2014-15 Annual Report - Part 4 Management and Accountability

PDF iconARPANSA - Annual Report of the Chief Executive Officer - 2014-15 - Part 4: Management and accountability

Part 4: Management and Accountability

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Corporate governance

ARPANSA’s governance framework provides the structure for informed decision-making, efficient and effective program management, risk management and accountability.

Strategic advisory bodies

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998 (ARPANS Act) establishes the Radiation Health and Safety Advisory Council, the Radiation Health Committee, and the Nuclear Safety Committee, to advise the CEO of ARPANSA.

Members of the Council and Committees are appointed under the ARPANS Act. The Act provides for the appointment of a Chair for the Council and each Committee. Appointments to the Council are made by the Assistant Minister for Health while members of the Committees are appointed by the CEO.

The 2014-15 activities of our strategic advisory bodies are reported in Appendix 8 of this Report.

Radiation Health and Safety Advisory Council

The Council advises the CEO on emerging issues and matters of major public concern relating to radiation protection and nuclear safety.

Radiation Health Committee

The Radiation Health Committee advises the CEO and the Council on matters relating to radiation protection, including formulating draft national policies, codes and standards for the promotion of uniform national standards of radiation protection for consideration by the Commonwealth, states and territories.

Nuclear Safety Committee

The Nuclear Safety Committee advises the CEO and the Council on matters relating to nuclear safety and the safety of controlled facilities, including developing and assessing the effectiveness of standards, codes, practices and procedures.

Strategic Management Committee

The Strategic Management Committee meets six times per year and is ARPANSA’s primary decision-making forum.

It comprises the CEO (Chair), Branch and Office Heads, and one or more external members appointed by the CEO. If not a Branch or Office Head, the following are also members: Chief Financial Officer, and Manager, People and Culture.

For the period 2014-15, the external Strategic Management Committee members were Ms Megan Morris and Mr Michael Perry (Chair, Audit and Risk Committee).

The Committee is responsible for making decisions on Departmental policy and strategic issues.

In 2014-15, the Committee considered:

  • high impact immediate and emerging issues
  • key risks and mitigation strategies
  • people management issues
  • expenditure proposals involving major investment
  • business planning and internal resource allocation
  • Agency structure and function
  • Agency capability and positioning for the future, and
  • recommendations from other governance and decision-making committees in the Agency.

Performance planning

During 2014-15, ARPANSA developed a new Corporate Plan, which covers the periods of 2015-16 to 2018-19, as required under paragraph 35(1)(b) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act). The plan sets the direction for ARPANSA over the next four years and informs business planning and individuals’ performance and development plans.

The 2014-2017 Corporate Plan aligns with the strategic directions outlined in the Portfolio Budget Statements and with the values and performance frameworks set out by the Australian Public Service Commission (as outlined in Figure 4).

Figure 4: ARPANSA Corporate frameworks
(click for larger view)

Diagram - ARPANSA Corporate Frameworks

Audit and Risk Committee

The Audit and Risk Committee comprises an independent chair, two external and one internal ARPANSA member. Representatives from the Australian National Audit Office also attended Committee meetings. The Agency’s internal auditor, RSM Bird Cameron (who also serves as the secretariat for the Committee), the Chief Financial Officer, and other senior managers as required attend meetings to report on particular matters. The CEO is an observer to the Committee.

The Committee met four times during 2014-15 and provided independent assurance and advice to the CEO on the Agency’s risk, control and compliance framework and its external accountability responsibilities. Additionally, the Committee reviewed the Agency’s financial statements and advised the CEO on their signing.

The Committee regularly reviewed the coverage of audits throughout the Agency against the Internal Audit Work Plan and provided input and feedback on the financial statements and performance audit coverage afforded by the Australian National Audit Office.

Internal audit arrangements

Primary responsibility for internal audit arrangements within the Agency rests with the Office of the CEO under the broad direction of the Agency’s Audit and Risk Committee.

Audit and fraud control

In September 2015, the CEO provided an annual report on compliance with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability framework to the Minister for Finance as well as the portfolio Minister and ARPANSA’s responsible Minister.

ARPANSA has a robust internal governance and control framework to establish and maintain appropriate systems of risk oversight and management and an appropriate system of internal controls. The Agency undertakes self-assessment for annual compliance sign-off and has developed a risked based compliance assessment questionnaire to guide management in their review.

