Corporate plans for Commonwealth entities (RMG 132)

Audience

This guide is relevant to officials of Commonwealth entities with responsibility for assisting accountable authorities in preparing corporate plans.

The guide is also intended to support officials who manage the key activities (as described in the corporate plan) of an entity.

Key points

  • The accountable authority of a Commonwealth entity must prepare a corporate plan for the entity at least once each reporting period.[1]
  • The corporate plan must be published on the entity’s website by the last day of the second month of the reporting period for which the plan is prepared.[2]

Commonwealth entities that report on a financial year basis must publish their corporate plans on their website by 31 August each year. Entities that report on a calendar year basis must publish a corporate plan by the end of February each year.

  • A copy of the entity’s corporate plan must be provided to the responsible Minister and the Finance Minister as soon as practicable after it is prepared and before it is published on the entity’s website.[3]

It is not necessary for entities to send copies of their corporate plans to the Office of the Finance Minister directly - entities will meet the requirement to provide a copy of their corporate plan to the Finance Minister by emailing a copy of their corporate plan to the Department of Finance at: pgpa@finance.gov.au

  • The content requirements for corporate plans are set out in subsection 16E(2) of the PGPA Rule. The corporate plan must include:
    • an introduction;
    • the purposes of the entity;
    • the key activities;
    • the operating context of the entity (addressing environment, capabilities, risk oversight and management, cooperation, and subsidiaries); and
    • the planned performance of the entity, including performance measures.
  • This guide recognises that it is the accountable authorities who are responsible for developing and tailoring their corporate plans to suit their entity’s particular circumstances.
  • Entities do not have to structure their corporate plan in the same order as the requirements of the PGPA Rule. Entities are encouraged to present their corporate plans in a manner that best demonstrates how they intend to achieve their purposes over the period covered by the plan.
  • Where appropriate, each requirement is illustrated by examples of how it has been addressed by particular entities.

Effect of amendments made by Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Amendment (2020 Measures No. 1) Rules 2020

This guidance incorporates the amendments of section 16E, and the insertion of section 16EA, made by the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Amendment (2020 Measures No. 1) Rules 2020.

The amendments apply in relation to a corporate plan that is prepared for a reporting period that begins on or after 1 July 2020.

For entities with reporting periods that align with financial years, this means that the amendments will first apply for their corporate plan prepared for the 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021 reporting period.

For entities with reporting periods aligned to calendar years, this means that the amendments will first apply for their corporate plan prepared for the 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021 reporting period.

 

Resources

1. Introduction

What is a corporate plan?

  1. The corporate plan is the primary planning document published by an entity, setting out the purposes, the operating context in which it will operate, the key activities it intends to pursue, and how performance will be measured and assessed over at least four reporting periods.
  2. The nature and complexity of an entity determines the scope and complexity of its internal planning processes and, by extension, the content of its corporate plan.
  3. Each entity needs to decide how its internal planning processes will inform the development of its corporate plan. This will involve determining what aspects of its internal planning give the best insight into its purposes, key activities and intended results.

The role of corporate plans in the Commonwealth performance framework

  1. The corporate plan, Portfolio Budget Statements and the annual performance statements (included in annual reports) are the core elements of the Commonwealth performance framework.
    • The corporate plan is developed at the beginning of the reporting cycle and sets out an entity’s key activities and how performance will be measured and assessed.
    • The Portfolio Budget Statements set out the funding for the entity and how the impact of that expenditure will be measured.
    • Annual performance statements, which are included in the entity’s annual report, are produced at the end of the reporting cycle and outline the results of the measurement and assessment of the entity’s performance in the reporting period.

2. Does my entity need to prepare a corporate plan?

  1. Commonwealth entities are required to produce corporate plans for each reporting period.

Entities with enabling legislation

  1. The PGPA Act does not affect the operational independence of statutory entities as set out in their enabling legislation or the requirements of that legislation. The enabling legislation of a number of entities sets out requirements for the preparation of their corporate plans or similar documents. These include disclosure, release and variation requirements.
  2. If an entity’s enabling legislation contains requirements for corporate plans or similar documents that are different from the requirements of the PGPA Act and associated
    rules, the requirements of the enabling legislation will take priority.
  3. Similarly, if an entity already produces a product (such as a strategic plan), under its enabling legislation or otherwise, that can be modified to meet the requirements for corporate plans then the entity can publish that product as its corporate plan. This product could then perform a dual purpose.

What is a reporting period?

  1. A corporate plan must be prepared at least once each reporting period.5 As a reporting period is usually a financial year (unless otherwise stated in an entity’s enabling legislation), this means that the corporate plan will usually be prepared each financial
    year.

Period of the corporate plan

  1. The corporate plan, unless otherwise prescribed by an entity’s enabling legislation, must cover at least four reporting periods, commencing from the reporting period for which the corporate plan is prepared under paragraph 35(1)(a) of the PGPA Act. This does not prevent an entity from producing a corporate plan that covers a longer period if that best addresses the entity’s specific requirements.
  2. For example, a corporate plan prepared by an entity for the 2020-21 financial year would be titled as that ‘entity’s 2020-21 corporate plan’. That plan must cover a minimum of four reporting periods (in this example, 2020–21 to 2023-24).

Figure 1: Period of corporate plan

3. How should the corporate plan be structured?

  1. Entities are not obliged to follow the structure of the PGPA Rule when they are developing their corporate plan.
  2. Entities have the flexibility to structure their corporate plan in a way that provides the best approach to communicating the entity’s purposes and how it proposes to achieve these over the period of the plan.
  3. Rather than addressing the requirements of the corporate plan (discussed below) in separate sections, some entities structure their corporate plans in a way that addresses these requirements under key activities or themes. This approach can result in the corporate plan presenting information that assists a reader to understand how these elements, collectively, assist in the achievement of an entity’s purposes.

