Annual Report Process
Has the date for providing the annual report to the responsible Minister changed?
No. For the 2019-20 reporting period the requirement in section 46 of the PGPA Act is to provide your entity’s annual report to the responsible Minister by 15 October 2020. A process to seek an extension for the provision of an annual report to the responsible Minister is set out under section 34C of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901.
Are hard copies of the 2019-20 Annual Report required?
Yes. Hard copy documents are required for tabling purposes, as detailed by the Tabling Guidelines. If you have questions on the tabling process please contact email@example.com. Tabled documents are also required to be consistent with the Printing standards.
When is the tabling date for annual reports?
In line with previous Tabling Circulars it is expected that annual reports will be tabled prior to the Estimates hearing in October. This ensures annual reports are available for scrutiny by the relevant Senate standing committee.
Is the use of the Digital Annual Reporting Tool to publish annual reports to the Transparency Portal mandatory?
Yes. Under the PGPA Rule the use of the Digital Annual Reporting Tool (the Tool) is mandatory for publishing the annual report to the Transparency Portal as soon as practicable after the annual report has been tabled in the Parliament.
After tabling has occurred, do I need to publish my annual report to our entity’s website as well as to the Transparency Portal?
The Tabling Guidelines require that the annual report is published immediately post tabling. Publication can occur on either the Commonwealth entity/company website and/or the Transparency Portal. Entities are encouraged to link from their entity website to their publication on the Transparency Portal.
Is the use of the reporting tool to publish the corporate plan to the Transparency Portal mandatory?
No. Entities are not required to use the Tool to publish their corporate plan. The requirement under the PGPA Rule is to publish the corporate plan to the entity’s website and this has not changed for the 2020-21 corporate plan. A link to the entity’s corporate plan is contained on the Transparency Portal publications page.
How does the Digital Annual Reporting Tool work?
The Tool is a collaborative online authoring and content management tool, used by all entities to produce content in a Hypertext Mark-up Language (HTML) format to publish to the Transparency Portal.
The Tool is not (and does not replace):
- a Financial Management Information System
- a Human Resource Management System
- an information or records management tool
- a graphic design or typesetting tool, nor
- an infographic creation tool.
How can my entity use the Digital Annual Reporting Tool?
When developing your annual report, a digital first approach can help your entity to draw on the full functionality of the Tool. A digital first approach uses the tool for drafting, work flowing, and approving the complete annual report, then to export the completed report to word to print for tabling purposes as well as to the transparency portal in a HTML format.
The digital first approach can also be used to help your entity meet many of the mandatory PGPA requirements, by completing the non-financial data templates first, then copying and pasting these tables into the body of the annual report. It also ensures that your publication is compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, which is a requirement for Australian Government entities.
The word version of the report can be exported from the Tool and be printed on A4 or B5 sized paper, in line with the amount of copies required printed for tabling. This approach is intended to provide entities with an ability to reduce the process effort involved to generate the report and to enable other efficiencies, depending on your in house arrangements, in relation to printing, graphic design and typesetting.
What is the process to publish our annual report using the Digital Annual Reporting Tool to the Transparency Portal?
Publication of your annual report to the Transparency Portal is the responsibility of each entity. The annual report is to be published using the Tool as soon as practicable after it has been tabled in the Parliament.
Once the printed copy is tabled, each entity will need to use the “Publish to Transparency Portal” function from the “export” menu within the Tool. This functionality publishes the digital report to the Transparency Portal in HTML.
The “Preview on the Transparency Portal” feature is available within the Tool so that you are able to view the digital annual report prior to it being published onto the Transparency Portal.
Do I need to provide alternative text for all images, diagrams and infographics included in my digital annual report?
Yes. Australian government entities are required to meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 WCAG 2.0 Level AA. This is also required by under the Australian Government Digital Service Standard.
By correctly using the Tool, your entity will be producing a digital annual report that complies with WCAG 2.0 to make content accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, including blindness and low vision.
To produce a WCAG 2.0 compliant annual report, all images must have alternative text to describe the information or function of the image. Alternative text appears to the user when:
- images are disabled or fail to load
- screen reader or text-to-speech software is used.
If you include images, the same text presented in the image must be included as alternative text.
- images of letters or documents
- photographs of handwritten documents
- images of signatures
- graphs and charts, including flow charts and organisational charts
- diagrams and illustrations where the page text relies on the user being able to understand the image, and
Can my entity’s annual report branding and graphic design imagery be included in the digital annual report?
Yes. The Tool can incorporate an entity’s desired image for a front cover, a banner and font to aid with your individual branding. The details for these inclusions are below.
