
Considering the recommendations of both the Royal Commission and the Review, there is still work for Comcover to do, so we will reach out to you all in 2020 to see where we can focus our efforts.
In 2019, we transitioned almost all the SG Fleet vehicles from commercial insurance arrangements across to the Comcover Fund, creating a saving for the Commonwealth.
While we conduct annual reviews of our Statement of Cover to ensure it provides the most comprehensive cover for Fund Members, this year we also reviewed the aviation and marine policy wording to ensure it remained fit for purpose for Commonwealth entities. In 2020, we will work with Fund Members to understand the scope of cyber risks across the Commonwealth.
In the 2019 Benchmarking Survey, that was consistently one of the highest-rated risks for Fund Members.
Comcover has adopted a blended learning approach to building capability, in line with the APSC’s approach — on the job and face-to-face learning and networking.
In 2019, we reviewed and updated the Risk Management SES program, with a greater focus on building and maintaining an appropriate culture and the challenges faced with managing shared risk. We also released two new eLearning modules, one that outlines an approach to managing indemnity risk and the second an induction course for those new to risk or new to the APS – Introduction to risk in the Commonwealth. Each can be found on the Learnhub (www.learnhub.ssc.gov.au) or the Comcover Learning Centre (https://learningcentre.comcover.gov.au). I encourage you to pass these links on to others in your organisation and encourage them to complete these courses.
The Comcover Insurance Community of Practice (COP) was established this year. The COP provides a forum for Fund Members to discuss various matters impacting on their organisations and the Fund, such as the scope and nature of cover provided by Comcover and best practice insurance risk management, including new and emerging risks.
In February 2020, we will launch several online webinars on key claims-related issues, such as the role of assessors in working on Comcover claims, and legal tips for handling data breaches and dealing with the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013.
The year 2020 is already looking busy. I hope you take time to enjoy a break. Have a safe and happy festive season.
Risk and Claims Branch
Department of Finance
Independent Review of the PGPA Act recommends actions
Now is the time for Commonwealth entities to improve risk management and engagement practices.
The Independent Review into the operation of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability (PGPA) Act2013 and Rule (the Review) acknowledged the PGPA Act and the Commonwealth Risk Management Policy have assisted entities to lay the foundations for managing risk by articulating the frameworks and systems for managing risk.
However, further work is required. The Review made several recommendations about increasing risk management maturity and improving the effectiveness of audit committees across Commonwealth entities.
The Review endorsed the PGPA Act and Rule’s principles based approach but noted leadership at all levels was essential to drive sustained improvement in governance, performance and accountability across entities.
What is being done?
Entities are implementing the Review’s recommendations in several tranches. The first tranche includes recommendations about enhancing the effectiveness of audit and risk committees, and better managing and engaging with risk.
Finance is working to enhance the level of support it provides to entities on the PGPA Act, including by reviewing guidance material to include more practical examples, enhancing the Department’s internet presence, and ensuring guidance material remains current.
In responding to the Review’s recommendations, and to better engage with risk, entities should:
- identify ways to embed effective risk management and engagement into policy development and program management
- incentivise officials at all levels to better manage and engage with risk
- enhance their engagement with key stakeholders to communicate their risk appetites and explain how risks will be identified, accepted and managed
- consider appointing a CRO (particularly for large entities or those with complex risks) to support the accountable authority to implement a strong risk culture and behaviours across all levels of the organisation.
To enhance the effectiveness of audit and risk committees, entities should:
- ensure audit committee members have the appropriate qualifications, knowledge, skills and experience to meet their responsibilities, as required by the PGPA Rule
- source committee members broadly, with greater representation from other industries, sectors and locations
- ensure audit committee members’ remuneration is commensurate with the importance of their responsibilities and the commitment required
- establish an audit committee membership rotation policy, with maximum appointment terms, to ensure regular rotation of committee membership.
