Corporate governance

Corporate governance mechanisms

The department’s operations are governed by the Parliamentary Service Act 1999 and the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (FMA Act) and are subject to provisions of the Workplace Relations Act 1996 and other legislation.

At the strategic level, the Program Managers’ Group and the Audit and Evaluation Committee, under the supervision of the Clerk’s Office, are responsible for implementing and monitoring corporate governance principles. An advisory group, the Senate Management Advisory Group (SMAG), assists the Program Managers’ Group.

The Workplace Consultative Committee is the principal forum for formal consultations with staff and union representatives on workplace relations matters.

The role and membership of each group are described in Figure 19.

Figure 19 Management and advisory groups
Program Managers’ Group Role
Coordinating corporate governance matters, including:
  • workplace relations
  • terms and conditions of employment
  • performance management
  • human resource management policies
  • staff training and development
  • financial planning
  • departmental service quality
The department’s three Clerks Assistant and the Usher of the Black Rod
The Usher of the Black Rod
Audit and Evaluation Committee Role
Ensuring that departmental operations and expenditures meet external audit standards in relation to best practice financial management and reporting, fraud control and business risk monitoring
Developing and supervising the annual internal audit program
Program managers, the Chief Finance Officer (as an observer) and an independent membe
Includes representatives from the Australian National Audit Office and from KPMG (internal auditor) as observers
The Deputy Clerk
Senate Management Advisory Group Role
Formulating and providing advice to program managers on departmental and managerial issues
All Senate Parliamentary Executive Level 2 staff
Chosen annually by the group
Workplace Consultative Committee Role
Principal forum for formal consultations with staff and union representatives on workplace relations matters, including negotiation of workplace agreements
The Usher of the Black Rod, the Clerk Assistant (Table) and up to 10 elected staff representatives and union representatives
The Usher of the Black Rod

Program Managers’ Group

The Program Managers’ Group examined a range of corporate governance and other departmental management matters in 2006–07, including:

  • business continuity
  • implementation of provisions of the Senate Employee Collective Agreement 2006–2010
  • survey of senators
  • revision of the corporate plan
  • staff training and development
  • budgetary matters
  • performance management.

Audit and Evaluation Committee

The primary objectives of the Audit and Evaluation Committee are to oversee:

  • audits (both internal and external)
  • the department’s controls (administrative, operating and accounting)
  • risk management (planning and implementation).

The committee met on four occasions and considered, among other things, the following matters, which were reviewed by the department’s internal audit service provider, KPMG:

  • the human resource management information system post?implementation
  • the Performance Communication Scheme
  • FMA Act compliance (delegations and bank accounts)
  • printing
  • information technology.

Risk management, fraud control and the FMA certificate of compliance are standing items on the committee’s agenda.

The committee provides an annual report of its activities to the Clerk, who provides the report to the President and the Senate Appropriations and Staffing Committee.

Senate Management Advisory Group

In 2006–07, SMAG met on 10 occasions to discuss departmental proposals, policy initiatives and changes, and to advise the Program Managers’ Group on leadership and managerial matters.

SMAG provided advice and recommendations to the Program Managers’ Group on:

  • a proposal to implement changes agreed to in the employee collective agreement, including a template for monitoring implementation of changes over the life of the agreement
  • a process for implementing annual workforce planning practices
  • the introduction of project work as a method of developing staff and improving productivity
  • training modules to enhance the skills and knowledge of supervisors
  • improvements to the department’s Performance Communication Scheme
  • the effectiveness of induction and orientation processes for new staff and improvements in those processes
  • improved coordination of staff training and development across the department.

Workplace Consultative Committee

During 2006–07, the committee met on four occasions to consult on policies and issues that affect staff in the workplace and to monitor implementation of the Senate Employee Collective Agreement 2006–2010, which came into effect in July 2006.

The committee provided advice and recommendations on:

  • a proposal to survey staff on performance management arrangements
  • the results of the performance management survey of staff
  • revisions to the guidelines on managing underperformance
  • revisions to the Performance Communication Scheme guidelines
  • reports on feedback from staff exiting the department
  • an increase in the meal allowance rate
  • the department’s policy on salary sacrifice.