Annual reports for non-corporate Commonwealth entities (RMG 135)

Audience

This guide applies to the accountable authorities, chief financial officers, chief operating officers, program managers and officials responsible for contributing to the delivery of the annual report within non‑corporate Commonwealth entities.

This guide applies to annual reports being prepared for reporting periods that begin on or after 1 July 2020.

Key points

This guide:

  • sets out how to prepare and publish an annual report
  • outlines mandatory content for annual reports
  • outlines new mandatory reporting of consultancy and non-consultancy contracts
  • defines mandatory digital publication requirements, including standard data templates that entities are required to complete when producing and publishing the annual report using the Digital Annual Reporting Tool. 

For access to the Digital Annual Reporting Tool, entity annual report coordinators should email  digitalannualreportproject@finance.gov.au.

Resources

Related resources including appendices (containing tables and data templates), glossary terms and relevant sections of the PGPA Act and Rule are located in the right hand menu bar.

Appendix A: Entity resource statements and resources for outcomes

  • This appendix is for non-corporate Commonwealth entities required to summarise the total resources of the entity and the total payments made by the entity in a table. The preferred format for this table is under Tools and templates.

Appendix B: List of requirements template - non-corporate Commonwealth entities

  • This appendix is a template that includes the list of requirements set out in Schedule 2 of the PGPA Rule. The appendix is available under Tools and templates. 

Appendix C: Digital Annual Reporting Tool data templates

  • This appendix contains all the data templates that are required to be completed for the Digital Annual Reporting Tool and is available under Tools and templates.
  • Where a provision has an associated data template, a reference to that template is provided above the provision.
  • The financial data templates only capture a subset of the required information from the financial statements.
  • The non-financial data templates help to meet minimum reporting requirements for either part or all of the provisions that they relate to.

Have you joined the Annual Reports GovTEAMS community?

The Digital Annual Reports Team hosts a community which provides useful information and training material on how annual report coordinators can use the Digital Annual Reporting Tool to produce and publish an annual report.

To join the community email digitalannualreportproject@finance.gov.au.

What is an annual report?

 An annual report is a document prepared each year by the accountable authority of a Commonwealth entity.

The report provides a broad statement of an entity's capability and performance, including results against targets published previously for the corresponding year in the Portfolio Budget Statements. It allows accountable authorities to report to their minister on the efficiency and effectiveness of the public administration that the minister is ultimately responsible.

The annual report must be presented to the Parliament by the responsible Minister.

Annual report principles

When non-corporate Commonwealth entities are preparing an annual report, they should consider the following principles. An annual report should:

  • be written in plain English and provide sufficient information and analysis for the Parliament to make a fully informed judgment on the entity’s performance
  • align with the overall Commonwealth resource management framework, PGPA Act, PGPA Rule and the Commonwealth performance framework
  • show the relationship between the reporting requirements within government (including corporate plans, Portfolio Budget Statements and other portfolio statements accompanying any other additional appropriation bills), and between the government and non‑government sectors.

Accountable authorities have discretion as to the extent of information to include in annual reports and the sequence in which it is presented. However, the requirements for information set out in the PGPA Rule must be met.

Annual report requirements

This guide is divided into three parts, each providing information on the requirements for annual reports. These parts are:

Annual Report Requirements

Part 1 – Publication and presentation requirements

This part provides details of the requirements for the presentation of annual reports to the Parliament, including:

  • Overarching requirements
  • Presentation timing and production standards
  • Plain English and clear design
  • Requirement to publish annual reports using the Digital Annual Reporting Tool.
     

Overarching requirements

The accountable authority of a Commonwealth entity must:
 
  • prepare and give an annual report to the entity’s responsible Minister, for presentation to the Parliament, on the entity’s activities during the period,
  • include the entity’s annual performance statements and annual financial statements.
The annual report must be given to the responsible Minister by:
 
  • the 15th day of the fourth month after the end of the reporting period for the entity; or
  • the end of any further period granted.

The annual report must also comply with any requirements prescribed by the rules, which are detailed in this guidance.

For entities that report on a financial year basis the annual report must be prepared and provided to the responsible Minister by 15 October for each reporting period.

This provision is not meant to contravene any timing set out by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) in relation to tabling of annual reports in the Parliament. Entities must ensure they provide their responsible Minister with sufficient time to consider the annual report prior to the report being presented to the Parliament, in accordance with PM&C’s guidelines (see the Parliamentary presentation timing and standards section).

Where an accountable authority cannot meet the requirements for presenting the annual report to the Parliament an extension can be applied for. The Acts Interpretation Act 1901 allows for an application (this is found under subsections 34C(4) to (7) of that Act). An extension should only be sought if it would not be reasonably possible for the report to be prepared within the specified timeframes. 


