Corporate Plan 2020-21

DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
CORPORATE PLAN 2020–21

Covering reporting period 2020–21 to 2023–24

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MESSAGE FROM THE SECRETARY

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Photo of Rosemary Huxtable PSM Secretary, Department of Finance

Finance’s 2020-21 Corporate Plan has been released during a time of unprecedented events and significant global and domestic uncertainty. Australians have high expectations for government leadership and support as they face complex challenges resulting from these events. In turn, the demands on the Australian Public Service (APS) are great.

During this time, the APS has demonstrated a capacity to surge and respond to unexpected and difficult circumstances. It has supported Australians by collaborating and bringing together the resources and commitment of many agencies including Finance.

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a unique challenge and opportunity for Finance to further transform how we operate. Finance’s purpose remains clear and relevant – to assist 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.

I am proud of the leadership that Finance has been able to take across the APS and the way in which we have supported the Australian Government and community through these challenging times. We have looked closely at our organising principles and ways of working and have confirmed the importance of taking a stewardship approach to the work we do in order to deliver our diverse and varied range of responsibilities. This is a hallmark of how we deliver across our major roles: advising on expenditure and commercial interests; supporting appropriate resource management and governance including through enabling efficient and effective property management and timely and effective procurement; and facilitating efficient service delivery through whole-of-government IT platforms.

Finance remains focused on delivering for the Government and the Australian community, regardless of disruption and change. We continue to strengthen our performance reporting through this four-year corporate plan to align priorities with outcomes and appropriately manage strategic risk. We will continue to place greater emphasis on setting targets and measuring performance.

We are committed to ongoing transformation and internal business process reform. Finance’s work to date has positioned us to respond effectively to the many recent events in which decision-making and delivery was rapid, including through faster, real-time cash management processes and enhanced budget processes and systems. Finance will continue to promote and support innovation and effective use of technology to unlock business process efficiency and resilience now and into the future.

Finance’s leadership in support of the APS, businesses and the Australian community through the current pandemic is enabled by strong strategic forward planning and our investments in cooperative relationships. We will continue to build capability in how we advise government to achieve value in government expenditure and through fit-for-purpose governance frameworks, investment funds, Government Business Enterprises and budget work.

Internally, Finance will continue to ensure our core functions are supported through the Strategic Review process, which enables us to align resources with priorities. What we do as a department remains underpinned by our approach to risk, particularly in an uncertain and rapidly changing environment. We will continue to take a positive and proactive approach and support others through guidance on risk frameworks.

In response to the demands of the current environment, we need to ensure that we emerge a stronger, more effective, efficient and flexible public service able to deliver and promote cross-government cooperation. We will focus on maturing our core policy frameworks, which set the parameters for effective and accountable decision-making. We will also focus on supporting Finance staff to deliver to a high standard against emerging priorities and business as usual functions in a connected and collaborative way.

This Corporate Plan outlines the Department’s priorities for the reporting period and builds on the significant steps we have taken to mature Finance’s performance framework.

It is a privilege to lead a department that continues to demonstrate the values of the public service, including through its willingness to come together during challenging times. I am pleased to present the Department of Finance 2020-21 Corporate Plan.

Rosemary Huxtable PSM
Secretary, Department of Finance

INTRODUCTION

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I, Rosemary Huxtable, as the accountable authority of the Department of Finance, present the Department of Finance 2020-21 Corporate Plan, which covers the period 2020–21 to 2023–24, as required under section 35(1) (b) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.

PURPOSE

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.

INTEGRATED PERFORMANCE CYCLE

Finance has an integrated performance cycle and the corporate plan is our pre-eminent planning document which brings together the core elements which allow us to deliver against our purpose. This is complemented by performance planning that occurs through regular budgeting processes and Finance's Portfolio Budget Statements, and performance reporting in the Annual Report. Integrated Business Planning and governance processes, including strategic reviews, also direct individual and teamwork activities to achieve our purpose. The relationship between elements included in Finance's performance are illustrated in Figure 1.

1: Finance's performance cycle and environment
Graph of Finance's performance cycle and environment.

FINANCE'S APPROACH

As a central agency of the Australian Government, Finance has an influential role with responsibilities that span across government. Through Finance's role in the Budget process, in setting public sector resource management frameworks, in managing the Commonwealth's commercial interests and in delivering enabling services, there is significant opportunity to shape and support best overall value for money for the Australian community.

The events of 2020 have highlighted the importance of a connected, mobile and responsive APS. These are key characteristics of Finance's approach to the work we do, how we operate internally and through our outward-facing stewardship. Finance's delivery against our purpose can only be achieved by working in partnership with colleagues across the Commonwealth supporting them to deliver on their objectives for the Australian Government.

Looking ahead, the APS must leverage the opportunity to reform its operations to continue to deliver the best outcomes for the Government and the Australian community. An example of this is the collaboration facilitated by the committee of the Chief Operating Officers (COO) of the APS, established in January 2020 and initially chaired by Finance. The COO committee has tackled the challenges and opportunities of 2020 in a collective way, looking through a one APS lens. As a result, considerable progress has been made against a number of recommendations of the Independent Review of the Australian Public Service.

The APS will continue to face sustained pressure to support the ongoing health and economic response to COVID-19. As a central agency, Finance has a unique opportunity to be part of this ongoing transformation to deliver a more effective, efficient and agile public service.

COOPERATION

Underpinning Finance's contribution over the period of this plan, is the quality and strength of our relationships (Figure 2). Finance will continue to work with our partners across the public sector including with central agencies – the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Treasury – and with the Australian Public Service Commission, to provide leadership in the APS. Our focus on stewardship and collaboration with all entities to support the achievement of their objectives ensures we deliver:

  • more appropriate, practical and timely advice from a whole-of-government perspective
  • more robust policy able to respond to contemporary challenges
  • better services supported by engaging more successfully with Finance's clients and stakeholders
  • leadership in enabling and driving productivity in the APS.

Figure 2 provides an overview of the cooperative arrangements Finance uses at an entity-level to achieve its purposes. More detail in relation to cooperative arrangements we have with specific entities and sectors in support of our key activities is presented in the performance chapters.

Figure 2: Key cooperative arrangements
Graph of Key cooperative arrangements between public and private entities

OPERATING CONTEXT

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Against the background of the challenges of the 2020 national bushfires and emergency response early in the year, the COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the operating environment of the APS. While Finance's efforts over recent years have enabled us to respond effectively to the needs of the Government and our partners and stakeholders, an environment such as this demands that we continue to adapt and learn.

This corporate plan is delivered at a time when some major contextual factors are yet to be determined, including a Federal Budget delayed to 6 October 2020. However, in an environment with many factors outside of Finance's control, focusing on what can be influenced is more important than ever. The ongoing appropriateness of our whole-of-government frameworks along with traditional structures and processes have been challenged and will continue to be over the course of this plan. The bar remains high for policy and service delivery in a context where discipline, good process and quality are rightly demanded by governments and those they represent. Finance's ability to be agile and responsive, supporting the needs of our partners in the public and the private sectors, while appropriately managing risks, will contribute to our success.

Finance's enabling factors in relation to people, financial management, facilities, business continuity, and information and communications technology remain central to our performance. Finance's governance, led by an Executive Board, facilitates sound, transparent and timely decision making and enables us to respond quickly to the emerging challenges. Finance's Strategic Review process supports active consideration of organisational priorities and resourcing, with a managed approach to risk. As we continue to review Finance's operating model in 2020-21, we will further look to mature the way we mobilise resources to priorities and ensure strong alignment of programs, outcomes and operations.

ENVIRONMENT

Over the next four years, unique opportunities exist to leverage lessons learned through recent challenges and pursue further innovation and transformation, while managing the risks of rapid change. Table 1 sets out the environmental factors that may impact or influence Finance's ability to achieve its purpose in our three areas of focus over the period of the corporate plan. More broadly, through the Executive Board's regular scan of risk and environmental factors impacting the APS, Finance will continue to proactively identify and respond to the elements within and outside of our sphere of influence.

