Climate Change Authority

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Management and Accountability

5.1 Corporate Governance

The Climate Change Authority is an independent statutory authority comprising a Chair and eight board members (four positions were vacant at 30 June). It was supported by a secretariat of 17 staff at 30 June.

The Authority was established as a body corporate to facilitate the independence of its activities. As with other Commonwealth bodies where a significant degree of independence is required, the Authority is subject to ministerial direction on general matters only, not on the conduct or content of its reviews.

The Authority's CEO is responsible for its day-to-day administration. The current acting CEO is supported by a General Manager and a Corporate Services Director who also serves as the Authority's Chief Financial Officer. This group comprises the Authority's executive management team.

The Authority is bound by the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and the Public Service Act 1999.

The Authority was required to present its first corporate plan within 12 months of its commencement; this was published in June 2013 for the period 2013-15. The Authority's second corporate plan covers the periods 2015-16 to 2018-19 and has been prepared in accordance with the requirements of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013. This plan, along with the governance, direction and compliance requirements of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and the Public Service Act 1999, provides the Authority with a strong corporate governance environment.

5.1.1 Risk Management

The Authority recognises that effective risk management is a key element in effective governance. In 2014-15, the Authority consolidated the foundation work on risk management that was undertaken in its first two years of operation. A major focus for 2014-15 was to ensure that risk management was maintained as an organisation-wide priority and to further embed Authority risk management practices.

In 2014-15, a new strategic risk management profile, policy and framework was reviewed by senior management and endorsed by the Authority's Audit Committee. The Chief Financial Officer is responsible for maintaining the Strategic Risk Profile. Individual risk action plans are maintained that identify the current risk profile, current controls and agreed management actions. The Strategic Risk Profile and risk action plans are updated and reported to the executive management team and Audit Committee on a regular basis.

The Authority's risk management framework complies with the requirements of the Commonwealth Risk Management Policy and the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.

5.1.2 Fraud Control

In 2014-15, the Authority approved a new Fraud Control Plan to cover the years 2015-17. The plan was developed to specifically comply with the requirements of the Commonwealth Fraud Control Policy and the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013. The Fraud Control Plan sets the standard and process for the management, control and reporting of actual fraud, suspected fraud and the risk of fraud. All suspected fraud matters are required to be reported to the CEO and Audit Committee.

As part of its ongoing fraud risk assessment activities, the Authority conducted a review of its fraud risks and a formal risk assessment. This included identifying control measures and proposed treatments. The plan requires all new Authority staff to participate in fraud awareness training as part of induction processes.

There were no incidents of suspected or actual fraud in 2014-15.

5.1.3 Assets And Asset Management

In 2014-15, the Authority managed its assets in accordance with the Accountable Authority Instructions and relevant accounting standards. All of the Authority's ‘start-up’ assets were procured by the then Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (DCCEE). On its establishment, these assets were transferred to the Authority and represented as an equity injection in the 2012-13 annual financial statements. The assets transferred included computer desktops, office equipment, furniture and fittings. The Authority made a minor asset purchase of some software and minor disposals of IT equipment in 2014-15.

The Authority undertook a full stocktake of its assets in June 2015 - see the Authority's 2014-15 annual financial statements at Appendix A for these results.

5.1.4 Shared Services

As a small agency, the Authority maintains agreements for the provision of corporate shared services.

As a result of machinery-of-government changes in 2013-14, the Authority updated its arrangements for the provision of these services and currently maintains three separate Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs). In 2014-15, it was decided that because the Authority was slated for abolition and still had an uncertain future it was a more efficient use of Commonwealth resources to maintain current systems than incur potentially significant costs to acquire more streamlined shared services arrangements. This decision will be revisited in 2015-16, given the Authority has received funding until December 2016 and nothing that, in line with government policy, Commonwealth agencies are currently reviewing their arrangements with a view to finding increased efficiencies.

The Authority has a MoU with the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science for the provision of finance, payroll and human resources systems and support. This arrangement was put in place when the Authority was part of the Industry portfolio and has since been maintained, giving the Authority continuity for its core finance and payroll systems. The Authority has a second MoU with the Department of the Environment for corporate services support, including legal, freedom of information, media and travel services. The Authority has a third corporate service MoU with the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet for its information technology systems and support. Each of the MoUs is performed on a fee-for-service basis.

