- Entity Start-up Guide Launched
- Deadline for publishing 2020-21 Corporate Plans on Websites
- Guidance on enhanced disclosure of consultancy and non-consultancy contracts in non-corporate Commonwealth entities’ annual reports
- Annual report – Digital Annual Reporting Tool (DART) MasterDocs
- Duties of accountable authorities and complying with government policies
- Comcover series of microbites
Entity Start-up Guide Launched
Finance has launched a new guide, the Entity Start-up guide.
The guide is a web-based portal to support those tasked with setting up a new Commonwealth entity. It has been designed to address operational start-up matters in one place and includes a list of indicative establishment processes, which may be relevant to non-corporate and corporate Commonwealth entities. It provides relevant information to assist officials as they commence the start-up process along with relevant contact information for those entities responsible for start-up elements. The guide relies on the links to a responsible entity’s own website so the detailed information stays as up-to-date as possible.
While the focus of the guide is on supporting the operational start-up of a new Commonwealth entity once it has been legally established, it can also be used by those who have a long lead up to establishment as well as those who have to set up a new Commonwealth entity in a relatively short-time frame. The guide is indicative - it is not meant to be exhaustive.
The guide has been categorised into two main sections, these are:
• Getting Started - which addresses the three key elements:
1. Using this guide - the what, who, when and how of using the website;
2. Check if you’re ready - which goes to ‘are you legally established’ and if not provides links to existing Finance guidance to assist you.
3. Initial priorities - with a focus on what actions are key to facilitating a smooth start up process.
• Key topics - information has been categorised into 12 key topics, using the material provided by key stakeholders.
A main feature of the guide is the key contacts page, noting that the ability to contact the relevant person as directly as possible is critical to supporting new entities navigate the volume and, at times, the complexity of requirements.
In order to ensure the guide is beneficial tool for our stakeholders we would welcome your feedback. Further to this, if your entity has something that you believe should be included on the guide please contact Finance at PGPA@finance.gov.au.
Deadline for publishing 2020-21 Corporate Plans on Websites
A reminder that the deadline for publishing your entity’s 2020-21 corporate plan is 31 August 2020.
The plan is to be given to the responsible Minister and the Finance Minister before it is published on your entity’s website. To give the plan to the Finance Minister simply email it to PGPA@finance.gov.au.
This year, because of the impact of COVID 19 on the operations of government, capacity has been provided to defer the publication of 2020-21 corporate plans if required. If the accountable authority of your entity determines that a deferral is required, could you please advise Finance by emailing PGPA@finance.gov.au. You are also asked to notify of the intention to defer publication of your 2020-21 plan on your entity’s website by 31 August 2020. The notification should be published where you would normally publish your plan.
For further information or enquiries about the publication of 2021 corporate plans, or the deferral of the publication of the plans, please contact Finance at PGPA@finance.gov.au.
Guidance on enhanced disclosure of consultancy and non-consultancy contracts in non-corporate Commonwealth entities’ annual reports
Interim guidance has been released on the annual reports page on the Finance website to support those entities applying the enhanced disclosure requirements for expenditure on consultancy and non-consultancy contracts for the 2019-20 reporting period.
As reported in PGPA Newsletter 60, the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Amendment (Consultancy and Non-Consultancy Contract Expenditure Reporting) Rules 2020 was registered on the Federal Register of Legislation on 3 June 2020. This amendment introduces enhanced reporting requirements for consultancy and non-consultancy expenditure in annual reports.
While these new disclosure requirements apply for the 2020-21 reporting period, entities are encouraged to make additional disclosures in their 2019-20 annual reports if they are already in a position to do so.
Annual report – Digital Annual Reporting Tool (DART) MasterDocs
We are pleased to see that many entities are engaging with the Digital Annual Reporting Tool (MasterDocs) earlier this year to draft and publish their Annual Report, the embracing of a digital first development process is really exciting to see!
Finance and MasterDocs remain available to support you and your entity in its approach to completing this year’s Annual Report.