Table 1: Environmental factors 2020-21 to 2023-24

Areas of focus Environmental factors and controls
Advising on expenditure
  • global and domestic uncertainty, requiring budget and policy responses and decision-making to occur in a dynamic and rapidly changing environment, including the Government’s evolving response to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • ongoing pressure to: balance short, medium and long-term fiscal and policy objectives; manage intergenerational issues influencing Australia’s social, economic and demographic trends; and protect the structural integrity of the Budget through a global pandemic
  • continued application of rigour and discipline to Finance’s fiscal and policy advice to the government noting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing national bushfire recovery process
  • enhanced assurance reviews of Advances to the Finance Minister to take account of the current operating environment and the possibility that there may be an urgent need for expenditure outside the annual budget process.
Public sector resourcing & transformation
  • significant impact of COVID-19 on the Australian business community. Supply chains, consumer and business confidence, and operating models have been affected. These impacts have been felt by Australian Government owned Government Business Enterprises that have had to adapt and change to meet community expectations
  • public sector operations fundamentally shifting as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Digital transformation has been fast-tracked through necessity, more flexible modes of service delivery are continuing to evolve, and adaptive working arrangements are prompting deep reflection about optimal business processes moving forward
  • citizen and business expectations of access to high quality services, delivered in real-time and at low cost, particularly at a time of greater demand for service delivery due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • a challenging environment in relation to the level of insurable risks
  • the drive to achieve efficiencies in the management and oversight of Commonwealth assets to assist in the budget bottom line.
Delivering effective services to, and for, government
  • expansion and greater use of common enabling tools and evolving technology to support greater connection and collaboration across the public sector, particularly for a remote workforce
  • Australia’s electoral cycle, which requires an election be held within the period of this plan
  • the Parliament and community’s expectations regarding the management of expenses for parliamentarians and their staff.

RISK OVERSIGHT & MANAGEMENT

Finance, along with the APS and the broader Australian community, has faced significant challenges in 2020 which will influence our strategic and operational context for years to come. Finance's fundamental role in providing policy advice to the Government and other entities has not changed, but that advice must now, more than ever, be highly responsive to new and evolving challenges and extended periods of uncertainty. The unique challenges of Finance's current operating environment include that government decision making on health and economic matters demands fast-paced and adaptive advice, the Commonwealth's financial and cash management responsibilities have intensified and the commercial environment in which many of our partners operate has dramatically altered. Careful consideration of risk in Finance's policy development and advice will enable us to better understand and collaborate with our stakeholders, consider lessons learned and drive transformative change across the public service.

The way we work, collaborate and connect as an organisation has evolved quickly, bringing risks but also providing opportunity to transform Finance's operations in the medium to long term. Our positive risk culture allows reprioritisation of work in response to emerging issues. We recognise that, to deliver on our purpose in an increasingly complex environment, the Department must engage with opportunity and risk, and likewise empower our people to do so at all levels.

Risk is actively considered as a component of the Strategic Review cycle, ensuring that the prioritisation and allocation of resources is informed by a clear understanding of opportunity, risk and consequences. As a result of these risk-based discussions, we better position ourselves to strengthen strategic partnerships, transform processes and deliver services. The Department's Enterprise Risk Management Plan documents Finance's key strategic, program and operational risks, including shared risks. The Plan is reviewed regularly by the Risk Sub-committee to ensure it reflects changes in the environment, that controls and treatment strategies remain effective and that communication between the Risk Sub-committee and individual risk owners is ongoing.

Operationally, we aim to have an empowered workforce, able to innovate and engage with risk across all levels of the Department, and prepared to meet future challenges. We acknowledge the importance of an organisational culture which values individual capability and accountability and supports meaningful communication throughout Finance's organisational structure. Our positive risk culture – where staff are enabled to question assumptions, put forward ideas and change the way we work – will be critical as we embed new ways of operating now and for the foreseeable future.

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 Finance's risk management policy and governs how the Department identifies, manages and communicates risks in our business. The Framework sets out the governance that underpins Finance's positive risk culture and is regularly reviewed to ensure it reflects our operating environment.

Figure 3: Our approach to managing risks
Graph of Finance's approach to managing risk

GOVERNANCE ARRANGEMENTS

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

Responsibility for key strategic, program and operational risks is assigned to individual senior executives, who report to Executive Board against the delivery of the relevant outcomes. Central oversight of risk management, through the Enterprise Risk Management Plan, extends to project and program level risks, including those that are shared with external stakeholders, ensuring a line of sight between day-to-day risk management and Finance's key strategic, program and operational risks.

We will continue to support this clear line of sight through Finance's risk governance in 2020-21. In addition to the ongoing governance role of the Risk Sub-committee, we will refresh our Risk Engagement Group membership and Terms of Reference to support enhanced risk capability in our people, driving ‘local' risk engagement and ensuring the ‘tone from the top' is complemented by active risk management in practice across the organisation.

RISK APPETITE

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

RISK APPETITE STATEMENT

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

The Department recognises we cannot, and should not, eliminate all risk as we deliver on our purpose. Considering opportunities to innovate, as well as managing risk, allows us to drive transformative change within our own department and across the public sector. Our appetite for engaging with opportunity and risk extends to the management of shared risks with other entities to deliver on the Government's objectives.

The Department's risk appetite informs and guides our decision making and plays a central role in shaping a culture which embraces change and innovation as we promote the effective and efficient management of public resources.

This statement empowers staff to make risk-based decisions that take into account the benefits of innovation as well as considering ‘what could go wrong?' At an operational level, the risk appetite statement is complimented by risk appetite levels of enhanced, balanced and limited. These levels guide whether the Department will accept a risk, leading to more informed and consistent decision making. If a risk exceeds Finance's appetite, we escalate that issue for further consideration, including treatment of the risk.

Table 2: Our levels of risk appetite

Risk appetite Description Treatment
Enhanced

Risk management is less constrained by process to encourage innovation.

Staff are empowered to embrace opportunities and develop new ways of working that enhance our public sector stewardship, improve our organisational efficiency and connectedness and promote a more collaborative culture.

Greater risk is accepted to support new ways of doing things.
Balanced

Risk management is balanced to pursue opportunities to innovate.

Staff are empowered to consider risk while exploring new ways of delivering services, engaging with stakeholders and allocating resources, to ensure our service levels, stakeholder relationships and staff wellbeing are optimised.

Measured risk is accepted to grow the business.
Limited

Risk management involves active mitigation against additional risk exposure.

Staff are empowered to recognise and escalate matters that risk our organisational reputation and integrity and compliance with legislative obligations and better practice policy.

Risk is reduced to the lowest acceptable level.

KEY STRATEGIC RISKS

Finance has identified nine key strategic risks that, were they to eventuate, may affect our ability to achieve Finance's purpose. Finance's approach to mitigating these risks reflects our current operating environment and that of our cooperative partners. The strategic risks and mitigation strategies are mapped against Finance's transformation areas of focus (Stewardship, Integrated Business Planning, People and Making Business Better).

Table 3: Key strategic risks and mitigation strategies

Strategic risk

Risk mitigation strategy

Stewardship

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

Finance’s central agency role involves cooperative partnerships with our clients and stakeholders.  

To strengthen these partnerships, we are defining and implementing Finance’s governance structures to collaborate, share knowledge and develop solutions with a focus on shared risk outcomes. Finance’s partnered and collaborative approach is all the more critical as we provide rapid advice, respond to uncertainty and drive transformation in a changing environment.

  1. Finance fails to clearly develop and implement its stewardship role (leading, guiding, influencing and delivering) in modernising and transforming the public sector to achieve government fiscal and policy objectives.
  1. Effective governance frameworks are not established to support the successful implementation of complex projects and program activities led by, or involving, Finance.
  1. 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.

Integrated Business Planning

  1. Finance fails to drive the transformation and cultural change required to assist the Department to achieve its strategic purpose and priorities and drive innovation at the departmental and whole-of-government level.

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.

People

  1. 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.

Finance’s ability to drive productivity, efficiency and innovation is dependent on our people and culture. We recognise the importance of staff wellbeing and engagement as Finance’s operating environment continues to shift.

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

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

Making Business Better

  1. Finance’s programs and business processes are not designed to realise measurable benefits and opportunities in a collaborative APS, shared services and shared risk environment.

Finance optimises opportunities to deliver better programs, services and to enable better outcomes. We value forward planning that anticipates the future needs of our people, stakeholders and the Australian community.

