Corporate Plan 2021-22

Department of Finance
Corporate Plan 2021–22

Covering reporting period 2021–22 to 2024–25

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Message from the Secretary

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Photo of Rosemary Huxtable PSM Secretary, Department of Finance

The 2021–22 Corporate Plan of the Department of Finance is released at a time when the effects of COVID-19 are being felt across the country and remain a major contributing factor in shaping the context in which the public service operates. Finance has played, and continues to play, a leading role in supporting the Government’s response to, and the community’s recovery from, the pandemic which has had such a dramatic effect on the lives and livelihoods of many Australians.

The role of Finance in advising on government expenditure and providing effective governance and stewardship of public sector resourcing and reporting has been a key enabler of the Government response to COVID-19. Finance staff have delivered a sustained effort across an extended budget cycle, working with agencies to develop and assess a significant number of policy proposals, while continuing to advance the full range of portfolio priorities.  Looking back over the year, staff have quickly adapted to new ways of working, leveraging digital collaboration platforms and strengthening partnerships to achieve shared results.

Finance continues to strongly support the Government response to COVID-19, including by seconding appropriately skilled staff to other Australian Public Service (APS) agencies such as Services Australia to support delivery of front line services. We have enabled COVID-19 related payments throughout the pandemic, supporting the establishment of legislative authority and through Advance to the Finance Minister allocations for urgent and unforeseen expenditure. 

The lessons learned over the past year are informing Finance’s policy thinking going forward. Significant initiatives over the period of this Corporate Plan highlight our focus on supporting and embedding both departmental and whole-of-government approaches. We continue to improve our data analytics capabilities to better inform government decision-making and are actively collaborating with others to ensure the quality and timeliness of payments data in an increasingly uncertain strategic environment. We are developing a web-based evaluation toolkit of practical guidance and supporting resources to help embed evaluation in everyday APS practice.

Modernising service delivery channels across our operations remains a priority, supported by current and future ICT strategies and commitment to innovative practices right across the business. We continue to play a leadership role in shared services transformation for the public sector, bringing together the capabilities required to support corporate service functions through the GovERP technology platform, and working closely with Services Australia in progressing this significant reform. We will continue to modernise services to assist parliamentarians and their staff through digital enhancements and additional online offerings as well as improving facilities in parliamentary offices to support parliamentarians and the effective operation of government.

Significant initiatives over the period of this Corporate Plan will focus on enhancing policy and practice to build safe and respectful workplaces.  Finance will support the Independent Review into Commonwealth Parliamentary Workplaces, the Government’s response to the Review’s recommendations and the implementation of interim measures. We will provide additional education and training opportunities to parliamentarians and their staff, enhanced case management support and more tailored guidance and toolkits.

Finance’s people – and the capabilities they bring – are the key asset in delivering on our purpose. Consistent with the Delivering for Tomorrow: the APS Workforce Strategy 2025, Finance will refresh and implement our Workforce Strategy to attract, build and retain skills, expertise and talent for the future; embrace data, technology and flexible and responsive workforce models; and strengthen integrity and purposeful leadership, at all levels.

Finance has a strong culture of professionalism and commitment to delivering quality work. In 2021–22, our focus on integrity will continue, with improvements in procurement practices and embedding shared values and behaviours in the way we work. These changes demonstrate our commitment to continuous improvement and serve as a reminder that we all have a part to play in achieving assurance and integrity.

This 2021–22 Corporate Plan outlines Finance’s priorities for the reporting period and builds on the steps we have taken to mature our performance framework and commitment to integrated business planning. Collectively, the priorities enunciated in this Plan ensure we are working to achieve our purpose, actively managing our key outputs in a changing operating environment. This is illustrated by our recent focus on the delivery of quarantine facilities to support ongoing efforts to increase the number of Australians returning home and provide capacity for the gradual reopening of Australia’s international border.

It is a privilege to lead a department that has been able to adapt to new challenges and which continues to demonstrate the values of the public service, including through its willingness to collaborate and adopt innovative practices in a complex and changing landscape.

I am pleased to present the Department of Finance 2021–22 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 2021–22 Corporate Plan for the period 2021–22 to 2024–25, 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’s integrated performance cycle aligns to the Corporate Plan. The Corporate Plan is our principle planning document and sets out how Finance manages its responsibilities and use of public resources. Performance planning occurs through regular budgeting processes, the Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS), and performance reporting in the Annual Report. Integrated business planning and governance processes direct individual and team activities to achieve our purpose and create a clear line of sight between the Department’s strategic and operational business planning. Figure 1 illustrates the relationship between this performance cycle and operating environment.

Figure 1: Finance's performance cycle and environment

Our approach

As a central agency, Finance has a unique opportunity to influence transformation in the public sector and the adoption of innovative, digitally-driven solutions in our approach to service delivery. Finance takes a proactive role in collaborating with other government agencies to deliver a more effective, efficient and agile public service, achieving better outcomes for government. We will continue to modernise service delivery channels to meet client expectations, including enhancing support to parliamentarians and their staff to help build safe and respectful workplaces.

Through our role in the Budget process, setting public sector resource management frameworks, managing the Commonwealth’s commercial interests and delivering enabling services, including to parliamentarians and their staff, there is significant opportunity to shape and support best overall value for money for the Australian community. Our ongoing advice and analysis is an important input to the Government’s efforts to ensure a sustainable recovery for Australia and our community in response to the challenges of COVID-19.

Finance is committed to continuing to improve our data analytic capabilities. These capabilities will improve our capacity to analyse government spending and provide greater insights on key expenditure programs, better informing government decision-making. With this insight, we will continue to embed discipline, rigour and contestability in policy and budget development processes, and engage proactively and collaboratively with partners to improve the quality and use of data on expenditure and outcomes.

In the 2021–22 Budget, the Government renewed its commitment to the transformation of Commonwealth entities through shared services. As one of the hubs delivering shared services to the public sector, Finance’s Service Delivery Office (SDO) directly supports public sector productivity by providing standard and sustainable technologies. Finance retains the strategic policy responsibility and core governance functions to drive shared services transformation across the APS.

 

 

Operating Context

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Finance maintains a strong focus on stewardship and collaboration in supporting entities across the APS achieve their objectives. We actively partner with entities in key policy areas to improve outcomes for the Government and the Australian community.

In an environment of increasing complexity, uncertainty and change, Finance and the broader APS need to quickly and effectively respond to challenging circumstances as they arise. To support this, Finance encourages the adoption of digitally-driven solutions and innovation in the way we work. We continually review our practices, processes and procedures to ensure our operating model focusses on automating the more routine aspects of our work, releasing capacity for our staff to apply their expertise in ways that add the most value.

We will continue to review our operating model, with a focus on maturing how we mobilise resources to priorities, ensure strong alignment of programs, outcomes and operations and embed departmental and whole-of-government approaches to operating. This includes strategic and cooperative partnerships with the:

  • Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to deliver improved services for parliamentarians and their staff, including through enhanced case management support and an expanded focus on education and training
  • Department of the Treasury to deliver the annual Budget and associated economic updates as set out in the Charter of Budget Honesty Act 1998
  • Secretaries Digital Committee to ensure effective APS digital governance, digital capabilities and whole-of-government solutions , including improved support for agencies through the Grants Hubs and Shared Service Hubs
  • Chief Operating Officers Committee to embed an enterprise-wide approach to APS operations and management, and
  • Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) and cross-government partners on entry-level recruitment to build APS leaders of tomorrow.