Through maximising the available functionality of the MasterDocs system entities are reporting the following benefits:
• a more streamlined process with less administrative overheads
• increased collaboration within, and across, teams
• enabling multiple reviews and/approvals to occur at the same time.
If you are planning to use MasterDocs more comprehensively this year, contact the MasterDocs Support Team and they will provide all the support you need.
We have taken on board to your feedback from 2019 and made a number of enhancements to improve your experience in 2020. These improvements include:
- Data templates, making them easier to complete and use in the body of the Annual Report
- Publishing optimisations, including the speed of previews and timeliness of publishing live
- Cross-referencing, including what you can cross-reference to
- Table editing, including avoiding accidental removal of tables
- An updated online help centre
- The ability to change ordered list type: alphabetical, numerical, roman
- The ability to turn off automatic numbering on tables and images
- General performance improvements, fixes, and optimisations
A new feature/update is also coming soon:
- Word export improvements, including the ability to customise the style and branding
On-boarding: To support entities using MasterDocs a 30 minute on-boarding session for staff using the tool is available. To arrange a convenient date and time please contact the MasterDocs Support Team.
To help you get started, there are a range of articles and resources to support you. The Help Centre can be accessed through MasterDocs by clicking on HELP in the main menu, emailing the Support Team or calling 1300 499 005.
There is also the Digital Annual Report Team’s GovTEAMS community which has a number of resources. If you would like to join the community you will need to establish a GovTEAMS account and request to join the Team. Once approved you can access these resources via the community.
For any further details regarding accessing GovTEAMS, access to the Digital Annual Reporting Tool (MasterDocs), MasterDocs on boarding/online training or annual report enquiries contact the digital report team at DigitalAnnualReportProject@finance.gov.au.
Duties of accountable authorities and complying with government policies
A new guidance document has been released on the Finance website in relation to the duties of accountable authorities under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) and complying with government policies.
The guidance document outlines that:
- the PGPA Act imposes a number of legal duties on accountable authorities of Commonwealth entities;
- accountable authorities may also be required to comply with government policies; and
- when government policies apply to different types of entities.
The guidance document has been jointly written with the Australian Government Solicitor and is available via the Duties of Accountable Authorities page on the Finance website. The document is available under the Tools and templates menu and at the bottom of the website page.
If you have any questions or need assistance on PGPA framework matters, please contact Finance at PGPA@finance.gov.au.
Comcover series of microbites
At the end of last week, Comcover released its next instalment in its series of microbites. This one is on Embedding an active risk culture and is the first in a two part series. It highlights the importance of having a culture that actively engages with risk, what this looks like, and how to overcome a culture of risk aversion.
Please share this microbite with your colleagues and stay tuned for part two, which will be released very soon. Also, don’t forget to visit the Comcover Risk Education page for all of Comcover’s previous microbites.
Due to COVID and social distancing requirements, another new and innovative venture that Comcover has embarked on is moving the delivery of its face to face senior executive risk management program to a virtual classroom through the GovTEAMS platform.
Just like the face to face program, the aims of the virtual classroom are to provide participants with an opportunity to discuss and consider approaches to developing a strategic approach to risk management, and developing and fostering a positive risk culture.
The program is spilt over two 90 minute workshop sessions over two consecutive days. There are currently three workshop sessions available:
- Cohort 1: Tuesday the 8th and Wednesday the 9th of September 2020, from 10:30am to 12:00pm each day.
- Cohort 2: Tuesday the 29th and Wednesday the 30th of September 2020, from 10.30 am to 12.00pm each day.
- Cohort 3: Tuesday the 3rd and Wednesday the 4th of November 2020, from 1.00 pm to 2.30 pm each day.
With a maximum of ten participants per each session, places are filling up fast so get in early to register by sending your details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following the delivery of the virtual senior executive program, Comcover will look to also redesign and deliver the generalist and specialist courses virtually too. This is likely to occur in the third quarter of this year, so keep an out for when they are advertised.