Department of Parliamentary Services Annual Report 2011-2012

Part 5 Sustainability

Other governance matters

Risk management

DPS participated in the Comcover 2012 Risk Management Benchmarking Survey, which measured risk management maturity across ten elements. DPS met or exceeded its nominated target level in eight of the ten elements and improved on its 2011 benchmarking score.

DPS achieved its best scores in the following risk management capability elements:

  1. Integration;
  2. Risk Management Policy and Objectives; and
  3. Accountability and Responsibility.
  4. The elements where there are opportunities for further improvement are:
  5. Risk Profiling and Reporting;
  6. Resourcing; and
  7. Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery.

DPS has considered the outcomes of the survey and work has commenced to improve in these areas for 2012–13. DPS continued to provide risk management training in 2011–12, conducting regular courses on risk management fundamentals. Risk Management training is now part of the DPS Corporate Learning Pathway for all DPS staff, allowing risk management to become an inherent workplace activity.

Fraud control

The DPS Fraud Control Policy and Framework was revised to conform to the new Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines in October 2011. All fraud risks continue to be monitored as part of the DPS risk management framework. In addition, DPS is also providing fraud and ethics training to all staff as part of the Corporate Learning Pathway program throughout 2012–13.

As required by the section 5.8 of the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines, DPS reported on its fraud control measures to the Presiding Officers in November 2011. DPS also provided fraud information to the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) to facilitate the process of annual reporting to Government, as required by section 12.4 of the guidelines.

The fraud risk profile of DPS continues to be rated as ‘moderate’ and has not changed when compared with previous years.

There were two new instances of suspected fraud reported in 2011–12. One case related to a staff member attempting to alter a document in order to claim a reimbursement to which they were not entitled. The other case involved a staff member accessing and copying records which they were not authorised to access. The reports were dealt with using the procedures set out in the Fraud Control Policy and Framework and the Fraud Control Plan.


Ethical matters arose out of evidence given by DPS to the Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee in 2011–12 regarding disposal of assets. DPS addressed these issues by instigating a Code of Conduct investigation and a review into disposal processes. DPS has taken steps to ensure that all future information provided to the Committee is accurate and comprehensive.

The Finance and Public Administration Committee also raised other issues with DPS such as alleged bullying and harassment and selection processes within DPS. DPS has in place policies, procedures and a structure to negate these issues. Bullying and harassment prevention measures are detailed over the page.

The DPS Audit Committee monitors ethical standards with an annual ethics ‘health check’. The second ethics health check report (for the 2010–11 financial year) was considered by the Audit Committee in December 2011. The report indicated that the number of reported harassment incidents had increased from three to six since the previous year.

As a consequence of the Finance and Public Administration Committee’s inquiry into the performance of DPS, Comcare undertook a bullying and harassment audit of DPS. The audit provided a number of recommendations.

In response to the audit, DPS has implemented a range of measures to address bullying and harassment, including:

  1. implementation of control measures to effectively and practicably eliminate or minimise the potential for any workplace bullying that is identified in risk assessments;
  2. reminding staff that DPS funds an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through Davidson Trahaire Corpsych;
  3. encouraging supervisors and managers to make use of the ManagerAssist service offered through the EAP; and
  4. implementation of the department’s ‘Fostering Inclusion and Respect at DPS’ diversity program, which seeks to positively impact on workplace culture, improve interactions between employees, and in the longer term build workforce capability that can respond to the department’s business demands.

Employees are now also required to attend mandatory training programs every two years that are specifically related to bullying and harassment, professionalism in the Parliamentary Services and Fraud and Ethics Awareness training. In 2011–12, 339 attendances were recorded for these training programs.

Strategic Plan

The DPS Strategic Plan 2010–2013 provides a three-year action plan. The plan is publicly available on the Parliament House website at

In 2012–13, a new corporate strategic plan will be developed.

Business Continuity Management

In order to ensure continuity of services to its clients, DPS has identified 20 critical services that are listed under the following three major areas of impact:

  1. services to the Parliament;
  2. services relating to the building; and
  3. services to support DPS activities.

Each of these 20 critical services has a plan that identifies what arrangements will be put in place in the event of an interruption to business.

An internal audit report in 2011 (provided by DPS’s contracted internal auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers) made a number of recommendations to improve the current arrangements. The recommendations involved a top-down approach to guide continuity and recovery arrangements, and to then reflect this in a revised Business Continuity Framework and Policy. Also important was to have in place a defined schedule of exercises to test the critical service plans, as well as a schedule for the ongoing maintenance of components of the plan.

DPS accepted the recommendations and has been working on their implementation, including the development of a whole-of-department business continuity plan, the development of business continuity templates, an exercise schedule and revisions to the Business Continuity Framework and Policy.

In conjunction with the chamber departments, DPS also organised another Continuity of Parliament exercise in December 2011 (following the first such exercise in 2010). The exercise concentrated on issues around transferring activities to alternative sites and involved representatives from Defence, the Australian Federal Police and a number of other agencies.

The results of this exercise are being used to inform the next revision of the Continuity of Parliament plan.


Fraud control certification

Text version of Fraud control certification