Presentation timing and production standards

The annual report for a non-corporate Commonwealth entity must comply with guidelines for presenting documents to the Parliament which are published by PM&C and titled Tabling Guidelines.

Towards the end of a reporting period, PM&C may issue a Tabling Circular containing the tabling timetable, which will reflect the Parliament’s expectations for the timing of the presentation of annual reports.

Normally annual reports are tabled on or before 31 October and it is expected annual reports are tabled prior to the October Estimates Hearings. This ensures annual reports are available for scrutiny by the relevant Senate standing committee.

Where entities are unable to meet the timing set out in PM&C’s circular, they should contact tabling@pmc.gov.au for further advice.

The Tabling Circular may also provide delivery instructions, and key tasks for tabling annual reports when the Parliament is not sitting. 

Guidance on the production standards for annual reports tabled in the Parliament are set out in the Printing Standards on the Parliament of Australia website.
 

Plain English and clear design

The annual report for a non‑corporate Commonwealth entity must be prepared having regard to the interests of the Parliament and any other persons who are interested in the annual report. Annual reports are key documents of accountability and transparency to the Parliament and the public. Accordingly, annual reports should be prepared to best provide readers with a clear account of the operations and performance of the entity for the reporting period.

The annual report must, as required by the PGPA Rule, be relevant, reliable, concise, understandable and balanced, this can be achieved by: 

Plain English

Tables, graphs, diagrams and charts should be used where appropriate to provide additional context to the information. Consistent with the Printing standards, entities must have regard to limiting the use of colour and illustrations to where it enhances the reader’s understanding of the material. An excessive use of colour, illustrations and photography is not usually required for the purposes of accountability and reporting to the Parliament. 
 

Requirement to publish annual reports using the Digital Annual Reporting Tool

The annual report must be published using the Digital Annual Reporting Tool which is administered by the Finance Minister, as soon as practicable after the annual report for a non‑corporate Commonwealth entity has been presented to the Parliament.

The Digital Annual Reporting Tool enables entities to draft content and publish annual reports to the Transparency Portal at transparency.gov.au in a fully accessible HTML format, and generate a printed report for Tabling (using the Word export feature). Commencing from the 2018-19 reporting period all Commonwealth entities’ and companies’ annual reports are to be published on and accessible from transparency.gov.au shortly after the presentation of these reports to the Parliament.

Once the annual report is tabled it is expected by Parliament that the annual report is also published on the Transparency Portal before the October Estimates Hearings. Publishing the annual report to Transparency Portal at the time the report is tabled will also meet the tabling guidelines requirement to publish an online version.

The Digital Annual Reporting Tool contains a collection of templates for standard data sets that must be completed for the entity’s annual report. These templates reflect mandatory data requirements as set out by the PGPA Rule and are designed to assist entities to meet the reporting requirements. To assist entities in the preparation of their annual report, a copy of the required data templates are provided in Appendix C under Tools and templates. 

The Digital Annual Reporting Tool is designed to assist entities to undertake a streamlined and more efficient annual reporting and publication process. Annual report coordinators should consider developing the annual report content directly in the Digital Annual Reporting Tool and using the mandatory reporting templates provided within the relevant section of the entity’s annual report itself.

This approach helps to focus the content of the report on the reporting requirements of the Parliament, rather than some of the broader publication elements that are not core to the accountability or reporting requirements. The digital content can be exported from the Digital Annual Reporting Tool, to be printed for tabling purposes. Adding further graphic design elements at this point in the publication process is possible but is not necessary to meet the tabling requirements. The Digital Annual Reports GovTeams Community provides a step-by-step guide on how to use the Digital Annual Reporting Tool.

Further, the Australian Government Digital Service Standard, available at www.dta.gov.au, provides information about the legal and policy obligations of entities in relation to online publishing. This includes a range of mandatory requirements, including compliance with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, which the Digital Annual Reporting Tool assists entities in meeting  by producing the HTML format.

Part 2 – PGPA annual report content requirements

Content requirements

The accountable authority of a Commonwealth entity must include the following content in the annual report:

  • Letter of transmittal
  • Aids to access
  • Review by the accountable authority
  • Overview of the entity
  • Report on the performance of the entity

Annual performance statements

Report on financial performance
  • Management and Accountability

Corporate governance

Significant non-compliance issues with finance law

Audit committee

External scrutiny

Management of human resources

Managing and developing employees

Employee statistics

APS employee statistics

Workplace agreements

Performance pay

Assets management

Purchasing

Consultancy and non-consultancy contract expenditure reporting

Australian National Audit Office access clauses

Exempt contracts

Small business

Annual financial statements

Executive remuneration

  • Other Mandatory Information

Advertising and market research

Grants

Disability reporting mechanism

Freedom of information

Remediation of information published in previous annual reports

The table set out in Schedule 2 of the PGPA Rule shows the annual report content requirements, and can be found in Appendix B under Tools and templates. This table must be included in entities’ annual reports as an aid of access.