Comcover can support entities to identify entity specific actions to address recommendations from the Review. Please contact Comcover’s Risk Management Team on 1800 651 540 (option 2) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Independent Review into the operation of the PGPA Act and Rule is available on the Department of Finance website, www.finance.gov.au/publications/reviews.
Recognising excellence in risk management
The Comcover Awards for Excellence in Risk Management play an important role in building capability and raising the profile and significance of risk management in the interests of sharing and promoting best practice to Fund Members.
They also highlight the substantial, ongoing benefits of risk management to achieve positive outcomes.
Comcover developed the Awards in 2003 to recognise and reward excellence in risk management practice across the government sector, consistent with the objective of encouraging best practice risk management in the public sector.
This year’s awards received 22 nominations across the following categories:
- The Enterprise Wide category showcases entities that have systematically embedded risk management into their business processes and, in doing so, developed a high level of capability and maturity.
- The Risk Initiative category highlights the successful delivery of a key government program or service that has demonstrated an outstanding ability to manage risk well.
Senator the Hon Zed Seselja, Assistant Minister for Finance, Charities and Electoral Matters, presented the Awards to the winning entities.
The Assistant Minister said the Comcover Awards offered entities opportunities to profile innovative ways they were embedding good risk management practices into day-to-day decision making.
He said risks the APS managed daily impacted on government, citizens and business, and good risk management helped ensure that, as policy practitioners, program implementers and providers of important services, entities delivered their intended outcomes as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Senator Seselja said embedding a positive risk culture was about people. Entities needed to reward and recognise those who understood the importance of good risk management practice and made it the rule rather than the exception.
Identifying role models, communicating explicit messages, providing incentives, and rewarding actions all contributed to building a culture that supported engaging with risk.
The Assistant Minister said organisations needed to build a culture that ensured risk management was embedded at all levels. To meet the challenges and make the most of opportunities presented, the APS needed to engage positively with risk and work together to identify and share best practice.
Award winners were:
- Winner: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
- Highly commended: Department of Agriculture
- Honourable mention: Australian Bureau of Statistics
- Winner: Department of Defence, Joint Logistics Command for its Defence Fuel Network Project
- Highly commended: Department of the Environment and Energy for development of the Climate Compass
- Honourable mention: Department of Agriculture for its Grain Import Risk Assessment Project
Read about each of the winners go to the Department of Finance website, www.finance.gov.au/government/comcover/risk-services/management/awards-excellence.
DFAT embraces calculated risk-taking
Enterprise Wide category winner – Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) is transforming from a traditionally risk-adverse organisation to one that increasingly embraces calculated risk-taking at all levels.
Led by Secretary Frances Adamson since 2016, DFAT has embarked on a broad-reaching risk management program that spans its global footprint.
DFAT is highly decentralised, with 120 overseas posts and offices in every Australian capital city, but it also has many highly centralised corporate functions. That in itself creates risk management challenges.
It conducts a plethora of functions, including policy development, service delivery, regulation, and program management. Its responsibilities include delivering an effective development program, issuing secure passports, supporting Australians overseas, and pursuing foreign policy, economic, trade and investment opportunities.
DFAT’s achievements saw it win the Enterprise Wide category of Comcover’s 2019 Awards for Excellence in Risk Management.
Kate Chamley, Director, Enterprise Risk, told Comcover Connect about specific achievements that contributed to DFAT’s win. They included:
- overhauling the governance structure
- implementing findings from an inaugural risk and innovation survey
- organising an event called ‘Outperforming the norm – Risk and innovation in DFAT’
- providing ‘workshop in a box’ training products.
DFAT has established eight positive risk culture behaviours, which are included in its annually updated Risk Management Guide. They help in communicating what a more open and positive approach to risk looks like.
The positive risk culture behaviours are:
- engage with risk
- understand your objectives
- make informed decisions
- communicate effectively
- document your work
- share lessons learned
- maintain risk capability
- reward good risk management.
