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Business planning and risk management

Policy, business and operational environment

There are no government policy orders in effect that applied to us during 2018–2019, including significant judicial decisions or decisions of administrative tribunals; and reports by the Auditor-General, any parliamentary committee, the Commonwealth Ombudsman or the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

We were not subject to any ministerial directions made under an Act or instrument during 2019–2020.

Corporate planning and evaluation

The AIATSIS Corporate Plan is updated in line with the PGPA Act and published via our website by 31 August each year.

A quarterly evaluation and assessment of targets and measures is completed by the AIATSIS Council and the Senior Executive Board.

Financial resource management

AIATSIS total financial result is a deficit of $0.389 million. This has resulted from a timing difference in the recognition of revenue as a result of the introduction of AASB 1058 Income of NFP Entities. 

In response to PGPA Rule section 17BE(h)–(i), the Minister received no reports relating to significant noncompliance with the finance law involving AIATSIS in 2019–2020. 

External scrutiny

Our operations are scrutinised by external entities such as the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO), the Commonwealth Ombudsman and committees of the Australian Parliament.

On 13 February 2020, senior executives from AIATSIS appeared before the Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs to provide a private briefing. 

On 6 March 2020, senior executives from AIATSIS attended the Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee Senate Estimates hearing concerning cross-portfolio Indigenous matters. This was just a normal estimates hearing but it touched on the National Resting Place in the line of questioning.

The Australian National Audit Office is responsible for auditing AIATSIS’ annual financial statements. An unqualified audit opinion precedes the annual financial statements.

Risk management

The Deputy CEO oversees our risk management framework, which aligns with the principles of the PGPA Act and the Commonwealth Risk Management Policy.

Our Audit and Risk Committee provides independent advice and assurance to the AIATSIS Council on the appropriateness of our accountability and control framework of risk oversight and management. Committee members are detailed in Appendix A.

The framework provides a solid foundation for ensuring a consistent approach to the identification, treatment and monitoring of risks by all staff on an ongoing basis. Documents that assist staff and management to incorporate risk effectively into decision-making include our Risk Appetite Statement, Strategic Risk Assessment, Risk Management Policy, Human Resource Policy, Fraud Control Plan, Business Continuity Plan and Disaster Recovery Plan.

The AIATSIS Council’s Risk Appetite Statement reflects the acceptable level of risk taking and tolerance to achieve a specific objective or to manage a category of risk. AIATSIS is committed to ensuring the incorporation of risk management into the culture and everyday business operations.

Business continuity management is integral to our risk management framework. It ensures careful planning to enable continuation or timely resumption of critical functions and eventual restoration to normal operations following a Business Interruption Event (BIE). If a BIE occurs, our Business Continuity Management team is convened by the CEO. The team is the central point of communications and coordination for our response and recovery.

Our Internal Audit (IA) function is established under the authority of the AIATSIS Council. The Chief Audit Executive is responsible for managing IA effectively while reporting to the Senior Executive Board and Audit and Risk Committee. Our IA function provides independent, objective assurance designed to add value and improve AIATSIS operations. Through the IA Plan we strive to accomplish our objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of risk management, internal controls and governance. We currently contract Curijo to provide IA services along with other management-initiated reviews.

Fraud management

We are subject to the Commonwealth Fraud Control Framework 2017. As a corporate Commonwealth entity we must also comply with the Fraud Rule and utilise the Resource management guide No. 201 - Preventing, detecting and dealing with fraud as better practice guidance. The key governance elements of our Fraud Control Framework include a Fraud Control Policy, Fraud Control Plan, Fraud Risk Assessment and the AIATSIS Code of Conduct.

Overseen by our Senior Executive Board, we promote fraud prevention and awareness to staff through mandatory fraud awareness training and executive messaging on a regular basis. We use a range of strategies to prevent and respond to internal fraud - internal and external reporting; rigorous exercise and monitoring of delegations; and use of established systems and processes for prevention, detection, monitoring, evaluation and reporting of and response to fraud within the organisation.

There have been no instances of fraud for the 2019–2020 year.

Environmental sustainability

We contribute to ecological sustainability through both collection and research programs.
Our research activity includes projects related to land and water, culture and heritage and native title that continue to contribute an understanding of social, cultural and economic factors.

The Collection Group continues to utilise conservation and management practices and products that meet world’s best practice and, where possible, are environmentally responsible. As an example, our motion picture film cleaning solvents are water based  and represent the lowest possible impact on the environment both in their use and eventual disposal.

We maintained our accreditation under the ACT Government ACTSmart Business Recycling Program in 2019–2020.

Advertising and market research

We made no payment to advertising agencies, market research organisations, media advertising organisations, polling organisations or direct mail organisations that are reportable under section 311A of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (Cth).