The purpose of the letter of transmittal is to assure the responsible Minister that the accountable authority has prepared the annual report in accordance with all obligations under the PGPA Act and other legislation (such as enabling legislation).

The letter must:

  • state that the annual report has been prepared for the purposes of section 46 of the PGPA Act, which requires that an annual report be given to the entity’s responsible Minister for presentation to the Parliament
  • outline any additional requirements in relation to the annual report that is specified in enabling legislation, including referencing that legislation.

The letter of transmittal must be signed and dated on the day the accountable authority approves the final text of the report for printing.

The associated data template can be found under the Tools and templates in Appendix C
       (Section 17AJ (e) - (g) - Aids to Access).

The annual report must include the following:

  • a table of contents
  • an alphabetical index of the contents of the report (including any appendices)
  • a glossary of any abbreviations and acronyms used in the report
  • the list of requirements as set out in Schedule 2 to this rule
  • details (for example the title, telephone number and email address) of the contact officer to whom enquiries for further information may be addressed
  • the address of the entity's website
  • if the annual report is to be available electronically - include the direct address for the annual report on the entity's website.

The information presented in entities’ annual reports should be able to be easily accessed by the reader. The reader should be able to locate specific information of interest in a straightforward manner.

By ensuring a level of consistency between the minimum aids to access included in annual reports, the requirements detailed above will assist readers of multiple entities’ annual reports to find information of interest in each report.

The accountable authority has the discretion to include any additional structure to the annual report that might enhance the accessibility of the specific information included in the entity’s report.

Entities must include a list of requirements in a consistent format which is detailed in  Schedule 2 of the PGPA Rule, available at www.legislation.gov.au, and in Appendix B under Tools and templates.

The list of requirements should be included as an appendix to the annual report. If an item specified in the checklist is not applicable to an entity, it should be reported as “Not Applicable” rather than omitted from the list. Entities must also provide details of the location of the information in the annual report that addresses each of the mandatory requirements specified by the PGPA Rule.

The content of the annual report review is at the discretion of the accountable authority.

The review by the accountable authority may include a summary of significant issues for the entity, an overview of the entity’s performance and financial results and an outlook for the next reporting period.

If the entity is a Department of State that oversees a portfolio, the review may also include a summary of the significant issues and developments for the portfolio during the reporting period.

The associated data template can be found under the Tools and templates in Appendix C
       (Section 17AE(1)(aa)(i) – (iii) – Accountable Authority).

The overview of the entity must include the information detailed below, and is designed to give readers a high-level understanding of the organisation.

  • a description of the entity, including the following:
    • the role and functions of the entity
    • an outline of the organisational structure of the entity
    • the outcomes and programs administered by the entity during the period
    • the purposes of the entity as included in the entity’s corporate plan for the period
  • information on the accountable authority, or each member of the accountable authority, during the period including:
    • the name of the accountable authority or member
    • the position title of the accountable authority or member
    • the period as the accountable authority or member within the reporting period
  • if the entity is a Department of State - an outline of the structure of the portfolio that includes the Department.

If the outcomes and programs administered by the entity during the period are not the same as the outcomes and programs included in any Portfolio Budget Statement, Portfolio Additional Estimates Statement or other portfolio estimates statement that was prepared for the entity for the period, the report must set out and explain the reasons for the differences.

The annual report for a non-corporate Commonwealth entity must include the annual performance statements for the entity for the period.

The report on performance is intended to demonstrate how the entity has performed during the reporting period in relation to the entity’s purpose(s) and, where possible, indicate the entity’s effectiveness in achieving its planned or intended results.

The corporate plan and annual report are the bookends of the reporting cycle.

PGPA slide - reporting


Annual performance statements

For further information on the purpose and content requirements of the annual performance statements, refer to RMG No. 134: Annual performance statements for Commonwealth entities.


Report on financial performance

The associated data template can be found under the Tools and templates in Appendix C
       (Section 17AF (1)(b) Report on Financial Performance Summary).
 
The annual report on the financial performance of the entity for the period must include:
  • a discussion and analysis of the entity's financial performance during the period
  • a table summarising the total resources of the entity, and the total payments made by the entity, during the period.

Entities should also provide and explanation for any significant changes in financial results. Including in relation to:

  • the cause of any operating loss of the entity, how the entity has responded to the loss and the actions that have been taken in relation to the loss
  • any matter or circumstance that the entity can anticipate having a significant impact on the entity's future operation or financial results.