Ms Chamley said the eight behaviours were accessible to all staff, including locally engaged staff overseas, and a tool to encourage people to engage with risk in a positive way.
‘We found some staff tended to shy away from engaging with risk but the behaviours encourage staff to think about risk in their day-to-day roles. While they are deceptively simple, they convey the intent of each element of the Commonwealth Risk Management Policy,’ she told Comcover Connect.
DFAT identified that it needed stronger internal governance structures and in January 2019 established new arrangements to improve decision making and focus senior level discussions on considering risk and performance.
It established two executive committees chaired by Ms Adamson, a Performance, Risk and Resourcing Committee (PRRC) and a Strategic Policy Committee (SPC). PRRC provides oversight of the risk management framework and reviews the department’s critical risks quarterly, rather than six monthly, as occurred previously. That enables additional scrutiny on how each risk and its controls are tracking.
‘The link between risk and performance has been enhanced, with reporting against corporate plan objectives occurring concurrently with consideration of the critical risks, which are those that would impact on strategic foreign policy, trade and development priorities or DFAT’s capacity to deliver them, ’Ms Chamley said.
SPC and PRRC are supported by an Operations Committee that reviews key operational risks, such as work health and safety, security, and asset management, quarterly.
The new governance arrangements also ushered in new reporting requirements. All papers to SPC and PRRC now use a template that:
- mandates disclosure of risks identified as part of the proposed recommended actions
- requires risks that could emerge from implementation be articulated, along with controls and treatments.
The new governance arrangements have significantly strengthened DFAT’s ability to ensure decisions made are informed and underpinned by current risk information. They have improved how DFAT engages with partners on shared risk, enabling them to deliver increasingly complex projects.
DFAT’s inaugural risk and innovation survey was conducted in December 2018. Ms Chamley said it created a baseline to enable the department to measure cultural change over time. The survey was designed around the eight risk behaviours, and values and behaviours in DFAT’s Innovation Strategy 2018-21.
Ms Chamley said the survey found most staff appreciated how effective risk management contributed to DFAT achieving its objectives but felt more could be done to support and reward staff to take calculated risks.
The day-long ‘Outperforming the norm – Risk and innovation in DFAT’ event was designed to highlight and reinforce the relationship between risk and innovation. Hosted in DFAT’s Canberra headquarters, the event’s marketplace component showcased innovations such as Australia’s new passport facial recognition technology, computer displays of an online risk tool developed to assist in preparing aid funding applications, and a scale model of the DFAT mailroom’s new electric vehicle. Ms Chamley said there was great feedback and the event helped staff connect with the department’s risk network.
The Coral Sea cable project, which gave high-speed connectivity to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, was a specific case study in DFAT’s award submission. It was novel because DFAT had no prior experience delivering telecommunication projects, let alone something of that scale and magnitude. DFAT managed a range of complex risks in partnership with stakeholders, including foreign governments and private sector entities.
Managing the project successfully and documenting the lessons learnt has been a valuable resource for DFAT and the lessons can be applied more broadly across the department and the government sector, Ms Chamley said.
The project is being used as a strong best practice model for other organisations. DFAT is also working through a $333.8 million security enhancements program at overseas missions, replacing, upgrading and modernising security equipment across the global network.
DFAT’s award submission says the program demonstrates DFAT’s ‘commitment to increase its capacity to manage risk and its capability to use risk information to shape government decision making and allocate resources based on assessment of risk.
‘It also demonstrates DFAT’s growing maturity in and ability to influence government resourcing decisions via a compelling, well-articulated risk-based narrative,’ the submission said. Challenges for DFAT in implementing its enterprise-wide risk management framework have included staff confidence to conduct risk management activities.
‘We need to build capability. We want people to see risk management not as an impost, but as a critical part of what we do and to understand its importance in achieving outcomes for government,’ Ms Chamley said.
