Corporate Plan 2019-20

Department of Finance Corporate Plan 2019-20

Covering reporting period 2019–20 to 2022–23

Message from the Secretary

At Finance, we recognise the expectation of government and the community that policies and programs are developed and delivered in a technologically advanced and joined up way, and as efficiently as possible. The Department of Finance has an important role to play in this regard. Our focus is on achieving fiscal and policy objectives through the Budget process and by advising on expenditure, managing sustainable public sector resourcing, driving public sector transformation and delivering efficient, cost-effective services to, and for, government.

As a central agency, we need to lead by example and harness capability to deliver quality outcomes. Rapid advances in technology, greater access to data and on-demand information is altering how citizens and business interact with and access government services. This presents opportunities for Finance to engage more efficiently and to improve productivity. Specifically, through a deregulation lens, this means simplifying processes to allow seamless and joined up transactions.

This Corporate Plan outlines Finance’s approach and priorities for the reporting period. Over the next four years, our focus will be on driving greater efficiency, accountability and capability.

Stewardship is integral to Finance’s work and our success as a department depends on the quality of our relationships. To this end, we are investing in genuine, productive and sustainable partnerships and extending our connections to the private sector, academia and think-tanks. This engagement helps build the knowledge and resilience of Finance staff, share information and best practice and lead by example.

The Department’s stewardship role supports our interaction with business, government and individuals. Finance has established a Centre of Procurement Excellence to enhance procurement capability and productivity across the public sector as well as a Procurement Consultative Roundtable. The Roundtable is a biannual meeting that brings together the secretaries of key departments and representatives of the procurement sector and business. Participants share their perspectives and engage openly on matters such as managing risk, innovative approaches and payment practices to shape future procurement policy decisions.

In related work, Finance will continue to work with relevant agencies to facilitate faster payment times and reduce transaction costs for buyers and sellers to enable five day e-Invoicing to be adopted by Government agencies. This supplements the 20 day payment terms for traditional invoicing that commenced on 1 July 2019.

A central focus of the Department remains the preparation and delivery of the annual budget and related economic updates. We continue to look for improvements to the way in which budget preparation work occurs, both for ourselves and all Commonwealth entities. The Shared Budget Workflow System (SBWS), an initiative of the Modernisation Fund, is streamlining our internal business practices, reducing the number and complexity of manual processes. SBWS will be fully implemented in this planning period, delivering a whole of government system for budget work including for developing advice and options, collaborating across the Commonwealth and coordinating timely information for Government consideration during the Budget process. It will further reduce reliance on manual reconciliation processes and enable the input of data once, for use across multiple platforms.

We continue to look for ways to streamline our own operations and realise the benefits of modern practices. As of 1 July 2019, the Department successfully transitioned to receiving shared services through the Service Delivery Office (SDO). This is the culmination of a project that is significantly modernising the way we both deliver and support our business. This successful transition complements Finance’s role as the department responsible for the Shared Services program and as the provider of shared services through the SDO. Additionally, the SDO has been working with its clients to develop a Service Navigator to build a collective understanding of how corporate services are delivered. The Service Navigator is helping to identify where to streamline processes, address bottlenecks and improve client experience.

Finance is also taking the time to ensure it remains relevant as opportunities arise to work in a different way – this particularly relates to process automation, data and digitisation. The Department’s Productivity and Automation Centre of Excellence (PACE) is leading the implementation of process automation across government. Automating transactional, repetitive processes is occurring across a number of business processes in the Department, allowing staff to concentrate on higher value, more challenging work while reducing error rates and the need for manual fixes.

A further example of innovation is the Parliamentary Expenses Management System (PEMS), a modern and streamlined solution to assist parliamentarians in the management of their office and travel expense claims. PEMS has replaced aging platforms, allowing parliamentarians and their staff to claim and manage expenses on their computer or mobile device. Later releases of PEMS will support streamlined HR and Payroll services and replace multiple paper-based, discrete processes.

Global and national factors affect what we do and how we do it. In recent years, we have made considerable progress in improving the way we work and are seeing the benefits of the investment we have made in data analytics and digitisation, in breaking down silos and partnering with others. Our focus for the next reporting period is to continue to develop the culture, capability and systems that can continue to improve the development and delivery of policies and programs, supported by robust financial and resource management frameworks.

I am pleased to present the Department of Finance Corporate Plan 2019–2020.

Rosemary Huxtable PSM
Secretary, Department of Finance


I, Rosemary Huxtable, as the accountable authority of the Department of Finance, present the Department of Finance Corporate Plan 2019–20, which covers the period 2019–20 to 2022–23, as required under section 35(1)(b) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.


Finance assists the Australian Government to achieve its fiscal and policy objectives by advising on expenditure, managing sustainable public sector resourcing, driving public sector transformation and delivering efficient, cost-effective services to, and for, government.

Finance’s Performance Reporting Framework

Finance has an integrated performance cycle and the corporate plan is our pre-eminent planning document. This is complemented by performance planning through Portfolio Budget Statements and the Annual Report, Integrated Business Planning and budgeting processes, and governance processes that direct individual and team work activities to achieve our purpose.

Finance’s performance in achieving our purpose is:

  • informed by the operating context and the functions/roles allocated to Finance as a central agency
  • supported by departmental strengths including governance structures, risk policies, culture and organisational capabilities.

Figure 1. Finance’s performance cycle and environment

Roles and functions

As a central agency of the Australian Government, the Department of Finance has an influential role with responsibilities that span the whole of government. Finance works closely with the other central agencies, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Treasury, to provide support to government in its deliberations in Cabinet and its committees.

Finance’s leadership on the Budget process and the Commonwealth’s finances enables us to assist the Government shape and deliver its fiscal and policy objectives, while ensuring public expenditure programs are effective, sustainable and deliver the best value to the Australian community.

Our responsibility for public sector frameworks and governance mechanisms is critical for the efficient operation of government. As stewards, Finance must ensure these frameworks are fit-for-purpose and that they deliver the desired outcomes for our stakeholders, both now and in the future.

The Department also plays a key role in managing the Commonwealth’s commercial interests, supporting financial sustainability and economic growth through the delivery of significant projects, and supporting the Minister for Finance as shareholder minister for Government Business Enterprises (GBEs).

In addition, Finance has a diverse range of responsibilities that span the full range of public administration functions, from the earliest points of developing policy through to implementing and reviewing programs as well as delivering services. Further details are outlined below.

Budget and economic updates and Budget transparency

With the Treasury, Finance prepares the annual Budget and associated economic updates as set out in the Charter of Budget Honesty Act 1998. Finance has a key role developing the Government’s fiscal strategy and budget rules, and providing policy and costings advice on expenditure to the Minister and the Expenditure Review Committee of Cabinet. Finance also has responsibility for all non-taxation revenue, which broadly includes charging, dividends, interest and investments. To support ongoing financial management and compliance with the government’s financial reporting responsibilities, Finance also prepares monthly financial statements and consolidated financial statements.

Government Business Enterprise shareholder responsibilities

Finance provides advice to the Australian Government relating to commercial entities and nine Commonwealth Government Business Enterprises (GBEs) – ASC Pty Ltd, Australian Naval Infrastructure Pty Ltd, Australian Postal Corporation, Australian Rail Track Corporation Limited, Defence Housing Australia, Moorebank Intermodal Company Limited, NBN Co Limited, Snowy Hydro Limited and WSA Co Limited. Our role includes oversight of accountability and governance arrangements, board appointments and GBE financial performance and sustainability.

