Part Three: Management and accountability
Senior positions occupied during 2013-14 were as follows:
Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (Statutory officer)
Dr Vivienne Thom
Assistant Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (SES Band 1)
Mr Jake Blight
Senior management committees
The OIGIS Audit Committee is the only senior management committee for the agency. The functions of this committee are detailed in the 'Internal audit and risk management' section of this chapter.
Corporate and operational planning
OIGIS's corporate and operational planning processes are straightforward in nature, reflecting the small size and specialist function of the office.
The office addresses these matters through:
- an annual forward planning process to set strategic priorities
- weekly meetings between the IGIS and senior staff members, to review and document operational priorities
- monthly meetings between the IGIS and all office staff, during which internal guidelines, procedures and governance issues are discussed
- a forward plan for inspection activities in each intelligence agency, which is determined in consultation with the relevant agency head (in accordance with s. 9A of the IGIS Act).
Internal audit and risk management
The membership and functions of the Audit Committee are structured according to the guidance in s.46 of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 and the Financial Management and Accountability Regulations 1997. At 30 June 2014 the members were Mr Matthew King (Treasury) as Chair, Mr Trevor Kennedy (Attorney-General's Department) and Mr Jake Blight (OIGIS) as members. The Inspector-General attends the meetings as an observer.
The Audit Committee meets on a periodic basis to consider matters including:
- risk management
- internal control
- financial statements
- compliance requirements
- internal audit
- external audit
- governance arrangements.
In this reporting period the Committee also considered the steps taken in preparation for the commencement of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (the PGPA Act).
The Committee reviews the Risk Management Plan annually based on its assessment of the office's risk performance over the period. The Risk Management Plan includes controls designed to mitigate risks including the following:
- personnel related risks
- accidental or intentional loss of information
- segregation of duties
- failure or compromise of information technology systems
- physical security of the office and facilities
- corporate liability
- fraud prevention, detection and management
- corporate compliance requirements.
Through its various mitigation strategies, the residual risk accepted by the office is maintained within the low-medium levels in each of the categories listed above.
Implementation of the revised Protective Security Policy Framework
The Australian Government's Protective Security Policy Framework provides a structure for Australian government agencies to proportionately and effectively manage security risks and provide the necessary protection of the Government's people, information and assets. The governance arrangements and core policies in the framework describe the higher-level protective security outcomes and identify mandatory requirements my office must meet.
As at 30 June 2014, we were fully compliant with 32 of the 33 mandatory requirements and partially compliant with one. A risk mitigation strategy is in place for the partially compliant requirement.
Ethical standards and fraud control
We maintained our commitment to ethical standards by ensuring staff were aware of the relevant requirements. We held an information session for staff and displayed posters prominently in the office concerning changes to the APS Values that took effect from 1 July 2013.
Nominated staff attended APSC Ethics Advisors network meetings. All OIGIS staff must meet the standards required to hold a Positive Vet clearance which includes, among other things, consideration of an individual's maturity, responsibility, and honesty. Financial management and accountability requirements for the Office were set out in Chief Executive Instructions (CEIs), which were issued by the Inspector-General under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997. In preparation for the commencement of the PGPA Act the CEIs were reviewed to be replaced by Accountable Authority Instructions.
Delegations were updated to take account of changes associated with the PGPA Act. Staff are required to sign a statement that they have read and understood all new delegations.
The Office's procurement policy and guidelines establish clear standards of ethical behaviour for all staff responsible for procurement.
While the Risk Management Plan is comprehensive in that it includes fraud prevention, detection and management, the office also maintains a separate Fraud Control Plan, updated annually, which explores in greater detail risks of that type and how they are managed.
Employment of SES Officers
The office has one SES position filled by Mr Jake Blight. The terms and conditions of Mr Blight's employment, including salary, are set out in a Section 24(1) determination and are based broadly on SES remuneration within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Employment of persons for a particular inquiry
Section 35(2AA) of the IGIS Act requires me to report on the employment under s. 32(3) of any person to perform functions and exercise powers for the purposes of a particular inquiry, and any delegation under s. 32AA to such a person. No person was employed under s. 32(3) in the reporting period.
Reports by the Auditor-General, Parliamentary Committees, the Commonwealth Ombudsman or an agency capability review
There were no reports on the operation of the office (other than the report on financial statements) by any of the above bodies. It should be noted that the office is not within the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth Ombudsman.
The office has received an unqualified audit report from the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) in relation to its financial statements.
Further details of OIGIS interaction with parliamentary committees are available in the Overview section of this report.
Management of human resources
At 30 June 2014, the office had 12 ongoing APS employees located in the Australian Capital Territory (not including the Inspector-General). Two employees worked part-time.
This compares to 11 ongoing and 2 non ongoing APS employees located in the Australian Capital Territory at 30 June 2013.
The office has a staffing strategy of maintaining a number of positions for staff who are on temporary transfers from other agencies. At the end of the reporting period four of the ongoing staff were on temporary transfer. This allows the office to acquire skills that are available in other agencies and provides valuable development opportunities for employees. One of these employees returned to their home agency at the end of the reporting period — this position will not be filled.
The profile of the organisation is summarised in the following two graphs:
Organisational Profile as at 30 June 2014 (employment level and status)
Gender Balance as at 30 June 2014 (by employment level)
At 1 July 2013, all non-SES staff were employed under the OIGIS Enterprise Agreement 2011 -2014. One SES staff member was employed under a section 24(1) determination.
The salary range available to APS employees in OIGIS throughout 2013-14 is provided at Annex 2.