We will focus on enhancing advice to government and modernising service delivery for clients. This includes:

  • implementing recent budget measures to strengthen capacity to assess Commonwealth expenditure monitoring and scrutiny of new and existing programs that respond to government priorities
  • supporting the transition to modernised digital service delivery (for example, Parliamentary Expense Management System, PEMS, and COMCAR Automated Resource System, CARS) for clients
  • evolving the Commonwealth Investment Framework to achieve more widespread use of commercial investment and procurement models in delivering policy outcomes
  • exploring business optimisation and functional-based working innovations, and
  • further developing shared services, including client on-boarding to the SDO and adoption of the new GovERP technology Platform.

Central to Finance’s performance is the effective delivery of a wide range of enabling functions. These relate to people, data and information management, financial management, information and communications technology, and business optimisation.

Our governance framework, led by an Executive Board, facilitates sound, transparent and timely decision-making, giving us the ability to confidently respond quickly to emerging challenges and opportunities. Finance’s integrated business planning cycle and our governance committees support active consideration of priorities and resourcing, with a managed approach to risk.

Environment

Over the period of this Plan, Finance will apply the lessons from recent challenges to improve the way we deliver on our transformation commitments and encourage innovation, while managing the risks of rapid change. Table 1 sets out the environmental factors that may affect Finance’s ability to achieve its purpose across our three performance themes.

Finance strives to be an exemplar in promoting outcomes that are efficient, effective, economical and ethical. We will focus on delivering services to and for government, the public sector, and parliamentarians in efficient and effective ways that encourage trust in our service delivery, and meet community expectations in an environment of fiscal pressure. Building capability in decision-making, ethical behaviour, digital literacy, data analytics and financial and policy analysis will position Finance to meet expectations now and into the future.

The strong relationships we have formed with Commonwealth entities and counterparts in other jurisdictions and overseas support our approach to improving whole-of-government services, through stronger delivery relationships and advances in data, digitisation and automation.

We will continue to proactively identify and respond to emerging opportunities and risks through regular environmental scanning undertaken by our governance committees.

Table 1: Environmental factors 2021–22 to 2024–25

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. This includes the Government’s evolving response to COVID-19. Finance will enable Commonwealth entities to access their appropriations on a near real-time basis; increasing government efficiency and reducing business continuity risk for Commonwealth cash management.
  • ongoing pressure to: balance short-, medium- and long-term fiscal and policy objectives; manage inter-generational issues influencing Australia’s social, economic and demographic trends; and protect the structural integrity of the Budget.
  • Continued importance of applying rigour and discipline to the fiscal and policy advice provided to government, noting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Finance will regularly review Budget estimates in collaboration with entities, and update Budget estimates to take account of the best available information and to maximise reliability and accuracy.
Public sector resourcing and transformation
  • Significant impact of COVID-19 on the Australian business community, affecting supply chains, skills availability, consumer and business confidence, and operating models. Australian Government-owned Government Business Enterprises (GBEs) have needed 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 continue to evolve, and adaptive working arrangements prompt consideration of optimal business processes and efficient use of assets moving forward.
  • Citizen and business expectations of access to high-quality services, delivered in real-time and at low cost. This is heightened at a time of greater demand for service delivery due to the impacts of COVID-19. Finance will continue exploring opportunities to leverage automation and digitally driven solutions to streamline our processes, focusing on the most valuable aspects of our work and placing clients at the centre of our service delivery solutions.
  • A challenging environment in relation to the level of insurable risks, driven by factors including significant weather events, a rise in class action litigation, general insurance market hardening, and the increasing complexity of government activity.
  • The drive to achieve efficiencies in the management and oversight of Commonwealth assets to assist in the budget bottom line. Continued investment in building capability in financial and policy advice ensures the advice and support Finance provides meets expectations and reflects best practice.
Delivering effective services to, and for, government
  • Expansion and greater use of common enabling tools and technology to support greater connection and collaboration across the public sector. This is particularly important for a remote and flexible workforce. Consideration of lessons learned, regular reviews of, and refinements to, Finance’s remote and digital working tools will ensure the support mechanisms for managers and staff remain fit for purpose, now and into the future.
  • The parliament and community’s high expectations regarding the management of expenses for parliamentarians and their staff.
  • An election held within the period of this Plan in line with Australia’s electoral cycle. Finance will apply lessons from previous elections to provide timely services and advice to parliamentarians and their staff, through surge capacity deployment, and increased adoption of digitally driven solutions, ensuring stable services continue to be available anywhere, anytime and from any device.

Risk oversight and management

Embracing change and innovation is crucial to deliver our purpose and to promote the effective and efficient management of public resources. By proactively engaging with risk and providing a continuous learning culture, management of risk continues to develop and improve.

Finance’s Enterprise Risk Management Plan (ERMP) documents our key strategic, program and operational risks, including shared risks. The ERMP is reviewed regularly by the Risk Subcommittee to ensure that:

  • changes in our operating environment are reflected
  • controls and treatment strategies remain effective, and
  • communication between the Risk Subcommittee, other committees including the Executive Board, and individual risk owners is ongoing and effective.

Finance actively considers risk in its prioritisation and allocation of resources. This enables a clear understanding of opportunity and consequence. Risk-based discussions ensure evidence-based decision-making to strengthen strategic and cooperative partnerships, transform processes and deliver services.

Finance’s positive risk culture is underpinned by an Integrity Framework. Finance staff are encouraged to question assumptions and use their expertise to put forward ideas. Our positive risk culture enables:

  • early identification of opportunities to improve the way we work, designed and implemented in a collaborative and connected way across the Department
  • lessons learned to be shared and embedded
  • an agile and responsive workforce that champions our commitment to continuous improvement, and
  • ongoing refinement and strengthening of our frameworks and approach to risk.

Operationally, we are focused on ensuring a workforce that understands risk, is able to identify and engage with risk across all levels, and aligns risk management with business strategy.

Our approach to managing risk

Finance manages opportunity and risk in accordance with the Commonwealth Risk Management Policy and Finance’s Enterprise Risk Management Framework (the Framework). The Framework sets out our policy and governance arrangements for the identification, management and communication of risk.

Figure 2: Our approach to managing risks

Finance’s Executive Board, chaired by the Secretary, has overarching responsibility for the Framework. The Chief Risk Officer, a central risk oversight team, the Risk Subcommittee, and the Audit Committee support the Executive Board in reviewing and assuring the appropriateness of Finance’s systems of risk oversight and management.

Finance also supports the Minister for Finance in his responsibility for oversight of whole-of-government risks, including those notified through corporate planning, advised by GBEs under section 19 of the PGPA Act, or arising in relation to the management of insurance risks. 

Individual senior executives are responsible for key strategic, program and operational risks and report to the Executive Board against the delivery of relevant outcomes. Central oversight of risk management, through the ERMP, extends to project and program-level risks, including those shared with external stakeholders. This ensures a clear line of sight between day-to-day risk management and Finance’s key strategic, program and operational risks.

Finance’s risk governance in 2021–22 will continue to support this clear line of sight. In addition to the ongoing governance role of the Risk Subcommittee, the membership and Terms of Reference of the Risk Engagement Group will be refreshed to support enhanced risk capability in our people, drive ‘local’ risk engagement and ensure the ‘tone from the top’ is complemented by active risk management in practice across the Department.

Risk appetite

Finance articulates its appetite for engaging with opportunity and risk through a 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.