We are strengthening Finance’s ability to govern and manage data by embedding new systems and practices that support evidence based decision making and improve public sector policy advice and program delivery through enhanced data analytics and data management.

  1. Finance fails to effectively govern and manage data, reducing opportunities to better use information to drive departmental, program and whole-of-government outcomes and increasing its exposure to targeted, intentional or accidental disclosure.

CAPABILITY AND ENABLERS

Finance's achievement of our purpose over the period of this corporate plan will be enabled by existing and emerging capabilities. These include our people, financial management, information and communications technology platforms and investment in business optimisation.

All Finance staff have access to a consistent and highly functional IT platform as a result of the "One Desktop" project. Use of common devices has made for a more agile environment and supported the successful transition to remote working arrangements, including in response to COVID-19. Finance's GovTEAMS platform through its innovative videoconferencing functionality enables our staff, and the APS more broadly, to continue to work effectively in teams when working in various locations. These tools will support Finance to continue to make use of flexible and remote working arrangements in the longer term.

Finance's business optimisation capability identifies opportunities to improve efficiency and reduce risk through automation, digitisation and process re-engineering. This continuous improvement process supports implementation of digital workflows that drive value across our work.

PEOPLE

Finance's experience during the COVID-19 pandemic has emphasised the importance of continued investment in workforce planning and capability development, to remain skilled, flexible and responsive to meeting government priorities. This has been demonstrated through the successful surge to areas of need across the APS, for which Finance staff willingly volunteered at all levels. Finance was able to rapidly mobilise 140 staff to support the COVID-19 response across the APS through secondments to Services Australia, the Australian Public Service Commission, the Department of Health, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the COVID-19 Coordination Commission. This is a reflection of the flexibility of our workforce at all levels and the extent of engagement with whole-of-government priorities. Underpinning this effort, Finance's business continuity focus has ensured we continue to deliver on our own highest priorities supporting business areas to assess, identify and surge resources to critical functions.

Finance is committed to developing the professional skills and capability of staff within the Department and across the APS. Finance's People Capability Framework, launched in 2019, is helping to drive operational efficiencies and achieve an uplift in performance by clearly defining the performance expectations and core capabilities required of Finance staff. Further framework implementation is focused on developing a deeper understanding of the professional skill sets and capabilities we have in Finance, to address capability gaps and position our workforce for the future. This includes building and embedding technical capabilities in data analytics and digital literacy as well as financial analysis and policy capability as a priority. Finance will continue to align our work with the broader APS Workforce Strategy.

Finance is leading the implementation of the pilot of the Australian Government Graduate Recruitment process (AGGR) in partnership with the Australian Public Service Commission and participating APS entities. In 2020 over 2200 applications were received for AGGR. It streamlines the graduate recruitment process, by allowing candidates to complete a single application and assessment process for graduate roles within the Australian Electoral Commission, Australian Public Service Commission, Department of Finance, Department of Veterans' Affairs and the National Indigenous Australians Agency. In 2020, Finance also continued the expansion of the Career Starter Program by increasing the number of participating agencies, with 62 participants across 10 departments/agencies, including 23 participants at Finance. With the aim of attracting, developing and retaining talented Australians into the APS, these programs will continue to expand to ensure we have a talent pipeline that addresses future capability gaps in the public sector.

FINANCIALS

Finance has a total departmental expense budget of $528.8 million in 2020–21 including those departmental functions delivered for whole-of-government purposes and supported through Special Accounts. Finance's departmental capital budget is $50.1 million, of which $37.1 million relates to projects in the Property Special Account.

Finance has a total administered expense budget of $12,108.3 million in 2020–21 and an administered capital budget of $15.0 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 Additional Estimates Statements 2019–20.

Figure 4: Total Expenditure 2020-21
Graph of Finance's Total Expenditure for 2020-21

Source: Portfolio Additional Estimates Statement 2019-20

STRATEGIC REVIEW

Strategic Review is Finance's tri-annual business planning mechanism through which the Executive Board sets organisational strategy and makes decisions on departmental priorities and resourcing, aligned with Finance's approach to risk management. This includes creating investment capacity to build the capability of the Department and support the Government and the APS more broadly. Strategic Review is a key component of Finance's transformation agenda and a centrepiece of our commitment to Integrated Business Planning. The cycle comprises three stages every financial year – ‘Reset, Reflect and Review' – where the Executive Board meets with individual work areas to discuss:

  • immediate and future priorities, associated investment and resourcing implications and opportunities/risks
  • opportunities for improvement, optimisation, deregulation/streamlining and greater alignment within and across business areas to enhance delivery of advice and services
  • workforce management, including strategies to address APS Census results, optimal management structures and capability gaps.

The approach to Strategic Review is assessed each financial year to ensure it supports Executive Board to deliver on Finance's priorities and key responsibilities. In 2020-21, the Strategic Review cycle will leverage and embed the positive changes to Finance's operating environment made during COVID-19, informed by feedback from staff elicited through a pulse survey and regular communication activities. This includes building on our proven agility and mobility in responding to priorities and sharpening our focus on core functions.

In 2020 and beyond, Finance is building on our existing approach to use Strategic Review to:

  • enhance the role of the Senior Leadership Committee (comprising Deputy Secretaries, First Assistant Secretaries and key corporate Assistant Secretaries) in operational and tactical decision-making, freeing the Executive Board to focus on strategic issues
  • further align strategic planning to Finance's operating model including more clearly linking Finance's purpose, outcome and program structures and Ministerial Objectives, and optimising our structure, core functions, processes, role design and investments.

PERFORMANCE

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Finance continues to strengthen the performance information we provide to the Parliament and the broader community. This 2020-21 Corporate Plan further matures and embeds this commitment. The plan features updates to the Department's performance framework intended to provide a greater focus on outcomes and a stronger alignment with Finance's key activities and purpose.

PERFORMANCE THEMES

Chart of Performance Themes

Finance's responsibilities under each performance theme are not mutually exclusive. Collectively, they ensure all activities contribute to achieving our purpose of assisting the Australian Government to achieve its fiscal and policy objectives.

PERFORMANCE FRAMEWORK

The performance framework provides substantial detail regarding how Finance's progress in achieving its purpose will be measured by identifying:

  • key activities that we undertake under each of the three performance themes
  • performance measures which reflect the main outcomes we want these activities to achieve
  • goals for each performance measure so that our achievements can be assessed over time, including through the use of performance targets where it is reasonably practicable
  • methodologies to monitor results and track overall progress.

UPDATES TO MEET NEW LEGISLATIVE REQUIREMENTS AND SUPPORT CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT

The presentation of all key activities and performance measures has been updated to improve the clarity of Finance's performance information, to reflect legislative changes in relation to corporate plans effective from 1 July 2020 and to strengthen our ability to demonstrate a clear read across reporting documents and cycles. This is achieved through short and long form descriptions of key activities and performance measures that can be carried across to other performance reporting documents and inclusion of explicit links with program and outcome information in Finance's Portfolio Budget Statement. A summary of changes is included at Appendix A and substantive changes to individual performance measures are explained in the corresponding performance tables.

Where it is practicable to include targets against individual performance measures, these have been identified. For a small number of performance measures, a combination of qualitative performance information and proxy measures are used to assess and report on Finance's achievements against key activities and it is not practicable to set targets at this time. The Department will continue to review these measures and targets will be set at a later time. Where a tick is presented in the “year” columns in the performance tables, this indicates that the assessment approach will be used to measure performance for the given reporting period/s.

Updates to performance measures in the 2020-21 Corporate Plan reflect continuous improvement as part of Finance's longer-term entity planning processes. We will explore opportunities to further enhance performance measurement approaches over subsequent reporting cycles, particularly for new and evolving effectiveness measures that draw on a range of information sources to assess how well Finance is delivering on specific aspects of its purpose.

Recognising the contextual nature of performance and the scale of domestic and global change expected over the period of this plan, Finance is committed to remaining flexible in our approach to managing performance. Finance's capacity to build lessons learned into our performance framework will be critical to achieving results in the current operating environment and remaining accountable to our Minister, the Parliament and the broader community.