The annual compliance self-assessment by management and internal audit review of the effectiveness of internal control mechanisms provide the assurances required to support the certification.

In 2014-15, RSM Bird Cameron conducted audits and reviews based on the Audit Work Plan approved by the Audit and Risk Committee.

Five internal audits were conducted during the year covering the following topics:

  • review of compliance with the Commonwealth financial framework
  • information and communication technology controls
  • fraud management
  • risk management and business planning
  • commercial services.

Fraud minimisation strategies

During 2014-15, the Agency continued to train staff in fraud awareness and began a rolling program to assess fraud risks embedded in ARPANSA’s overarching risk management system. Treatment strategies are now developed and monitored as part of that process rather than as a stand-alone activity. Results of the fraud risk assessment process are used to inform the development of the internal audit schedule.
No fraud incidents were identified during 2014-15.

Risk management

ARPANSA’s vision is for an Australian environment where radiation safety is appropriately considered in societal decision-making. It is conducted in a uniform and effective way, is current with international best practice and is supported by fostering a strong and positive risk culture.

ARPANSA is focused on reducing to reasonably practicable levels the risks originating from areas including staff safety, fiscal management, reputational and nuclear and radiation safety regulatory objectives.
The Agency integrates its risk management practice with broader management processes and improvements, for the purpose of achieving better outcomes within the Portfolio.

In line with AS/NZS ISO: 31000:2009 Risk Management – Principles and Guidelines, ARPANSA has a comprehensive Risk Management Framework that aligns responsibility and accountability for risk across the Agency. The Framework complies with the Department of Finance’s Commonwealth Risk Management Policy and enables effective identification and management of risks that could impact on the Agency achieving its outcomes or otherwise cause it harm.

Business continuity

The ARPANSA Business Continuity Plan was tested as required during 2014-15. This included functional testing of information and communication technology (ICT) services and the finalisation of the ICT Disaster Recovery Plan. It is planned to further revise the Business Continuity Plan later in 2015 to incorporate the information provided by this testing.

Work Health and Safety Committee

The Work Health and Safety Committee (WHS) is chaired by the CEO, assisted by the ARPANSA WHS Coordinator, and comprises four management and five staff health and safety representatives. The WHS Committee meets every two months and reviews and reports to the Strategic Management Committee on WHS issues, the effectiveness of ARPANSA’s performance in these areas and compliance with relevant legislation in accordance with the ARPANSA WHS Management System. During this financial year the WHS Committee conducted a number of WHS work area inspections. Comcare performed a WHS Management System Audit in March 2015 resulting in nineteen non-conformances, and two observations. A corrective action plan was instituted to address the non-conformances and observations resulting in fifty eight corrective actions planned for completion over the next year, nineteen of which are already completed.

Further information in respect of WHS arrangements within the Agency is at Appendix 2.

Senior officers at each ARPANSA site are authorised to perform the functions of a Site Manager. As the CEO can never be present in all sites at the same time it was necessary to ensure that at all times each site has an officer who is authorised by the CEO to take necessary action to comply with ARPANSA’s duties under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

The Radiation Safety Committee, chaired by the Radiation Safety Officer and comprised of Branch Radiation Safety Advisors and other relevant staff, reports to the WHS Committee on matters relating to workplace radiation protection and safety.

Staff Consultative Forum

ARPANSA’s enterprise agreement continues to provide for a Staff Consultative Forum as the key employee consultative body. The Staff Consultative Forum comprises the CEO, employees elected by staff and officials from unions that are party to ARPANSA’s enterprise agreement.

During the year, the Staff Consultative Forum met on seven occasions to discuss a range of issues relating to management of the organisation.

Management Systems Implementation Committee

The Management Systems Implementation Committee was formed in May 2015 and replaces the previous Quality Management Committee. The Committee met once in 2014-15.

The Committee assists the CEO in ensuring that appropriate management systems for governance of ARPANSA are established, implemented and maintained. Examples of management systems are (but not limited to):

  • ISO 17025 – General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories
  • ISO 9001 – Quality Management Systems Requirements
  • OHSAS18001 – Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems Requirements
  • ISO 14001 – Environmental Management Systems - Requirements
  • ISO 27001 – Information Security Management Systems - Requirements.