The goal is to increase literacy around assessing and controlling risks. Ms Chamley is confident that, as the culture shifts, benefits will grow. To assist that culture change, two ‘workshop in a box’ products, developed in association with the DFAT Diplomatic Academy, were created.
The user-friendly workshops focus on risk culture and DFAT’s risk management process.
They enable staff to deliver risk training within their work groups, tailored to their needs, and using job-specific scenarios. ‘They’re something quick and easy that staff can pick up and deliver overseas,’ Ms Chamley said. The workshops have helped staff understand ‘the real-life transformative effect risk planning can have in ensuring results are achieved and resources directed most effectively’.
DFAT is finalising a foundational risk management eLearning module that will be available to all staff to familiarise themselves with the core elements of DFAT’s risk management framework and complement specialist training provided by the Department’s risk policy areas.
The risk management team has documented a risk appetite statement and is now working on tolerance statements, to be included in the next iteration of DFAT’s Risk Management Guide, to be published in 2020.
‘We’ll give staff examples of how to apply the risk appetite and tolerance statements to their projects,’ Ms Chamley said. The risk appetite statement ‘seeks to strike a balance between acknowledging the inherently risky nature of DFAT’s operations, particularly with workers’ safety and security, and the need to innovate and harness untapped opportunities in pursuing DFAT objectives’.
The risk tolerance statements will address different categories of strategic and operational risks, covering the breadth of DFAT’s operations. ‘The statements will provide decision makers with the principles, behaviours or mindset we expect them to use when managing risk, in particular whether deciding if a risk should be accepted or if more action is required to manage it,’ Ms Chamley said.
DFAT’s risk management work has produced tangible benefits and enabled consideration of risk to become a normalised and central part of DFAT’s internal decision-making process, and an increased element of the department’s engagements across government in managing shared risk.
Ms Chamley said the department’s advances in risk management were spurred by Ms Adamson’s strong emphasis on getting the culture right and championing her role for change.
Defence overhauls fuel supply chain
Risk Initiative award winner – Department of Defence Joint Logistics Command for its Defence Fuel Network Project.
Fuelling the force is an expensive exercise that is in the throes of a major, long-term overhaul.
The Defence Department’s Defence Fuel Supply Chain (DFSC) buys, stores and issues more than $430 million of fuel annually. It operates more than 100 fuel storage and distribution sites and is a critical enabler of Australian Defence Force (ADF) capability.
After reviews commissioned in 2012 and 2013, Defence determined DFSC had developed critical shortcomings that could not be tolerated. Consequently, Defence started a large program of work to address the risks identified and sustainably transform its fuel operations into a safe, efficient network to reliably meet the ADF’s needs.
That program of works saw Defence win the Risk Initiative award at the 2019 Comcover Awards for Excellence in Risk Management.
Defence’s fuel risk management initiative was established to grapple with a range of risks, including work health and safety, environment, asset reliability, capability, and efficiency.
Drivers contributing to the risk profile included:
- the lack of a single, accountable management authority
- a history of under-investment in fuel infrastructure and its upkeep
- gaps in compliance with legislative and policy requirements
- an erosion of skills and expertise in safe management of fuel
- inadequate performance monitoring and governance.
Tackling the issues saw an integrated and complex program of work run by Defence’s Fuel Services Branch (FSB) that started in 2014 and continued throughout 2019.
Key elements already implemented under the program include:
- establishing FSB as a centre of technical excellence for managing petroleum products
- establishing clear accountability for the safe operation of a single, managed fuel supply chain
- developing a fit-for-purpose, comprehensive, documented fuel management system
- structured and ongoing reviews to actively identify new hazards and risks in accordance with the established Defence Risk Management Policy and procedures
- developing a network-wide enterprise risk management framework and clearly identifying DFSC critical risk scenarios with routine reporting of performance and control status
- establishing a consolidated, prioritised program of work to remediate enterprise risk, increase the resilience of critical supply chains, and improve cost efficiency
- engaging with workers, affected groups and the Services – Air Force, Army and Navy – through better knowledge sharing, training, coaching and support from a centralised base of expertise
- establishing performance monitoring and governance structures that effectively close enterprise risk gaps
- ongoing provision of expertise and support to stakeholders operating with the DFSC.
