Information for audit committee members

This site is dedicated to audit committee members offering quick access to the PGPA legislation, guidance and information related to the requirements of their role expectations.

Individual audit committee members are appointed for their qualifications, knowledge, skills or experience. This combined expertise is what accountable authorities are looking for in their audit committee members. However, this expertise should be developing continuously in response to the changing environment in which audit committees function. 

Guidance and Tools

The PGPA Rule requires audit committees review the appropriateness of an entity’s financial and performance reporting, and systems of risk and internal controls.  The following is a list of all current guidance and tools on the Finance website that can assist audit committees in performing their functions.

Guidance on the role of audit committees

The guide for Commonwealth entities on the role of audit committees covers matters that an accountable authority can consider when determining their audit committee's functions, structure and conduct.

The guide assists entities to establish a well-functioning and effective audit committee. It covers:

  • matters to consider when determining the audit committee's functions, structure and conduct
  • important relationships of an effective audit committee
  • supporting the audit committee to deliver its functions.

The guide offers tools for audit committees and entities.

  • The Considerations for audit committees (in appendix A) provides examples of matters that the committee could consider in delivery of its functions.
     
  • The Skills matrix (in appendix B) assists the accountable authority to identify skills and experience the audit committee requires in order to perform its role effectively.

Guidance on audit committee functions

Financial reporting review

Accounting policy guides and financial reporting guidance for Commonwealth entities provide guidance on specific accounting and financial reporting policy and specific interpretation and application of Australian Accounting Standards and PGPA (Financial Reporting) Rule 2015.

Performance reporting review

Commonwealth Performance Framework provides information on performance reporting requirements. It contains requirements under the PGPA Rule, Finance Secretary’s Directions and guidance material.

System of Risk oversight and management review

The Commonwealth Risk Management Policy along with a guidance on its implementation provides information on requirements to establish and maintain an effective system of risk management.

Internal controls review

The guidance on Accountability and internal controls sets out requirements for the governance, reporting and accountability of Commonwealth entities and for their use and management of public resources.

PGPA Newsletter

The PGPA Newsletter provides a regular update on changes applied to the PGPA framework, guidance reviews and other information relevant to stakeholders of the PGPA framework. 

Legislation

The Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) requires that the accountable authority of a Commonwealth entity ensures that the entity has an audit committee (section 45).

The Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 (PGPA Rule) sets out the minimum requirements relating to the audit committee and directions for the accountable authority to determine the functions the audit committee is to perform for the entity (section 17).

Recent changes and updates

The PGPA Rule was amended on 27 February 2020 including changes that affect audit committees. See The Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Amendment (2020 Measures No.1) PGPA Rule 2020.

Changes to audit committee membership

From 1 July 2021:

  • For a non-corporate Commonwealth entity - none of the audit committee members can be officials of the entity, and a majority must not be officials of any Commonwealth entity (PGPA Rule subsection 17(4))
  • For a corporate Commonwealth entity - none of the audit committee members can be employees of the entity (PGPA Rule subsection 17(4AA)).
Changes to audit committee disclosure requirements
  • Enhanced audit committee disclosure requirements for Commonwealth entities and Commonwealth companies will apply in relation to an annual report for a reporting period that begins on or after 1 July 2019 (PGPA Rule subsection 17AG(2A), paragraph 17BE(taa) and paragraph 28E(ob)).
Changes to corporate plans
  • The new requirements for corporate plans for Commonwealth entities and companies will apply for a reporting period that begins on or after 1 July 2020 (PGPA Rule section 16E, section 16EA and section 27A).

E-learning

Finance has developed a PGPA E-learning program which can assist audit committee members with a quick snapshot of the PGPA framework and understand responsibilities under the PGPA Act.

Coming soon

Finance is progressing a development of the induction e-learning program for new audit committee members. The e-learning program is planned to be released in 2020.

ANAO reports

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) provides a range of audit and assurance services to the Parliament and Commonwealth entities. ANAO reports seek to provide greater transparency, reflect better practice and areas for improvement in the Australian public sector.

New reports concerning Commonwealth entities equips audit committee members with the most up to date information about risks, concerns, and recommendations for the public sector.

The ANAO reports may also provide recommendations for the audited entities in relation to the function audited.  When accepted by the entity, these recommendations may be subject to the internal control scrutiny and subject to the audit committee review.

ANAO reports and publications are listed on their website .

Parliamentary committees reports

Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit (JCPAA) undertakes its own enquiries into public administration matters and can conduct inquiries into matters referred to it by either House of Parliament.

The JCPAA reports to both Houses of the Parliament with any comments, items or matters and recommendations the Committee thinks should be drawn to the attention of the Parliament.

Similar to the ANAO report, the JCPAA reports inform the audit committee members of the risks, concerns and recommendations that may be subject to the entity’s internal control scrutiny and subject to the audit committee review. The JCPAA current inquiries and reports are listed on their website


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