As a non-corporate entity under the PGPA Act, ARPANSA is required to follow the requirements of the Protective Security Policy Framework (PSPF). As part of the mandatory requirements of the PSPF, ARPANSA must report its compliance with the 36 mandatory requirements to the Portfolio Minister on an annual basis. The compliance report was submitted early in 2015-16.

Emergency Preparedness and Response Steering Committee

During 2014-15, the Emergency Preparedness and Response Steering Committee was established to provide guidance to the Strategic Management Committee on issues related to Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR). The Committee will oversee the development and review of the ARPANSA’s EPR Strategy and the EPR Manual that details the framework, plans and arrangements for managing EPR functions across the Agency; and monitor the implementation of these plans and arrangements and the resources required to support the EPR System in order to ensure the Agency can achieve its Strategy 2 program objectives to promote radiological and nuclear safety and security and emergency preparedness.

The Committee met for the first time in April 2015 and is comprised of the Branch and Office Heads from Radiation Health Services Branch, Regulatory Services Branch, the Office of the CEO, and key staff from the Monitoring and Emergency Response, Assessment and Advice, and Government and External Relations sections.

International Coordination Group

The International Coordination Group (ICG) is chaired by a representative from the Executive Group supported by the Office of the CEO. The Group meets at least twice per year, in alignment with the corporate planning process.

The role of the ICG is to:

  • provide guidance and oversight of ARPANSA’s International Engagement Strategy and International Engagement Plan
  • review and consider International Travel Reports to reflect on the quality of reports and the benefits to the agency from the international travel that is undertaken and make any recommendations to the Executive Group/Strategic Management Committee
  • monitor and encourage the development of reporting cables following international engagement activities, including international travel
  • maintain oversight of the activities of the development and publication of documents produced by committees represented by the International Standards Group.

Executive Group

The Executive Group meets fortnightly and is ARPANSA’s operational decision-making forum.

It comprises the CEO (Chair), Branch and Office Heads, and if not a Branch or Office Head, the Chief Financial Officer, and Manager, People and Culture.

It is responsible for information sharing to monitor the key tactics and activities used to implement Agency strategy, and discussion forum for any challenges, risks, and opportunities to ongoing business and the associated operational actions required to maintain business continuity.

External scrutiny

Judicial decisions and decisions of administrative appeals tribunals

During 2014-15, the Agency was not involved in any matters before the Full Federal Court, the Federal Court or the Administrative Appeals Tribunal; the agency was involved in one matter before the Federal Circuit Court.

Decisions of the Australian Information Commissioner

The Australian Information Commissioner was not required to make any decision on applications for review of Freedom of Information decisions by the Agency.

Freedom of information

The Information Publication Scheme is a requirement under Part II of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) that requires all agencies subject to the FOI Act to publish information about what is available to the public. The Agency’s plan showing the information published in accordance with this requirement can be found at www.arpansa.gov.au/ips.cfm

Documents that the Agency has released in response to FOI requests can be found on the Disclosure Log at www.arpansa.gov.au/AboutUs/disclosure.cfm.

Australian National Audit Office Access Clauses

The Agency did not let any contract during the reporting period of $100 000 or more (inclusive of GST) that did not provide for the Auditor-General to have access to the contractor’s premises.

Mandatory exempt contracts

The Agency did not enter into any contract in excess of $10 000 (inclusive of GST) or a standing offer that was exempted by the CEO from being published in AusTender on the basis that it would disclose exempt matters under the FOI Act.

ARPANSA Service Charter

This Service Charter outlines what the Agency is and what it does, the standards of service expected from ARPANSA and how our stakeholders can help us to improve our service. ARPANSA’s vision is to be the leading organisation in Australia for scientific excellence and practical expertise in radiation protection and nuclear safety and to be a highly effective and efficient regulator of Commonwealth Government entities. The current Service Charter was established in 2013-14 and will be reviewed every three years.

ARPANSA’s customers are in both the public and private sectors (overseas as well as within Australia) and include:

  • people who use radiation in medicine, research and industry (including mining)
  • Commonwealth, state and local government agencies
  • environment protection agencies
  • international organisations
  • academia and research organisation
  • general public, interest groups and the media.