Finance recognises it cannot, and should not, eliminate all risk in delivering 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.

Finance’s risk appetite informs and guides our decision-making and plays a central role in shaping a culture that embraces change and innovation while promoting the effective and efficient management of public resources.”

This statement authorises staff to make risk-based decisions that take into account the benefits of innovation and consider ‘what could go wrong?’. Risk appetite levels of ‘Enhanced’, ‘Balanced’ and ‘Limited’ complement the statement at an operational level. These levels guide whether the Department will accept a risk, leading to more informed and consistent decision-making. Risks that exceed Finance’s appetite are escalated in line with the Department’s committee governance and program assurance framework 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. Our approach to mitigating these risks reflects the current operating environment and how we engage with our strategic and cooperative partners. Strategic risks and mitigation strategies are mapped against Finance’s transformation areas of focus (Stewardship, Integrated Business Planning, People, and Making Business Better) and annual commitments. Our transformation areas of focus serve as guiding principles in how we manage and direct our work. This relationship is explained further in the performance chapters and in Figure 7: Integration of Finance’s Purpose, PBS and Performance commitments across operations.

In 2021–22, Finance will review its ERMP, key strategic risks and mitigation strategies to ensure they continue to reflect emerging opportunities and risks in our operating environment, advances in the Commonwealth Risk Management Policy and examples of better practice.

Supporting risk management tools and the role of the Risk Sub‑Committee will be considered as part of Finance’s commitment to strengthening governance, and better integrating the proactive management of, and engagement with risk as part of day to day operations.

Table 3: Key strategic risks and mitigation strategies

Strategic focus

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 strategic and cooperative partnerships with clients and stakeholders.

To strengthen these partnerships, Finance is defining and implementing 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 the Department provides rapid advice, responds to uncertainty and drives transformation in a changing environment.

As part of Finance’s ongoing commitment to strengthening governance, lessons learned will be applied to enhance the operation of the Department’s project assurance frameworks, committees and secretariat structures.

In 2021, Finance established a People Committee and a Major Investments Committee to provide additional support as part of a refreshed committee governance framework. These committees play an important role in connecting operations across the Department and enabling timely, evidence-based decision-making.

  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 people and culture. Finance recognises the importance of staff wellbeing, development and engagement as the operating environment continues to evolve.

Finance invests in people and culture through defined leadership behaviours and people management frameworks that focus on building capability and supporting mobilisation and flexibility in Finance’s working arrangements to ensure staff engagement at all levels. The Finance People Committee further supports this focus. Finance’s Staff Consultative Committee is our primary consultation mechanism.

Finance’s leadership expectations and values incorporate a commitment to act with integrity and in a manner consistent with the Integrity Framework. Finance’s Integrity Framework is linked with the Enterprise Risk Management Framework.

In 2021, Finance will develop a workforce strategy, ensuring the capability, capacity and composition of the Department’s workforce remains fit for purpose.

  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 outcomes that are fit for purpose. The Department values forward planning that anticipates the needs of our people, and stakeholders – including shared risks with other entities to deliver on the Government’s objectives - and the Australian community.

Finance is strengthening its 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.

In 2021 as part of Finance’s commitment to strengthening governance, Finance will look for opportunities to refine the role of the Risk Subcommittee to better integrate proactive management of, and engagement with, risk as part of our day to day operations. This will accompany Finance’s newly established People Committee and Major Investments Committee.

  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

The quality of Finance’s capabilities will influence how well we deliver on our purpose over the period of this Corporate Plan. This includes our people, and how we deliver on our Integrity Framework, data and information management commitments, information and communications technology platforms, business optimisation investments, and financial management responsibilities.

People

A refreshed Workforce Strategy will identify critical workforce risks and set out the key priorities for action in the next 12 months. The drivers shaping the broader APS workforce as defined in the Delivering for Tomorrow: the APS Workforce Strategy 2025, will inform the strategy, and be tailored to our operational context. This will ensure that we continue to build on and apply the lessons learned under COVID-19, and remain agile and skilled in responding to changing and emerging demands in delivering on government priorities.

Finance remains committed to a flexible, inclusive and positive workforce culture, and values the diversity of our people. Finance continues to apply flexible work practices to support the health and well-being of our people. The implementation of Finance’s fifth Reconciliation Action Plan, together with a revised diversity and inclusion strategy aligned with APS-wide diversity plans, will provide a strong platform to develop and strengthen practices to attract, recruit, develop and retain a diverse workforce.

Entry Level Programs remain a key element of Finance’s Workforce Strategy, ensuring we are equipped to meet and deliver on the current and evolving needs of the Australian public and government priorities. Finance will continue to drive a whole-of-government approach and lead the delivery of APS entry-level recruitment through the expansion of the Australian Government Graduate Recruitment process and Career Starter program in partnership with other APS agencies.

The Finance People Capability Framework outlines the core capabilities for staff across all classifications. It is supported by learning and development programs targeted at the continued uplift of core capabilities through the education, experience and exposure model of learning. Finance also supports its workforce to engage with the APS Professional Streams and, in doing so, strengthens their skills, knowledge and networks. Over the period of this Plan, Finance will explore opportunities to leverage digitally driven solutions to innovate our learning approaches. Embedding capabilities in financial and policy analysis, data analytics and digital literacy will be a departmental focus.

Finance has established a set of leadership expectations and values considered essential to all roles in Finance. Delivering on leadership expectations is the responsibility of all staff and forms part of our integrated performance framework.

Figure 3: Finance's leadership values

 

Intergrity framework

Finance is committed to a culture of professional integrity. We expect, empower and support our people to act with honesty, transparency and accountability at all times and all levels.

Finance launched its Integrity Framework in 2021 bringing together key policies, procedures and learning and development programs. It sets integrity expectations for awareness, capability and transparency. Staff are supported to access skills development and training to strengthen a culture of integrity and transparency and ensure a strong focus on the values of professionalism and a commitment to the delivery of quality work.

Finance’s Integrity Framework is embedded in our Department leadership expectations and values, and supported by the:

  • Enterprise Risk Management Framework, which sets out the arrangements for designing, implementing, monitoring, reviewing and continually improving risk management in Finance
  • Fraud Control Framework (including the Fraud Control Plan), which presents the arrangements for fraud prevention, detection, investigation and reporting strategies in Finance
  • Conflict of Interest Policy, which sets out the requirements for the disclosure of interests and management of conflicts of interest
  • Managing and Addressing Inappropriate Workplace Behaviour Policy, which sets out how Finance addresses, manages and supports staff in relation to inappropriate behaviour.

Data and information management

Finance is committed to improving its data and information management practices to enhance policy outcomes and support evidence-based decision-making at all levels. Finance has taken an incremental approach to growing our analytical capability, prioritising improvements in the management and governance of data. This approach builds a solid foundation for ongoing improvement in future years. This is in line with whole-of-government guidance (including that of the Office of the National Data Commissioner) to maximise the value of government data to drive efficiencies.

Finance has implemented an Information and Data Governance Policy to provide direction and guidance on best practice use of our data assets. Our decision-making committees remain focused on improving data governance, working to enhance information and data capabilities across Finance, and ensuring legislative compliance.

Finance undertook an assessment of its data capability in 2020 against key dimensions of data maturity: people, tools, governance, practice and leverage. In 2021, Finance collected and analysed key data assets and data teams to develop a comprehensive understanding of the data produced and used in Finance, and opportunities and challenges. Over the period of this Plan, Finance will formalise and implement a fit-for-purpose data strategy to guide investment and promote better management of data assets and capabilities.