FSB conducted a comprehensive, detailed hazard identification and risk assessment program to determine the risk parameters and priorities. That laid the foundation for the first tranche of changes under the Defence Fuel Transformation Program, a $1.2 billion program that runs until 2045.
Patricia Clifford, FSB’s Director Fuel Policy and Governance, told Comcover Connect Defence’s fuel facilities ranged from small to major and there was large variance in the types of facilities, fuel types and personnel who needed to be engaged throughout the program.
‘We’re now heavily into planning for tranche two, which will be implemented over the next five years,’ she said. ‘A vital element of the entire transformation program is future proofing the fuel network to avoid falling back into patterns of the past.’
FSB’s risk initiative targets all aspects of enterprise risk across DFSC to achieve a vision of 0:1:100. That is, zero loss incidents and injuries; one end-to-end, integrated, professionally operated, efficient supply chain; and 100% of deliveries in full and on time.
Ms Clifford says the initiative requires consistent collaboration across Defence groups and the Services. ‘Cultural change needs a multi-pronged approach. There are thousands of people in the stakeholder base across Defence who are contributing to the success of this initiative.’
Implementation was ongoing, but early steps included:
- closing fuel sites no longer required, thereby reducing risk
- developing and deploying best practice systems, processes and tools to support ongoing risk mitigation
- an approved, standardised risk assessment process
- upgrading facilities and infrastructure to ensure critical risk controls were reliably maintained.
Ms Clifford said individual Services were now implementing their own fuel risk management initiatives as part of the overall effort. For example, the Air Force had established a program of work under its Air Force Safety Always Program, focusing on reducing operational fuel risks.
Challenges were massive, but FSB used ‘patience, latitude and trust’ to reduce problems down into digestible bites. ‘By breaking down the dimensions of a problem, we can eat the elephant bite by bite,’ Ms Clifford said.
Hazard identification has found issues are multi-dimensional. For example, a facility that needs upgrading concurrently requires upgraded procedures and training.
FSB held hazard and risk identification and assessment activities around the nation but ran them as workshops to facilitate stakeholder input and avoid the exercise being perceived as an audit. ‘Everywhere we went there was positive feedback about how it was done. We worked together with stakeholders to identify problems and seek solutions,’ Ms Clifford told Comcover Connect.
FSB sponsors an annual, two-day Fuel Symposium as a forum for sharing lessons learned from the network in the previous 12 months and discussing issues of concern with field-level operators and line management.
Ms Clifford said that level of involvement of on-the ground operations staff was a significant change from practices of the past.
Meeting the 0:1:100 vision entails an end-to-end, professionally executed supply chain with no gaps or overlaps. ‘It needs to be smooth, clear and consistent from procurement to delivery,’ she said. Defence had ‘challenged its own paradigms about how things are done’. It was willing to seek industry insights, consult outside the Defence realm and take ownership of the identified risks.
Ms Clifford said Defence took a long-term view and had started planning accordingly from day one. ‘This is substantial reform to DFSC, it’s not a Band-Aid approach.’
Stakeholder engagement was being achieved by ‘walking the path with them, not prodding them with a stick’.
‘While Defence is, by nature, a hierarchical organisation, there has been a strong shift towards consultation and that is a benefit,’ Ms Clifford said. The award judges said the Defence submission provided concrete evidence of the problems the initiative was designed to address and how subsequent actions had significantly improved risk management within DFSC.
‘Strong senior portfolio support was clearly evident, together with the systematic approach that has targeted many risks simultaneously. There was a clear line of accountability and a structure established to align the process to required legislative safety standards,’ the judges said.