The only notable non-salary benefit for OIGIS non-SES staff is a taxable annual allowance in recognition of the requirement to undergo regular and intrusive security clearance processes necessary to maintain a Positive Vet clearance, as well as other restrictions placed on employees as a result of reviewing the activities of the intelligence agencies. The annual allowance was $1093 per annum as at 30 June 2014.
Training and staff development
We continued the internal training program introduced in early 2012. The program of short training sessions, run once a fortnight, ensures that staff develop and maintain specialised knowledge and skills, and supplements on the job training. Topics covered in 2013-14 included:
- Public Interest Disclosure legislation
- IGIS Act secrecy provisions
- The role of the Commonwealth/Immigration Ombudsman
- Approaches to compliance
Two staff members enrolled in a Certificate IV in Government (Investigations). Staff were also provided with regular opportunities throughout 2013-14 to attend other training courses and seminars relevant to their roles. A studies assistance scheme is also available to reimburse employees for approved courses of study.
OIGIS does not have a performance based pay scheme.
All procurement and purchasing activities conducted by the office were in accordance with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules.
Generally a small number of consultants may be engaged each year by the office on an 'as-required' basis. Consultants are used where short-term resources are inadequate or specialist expertise is required. The security requirements of the office and the specialist nature of the consultancy work often means that consultants are directly sourced.
Where the work is more general in nature the office will, where appropriate, access consultants selected by PM&C through an open tender or panel selection process.
The decision to engage a consultant is made in accordance with the FMA Act and related regulations including the Commonwealth Procurement Rules and relevant internal guidelines.
Total actual expenditure on consultancy contracts for 2013-14 was $15 993 (GST inclusive). This represents two consultancy contracts for legal services and one relating to the revaluation of assets. This compares to consultancy expenditure of $7000 (GST inclusive) in 2012-13.
Annual reports contain information about actual expenditure on contracts for consultancies. Information on the value of contracts and consultancies is available on the AusTender website
ANAO Access Clauses
No contracts for greater than $100 000 were entered into during the reporting period, which did not provide for the Auditor-General to have access to the contractor's premises.
No contracts have been entered into during the reporting period that have been exempt from publishing on AusTender.
Expenditure on legal services fluctuates from year to year and is largely dependent upon the nature of the inquiries undertaken.
In 2013-14 one legal advice was obtained from Australian Government Solicitors, to a total cost of $7626 (GST inclusive). Advice was also sought from counsel in one matter with costs totalling $7486 (GST inclusive).
The total expenditure for legal services compares to $7000 (GST inclusive) in 2012-13.
Information Publication Scheme
The Information Publication Scheme (IPS) applies to Australian Government agencies that are subject to the FOI Act. The IPS specifies categories of information that agencies must publish online. Agencies can also choose to publish other information under the IPS. As an exempt agency under the FOI Act, the scheme does not apply to OIGIS.
Indexed file lists were published on OIGIS's website in the reporting period in accordance with the Senate Continuing Order No 10 (Harradine Order).
Freedom of information
This office is an exempt agency for the purposes of the FOI Act.
Advertising and market research
OIGIS did not incur any expenditure on recruitment advertising, advertising campaigns, market research, polling or direct mailing during the reporting period.
Ecologically sustainable development and environmental performance
The office, through its co-location with PM&C, continues to benefit from that Department's commitment to energy saving measures. This includes the large number of energy and water saving measures, designed to reduce greenhouse emissions, which are incorporated into the building in which we are among the occupants (1 National Circuit). These measures include, but are not limited to, energy efficient lighting, heating and cooling.
Due to the small size of the office, PM&C does not separately measure the utilities used by OIGIS and provides these utilities free of charge. For this reason, ecologically sustainable development and details of environmental performance are not specifically quantified in this report.
Nonetheless, the office is committed to ensuring that its activities are environmentally responsible. While the majority of the office's infrastructure is provided and maintained by PM&C, there are a number of areas for which I am directly responsible in which I take into account the environmental impact and act accordingly to minimise it. These include:
- recycled paper was used for around 98 per cent of the office's photocopying, facsimile reports and document printing in 2013-14
- staff configure printers to default to double-sided print
- all unclassified office paper and cardboard waste is recycled
- empty toner cartridges are recycled, except where security considerations apply.
Since 1994, Commonwealth departments and agencies have reported on their performance as policy adviser, purchaser, employer, regulator and provider under the Commonwealth Disability Strategy. In 2007-08, reporting on the employer role was transferred to the Australian Public Service Commission's State of the Service Report and the APS Statistical Bulletin. These reports are available at www.apsc.gov.au. From 2010-11, departments and agencies have no longer been required to report on these functions.
The Commonwealth Disability Strategy has been overtaken by the National Disability Strategy 2010-2020, which sets out a ten year national policy framework to improve the lives of people with disability, promote participation and create a more inclusive society. A high level two-yearly report will track progress against each of the six outcome areas of the Strategy and present a picture of how people with disability are faring. The first of these reports will be available in late 2014, and can be found at www.dss.gov.au.
Work health and safety
Due to its small size, the office does not have a Health and Safety Committee. Instead, health and safety matters are addressed at all-staff meetings, Audit Committee meetings, and, as the need arises, directly with me through team leaders and the Health and Safety Representative. During 2013-14 a new representative was appointed and completed the relevant five-day training course.
No notifiable incidents resulting from undertakings carried out by the office have occurred during the year that would require reporting under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act).
No investigations were conducted relating to undertakings carried out by the office and no notices were given to the office under Part 10 of the WHS Act.