ADVISING ON EXPENDITURE

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

A significant aspect of Finance's purpose relates to providing advice on whole-of-government expenditure, budget trends and policy issues. In light of the profound economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Australian Government's contributions to the 2020 bushfire response, the importance of this work over the next four years cannot be overstated.

The speed and scale of the Australian Government's initial response to COVID-19 has driven a rapid increase in expenditure, designed to protect the structural integrity of the budget and support the economy. Ongoing work, across all jurisdictions, will be essential to continuing to support the Government and community through a period of intense national and global uncertainty. While remaining responsive to the decision-making timeframes that are required, Finance will continue to embed discipline and rigour in policy and budget development processes. This will include promoting optimal approaches to benefit from the lessons learned through the initial responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Finance's approach will continue to balance short, medium and long-term fiscal and policy objectives, taking into account intergenerational issues that impact Australia's social, economic and demographic environment.

A summary of the key activities that Finance will manage under this performance theme are set out below and in the performance tables, with further information on all activities available on our website.

BUDGET UPDATES, APPROPRIATION BILLS, AND FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

Finance, along with the Treasury, prepares the annual Budget and associated economic updates as set out in the Charter of Budget Honesty Act 1998. Finance has a key role in 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 the delivery of Budget and related economic updates, Finance regularly reviews Budget estimates in collaboration with entities, updating Budget estimates to take account of the best available information and to maximise their reliability and accuracy. Finance ensures that budget frameworks, policies and systems are in place so that Budget papers and related economic updates are delivered in required timeframes and Budget estimates are accurate.

Finance is responsible for using whole-of-government Budget estimates information to prepare the annual appropriation Bills, which, if passed by the Parliament, create the legal authority to spend money from the Consolidated Revenue Fund for Commonwealth purposes. To support ongoing financial management and compliance with the Government's financial reporting responsibilities, Finance also prepares monthly financial statements and consolidated financial statements.

CENTRAL CASH MANAGEMENT

Finance has undertaken significant work to 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 work include: enabling Commonwealth departments to access their appropriations on a near real-time basis; 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; and contributing to the Australian Public Service innovation and transformation agenda by the adoption of new technology.

As part of its stewardship role, Finance also facilitates a cash management community of practice. This functions to drive continuous improvement in Commonwealth cash management practices and enable better information sharing across Commonwealth entities around existing and emerging technologies, and transformation programs such as the Near Real-time Funds Project.

Over the forward years of this plan, significant initiatives we will manage to help achieve our purpose include:

  • advising on expenditure in a year with two Commonwealth Budgets
  • improved data analytic capabilities
  • improved Commonwealth cash management.
 

Advising on expenditure in a year with two Commonwealth Budgets

In 2020, Finance quickly adapted key work on the Budget process in response to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, implementing changes in government decision-making processes and timelines to support an efficient and timely government response. In the 2020-21 financial year, Finance will continue this approach in the preparation of the July Economic and Fiscal Update and the 2020-21 Budget which was deferred until October 2020. This tempo will continue as Finance contributes to the delivery of the 2019-20 Final Budget Outcome, the 2020-21 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook and the 2021-22 Budget.

Improve Data Analytic Capabilities

Finance continues to improve its data analytic capabilities which has enabled us to inform government decision making, including in the unpredictable economic landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic. In collaboration with partner entities, this data capability has underpinned Finance's work to provide detailed analysis on government spending, including using near real time data on COVID-19 expenditure programs, across various policy areas including health, aged care, and employment. This data capability has also allowed Finance to collate a high-level view of broader funding data to provide greater context for the pressures that are emerging in an increasingly complex, challenging and uncertain strategic environment.

Improved Commonwealth Cash Management

Following the successful implementation of early phases of the Near Real-time Funds Project in 2019-20, Finance will continue to work with entities and stakeholders, including the Reserve Bank of Australia and approved deposit taking institutions, to further modernise and improve Commonwealth cash management. Over the forward years of this plan, this will include implementing use of the New Payments Platform for receipting of Commonwealth funds into the Official Public Account and enabling the integration of entity financial management information systems with Finance's Central Budget Management System.

Advising on expenditure – key activities and performance measures
KEY ACTIVITY 1: Budget updates, Appropriation Bills and financial statements
Coordinate, prepare and advise the Minister for Finance and the Expenditure Review Committee of Cabinet on the delivery of the Budget and related economic updates, including appropriations legislation and the Government's financial statements, to contribute to promoting the Government's fiscal strategy and policy objectives.
Target
2020-21 2021-22 2022-23 2023-24
Performance Measure 1.1: Budget updates and Appropriation Bills
Budget papers, related updates (e.g. the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook – MYEFO) and Appropriation Bills are accurate, consistent with external reporting standards, delivered within required timeframes and meet the Government's fiscal and policy objectives and legislative obligations.
How will this performance measure be assessed?
1.1.1       Accuracy of Budget Estimates.        
Variances between estimated expenses and final outcome are within set parameters.        
  • First forward year – difference between estimated expenses and Final Budget Outcome.

< 2%

< 2%

< 2%

< 2%

  • Budget year – difference between Budget estimated expenses and Final Budget Outcome.

<1.5%

<1.5%

<1.5%

<1.5%

  • Current year – difference between the revised current year estimates at MYEFO and Final Budget Outcome.

< 1%

< 1%

< 1%

< 1%

  • Current year – difference between the current year estimates at budget time and Final Budget Outcome.

<0.5%

<0.5%

<0.5%

<0.5%

       Significant variances between estimated expenses and final outcome are explained.

1.1.2      Timeliness of Budget Estimate Updates and Appropriation Bills.

       
  • Budget papers and related updates meet timeframes set out in the Charter of Budget Honesty Act 1998.
  • Appropriation Bills introduced at times intended by government.

1.1.3      Timeliness of Budget Estimate Updates and Appropriation Bills

Methodology: Budget estimates take into account, to the fullest extent possible, all government decisions and other circumstances that may have a material effect. Significant differences between the estimated expenses and final outcome are reported annually, with explanations provided where variances are equivalent to, or greater than, the targets specified.

Budget papers and related economic updates are produced in accordance with timeframes and requirements in the Charter of Budget Honesty Act 1998. Appropriation Bills are introduced into Parliament at times intended by government and in accordance with legislative requirements. Timeliness is demonstrated by tabling dates of Budget papers, related economic updates and Appropriation Bills recorded in the Hansard.

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

Performance Measure 1.2: Financial statements
The Government's financial statements, including monthly statements, are complete, fairly presented and released publicly on timeframes agreed with the Government.

How will this performance measure be assessed?
1.2.1 Complete and fairly presented Financial Statements.        
  • The Auditor-General issues an unmodified audit report on consolidated financial statements.

1.2.2      Timeliness of Financial Statements.

       
  • Monthly statements (prepared within 21 days of the end of month, on average, following release of Final Budget Outcome).
  • Consolidated financial statements (provided to the Auditor-General by 30 November each year).

Methodology: Measured monthly & reported annually. The Auditor-General issues an unmodified audit report on the consolidated financial statements. Timeliness is demonstrated by date of correspondence to: the Minister for Finance, providing monthly financial statements; and to the Auditor-General providing consolidated financial statements.

Explanation of changes since 2019-20 Corporate Plan: Performance measure 1.1 updated to include ‘external reporting' to align with the Charter of Budget Honesty.
Links with PBS: Program 1.1 Budget and Financial Management (Outcome 1).

KEY ACTIVITY 2: Central cash management
Intra-day disbursements through the Central Cash Management System so that entities have access to near real-time funds to deliver on the policy objectives of the Government in necessary timeframes.
Target
2020-21 2021-22 2022-23 2023-24
Performance Measure 2.1: Daily disbursement of cash
Commonwealth entities have access to cash, in near real-time, as required.
How will this performance measure be assessed?
2.1.1       Cash needs of all entities are met in near real-time, each and every day (including outside business hours), for each financial year.
Methodology: CBMS and Reserve Bank intraday data transmission records show that payment requests have been completed each day with drawdowns available to entities. Measured daily and reported annually.

Explanation of changes since 2019-20 Corporate Plan: Performance measure updated to reflect the nature of the activity, specifically of the frequency of cash disbursements.