We provide advice on financing strategies and processes, future ownership arrangements and ongoing service delivery, with the overarching focus on improving how these GBEs and their underlying assets are managed. Finance works closely with partner shareholder departments, the departments of Communications and the Arts, Defence, Environment and Energy, and Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development, in supporting ministers and engaging with GBE management.

Funds and superannuation

Finance manages the policy and legislation of the Commonwealth Investment Funds – the Future Fund, the DisabilityCare Australia Fund, the Nation-building funds, the Medical Research Future Fund, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Land and Sea Future Fund and the Future Drought Fund.

We are also responsible for policy and legislation governing the Australian Government superannuation schemes for civilian employees and office holders, parliamentarians, Governors-General and Federal judges and administer the pension schemes for relevant parliamentarians, Governors-General and Federal Judges.

Resource management framework

Finance is responsible for the Commonwealth’s resource management framework including governance, performance and accountability arrangements for the use and management of public resources. We administer the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) which guides the duties of officials, planning and budgeting, grants and procurement, charging, engaging with risk, reporting on financial and non-financial performance and managing appropriations, assets and liabilities.

Finance oversees the Australian Government Charging Framework, which incorporates the Australian Government Cost Recovery Guidelines. The framework provides a common approach to planning, implementing and reviewing government charging and supports the Government to improve funding decisions.

Public sector productivity

Finance plays a key role in ensuring the public service is productive and delivers quality services to citizens and businesses. Finance is committed to driving improvement in the public sector, guiding investment in technology and digital capability and the reform of business processes, including through process automation, in order to enable public servants to focus on the Government’s strategic priorities and delivery of services to Australians.

Examples of Finance initiatives supporting changes to the way the APS operates include the Centre of Procurement Excellence, the Productivity and Automation Centre of Excellence, collaboration tools such as GovTEAMS, the Transparency Portal ( and whole-of-government initiatives such as the Shared Services and Grants Programs.

Commonwealth procurement, property and risk management

Finance administers a number of frameworks and policies that support the operations of the public sector.

The Commonwealth Procurement Framework, including relevant legislation and policies, governs the way Commonwealth officials procure goods and services. In addition, Finance manages whole-of-government coordinated procurement arrangements for commonly used non-ICT goods and services, such as whole travel and accommodation, in order to maximise market benefits and deliver efficiencies.

The Commonwealth Property Management Framework, including relevant legislation and policy, governs the management of property that is leased or owned by the Commonwealth, including acquisition, disposal and management of property interests. Finance administers the Lands Acquisition Act 1989 and the Public Works Committee Act 1969 and considers Commonwealth leases that exceed certain thresholds.

The Commonwealth Risk Management Policy seeks to strengthen the risk management practices of Commonwealth entities by encouraging engagement with risk in a positive and transparent way. Finance is also responsible for Comcover, the Australian Government’s self-managed general insurance fund, which encourages entities to manage insurable risk effectively.

Whole-of-government Information, Communication and Technology Services

Finance is responsible for a range of secure telecommunications including ICT infrastructure to support the Cabinet and its committees, ICON, the fibre optic network providing connectivity for Australian Government entities and GovLINK, which enables secure communication between Australian Government entities.

Finance has responsibility for whole-of-government services including the Parliamentary Document Management System, which manages a common approach to workflow for a range of ministerial and parliamentary documents,, the repository for information about government structures, organisations and key people, and, the repository of publicly available corporate information for all Commonwealth bodies.

Supporting parliamentarians and their staff

Finance is responsible for the Parliamentary Business Resources Framework which governs the administration of remuneration, work expenses and other public resources provided to current and former parliamentarians (including former Prime Ministers). Finance shares policy responsibility for public resources with the Remuneration Tribunal, and administration responsibility with the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority (IPEA) and the parliamentary departments – Departments of the House of Representatives and the Senate and the Department of Parliamentary Services.

Finance also administers the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984 which establishes a framework for office holders, senators and members of the House of Representatives to employ staff. Through our responsibility for COMCAR, we deliver car-with-driver and other ground transport services to the Prime Minister, Governor-General, members of parliament, judges and international guests of government.

Electoral policy

Finance develops and provides electoral policy advice to government, including with regard to the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918and the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984. The Australian Electoral Commission, an independent statutory authority within the Finance portfolio, provides electoral services, encourages the Australian people to understand and participate in the electoral process and supports free and fair electoral processes throughout the world.

Campaign advertising

Finance coordinates government advertising campaigns, advising entities, providing policy advice to ministers, and supporting the work of relevant Cabinet and other advisory committees. Finance also oversees central purchasing of media space by all non-corporate Commonwealth entities through the Central Advertising System.

Public Sector Financial reform and Governance in the Indo-Pacific Region

Finance supports regional Indo-Pacific economic growth and stability through our official development assistance activities. Working collaboratively with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and other Australian entities, Finance works to improve regional public financial management and governance in relevant Indo-Pacific countries and in accordance with the priorities of the governments of those countries.

Finance’s approach

Essential to achieving Finance’s purpose is early and proactive engagement with the entities responsible for implementing the Government’s policies and programs. Our views are also informed by ongoing dialogue with the other central agencies – the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Treasury – as well as with the Australian Public Service Commission.

The Department seeks to take a positive approach to supporting other departments and agencies to deliver on their priorities. We have invested in building resilient, collaborative and productive relationships, and partner with Finance stakeholders to deliver the best outcomes for the Government. This engagement helps the Department to better understand and appreciate the issues and challenges our fellow agencies face.

By building and sustaining trusted relationships, Finance helps to ensure that all agencies share an understanding of the Government’s fiscal and other policy objectives.

Ultimately, it enables Finance to fulfil our responsibilities to:

  • deliver more appropriate, practical and timely advice from a whole-of-government perspective
  • develop more robust policy in partnership with colleagues across government
  • deliver better services and engage more successfully with our clients and stakeholders
  • fulfil Finance’s role as a leader in enabling and driving productivity in the APS.

Finance will continue to actively engage with agencies so we can further support them in developing and implementing policies, programs and projects that will benefit Australians.

Finance can support the work of agencies with frameworks, policies and systems that are fit for purpose. We will also enable agencies by building the capability of the Department’s staff and of our stakeholders to interact with those frameworks and systems, remembering that every interaction by staff at every level is an opportunity to build trust and capability.

Budget Process Improvement

In 2019–20 Finance is continuing its work to modernise the Budget process. In the 2017–18 Budget, under the Public Service Modernisation Fund initiative, Finance received funding to develop a system to enable greater automation and collaboration in budget processes across the APS. The new policy proposal was developed following consultation with agencies on how best to modernise the Commonwealth’s budget process.

When fully implemented, the Shared Budget Workflow System (SBWS) will streamline, automate and modernise processes, improving inter-agency collaboration and the exchange of information during the Budget process. It will be used by staff across Australian Government entities who contribute to the Budget to support timely reliable advice to Government.

With SBWS, we are fully or partially automating highly manual components of the Budget process, introducing data validation and modern communication tools to better collaborate with agencies and making it easier to access information on Budget processes. Together with a shared database, this will improve consistency and accuracy of reporting to Government by all agencies. SBWS will also provide increased data analytic capabilities to help inform briefing to Government.