4. Requirements for government business enterprises

  1. Section 5 of the PGPA Rule identifies those Commonwealth entities and Commonwealth companies that are government business enterprises (GBEs) for the purposes of the PGPA Act.
  2. GBEs are required to prepare corporate plans in accordance with the requirements set out in section 16E of the PGPA Rule, together with any additional requirements specified in Resource Management Guide No. 126: Commonwealth Government Business Enterprise Governance and Oversight Guidelines (the GBE Guidelines). The GBE Guidelines are available at https://www.finance.gov.au/publications/resource-management-guides-rmgs….
  3. For further information on the GBE Guidelines, contact: GBO@finance.gov.au.

5. What are the content requirements of the corporate plan?

  1. Subsection 35(3) of the PGPA Act requires an entity’s corporate plan to cover its subsidiaries – if the entity has any. The matters to be included in relation to each subsidiary are those prescribed by the PGPA Rule, so far as they are applicable.
  2. Subsection 16E(2) of the PGPA Rule requires an entity’s corporate plan to include a summary how each of its subsidiaries – where they exist – contribute to the entity achieving its purposes as a whole.
  3. In practice, corporate plans will inherently incorporate any subsidiaries an entity may have; however, this may not require each subsidiary to be separately or specifically identified in the corporate plan. Entities may determine, on a case-by-case basis, if separate identification of a subsidiary is required. The main consideration will be the significance of the subsidiary and the effect it is expected to have on the fulfilment of the entity’s purposes with subsidiaries that have a significant effect or contribution, specifically addressed in the entities corporate plan.
  4. The requirements for corporate plans are designed to allow each entity to present planning information in the way it considers will best inform the reader of the results the entity intends to achieve over the period of the plan. Taking into account the needs of various stakeholders, the corporate plan should attempt to strike a balance between conciseness and containing sufficient information to enable a reader to be informed about the activities and plans the entity intends to pursue in achieving its purposes over the period of the plan.
  5. Entities are encouraged to make a clear use of headings throughout their corporate plan. The use of headings can assist a reader to navigate from one element to another, particularly when one or more elements of the plan is discussed in multiple places throughout the plan. The use of headings can also assist in demonstrating adherence with the requirements of the PGPA Rule. This practice may also assist a reader to navigate between the plans of a number of entities, assisting with comparability between entities, a practice that is facilitated by the availability of corporate plans on the Transparency portal.
  6. Consistent with the practice adopted in preparing annual reports, entities could also include a List of Requirements in their corporate plans (see Appendix for a template).

5.1 Introduction (statement of preparation and period of coverage)

  1. The corporate plan must include an introductory statement7 that:
    • states that the plan has been prepared for paragraph 35(1)(b) of the PGPA Act. The statement may also refer to any other legislation applicable to the preparation of the plan;
    • specifies the reporting period for which the plan is prepared (this would usually be the first reporting period of the minimum four-year period covered by the plan); and,
    • specifies the reporting periods covered by the plan (this would usually be the minimum four-year period covered by the plan; for example, 2020-21 to 2023-24).
  2. An example statement of preparation for Commonwealth entities is set out below..

Example statement of preparation

I/We, as the accountable authority of [entity name], present the [year for which the plan is prepared] [entity name] corporate plan, which covers the periods of [minimum four-year period], as required under paragraph 35(1)(b) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and [reference to sections of other applicable legislation].

5.2 Purpose(s)

  1. The corporate plan must include the purpose(s) of the entity.8 The purposes of an entity include the objectives, functions or role of the entity.9 In other words, the purposes of an entity are the strategic objectives that the entity intends to pursue, or make a significant contribution to achieving, over the reporting period.
  2. When constructing purpose statements, entities are encouraged to consider a variety of sources, such as:
    • any key government priorities and objectives (including statements made under section 34 of the PGPA Act);
    • Portfolio Budget Statements (outcomes and programs);
    • any enabling or other relevant legislation;
    • administrative arrangement orders;
    • other sources (e.g. national partnership agreements).
  3. Purpose statements are most informative when they are clear and succinct, clearly labelled as the entity’s purposes, and stated upfront in the document. In this way, an entity’s purposes can be used as the anchor point for the structure of the corporate plan.
  4. Well-expressed purpose statements make it clear who benefits from an entity’s key activities, how they benefit and what is achieved when an entity successfully delivers on its purposes.
  5. As entities must report their performance in achieving their purposes in their annual performance statements, entities should ensure that their purpose statement is sufficiently specific to allow for the meaningful measurement and assessment of its performance against its purposes through appropriate performance measures.
  6. The purpose statement should be relevant for the medium to long term rather than reflect a number of short-term goals.
  7. An entity’s purposes can be supported by a vision and/or mission statement in recognition that the corporate plan will often be a document that ‘speaks’ to both internal and external stakeholders. However, vision and/or mission statements should not be included as a substitute for a clear statement of an entity’s purposes.

5.3 Key activities

  1. The corporate plan must identify the key activities that an entity will undertake during the entire period of the corporate plan in order to achieve the purposes of the entity.10
  2. Entities do not need to specify the key activities to be undertaken in each reporting period. The corporate plan should provide a discussion of the key activities over the entire four year (minimum) period.
  3. A key activity is a distinct, significant program or area of work undertaken by an entity to assist in achieving the entity’s purposes.
  4. The corporate plan does not need to describe everything an entity does to deliver its purposes. The focus of the corporate plan is on those activities that make a significant contribution to the achievement of the purposes of the entity.
  5. Entities may consider outlining their strategies for achieving the intended results for each key activity.
  6. Entities could also indicate the timeframe for achievement of the objectives of its key activities and its intended results, many of which in government have longer-term timeframes. Entities may also wish to include details of actual and planned progress, to demonstrate how the objective is being implemented over the period of the plan.
  7. The corporate plan could include information on key activities and milestones that the entity intends to achieve in meeting its purposes over the period of the plan. It is good practice for an entity’s internal reporting arrangements to involve periodic reporting on the achievement against such key activities and milestones.