Appendix A sets out the preferred format of the table to be included in the annual report. The core content of the summary table is to show the total resources for the entity in comparison with the total payments made during the year. In addition, the table should also incorporate a series of summary tables showing the total resources for each outcome administered by the entity.

These tables should be consistent with the corresponding table in relevant Portfolio Budget Statements for the entity for the reporting period. It is suggested that the tables be included in an appendix to the annual report.

Annual reports must contain information on the management and accountability practices of the entity in the reporting period.

The requirements for these items are set out within:

Management and Accountability

 


Corporate governance

The annual report must include the following:

  • information on compliance with the PGPA Rule in relation to the entity during the period (which deals with preventing, detecting and dealing with fraud outlined in section 10 of the Rule)
  • a certification by the accountable authority of the entity that
    • fraud risk assessments and fraud control plans have been prepared for the entity
    • appropriate mechanisms for preventing, detecting incidents of, investigating or dealing with, and recording and reporting fraud, that meet the specific needs of the entity and are in place for the entity
    • all reasonable measures have been taken to deal appropriately with fraud relating to the entity.

The Commonwealth Fraud Control Framework provides further information on preventing, detecting and dealing with fraud.

Entities may wish to include the certification by the accountable authority as an element of the 'Letter of transmittal' from the accountable authority, detailed further in this guide.

Annual reports must also include an outline of the structures and processes that the entity had in place during the reporting period to implement the principles and objectives of corporate governance. The content of this statement is at the discretion of the accountable authority; however, it is suggested that the review may include:

  • the names of the senior executive and their responsibilities
    • The responsibilities of the senior executive should be able to be reconciled with the entity’s organisational and outcome/program structures as set out under ‘Overview of the entity’.
    • Entities may choose to locate this information in the ‘Overview of the entity’ section.
  • senior management committees and their roles.
  • corporate and operational plans and associated performance reporting and review, including contribution to specified outcomes
    • Terminology in relation to entity plans may vary – it may, for example, involve strategic and business plans. The intent is to address longer term and annual plans.
  • internal audit arrangements, including the approach adopted to identifying areas of significant operational or financial risk, and arrangements in place to manage those risks.
  • the entity’s policy and practices on the establishment and maintenance of appropriate ethical standards; or
    • The requirement in relation to the APS Values and Code of Conduct which applies to departments and executive agencies, and prescribed agencies staffed under the Public Service Act 1999. The Public Service Commissioner reports annually on these issues in the State of the Service report.
  • how the nature and amount of remuneration for senior executive service employees is determined.
    • Financial reporting requirements prescribed by the Minister for Finance require entities to disclose financial information in relation to senior executive remuneration (on both a cash and accrual basis) and the number of substantive senior executives by prescribed bands, in their financial statements.

For further information on reporting executive remuneration refer to RMG No. 138: Commonwealth entities Executive Remuneration Reporting Guide for Annual Reports.

The requirements in the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) Listing Rule 4.10.3 have been used as a guide for the above information. This rule requires disclosure in relation to the ASX Corporate Governance Council recommendations.

 

Significant non-compliance issues with finance law
 

The associated data template can be found under the Tools and templates in Appendix C
       (Section 17AG(2)(d) – (e) Significant non-compliance with the Finance Law).

The annual report must include the following:

  • a statement of any significant issue reported to the responsible Minister that relates to non-compliance with the finance law
  • if a statement is included, then an outline of the action that has been taken to remedy the non-compliance must also be included.

The PGPA Act (section 19) requires that accountable authorities of Commonwealth entities notify their responsible Minister when significant issues have been identified, this requirement reports on this in the annual report.

The finance law incorporates the PGPA Act, any rules and instruments created under the PGPA Act, and Appropriation Acts.

For further information, see RMG No. 214: Notification of significant non-compliance with the finance law.

 

Audit committee
 

The associated data template can be found under the Tools and templates in Appendix C
       (PGPA Rule Section 17AG(2A)(b)-(e) - Audit committee).
The annual report must include the following:
 
  • a direct electronic address of the charter determining the functions of the audit committee for the entity
  • the name of each member of the audit committee during the period
  • the qualifications, knowledge, skills or experience of those members
  • information about each of those members; attendance at meetings of the audit committee during the period
  • the remuneration of each of those members.

For further information on the reporting requirements for Audit Committees, see RMG No. 202: Audit committees.

 

External scrutiny
 

The annual report must include information on the most significant developments in external scrutiny of the entity, that has occurred within the reporting period and the entity's response to that scrutiny.