‘Governance functions have been embedded in the chain of command, line management, and committee structures within Defence, and specific training has addressed learning and development needs. The initiative was impressive, creating an environment where challenges were being openly addressed in a committed manner.’
Director General Fuel Services, Air Commodore Stephen Winterton, said the award was ‘a direct result of collaboration and effort across Defence to ensure the safety of our people without compromising on support to ADF capability’.
How to manage Launchpad access
An article in the last issue of Comcover Connect outlined the annual policy renewal process and how the Comcover Gateway (accessed through the Comcover Launchpad) captures Fund Member information to establish premiums for each policy year.
The Comcover Launchpad enables varying levels of permissions to be assigned to individual users, depending on their organisational requirements.
Each Fund Member has primary and secondary insurance and risk management contacts. The contacts are the people from whom Comcover accepts information about entities and they receive correspondence on insurance and risk management matters. Primary contacts are required to complete forms to authorise access to the Comcover Launchpad for other users within their entities.
What do you do if you change insurance or risk contacts?
The approved primary contact is the responsible officer for advising Comcover of changes to user access.
The user forms listed below are templates available in the Comcover Launchpad and must be completed and authorised by the approved primary contact to request changes to user profiles, details or responsibilities.
- New user request form: This form is used to request Comcover Launchpad access for a new user or new team member.
- Change request form: This form manages inclusions or exclusions of system applications and access requirements for people who already have access to the Comcover Launchpad.
- Cessation request form: This form is used if an approved user no longer requires access to the Comcover Launchpad.
This could be because the user is moving to another role or is ceasing employment with the entity.
All user forms must be authorised by the primary contact and submitted to email@example.com in Microsoft Word format.
Importance of cessation forms
Fund Members generally request access to the Comcover Launchpad with a level of urgency and Comcover will complete requests as soon as possible.
However, completing cessation request forms for users is often overlooked and commonly misunderstood as being less urgent.
Submitting a cessation request form should be treated as urgently as submitting a user request form for new employees. That is because a user who has ceased employment with a Fund Member will continue to have access to Comcover’s remote Launchpad link until the primary contact authorises Comcover to end their access.
Unauthorised access could pose risks to the integrity of data used to calculate premiums or ensure coverage of specific assets.
If you have questions about Comcover Launchpad access, please contact your Comcover Relationship Manager on 1800 651 540 (option 3) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Commonwealth risk management maturity: benchmarking survey v APS
The APS Census provides an insight into how government officials perceive risk culture within their entities.
Comcover has compared results from the APS Census against those from the 2019 benchmarking survey.
The APS Census
The APS Census is conducted to collect attitude and opinion information from APS employees on a range of issues, including their health and wellbeing, attendance, performance management, leadership, and general impressions of the APS.
The APS Census is completed by all APS employees and is an opportunity for employees to tell the APS Commissioner what they think about working in the APS.
Comcover’s benchmarking survey
Comcover’s benchmarking survey enables Fund Members to self-assess their risk management capability against the nine elements of the Commonwealth Risk Management Policy, using a risk maturity model. It is completed by entities’ risk management function and therefore captures data from a different perspective to the APS Census.
Results from the 2019 benchmarking survey show a gradual yet consistent improvement in risk management capabilities across the Commonwealth, with a 12% improvement in overall capability since 2015.
2019 APS Census – summary of findings
The 2019 APS Census found:
- senior executive officers had more positive opinions of risk culture within their entities than any other job category (for example, policy, project, program, IT)
- staff in smaller entities tended to have more positive opinions of risk culture within their entities than staff in medium, large and extra-large entities (in that order)
- staff in regulatory, specialist and policy entities tended to have more positive opinions of risk culture in their entities than staff in operational entities
- risk culture scores across all questions were marginally lower in 2019 than in 2018.