Good practice example 1 – key activities

The Department of Education 2019-20 Corporate Plan identifies key activities under each outcome. Key activities are presented clearly in a table, separated into several themes or categories. The extract below shows the key activities for three (out of five) headings for Outcome 1 (p 7). This makes it clear for the reader to understand the significant activities the entity will undertake to achieve its purposes within distinct areas of responsibility of the entity.

Outcome 1: Quality early learning and schooling
Policy and strategy Program implementation and delivery Regulation and compliance Relationships, networks and collaboration Research and analysis

The department will use an evidence-based approach to policy and decision making to:

  • develop, maintain and improve early learning and child care policy frameworks, with a particular focus on improving outcomes for vulnerable and disadvantaged, and Indigenous children
  • remove unnecessary barriers and ensure sector regulation is appropriate and fit-for-purpose
  • develop and implement the three national reform directions as set out in the National School Reform Agreement: - supporting students, student learning and student achievement - supporting teaching, school leadership and school improvement - enhancing the national evidence base

The department will administer funding and deliver programs to:

  • facilitate participation in quality education and child care from early learning to secondary schooling
  • ensure all children have access to quality early learning before reaching school
  • improve inclusion and reduce access barriers for vulnerable and disadvantaged children, families and communities
  • provide consistent needs-based funding to government and non-government authorities to assist in the delivery of quality education in schools
  • support student wellbeing and the implementation of the Australian Curriculum

The department will protect the integrity of public funding through monitoring and compliance activities across sectors. This includes:

  • ensuring the accuracy and integrity of child care subsidy payments and other programs
  • educating service providers about their obligations
  • ensuring appropriate transparency and accountability for public funding for schools through the implementation of a risk-based compliance and assurance framework

The department will foster and maintain relationships with its stakeholders to:

  • work in partnership with Commonwealth agencies, state and territory governments and other key stakeholders to ensure high quality child care, early childhood education and schooling
  • enable the delivery of key national policies and programs across all areas of school education
  • ensure quality policy advice is provided to government

The department will undertake research and analysis to better inform national policy and program development. This includes:

  • collecting and analysing data to inform policy, and managing early learning and child care programs effectively
  • undertaking evidence-based analysis to inform the development of policy and program improvements for school students
  • working with states and territories to enhance the national evidence base and data infrastructure

Good practice example 2 – key activities

The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development 2019-20 Corporate Plan identifies key activities under each program. The extract below shows the key activities for Program 1.1 – Infrastructure Investment (p 8). These are presented in a table which clearly shows which reporting periods the key activities are expected to take place within. The key activities are also aligned to the entity’s purposes of “supporting economic growth through transport”, “making travel safer”, ”increasing transport access”, and “supporting regional development, cities and local communities.” This makes it easy for the reader to identify the relevant key activities that will be undertaken to achieve against each program, and identify the specific purposes toward which the key activities contribute. It also enables the reader to understand the expected timing and duration of key activities, and understand how the entity’s performance and key activities are expected to change over time.

Key activities 2019–20 2020–21 2021–22 2022–23
Manage the Infrastructure Investment Program, including by implementing:
  • road and rail commitments through the 2019–20 Budget
  • the government's land transport sub-programs—Roads to Recovery, Black Spot, Bridges Renewal and the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity
  • concessional loan agreements
Oversee implementation of the Indigenous Employment and Supplier-Use Infrastructure Framework established under the new National Partnership Agreement on Land Transport Infrastructure Projects
Provide strategic advice to government on infrastructure policy issues including:
  • detailed project reviews and advice on implementation options for land transport projects
  • managing governance arrangements for Roads of Strategic Importance, the Urban Congestion Fund and Major Business Case Fund
  • implementing the government's role as an informed investor to ensure value for money
  • managing governance arrangements for Infrastructure Australia, the Infrastructure Project Financing Agency and the National Faster Rail Agency
 
Work in partnership with state and territory governments and industry to implement heavy vehicle road reform and investigate pathways towards full market reform
Undertake cost estimation, assurance and compliance reviews to improve transport infrastructure decision-making and delivery through sound management in partnership with the jurisdictions
Oversee delivery of inland rail
Oversee business cases to consider the development of intermodal terminals in Melbourne and Brisbane to support inland rail services
     
Oversee development of feasibility studies and strategic business cases for Inland Rail Interface Improvement Program
   
Shareholder oversight of the Australian Rail Track Corporation
Establish the National Faster Rail Agency
     
Work with the Victorian Government to oversee delivery of the Melbourne Airport Rail Link detailed business case and project
Progress national rail policy reform to ensure efficient and effective rail investments and markets
Oversee construction of the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal
 
Work with the New South Wales Government to oversee delivery of the first stage of the North South Rail Link project

5.4 Operating context

  1. Purposes are pursued and achieved within an entity’s operating context. There are five elements that must be included in the discussion of an entity’s operating context11:
    • the environment in which the entity will operate;
    • the capability required by the entity to undertake its key activities and to achieve its purposes;
    • the risk oversight and management systems, the key risks the entity will manage and how those risks will be managed;
    • how an entity cooperates with others to achieve its purposes; and
    • how any subsidiaries will contribute to achieving the entity’s purposes.
  2. Corporate plans must include a discussion of the five elements (outlined above) over the entire period covered by the plan. This does not mean that each element should be discussed for each individual reporting period. Rather, this requires that entities recognise the potential for change in the environment over the entire period of the plan, and provide a forward-looking discussion of these elements.
  3. The five elements of the operating context should provide the reader with a clear understanding of how, individually and collectively, these elements contribute to an entity achieving its purposes.