Links with PBS: Program 1.1 Budget and Financial Management (Outcome 1).

PUBLIC SECTOR RESOURCING & TRANSFORMATION

Finance supports an efficient and high-performing public sector by providing operational support to the Government and Commonwealth entities to maintain effective and efficient use of public resources. We provide leadership on ongoing improvements to public sector governance and resource management arrangements, including through Finance's systems, frameworks, policy, advice and service delivery. We are committed to guiding investments in technology and digital capability, reforming business processes, process automation, and enabling public servants to focus on the Government's strategic priorities and delivery of services to Australians.

Over the next four years, Finance's stewardship role in leading, facilitating and implementing whole-of-government public sector reforms and transformation initiatives is critically important. To achieve our purpose and continue to support the Government and the public sector in its responses to COVID-19 and other emerging issues, we are committed to ensuring that our key activities:

  • are supported by robust whole-of-government policy frameworks, which have stood up well to the demands of a global crisis and will be continually monitored and reviewed to ensure they remain fit-for-purpose and afford operational flexibility in an evolving environment
  • continue to ensure that the principles of accountability and transparency underpin Finance's advice to the Australian Government and Commonwealth entities on appropriate response, recovery and reform initiatives
  • continue to leverage and promulgate innovation across the public sector, while effectively managing risks and harnessing lessons learned
  • build on the quality and strength of Finance's relationships with strategic and cooperative partners to identify and embed rapidly evolving technologies and business practices, where these contribute to a more effective and efficient approach to public resource management.

A summary of the key activities that Finance will manage under this performance theme are below and in the performance tables, with further information on all activities available on our website.

SUPPORT THE PROPER USE OF PUBLIC RESOURCES

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 and cost-recovery, engaging with risk, reporting on financial and non-financial performance and managing appropriations, assets and liabilities.

Finance also supports the operations of the public sector through policy frameworks that guide: electoral matters, campaign advertising, and productivity and business improvement initiatives.

COMMONWEALTH PROCUREMENT, PROPERTY AND RISK MANAGEMENT

Finance administers frameworks and policies that support Commonwealth procurement, property and risk management.

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 travel and accommodation, 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.

ENGAGEMENT WITH GOVERNMENT BUSINESS ENTERPRISES AND JOINT SHAREHOLDER DEPARTMENTS

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. Finance's 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 in supporting ministers and engaging with GBE management.

INVESTMENT FUNDS AND CIVILIAN SUPERANNUATION SCHEMES

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.

Over the forward years of this plan, significant initiatives we will manage to help achieve Finance's purpose include:

  • New entity start-up guide
  • Commonwealth Investment Framework
  • Property Services Governance Network.
 

New entity start-up guide

Finance plays a central role in driving continuous improvement across the public sector, with a focus on achieving greater efficiency, accountability and capability.

As part of Finance's role in administering the Commonwealth Resource Management Framework, we support entities through the provision of high-quality advice. Our web based guidance material is reviewed regularly and feedback is used to improve its useability and meet stakeholder needs. Over time, it has been made clear to us in the governance space that when a new government entity is created, it is not always easy to locate and follow all of the necessary information (on our or other entities' websites), noting the crossover of multiple policy areas.

The Government has stated its expectation that new Commonwealth entities commence their operations as quickly as possible, and is committed to ensuring that internal obstacles to delivery are streamlined or removed. With this in mind, and to support entities in understanding the requirements, the Department has launched a New Commonwealth Entity Start-up Guide.

The Start-up Guide is a web-based tool that sets out relevant information to support the setup of a new Commonwealth entity once it has been legally established, and provides a central repository of relevant information as well as requirements that may need to be followed. The guide has been developed collaboratively with stakeholders who have recently been involved in setting up a new Commonwealth entity and with those entities responsible for the many policies.

Central to the Start-up Guide is key contact information for those entities responsible for legislation, policies, frameworks and processes that may need to be followed when establishing a new entity. The guide can be used by those who have a long lead up to establishment, as well as those who have to set up a new Commonwealth entity in a relatively short-time frame.

The collaborative nature of the Start-up Guide goes to enhancing how the Department supports and engages with entities through self-service to promote the objects of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and Rule. The Start-up Guide, hosted on the Department's website and administered in-house, will be regularly reviewed to maintain up-to-date content and useability.

Commonwealth Investment Framework – strengthening collaboration and improving government investments

The Commonwealth Investment Framework (the Framework) has been developed to support the Australian Government in maximising the benefit of investments that utilise the Commonwealth balance sheet for Australian citizens, businesses and communities.

Launched in February 2020, the Framework exemplifies Finance's stewardship and collaboration across the Commonwealth, coming in response to the growing value of investments and the structural impact on the overall portfolio of investments.

The scope of the Framework includes projects delivered using non-grant financing proposals utilising the Commonwealth balance sheet including equity investments, loans, guarantees, hybrid instruments, investment funds and specialist financing entities.

The Framework includes a Resource Management Guide (RMG) and a Toolkit of practical, user focussed content, providing a ‘how-to' for Commonwealth agencies. These were developed in consultation with stakeholders across the Commonwealth and provide best practice guidance related to the development and lifecycle of Commonwealth investments.

The Framework is broken into four parts across the lifespan of the process, including:

  1. Investment proposal and business case development: including identifying the policy program, market analysis, development of options, and cost benefit analysis.
  2. Investment governance, funding and financing: provides guidance on investment instrument options.
  3. Investment implementation: outlines governance arrangements, resourcing, project management and risk.
  4. Investment management: best practice guidance on the lifecycle management of investments.

The Framework looks to aid and add value to investment proposals and support agencies to develop and deliver non-grant investments to support the Government's policy agenda. A review will take place after the 2020-21 MYEFO to ensure the framework stays fit-for-purpose and to identify possible areas of future enhancement.

Property Services Governance Network – strengthening partnerships

Finance has established the Property Services Governance Network (the Network) to facilitate better cooperation and engagement on critical property issues.

The Commonwealth spends approximately $2 billion annually on property services. Through the whole-of-government Property Services Arrangements (the Arrangements), contracted service providers oversee the delivery of facilities management and leasing services to ensure high quality services are delivered consistently to non-corporate Commonwealth entities.

The Network consists of:

  • a Property Engagement Group (a senior steering committee)
  • the Property Reference Groups (committees that focus on critical issues)
  • working groups (120 officials participating to collaborate on operational property issues, with smaller subsections of the working groups participating in policy development)
  • virtual communities (GovTEAMS provides one stop shop for guidance and advice for entities)
  • the Government Property Group – comprised of representatives from across Commonwealth, State, Territory and New Zealand governments.

The Network provides transparency and mechanisms for collaboration across stakeholders to support property policy and framework development, and has become the key mechanism for the planning and delivery of major policy initiatives, including:

  • developing property management guidance for entities on responding to natural disasters (such as the 2019-20 bushfires and the Canberra hailstorm event in 2020)
  • developing property management guidance for entities on the management of office accommodation and fit-outs in a post COVID-19 environment, as well as providing support to government on the implementation of the Rent Relief Policy
  • coordinating input into the 2020 Commonwealth Leasing Strategy, to support the achievement of value of money and more efficient use of Commonwealth leased property
  • developing property services contract management capability across the 98 entities covered by the Arrangements, including through providing guidance and advice through the GovTEAMS virtual site
  • supporting the Independent Review of the whole-of-government Property Services Arrangements and coordinating feedback from stakeholders for the next iteration of the property services contract
  • revising the Commonwealth Property Management Framework to ensure it remains fit-for-purpose, including reducing administrative burden for entities
  • developing additional cost indicators for the annual Occupancy Report to improve transparency of government expenditure.
Public sector resourcing and transformation – key activities and performance measures
KEY ACTIVITY 3: Support the proper use and management of public resources
Support the proper use of public resources by Commonwealth entities and companies under the Commonwealth Resource Management Framework.
Target
2020-21 2021-22 2022-23 2023-24
Performance Measure 3.1: Governance and accountability
Finance ensures the Resource Management Framework is maintained as a fit-for-purpose framework for the proper use of public resources, and supports Commonwealth entities and companies to meet high standards of governance, performance and accountability through effective engagement and the provision of guidance.
How will this performance measure be assessed?
3.1.1      Effectiveness of Finance's stewardship, policy advice, engagement and guidance on governance and accountability arrangements.
3.1.2       Parliamentary and independent audit report findings related to the PGPA framework and the effectiveness of Finance's support services and guidance are applied to maintain a fit-for-purpose framework.