Finance commenced testing SBWS in the 2018–19 MYEFO. In 2019–20 Finance will continue to trial the system, including by testing with agencies, and make improvements based on feedback before the system is fully deployed in this planning period.

Operating context

Embracing the challenges

In an environment of increasing complexity, uncertainty and change, it is more important than ever that the Department is well equipped to support the Government to deliver on its priorities, to embrace evolving technology and anticipate shifting stakeholder needs. As a central agency Finance needs to demonstrate leadership in this regard.

Since 2015 Finance has been focused on an internal program of transformation which has driven a commitment to improvement across all aspects of our work. Much has already been achieved, including Finance’s own transition to shared services, the successful trial and implementation of the Digital Annual Reporting Tool, establishment of the Centre of Procurement Excellence and, internally, an increased focus on flexibility, mobility and inclusion. To succeed in the future we will continue to need adaptable people, capabilities, systems and processes that can respond to changing priorities, risks and challenges.

Building on and embedding this approach remains a priority. Reflecting Finance’s stewardship role, we have established a Transformation Community of Practice designed to support practitioners across the APS as they also seek to transform their internal business practices to be modern, efficient and responsive to government.

The Transformation Community of Practice has attracted more than 100 members from almost 40 entities and provides an opportunity for collaboration across government to respond to emerging challenges, to share best practice and to learn from collective experience. Finance will continue to collaborate across the public sector through this group in 2019–20.


Near Real-time Funds Project

Modernising Commonwealth cash management using Australia’s New Payments Platform (NPP) is central to the Department of Finance’s Near Real-time Funds (NeRF) Project.

Project NeRF will transform the way Commonwealth entities access their appropriations and automate the daily whole-of-government payment run, receipting and reconciliation processes. The benefits of this Project include:

  • enabling Commonwealth departments to access their appropriations on a near-real time basis – providing them more flexibility in the way they provide services to their clients;
  • increasing Government efficiency and reducing business continuity risk for Commonwealth cash management;
  • reducing risk to the Commonwealth by decreasing the amount of funds sitting outside of the Official Public Account (OPA);
  • contributing to the Australian Public Service innovation and transformation agenda by the adoption of new technology.

The Project is being delivered in three phases:

Phase 1, to be implemented in March 2020, will use the NPP to enable entities to access their appropriations on a near real-time basis;

Phase 2, with implementation commencing in late 2019, will automate OPA reconciliation processes and allow for NPP receipting of Commonwealth funds into the OPA.

Phase 3, which will be implemented in 2020–21, will enable Central Budget Management System functionality to integrate with entity financial management information systems. The Department of Finance has established a Cash Management Community of Practice, to enable better information sharing across Commonwealth entities around existing and emerging technologies, transformation programs such as Project NeRF and to drive continuous improvement in Commonwealth cash management practices.


Environmental factors

Table 1 sets out the key themes arising from Finance’s purpose statement as well as the environmental factors that may impact or influence their delivery over the four-year term of this corporate plan.

Table 1 - Environmental factors 2019–20 – 2022–23

Theme Environmental factors

Advising on expenditure

Rapid economic and social changes in Australia requiring policy responses from government 
The international strategic environment is complex, challenging and uncertain 
The Government’s fiscal strategy framework 
Reporting requirements set by legislation and/or independent accounting standards

Leadership in the public sector

Expectations of the public sector to deliver services efficiently and effectively and to drive productivity
Citizens and businesses expectations of easy access to high quality services, delivered in real-time and at low cost
Responding to the findings of the Independent Review of the APS and the Government’s public service modernisation agenda including a suite of initiatives to improve the productivity of the public sector in the context of a constrained fiscal environment (Budget Paper 4)

Delivering effective services to, and for, government

Innovations in business models and technology that will disrupt every sector of the economy including the public sector
The Parliament and community’s expectations regarding the management of expenses for parliamentarians and their staff
The substantial contribution of GBEs and other Commonwealth entities to the Australian economy
The drive to achieve efficiencies in the management and oversight of Commonwealth assets
A challenging environment in relation to the level of insurable risks
The Government’s commitment to congestion-busting and effective service delivery


Engaging with opportunity and risk

Finance continues to embed a positive risk culture throughout the Department to promote the efficient and effective use of public resources. We integrate risk management into our business planning and operations to ensure informed decision making, taking into account both opportunity and risk.

Risk engagement is promoted across all levels of the Department, recognising positive engagement with risk as a key contributor to improved productivity and performance. We understand the importance of ensuring Finance’s people have the capability to appropriately engage with risk in accordance with the Department’s risk appetite and tolerance.

The Department is strengthening its focus on risk culture and integrity, informed by key lessons from recent reviews including the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority Inquiry into the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.

Finance acknowledges the importance of a strong ‘tone from the top’, complemented by a culture which values individual capability and accountability and supports meaningful communication and information flows throughout our organisational structure.

In 2018–19, the Chair of the Risk Sub-committee, Mr Andrew Jaggers, Deputy Secretary, was appointed by the Executive Board as the Chief Risk Officer for the Department. This important senior leadership role champions risk capability, communication and culture in the business and is empowered to challenge how we manage and engage with risk.

The appointment of the Chief Risk Officer complements the review and update of the Risk Sub-committee Terms of Reference, which provide that the Sub-committee’s functions are to ensure Finance has an appropriate system of risk management and oversight and supports a positive risk culture. The Sub-committee’s membership was also refreshed to include Executive Level 2 members to broaden the perspective of risk across the management levels of the Department.

At the operational level Finance has established a risk engagement group. The group supports enhanced risk capability in our people while also contributing to strategic risk identification and reporting processes as part of Integrated Business Planning.

From 2019–20 the Department is continuing to embed positive risk engagement in our business, focusing on enhanced capability, communication and culture. Risk is actively being considered in the prioritisation, allocation and delivery of our resources. This focus enables Finance to strengthen strategic partnerships, improve processes and deliver better services.

Incorporated into the Framework is the Department’s Enterprise Risk Management Plan that identifies, assesses and details mitigation strategies for key strategic and operational risks, including shared risks. The risks identified in the plan undergo continuous review as part of strategic business review processes to consider if they remain a risk to the Department and whether the mitigation strategies remain effective.

Our approach to managing risk

Finance manages opportunity and risk in accordance with the Commonwealth Risk Management Policy and our Enterprise Risk Management Framework. The Framework sets out our risk management policy and governs how the Department identifies, manages and communicates risks in our business.

The Framework provides the governance that underpins our positive risk culture and is regularly reviewed to ensure it reflects our operating environment.

Our governance arrangements

Our Executive Board, including the Secretary, has overarching responsibility for the Enterprise Risk Management Framework. The Executive Board is supported by the Chief Risk Officer, a central risk function and other governance committees, including the Risk Sub-committee and Audit Committee, which are responsible for reviewing and assuring the appropriateness of Finance’s systems of risk oversight and management.  

Responsibility for key strategic and operational risks is assigned to individual senior executive officers, who report to Executive Board as part of the Department’s strategic business review processes, against the delivery of the relevant outcomes. Oversight is also incorporated at the project and activity level, including for shared risks with external stakeholders, ensuring a line of sight between day-to-day risk management and our key strategic and operational risks. These matters were explored as part of undertaking a gap analysis of the areas highlighted in the APRA Inquiry report to ensure there is continued accountability at a whole of department level.