Information and communications technology

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 and videoconferencing functionality, enables staff, and the APS more broadly, to continue to work effectively in connected and engaged teams when working from various locations across Australia.

Finance’s current ICT strategy entered its third phase on 1 July 2021. During this phase, Finance will increasingly use the digital workplace environment to further business objectives and deliver additional value. A major activity will be implementing the Finance Advanced Cloud Environment Transformation (FACET) project, which will move the Finance ICT environment to the cloud to provide:

  • technology, skills and support that enable further digital transformation
  • cross-department collaboration and knowledge sharing
  • robust, secure, resilient and agile technologies that are easier to consume, and
  • access to innovations from a broad range of commercial providers.

Finance will look to refresh our ICT Strategy in coming years to ensure investment in IT platforms and collaboration tools remains fit for purpose for the future.

Business optimisation agenda

Finance’s Business Optimisation function partners with business areas to assess business processes and identify opportunities to reduce effort, build resilience, reduce risk and improve process maturity through automation, digitisation and process re-engineering. This is delivered through:

  • defining, documenting and redesigning business processes to create efficiencies and redirect staff effort
  • standardising and transforming time-consuming transactional, manual and paper-based tasks into reusable digital solutions, and
  • removing manual effort from everyday tasks by deploying ‘digital workers’ – software designed to carry out business processes like any employee.

Partnering with ICT, the business optimisation function uses the latest available technology to provide fit-for-purpose digital solutions to all business areas, releasing capacity for staff to focus on key value-add services such as data analysis, policy implementation and the provision of support and advice.

Digital workers and business process improvement build resilience by maturing Finance’s service delivery to continuously meet the evolving challenges of the public sector. Over the period of this Plan, the business optimisation function will continue to drive the increase in digital workers and the number of hours released back to business. Finance will look to expand existing capability and capacity for business optimisation through technical training, certification and cross-skilling with other agencies and private sector partners.

Financial management

Finance has a total departmental expense budget of $579.8 million in 2021–22 including for functions delivered for whole-of-government purposes and supported through Special Accounts. Finance’s departmental capital budget is $64.4 million, of which $55.2 million relates to projects in the Property Special Account.

Finance has a total administered expense budget of $10,703.1 million in 2021–22 and an administered capital budget of $18.9 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 PBS 2021–22.

Figure 4: Total expenditure 2021–22


 

Integrated business planning and governance

Finance operates a regular integrated business planning mechanism. The Executive Board uses this process to set departmental strategy and make decisions on departmental priorities and resourcing, aligned with Finance’s approach to managing risk. This includes creating investment capacity to build capability and support the Government and APS more broadly.

Finance’s governance framework promotes the principles of good governance and supports transparent performance in line with government and departmental priorities. Finance’s governance framework incorporates integrated business planning and is supported by a centralised secretariat function. This helps ensure decision-making on resourcing is consistent across Finance, aligned with priorities and management of risk and supports the Secretary in discharging her duties under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) and the Public Service Act 1999. Finance refreshed its governance framework (Figure 5) in 2021.

Figure 5: Finance Governance Framework

Throughout the financial year the Executive Board, supported by its Subcommittees, regularly reviews:

  • immediate and future priorities, associated investment (including in major ICT projects and property capital works) 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, and
  • people management, leadership development and workforce capability.

Strategic partnerships and coorperation

Underpinning Finance’s contribution over the period of this Plan is the quality and strength of our relationships (Figure 6). Finance’s focus on stewardship and collaboration with all entities to support the achievement of their objectives ensures the Department delivers:

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

Figure 6 provides an overview of some of the strategic partnerships and cooperative arrangements Finance uses at an entity level to achieve its purpose. As part of these arrangements, Finance:

  • works with partners across the public sector including central agency partners, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Treasury, and with the Australian Public Service Commission to provide leadership in the APS
  • provides whole-of-government guidance and support on financial and policy advice, budget estimates and the Commonwealth’s finances
  • advises other government agencies on a wide range of investment and resource management decisions
  • collaborates across government to develop robust and fit-for-purpose polices and legislation around public governance, performance, accountability and risk management
  • supports its portfolio agencies to achieve their objectives by working together to deliver shared outcomes in accordance with the PBS. Finance collaborates on policy development and learns from their ‘on the ground’ experiences to continue refining frameworks for the future
  • collaborates with other public sector partners, including state and territory governments to develop appropriate responses to enterprise-wide issues (cross-jurisdictional and cross APS) related to the Budget and emergency response
  • works with non-government partners to challenge our thinking and test our ideas, and leverages industry expertise and better practice, thus helping us to understand the Department’s operating environment and develop policies and advice that support a fit-for-the-future public service
  • works closely with joint shareholder departments in supporting ministers and engaging with Government Business Enterprise Boards and senior executive teams.

Further detail regarding the Department’s cooperative arrangements with specific entities and sectors that support Finance’s key activities is presented in the performance chapters.

Figure 6: Key strategic partnerships and cooperative arrangements
Key Strategic Partnerships and Cooperative Arrangements

 

 

Performance

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Finance continues to strengthen the performance information we provide to the Parliament and the broader community. The 2021–22 Corporate Plan features updates to the explanation of Finance’s performance framework that more clearly links Finance’s purpose, functions and priority activities in the forward period.

Performance themes and framework

Performance themes

Performance Framework Diagram

Finance’s responsibilities under each performance theme are not mutually exclusive. Collaboration across functions remains a key feature of the way we work and allows us to offer integrated services for clients and partners. Collectively, Finance’s performance themes ensure all activities contribute to achieving our purpose.

Finance’s performance framework provides substantial detail on how we measure progress in achieving our purpose by identifying:

  • key activities under each of the three performance themes
  • performance measures that reflect the outcomes these activities are intended to achieve
  • goals for each performance measure to assess achievements over time including performance targets where reasonably practicable, and
  • methodologies to monitor results and track overall progress.

Figure 7 outlines the relationship between Finance’s different levels of business planning (the purpose statement, key activities, and significant initiatives) and how the approach we take is shaped by our values, guiding principles and transformation commitments. This provides a clear line of sight and informs internal business planning, resourcing and investment decisions.

Figure 7: Integration of Finance’s purpose, PBS and performance commitments across operations
Figure 7 outlines the relationship between Finance’s different levels of business planning (the purpose statement, key activities, and significant initiatives) and how the approach we take is shaped by our leadership values, guiding principles and transformation commitments. This provides a clear line of sight and informs internal business planning, resourcing and investment decisions. 
The diagram’s down arrows reinforce the clear line of sight, assisting the reader to identify the links between our purpose, its performance themes, our PBS programs, and the key activities and significant initiatives we undertake.
Finance’s leadership values influence the quality of our work. Our values are:
•	Act with integrity
•	Be part of the solution
•	Collaborate and innovate
•	Develop self, develop others.

Our leadership values contribute directly to our success in achieving our purpose. Finance’s purpose statement is: 
‘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.’
Our performance themes, which come from our purpose statement, are ‘advising on expenditure’, ‘public sector resourcing and transformation’, and ‘delivering services to, and for, government’. The Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS) programs are Finance’s major programs of work which are planned, budgeted for, and published in the annual PBS. The PBS programs reflect and help achieve our purpose and its three performance themes. 
Our performance theme ‘advising on expenditure’ is achieved through the PBS program ‘1.1 Budget and Financial Management’.  
Our performance theme ‘public sector resourcing and transformation’ is achieved through the following PBS programs:
•	2.1 Public Sector Governance
•	2.3  Property and Construction
•	2.4 Insurance and Risk Management
•	2.5 Technology and Procurement
•	2.7 Public Sector Superannuation
•	2.8 Australian Government Investment Funds.