Environment

  1. The corporate plan must include a discussion of the environment in which the entity will operate across the entire period covered by the plan.
  2. In addressing this requirement, entities should include a discussion of the nature and characteristics of the environment in which the entity operates that may impact on the achievement of the entity’s purposes. This could include a discussion of various factors, such as:
    • macroeconomic and microeconomic factors (such as global and regional economic conditions);
    • the regulatory landscape (such as legislative factors, policy factors, or changes in regulatory regimes);
    • technological factors (such as technological advances and automation); or
    • social factors (such as changes in the expectations and demographics of the population).
  3. In discussing the environmental factors impacting the achievement of an entity’s purposes, entities could outline the main factors that are both in the control and beyond the control of the entity and the way the entity proposes to respond to these factors. In this way, a reader is better informed about the environmental factors that may impact the entity’s performance.

Good practice example 3 – environment

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) 2019-20 Corporate Plan provides an insightful discussion of operating environment across three themes: criminal, stakeholder and governance (pp 10-15). Within these sections, ACIC identifies a range of environmental factors, such as challenges posed by technological changes, changing stakeholder needs, as well as its legislative and stakeholder environment. ACIC also identifies key challenges and opportunities within the environment. This makes it easy for the reader to understand the environment in which ACIC operates, and how it may shape their key activities and performance.

Good practice example 4 – environment

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) 2019-20 Corporate Plan provides an insightful discussion of operating environment under four ‘strategic challenges’. For example, under ‘Challenge 1: Managing risks to safety and the environment’, the corporate plan discusses growth rate in commercial shipping, forecasted demand for imported consumer goods, the emergence of new technologies, and potential threats to safety (pp 14-22). The discussion of operating environment under each strategic challenge weaves in discussion of capability and strategic goals as well. The discussion identifies several factors under each theme, and identifies the extent of AMSA’s influence in relation to each factor. The corporate plan also outlines key activities (‘focus areas’) and performance information under each challenge. In this way, the corporate plan weaves a discussion of different elements in an informative way that makes it easy for the reader to understand the environment in which AMSA operates, and how it may shape their key activities and performance.

Good practice example 5 – environment

Cancer Australia’s (CA) 2019-20 Corporate Plan provides an insightful discussion of operating environment, identifying environmental factors such as Australia’s growing and aging population driving future increases in cancer incidence and health service utilisation, and the increasing complexity and cost of cancer care (pp 4-7). The discussion also identifies key trends and future challenges, and how CA will respond in consideration of these trends and challenges.

Capability

  1. The corporate plan must address an entity's capability, including the key strategies and plans the entity will implement over the entire period covered by the plan to achieve the entity’s purposes.
  2. Entities should describe their current capability and assess how their capability needs may change over the period of the corporate plan. The corporate plan should outline the strategies and plans an entity expects to put in place to build the capability they expect to require in the future in areas such as workforce, infrastructure or information communications and technology (ICT). In this way, good practice discussions of capability will provide the reader with a good appreciation of why and how an entity intends to have the capability it requires over the life of the plan to achieve its purposes.
  3. Good practice capability sections go beyond identifying workforce strategies and take an integrated approach to outlining how the entity will develop capability according to its purposes, operating context, risks, anticipated changes in the environment and technology.

Workforce capability

Entities may need to enhance their future workforce capability to assist in achieving their purposes. A discussion of workforce capability could address issues such as:
• high-level trends and developments that are affecting or may affect their workforce;
• current workforce capability requirements and gaps; • anticipated future workforce capability requirements; and
• strategies and plans to address key workforce capability gaps.

Infrastructure capability 

A discussion of an entity’s infrastructure capability could cover:

• significant investments that are expected to be made over the period of the plan; and
• how these are expected to assist the entity in achieving its purposes.

ICT capability

A discussion of an entity’s ICT capability could:

  • briefly outline the technology strategy to support future business requirements. This may include key objectives and focus areas for development in ICT capability over the short, medium and long terms and consideration of the drivers for change.
  • explain how their technology strategy aligns with broader trends in technological development (including from a whole-of-government perspective).
  • identify proposed improvements in ICT capability that are expected to be achieved through cooperation, co-investment and/or shared services between entities.

Good practice example 6 – capability

The Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) 2019-20 Corporate Plan provides a detailed analysis of several of AIMS’ main capability requirements including Financial, Capital, Staff and Research Partnerships (pp 24-27). The capability section identifies gaps in AIMS’ capability in these areas, and discusses AIMS’ strategies to build capability. This gives the reader the sense that AIMS plans to achieve its purposes with capability as a key consideration at the forefront of mind.

Good practice example 7 – capability

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) 2019-20 Corporate Plan provides a detailed discussion of capability across five broad themes (pp 21-25). The corporate plan identifies BOM’s capability development pathway for the reporting periods covered by the plan, and identifies strategic actions that will be undertaken to develop enterprise capabilities.

 Risk

  1. Section 16 of the PGPA Act provides that accountable authorities of all Commonwealth entities must establish and maintain appropriate systems of risk oversight, management and internal control for the entity.
  2. The corporate plan must include a summary of the risk oversight and management systems of the entity, the key risks that the entity will manage, and how those risks will be managed.
  3. The Commonwealth Risk Management Policy applies to non-corporate Commonwealth entities to support compliance with section 16 of the PGPA Act. Corporate Commonwealth entities are not required to comply with the policy, although the policy says they may review and align their risk management frameworks and systems with the policy as a matter of good practice.
  4. Entities should discuss their current systems of risk oversight and management and any plans the entity may have to improve their risk oversight and management systems during the entire period of the corporate plan. Sufficient details should be provided to enable a reader to understand and be confident that an entity has established, and has arrangements for maintaining, an appropriate system of risk oversight and management.
  5. In addition to describing the entity’s risk oversight and management systems, entities must also identify the entity’s key risks and how those risks will be managed and mitigated.
  6. For example, key risks may include:
    • loss of skills required for specific key activities;
    • equipment failure/damage that impacts service delivery;
    • service delivery outages that could significantly impact customer confidence and an entity’s reputation; and/or
    • damage to systems or infrastructure caused by external parties.
  7. The corporate plan must also explain how the key risks identified in the corporate plan will be managed. Entities can meet this requirement by outlining the general mitigation strategies and controls they have in place, or the strategies and control in place for each of the entity’s key risks. Entities could also discuss any risks that could emerge over the period of the plan and the entity’s approach to monitoring these emerging risks.