Our risk appetite

Finance articulates its appetite for engaging with opportunity and risk through a risk appetite statement. The statement supports how we define our positive risk culture to meet our purpose.

Risk appetite statement

To meet the Australian Government’s fiscal and policy objectives, the Department of Finance carefully considers risks and opportunities in its complex and changing operating environment.

Risks and opportunities do not manifest themselves in isolation. To fulfil its stewardship role effectively, the Department must consider shared risk, opportunity and innovation together when undertaking projects and activities.

The Department’s risk appetite informs and guides its decision making and plays a central role in shaping a culture which embraces change and opportunities in promoting the effective and efficient management of public resources.


This statement is supported by risk appetite levels of enhanced, balanced and limited. This guides whether the Department will accept a risk, leading to more informed and consistent decision making. If a risk exceeds our appetite, we escalate that issue for further consideration, including treatment of the risk.

Table 2 - Our levels of risk appetite

Risk appetite Description Treatment


Risk management is less constrained by process to encourage innovation

Greater risk is accepted to support new ways of doing things


Risk management is balanced to pursue opportunities to innovate

Measured risk is accepted to grow the business


Risk management involves active mitigation against additional risk exposure

Risk is reduced to the lowest acceptable level


Our key strategic risks

Finance has identified nine key strategic risks that, were they to eventuate, may affect our ability to achieve our purpose. Finance’s approach to mitigating these risks reflects the strategic focus on our people, our stewardship role, the integration of our business planning and our commitment to making business better.

Table 3 - Our levels of risk appetite

Strategic focus Strategic risk Risk mitigation strategy


1. Finance does not meet the expectations of Government with regard to the provision of relevant, timely and considered advice.

2. Finance fails to clearly develop and implement its stewardship role (leading, guiding and influencing) in modernising and transforming the public sector to achieve Government fiscal and policy objectives.

3. Effective governance frameworks are not established to support the successful implementation of complex projects and activities led by, or involving, Finance.

4. Finance’s ability to collaborate internally and operate as a connected organisation impacts our ability to provide excellence and value to stakeholders and government in a resource constrained and dynamic environment.

Finance’s central agency role involves strategic partnerships with our clients and stakeholders, including through citizen facing activities. 

To strengthen these partnerships, we are defining and implementing our governance structures to collaborate, share knowledge and develop solutions with a focus on shared risk outcomes.

Integrated Business Planning

5. Finance fails to drive the transformation and cultural change required to assist the department to achieve its strategic purpose and priorities and drive innovation.

Finance collaborates internally and operates as a connected organisation.

We are systematically prioritising work and allocating resources through integrated processes that consider Finance’s operating model and risk profile as part of a long term investment approach.


6. Finance’s investment in and management of its people does not meet short-term or long-term capability requirements to support the individual, department and broader public service to achieve its strategic purpose and priorities.

7. Finance does not maximise productivity through staff engagement, particularly in relation to the management of staff wellbeing and capability, talent management and staff agility.

Finance’s ability to drive productivity, efficiency and innovation is dependent on our people and culture.

We invest in our people and culture through defined leadership behaviours and people management frameworks that focus on building our capability and supporting mobilisation and flexibility in our working arrangements to ensure staff engagement at all levels.

Making Business Better

8. Finance’s business processes are not designed to realise measurable benefits and opportunities in a shared services and shared risk environment.

9. Finance fails to effectively govern and manage data, reducing opportunities to better use information and increasing its exposure to targeted, intentional or accidental disclosure.

Finance optimises opportunities to deliver better services and enable better outcomes.

We are strengthening our ability to govern and manage data by embedding new systems and practices that support evidenced based decision making and improve public sector policy through enhanced data analytics and data management.


Service Delivery Office

As one of the hubs providing shared services to the public sector, the SDO directly supports public sector productivity. Through the delivery of shared, standard and sustainable technologies and processes, the SDO contributes to effective and efficient organisational management.

Delivering shared services requires inter-agency handover points within processes, disrupting traditional lines of responsibility and introducing shared risks that require proactive and collaborative oversight between the service provider and client agencies. While accountable authorities of client agencies remain responsible for their controls framework, the sphere of direct management control over relevant processes may change through a shared service arrangement.

To enable accountable authorities to manage risk within their organisation in the context of shared risks, the SDO has collaborated with its clients to develop a shared understanding of six end-to-end processes that describe the full corporate services landscape. This has ensured a common vocabulary and a thorough understanding of the interdependencies in processes that arise through a shared service arrangement.

The SDO is enabling clients to take targeted actions jointly, within their own organisation or in the shared service provider, to mitigate risk with a focus on minimising cost and maximising benefit.

The SDO’s clients identify, prioritise and oversee shared investments in the SDO through a governance ecosystem that typifies the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) requirement for inter-agency cooperation in achieving common objectives. A common vocabulary and a clear understanding of shared risks enable targeting of shared investments in the SDO that transform clients’ organisations while maintaining stability. This dual action of transforming and maintaining stability in the APS embodies Finance’s stewardship role.


In order to remain responsive to government priorities and deliver better and more efficient services to citizens and business, Finance will continue to invest in our people, infrastructure and system capabilities.

Since the Finance transformation program began in 2015, we have focused on people, place, technology and information as key enabling strategies. This strategy remains unchanged. Applying a stewardship lens to each of these capabilities, we continue to deliver projects internally to enable us to better serve the government and the Australian people.

CARS (COMCAR Automated Resource System)

In March 2019, COMCAR began rolling out a new vehicle booking and dispatch management system. The COMCAR Automated Resource System (CARS) provides significant advances in technology over previous booking systems, including greater functionality for our clients and staff.

CARS enables clients to create, amend and manage their COMCAR bookings through an online web portal or mobile application. Clients can track and manage current and future bookings, as well as maintaining a history of past trips. For drivers, CARS provides up to date pick up and drop off information including site diagrams.

Client uptake of CARS is progressing successfully. As at the end of July 2019, 65 per cent of clients have signed up to access CARS and 20 per cent of all new bookings have been placed via the web portal or mobile application. COMCAR will continue to promote the benefits of CARS to clients and is aiming to achieve a target of 50 per cent for all new bookings placed online or using the mobile application by the end of 2019-20.

The introduction of CARS has allowed COMCAR, its staff and clients to embrace the use of new technology, further improve internal operations and deliver a contemporary service to its valued clients.


In the years ahead this will include projects that build people capability and broaden staff knowledge and experience; strengthen strategic partnerships to deliver better outcomes; improve processes, including through automation; enhance the Department’s approach to knowledge management; make the most of data and build on our approach to planning, with a focus on long term investment in people and systems.

Data and digitisation

Finance’s Information and Data Governance Framework sets out our commitment to achieve best practice in the way we create, save and access information and data. Under the framework we will progress a number of initiatives including implementing the Managed Information Environment (MIE), a single repository for documents that consolidates corporate records into a single ‘one stop shop’ system. In 2019–20 the Department will undertake a Data Maturity Assessment to identify Finance’s current capability and consider priorities for a future state and longer term data strategy.