Appears in the top left corner, on every page of the digital annual report
- Max. file size: 1Mb
- Supported file types: .jpg .png .gif
Document cover page image
- Dimensions: 526 x 760 pixels
- Max. file size: 1Mb
- Supported file types: .jpg .png .gif
An example is provided at: Cover page example
Appears at the top of the page, on every page of the digital annual report
- Dimensions: 1140 x 288 pixels
- Max. file size: 1Mb
- Supported file types: .jpg .png .gif
An example is provided at: Banner image example
Does the digital version of the annual report need to be identical to the hardcopy?
As a general rule, the digital and hardcopy annual report must contain the same content, but it is recognised that there may be some differences in presentation between them, for example, page numbering only applies to the hardcopy.
In addition, minor/non-structural edits that better align the report with a digital approach are possible, for example this could be where a reference to a page number is changed to allow for a cross-reference to be inserted. Hyperlinks to governing legislation, important Acts, and other relevant online information should be inserted at least once, at their first mention.
Is an index or table of contents required for my entity's digital annual report on Transparency Portal?
There is no need to add an index into the Tool, as the Search feature in the Transparency Portal performs the same function. Similarly, there is no need to add a table of contents into the Tool, as one is automatically generated when you publish to the Transparency Portal, based off the heading structure of the document in the Tool.
If your entity has chosen to remove the index and table of contents from the digital annual report, we suggest you enter “N/A” in the List of Requirements for the “Part of Report” references for these elements.
If your entity still wishes to include an index and/or table of contents in the digital annual report, we suggest you include cross-references to the relevant parts of the report, rather than page numbers.
Are there any new requirements for the 2019-20 annual report?
Yes. There are new reporting requirements for the disclosure of audit committee information. The Tool contains a data template for audit committee reporting to meet the reporting requirement. Please see the audit committee webpage, RMG 202: Audit committees and below for further information on the reporting requirements.
Do I need to disclose my audit committee charter on my entity’s website?
The PGPA Rule does not specify that the direct electronic address must be to the entity’s website, however it seems to be the easiest and most suitable place to upload the audit committee charter. Whichever platform an entity chooses for their audit committee charter, a direct electronic address needs to allow the entity’s charter to be publicly available.
How do I report information of my audit committee members who served only part of the reporting cycle?
Reporting the number of meetings attended by audit committee members should be done consistent with the requirements in the annual report (i.e. number of meetings attended/total number of meetings conducted during the reporting period). Where audit committee members attended a reduced number of meetings because they served for part of the reporting cycle, this should be explained in a footnote to the table.
When reporting the number of meetings attended by audit committee members, this should only be in reference to the meetings attended in their capacity as an audit committee member (i.e. not the governing board or other committee meetings the audit committee member may also be attending in the reporting period).
Do I report audit committee members’ remuneration GST inclusive?
Yes. The figure provided for the remuneration of audit committee members should be GST inclusive.
How much of the qualification, knowledge, skills or experience of my audit committee members do I need to report?
Entities should provide biographical information relevant to the audit committee member’s position/area of expertise that they have accumulated and bring to their role as an audit committee member.
Although a specific level of detail is not prescribed, it is expected that samples of the qualifications, knowledge, skills or experience would be included to demonstrate how each audit committee member contributes to the four legislative functions of the audit committee (and any additional functions prescribed by the accountable authority in the audit committee charter).
The intention of this requirement is to allow each entity to present that their audit committee, as a whole, has the appropriate qualifications, knowledge, skills or experience to deliver the audit committee functions.
How do I report the remuneration for the audit committee member if they also serve in another position in the entity?
For the purposes of audit committee remuneration disclosure in s17AG(2A) of the PGPA Rule, only the remuneration that members receive for being on the audit committee should be reported. The total remuneration of each of those members is defined by section 4 of the Rule to mean the sum of the following (calculated on an accrual basis):
- base salary
- other benefits and allowances
- superannuation contributions (made by the employer)
- long service leave
- other long‑term benefits, and
- termination benefits.
Total remuneration for this purpose excludes any amounts received for other roles performed. Where members are not remunerated, a $0 figure should be reported.
Elsewhere in the Annual Report where the total remuneration of Key Management Personnel (KMP) is disclosed, this figure includes remuneration for other roles and being on the audit committee.
Entities are encouraged to use cross-referencing to explain the components of total remuneration, including where individuals are also remunerated for audit committee membership. Entities can also explain that the audit committee component is separately disclosed in the audit committee remuneration section.
Are there different reporting requirements for internal and external audit committee members?
No. The Rule does not differentiate between internal and external members, and all audit committee members information needs to be reported.