What can we learn?
While the benchmarking survey has shown a gradual increase in risk maturity since 2015, the APS Census shows a decrease in risk culture from 2018 to 2019.
That may be explained by the fact that, as risk maturity improves, staff are more aware of what a positive risk culture looks like and rate themselves lower in subsequent years.
The results also indicate that, while much has been achieved to improve risk management over the past few years, there are opportunities to further influence individual behaviour and relationships with risk.
Entities may wish to start targeted improvement plans to address potential weaknesses in risk culture, and consider the next benchmarking survey’s results to determine where further action may be required.
Incremental improvements in risk maturity (as demonstrated by the benchmarking survey) may also indicate that much of the ‘low-hanging fruit’ has been captured by entities, and future improvements may be more difficult to achieve.
As the benchmarking survey is signed off by entities’ accountable authorities, consideration may need to be given about whether they have an overly optimistic perception of risk maturity in their entities.
Entities should take the time to compare their specific results from the APS Census with those from the 2019 benchmarking survey (available on the Comcover Launchpad) to determine where there are opportunities to improve risk management maturity and culture.
The 2018-19 State of the Service Report also provides further analysis of risk culture across the APS and is at: www.apsc.gov.au/StateOfTheService.
If you have questions about your entity’s benchmarking results, please contact the Comcover Risk Management Team on 1800 651 540 (option 2) or email email@example.com.
The Commonwealth Risk Management Policy is available on the Department of Finance website, www.finance.gov.au/government/comcover/risk-services/management.
Go to Comcover Connect – issue 16 – for more details of the 2019 benchmarking survey.
Statement of Cover – Property in Transit
Property in Transit insurance provides cover to Fund Members for property that is owned, or in their care, custody or control, and being moved between locations.
It is a sub-class of Property under the Comcover Statement of Cover.
What is property?
Property is defined under section 5 of the Comcover Statement of Cover. It captures all real or personal property.
Scope of cover
Comcover will pay for losses to property:
- while the property is in transit between a place or places
- while the property is being loaded and unloaded
- while the property is temporarily stored between the point of initial dispatch and the destination.
What is not covered?
Some claims are excluded under Property in Transit.
- ordinary loss in weight or volume of the property
- ordinary wear and tear of the property
- expenses caused by delays
- insufficient or unsuitability of packing or preparation of the property.
A full list of exclusions is found under section 9(2) of the Comcover Statement of Cover.
How much am I covered for?
The standard level of cover for Property in Transit is $5 million. Variations may be granted and the sum insured and excess (per event/claim) is specified on a Fund Member’s Schedule of Cover.
Please contact your Comcover Relationship Manager to help you determine whether your entity needs non-standard cover.
If you have questions about Property in Transit cover, please contact your Comcover Relationship Manager on 1800 651 540 (option 3) or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
The Comcover Statement of Cover 2019-20, frequently asked questions and fact sheets are available in the Comcover Gateway on the Comcover Launchpad www.comcoverlaunchpad.com.au and on the Department of Finance website, www.finance.gov.au/government/comcover/insurance/frequently-asked-questions-insurance.
Communicating Comcover information within entities
Fund Members at the August 2019 meeting of the Insurance Community of Practice noted the various ways they disseminate information within their entities.
Entities used the following methods:
- Personal contacts: Insurance contacts use internal networks to increase awareness of the insurance function in their organisations.
- Intranets: Most entities have intranets and some have developed their own insurance pages. An intranet can be a one-stop shop for insurance-related material. Comcover is happy to work with entities to develop content.
- Internal guideline documents: Entities can prepare their own internal guideline documents, FAQs or ‘clue cards’. Comcover is happy to review the documents. The documents can be used in conjunction with Comcover fact sheets and FAQs available on the website, www.finance.gov.au/government/comcover/insurance/frequently-asked-questions-insurance.
