Good Practice in Government (RMG 003)

To support the improved use and management of public resources this page shares good practice examples from across the Commonwealth public sector relating to improved performance arising from:

  • working with others;
  • better risk management; and
  • streamlining and improving internal controls.

Examples and Case Studies

Working with Others

PM&C

Open Government National Action Plan

The Commonwealth is a member of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) a voluntary, multi-lateral initiative in which governments commit to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness technologies to strengthen governance.

The Commonwealth has now finalised its first Open Government National Action Plan 2016-2018The Plan commits the Government to provide better access to government-held information; to reform information access laws; to strengthen the framework for national integrity and anti-corruption; and improve the way the Commonwealth engaged with the public on policy development, service delivery and decision-making. 

Department of Health

Working across government

The Department of Health Corporate Plan notes the difference factors that influence health outcomes such as education, employment, housing and social inclusion and sets out how cooperation with other Commonwealth and state and territory departments are important to improve health and aged care outcomes for Australians.

Partnerships include:

State and territory governments to deliver a range of services including child and adult public dental services, Home and Community Care services.

Geoscience Australia

Operations hub for Tsunami Warning Centre

In 2006, Geoscience Australia opened the earthquake monitoring and alerting component of the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre (JATWC). The JATWC is part of the Australian Tsunami Warning System, a collaborative project involving Geoscience Australia, the Bureau of Meteorology, Emergency Management Australia, and the former Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), which is now part of DFAT. 

The Earthquake Operations Hub of the JATWC detects earthquakes in Australia and globally and determines details such as magnitude, location, depth along with other seismic characteristics to determine whether or not they are likely to generate a tsunami or cause other damage.  These data are used in conjunction with the Bureau of Meteorology’s tide gauge data to determine whether a tsunami warning should be issued. For more information

Indigenous Land Corporation

Mossman Gorge centre

ILC acquires and manages land projects by initiating strategic projects in collaboration with Indigenous people, other agencies and partners. In June 2012 the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC) established an Indigenous eco-tourism enterprise that provides employment and training opportunities for Indigenous people. The Mossman Gorge Centre was constructed in collaboration with Mossman Gorge Aboriginal Community and Kuku Yalanji Traditional Owners on land purchased through the ILC’s Land Acquisition program.

The Centre provides Indigenous employment and training (approximately 90 per cent of employees at the Centre are Indigenous) and delivers economic, social, cultural and environmental benefits. The centre employs more than 70 Indigenous people during the tourism high season. In 2015-16, the Centre had more than 320,000 visitors.

Better Risk Management

Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA)

Collaborating for better risk management

In 2013-14 AMSA worked with industry to develop tests and carriage requirements to address the risk of liquefaction of bulk iron ore cargoes.  After consulting widely with mining companies, maritime insurers, international interests and other exporting countries, AMSA persuaded the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to allow early implementation in Australia.

AMSA initiated the work after it recognised a major strategic risk posed by liquefaction of bulk cargoes that could result in loss of life, and significant environmental or socioeconomic impact. The phenomenon is now regarded as having been responsible for the loss of 12 ships carrying either nickel or iron ore cargoes in the period of 1988 to 2013, with the loss of 109 lives. It is also notable that in the 1990s there was also a spate of bulk carrier losses with sailings from the north-west of Australia with four ships loaded with iron ore fines being lost with the loss of 51 lives. These losses were attributed to structural failures, but the resulting loss of stability due to liquefaction could not be discounted as a contributory factor.

AMSA’s work has led to safer handling practices for iron ore and has ensured that the cargo industry has regulatory certainty at the national and international level, delivering a level commercial playing field for a vital Australian commodity.

Another benefit of this work is that it will enable AMSA, and other authorities, to avoid over regulating where cargoes will not liquefy and provide certainty in determining where they may. This ensures regulatory enforcement can be more effective.

In April 2015, AMSA was presented with an award as a joint winner in the Australian Government Department of Finance Comcover Awards for Excellence in Risk Management. The award recognised AMSA’s ‘excellent use of risk management as a tool to improve shipping practices, and its strong stakeholder engagement that has influenced international standards and regulations’.

Streamlining and Improving Internal Controls

Australian Taxation Office

SuperStream

In 2015, the ATO established SuperStream to streamline procedures for Australian businesses to meet their superannuation obligations. SuperStream is a standard for processing superannuation data and payments electronically. The ATO worked with stakeholders to co-design data standards and systems to ensure the effective transfer and accounting of superannuation funds.

Superstream was established in response to the 2010 Review of the Governance, Efficiency, Structure and Operation of Australia's Superannuation System (Cooper Review) of the Australian superannuation system identified that much of the 'back office' of superannuation was manually transacted and reflected a lack of industry data standards, which resulted in inefficient processing of transactions; millions of 'lost' superannuation accounts and difficulties for members in consolidating multiple accounts.

In 2016 Superstream won the gold prize at the 2016 Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Public Sector Management. The judges noted that the initiative demonstrated the highest levels of planning and governance, and the ATO developed and delivered the capacity to take its stakeholders, as well as its own staff, through a significant change in the way it undertook its business. The results of this initiative are already significant with major savings to industry (in the order of $400 – 500 million annually).

Department of Finance

Sharing of ideas to reduce red tape

The Department of Finance established the Quit the red tape habit website to encourage and support red tape reduction across the Commonwealth public sector. The site was establish in response to the recommendations of the Independent Review of Whole-of-Government Internal Regulation (2015 Belcher Review). While the review’s recommendations are primarily directed at the Department of Finance, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Australian Public Service Commission, and the Attorney-General’s Department, there are recommendations for all regulators and entities to consider, to:

  • identify regulations that can be ceased or modified
  • access the need for, and impact of, regulations against a set of common principles
  • recommend minimum levels of regulation required for entities to meet the needs of government and the public, and
  • assess the culture of departments and selected entities with regards to the creation and removal of self-imposed requirements; identify characteristics and examples of good culture and practice, and make recommendations for structural and cultural improvements.

In November 2016, Finance established the Red Tape Rebels group, a group of senior managers from across the Commonwealth public sector committed to driving cultural change by influencing, promoting and driving the implementation of the Principles for the Reduction of Internal Red Tape within their entity.

Department of Finance

Cooperating with others to reduce red tape

The Quit the red tape habit website has stories on the steps Commonwealth entities have taken to reduce internal red tape. These stories include examples of cooperating with others to reduce internal red tape:

  • Comcare: Improving data collection design and coordination
  • APS collaboration building Portfolio, Program and Project Management (P3M) capability

COMCARE

Improving data collection design and coordination

  • Comcare: Improving data collection design and coordination

Department of Finance & PM&C

APS collaboration in building Portfolio, Program and Project Management (P3M) capability

  • APS collaboration building Portfolio, Program and Project Management (P3M) capability

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