Services provided by ARPANSA include but are not limited to:

  • traceable calibrations of ionising and non- ionising radiation monitoring equipment
  • the Personal Radiation Monitoring Service
  • the assessment of Ultraviolet Protection Factors (UPF)
  • advice, measurements, consultancy, and training on a range of radiation protection issues
  • issuing Customs (Prohibited Imports) permits for the importation of radioactive materials into Australia.

The charter provides a complaints resolution mechanism and is available in full on the ARPANSA website at www.arpansa.gov.au/AboutUS/corporate/servicecharter.cfm. An Agency Formal Complaints Management Policy and Process was developed in 2014-15, which in addition to the establishment of associated customer service performance monitoring, will enable future comprehensive reporting of performance against the charter.
As part of the quality management system of ARPANSA and services accredited by the National Association of Testing Authorities, all corrective actions arising from client complaints are recorded. In accordance with the quality system, these actions are reported to the ARPANSA Quality Manager and the relevant Branch Head.

Two complaints were received during 2014-15 related to the following issues:

  • Annual licence charges – an explanation was provided to explain the need for the licence and the reason for an increase of fee which has been proposed but is not yet in effect.
  • Postponement of licence holder forum - an explanation was provided which was accepted by the complainant.

Reports by the Auditor-General, a Parliamentary Committee or the Commonwealth Ombudsman

Anyone with concerns about the Agency’s actions or decision-making is entitled to make a complaint with the Commonwealth Ombudsman, to determine whether the Agency was wrong, unjust, discriminatory or unfair. Further information on the role of the Commonwealth Ombudsman can be obtained from the website www.ombudsman.gov.au.

During 2014-15, there were no complaints made to the Commonwealth Ombudsman against the Agency. There are no earlier complaints which remain open. There were no reports by the Auditor-General or a Parliamentary Committee during 2014-15.

Management of human resources

Effectiveness in managing and developing human resources to achieve agency objectives

During 2014-15, ARPANSA continued its strategic focus on optimising the performance, development and placement of its people through building clear linkages between Agency priorities and workforce needs and identified organisational capability.

The strategy is aligned to ARPANSA’s Corporate Plan 2014–2017 and focuses on raising human capital awareness across the Agency to improve workforce planning, talent management, leadership development and innovation.

Organisational capability

ARPANSA’s organisational capability is built around the skills and capacities of its staff and involves the Agency’s systems, structures, processes, governance and culture; and how resources are utilised to address evolving priorities by building capacity to ensure ARPANSA can adapt to its changing environment.

Workforce planning, staff retention and turnover

During the reporting period, ARPANSA continued to build on and consolidate its workforce planning model which now has a heightened focus throughout the Agency. Branches and Offices are aware of the importance of the role they play in workforce planning, particularly in a specialised scientific and technical agency, and aspects such as succession planning are now being addressed as a routine aspect of doing business.

Given the size of the agency, it has adopted a benchmarking approach to what other small agencies are doing in relation to workforce planning and adapting those tools and practices to the ARPANSA environment. During the reporting period, initial consideration of the potential mechanisms for better linking performance management with succession planning was also undertaken and will be built on during 2015-16.

The ongoing employee retention rate remains high, with 96% of ongoing employees remaining in the Agency for the past twelve months. The staff turnover rate is 8.8%, a decrease from 14.9% per cent in 2013-14. More detailed information on staff retention and turnover is set out in Table 3.

Table 3: Staff retention and turnover 2014-15
  Female Male VARIATION
Ongoing Non-Ongoing Ongoing Non-Ongoing
Classification  June 2014 June 2015 June 2014 June 2015 June 2014 June 2015 June 2014 June 2015 June 2014 June 2015
SES                    
  Commencement - - - - - +1 - - - +1
  Separation - - - - -1 - - - -1 -
Executive Level 1-2                    
  Commencement - - +1 - - +1 +2 +1 +3 +2
  Separation -4 -2 - - -7 -1 -3 -2 -14 -5
APS Level 1–6                    
  Commencement - +3 - +5 +3 +1 - +1 +3 +10
  Separation -4 -3 -1 - -3 -4 - -2 -8 -9

 

Staffing

As at 30 June 2015, the Agency employed 131 staff. This figure compares with 132 as at 30 June 2014, and includes staff on leave and secondment, and inoperative staff.