Finance’s practical data analysis efforts will be maintained in 2019–20. The work of the Government Business Analytics Unit (GBAU) and the Budget Analytics and Visualisation Team (BAV) as part of the Data Integration Partnership of Australia (DIPA) initiative, drives productivity improvements by supporting data and information sharing across the APS. BAV develops and utilises Finance’s internal Data Analytics Platform. It brings together data from across Government to support improved evidence based decision-making and a wider use of data-driven insights and visualisation in the Budget process. The Department’s Information and Communications Technology Division, on behalf of the GBAU, continues to build the Government PROTECTED Data eXchange (GovPDX). GovPDX is designed to provide an enhanced ability for the Australian Public Service to collaborate, exchange, analyse and visualise data to support government decision makers through improved accuracy, quality and timeliness of input and advice. It will also improve productivity through streamlined and transparent business processes and information management and improve internal and external relationships through a positive and streamlined user experience.

A number of initiatives are underway to improve the use of AusTender data. These initiatives involve implementing functional enhancements to improve data quality and reporting. Enhanced user training and guidance is also being developed to support entities with their reporting obligations.

From October 2019, the new Transparency Portal will host all Commonwealth entities’ and companies’ annual reports, creating a comparable Commonwealth data set. The portal provides an avenue to easily search and compare data and share information and analysis.

Finance is leveraging technology to maximise efficiency and effectiveness, adopting a ‘digital by default’ approach where appropriate. Through the Productivity and Automation Centre of Excellence (PACE), Finance is digitising many paper-based processes including security clearances, staff reimbursements, mail services and departmental files.

Forums and user groups, with representation from across the Department, guide decision making and provide input into the design and implementation of the Department’s information data policies, practices and capability development. This ensures a consistent approach to implementation and is overseen by the Department’s Chief Information Governance Officer (Deputy Secretary, Business Enabling Services).


Enhancing capability across the APS

Finance has an ongoing commitment to develop the professional skills and capability of staff within the Department and across the APS. We have introduced and continue to mature a number of flagship initiatives that have facilitated partnerships with academic institutions, stakeholder groups and our colleagues across the service to build capability and ensure we are preparing our workforce for emerging opportunities and challenges.

The Department’s Commercial Investments Division has created a series of programs to build APS capability and create an environment of continual learning, collaboration and innovation for stakeholders working with GBEs.

These programs include:

  • GBE Intergovernmental Community of Practice inviting state and territory, New Zealand and Commonwealth representatives to collaborate and engage on developments in state owned enterprise policy and establish professional connections. The Community of Practice will meet bi-annually around Australia and focus on collaborative panel discussions.
  • GBE Company Secretaries Forum to promote best-practice governance and shared learning experiences. The Forum, held bi-annually, facilitates networking opportunities for company secretaries.
  • Customised education program to enhance skills and capabilities through a tailored financial analysis program co-developed with the Australian Graduate School of Management (UNSW). The program is open to staff from Finance and joint shareholder departments, central agencies and the Infrastructure and Project Financing Agency, with almost 100 participants completing the program to-date.

PACE has been established to build a consistent, well-governed approach to process automation across government. Through a suite of transferable tools, including a structured methodology for ensuring enhanced business management practices and process automation, PACE offers government departments the ability to transform business processes and achieve significant productivity gains. The PACE team is leading the way in implementing process automation within government, freeing up staff time for tasks of higher strategic value.

Now in its fourth year, the Graduate Certificate in Public Policy and Finance is purpose-built for the public sector and delivered in partnership by the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis at the University of Canberra. The program builds capability among emerging leaders at Finance and in the wider APS by enabling students to develop a thorough understanding of the Australian Government budget framework as well as sound financial, strategic and policy development capabilities.

Internally, the Department is set to implement its own People Capability Framework in 2019–20. The framework will drive performance and build talent by providing clear and consistent performance expectations for all levels across the Department. It will create a solid and consistent foundation to support our workforce planning strategies including mobility, performance management, development, flexibility, diversity and talent management.

Improving further in 2019-20

Finance’s commitment to driving change and improvement, underpinned by the Department’s transformation agenda continues. In 2018–19 we established a Transformation Plan that set out the vision for Finance to be a high-performing, modern, efficient and continuously improving public sector organisation that delivered better and more efficient services for government and citizens.

This vision remains and provides us with strategic direction in the forward years. Finance will continue to build on our approach and in 2019–20 will deliver a second program of tangible initiatives under four areas of focus:

People: We want to invest in our people to deliver the best outcomes and support an inclusive, curious, empowered and respectful culture.

Stewardship: We want positive and influential relationships with our stakeholders to support better outcomes for the Australian people.

Making Business Better: We want to continuously improve what we do and how we do it.

Integrated Business Planning: We want to use data and integrated business planning to align resources with our priorities.

Being transformative requires a culture where all staff can participate to their full potential. This means all staff have a role to play in leading and contributing to change. The Department’s leadership expectations, relevant to staff at all levels, reaffirm this as we ask staff to be part of the solution; collaborate, innovate; and develop self, develop others.

Strategic Review guiding our work

Strategic Review

The Strategic Review cycle adopted in Finance, comprises three stages – Reset, Reflect and Review – and is the Department’s key mechanism to guide prioritisation and resource allocation.

In 2018–19 a number of common themes were identified through the Strategic Review process that will guide Finance’s priorities in the years ahead from 2019–20:

  • Building our capability: continued investment in people and capability through formal and informal development opportunities will deliver more for the organisation and stakeholders. We will continue to build on mobility channels such as surge (short-term movement of staff to address priorities and operational requirements), internal and external secondments and job shadowing to support diversity of knowledge and experience and broaden staff capability. The launch of the refreshed People Capability Framework will provide added momentum.
  • Strengthening strategic partnerships: Finance’s operating model is underpinned by strong relationships with APS and private sector stakeholders. We need to build capability in our people and recognise the need to invest time and resources to strengthen these relationships. For example, Finance’s membership of the Defence Investment Committee enables our early engagement on Defence capability investment proposals, including financial and other implementation risks and their potential mitigations, in turn strengthening both project development and advice to Government. Finance also hosts the Procurement Consultative Roundtable, which brings together Secretaries of key Commonwealth entities and senior members of the business community to discuss Commonwealth procurement policy and practice.
  • Delivering better services, enabling better outcomes: we need to drive an outcomes-focused approach to Finance’s work, including by ensuring that the Department’s operating model and frameworks enable our stakeholders to deliver better outcomes. We need to measure and quantify outcomes where we can so that we can continue to improve. The launch of the new Finance website later in 2019 will enhance our ability to support self-service for clients and stakeholders.
  • Improving and redesigning processes: continuing to mature, streamline and automate transactional processes will enable staff to focus on more interesting and engaging work, and support us to invest more in relationships. Finance’s transition to receiving corporate services through the mature digital offering from the Service Delivery Office provides opportunities to digitise and redesign business processes across the Department to enhance customer experience and improve efficiency.
  • Enhancing knowledge management: managing information, data and corporate knowledge to support long term knowledge retention, including Finance’s transition to the MIE, is a critical factor in managing risk, supporting consistency, building capability and working more efficiently.
  • Making the most of our data: we need to continue to leverage the full value of our information and data so that Finance can deliver the highest quality outcomes. This includes collaborating and sharing information and data to benefit others as well as ourselves. A data maturity assessment will help the Department better understand how we can improve and coordinate, including on systems and people capability.
  • Adopting an investment approach: Finance wants to build on our approach to planning with a focus on long term investment in our people and systems. The Department will review how the Finance operating model (roles, skills, structures, processes, assets and technologies) can help us deliver our strategic objectives.