Do I still need to report if my audit committee has a different name?
Yes. The name your accountable authority chose for its audit committee does not change its statutory functions, membership requirements nor the entity’s reporting obligations in relation to its audit committee. This means the recent changes to the PGPA Rule including s17(4), s17AG(2A) and s17BE(taa) will apply.
You may need to review this information with your corporate/legal area, and review your audit and risk committee charter to verify it has the statutory functions required by the PGPA Act and Rule, and if so, treat it as the audit committee for the membership requirements in s17(4) and the reporting purposes of PGPA Rule s17AG and s17BE(taa).
How do I report if my entity was subject to a Machinery of Government (MoG) change?
Audit committee disclosures need to cover the full reporting period, consistent with other disclosures in the annual report. The gaining entity has an obligation to report the audit committee disclosure requirements for the full reporting period, and is responsible for obtaining information from the merged or abolished entity related to their audit committee conduct. Where necessary, notes should be used to explain details in relation to a MoG change.
Data Templates - General
Do we need to complete the data templates?
Yes. Completing the data templates within the Tool is mandatory. The data templates have been designed to capture the mandatory requirements of the PGPA Rule.
The data templates that cover the reporting requirements relevant to each entity are included in the Data Templates chapter of the Tool. The data templates are also available in the relevant Resource Management Guides (RMGs 135, 136, 137) available on the Finance website. We encourage entities to be familiar with the templates in the corresponding RMG prior to drafting your annual report.
How are the data templates used in the Digital Annual Reporting Tool?
The information contained within the data templates will be used to populate the "Find data" and "Financial ratios" functions of the Transparency Portal. This occurs once the data templates are completed, and the digital annual report is published to the Portal.
The Data Templates chapter located in the Tool does not publish to the Transparency Portal and is disabled from the preview function.
How should the data templates within the Digital Annual Reporting Tool be completed?
All data templates will be preloaded under the Data Templates chapter for your entity and will need to be completed within the Tool.
The non-financial data templates can be used in the body of your annual report content, to minimise any duplication of effort or the likelihood of errors. The data templates are different for each entity type (corporate, non-corporate and companies) and have been designed to capture the required information for annual reporting.
Do the data templates need to be included in both versions (the hard copy and the digital version) of the annual report?
The content of the hard copy annual report needs to be the same as the digital version published onto the Transparency Portal.
When the data templates are completed there may be times that the templates may not present appropriately for publication within the body of the report - such as a table with all zeros. Where this is the case, the content within your report can be displayed differently from the template.
However, the information reported has to be the same. For example, a statement in the annual report may detail that there is no performance pay for the entity. The data template for performance pay within the Tool data templates chapter must be completed with zeros. This is necessary to ensure a consistent and accurate whole-of-government data set of the reported information.
Can my entity provide further information beyond that required in the data templates as required by the PGPA Rule?
Yes. Your entity may provide further information beyond the requirements of the PGPA Rule. If the data templates are completed and copied into the body of the annual report additional rows and columns can be added to provide further information, such as more granular information on the location of employees (NSW can be further broken down into cities and towns, if desired for example).
How should I complete a mandatory data template (or a row or column within them) if it does not apply to my entity?
Entities are not able to delete the data templates contained in the Tool, or rows or columns within them, as the templates reflect the mandatory data requirements and have been set up to ensure the reporting of a complete Commonwealth data set. Data templates, or rows or columns within them, which do not apply to your entity must be populated with “0” in each cell. The cross-reference for a non-applicable data template should link to whichever chapter would most likely contain that data, if it were applicable. For example, if your entity does not have administered funding, the administered financial data templates should link to the Financial Statements chapter in your entity’s annual report. This cross-referencing, which drives the ‘View original’ button in the ‘Find Data’ tool in the Transparency Portal, provides assurance to users that there is no data as it was not in the annual report itself.
Does the Digital Annual Reporting Tool contain templates for the presentation of the annual performance statements?
No. There are no specific templates for the presentation of the annual performance statements in the Tool.
How should I display negative amounts in the financial data templates?
Entities are required to complete the financial data templates with information/figures consistent with their audited annual financial statements. If the required figure in the data template corresponds to a negative number in the financial statements, please insert the negative number in the data templates. Please note, if a negative number is displayed in brackets in the financial statements, you are required to remove the brackets and present the negative number in the data template using the minus symbol instead, i.e. change (1,234) to -1,234.
How should I display null values in the data templates?
Where a particular line item has a zero (0) value for your entity, these are to be reported as a “0” in the data templates. Cells are not to be left blank, have N/A written or contain the - symbol. This is to ensure consistency of the information across all Commonwealth entities.