Statistics on staffing are set out in Tables 4 to 7.

Table 4: Staff employed under the PS Act as at 30 June 2014 and 2015
showing full or part time status
  Full-time
Ongoing
Full-time
Non-Ongoing
Part-time
Ongoing
Part-time
Non-Ongoing
TOTAL
  June 2014 June 2015 June 2014 June 2015 June 2014 June 2015 June 2014 June 2015 June 2014 June 2015
Female 41 40 1 6 10 9 2 2 54 57
Male 71 70 2 3 1 1 4 - 78 74
TOTAL 112 110 3 9 11 10 6 2 132 131

 

 

 

Table 5: Distribution of staff by Branch or Office
  Female Male  
Ongoing Non-Ongoing Ongoing Non-Ongoing TOTAL
Branch June 2014 June 2015 June 2014 June 2015 June 2014 June 2015 June 2014 June 2015 June 2014 June 2015
Office of the CEO 6 5 - 1 5 5 - - 11 11
Legal Office - - - - 1 1 - - 1 1
Radiation Health Services 18 13 1 2 26 25 - - 45 40
Medical Radiation Services 3 3 2 3 10 11 5 2 20 19
Regulatory Services 6 7 - - 17 17 1 1 24 25
Corporate Office 18 21 - 2 13 12 - - 31 35
TOTAL 51 49 3 8 72 71 6 3 132 131

 

Table 6: Full-time equivalent (FTE) staff by gender and classification
Classification Female Male TOTAL
June
2014
June
2015
June
2014
June
2015
June
2014
June
2015
Graduate -   - - - -
APS Level 1 - - - - - -
APS Level 2 7.6 6.6 - - 7.6 6.6
APS Level 3 9.4 12.2 1 1 10.4 13.2
APS Level 4 4.8 5.6 1 1 5.8 6.6
APS Level 5 6.69 7.6 10 7 16.69 14.6
APS Level 6 7.4 9.6 18.2 16 25.6 25.6
Executive Level 1 11.2 10 24.2 28.8 35.4 38.8
Executive Level 2 2 2 19.2 18 21.2 20
SES Band 1 - - 2 3 2 3
TOTAL 49.09 53.6 76.6 74.8 124.69 128.4

 

Table 7: Staff by locatoin, gender and classification
( PDF iconARPANSA Annual Report 2014-15 - Table 7: Staff by location, gender and classification )

 

Table 8:  Staff by location, generder and classification, June 2013 and June 2014

Workplace change

Two major reviews were undertaken within the Agency during the reporting period.

 

Review of Corporate Office

 

Having regard to the increase in direct reporting lines to the Head of the Corporate Office that had occurred since May 2011, ARPANSA commissioned an independent review to evaluate the effectiveness of the Corporate Office structure to ensure that it had the capability, capacity and agility to continue to support the achievement of the agency’s business outcomes.

The scope of the review was confined to the number of direct reporting lines to the Head of the Corporate Office and their respective roles and responsibilities. The outcome of the review resulted in the rationalisation and consolidation of reporting lines and structure within the Corporate Office.

Review of the location of the CEO and the structure and functions of the Office of the CEO

The above reviews were undertaken in two phases; the first being the review of the location of the CEO, which would in turn, inform the second component of the review dealing with the structure and functions of the Office of the CEO (OCEO).

  1. The location of the CEO
    Proposed actions flowing from the review findings on the location of the CEO have been deferred pending resolution of a number of technical considerations. It is anticipated that these issues will be resolved in the 2015-16 reporting period.
     
  2. Structure and functions of the OCEO
    Given that the OCEO had been subject to a number of structural and functional changes since its inception in 2011, it was considered appropriate to conduct a review of the OCEO to ensure it remained relevant. The review was also charged with determining whether the OCEO was appropriately resourced and that the structure remained optimal in supporting the Agency to achieve its statutory objectives. The subsequent report recommended, among other considerations, that the Agency’s governance responsibilities were better placed within the Corporate Office, and that there were opportunities for fine tuning the internal functions within the OCEO. The report also noted that there was potential for some positions to be relocated or reclassified or were no longer required.