Centre of Procurement Excellence – strengthening partnerships and building public sector capability in procurement

The public sector procures goods and services to support policy and program outcomes. In 2017–18, over 73,400 contracts were reported on AusTender with a combined value of more than $70 billion.

In March 2019, Finance launched the Centre of Procurement Excellence (CoPE) which aims to build public sector capability in procurement, strengthen partnerships with the business community and encourage innovation to drive outcomes that deliver better value for money.

The CoPE exemplifies Finance’s stewardship approach. It is not about Finance controlling entity processes and procedures. Rather, it provides an opportunity for entities to learn from each other and to collaborate with all stakeholders to shape a more modern and fit for purpose procurement framework.

The CoPE consists of five work streams, focussing on capability, risk, policy stewardship, data and information, and productivity. It is designed to harness the experience and expertise of Commonwealth agencies and the business community.

Key areas of focus for the CoPE include:

  • measuring procurement capability across the Commonwealth and providing entities with tools and resources to build their capability
  • improving the use of procurement data to better understand procurement practices and to inform targeted engagement with entities about their procurement
  • encouraging greater use of digital platforms and pathways, both across government and as an interface between government and the business community
  • identifying and reducing risk-based barriers to innovation and participation in procurement
  • making policy and guidance more accessible and usable, and
  • developing and disseminating self-help tools to promote greater efficiency and standardisation in routine process and systems, delivering efficiencies to entities and the business community.

Finance has also recently established a CoPE Steering Group, comprising representatives from the Commonwealth and the business community, to provide strategic oversight, support and guidance as initiatives are developed and implemented.


Our financials

Finance has a total departmental expense budget of $547.7 million in 2019–20. Finance’s departmental capital budget is $55.6 million, of which $44.6 million relates to projects in the Property Special Account.

Finance has a total administered expense budget of $11,102.9 million in 2019–20 and an administered capital budget of $13.6 million.

Further information regarding Finance’s budget estimates (departmental and administered), Average Staffing Levels and financial statements for the reporting period is set out in the Finance Portfolio Budget Statements 2019–20.

Figure 2 - Total Expenditure 2019-20


Finance will continue to strengthen the performance information we provide to the Parliament and the broader community. This Corporate Plan further embeds this commitment and features updates to the Department’s performance framework intended to provide a greater focus on outcomes and stronger alignment with our core activities and our purpose.

The performance framework provides performance information on the three key themes of our purpose:

  • advising on expenditure
  • leadership in the public sector
  • delivering effective services to, and for, government.

The framework details how the Department’s performance will be measured by identifying:

  • key activities that we undertake under each of these three themes
  • performance criteria which reflect the main outcomes we want these activities to achieve
  • goals for each of these performance criteria so that achievement against performance criteria can be assessed
  • methodologies to monitor results and track overall progress.

The performance framework provides substantial detail regarding how Finance’s progress in achieving its purpose will be measured. In this Corporate Plan Finance identifies 19 performance criteria for the reporting period 2019–20 to 2022–23 with:

  • Eleven existing performance criteria that are unchanged or only marginally changed to improve the clarity of the performance information
  • Two performance criteria that have been updated to reflect the evolution of the related work activities
  • One new performance criterion regarding the Department’s efficiency in management of its tenancies under the Commonwealth Property Management Framework
  • Five performance criteria which have been rolled into strategically focused criteria to ensure the performance information is outcomes-based and provides meaningful data. Methodology for these criteria has been substantively maintained, subject to continued relevance, in the new criteria. The relevant criteria from the 2018–19 Corporate Plan are:
    • Better performance information is available to the Australian Parliament and the public (Page 36)
    • The Commonwealth government’s civilian superannuation schemes are effectively administered in accordance with the applicable regulatory and legislative requirements (Page 37)
    • Whole-of-Australian-Government (WoAG) procurement arrangements for non-ICT corporate services (e.g. travel bookings and major office equipment) generate price savings and operating efficiencies for Commonwealth entities that access these arrangements (Page 38)
    • Comcover assists Commonwealth entities to ensure the appropriate treatment of insurable risks and provides a consistent, whole-of-Australian-government approach to the management of claims against the Commonwealth (Page 39)
    • Continue to encourage ongoing efficiency and financial sustainability in GBEs (Page 41).
  • Three criteria have been removed to reflect the evolution of activity relating to public sector leadership and changes in Finance portfolio responsibilities in the coming reporting period. These criteria from our 2018–19 Corporate Plan were:
    • Finance oversight of Modernisation Fund investment ensures government has visibility of progress and outcomes, and informs government decisions around prioritisation and ongoing management of investments to drive improved outcomes (Page 32)
    • Entities currently participating in the whole-of-government grant administration arrangements must implement existing and proposed in-scope grant activity via the Government’s Community and Business Grants Hubs using the Hubs’ standardised grant process and ICT grants management services, replacing the multiple ICT systems and business processes currently in operation (Page 33)
    • Finance oversight of activities under the Modernising the Public Sector Roadmap supports better services to citizens and businesses, delivered more efficiently – to build trust in government (Page 34).

Table 4 - Performance information for period 2019-20 to 2022-23

Activity Performance criteria Assessed as Methodology Changes since 2018-19
Corporate Plan

Coordinate, prepare and advise the Minister for Finance and the Expenditure Review Committee of Cabinet on the delivery of the Budget and related fiscal updates, including appropriations legislation and the government’s financial statements, to contribute to promoting the government’s fiscal target and policy objectives.

Budget papers, related updates (e.g. the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook) and Appropriation Bills are accurate, consistent with relevant accounting standards, delivered within required timeframes and meet the government’s fiscal and policy objectives and legislative obligations.

Budget papers and related updates are produced in accordance with the timeframes and other requirements of the Charter of Budget Honesty Act 1998, including relevant accounting standards.

Appropriation Bills are introduced into Parliament at times intended by Government and in accordance with legislative requirements.

Budget estimates are based on external reporting standards and any departures from external reporting standards are identified, consistent with requirements set out in the Charter of Budget Honesty Act 1998.

Budget estimates are accurate (taking into account, to the fullest extent possible, all government decisions and other circumstances that may have a material effect) and explanations are provided where variances are equivalent to or greater than:

  • 2 per cent difference between first forward year estimated expenses and Final Budget Outcome for first forward year.
  • 1.5 per cent difference between Budget estimated expenses and Final Budget Outcome for budget year.
  • 1.0 per cent difference between the revised current year estimates at Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook and Final Budget Outcome for the current year.
  • 0.5 per cent difference between the current year estimates at budget time and Final Budget Outcome for the current year.

Demonstrated by tabling dates of Budget papers, related updates and Appropriation Bills recorded in the Hansard. 

Program estimates are regularly reviewed and updated to take account of the best available information, in collaboration with entities, to maximise their reliability and accuracy.

Continue to work to ensure that budget frameworks, policies and systems are in place so Budget papers and related updates are delivered in required timeframes and to enhance the accuracy of Budget estimates. 

Budget papers and related updates outline the external reporting standards used and identify any departures from that standard.

Significant differences between the estimated expenses and final outcome are explained and reported annually.

In 2019–20 this performance criterion has been updated to highlight consistency with relevant accounting standards and provide further detail on Finance’s work to deliver the Budget papers and related updates.

The government’s financial statements, including monthly statements, are complete, accurate and released publicly on timeframes agreed with the government.