Our third performance theme ‘delivering services to, and for, government’ is achieved through the delivery of the following PBS programs:
•	2.2 Transforming Government
•	2.6 Service Delivery Office
•	3.1 Ministerial and Parliamentary Services.

The key activities that align with the program ‘Budget and Financial Management’ and the performance theme ‘advising on expenditure’ are:
•	Deliver budget updates, Appropriation Bills and Financial Statements
•	Provide Central Cash Management.

The key activities that align with the PBS programs under the performance theme ‘public sector resourcing and transformation’ are:
•	Support the proper use and management of public resources
•	Enable value for money procurements
•	Provide insurance and risk management support for Commonwealth entities
•	Support Commonwealth property management
•	Engage with Government Business Enterprises
•	Enable investment funds and civilian superannuation.

The key activities that align with the PBS programs under the performance theme ‘delivering services to, and for, government’ are:
•	Transform Commonwealth entities through shared services
•	Modernise the APS through ICT projects
•	Deliver Ministerial and Parliamentary Services
•	Manage Finance tenancies.

Key activities are delivered through significant initiatives. Finance’s 2021–22 significant initiatives that align with the performance theme ‘advising on expenditure’ are:
•	Support the delivery of key economic updates and a federal election
•	Improve data analytics capabilities 
•	Review Machinery of Government change implementation principles.

Finance’s significant initiatives that align with the performance theme ‘public sector resourcing and transformation’ are:
•	Deliver alternative quarantine facilities
•	Deliver Evaluation in the Commonwealth: The Evaluation Toolkit
•	Deliver the Commonwealth Investment Framework – Attracting Private Capital to Support Government Policy Priorities
•	Deliver a Governance Framework for GBEs
•	Provide Whole of Government Management Advisory Services arrangements
•	Lead the APS Accounting and Finance Profession Working Group
•	Redrafting the Lands Acquisition Act and supporting regulations, and implement supporting administrative reforms.

Our significant initiatives that align with the performance theme ‘delivering services to, and for, government’ are:
•	Provide enhanced services for parliamentarians and their staff
•	Support the transition to modernised services for clients (PEMS, CARS)
•	Deliver the Australian Government Graduate Recruitment and Career Starter Program.

Near the bottom of Figure 7 are our four guiding principles: people, stewardship, making business better, and integrated business planning. Finance’s people, and the capabilities they bring, are the key asset in delivering on our purpose. Our stewardship role includes identifying capability gaps across the APS and helping close those gaps so that Commonwealth entities can better deliver on their purposes. At Finance, by identifying the capabilities required to deliver on our priorities and achieve our purpose, we take an integrated approach to business planning and make our business better. 
 Finance’s 2021–22 transformation commitments, which contribute to our approach of continuous improvement, are:
•	Deliver the Finance Advanced Cloud Environment Transformation (FACET) Project
•	Deliver a Strategic Workforce Plan to support Finance operations now and into the future
•	Strengthen our governance framework to support timely, evidence-based decision-making
•	Build our data and information governance maturity to make the most of our data assets
•	Support and embed both departmental and whole-of-government approaches to operating
•	Leverage automation opportunities to modernise the way we work and enhance our advice and government services
•	Deliver phase 3 of our ICT Strategy.

Updates to support continuous improvement

Finance updated the presentation of key activities and performance measures to improve the clarity of our performance information and better allow for a clear read across reporting documents and cycles. Short- and long-form descriptions of key activities and performance measures are included with clear reference to Finance’s other performance reporting documents (PBS and Annual Report). A summary of changes is included at Appendix A. The corresponding performance tables explain any substantive changes to individual performance measures.

Targets against individual performance measures are identified where practicable. For a small number, Finance uses a combination of qualitative performance information and proxy measures to assess and report on achievements against key activities, including where it is not practicable to set targets. Finance will continue to review these measures, and targets will be set when possible. A tick presented in the ‘year’ columns in the performance tables indicates that the assessment approach will be used to measure performance for the given reporting period/s.

Finance will explore opportunities to further enhance performance measurement approaches over subsequent reporting cycles. Consideration will be given to refining measures that assess the effectiveness of activities in delivering Finance’s purpose, along with consideration to government targets for deploying e-invoicing technology, occupational density and Commonwealth property footprint.

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

Advising on expenditure

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Advising on expenditure diagram

Finance’s leadership on the Budget process and the Commonwealth’s finances enables us to assist the Government to 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. Finance’s work and advice continues to support the Government’s response to the challenges of the pandemic, and the Budget focus on sustaining Australia’s economic recovery highlights the importance of this work into the future.

The Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic includes significant expenditure directed to health and economic support for the Australian community. While the 2021–22 Budget position improved compared to forecast, Finance’s ongoing advice and analysis is an important input to the Government’s efforts to ensure a sustainable recovery, including by stabilising government expenditure.

To support the achievement of government outcomes, Finance will continue to embed discipline, rigour and contestability into policy and budget development processes, seeking to balance fiscal and policy objectives, and taking into account inter-generational issues that affect 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.

Deliver budget updates, appropriation bills, and financial statements

Along with the Treasury, Finance prepares the annual Budget and associated economic updates as set out in the Charter of Budget Honesty Act 1998. Finance has a key role in developing the Government’s Economic and 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 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.

In the 2021–22 year the annual Appropriation Acts continue to allow an extraordinary amount for Advances to the Finance Minister and there are continued risks for calls on this contingency fund due to the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Finance is taking an active approach to monitoring emerging pressures, acting swiftly on requests and providing policy advice to the Minister for Finance on alternate approaches to managing appropriations.

Provide 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 adopting new technology.

As part of its stewardship role, Finance also facilitates a cash management community of practice. This initiative will support continuous improvement in Commonwealth cash management practices and enable better collaboration between Commonwealth entities on existing and emerging technologies, and transformation programs such as the Near Real-Time Funds Project.

Over the period of this Plan, significant initiatives we will manage to help achieve our purpose include the following:

  • Support the delivery of key economic updates and a federal election
  • Improve data analytics capabilities
  • Review machinery-of-government change implementation principles.

Support the delivery of key economic updates, and a federal election
In 2021–22, Finance will continue to support government decision-making processes and the preparation of the 2020–21 Final Budget Outcome, the 2021–22 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook and the 2022–23 Budget. In this financial year, Finance also expects to contribute to the delivery of a Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Outlook ahead of the next federal election.

Improve Data Analytics Capabilities
Finance continues to improve its data analytics capabilities, enabling us to better inform government decision-making. These data capabilities aim to improve Finance’s analysis on government spending and provide greater insights on key expenditure programs. Finance will continue to work with partner entities to improve funding data quality and to place data analysis in the context of emerging pressures in an increasingly complex, challenging and uncertain strategic environment.

Review machinery-of-government change implementation principles
In 2021–22, Finance will undertake a review of machinery-of-government (MoG) Principles, in collaboration with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Australian Public Service Commission. The Review will focus on the efficient and effective implementation of MoG changes. The Review will include a series of workshops with entity representatives and will produce an updated set of MoG Principles, updates to the current MoG guide and ensure guidance materials remain fit for purpose.