    In considering the review findings and recommendations, the Agency’s Strategic Management Committee (SMC) endorsed the majority of the findings while it was agreed to modify others. The SMC is currently oversighting implementation of the revised structure which best meets the needs of the Agency and its stakeholders.

Managing performance

ARPANSA is committed to effectively managing staff performance. At the individual level, staff and their supervisors engage in a formal bi-annual individual performance development process.

In managing the performance of staff at the operational level, the Agency continues to focus on developing staff and manager capability through targeted learning and development programs.

 

Workforce inclusivity

 

The Agency applies the principles of workplace diversity, including valuing and using individual differences so that collective understanding and creativity is enhanced, and respecting individual differences. ARPANSA has a Workplace Diversity Program and a Workplace Diversity Action Plan which among other things, aims to ensure that people are treated fairly, there is a balance between work and personal responsibilities and there is no tolerance of bullying and/or harassment.

During the reporting period ARPANSA had no employees who identified as being an indigenous employee.

Employment arrangements in the Agency

ARPANSA’s practices for managing employment arrangements with its staff are consistent with the Fair Work Act 2009 and the requirements of the Australian Government Public Sector Workplace Bargaining Policy (the ‘Policy’). The types and main features of employment arrangements either in operation or available to ARPANSA staff during 2014-15 are outlined below.

Enterprise agreement

Terms and conditions for employment of non-Senior Executive Service (SES) staff are provided through the Agency’s Enterprise Agreement which began on 15 December 2011 and nominally expired on 30 June 2014. Negotiations for a new Enterprise Agreement commenced following the release of a Notice of Employee Representational Rights in June 2014.

Since that time, ARPANSA has been bargaining in good faith and trying, genuinely, to reach agreement with the parties to the Agreement taking into account the Policy. Despite multiple meetings, the parties had not been able to reach agreement by 30 June 2015. Nonetheless, ARPANSA remains committed to continuing to bargain and reaching an appropriate agreement.

The Enterprise Agreement contains an individual flexibility arrangements clause, which enables the Agency to provide additional or varied terms and conditions to non-SES staff where necessary and appropriate. The salary ranges for ARPANSA’s classification levels are set out in Table 8.

Table 8: Salary ranges as at 30 June 2015
APS Classification Salary Range ($)
ARPANSA Graduate 58 524 – 76 221
APS Level 1 43 901 – 49 901
APS Level 2 51 398 – 56 424
APS Level 3 58 524 – 65 484
APS Level 4 67 449 – 70 481
APS Level 5 72 596 – 76 221
APS Level 6 78 507 – 89 800
Executive Level 1 96 987 – 111 593
Executive Level 2 lower 118 512 – 134 581
Executive Level 2 upper 139 963 – 150 329

 

Common law contracts

 

The Agency’s SES staff are provided with comprehensive terms and conditions of employment made under Common Law Contracts. These contracts are negotiated following discussions between the SES staff member and the CEO.

Performance pay

There is no provision for the payment of performance pay in ARPANSA’s Enterprise Agreement or Common Law Contracts.

Learning and development

A number of corporate compliance training modules were identified as a priority for ARPANSA learning and development program during 2014-15.

Issues addressed through targeted and mandatory corporate compliance programs included:

  • digital records management
  • Responsibilities under the PGPA Act
  • fraud awareness
  • security awareness.

In addition, training was provided to staff with corporate responsibilities including First Aid, WHS and Workplace Harassment Contact Officers.

During 2014-15, the Agency utilised e-Learning packages rather than face to face training room delivery where it was more cost-effective and appropriate to the subject matter.

ARPANSA also undertook a range of general learning and development activities during 2014-15 including:

  • report writing
  • scientific writing and publication
  • executive leadership dimensions
  • effective workplace relations
  • internal audit quality assurance.
Employee census

The annual Australian Public Service (APS) State of the Service Employee Census continues to provide valuable insight into staff views. During the reporting period, 85.6% per cent of ARPANSA staff participated in the 2015 census, which is an excellent result considering the APS wide response rate was 66%. The results of the census are currently being evaluated and will be a valuable source of information for ARPANSA’s strategic decision-making and future planning. The feedback will also guide future initiatives aimed at maintaining ARPANSA’s reputation for professional and technical excellence.