Monthly financial statements prepared within an average of 21 days of the end of the month for which they are prepared following the release of the Final Budget Outcome.
Consolidated financial statements are provided to the Auditor-General by 30 November of each year.

Unmodified audit opinion issued by the Auditor-General in relation to the consolidated financial statements.

Measured and reported through:

  • Date of correspondence to Minister for Finance providing monthly financial statements.
  • Date of correspondence providing consolidated financial statements to the Auditor-General.
  • The Auditor-General issues an unmodified audit report on the consolidated financial statements.

Measured monthly & reported annually.

In 2019–20 this performance criterion has been edited to Add ‘unmodified’ to the assessment as the Auditor-General may issue a modified opinion, which would mean the statements are not fairly presented in accordance with Australian Accounting Standards

Daily disbursement through the Central Cash Management System so that entities can deliver on the policy objectives of the government on necessary timeframes.

Commonwealth entities have access to cash on a daily basis.

The cash needs of each and every Commonwealth entity is met for each and every day of the 2019–20 financial year.

CBMS and Reserve Bank daily data transmission records can be used to demonstrate that the payment runs have been completed each day with drawdowns available to agencies. 

Measured daily and reported annually.



Activity Performance criteria Assessed as Methodology Changes since 2018-19
Corporate Plan

Working with partners across government to help establish a more efficient, adaptable, productive and sustainable public sector.

Corporate service functions (e.g. financial, human resources and associated IT systems) for non-corporate Commonwealth agencies are provided through a shared services provider hub arrangement, on common platforms and software.

Evidence of uptake of shared service arrangements for non-corporate Commonwealth entities.
Evidence of increased efficiency in delivering corporate service functions within shared services provider hubs.

Reduction in the number of individual Enterprise Resource Planning systems across Hubs, through coordinated investment in platforms and software.

Progress is measured continuously using information collected from shared services provider hubs.

Progress is measured through maturity assessments undertaken by shared services provider hubs. Progress is measured through costs avoided through common investment in platforms and software across the Hubs.


Finance participation in the Data Integration Partnership for Australia contributes to an increase in Commonwealth public sector analytics capability and use of data to inform public policy.

Evidence of improved ability to share data between Commonwealth entities.

Evidence of data analytics contributing to public sector reform.

Measured through datasets being available to authorised users for analysis through the GovPDX.

Completion of a pilot project measuring drivers of productivity and efficiency of selected transactional activities across Commonwealth entities.


Support the proper use of public resources by Commonwealth entities and companies under the Commonwealth Resource Management Framework.


Finance ensures the Resource Management Framework is maintained as a fit-for-purpose framework for the proper use of public resources, under which Commonwealth entities and companies understand their governance and accountability obligations, and are equipped and supported to meet them.

Survey of entities to measure entity awareness of their obligations under the PGPA Act, the implementation of the PGPA Act and the effectiveness of the support and guidance provided by Finance.

Measured through annual survey of Chief Finance Officers across all Commonwealth entities and companies in 2018-19 and subsequent years on: 

  • the extent to which legal requirements under the PGPA Act are understood and met
  • other issues that have arisen in relation to the Act and associated rules.  Questions will be framed and responses analysed in a manner consistent with accepted market research practice. 



The government and key Parliamentary committees have confidence that public resources are used efficiently, effectively, economically and ethically, including through better performance information.

ANAO reports and JCPAA consideration of these reports do not include adverse findings on the PGPA framework including legislation and associated guidance.

ANAO reports and JCPAA consideration of these reports confirm that published performance information is improving in its quality and insightfulness. Annual analysis to identify increased maturity of the Commonwealth performance framework through an increasing number of Commonwealth entities and companies demonstrating better practice.

Measured through monitoring all ANAO reports tabled in Parliament each financial year and JCPAA reports, and assess findings relating to the PGPA Act, associated rules and performance.  
Measured continuously and reported annually.
Measured through developing and publishing an annual whole of performance cycle assessment, covering Corporate Plans, Portfolio Budget Statements and annual performance statements, which measures the maturity of the performance framework and provides better practice examples.

Measured and reported annually. 

In 2019–20 this performance criteria has been edited to reflect Finance’s adoption of Recommendation 10 of the Independent Review into the operation of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and Rule, and components of Recommendation 4 of JCPAA Report 469 that relate to the Commonwealth performance framework.

The PGPA Act and Rule provisions, and Finance’s support services, enable achievement of the objectives of the PGPA Act.

Finance implements Government response to the recommendations of the independent review of the PGPA Act and Rule effectively, including through broad reaching consultation and coordination with others where required.

Finance to support a Government response on the report, for those recommendations that relate to the Government, with an indicative implementation timetable and allocation of responsibilities established in period.

Periodic progress reports to Finance Minister, JCPAA and other stakeholders will inform the Government response.


Provide a policy, regulatory and legislative framework that enables the maximisation of returns on investment funds and civilian superannuation scheme compliance.

Investment mandates are set for each Australian Government Investment Fund which assists in achieving the financial and risk objectives and are consistent with the policy, regulatory and legislative framework.

The Commonwealth government’s civilian superannuation schemes are administered effectively, in accordance with the applicable regulatory and legislative requirements.

Investment mandates for the managed funds issued by the Australian Government are met.
The legislation establishing the civilian superannuation schemes enables compliance with the broader regulatory framework.

The operations of the civilian superannuation schemes administered by the Department comply with the applicable regulatory and legislative requirements.

Measured and reported on a quarterly basis based on quarterly portfolio updates published online by the Future Fund Management Agency.

Measured continuously and reported on an annual basis based on updates published by the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation and Finance.

This measure has been updated to reflect changed regulatory and legislative requirements in the operating environment.

Leverage experience and influence of the Australian Government to achieve value for money procurements.

Finance works with external stakeholders to:

  • Provide stewardship over systems and policies to support a fair, efficient, and transparent procurement framework.
  • Implement and maintain Whole-
    of-Australian-Government (WoAG) procurement arrangements for non-ICT services (e.g. travel bookings and major office equipment) to generate price savings and operating efficiencies.

Finance advisory services, forums, training, and other support mechanisms are well attended or utilised.
AusTender data is made available.

Engagement with domestic and international stakeholders supports information exchange on advances in procurement policy.

Measured and reported annually via data and feedback collected from various sources such as: 

  • AusTender helpdesk 
  • agency procurement forums
  • agency advice enquiries.

Savings are compared where possible against similar arrangements or markets. These are calculated when arrangements are created, extended or refreshed.

In 2019–20 this criterion has been amended to consolidate previous criteria into a single item and to reflect that to reflect that whole of government arrangements can deliver price savings and operating efficiencies.

Provision of a self-insurance fund (Comcover) to protect Commonwealth entities against insurable losses and support them to manage risk.

Comcover is effectively managed to ensure the fund is financially sustainable, insurable risks are appropriately managed and there is a consistent, WoAG approach to the management of claims.

An appropriate balance between capital efficiency and low premium volatility is achieved with the government’s requirements for a self insurance fund being met.

Litigation is undertaken honestly and fairly as a model litigant.

Measured through:

  • claim liabilities being fully funded and Comcover maintaining adequate reserves to meet its outstanding claims provision.
  • Comcover’s approach to claims management aligning with the Commonwealth’s Legal Services Directions.

Risk and education services are evaluated and reported annually.

In 2019–20 this criterion has been amended to consolidate previous criteria into a single item.