5.1.5 Audit Committee

The Authority's Audit Committee provides independent advice to the CEO on risk and fraud management and ensures the Authority has a strong compliance framework.

The Audit Committee met on three occasions during the year - 7 August 2014, 12 February 2015 and 1 June 2015.

Table 5.1: Audit Committee Membership

Audit Committee Meetings 2014-15

7 August 2014

12 February 2015

1 June 2015

Dr Helen Mignot (Chair)

Mr Chris Pattas (A/g Chair)

Mr Scott Hooper (Chair)

Mr John Blanch

Ms Lily Viertmann

Ms Lily Viertmann

Ms Vicki Middleton

Ms Vicki Middleton

Ms Vicki Middleton

Mr Chris Pattas

 

Mr Chris Pattas

In 2014-15, the major business of the committee included reviewing and/or approving the Authority's governance arrangements including:

  • the Authority's changing status between a corporate and non-corporate body due to amendments of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013
  • the Fraud Control Plan
  • the Strategic Risk Profile and assessment
  • budget processes
  • the Audit Plan
  • Accountable Authority Instructions
  • the Governance Compliance Checklist
  • the Certificate of Compliance
  • the Abolition Transition Plan.

5.1.6 External Scrutiny

During 2014-15:

  • no judicial or administrative tribunal decisions relating to the Authority were handed down
  • there were no reports by the Auditor-General on the operations of the Authority, other than the report on the annual financial statements contained at Appendix A
  • there were no reports on the operations of the Authority conducted by a Parliamentary Committee or the Commonwealth Ombudsman
  • the Authority appeared before the Senate Standing Committee on Environment and Communications for Senate Budget and Additional Estimates.

Ethical Standards

In managing and developing its people, the Authority is bound by the Public Service Act 1999 and the guidelines of the Australian Public Services Commission.

Values and behaviours are a key element of the Authority's second corporate plan, and the Authority's values and behaviours align to the Australian Public Service (APS) Values and Code of Conduct.

During 2014-15, the Authority adopted a range of measures to promote ethical standards and all employees were provided with a copy of the APS Values and Code of Conduct.

5.1.7 Freedom Of Information

Agencies subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) are required to publish information as part of the Information Publication Scheme (IPS). This requirement is in Part II of the FOI Act and has replaced the former requirement to publish a section 8 statement in an annual report.

In accordance with the IPS requirements, the Authority publishes on its website all mandatory information on activities under the FOI Act.

5.1.8 Ecologically Sustainable Development and Environmental Performance

Section 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1991 requires Commonwealth Government organisations to detail their environmental performance and contribution to ecologically sustainable development in their annual reports.

In 2014-15, the Authority implemented a range of measures contributing to ecologically sustainable measures including:

  • purchasing 100 per cent Green Power
  • providing downloadable publications on the Authority's website to reduce the need to print and distribute hard-copy material
  • purchasing paper with a minimum 50 per cent recycled content
  • applying sustainable practices in the office aimed at reducing energy and resource consumption including:
    • mandating default two-sided printing
    • ensuring equipment such as desktop computers, photocopiers, dishwashers and printers incorporate energy efficiency features
    • recycling paper, cardboard and printer cartridges.

5.2 Financial Overview

5.2.1 Financial Performance

The Authority met all of its financial obligations in 2014-15.

5.2.2 Resource Statement 2014-15

Table 5.2: Resource Statement 2014-15

 

Actual available appropriation 2014-152

Payments made 2014-15

Balance remaining

 

$'000

$'000

$'000

Ordinary annual services

     

Departmental appropriation 2012-131

931

   

Departmental appropriation 2013-141

2,470

   

Carry forward 2013-14

3,401

931

2,470

Departmental appropriation 2014-152

0

0

0

Own source revenue

3,564

3,564

0

Total ordinary annual services

3,564

3,564

0

TOTAL RESOURCING AND PAYMENTS

6,965

4,495

2,470

       

1 Appropriation Act (No. 1) 2012-13 and Appropriation Act (No. 1) 2013-14.

2 No direct appropriation funding was provided for the Authority in the 2014-15 Portfolio Budget Statements. Funding to support the functions of the Authority during the year ended 30 June 2015 was received from the Department of Environment.

5.2.3 Purchasing

In 2014-15, the Authority sourced all goods and services in accordance with the principles set out in the Commonwealth Procurement Rules 2014.