Methodology: Assessed through a combination of qualitative case studies, entity correspondence, and an annual entity survey. Survey methodology is undertaken in a manner consistent with accepted market research practices. Parliamentary and independent audit perspectives measured through monitoring all ANAO and JCPAA reports published each financial year, and assessing findings that relate to the PGPA framework. Report findings that identify issues and opportunities for improvement are applied as part of ongoing work to maintain and strengthen the Resource Management Framework, legislation, associated guidance and Finance's support services.

Performance Measure 3.2: Confidence in the quality and accessibility of performance reporting across the Commonwealth
Parliament and independent auditors have confidence in the quality and accessibility of performance information produced under the Commonwealth Performance Framework and available to the Parliament and the public, and entities and companies understand their obligations under the Commonwealth Performance Framework, and are equipped and supported to meet them.

How will this performance measure be assessed?

3.2.1       Effectiveness of Finance's stewardship, policy advice, engagement and guidance on the Commonwealth Performance Framework, including a measure of entity satisfaction with the level of support provided by Finance. 80% 80% 80% 80%
3.2.2       Parliamentary and independent audit report findings related to the Commonwealth Performance Framework and the effectiveness of Finance's support services and guidance are applied to maintain a fit-for-purpose framework.

Methodology: Assessed through a combination of qualitative case studies, entity correspondence, and an annual entity survey (satisfaction target derived from a specific survey question). Survey methodology is undertaken in a manner consistent with accepted market research practices. Parliamentary and independent audit perspectives measured through monitoring all ANAO reports tabled in Parliament each financial year and JCPAA reports, and assessing findings that relate to the quality of performance reporting under the Commonwealth Performance Framework. Measured continuously and reported annually. Report findings that identify issues and opportunities for improvement are applied as part of ongoing work to maintain and strengthen the performance framework, legislation, associated guidance and Finance's support services.

Explanation of changes since 2019-20 Corporate Plan:These performance measures have been consolidated to reflect an evolution in focus in this area of Finance's portfolio, focussed on maintaining a fit-for-purpose resource management framework and continuous improvement in the quality and accessibility of performance reporting across the Commonwealth.  These changes reflect full implementation of the Government's response to the Independent Review of the PGPA Act and Rules, with other presentational changes adopted to achieve greater consistency across different aspects of the PGPA framework.
Links with PBS: Program 2.1 Public Sector Governance (Outcome 2).

KEY ACTIVITY 4:Enabling value for money procurements
Leverage experience and support the Australian Government to achieve value for money procurements.
Target
2020-21 2021-22 2022-23 2023-24
Performance Measure 4.1: Stewardship over procurement systems and policies
Finance works with external stakeholders to provide stewardship over systems and policies to support a fair, efficient, and transparent procurement framework, and to 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.
How will this performance measure be assessed?
4.1.1       Effectiveness of Finance's stewardship, policy advice, engagement and guidance on procurement systems and policies.
4.1.2       Austender platform and data is available to users 99.5 per cent of the time.
4.1.3      Engagement with domestic and international stakeholders supports information exchange on advances in procurement policy.
4.1.4      Savings and efficiencies from WoAG arrangements are compared, where possible, against similar arrangements, previous arrangements or markets.
Methodology: Measured and reported annually via data and feedback collected from various sources such as: AusTender helpdesk, agency procurement forums and agency advice enquiries. Savings and efficiencies for WoAG arrangements are considered when they are created, extended or refreshed.

Explanation of changes since 2019-20 Corporate Plan: These performance measures are substantially unchanged, noting some presentational changes have been adopted to achieve greater consistency across different aspects of the PGPA framework.

Links with PBS: Program 2.5 Technology and Procurement (Outcome 2).
KEY ACTIVITY 5: Insurance and risk management support for Commonwealth entities
Provision of a self-managed insurance fund (Comcover) to protect Commonwealth entities against insurable losses and support them to manage risk.
Target
2020-21 2021-22 2022-23 2023-24
Performance Measure 5.1: Treatment of insurable risks and claims management
Comcover is effectively managed to ensure the fund is financially sustainable, there is a consistent, WoAG approach to the management of claims and Comcover supports the improvement of risk maturity in General Government Sector entities over time.
How will this performance measure be assessed?
5.1.1       An appropriate level of net assets is maintained.
5.1.2       Litigation is undertaken honestly and fairly as a model litigant.
5.1.3       Effectiveness of Comcover's stewardship, policy advice, engagement and guidance on risk management.  
Methodology: Comcover maintains adequate reserves to meet its outstanding claims liability. Comcover's approach to claims management aligns with the Commonwealth's Legal Services Directions. Strong attendance at Comcover's education services and aggregate feedback from attendees indicating an increased level of understanding and knowledge. The biennial benchmarking report indicating an aggregate improvement in risk maturity over time.

Explanation of changes since 2019-20 Corporate Plan: The performance measures are substantially unchanged but have been consolidated to better reflect the evolution in focus in this area of Finance's portfolio and some presentational changes have been adopted to achieve greater consistency across different aspects of the PGPA framework.
Links with PBS: Program 2.4 Insurance and Risk Management (Outcome 2).

KEY ACTIVITY 6: Support Commonwealth property management
Deliver an efficient and commercial approach to the management of Commonwealth property through the Commonwealth Property Management Framework.
Target
2020-21 2021-22 2022-23 2023-24
Performance Measure 6.1: Commonwealth property initiatives are efficient and effective
The management of Commonwealth property demonstrates best practice effectiveness in an evolving environment, and delivers efficiencies in relation to leasing and facilities management for non-corporate Commonwealth entities.
How will this performance measure be assessed?
6.1.1       Property efficiencies are delivered through the Whole-of-Australian Government property services coordinated procurement arrangements for leasing and facilities management.
6.1.2      Effectiveness of Finance's stewardship, policy advice, engagement and guidance on Commonwealth property management.
Methodology: Measured and reported through the annual Australian Government Office Occupancy Report, property services coordinated procurement arrangements for leasing and facilities management and agency forums, entity correspondence and qualitative case studies.

Explanation of changes since 2019-20 Corporate Plan: These performance measures have been updated to reflect the policy priorities of overall efficiency and effectiveness in the management of government property, particularly through the focus on the coordinated procurement arrangements. In addition, some presentational changes have been adopted to achieve greater consistency across different aspects of the PGPA framework.

Links with PBS: Program 2.3 Property and Construction (Outcome 2).
KEY ACTIVITY 7: Engagement with Government Business Enterprises
Engage with Government Business Enterprises (GBEs) and shareholder departments to facilitate efficiency, financial sustainability and sound governance arrangements for all GBEs..
Target
2020-21 2021-22 2022-23 2023-24
Performance Measure 7.1: Promote efficient, financially sustainable 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.
How will this performance measure be assessed?
7.1.1       GBEs operate efficiently, maintain a commercial focus and manage the longer-term financial and operational sustainability of the entity, including the payment of dividends.
7.1.2       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.
7.1.3       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.
Methodology: 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. GBE corporate plans are analysed and reported to shareholder ministers. Governance arrangements are reviewed at various stages of delivery of infrastructure priorities.

Explanation of changes since 2019-20 Corporate Plan: Performance measures are unchanged.