Human Resources Statistics Data Tables
What human resources information must be reported?
All Commonwealth entities and companies are required to report human resources information for the 2019-20 and 2018-19 reporting periods in relation to each of the following:
full-time employees, as identified by your entity’s employment arrangements. As a guide, the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website provides general employment definitions
part-time employees as identified by your entity’s employment arrangements
gender, as defined under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984, and in line with the recommendations made in the Attorney-General’s Department’s Australian Government Guidelines on the Recognition of Sex and Gender (2013), and
location, based on the State or Territory of employment.
All human resources statistics are to be calculated and reported on an actual head count basis as at the end of each reporting period. In addition, non-corporate Commonwealth entities that engage employees under the Public Service Act 1999 (PS Act) are required to report additional human resources information.
The RMGs and the Tool contain the data templates for the reporting of human resource information relevant to your entity.
Does my entity use the APS employee templates if we do not engage employees under the Public Service Act 1999?
No. The requirement under paragraph 17AG(4)(b) of the PGPA Rule requires the annual report to include statistics on the number of APS employees. This applies to departments and executive agencies, and to prescribed agencies staffed under the PS Act.
What is the difference between an employee and an APS employee?
The term employee has its ordinary common law meaning. As a guide the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website provides a definition for an employee as a “person that’s hired to provide a service to a company either on a full-time, part-time or casual basis in exchange for payment. Other known terms: staff and worker”. This can be found on the Fair Work Ombudsman's website in their dictionary.
The term APS employees applies to departments and executive agencies, and to prescribed agencies staffed under the Public Service Act 1999. For further information see RMG 135.
How does my entity report employees who are absent from the workplace, on secondment, maternity or long service leave or are inoperative?
Employees who are on secondment, maternity, or long service leave are still employees of the entity and are to be accounted for in the data templates. Employees on leave without pay, or other inoperative employees should be reported in the same manner as any other employee on any other type of leave.
Does my entity use the Digital Annual Reporting Tool to prepare the financial statements?
No. The Tool is not a Financial Management Information System. Entities should undertake their normal process to prepare the financial statements in line with the existing reporting requirements for financial statements.
Once completed the financial statements can be transferred into the Tool (copying and pasting from Microsoft word or excel). The Tool facilitates the digital HTML publication of the annual report (including the financial statements) onto the Transparency Portal.
Does the Digital Annual Reporting Tool contain templates for the presentation of the financial statements?
No. The Tool does not contain templates that prescribe the presentation of the financial statements. Financial statements need to be presented in your digital annual report in the exact same manner as your audited financial statements.
Your complete financial statements and accompanying notes will need to be copied directly into the Tool from word or excel.
There are related data templates in the tool that require a subset of financial statement information to be entered, as published in the financial statements. These templates do not replace the existing reporting requirements for financial statements available in the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability (Financial Reporting) Rule 2015 (FFR) and RMG 125. These resources are available from the webpage: Financial reporting for Commonwealth entities.
Why can't I add rows to the financial data templates to capture all of the data from the financial statements?
The financial data templates collect a subset of information from entity’s financial statements, rather than each and every row. This is because the information entered in the data templates enables cross-entity comparisons in the ‘Find data’ and ‘Financial ratios’ functions of the Transparency Portal, and only certain financial data is required for this.
The data templates chapter located in the Tool does not publish to the Transparency Portal and is disabled from the preview function. If a user wishes to see the full financial statements, they will be able to access them in the body of the annual report published to the Transparency Portal.
What’s required when reproducing the Independent Auditor’s Report within the Digital Annual Reporting Tool?
When inserting the Independent Auditor’s Report within the Tool, each page of the Report must be inserted as an image. To maintain WCAG compliance, you must also ensure the content of the Report is fully copied into the alternative text field and ensure each image within the Report (i.e. logos and signatures) is adequately explained in the alternative text.
Can additional columns and information be included in the list of requirements if there is specific legislation that applies to my entity?
Yes. If there are additional specific legislative requirements that apply under enabling legislation or other legislation, entities are able to add additional rows to the compliance index, after copying the List of Requirements table from the data templates chapter into the body of the annual report.
Please do not add rows to the List of Requirements table in the data templates chapter.
How will corrections to annual report information (from a corrigendum or a correction to a previous reporting period) occur?
Instructions for requesting a correction to annual report content that has been published to the Transparency Portal are found in the form: Correction to annual report content on the Transparency Portal - Procedure, available on the Digital Annual Reporting Tool GovTeams page.
For queries regarding corrections to the tabled copy of an annual report, entities must refer to the process outlined in the Tabling Guidelines.