Deliver an efficient and commercial approach to the management of Commonwealth property through the Commonwealth Property Management Framework.

The management of Commonwealth property delivers efficiencies in relation to leasing and facilities management for non-corporate Commonwealth entities.

The footprint of the non-Defence property portfolio is reduced where appropriate.

Property efficiencies are delivered through the whole-of-Australian Government property services coordinated procurement arrangements for leasing and facilities management.

Proceeds from divestments are returned to the Budget where agreed and savings are delivered through a reduction in ongoing property management & maintenance costs.

Measured and reported through the:

  • annual Australian Government Office Occupancy Report
  • property services coordinated procurement arrangements for leasing and facilities management
  • Finance owned estate Divestment program.

Changes to this measure in 2019–20 reflect that Finance’s management role continues to evolve, in particular with the implementation of the property services coordinated procurement arrangements.

Engage with Government Business Enterprises (GBEs) and shareholder departments to facilitate efficiency, financial sustainability and sound governance arrangements for all GBEs.

Continue to encourage ongoing efficiency and financial sustainability in GBEs, including to facilitate and monitor GBE delivery of the government’s key infrastructure priorities, including Western Sydney Airport, Inland Rail, Snowy Hydro and Naval Shipbuilding.

GBEs operate efficiently, maintain a commercial focus and manage the longer-term financial and operational sustainability of the entity, including the payment of dividends. 
GBE corporate plans comply with GBE guidelines and provide sufficient information to permit performance and financial reporting and monitoring. This includes timely reporting to ministers and government on progress of key projects and proactive reporting on emerging issues.

Ensure that GBE and project governance is fit for purpose including through the establishment of governance documents such as statements of expectations, commercial freedom frameworks and funding agreements.

Finance measures GBE performance against a standard set of key performance indicators, outlined in quarterly reports and through quarterly and annual strategic reporting and meetings.
Governance arrangements are reviewed at various stages of delivery of infrastructure priorities.

GBE corporate plans are analysed and reported to shareholder ministers.

In 2019–20, Snowy Hydro has been added as a key infrastructure priority. Further, the two measures have been consolidated into a single criterion.


Activity Performance criteria Assessed as Methodology Changes since 2017-18
Corporate Plan

Support the transformation of Commonwealth entities as one of the shared service hubs delivering shared, standard and sustainable technologies and processes to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of organisational management.

As a Shared Service hub, the Service Delivery Office provides quality and efficient services to client entities.

Service level agreements with client entities, including measurement of efficiency and effectiveness are met.
The benefits of shared, standard and sustainable technologies and processes will be assessed by:

  • the uptake of a shared ERP technology platform
  • the utilisation of common business processes to drive efficiencies

The Service Delivery Office’s (SDO’s) seven service level agreements are measured and provided to the SDO’s clients on a monthly basis.  
The benefits of shared, standard and sustainable technologies and processes will be measured through the increase in the number of users sharing the ERP platform and  common business processes, specifically the number of: 

  • payslips generated
  • financial documents processed 
  • credit cards under management
  • active ERP users 
  • international trips managed. 

The above measures will be monitored on a monthly basis and reported annually.

In 2019–20 this performance criterion has been updated for currency and to streamline and remove duplication in the description of the methodology.

Undertaking ICT development projects to support the modernisation of the APS.

Commonwealth entities and companies have access to GovTEAMS, a new generation platform to provide a single environment for both internal and external collaboration across government to improve public sector productivity.

The GovTEAMS platform is successfully operating with all the modern collaboration tools such as Chat, Online Audio and Video Meetings, Online Profiles, Social Feeds, and File Sharing available to government employees and their invited external guests for 99 per cent of the time in office operating hours.

The following user adoption rates are achieved:

  • 40,000 users in 2019–20
  • 50,000 users in 2020–21
  • 55,000 users in 2021–22

Measured through:

Uptime statistics at the GovTEAMS platform demonstrating the platform is

  • available for 99 per cent of the time in office operating hours.
  • Monitoring the number of users that have registered on the GovTEAMS platform.
  • Modelling the annual productivity benefits of using the GovTEAMS platform.
  • Measured continuously and reported annually.

In 2019–20 the target user adoption rates for this performance criterion have been updated to reflect anticipated take up in the coming year and two forward years.

The scope of measuring productivity has been broadened to include a larger sample of GovTEAMS users. The program will leverage a range of metrics, such as community messages, individual messages, and cross-agency exchanges to assess broader productivity indicators. This change in approach reflects the maturation of GovTEAMS from a fledgling product to a fully functioning collaboration platform.

Commonwealth entities and companies have access to the GovCMS management and website hosting support platform to assist in the creation of modern, affordable and responsive websites that better connect Government with people.

The GovCMS platform is available to entities seeking to develop and maintain websites 99 per cent of the time in office operating hours.
Evidence of increased uptake of GovCMS by non-corporate Commonwealth entities.

Evidence of retention of non-corporate Commonwealth entities continuing to use the GovCMS service.

Measured through:

  • Uptime statistics monitored daily to determine availability of the platform.
  • Monitoring the number of websites and the number of entities that have active GovCMS subscriptions.
  • At least one case study from 2019-20 and onwards to demonstrate the benefits of creating and operating a website through GovCMS.
  • Measured continuously based on number of additional active agreements with entities and number of ceased agreements in the reporting period.


In 2019–20 this performance criterion has been updated to provide more relevant evidence and appropriate methodology against the performance criterion.

Provide a range of services to Parliamentarians, their employees and others as determined by the Australian Government to assist them in undertaking their duties.


Services meet the needs of Parliamentarians, their employees and others as required by the Australian Government.

The following service standards are met or exceeded:

  • 95 per cent of client contacts acknowledged within 24 hours and responded to within agreed timeframes
  • 95 per cent of payments (including payroll) will be made within agreed timeframes
  • 100 per cent of office establishment and relocation projects will be delivered in accordance with the National Fitout Standards.
  • 99 per cent of COMCAR reservations will be completed without service failure.


KPIs are measured and reported regularly to Executive Board through the performance update progress report. Achievement of success is reported annually via the targets in the Annual Performance Statement and Outcome 3 of Finance’s Portfolio Budget Statement. 

In the 2018–19 Corporate Plan, this performance criterion included reference to a stakeholder survey being conducted in the reporting period. Due to the delay in the full release of PEMS until April 2020, the stakeholder survey will not take place in the 2019–20 financial year. It is anticipated that this survey will now take place in subsequent reporting periods.

The reporting of office establishment and relocation has been adjusted in the measure following the introduction of the new National Fitout Standards.

The timeliness, efficiency, clarity and transparency of the administration of parliamentary work expenses is improved.

The New Parliamentary Expense Management System (PEMS) is developed according to agreed project milestones.

Progress is measured continuously and reported through the PEMS steering committee, with outcomes reported annually in the Annual Performance Statement.

The methodology for this measure has been updated as the PEMS steering committee has oversight of the PEMS project.

Efficient management of Finance tenancies under the Whole of Australian Government (WoAG) Commonwealth Property Management Framework.

Finance tenancies are managed efficiently.

For Finance occupied tenancies, average occupational density is at or below the Government’s target (2019-20 14m2 per occupied work point).

Measured and reported through the annual Australian Government Office Occupancy Report.

New measure in 


© Commonwealth of Australia 2019
ISSN 2206-7299 (online)

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