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Appendix 5: Senior management committees
The Audit Committee, which meets quarterly, assists the Secretary in ensuring that the assurance and control framework operating in the department is effective and supports departmental objectives. Chaired by a Deputy Secretary not directly responsible for overseeing the Corporate Management Division, the Audit Committee is charged with:
- enhancing the corporate governance, risk management and control framework;
- improving the objectivity and reliability of externally published financial and other management information;
- assisting the Secretary comply with all legislative and other obligations;
- providing strategic guidance of evaluation and performance audit activities;
- advising the Secretary of issues which require management attention; and
- ensuring the role and scope of the DFAT internal audit function meets the definition of ‘internal auditing’ approved by the Institute of Internal Auditors and endorsed by the Australian National Audit Office.
In addition to the Chair, the committee is composed of the First Assistant Secretary, Corporate Management Division, the Assistant Secretary, Executive, Planning and Evaluation Branch, another assistant secretary (not from a Corporate Management division) and an independent member. Mr Denis Ives AO has been reappointed as the independent member until June 2002. The Chief Finance Officer and the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) attend each meeting as observers.
The Ethics Committee oversees the development and implementation of policy on conduct and ethics issues. Chaired by a Deputy Secretary, the Ethics Committee’s objectives are to:
- promote high standards of ethical behaviour;
- help prevent fraud and misconduct;
- ensure that investigations are carried out fairly and expeditiously; and
- provide clear and consistent guidance on standards of conduct.
The committee comprises eight members and three ex-officio members and usually meets three times per year.
Information Technology Strategy Committee
The Information Technology Strategy Committee was established in March 2001 to ensure a clear strategic vision for all Information Technology in the department and to provide senior-level oversight of the implementation of that vision. The Committee, which replaced the Information Management Advisory Group, is chaired by the First Assistant Secretary of the Diplomatic Security, Property and Information Management Division, who is also designated as Chief Information Officer. Full membership of the Committee also comprises four division heads responsible for significant IT operations in the department. Associate membership comprises the Chief Finance Officer, the Assistant Secretary, Executive, Planning and Evaluation Branch and one other assistant secretary as well as the chairs of the other IT governance bodies, the Technical Advisers Group and the Consultative Committee on Information Management—an IT users group. The Committee’s role is to:
- prepare a rolling five-year IT Plan and an annual IT strategy covering all major IT applications across the department;
- review, prioritise and approve IT policy or project proposals;
- advise the Senior Executive on IT proposals requiring their decision and on IT management policy; and
- oversee major IT projects at a strategic level.
Workplace Relations Committee
The Workplace Relations Committee is the chief consultative body for all major human resource management and conditions of service issues affecting Australia-based employees. It provides a forum for considering and developing ways to improve the work environment and for dealing with matters of concern to staff, including any which might arise from the implementation and operation of the Certified Agreement. The committee is chaired by the Secretary or his nominee, normally a Deputy Secretary. Members include representatives from management areas and nine elected staff representatives (two from each of the four broadbands and one SES employee). The Foreign Affairs and Trade Association (FATA), the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) and the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) are also represented on the committee. The WRC meets at least three times a year.