Good practice example 8 – risk oversight and management and key risks

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) 2019-20 Corporate Plan provides a discussion of risk oversight and management, including discussing BOM’s governance arrangements and outlining its risk management framework and system (pp 26-28). The corporate plan also includes a section on BOM’s approach in anticipation of, and adaptation to, disruptive events.

The corporate plan includes a table of key business risks and responses, in which BOM identifies how the key risks may impact on the entity’s performance. The table of key business risks also provides cross-references to related strategic actions, designed to mitigate the impact of the risk and reduce any potential impact on the organisation. This approach shows the connections between risk and capability, and shows that BOM plans to achieve against its purpose with risk front of mind.

Good practice example 9 – risk oversight and management and key risks

The Department of Communications and the Arts 2019-20 Corporate Plan provides a discussion of risk oversight and management, including discussing the department’s governance arrangements and outlining its risk management framework and system (pp 39-40). The corporate plan also includes a list of strategic risk events and mitigating strategies.

Strategic risk Mitigating strategies
  1. We fail to provide an accessible and beneficial environment for communications services, creative experiences and culture

We monitor relevant market and sector developments, and provide early advice to government on major risks, opportunities and relevant policy options in response.

We design regulatory and market interventions to be technology neutral, so they do not differentiate between the underlying network or device used to deliver or receive the service or experience.

  1. Our interaction with stakeholders and consumers is inadequate

We have a stakeholder engagement framework which recognises that engaging widely helps us to provide authoritative advice. We actively seek diverse views on portfolio issues and report on these views as required.

In addition, we use existing relationships, forums and other mechanisms to seek feedback on perceptions of the quality of our outreach activities.

  1. Our focus and resources are not aligned to our policy, program, or regulation activities

Our business planning and budgeting process enables Executive oversight of the delivery of departmental and portfolio activities.

We use agile work practices and deploy taskforces and short-term project teams to bring necessary expertise and resourcing to urgent and strategic priorities. In addition, we:

  • undertake management-initiated reviews
  • use an internal audit capacity
  • research economic drivers and international approaches which inform improved policy and program delivery
  1. Our policy advice is sub-optimal as it is not forward looking and strategic

Our business planning process involves regular environmental and horizon scanning, and emerging strategic issues are discussed in Executive forums.

  1. We do not have the capability or capacity to achieve our purposes

Refer to the capability section of this plan (below).

Cooperation 

  1. Corporate plans must include a discussion of any organisations or bodies with which the entity cooperates that make a significant contribution to achieving the entity’s purposes. The intention of this requirement is for entities to demonstrate that in undertaking their key activities, entities are cooperating with others to achieve their purposes. Cooperation across the Commonwealth takes many forms and can be described in a number of ways, such as partnering, relationships and collaborating.
  2. Organisations and bodies could, for example, include other Commonwealth entities (such as those within the national security community), state and territory governments (for example, where the entity’s purposes relate to areas such as education, health services or infrastructure), local government, private sector organisations, not-for-profit bodies, peak industry bodies and international jurisdictions.
  3. In meeting this requirement, an entity could discuss its cooperation with individual organisations or bodies that make a significant contribution to the entity’s purposes. For example, a policy department may cooperate closely with a service delivery entity to develop and administer policy to achieve a common policy goal. Alternatively, an entity’s discussion of cooperation could refer to the kinds or types of organisations or bodies that the entity cooperates with, where the cooperation that assists in achieving an entity’s purposes is best characterised as being collective in nature, or is with large numbers of organisations of a similar kind and it is impractical to identify all such organisations in the corporate plan. This may be appropriate, for instance, where an entity cooperates with state and territory, and local governments, or a number of similar stakeholders within a particular industry.
  4. It is not necessary or intended that an entity would detail all of its cooperative relationships in the corporate plan. Entities should focus on the cooperation that makes a significant or substantial contribution to the entity’s purposes. Possible indicators that a relationship with another organisation or body is significant in nature may include where:
    • a cross-organisational agreement is in place (such as a Memorandum of Understanding) to outline the roles, responsibilities and deliverables of each party;
    • there is a high frequency of interaction;
    • joint governance arrangements are established to govern cooperative activities, such as steering committees or other formal governance arrangements;
    • the organisation or body has a significant degree of influence on the performance of the entity in achieving its purposes; or
    • the relationship is long-standing and key deliverables are reviewed.
  5. The discussion on cooperation is not intended to include details of commercial arrangements that entities have with service providers or other organisations to assist in the delivery of services or assist in achieving their key activities or purposes. The requirement also does not encompass arrangements that can be broadly characterised as customer or client relationships that involve the provision of services or funding to organisations or individuals.
  6. A discussion of cooperation should also reflect how any linked programs, as outlined in entity Portfolio Budget Statements, contribute to achieving the entity’s purposes. For example, an entity could expand on the information reported in its most recent Portfolio Budget Statements that identifies how the achievement of outcomes depends on contributions made by the programs delivered by other entities across the Commonwealth.

Good practice example 10 – cooperation

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) 2019-20 Corporate Plan provides a high-level diagram (p 14) that identifies ACIC’s stakeholders. The corporate plan also discusses how ACIC’s cooperation with key stakeholders, such as state and territory police and other key Commonwealth agencies, assists in enabling and strengthening national responses to crime. This enables a reader to clearly identify ACIC’s stakeholders and how the cooperation assists the ACIC in achieving its purpose. 

Good practice example 11 – cooperation

The Cancer Australia (CA) 2019-20 Corporate Plan identifies CA’s key stakeholders (p 6), and discusses how CA’s cooperation is expected to assist CA to achieve its purpose. For example, the corporate plan notes that CA will liaise and work with international agencies to drive improvements in cancer outcomes and care, and optimise future investment in cancer control. This enables a reader to clearly identify CA’s stakeholders and how the cooperation assists CA in achieving its purpose.