Links with PBS: Program 2.1 Public Sector Governance (Outcome 2).
KEY ACTIVITY 8: Investment funds and civilian superannuation schemes
Provide a policy, regulatory and legislative framework that enables the maximisation of returns on investment funds and civilian superannuation scheme compliance.
Target
2020-21 2021-22 2022-23 2023-24
Performance Measure 8.1: Investment mandates for each Australian Government Investment Fund
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.
How will this performance measure be assessed?
8.1.1      Investment mandates for the managed funds issued by the Australian Government are set and appropriately monitored.
Methodology: Measured and reported on a quarterly basis based on quarterly portfolio updates published online by the Future Fund Management Agency.
Performance Measure 8.2: Administration of civilian superannuation schemes
The legislative framework for the Commonwealth Government's civilian superannuation schemes enables the schemes to be administered in accordance with the applicable regulatory and legislative requirements.
How will this performance measure be assessed?
8.2.1       The legislation establishing the civilian superannuation schemes is reviewed as needed to ensure it complies with the broader regulatory and legislative requirements.
Methodology: Changes required or made to the legislation are reported on an annual basis based on updates published by the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation and Finance.
Performance Measure 8.3: Administration of pension schemes for former parliamentarians, judges and governors-general.
The pension schemes are administered by the Department effectively, in accordance with the applicable regulatory and legislative requirements.
8.3.1       The operations of the civilian superannuation schemes administered by the Department comply with the applicable regulatory and legislative requirements.
Methodology: Measured continuously and reported on an annual basis by Finance, and subject to regular audits, based on pension scheme information in the Department's superannuation system.

Explanation of changes since 2019-20 Corporate Plan: The approach to assessing these performance measures is unchanged, however, presentational changes have been adopted to more clearly articulate the three areas of focus of Finance's work under this key activity.

Links with PBS: Program 2.8 Australian Government Investment Funds & Program 2.7 Public Sector Superannuation (Outcome 2).

Linked programs:

  • Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation – Program 1.1 Superannuation Scheme Governance
  • Future Fund Management Agency – Program 1.1 Management of the Investment of the Future Fund
  • Future Fund Management Agency – Program 1.2  Management of the Investment of the Australian Government Investment Funds

Contribution made by linked programs: The Department of Finance works with the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation to ensure that the management of public sector superannuation is consistent with legislative obligations.

The Department of Finance works with the Future Fund Management Agency to ensure that the management of the Future Fund and the Australian Government Investment Funds is consistent with legislation and maximises returns to taxpayers.

DELIVERING SERVICES TO, AND FOR, GOVERNMENT

Finance is responsible for a range of whole-of-government services, including ICT services and providing support services to Commonwealth entities, parliamentarians and their staff, and leads by example in harnessing opportunities to leverage advances in technology to deliver transformative, efficient and cost-effective services to, and for, government.

Over the next four years, Finance will continue to pursue opportunities to deliver services to, and for, government in more efficient and effective ways, in order to focus resources on delivering the priorities of government and meeting community expectations in an environment of fiscal pressure and rapid change. Finance's approach to improving whole-of-government services through stronger delivery relationships and advances in data, digitisation and automation is underpinned by the strong relationships we have formed with Commonwealth entities and our counterparts in other jurisdictions and overseas. The lessons we have learned, and continue to build on, will allow us to take account of rapidly evolving technology and adaptive business practices, and to remain informed about shifting expectations and approaches to enterprise planning. Now more than ever, remaining agile and attentive to opportunities to reduce administrative costs and streamline business processes across the public sector will be critical for maximising the contribution Finance can make in achieving its purpose.

A summary of the key activities that Finance will manage under this performance theme are below and in the performance tables, with further information on all activities available on our website.

TRANSFORMATION OF COMMONWEALTH ENTITIES THROUGH SHARED SERVICES

Finance's portfolio responsibilities in relation to shared services are twofold: we are responsible for supporting the transformation of Commonwealth entities through a whole-of-government policy framework that leverages shared technologies and standardised processes to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of organisational management; and we also manage a shared services hub, the Service Delivery Office (SDO), which is responsible for delivering corporate services to client entities.

SHARED SERVICES POLICY

Shared Services Transformation provides whole-of-government leadership for shared services, bringing together the capabilities required to support corporate service functions for non-corporate Commonwealth entities through shared services provider hubs and the development of common corporate ICT platforms, including GovERP, to support a one APS way of working.

Through shared services, Finance is also supporting hubs with their adoption of e-invoicing capability to enable five day payment terms for small and medium businesses.

SHARED SERVICES HUB – 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.

The SDO remains focused on onboarding of new clients and providing additional services in 2020-21. The new travel and expense management solution has been an exemplar project demonstrating the value of client led engagements and multidisciplinary teams in delivering digital solutions that meet the needs of multiple Commonwealth entities. In addition, the SDO developed new mobile apps which allow staff to access and update their information on any internet connected device. This capability was particularly useful in supporting staff who supported other Commonwealth agencies responding to COVID-19 priorities.

The ongoing implementation of automation capabilities enabled automated payment runs through the SDO's Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system (HUB). This has improved cash flow to business through immediate payments terms (from 20 days) for invoices correctly rendered and delegate approved.

MODERNISATION OF THE APS THROUGH ICT PROJECTS

Finance delivers a range of cost effective and innovative whole-of-government online services and information products delivering value to the Department and whole-of-government. These include GovCMS, the management and website hosting support platform and GovTEAMS, the digital collaboration and networking tool for government.

Finance also 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, directory.gov.au, the repository for information about government structures, organisations and key people, and transparency.gov.au, the repository of publicly available corporate information for all Commonwealth bodies.

Finance manages 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.

DELIVER MINISTERIAL AND PARLIAMENTARY SERVICES

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 and the parliamentary departments – the Departments of the House of Representatives, the Senate and 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 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.

Finance has ownership of the Parliamentary Expenses Management System (PEMS), an online, secure portal that enables parliamentarians and their staff to claim and manage expenses over any computer or mobile device with an internet connection. PEMS is modernising and streamlining the management, processing, audit and reporting of Office and Travel expense claims. A later release of PEMS will enable management of Payroll services.

Finance is also responsible for the COMCAR Automated Resource System (CARS), the booking and dispatch system used to manage COMCAR's car with driver and other ground transport services across Australia. CARS includes a web portal and mobile app options for clients to manage their bookings. Finance has been successful in the design, development and delivery of COMCAR's new booking and dispatch system.

Over the forward years of this plan, significant initiatives we will manage to help achieve our purpose include:

  • Service Navigator.
  • GovTEAMS.
 

Service Navigator

Understanding all elements of a business process, that are often separated across teams, provides greater visibility of what is needed to deliver agreed outcomes.

This is a key challenge as we move to adopt common streamlined business processes for the APS that boost our ability to deliver a more efficient and effective public service.

Under the Shared Service Program, our corporate services are being brought together through the adoption of common ICT platforms and processes.

The Service Navigator is a tool that enables users to digitally navigate and view each corporate business process from end-to-end. It captures who, what, why and when of each process to ensure we align our efforts towards a common objective. The Service Navigator has been designed and developed by Finance, in consultation with 14 agencies across government. It uses consistent APS language and structure to encourage collaboration and shared understanding, identifying where shared services start and end—allowing each agency to identify what this means for them and their specific needs.

The rollout of the Service Navigator across government, as part of the shared services transformation initiative, is necessary for progressing the shared service operating model and developing common ERP platforms, including GovERP, which will support each APS staff member, agency and supplier.

The Service Navigator will directly support ongoing APS-wide reform and collaboration by establishing a single view of corporate services, and providing for benchmarking and dash boarding across shared service hubs and client agencies.

GovTEAMS - essential connectivity for senior government leaders and the APS during crisis

GovTEAMS has accumulated nearly 90,000 registered members in its first 18 months, and is now well-established as a modern digital collaboration tool for Australian Government employees and their external partners. In the 2019-20 financial year, GovTEAMS extended its service offer to include collaboration and information sharing at the PROTECTED level, in addition to the OFFICIAL: Sensitive level. The expanded service is planned to continue to increase digital capability and support effective collaboration over the period of this corporate plan.

Video conferencing is a vital GovTEAMS feature that has become indispensable for GovTEAMS members who worked from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. APS staff now typically conduct over 40,000 video audio conference calls per month in GovTEAMS. This includes all 18 Australian Government departmental Secretaries who now regularly conduct their Secretaries Board meeting using secure GovTEAMS video conferencing. Importantly, there are over 1,300 Senior Executive Staff (SES) from across the APS registered in GovTEAMS.

GovTEAMS performed an essential support role at the peak of the pandemic, with more than 10,000 new members registering each week at the height of the crisis. During these unprecedented times, GovTEAMS helped more than 45,000 APS and their external partners move quickly from being co-located at physical premises to successfully conducting their business in an online environment.