This must include:

  • judicial decisions, or decisions of administrative tribunals or the Australian Information Commissioner, made during the period that have had, or may have, a significant effect on the operations of the entity; and
  • any report on the operations of the entity given during the period by:
    • the Auditor-General, other than a report under section 43 of the PGPA Act (which deals with the Auditor-General’s audit of the annual financial statements for Commonwealth entities); or
    • a Committee of either or both Houses of the Parliament; or
    • the Commonwealth Ombudsman.
  • any capability reviews of the entity that were released during the period.
 

Management of human resources
 

Annual reports must include information about the entity’s effectiveness in managing and developing its employees, and certain statistics on the entity’s human resources, as set out below.

The requirements for these items are set out within:

Management of Human Resources

 

Managing and developing employees

The annual report must include an assessment of the entity's effectiveness in managing and developing its employees to achieve its objectives.

The content of this assessment is at the discretion of the accountable authority; however, it is suggested that it may include:

  • workforce planning and staff retention and turnover
  • the main features of enterprise or collective agreements, individual flexibility arrangements, determinations made under the Public Service Act 1999 (subsection 24(1)), common law contracts, any remaining Australian Workplace Agreements, and developments regarding agreement making and the impact of making agreements
  • the entity’s key training and development strategies, the outcomes of training and development, and an evaluation of effectiveness
  • the entity’s work health and safety performance, noting specific information is also required pursuant to the Work Health and Safety Act 2011
  • productivity gains.

Entities should take care to ensure that any information provided on individual terms and conditions arrangements does not, or cannot be used to, identify individual employees.

For specific guidance on executive remuneration reporting refer to RMG No. 138: Commonwealth entities Executive Remuneration Reporting Guide for Annual Reports.

 

Employee statistics
 

The associated data template can be found under the Tools and templates in Appendix C
       (Section 17AG(4)(aa) – Management of Human Resources).

Annual reports must include statistics on the number of employees of the entity (with reference to ongoing employees and non ongoing employees), at the end of the reporting period and the previous reporting period, in relation to each of the following:

All human resources statistics are to be calculated and reported on an actual head count basis (number of employees) as at the end of each reporting period.

If an entity believes the level of disaggregation of employee data could result in significant risk of unintentional identification and consequential harm to a specific employee, then the entity has the discretion to report that employee’s data at a higher level without further disaggregation. It is important when considering this, that the level of aggregation of information doesn’t make the reporting “meaningless” or be seen to complicate other details.

As an example, the entity could count the employee in the Total figures, but not include them in the breakdown of the data, with a clarifying footnote as to why the Total figures differ from the sum of the breakdown of the data.
 

APS employee statistics
 

Associated data templates can be found under the Tools and templates in Appendix C:
  • Section 17AG(4)(b)(i)-(iv) Australian Public Sector (APS) Classification and Gender.
  • Section 17AG(4)(b)(i)-(iii) Employment type by Full-time and Part-time Status.
  • Section 17AG(4)(b)(v) – Employment type by Location.
  • Section 17AG(4)(b)(vi) Indigenous Employment.

The annual report must include statistics on the number of APS employees of the entity (including by reference to ongoing APS employees and non-ongoing APS employees) in relation to each of the following:

The term “APS employees” applies to employees of departments and executive agencies, and to prescribed agencies staffed under the Public Service Act 1999. For departments and executive agencies, the annual report must contain the above information.
 

Workplace agreements
 

Associated data templates can be found under the Tools and templates in Appendix C:
  • Section 17AG(4)(c)(i)Employment Arrangements of SES and Non SES employees
  • Section 17AG(4)(c)(ii) Salary Ranges by Classification level.

Annual reports must include information about the arrangements under which employees are employed in the entity. This may include information on any enterprise or collective agreements, individual flexibility agreements, determinations made under subsection 24(1) of the Public Service Act 1999, common law contracts or Australian Workplace Agreements. This information must include:

  • the number of APS employees covered by enterprise or collective agreements, individual flexibility agreements, subsection 24(1) determinations, common law contracts and Australian Workplace Agreements by Senior Executive Service (SES) employees and non-SES employees
  • the salary ranges available for APS employees by classification level (the range should reflect the full span of salaries available under an enterprise or collective agreement, individual flexibility agreement, subsection 24(1) determination, common law contract and/or Australian Workplace Agreement)
  • a description of the range of non-salary benefits provided by the entity to employees.

For those entities subject to a determination made under subsection 24(3) of the Public Service Act 1999, it would be appropriate to include a discussion of the effect of that determination when responding to this requirement. This discussion should include the number of employees covered by the determination, any supplementary arrangements entered into via subsection 24(1) determinations or common law contracts, and progress towards replacement of the determination with an enterprise or collective agreement.