Good practice example 12 – cooperation

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) 2019-20 Corporate Plan includes a discussion on how AMSA collaborates with the maritime industry to achieve its purposes (p 76). AMSA has identified the types of organisations and people it collaborates with, including international jurisdictions and individual stakeholders in the maritime industry. The AMSA corporate plan also outlines how it plans to work with international and partner organisations, and develop stakeholder relationships over the period covered by the corporate plan (commencing p 83).

Collaborating with our community

We cannot achieve our vision and mission without the support of others. Collaborating with our community in the broadest sense―whether it is on the international stage with other nations and partner organisations, or locally with an individual seafarer in Australia―is a strategic enabler for us. We recognise that our work must be relevant and credible to those we regulate. Australia has made a significant commitment to, and investment in, IMO participation. We are a signatory to a large number of memoranda of understanding for technical cooperation activities with other countries. We also have search and rescue agreements with regional partners that border our search and rescue region. Effective engagement with a range of stakeholders is critical as we assume responsibility for service delivery of the national system for domestic commercial vessel safety (National System).

The interactions with people across industry, in formal and informal settings, helps to inform our work and contributes to the rigour of our planning and regulations. We are building community confidence in the National System by providing consistent and relevant information that is easily accessible and understood. Understanding how our customers experience our service and improving our services in response will be crucial to our success. We have over a quarter of a million individual stakeholders, and receive approximately 132,000 enquiries from these stakeholders each year. The challenge for us is to ensure the information provided is accurate, timely and available through a variety of channels.

Subsidiaries 

  1. If an entity has subsidiaries, the entity’s corporate plan must cover both the entity and its subsidiaries.12 The matters to be included in relation to each subsidiary are those prescribed by the PGPA Rule, so far as they are applicable.
  2. Where an entity has subsidiaries, the corporate plan must include a summary of how any subsidiary of the entity will contribute to achieving the entity’s purposes.
  3. The PGPA Act14 provides a definition of subsidiary that incorporates the concepts of control outlined in AASB 10 Consolidated Financial Statements and the Corporations Act 2001.
  4. Entities do not need to list all their subsidiaries in their corporate plan. Rather, corporate plans should provide sufficient information to enable a reader to understand how the subsidiaries are expected to contribute to the achievement of the entity’s purposes (for example, through linking the functions of the subsidiaries to the purposes of the entity).

Good practice example 13 – discussion of subsidiaries

The Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation (ILSC) 2019–23 Corporate Plan provides a brief overview of ILSC’s three subsidiaries (p 9). The corporate plan also provides a more detailed discussion of the subsidiaries, the functions of each, and how they contribute to the achievement of ILSC’s purposes (pp 12-13). This approach enables a reader to clearly identify the subsidiaries and understand their contribution toward the achievement of ILSC’s purposes.

5.5 Performance

  1. The corporate plan must set out the details of how an entity’s performance in achieving its purposes will be measured and assessed for each reporting period covered by the plan, through:
    • performance measures which meet the requirements of section 16EA of the PGPA Rule; and
    • targets for each performance measure where it is reasonably practicable to set a target.
  2. These measures and targets will be used in the entity’s annual performance statement, prepared under section 16F of the PGPA Rule, to report on the entity’s performance and achievement of its purposes.
  3. In contrast to the discussion of an entity’s operating context, the corporate plan must include performance measures and targets for each reporting period covered by the plan. For example, for a corporate plan covering four reporting periods, the corporate plan must explicitly outline the performance measures and targets for each of those four reporting periods. Entities typically use a table that includes the four reporting periods toindicate which performance measures relate to each of the reporting periods covered by the plan.

Performance measures

  1. Entities must develop performance measures to measure and assess their performance in achieving their purposes, and these performance measures must meet the requirements of section 16EA of the PGPA Rule.
  2. These requirements are discussed further in Resource Management Guide No. 131A: Developing performance measures.
  3. The performance measures included in the corporate plan and Portfolio Budget Statements must also be reported in an entity’s annual performance statements at the end of the reporting period. As such, it is important that the performance measures in both documents are consistent and work together to enable a coherent set of performance results to be included in the annual performance statements (that is, enable a ‘clear read’).

Targets

  1. The corporate plan must also provide targets for each performance measure where it is reasonably practicable to set a target.
  2. Performance information is more informative if current performance can be compared qualitatively or quantitatively against particular performance levels. Where possible, targets for performance measures should be specific, measurable, time-bound and reportable. They should also be challenging but achievable.
  3. Circumstances where it may not be practicable to set a target could be where a baseline is being developed or where a methodology for measuring performance is yet to be finalised. Where targets are not provided, the corporate plan should include an explanation of why.
  4. Entities may use a combination of methods to establish performance targets, such as:
    • current performance;
    • current performance plus/minus a percentage improvement change;
    • averaged performance;
    • quality specifications or benchmarks.
  5. Entities should take care that targets do not promote adverse results, such as where an entity focuses on improving efficiency to a point where the quality of goods and services is substantially decreased. To ensure that targets are not unrealistic or create perverse incentives:
    • targets should be set through entity planning processes;
    • proposed targets should be trialled in parallel to existing targets;
    • targets should be presented in the context of the service being delivered.
  6. Entities should include a description of an entity’s rationale for setting particular targets where this will assist the reader to better understand the target(s) set. Entities are encouraged to consider how incremental improvement could be demonstrated over time. Where a target has historically been exceeded, or is static for a period of time, entities should review the target or explain why the target has been maintained at a certain level.

Good practice example 14 – Appropriateness of targets

The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Cities 2019-20 Corporate Plan generally includes separately identified targets to measure performance. For measure number 3 (p 9), a target is set for 2019-20 of 1016 or fewer fatalities, and the corporate plan notes that new targets will be set as part of the next National Road Safety Strategy. However, for measure number 4 for 2019-20, no target is set. Instead, the corporate plan notes that a baseline is being established, which would then form the baseline for performance measurement from 2020-21 to 2022-23. In this way, the corporate plan provides targets where it is reasonably practicable to do so and explains why no target has been set.