The Authority supports small-business participation in the Commonwealth Government procurement market. Small and medium enterprises and small enterprise participation statistics are available on the Department of Finance website. The Authority encourages greater participation by small and medium enterprises in its procurement activities by:

  • communicating in clear, simple language and presenting information in accessible formats
  • facilitating on-time payments by the use of electronic finance systems and the use of payment cards where appropriate.

The Authority's policy outlines the core principle underlining procurement as value for money, which is enhanced by:

  • encouraging competition by ensuring non-discrimination in procurement and competitive procurement processes
  • promoting the use of resources in an efficient, effective, economical and ethical manner
  • making decisions in an accountable and transparent manner.

All competitive tenders and contracts over $10,000 let by the Authority during 2014-15 were listed on AusTender.

5.2.4 Consultancies

The Authority engages consultants only if it considers that specific specialist expertise is required and the particular skillset is not available from within existing staffing resources, or if there is a need for independent research, review or assessment.

Any decision to engage a consultant is made in accordance with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and related regulations, including the Commonwealth Procurement Rules 2014, and with relevant internal policies.

During 2014-15, the Authority entered into one new consultancy contract but there was no actual expenditure incurred in this year. Annual reports contain information about actual expenditure on contracts for consultancies. Information on the value of contracts and consultancies is available on the AusTender website. The Authority did not enter into any contracts or standing offers that were exempt from being published on AusTender. All Authority contracts contain provisions that allow for the Auditor-General to have access to the contractor's premises if required.

5.2.5 Advertising And Market Research

Under section 311A of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, the Authority is required to report annually on payments made for the services of:

  • advertising agencies
  • market research organisations
  • polling organisations
  • direct mail organisations
  • media advertising organisations.

During 2014-15, the Authority made no payments that were over the reportable threshold for these services and conducted no advertising campaigns.

5.2.6 Grant Programs

The Authority did not administer any grant programs in 2014-15.

5.3 Management of Human Resources

At 30 June 2015, the Authority had 17 employees, of whom 12 were ongoing and five were non-ongoing. All Authority staff were located in Melbourne and 12 out of 17 employees were female.

The staffing profile reflects the Authority's required skills and capabilities. During 2014-15, the Authority utilised a range of employees temporarily transferred from other agencies, with specialist knowledge relevant to the review work programs. This assisted the Authority to manage its statutory obligations in an environment of uncertainty.

The Authority's staff numbers fell up until October 2014, at which time the government decided to extend the Authority for the life of the current Parliament. Staff turnover remained high in 2014-15, in part due to the continued ongoing uncertainty about the Authority's future.

The CEO, Ms Anthea Harris, and the Director Corporate Services and CFO, Mr Michael Everett, both resigned in April 2015. The CEO position was filled on an interim basis by Ms Shayleen Thompson from 3 April 2015 to 30 June 2015. Ms Thompson has subsequently been appointed as acting CEO until 30 June 2016. Mr Hamish Millikan acted as CFO from April to June 2015.

In 2014-15, the Authority had no non-ongoing or ongoing employees that identified themselves as Indigenous. The Authority has not had any employees that identify as Indigenous since its establishment in July 2012.

5.3.1 Staffing Statistics

The distribution of staff by classification and employment status is shown in Table 5.3. Authority staff remuneration bands are shown in Table 5.4.

Table 5.3: Climate Change Authority staff numbers by classification, gender and full-time or part-time status, 30 June 2015

Classification

Female

Male

Total

 

Full-time

Part-time

Full-time

Part-time

 

CEO

1

0

0

0

1

SES Band 1

1

0

0

0

1

Executive Level 2

2

1

1

0

4

Executive Level 1

2

1

2

0

5

APS 6

1

1

1

0

3

APS 5

2

0

1

0

3

APS 1-4

0

0

0

0

0

Table 5.4: Climate Change Authority salary structures, 30 June 2015

Classification

Salary Range

Executive Level 2

$113,950-150,343

Executive Level 1

$95,456-121,611

APS 6

$77,558-91,877

APS 5

$70,995-76,067

APS 4

$65,029-69,802

APS 3

$57,870-63,836

APS 2

$51,997-56,677

APS 1

$43,658-50,757

5.3.2 Remuneration For CEO and Senior Executive Service

The CEO is a principal executive office-holder, as defined in the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973. The position's remuneration was set by the then Minister for Climate Change within the salary determination set by the Remuneration Tribunal each year.