 

Performance pay
 

The associated data template can be found under the Tools and templates in Appendix C
       (Section 17AG(4)(d) (iii)-(iv) Performance Pay by Classification level).

Annual reports must include information about performance pay, which can also be known as performance-linked bonuses, and usually taking the form of a one-off payment in recognition of performance.

In compiling the information about performance pay, entities should:

  • include all eligible ongoing and non-ongoing APS staff
  • include staff who left the entity during the reporting period, even if the performance payment was made after their departure
  • include staff on leave of any kind at the end of the reporting period
  • report the aggregate of actual payments, not payments before moderation. In the case of a small entity, or a small number of employees at a given classification level (e.g. five employees or fewer), a lesser disaggregation maybe necessary to ensure that individuals cannot be identified
  • include each employee under one classification only. If an employee was promoted during the year and received performance pay at the lower classification only, include that employee in the report for the lower classification. If the promoted employee received performance pay at both classifications or at the higher level only, include the employee in the report for the higher level only and include the total payment in the aggregated payment report for that classification. Do not include the same employee in both classifications and do not break up the payment when aggregating the total payments for the various classifications
  • not include performance-linked advancement (advancement to a higher pay point which then becomes the employee’s nominal salary). If an employee receives a performance bonus and a performance-linked advancement, only the bonus element should be reported;
  • not include payments in the nature of retention payments, job loadings or skills and responsibilities loadings
  • not include bonuses that accrued wholly in a previous reporting period, even if they were paid in the reporting period to which the report relates. For example, if a payment was made in the 2019–20 financial year for performance in respect of the period 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019, it should not be included in the 2019-20 annual report. However, if a significant number of payments fall into this category, consideration should be given to correcting the information in the previous year’s annual report.

Entities that do not pay, or no longer pay, performance pay should include a statement to that effect in their annual report.

 

Assets management
 

Annual reports must include an assessment of the effectiveness of the entity’s asset management practices during the reporting period. This requirement is only necessary where asset management (including assets of which the day-to-day management has been outsourced) is a significant aspect of the strategic business of the entity.

Entities may wish to include a discussion of their asset management plans, particularly if a significant portion of their asset base has a life of 50 years or greater.

 

Purchasing
 

The annual report must include an assessment of the entity’s performance during the period against the Commonwealth Procurement Rules.

 

Consultancy and non-consultancy contract expenditure reporting

For reporting periods beginning on or after 1 July 2020, new requirements have been established for any contract published on AusTender with respect to:

  • the number of and expenditure on, new and ongoing reportable consultancy and non-consultancy contracts; and
  • organisations receiving amounts under reportable consultancy contracts or reportable non-consultancy contracts during the reporting period.

Further guidance can be found in the Consultancy and Non-Consultancy Reporting Guidance found under Tools and templates.

 

Australian National Audit Office access clauses

Entities must provide details of any contract entered into during the reporting period of $100,000 or more (inclusive of GST) that does not provide for the Auditor-General to have access to the contractor’s premises.

The annual report must include:

  • the name of the contractor
  • the purpose and value of the contract
  • the reason why a clause allowing such access was not included in the contract. 

The inclusion of standard access clauses provides the Australian National Audit Office with access to various types of information held by contractors and third party subcontractors for the purpose of audits, including access to records, information and assets directly relevant to the contract performance. The clauses do not enable access to information that is outside the scope of the specific contract.

 

Exempt contracts

The PGPA Rule requires that if any contract in excess of $10,000 (inclusive of GST) or a standing offer has been exempted by the accountable authority from being published on AusTender on the basis that it would disclose exempt matters under the Freedom of Information Act 1982, the fact that the contract has been exempted and the value of the contract or standing offer must be reported, to the extent that doing so does not in itself disclose the exempt matters. 

The exempt contracts provision addresses the requirement to document, in entities’ annual reports, any contracts entered into during the reporting period, where the contract details were not published in AusTender. This requirement also covers standing offers.

An accountable authority may direct in writing that contract details are not to be reported on AusTender if they would be subject to an exemption under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) and the accountable authority considers that the information is genuinely sensitive and harm is likely to be caused by its disclosure.

 

Small business
 

Procurement initiatives to support small business

The annual report must include the following statement:

"[Name of entity] supports small business participation in the Commonwealth Government procurement market. Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) and Small Enterprise participation statistics are available on the Department of Finance's website."

It must also include an outline of the ways in which the procurement practices of the entity support small and medium enterprises.

The Commonwealth Procurement Rules (Paragraphs 5.5 to 5.7) deal with the requirements for procurement practices of Commonwealth entities to support small and medium enterprises.