- GovTEAMS: Comcover has several GovTEAMS communities:
- Chief Risk Officer Guide
- Chief Risk Officer Network
- Risk Management Forum
- Insurance Community of Practice
To be invited to join a GovTEAMS community, please email email@example.com with an access request.
- Group mailboxes: These enable increased access to information that is directed to a central inbox instead of individual mailboxes.
How can Comcover help entities?
Fund Members have common challenges, including engaging with SES, ensuring queries are channelled to nominated insurance contacts, and encouraging and reminding users of tools such as intranet pages, fact sheets and FAQs.
Comcover staff can assist Fund Members where possible, including presenting to internal forums and reviewing intranet sites and internal documents.
For assistance, please contact your Comcover Relationship Manager on 1800 651 540 (option 3) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Education forums and events
Comcover has some exciting professional and educational forums planned for 2020.
Details about Comcover programs and events are on the Department of Finance website and at the Comcover Learning Centre on the Comcover Launchpad.
Generalist Pathway – Practical risk management, more than just ticking boxes eLearning and workshop
This course is designed for those who encounter risk every day in their work. For example, managing risks associated with project or program delivery.
- 3 and 4 March
- 31 March and 1 April
- 12 and 13 May
- 3 and 4 June
Specialist Pathway – Embedding risk management into an organisation’s DNA Two-day workshop including a workplace project
This course is designed for specialists who are required to design and implement an entity’s risk management framework.
- 25 February and 24 March
- 26 March and 7 May
- 6 May and 10 June
SES Risk Management Professional Development Program: A strategic perspective to managing risk
This half-day workshop is designed to explore the concept of risk appetite and examine how to foster a positive risk culture in an entity and provide risk leadership in the Commonwealth.
- 26 February
- 25 March
- 27 May
- 24 June
Insurance Community of Practice
Comcover’s Insurance Community of Practice forums provide an opportunity for Fund Members to discuss matters impacting on their organisations and the Comcover Fund, including the nature and scope of cover. The forums enable Fund Members to share best practice strategies and discuss new and emerging insurance risks.
- Forum 1 – Wednesday 19 February
- Forum 2 – Wednesday 20 May
- Forum 3 – Wednesday 19 August
- Forum 4 – Wednesday 18 November
Insurance renewal program
To understand the Comcover Fund’s insurable risk profile and accurately allocate the premium pool, Comcover collects information from Fund Members twice annually through a renewal questionnaire. The first renewal questionnaire closed on 22 November.
Key dates for the 2020-21 renewal cycle are:
- March – Indicative premiums released to Fund Members
- 13 April to 22 May – The 2020-21 questionnaire will reopen to Fund Members
- 1 July – 2020-21 premium invoices will be available to Fund Members.
Business Continuity Forum
Starts 13 February then every second Thursday of the month.
Chief Risk Officers’ Forum
To register to attend a Comcover education program or event, go to the Comcover Learning Centre available on the Comcover Launchpad, www.comcoverlaunchpad.com.au.
How effective is your risk management framework?
Key performance indicators (KPIs) can be a useful way to find out.
KPIs can be used to measure the performance of a risk management framework and organisational culture. KPIs enable entities to establish their own performance targets for the framework and risk behaviours they can measure.
Comcover has developed a short information sheet to support entities that want to implement KPIs to monitor the effectiveness of their risk management frameworks.
See the Department of Finance website, www.finance.gov.au/government/comcover/risk-services/management/risk-resources.
The information sheet contains sample KPIs aligned to key areas of focus. Along with examples, it also includes guidance on what weak or strong performance looks like for each category of KPI.
A full list of resources, including advice circulars, Comcover Connect newsletters, information sheets, and FAQs, is on the Department of Finance website, www.finance.gov.au/government/comcover/risk-services/management/risk-resources.
For guidance on improving your entity’s framework or risk management performance, contact Comcover on 1800 651 540 (option 2) or email email@example.com.