Advising on expenditure – key activities and performance measures
Key activity 1: Deliver 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
2021–22 2022–23 2023–24 2024–25
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     External reporting standards and legislative requirements are met.

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 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 2020–21 Corporate Plan:  Performance measures are unchanged.

Links with PBS: Program 1.1 Budget and Financial Management (Outcome 1).
Key activity 2: Provide 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
2021–22 2022–23 2023–24 2024–25
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 intra-day 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 2020–21 Corporate Plan:  Performance measures are unchanged.

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

Public sector resourcing and transformation

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Public sector diagram

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 reforming business processes, process automation, and enabling public servants to focus on the Government’s strategic priorities and delivery of services to Australians.

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, Finance is committed to ensuring that its 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 using and managing 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.

Support 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, accommodation, property services, and consultancies 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 manages the delivery of major capital works projects including the national purpose-built quarantine facilities. Finance also 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.

Engage with Government Business Enterprises and joint shareholder departments

Finance manages the policy frameworks applicable to the Commonwealth's investment and Government Business Enterprises (GBEs). We provide advice to the Australian Government relating to commercial investments and 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.

We provide advice on accountability and governance arrangements, board appointments and GBE performance and financial sustainability. Finance works closely with partner shareholder departments in supporting ministers and engaging with GBE Boards and senior executive teams.

Enable investment funds and civilian superannuation schemes

Finance manages the policy and legislation of the Commonwealth Investment Funds – the Future Fund, the Disability Care 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.

Finance is 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. This includes monitoring cost drivers and considering strategies for management of long-term costs (including legacy costs) and adaptation of schemes to reflect changes in industry practices and community standards.

Over the period of this Plan, significant initiatives we will manage to help achieve Finance’s purpose include:

  • Deliver alternative quarantine facilities
  • Deliver Evaluation in the Commonwealth: The Evaluation Toolkit
  • Enhance the Commonwealth Investment Framework
  • Enhance the Governance Framework for GBEs
  • Deliver Whole-of-Government Management Advisory Services arrangements
  • Lead the APS Accounting and Finance Profession Working Group
  • Redrafting the Lands Acquisition Act and supporting regulations, and implement supporting administrative reforms.

Deliver alternative quarantine facilities

Finance is leading the delivery of national purpose-built quarantine facilities on behalf of the Australian Government. The national quarantine facilities will enable an increased number of Australians to return home and provide additional quarantine capacity for the gradual reopening of Australia’s international border.

Finance has leveraged our project management, property, procurement and commercial capability and expertise, and assembled expertise from a range of Commonwealth agencies to expedite the early delivery of the Government’s commitment to stand-alone quarantine facilities that meet the Government’s Key Assessment Criteria.

In collaboration with state governments and private delivery partners, Finance is leading planning, including site feasibility studies, relevant agreements with state governments, project management and overall delivery of Centres for National Resilience. The centres will provide a long-term option for quarantine, and the Australian Government will retain the centres for future alternative uses. Design, planning and incentives are geared to support the earliest possible handover of facilities to state government operators.

Deliver Evaluation in the Commonwealth: The Evaluation Toolkit

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

The Government expects the Australian Public Service (APS) to deliver for all Australians by setting clear goals and measuring progress towards their achievement. The Government tasked Finance with supporting the APS to do this by building evaluation capacity, expertise and practices across the APS.

Leveraging the evaluation expertise present in many APS entities, Finance is developing a web-based evaluation toolkit of practical guidance and supporting resources to embed evaluation in everyday APS practice, while ensuring the systematic evaluation of programs and policies in line with the Commonwealth Performance Framework. The Department is also working with key stakeholders to embed evaluation planning in new policy proposals and Regulation Impact Statements.

The evaluation toolkit will be launched in 2021–22 and is intended to provide staff new to evaluation with an overview of evaluation concepts and approaches so they can:

  • build their capability to evaluate government programs and activities
  • understand more about measuring the effects and impacts of a program or activity
  • use data and robust evidence to drive continuous improvement
  • help deliver successful policies and programs
  • meet their obligations under relevant Commonwealth legislation and policy
  • improve the quality of performance reporting, and
  • help build an evaluative culture across the Commonwealth.

The collaborative process used to develop the evaluation toolkit goes to enhancing the way the Department supports and engages with entities, including through self-service, to promote the objectives of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and the Commonwealth Performance Framework. The evaluation toolkit will be hosted on the Department’s website and administered in-house and will be regularly reviewed to maintain up-to-date content and usability.

Enhance the Commonwealth Investment Framework

The Commonwealth Investment Framework (CIF) supports the Australian Government to realise the benefit of investments that utilise the Commonwealth balance sheet for Australian citizens, businesses and communities.

The CIF supports the successful long-term implementation and management of investment decisions from a whole-of-life investment perspective. It achieves this by providing decision makers with the best evidence to support consideration of investment proposals and by ensuring that Commonwealth entities have the necessary tools and access to relevant expertise to support Commonwealth investment. The CIF includes a Resource Management Guide (RMG) and a Toolkit of practical, user-focused content, providing a ‘how-to’ for Commonwealth agencies.

Since the launch of the CIF, capital markets and the Government’s fiscal position have significantly changed due to the impacts of, and response to, COVID-19. The Government’s short- and medium-term fiscal position has deteriorated with the Underlying Cash Balance projected to be in deficit through the medium term and net debt expected to increase to approximately $980 billion in 2024–25 (40 per cent of GDP), reflecting the Government’s increased borrowing requirements from the response to, and impacts of, the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following the Government’s decision in the 2020–21 Budget, Finance was tasked with enhancing the Government’s commercial focus to achieve more widespread use of commercial investment and procurement models in delivering policy outcomes. Finance is supporting agencies to consider the benefits of commercial financing and procurement and to create opportunities for partnership with the private sector in delivering government priorities. This will be achieved by:

  1. developing and piloting an expanded set of commercial options and approaches to secure private capital and capability; and
  2. working with key stakeholders to further support strategic engagement with the investment community. 

These work streams focus on opportunities to leverage private sector capital, investment, innovation, risk appetite, and capability to maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of major government investments.

Enhance the Governance Framework for GBEs

The Commonwealth Government Business Enterprises – Governance and Oversight Guidelines (GBE Guidelines) are the primary policy document which outlines the Australian Government’s expectations of GBEs.

These apply to Corporate Commonwealth entities or wholly-owned Commonwealth companies. They supplement those provisions of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) and the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 (PGPA Rule) which apply to GBEs.

In response to a number of developments in contemporary corporate governance practices relevant to GBEs, Finance will undertake a review of the GBE Guidelines in consultation with relevant stakeholders including shareholder Ministers.

The review will seek to ensure the GBE Guidelines continue to represent a framework which is appropriate, fit for purpose, aligns with domestic expectations and international best practice guidance, and can be easily adapted to address future changes. The review will incorporate relevant recommendations and findings from recent reviews and investigations relevant to accountability and transparency, governance, proper use of public resources, and effective management of risk.

Deliver Whole of Government Management Advisory Services arrangements

The Whole of Australian Government Management Advisory Services Panel (the Panel) has been established to improve quality, consistency and efficiency in the procurement of Management Advisory Services by Commonwealth entities.