The Australian Government is committed to entities sourcing at least 10 per cent of procurement by value from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The Commonwealth Procurement Rules state that, to ensure that SMEs can engage in fair competition for Australian Government business, officials should apply procurement practices that do not unfairly discriminate against SMEs and provide appropriate opportunities for SMEs to compete.

Annual reports must include a statement that refers readers to the statistics on SMEs’ participation in Commonwealth Government procurement available on the Statistics on Australian Government Procurement Contracts page. 

This statement may include some of the following initiatives or practices:

  • the Commonwealth Contracting Suite for low-risk procurements valued under $200,000
  • Australian Industry Participation plans in whole-of-government procurement where applicable
  • the Small Business Engagement Principles (outlined in the government’s Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda), such as communicating in clear, simple language and presenting information in an accessible format
  • electronic systems or other processes used to facilitate on-time payment performance, including the use of payment cards.

Material entities must include the following statement in the annual report:

"[Name of entity] recognises the importance of ensuring that small businesses are paid on time. The results of the Survey of Australian Government Payments to Small Business available at [provide link]."

Entities that are considered material in nature, as characterised by the Department of Finance in the PGPA Flipchart must include a statement in their annual reports referring readers to the on-time payment performance results, which will be available on the website of the Department responsible for small business. This is currently the Department of the Treasury.
 

Annual financial statements
 

The associated data template can be found under the Tools and templates in Appendix C
       (Financial Statements Subset Data Templates).

Annual reports must include a copy of the annual financial statements of the entity (and the Auditor-General’s report) for the period that the annual report is prepared.

Financial statements must be prepared in accordance with the Public Governance Performance and Accountability (Financial Reporting) Rule 2015.

For further information on the preparation and presentation of annual financial statements, see RMG No. 125: Commonwealth Entities Financial Statements.

The Digital Annual Reporting Tool requires a subset of financial statements information to be provided in the standard data templates. The data templates do not replace the entity’s existing reporting requirements under the PGPA Act or any other applicable requirement.

 

Executive remuneration
 

The associated data template can be found under the Tools and templates in Appendix C
       (Section 17AD(da) - Executive Remuneration).

The annual report must include information about executive remuneration.

For guidance on reporting executive remuneration refer to RMG No. 138: Commonwealth entities Executive Remuneration Reporting Guide for Annual Reports.

Advertising and market research
 

The annual report must include the following statement:

“During [reporting period], the [name of entity] conducted the following advertising campaigns: [name of advertising campaigns undertaken]. Further information on those advertising campaigns is available at [address of entity’s website] and in the reports on Australian Government advertising prepared by the Department of Finance. Those reports are available on the Department of Finance’s website.”

or

  • if the entity did not conduct any advertising campaigns during the period—a statement to that effect.

Entities should make it clear that the report on Campaign Advertising by Australian Government Departments and Agencies, prepared by the Department of Finance provides details of campaigns for which expenditure was greater than $250,000 (including GST). Entities may wish to provide a statement in the annual report to this effect.

Entities should note that this requirement is in addition to the requirements stipulated by the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918. For further information on those requirements, see Part 3 of this guide.

 

Grants
 

As GrantConnect now provides information about all grants made, there is no need for entities to compile lists of grant recipients for their annual reports.

Instead, entities must include a statement in their annual reports:

"Information on grants awarded by [name of entity] during [reporting period] is available at [website address]."

Further information on grants administration is available from the Grants Policy Team, Department of Finance, at grants@finance.gov.au.

 

Disability reporting mechanism
 

Annual reports must include an explicit reference to other disability reporting mechanisms, specifically noting where entity level information can be found. The annual report must include a reference to a website for further information.

A suggested form of words to satisfy this requirement is set out below:

The National Disability Strategy is Australia’s overarching framework for disability reform. It acts to ensure the principles underpinning the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities are incorporated into Australia’s policies and programs that affect people with disability, their families and carers.

All levels of government will continue to be held accountable for the implementation of the strategy through progress reporting to the Australian, state, territory and local governments. Progress reports can be found at dss.gov.au. Disability reporting is included the Australian Public Service Commission’s State of the Service reports and the APS Statistical Bulletin. These reports are available at www.apsc.gov.au.

 

Freedom of information
 

As part of the Information Publication Scheme (IPS), entities are required to publish, on a website, 10 categories of information, including information about the entity’s structure, functions and statutory appointments. The annual report must include a reference to this website.

To address the above requirement, annual reports should include a statement along the following lines:
Entities subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) are required to publish information to the public as part of the Information Publication Scheme (IPS). This requirement is in Part II of the FOI Act and has replaced the former requirement to publish a section 8 statement in an annual report. Each agency must display on its website a plan showing what information it publishes in accordance with the IPS requirements.
Further information about the IPS is available at the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner website.

