External scrutiny

The Senate Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee and the Senate Standing Committee on Appropriations, Staffing and Security provide means by which senators and others may monitor the department’s performance. Matters relating to the structure and functions of the parliamentary departments may also be examined by the Appropriations, Staffing and Security Committee.

Estimates hearings are an important accountability mechanism in which senators may test advice provided by departmental officers and evaluate the department’s performance. The Clerk and officers of the department appeared before the Senate Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee on 22 October 2018 and 8 April 2019. Matters considered included committee workload and resourcing, office support to senators, and arrangements for security at Parliament House. The department also provided responses to five estimates questions on notice. These are published on the committee’s web pages.

The department’s activities were also scrutinised by both an internal audit service provider and the Australian National Audit Office, although that office did not conduct any performance audits covering the department’s activities during the reporting period.

The department was not subject to any judicial or administrative tribunal decisions which had, or may have, a significant impact on the department’s operations.

While not subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982, the department’s policy is to comply with the intent of the Act in relation to its administrative records to the extent practicable, having regard to the legal issues which may arise in the absence of the protections afforded by the Act. In this reporting period the department did not receive any formal requests for information in relation to its administrative records.