The Panel is being established in three phases, with each phase conducted via a separate open approach to market. Phase 1, Financial Management Advisory Services, commenced on 12 July 2021. Tender evaluation of Phase 2, Corporate Management Advisory Services, is currently underway, with services expected to commence in the first quarter of 2022. Services under Phase 3, Commercial Management Advisory Services, are expected to commence in the second quarter of 2022. The Panel will replace around 20 existing APS panels and provides a range of benefits, including:

  • improved quality, consistency and efficiency for Management Advisory Services, with standard terms and conditions and a Performance Management Framework
  • cost savings and efficiencies for Service Providers by reducing administration and tendering efforts
  • reduced time and effort for entities and for Service Providers to establish contracts, and
  • standardised rate structures for entities, noting that currently Service Providers’ rates can vary significantly across existing panels for the same types of services.

Lead the APS Accounting and Finance Profession Working Group

An APS Accounting and Finance Profession Working Group was established by the Department of Finance in early 2021 to create and implement a strong foundation for ongoing collaboration, support and development of Accounting and Finance Professionals within the APS.  The priorities of the Working Group are to grow capacity and capability, support diversity and nurture development, and align with the APS Workforce Strategy 2025. Working Group membership comprises representation from a range of APS entities.

Redrafting the Lands Acquisition Act and supporting regulations, and implement supporting administrative reforms

Finance is implementing reforms to land acquisitions that were announced by the Australian Government on 17 August 2021. The reforms will enhance the responsiveness and timeliness of acquisition processes, provide more support and greater certainty for landholders and improve outcomes for all parties.

Targeted legislative and regulatory amendments will modernise the Lands Acquisition Act 1989, provide process clarity, encourage more timely resolution of compensation negotiations and apply greater rigour to acquisitions by agreements.

A new case management model will better support landholders throughout the acquisition process and new guidance will support best practice in Commonwealth land acquisitions. Guidance will provide advice around valuations, the conduct of acquisitions and determining an appropriate price.

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
2021–22 2022–23 2023–24 2024–25
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 efficiency and application of 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. 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, JCPAA reports and other parliamentary committees, 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 2020–21 Corporate Plan: Performance measures are unchanged.
Links with PBS: Program 2.1 Public Sector Governance (Outcome 2).

Key activity 4: Enable value for money procurements
Leverage experience and support the Australian Government to achieve value for money procurements.
Target
2021–22 2022–23 2023–24 2024–25
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 2020–21 Corporate Plan: Performance measures are unchanged.

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.
Year
2021–22 2022–23 2023–24 2024–25
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 to meet outstanding claims liabilities.
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: Finance maintains adequate Comcover reserves to meet its outstanding claims liability. Comcover claims are managed in accordance with the Commonwealth’s Legal Services Directions. Strong attendance at Comcover education services and aggregate feedback from attendees indicates an increasing level of understanding and knowledge.  The biennial benchmarking report indicating an aggregate improvement in risk maturity over time.

Explanation of changes since 2020–21 Corporate Plan: Performance measures are unchanged

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
2021–22 2022–23 2023–24 2024–25
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 2020–21 Corporate Plan: Performance measures are unchanged.

Links with PBS: Program 2.3 Property and Construction (Outcome 2).
Key activity 7: Engage 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
2021–22 2022–23 2023–24 2024–25
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 2020–21 Corporate Plan: Performance measures are unchanged.

Links with PBS: Program 2.1 Public Sector Governance (Outcome 2).
Key activity 8: Enable 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
2021–22 2022–23 2023–24 2024–25
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 pension schemes administered by Finance continue to comply with the 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 2020–21 Corporate Plan for Key Activity 8: Performance measures are unchanged.

Links with PBS: Program 2.8 Australian Government Investment Funds and 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

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Delivering services diagram

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

Finance will continue to find ways to deliver services to, and for, government, the public sector and parliamentarians in more efficient and effective ways. Finance’s strategic and cooperative partnerships strengthen our approach to improving whole-of-government services through our relationships with delivery partners and by seeking to adapt our practices to realise benefits from advances in data, digitisation and automation technology. Regular environmental scanning and considering lessons learned helps Finance remain agile and attentive to opportunities to reduce administrative costs and streamline business processes across the public sector.

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.

Transform Commonwealth entities through shared services

In the 2021–22 Budget, the Government renewed its commitment to the transformation of Commonwealth entities through shared services. Finance retains the strategic policy responsibility and core governance functions to drive shared services transformation across the APS. Responsibility for the build and operation of the GovERP platform, the core Government system for managing agency corporate services, has transitioned to Services Australia.

Finance is also responsible for delivering corporate services to client agencies through the Service Delivery Office (SDO). The SDO will be the first shared services provider hub, together with its client agencies, to on-board to the new GovERP technology platform.

Shared services hub – Service Delivery Office (SDO)

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 focuses on supporting the whole-of-government approach for shared corporate services in 2021–22. The SDO will be the first hub to on-board with its client agencies to the new GovERP platform. The travel and expense management solution has been an exemplar project, demonstrating the value of client-led engagements and multi-disciplinary teams in delivering digital solutions that meet the needs of multiple Commonwealth entities.

The Productivity and Automation Centre of Excellence (PACE), established in the SDO in 2017, has automated a number of shared services processes across the financial and human resource operations of client agencies. Process automation has replaced simple, repetitive tasks, allowing staff to focus on higher-value work. In 2020, the SDO process automations returned over 3,000 hours to business.

Modernise the APS through ICT projects

Finance delivers a range of cost-effective and innovative whole-of-government online services and information products. 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, entities 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 (PBR) Framework, which governs the administration of remuneration, work expenses and other public resources provided to current and former parliamentarians (including former prime ministers). This includes provision of Commonwealth Parliament Offices in each capital city and property management of over 270 electorate offices around the country. 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. A major focus will be developing more plain-English guidance and case studies to assist parliamentarians to understand their PBR Framework obligations.

Finance also administers the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984 (MOP(S) Act) which establishes a framework for office holders, senators and members of the House of Representatives to employ staff. Ministerial and Parliamentary Services provides human resources, payroll and work, health and safety advice and support. The major focus for Finance will be to enhance policy and practice relating to building safe and respectful workplaces.

Finance is also responsible for COMCAR, delivering car-with-driver and other ground transport services to the Prime Minister’s office, Governor-General, members of parliament, judges and international guests of government.

Over the period of the Plan, significant initiatives we will manage to help achieve our purpose include the following:

  • Provide enhanced services for parliamentarians and their staff
  • Support the transition to modernised services for clients (PEMS, CARS)
  • Support client agency adoption of e-invoicing
  • Deliver the Australian Government Graduate Recruitment and Career Starter Program.

Provide enhanced services for Parliamentarians and their staff

In 2021–22 Finance will continue to support the Review into Commonwealth Parliamentary Workplace being undertaken by the Sex Discrimination Commissioner Ms Kate Jenkins, the Government’s response to the recommendations of the Review and the implementation of interim measures.

In addition to the dedicated telephone Parliamentary Support Line (1800 APH SPT) released in 2021, Ministerial and Parliamentary Services will enhance policy and practice relating to building safe and respectful workplaces, including through providing additional education and training opportunities to parliamentarians and their staff, enhanced case management supports and more tailored guidance and toolkits.

Ministerial and Parliamentary Services will also continue to improve business processes that support parliamentarians and their staff including additional online assistance (e.g. web chat), developing a new education framework for MOP(S) Act employees and enhanced facilities at Commonwealth Parliament Offices to support the work of government and parliamentarians.