One Senior Executive Service officer was employed under the Public Service Act 1999, with the conditions of service set out under the then DCCEE SES Employment Conditions handbook. The CEO determines SES remuneration in accordance with remuneration guidelines promulgated by the then DCCEE. Further details on SES officer and CEO remuneration are at Note 11, Appendix A.

5.3.3 Remuneration for Authority Chair and Members

The remuneration of the Authority Chair and members is governed by section 25 of the Climate Change Authority Act 2011. Authority members' remuneration is determined by the Remuneration Tribunal on a yearly basis. Authority members receive an annual base fee plus meeting fees for attendance at official Authority meetings. The Authority met 13 times in 2014-15, while five meetings occurred out of session and did not give rise to sitting fees. Professor Ian Chubb is an ex officio member of the Authority and as such is not remunerated for his role.

Table 5.5: Remuneration of Climate Change Authority members, 30 June 2015

Member status

Base salary - annual

Meeting fees

Chair

$56,320

$1,076

Members

$28,160

$861

Table 5.6: Climate Change Authority member attendance sitting fees

Member

No. of meetings attended

Mr Bernie Fraser (Chair)

7

Professor Clive Hamilton

8

Professor David Karoly

7

Professor John Quiggin

7

5.3.4 Employment Arrangements

Upon establishment, the CEO of the Authority made a determination under subsection 24(1) of the Public Service Act 1999. The determination stated that all non-SES Authority staff are to be employed under the conditions of the DCCEE Enterprise Agreement 2011-2014.

Senior Executive Service Authority staff were employed under the Public Service Act 1999 and their conditions of service outlined in the DCCEE SES Employment Conditions handbook. In 2014-15, one non-SES staff member was employed on an individual flexibility arrangement under clause 10 of the DCCEE Enterprise Agreement 2011-2014.

No employee of the Authority was employed under performance-based remuneration conditions in 2014-15.

5.3.5 Consultative Arrangements

An advantage of a small agency is that frequent direct consultation between management and employees is possible. This occurred on a regular basis in 2014-15, including through the CEO's all-staff meetings and regular team meetings.

5.3.6 Performance Management

All employees participate in the Authority's performance development framework. The framework seeks to:

  • clarify individual employees' understanding of their work tasks, their responsibilities and the performance standards expected (through individual performance agreements)
  • provide feedback on performance and improve communication between supervisors and their staff (through individual performance appraisals)
  • provide a basis for determining salary advancement
  • identify learning and development needs
  • help to identify and manage instances of underperformance.

5.3.7 Learning and Development

The Authority encourages employees to undertake learning and development to build up competencies relevant to their roles.

The Authority has a study assistance policy that sets out the assistance provided to staff to undertake learning and development opportunities. The policy provides financial and leave assistance to its staff enrolled in study or training that is relevant to the operational needs of the agency. Each staff member has the opportunity to identify and access appropriate training through the organisation's Performance Development Program.

The Authority also provides one-on-one coaching to address particular development needs and extensive on-the-job training within the Authority. Internal seminars on written communication skills also contributed to staff development during 2014-15 and helped with the Authority's review program.

5.3.8 Work Health and Safety

No formal Work Health and Safety investigations were conducted during the year and there were no notifiable incidents. No notices under Part 10 of the Work Health Safety Act 2011 were given to the Authority during 2014-15.

During 2014-15, work health and safety initiatives included:

  • Authority-funded flu vaccinations
  • a flexible work policy to manage and avoid staff working excessive hours
  • provision of ergonomic equipment as required.

There were no claims for injury in 2014-15 and no return-to-work programs conducted.

5.3.9 Employee Assistance Program

The Authority offers its employees independent, confidential and professional counselling, consultation and training assistance for work-related or personal issues. The Authority contracted Optum to provide this service.

5.3.10 Workplace Diversity

The Authority continues to foster a culture that supports employees achieving their potential and values employee diversity. This was facilitated through the Authority's enterprise agreement and related policies.

5.3.11 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 the Australian Public Service Commission website. From 2010-11, departments and agencies are no longer required to report on these functions.

The Commonwealth Disability Strategy has been overtaken by the National Disability Strategy 2010-2020, which sets out a 10-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 first of these reports is available at the Department of Social Services website.