Since its launch in January 2019, GovTEAMS has become an essential whole-of-government service, and in July 2020 supports 57,000 active Australian Government staff, approximately 6,000 state government staff, and 16,000 industry and academic members. This diverse range of individuals work together in one digital space from geographically dispersed physical locations across Australia, and the rest of the world, to help to deliver important services to all Australians.

Delivering effective services to, and for, government – key activities and performance measures
KEY ACTIVITY 9: Transformation of Commonwealth entities through shared services
Support the transformation of Commonwealth entities through policy development and delivery of shared technologies and standardised processes to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of organisational management.
Target
2020-21 2021-22 2022-23 2023-24
Performance Measure 9.1: Shared services policy – corporate services
Corporate service functions (e.g. financial, human resources and associated IT systems) for non-corporate Commonwealth entities (NCEs) are provided through a shared services provider hub arrangement, on common platforms and software.
How will this performance measure be assessed?
9.1.1  Deploy common Enterprise Resource Planning solutions to NCEs:      
  • Whole-of-government agreement to the business case for GovERP
     
  • Commence deployment of GovERP to a shared service provider hub and its client entities
   
  • On board additional client entities onto GovERP
  • Increase NCEs using common ERP solutions.
       
9.1.2  Common corporate business processes are adopted by NCEs:        
  • Whole-of-government agreement to common business processes
     
  • Increase in the average number of services provided by shared provider hubs
 
  • Improved efficiency in common corporate business processes.

Methodology: Progress is measured using information collected from shared services provider hubs and GovERP program. Progress is measured through maturity assessments undertaken by shared services provider hubs.

Performance Measure 9.2: Shared services hub meets client needs
As a Shared Service hub, the Service Delivery Office (SDO) provides quality and efficient services to client entities.
How will this performance measure be assessed?
9.2.1   Service level agreements with client entities, including measurement of efficiency and effectiveness of services, are met, including:
  • Average resolution time of client request of 10 days
10
days
< 10
days
< 10
days
< 10
days
  • Increased rating in client satisfaction surveys.
Baseline +1% +1% +1%
9.2.2   The benefits of shared, standard and sustainable technologies and processes are realised:        
  • Increased client uptake of shared ERP technology solutions (year on year increase)
  • Increased client adoption of end-to-end corporate processes – travel and credit card
     
  • Increased client adoption of end-to-end whole-of-government business processes (year on year increase).
 

Methodology: Progress is measured using the seven metrics in the SDO's Memorandum of Understanding, which are provided to clients on a monthly basis. Progress of client satisfactions is measured through SDO's client satisfaction survey. The benefits of shared, standard and sustainable technologies and processes will be measured through StrategyDotZero performance reporting.

Explanation of changes since 2019-20 Corporate Plan: The shared services – corporate services measures have been updated to be in line with the implementation strategy moving forward.

Links with PBS: Program 2.6 Service Delivery Office (Outcome 2)

KEY ACTIVITY 10: Modernisation of the APS through ICT projects
Undertaking ICT development projects to support the modernisation of the APS.
Target
2020-21 2021-22 2022-23 2023-24
Performance Measure 10.1: GovTEAMS improves public sector productivity
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.
How will this performance measure be assessed?
10.1.1       GovTEAMS platform is fully operational in accordance with set performance targets. 99% 99% 99% 99%
10.1.2       GovTEAMS user adoption rates meet set performance targets. 90,000 90,000 90,000 90,000
Methodology: Measured through uptime statistics at the GovTEAMS platform demonstrating the platform is and all collaboration tools (chat, online audio and video meetings, online profiles, social feeds and file sharing) are available, with the exception of scheduled outages, 99% of the time. User adoption is measured through monitoring the number of users that have registered on the GovTEAMS platform. Measured continuously and reported annually.
Performance Measure 10.2: GovCMS supports creation of websites that better connect Government with people
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.
How will this performance measure be assessed?
10.2.1       The GovCMS platform is available to entities seeking to develop and maintain websites 99% of the time with the exception of scheduled outages.
10.2.2       Evidence of continued use of GovCMS by non-corporate Commonwealth entities. ~350
websites
~350
websites
~350
websites
~350
websites
Methodology: Measured through uptime statistics monitored daily to determine availability of the GovCMS 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.

Explanation of changes since 2019-20 Corporate Plan: These performance measures have been updated to reflect the evolution in focus in this area of Finance's portfolio responsibilities, noting the significant impact of COVID on the operating environment of all Commonwealth entities and the increased reliance on online engagement mechanisms for normal business activities.

Performance targets have been set for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 reporting periods, with further detailed analysis to occur during these periods to determine the scale and focus of Finance's portfolio responsibilities in this area for the remainder of the corporate plan.

Links with PBS: Program 2.2 Transforming government (Outcome 2).

KEY ACTIVITY 11: Deliver ministerial and parliamentary services
Provide a range of services to Parliamentarians, their employees and others as determined by the Australian Government to assist them in undertaking their duties.
Target
2020-21 2021-22 2022-23 2023-24
Performance Measure 11.1: Services meet client needs
Services meet the needs of Parliamentarians, their employees and others as required by the Australian Government.
How will this performance measure be assessed?
11.1.1       The following service standards are met or exceeded.        
  • Client contacts acknowledged within 24 hours and responded to within agreed timeframes.
95% 95% 95% 95%
  • Payments (including payroll) made within agreed timeframes.
95% 95% 95% 95%
  • Office establishment and relocation projects delivered in accordance with the National Fitout Standards.
100% 100% 100% 100%
  • COMCAR reservations will be completed without service failure.
99% 99% 99% 99%
Methodology: Using established data sources progress against Performance Indicators are measured and reported regularly to Executive Board through the performance update progress report. Achievement of success is reported annually via targets in the Annual Performance Statement and Outcome 3 of Finance’s Portfolio Budget Statement.
Performance Measure 11.2: Improve administration of parliamentary work expenses
The timeliness, efficiency, clarity and transparency of the administration of parliamentary work expenses is improved.
How will this performance measure be assessed?
11.2.1       The Parliamentary Expense Management System (PEMS) delivers increased HR and work expenses functionality by mid-2021.      
11.2.2       Increased usage of PEMS by parliamentarians and their staff.
Methodology: Measured through provision of additional functionality and increased number of claims processed through PEMS, with outcomes reported annually in the Annual Performance Statement.

Explanation of changes since 2019-20 Corporate Plan: Performance measures have been updated to reflect the evolution of activity in the development of PEMS and identify interim and key outcomes.

Links with PBS: Program 3.1 Ministerial and Parliamentary Services (Outcome 3).
KEY ACTIVITY 12: Management of Finance tenancies
Efficient management of Finance tenancies under the Whole-of-Australian-Government (WoAG) Commonwealth Property Management Framework.
Target
2020-21 2021-22 2022-23 2023-24
Performance Measure 12.1: Finance tenancies are managed efficiently
How will this performance measure be assessed?
12.1.1       For Finance occupied tenancies, average occupational density is at or below the Government's target (2019-20 14m2 per occupied work point).
Methodology: Measured and reported through the annual Australian Government Office Occupancy Report.

Explanation of changes since 2019-20 Corporate Plan: The performance measures are unchanged.

Links with PBS: Not applicable

 

APPENDIX A

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SUMMARY OF CHANGES TO PERFORMANCE MEASURES

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 measures for the reporting period 2020–21 to 2023–24 with:

  • twelve existing performance measures that are unchanged or only marginally changed to improve the clarity of the performance information, including where greater consistency is being supported across different aspects of the PGPA framework
  • five performance measures that have been updated to reflect the evolution of the related work activities
  • three performance measures which have been brought together into two measures reflecting the evolution of Finance’s strategic focus in these policy areas. The relevant measures from the 2019–20 Corporate Plan are:
    • 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 (Page 32)
    • the Government and key Parliamentary committees have confidence that public resources are used efficiently, effectively, economically and ethically, including through better performance information (Page 33)
    • the PGPA Act and Rule provisions, and Finance’s support services, enable achievement of the objectives of the PGPA Act. (Page 34)
  • one measure has been removed to reflect the evolution of activity relating to public sector leadership and changes in Finance funding and portfolio responsibilities in the reporting period. This measure was:
    • 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. (Page 32)

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