 

Remediation of information published in previous annual reports

If the previous annual report contains any significant statement on a matter of fact that has proved to be wrong in a material respect, the annual report must include information to correct the record.

Part 3 - Other legislative requirements

Other legislative requirements

 

The operations that an entity reports on in its annual report can be affected by other legislation or legislative instruments. Such legislation can either be general in nature or specific enabling legislation of the entity.

Information required by other Acts or instruments to be included in the annual report must be included in one or more appendices to the report.

This part of the guide provides an overview of the other legislative requirements applicable to many entities. It is the responsibility of entities to consider whether the legislation applies to them.

Work Health and Safety Act 2011

Section 4 Annual reports

  • Each of the following entities must include the matters mentioned in subclause (2) in its annual report for a financial year:
    • A non-corporate Commonwealth entity within the meaning of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013
    • a public authority.
  • The matters are:
    • initiatives taken during the year to ensure the health, safety and welfare of workers who carry out work for the entity
    • health and safety outcomes (including the impact on injury rates of workers) achieved as a result of initiatives mentioned under paragraph (a) or previous initiatives
    • statistics of any notifiable incidents of which the entity becomes aware during the year that arose out of the conduct of businesses or undertakings by the entity
    • any investigations conducted during the year that relate to businesses or undertakings conducted by the entity, including details of all notices given to the entity during the year under Part 10 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011
    • such other matters as are required by guidelines approved on behalf of the Parliament by the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit.
For further information on the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 please see the Comcare website. If there are any questions please contact Comcare at general.enquiries@comcare.gov.au.

Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918

Section Section 311A Annual returns of income and expenditure of Commonwealth Departments

  • Subject to this section, the principal officer of each Commonwealth Department must attach a statement to its annual report setting out particulars of all amounts paid by, or on behalf of, the Commonwealth Department during the financial year to:
    • advertising agencies
    • market research organisations
    • polling organisations
    • direct mail organisations
    • media advertising organisations
    • and the persons or organisations to whom those amounts were paid.

Nothing in subsection(1) requires particulars of a payment made by a Commonwealth Department in a financial year to be included in a return if the value of the payment is less than or equal to the disclosure threshold.

The first return under this section need only contain particulars in relation to the period starting on the commencement of this section and ending on the next 30 June.

In this section:

  • Commonwealth Department means:
    • a Department of State of the Commonwealth
    • a Department of the Parliament established under the Parliamentary Service Act 1999
    • an Agency (within the meaning of the Public Service Act 1999).
  • Principal officer means:
    • in relation to a Department—the person holding, or performing the duties of, the office of Secretary of the Department
    • in relation to an Agency—the Agency Head (within the meaning of the Public Service Act 1999) of the Agency.

Note that the reporting on advertising and market research is not restricted to electoral matters. Further guidance on the different types of advertising is available on the Types of Advertising page.

The reporting threshold for each year is available from the Australian Electoral Commission website.

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

Section 516A  Annual reports to deal with environmental matters

Content of report

  • A report described in subsection (1), (4) or (5) relating to a body or person (the reporter) for a period must:
    • include a report on how the activities of, and the administration (if any) of legislation by, the reporter during the period accorded with the principles of ecologically sustainable development
    • identify how the outcomes (if any) specified for the reporter in an Appropriations Act relating to the period contribute to ecologically sustainable development
    • document the effect of the reporter’s activities on the environment
    • identify any measures the reporter is taking to minimise the impact of activities by the reporter on the environment
    • identify the mechanisms (if any) for reviewing and increasing the effectiveness of those measures.

Note: The Auditor‑General Act 1997 lets the Auditor‑General audit a reporter’s compliance with these requirements.

  • In subsection:

      activities includes:
    • developing and implementing policies, plans, programs and legislation
    • the operations of a department, authority, company or agency referred to in this section.

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has Section 516A Reporting Guidelines available on their website. The additional guidance helps entities decide which of their activities to report on. Sets of generic indicators have also been provided to assist agencies with ongoing monitoring of their Ecologically Sustainable Development and environmental performance.

Questions about the application of these requirements should be directed to esd.enquiries@environment.gov.au.

In the case of an entity that is defined as a ‘public service care agency’, compliance with the entity’s obligations under the Carer Recognition Act 2010 is required.

A public service care agency is defined in section 4 of the Carer Recognition Act 2010 to mean an agency as defined in the Public Service Act 1999 that is responsible for the development, implementation, provision or evaluation of policies, programs or services directed to carers or the persons for whom they care.

For further information about the obligations of entities under the Carer Recognition Act 2010, see the Carer Recognition Act Guidelines on the Department of Social Services website. Questions about the application of these requirements should be directed to carersupport@dss.gov.au.


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