What will be measured?
Target
2019–20
Target
2020–21 and beyond

1. Volume of freight

Departmental contribution

1.1 Effective administration of investment in road infrastructure
1.2 Effective administration of investment in rail infrastructure
1.3 The percentage of road projects with government funding of $100 million or more that have been subject to a business case assessment (target 100%)
1.4 The percentage of rail projects with government funding of $100 million or more that have been subject to a business case assessment (target 100%)

Increased 10 year rolling average
Source: BITRE Australian Infrastructure Yearbook
Methodology: BITRE data analysis

2. Expected travel time savings arising from road projects in the Infrastructure Investment Program receiving $400 million or more in Australian Government funding

Departmental contribution

2.1 Effective administration of investment in road infrastructure
2.2 The percentage of road projects with government funding of $400 million or more that have been subject to a business case assessment (target 100%)

Reduced travel times
Source: Project proposal and post-completion reports
Methodology: Time savings to be measured as the total expected time savings benefits (AUD) of projects carried out in the financial year

3. Number of road fatalities

Departmental contribution

3.1 Effective administration of investment in road infrastructure
3.2 The percentage of road vehicle standards which are harmonised with international standards (>90% harmonised with international standards)

1,016 or fewer fatalities
New targets to be set as part of the next National Road Safety Strategy
Source: BITRE Australian Road Deaths database
Methodology: BITRE data analysis

4. Serious injuries due to road crashes

Departmental contribution

4.1 Effective administration of investment in road infrastructure
4.2 The percentage of road vehicle standards which are harmonised with international standards (>90% harmonised with international standards)

Establish a baseline Reduced relative to 2019–20 baseline
Source: departmental records
Methodology: the department will establish baseline indicators in consultation with states and territories in 2019–20

Selecting and structuring performance information

78. It is a matter for each entity how it structures and presents the planned performance information it intends to include in its corporate plan.

Good practice example 15 – structuring of performance information

The Department of Parliamentary Services 2019-20 Corporate Plan sets out performance criteria and key performance indicators (KPIs) under strategic themes. The extract below is for the strategic theme, “Respond to the changing needs of the Parliament” (p 29). The KPIs are presented in a table, with targets for each KPI and the years to which the measure applies clearly identified.

Figure 9 of the Corporate Plan (not shown) provides an overview of all the performance criteria and corresponding KPIs. The overview also identifies the relevant targets, assessment method, and frequency of internal reporting.

Performance Criteria Key Performance Indicator 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22 2022-23
Catering services 1. Number of services provided to parliamentarians
  2. Number of catering transactions
Building occupant satisfaction 3. % of building occupant feedback indicating a satisfied rating with timeliness and quality of DPS services (by category)
Hansard services KPIs are achieved 4. % of individual draft speeches delivered within two hours of speech finishing or within agreed timeframes
5.% of chamber proof Hansard reports delivered within three hours of chamber rising or within agreed timeframes
6. % of committee proof Hansard reports delivered within agreed time frames
7. External error rate per 100 pages for chamber proof Hansard reports
8. External error rate per 100 pages for committee proof Hansard reports
9. Availability of Operated Sound Reinforcement in the Chambers and Committees
Parliamentary Library KPIs are achieved 10. % of Library KPIs and deliverables set out in the annual Library Resource Agreement that are achieved
ICT service standards are achieved 11. % of ICT standards outlined in the ICT Service Level Agreement that are achieved
Visitor experience 12. Number of visitors
13. Visitor satisfaction
Communications 14. Enhancing access to information about Parliament House and its services
Event services 15. Satisfaction rating of persons/organisations hiring Parliament House event facilities
Design Integrity Performance   16. The level at which the design integrity process is functioning
17. The extent and effectiveness of consultation with moral rights administrators and DPS regarding the process for design integrity and moral rights matters
Building Condition Rating 18. % of building areas reviewed that are assessed as being in good or better condition
Engineering Systems Condition Rating 19. % of critical engineering systems reviewed that are assessed as being in good or better condition, or fair or better condition
Landscape Condition Rating 20. % of landscape areas reviewed that are assessed as being in good or better condition
Security KPIs are achieved 21. % of security incidents that are handled in accordance with policy and process
22. % of Parliamentary Security Service Officers compliant with Parliamentary Security Service mandatory training requirements
Parliament House works program KPIs are achieved   23. % of major capital works projects in delivery phase
24. % of major capital works budget spent in the financial year

Good practice example 16 – structuring of performance information

The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Cities 2019-20 Corporate Plan sets out performance measures in table format. Information is readily identifiable, with targets separately identified, and clearly identified data sources and methodologies (extract from p 9).

What will be measured?
Target 2019–20 Target 2020–21 and beyond

1. Volume of freight

Departmental contribution

1.1 Effective administration of investment in road infrastructure
1.2 Effective administration of investment in rail infrastructure
1.3 The percentage of road projects with government funding of $100 million or more that have been subject to a business case assessment (target 100%)
1.4 The percentage of rail projects with government funding of $100 million or more that have been subject to a business case assessment (target 100%)

Increased 10 year rolling average
Source: BITRE Australian Infrastructure Yearbook
Methodology: BITRE data analysis

2. Expected travel time savings arising from road projects in the Infrastructure Investment Program receiving $400 million or more in Australian Government funding

Departmental contribution

2.1 Effective administration of investment in road infrastructure
2.2 The percentage of road projects with government funding of $400 million or more that have been subject to a business case assessment (target 100%)

Reduced travel times
Source: Project proposal and post-completion reports
Methodology: Time savings to be measured as the total expected time savings benefits (AUD) of projects carried out in the financial year

