Corporate plan and work plans
The department's new corporate plan, which sets out the strategic direction for delivering services to senators, took effect from 1 July 2007.
Work plans for 2007–08 detailed the work priorities and expected performance results for each output group. Ongoing work reports to the Clerk showed high levels of achievement against the work plans.
Fraud control plan and business risk assessment
The department has a robust framework for the active management of risk in the department. This framework is revised regularly and is available to all staff via the department's intranet.
Following a comprehensive business risk assessment process, the department's risk management plan was finalised in August 2007. The risk rating profile for this plan has formed the basis for both the strategic internal audit plan and the fraud control plan. Risk mitigation strategies, and ensuing assessment of existing risk controls, are regularly considered by executive management and reported to the department's Audit and Evaluation Committee.
In April 2008, the department engaged consultants WalterTurnbull to conduct a fraud risk assessment and prepare a revised fraud control plan. Those documents, endorsed by the Audit and Evaluation Committee in June 2008, confirmed that the department has in place appropriate fraud prevention, detection, investigation and reporting mechanisms that comply with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines.
During 2007–08, the department received an independent risk management assessment conducted by Echelon Australia on behalf of Comcover, the Australian Government's insurance fund. The department was judged to have a robust risk management framework, with good links to its strategic decision-making infrastructure. However, the assessment encouraged the department to develop an overarching risk management policy, and to assist staff to apply risk management principles in their day-to-day decision making by raising their awareness of those principles. The recommended follow-up actions should be completed by June 2009.
In response to the Commonwealth's decision to introduce intellectual property principles for all agencies that are subject to the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997, the department developed a policy framework for the purposes of managing its intellectual property (IP) within the required time period. The department's policy provides for further action in educating staff about IP and improving its IP register, both of which will become a focus of efforts over the next 12 to 18 months.