Support the transition to modernised services for clients (PEMS, CARS)

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 will allow most HR functions (e.g. payroll and approval of leave) to be provided digitally. PEMS is modernising and streamlining the management, processing, audit and reporting of Office and Travel expense claims.

In 2021–22 Finance will build and deliver a suite of expanded office expenses management and domestic travel claim functions, as well as new functions for budget management, reporting and international travel claims.

Finance will also implement an expanded office expenses function that will enable office expense claims to be managed digitally through PEMS, removing the need for paper processing by parliamentarians or Ministerial and Parliamentary Services staff.

Finance will continue to drive adoption of 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 will also continue the two-year trial of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) to test the suitability of BEVs across different type of reservations and to assess charging and electricity network infrastructure, including costs for COMCAR depots over the medium to longer term.

SDO to support client agency adoption of e-invoicing

Shared services provider hubs across government are adopting e-Invoicing to improve business cash flow through faster payment times and reduce transaction costs and handling errors. Four shared services provider hubs, Finance’s Service Delivery Office (SDO), Services Australia, the Australian Taxation Office and the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources have implemented e-Invoicing into their technology environment to support the Government's adoption measures.

The SDO was one of the first shared services provider hubs to implement e-Invoicing into its technical environment in December 2019.  The Government’s 2020–21 Budget measure included a requirement that all material non-corporate Commonwealth entities were enabled to receive e-Invoices by 1 July 2021 and non-material entities are mandated to be enabled by 1 July 2022.  The SDO has worked with its material client agencies to enable them to receive e-Invoices prior to 1 July 2021 and is working closely with nine of its non-material client agencies to enable them to receive e-Invoices by 1 July 2022.

Small and medium business capability to transmit using e-Invoicing remains critical to increased adoption. To increase awareness across business of Commonwealth agency capability, the SDO is supporting client agencies with the ability to inform businesses of their readiness to receive e‑Invoices through purchase orders. This capability will be available to SDO clients in 2021–22.

Deliver the Australian Government Graduate Recruitment and Career Starter Program

The Australian Government offers graduates job opportunities across multiple disciplines. As part of our ongoing stewardship role in the APS, Finance has partnered with the Australian Public Service Commission to lead the recruitment process for the Australian Government Graduate Program – Generalist Stream.

The Australian Government Graduate Recruitment (AGGR) process was piloted in 2019. With 13 agencies participating in the 2022 AGGR process, the campaign continues to expand its strong profile with university students looking for a career in the Commonwealth public sector.

The recruitment campaign provides graduates, from a range of academic disciplines, the opportunity to apply through a centralised, coordinated application process. Graduates are considered for various roles in multiple Australian Government departments, agencies and Commonwealth entities.

The Australian Public Service (APS) Career Starter Program was established in 2002. Finance coordinated the entry level program and gives school leavers the opportunity to develop skills on the job and through structured training.

The 2021 program attracted 218 applicants, 205 in the General Stream, seven Affirmative Measures: Indigenous and six Affirmative Measures: Disability.  There were 72 participants on-boarded across 10 agencies, including 19 participants at Finance.

The program was awarded the 2018 Australian Human Resources Institute Susan Ryan Age Diversity Award.

These entry programs have demonstrated a collaborative approach within the APS, with significant benefits for participating departments, agencies and graduates.
Key areas of focus for the next 12 months include:

  • expanding the Career Starter Program to include opportunities in other states and territories
  • increasing representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and people with disability in the Career Starter Program
  • broadening the programs to include more APS agencies and departments, and
  • positioning the AGGR in the graduate labour market to increase the number of applications and attract high-calibre candidates.
Delivering effective services to, and for, government – key activities and performance measures
Key activity 9: Transform 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
2021–22 2022–23 2023–24 2024–25
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  Government and entities are satisfied with Finance’s stewardship, policy advice, engagement and guidance on the adoption of shared services.
9.1.2  Decisions in relation to the Shared Services Program are implemented on the basis of whole-of-government interests, including alignment with the digital agenda and policies.   
  • Finance consults widely on shared services policy and continued adoption of common corporate technology platforms and standardised business processes.
  • Second pass business cases for the adoption of common corporate technology platforms brought forward by agencies are in alignment with the whole-of-government first pass business case agreed by Government.
9.1.3 Benchmarking data is available and provides valuable insight for decision-making. Baseline

Methodology: Progress is measured against shared services program objectives, using key milestones, information collected from stakeholders and benchmarking survey data.

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.
53% +1% +1% +1%
9.2.2  The benefits of shared, standard and sustainable ERP technologies and business processes are realised:        
  • Increased client uptake of SDO’s shared ERP technology solution, known as HUB  (year on year increase)
  • Increased client adoption of end to end whole-of-government business processes (year on year increase).
9.2.3   SDO and its client agencies adopt the whole-of-government ERP platform,  GovERP:        
  • Facilitating SDO client agencies on-boarding to GovERP within expected timeframes.
   
  • Delivering the second pass business case for additional client agencies’ adoption of GovERP through the SDO shared services provider hub.
     

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 satisfaction is measured through SDO’s client satisfaction survey. The benefits of shared, standard and sustainable technologies and processes will be measured through performance reporting. SDO on-boarding to GovERP and delivery of the second pass Business Case is measured through GovERP program status reports provided to the Shared Services Steering Committee.

Explanation of changes since 2020–21 Corporate Plan for Key Activity 9: 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: Modernise the APS through ICT projects

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

Target
2021–22 2022–23 2023–24 2024–25
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.ies 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 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 2020–21 Corporate Plan for Key Activity 10: Performance measures are unchanged.
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
2021–22 2022–23 2023–24 2024–25
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) will be made within agreed timeframes.
95% 95% 95% 95%
  • Office establishment and relocation projects delivered in accordance with the National Fit-out 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 the Executive Board through the performance update progress report. Achievement of success is reported annually via the targets in the Annual Performance Statements and Outcome 3 of Finance’s PBS.
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-2022.      
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 Statements.

Explanation of changes since 2020–21 Corporate Plan for Key Activity 11: 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
2021–22 2022–23 2023–24 2024–25

Performance measure 12.1: Manage Finance tenancies

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 2020–21 Corporate Plan for Key Activity 12: The performance measures are unchanged.

Links with PBS: Not applicable

 

 

 

Appendices

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Appendix A – Summary of changes to performance measures

The performance framework provides substantial detail regarding the measurement of Finance’s progress in achieving its purpose. In this Corporate Plan, Finance identifies 19 performance measures for the reporting period 2021–22 to 2024–25 with:

  • 16 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 and where measure collection methodologies have been strengthened and
  • three performance measures that have been updated to reflect the evolution of the related work activities.

Appendix B – PGPA Act requirements table

Reguirement
Introduction
– Statement of preparation
– The reporting period for which the Plan is prepared
– The reporting periods covered by the Plan
– Purposes
Key activities
Operating context
– Environment
– Capability
– Risk oversight and managment
– Cooperation
– Subsidiaries (where applicable)
Performance

Acknowledgement of Country and Traditional Owners

The Department of Finance acknowledges the traditional owners and custodians of the lands on which we live and work. We extend that acknowledgment to their continuing connection to country, waters and community. We pay our respects to all elders past and present, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

Finance's Leadership values

© Commonwealth of Australia 2021
ISSN 2206-7299 (online)

Copyright Notice

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Finance's Leadership values

 

Use of the Coat of Arms

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