3. Number of road fatalities

Departmental contribution

3.1 Effective administration of investment in road infrastructure
3.2 The percentage of road vehicle standards which are harmonised with international standards (>90% harmonised with international standards)

1,016 or fewer fatalities
New targets to be set as part of the next National Road Safety Strategy
Source: BITRE Australian Road Deaths database
Methodology: BITRE data analysis

4. Serious injuries due to road crashes

Departmental contribution

4.1 Effective administration of investment in road infrastructure
4.2 The percentage of road vehicle standards which are harmonised with international standards (>90% harmonised with international standards)

Establish a baseline Reduced relative to 2019–20 baseline
Source: departmental records
Methodology: the department will establish baseline indicators in consultation with states and territories in 2019–20

5.6 Record keeping

  1. Paragraph 32 of Resource Management Guide No. 131A: Developing performance measures (RMG 131A), discusses an entity’s responsibility to record and explain its performance in achieving its purposes particularly in the context of the requirements of section 16EA of the PGPA Rule. Maintaining records in line with the matters discussed in RMG 131A will assist the entity to meet its record keeping responsibilities in relation to the ntity’s corporate plan.

  2. In the context of the requirement for an entity’s corporate plan to include targets for those performance measures for which it is reasonably practicable to set a target (see item 5(b) in the table in subsection 16E(2)), where a target is not set, it is good practice for entity’s to record the reasons why. Entities are also encouraged to record any steps being taken to set a target in future years.

6. What are the corporate plan publication requirements?

  1. Entities must publish their corporate plans on their websites by the last day of the second month of the reporting period for which the plan is prepared. For all but a small number of entities, this is 31 August each year. For entities that operate on a calendar year basis, this is the end of February each year. An entity’s enabling legislation may specify another date for the publication of its corporate plan.
  2. Accountable authorities and directors are required to provide a copy of the corporate plan to their responsible Minister and the Minister for Finance as soon as practicable after the plan is prepared and before it is published on their entity’s website.
  3. There is no legal requirement for the responsible Minister to clear or approve entity corporate plans. Entities should follow any arrangements that they have agreed with the relevant Minister’s office in finalising and publishing their corporate plans.

It is not necessary for entities to send copies of their corporate plan to the Office of the Finance Minister directly – entities should forward a copy of their updated plans to the Department of Finance by email to: pgpa@finance.gov.au. This process will satisfy the requirement of the PGPA Rule to provide a copy to the Finance Minister.

  1. As a general rule, corporate plans will be public documents. In some circumstances plans will contain commercially sensitive information or information on national security matters and may necessitate the publication of a modified corporate plan. For further information, see the section on “Sensitive information” below.

Sensitive information

  1. If the accountable authority considers that the entity’s corporate plan contains confidential or commercially sensitive information or information on national security matters that, if published, could prejudice the national security interests of the Commonwealth, a supplementary corporate plan may be prepared for publication on the entity’s website that excludes such matters.
  2. Information may be considered for omission from the publicly available corporate plan if:
    • release of the information would cause competitive detriment to an entity;
    • the information is not and should not be in the public domain as it could prejudice the national interest; or
    • another law of the Commonwealth, a state or a territory requires information not to be disclosed.
  3. The existing practice of GBEs of preparing and publishing a statement of corporate intent in place of a full corporate plan, in the interest of not disclosing commercially sensitive information, remains a valid approach for GBEs under subsection 16E(4) of the PGPA Rule. For more information on statements of corporate intent, see https://www.finance.gov.au/publications/resource-management-guides-rmgs….

Intelligence, security and listed law enforcement agencies

  1. Intelligence, security and listed law enforcement agencies covered by the PGPA Act may seek an exemption from the corporate planning requirements. The Minister for Finance may, by written instrument, modify requirements of the Act for an intelligence, security or listed law enforcement agency in relation to preparing and publishing a corporate plan under section 35 of the PGPA Act. The responsible Minister needs to write to the Minister for Finance seeking such a modification.

7. Variations to corporate plans

  1. A corporate plan can be varied during a reporting period if an accountable authority considers it appropriate.
  2. For example, a corporate plan could be varied to recognise:
    • any new purposes or key activities for an entity (for example, as a result of machinery-of-government changes);
    • significant changes in an entity’s operating environment (such as significant changes in economic conditions); or
    • significant changes to the way an entity intends to measure or assess its performance.
  3. If the corporate plan is varied during the reporting period for which the plan is prepared and the accountable authority considers that the variation is significant, a copy of the revised plan must be provided to the responsible Minister and the Minister for Finance and before being published on the entity’s website.
  4. The contents of the varied plan must comply with the PGPA Rule in the same manner as a plan otherwise would for the relevant reporting periods.

8. Key priorities and objectives of the Australian Government

  1. Where the Australian Government has published a statement of its priorities and objectives under section 34 of the PGPA Act, the corporate plan must explain how an entity’s key activities contribute to achieving those priorities and objectives.21 This requirement only applies if the purpose(s) of the entity relate to the priorities and objectives published in the statement of priorities and objectives. For entities that have enabling legislation, the requirement only applies to the extent that compliance with subsection 35(3) is not inconsistent with the enabling legislation.

9. Appendix

List of requirements template

  1. This template list of requirements is aimed at assisting entities in demonstrating adherence with the requirements of the PGPA Rule. Entities may choose to develop their own approach or use only part of this template.

Template

The corporate plan has been prepared in accordance with the requirements of:

  • subsection 35(1) of the PGPA Act; and
  • the PGPA Rule 2014.

The table details the requirements met by the [entity’s name] corporate plan and the page reference(s) for each requirement.

Requirement

Page(s)

Introduction

 –  Statement of preparation
–  the reporting period for which the plan is prepared
 –  the reporting periods covered by the plan

 

Purposes

 

Key activities

 

Operating context

–  Environment
–  Capability
–  Risk oversight and management
–  Cooperation
–  Subsidiaries (where applicable)

 

 

 

 

 

Performance

 


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