Ethical standards

The Agency provided education on the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 for staff, with information about the changes through all staff messages. Training was also provided by the Australian Government Solicitors’ Office to Authorised Officers and Investigators, to highlight their roles and responsibilities when dealing with a public interest disclosure.

Disability reporting

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. Since 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 progress reports will be made available on the Department of Social Services’ website at available at www.dss.gov.au.

Financial management

During 2014-15, the Agency’s financial accountability responsibilities were set out in the PGPA Act. These responsibilities form the basis of transparent process for efficient, effective, economical and ethical use of Commonwealth resources and related policies. The Agency’s alignment with the financial control framework supports efficient processing and recording of financial transactions, including the production of audited financial statements.

The complete set of financial statements for the Agency is provided in Appendix 11: Financial Statements.

The Agency has consistently maintained effective financial processes and internal control mechanisms as well as ongoing compliance monitoring and reporting activities to ensure compliance with the PGPA Act requirements in the last financial year.

The Agency’s corporate governance arrangements include the Audit and Risk Committee to provide advice and make recommendations to the Strategic Management Committee on financial management, risk management and strategic security management policies, initiatives and reviews. Further detail on the Agency’s Committee structure is provided under the Corporate Governance heading in this report.

Assets management

The Agency’s asset management strategy emphasises whole-of-life asset management. ARPANSA manages non-financial assets totalling $32.8 million. The major categories include land, buildings, infrastructure, plant and equipment. ARPANSA’s capital investment plan is reviewed annually to ensure ongoing building maintenance and renovation; equipment purchases and information technology infrastructure upgrades meet future research and operational requirements.

The annual asset review and stocktake seek to minimise holdings of surplus and underperforming assets.

In 2014-15, the Agency obtained an independent desktop revaluation of Property, Plant and Equipment in accordance with the Australian Accounting Standards (AASB 13 Fair Value Measurement, AASB 116 Property, Plant and Equipment and AASB 1031 Materiality), to ensure assets are carried at their fair value. Discussion relating to the assets administered by the Agency in 2014-15 can be found in Appendix 11: Financial Statements.

Purchasing

The Agency complies with the purchasing policies in the Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPRs). The Agency’s procurement framework continues to align with the Commonwealth’s financial framework by encouraging competition, value for money, transparency and accountability as well as the efficient, effective and ethical use of Commonwealth resources.

In 2014-15, with exception of those instances reported in the Certificate of Compliance, ARPANSA complied with the Government’s purchasing policies as stated in the Commonwealth Procurement Rules. ARPANSA’s Procurement activities for the year, were consistent with the ‘value-for-money’ rule underpinning the CPRs.

Consultants

During 2014-15, 14 new consultancy contracts were entered into involving total actual expenditure of $327,107. In addition, three ongoing consultancy contracts were active during the 2014-15 year, involving total actual expenditure of $83 427.

The Agency policy on selection and engaging consultants is in accordance with the CPRs, based on the core rule of value for money and underpinned by:

  • encouraging competitive and non-discriminatory processes
  • using Commonwealth resources in an efficient, effective, economical and ethical manner that is not inconsistent with the policies of the Commonwealth
  • making decisions in an accountable and transparent manner
  • considering the risks
  • conducting a process commensurate with the scale and scope of the procurement.

ARPANSA engaged consultants where there was a requirement for specialist expertise that was not available within the Agency, or where an independent assessment was required. The selection process included selection from a panel or direct engagement of a recognised or pre-eminent expert.

The annual report contains information about actual expenditure on contracts for consultancies. Information on the value of contracts and consultancies is available on the AusTender website www.tenders.gov.au.

Grants

ARPANSA did not administer any grants in this reporting period.

Procurement initiatives to support small business

ARPANSA supports small business participation in the Commonwealth Government procurement market. Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) and Small Enterprise (SE) participation statistics are available on the Department of Finance website: www.finance.gov.au/procurement/statistics-on-commonwealth-purchasing-contracts/

ARPANSA’s engagement with SMEs is predicated on communicating in clear, simple language and presenting information in an accessible format. Additionally, ARPANSA has adopted the use of the Commonwealth Contracting Suite for low risk procurements valued under $200 000 to reduce the burden on SMEs entering into contractual relations with the Commonwealth.