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Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally

Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade :: 2001-2002 Annual Report
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Appendix 2
Senior management committees

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Audit Committee

The Audit Committee assists the Secretary in ensuring that the department's assurance and control framework is effective and supports departmental objectives. Chaired by a Deputy Secretary not directly responsible for overseeing the Corporate Management Division, the Audit Committee meets on a quarterly basis to:

  • enhance the corporate governance, risk management and control framework
  • improve the objectivity and reliability of externally published financial and other management information
  • assist the Secretary comply with all legislative and other obligations
  • provide strategic guidance for evaluation and performance audit activities
  • advise the Secretary of issues that require management attention
  • ensure the role and scope of the department's 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 member of the Senior Executive Service (not from a corporate management area) and an independent member. Mr Denis Ives AO has been reappointed as the independent member until June 2004. The department's Chief Finance Officer and the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) attend each meeting as observers.

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Ethics Committee

The Ethics Committee oversees the development and implementation of the department's 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
  • provide clear and consistent guidance on standards of conduct.

The Committee comprises ten members ranging in staff level from Deputy Secretary to APS4. Three positions on the Committee are filled on an ex-officio basis by the First Assistant Secretary, Corporate Management Division; the Director of the Administrative and Domestic Law Group; and the Director of the Management Strategy, Conduct and Coordination Section in the Corporate Management Division. The Committee meets three to four times per year.

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Information Technology Strategy Committee

The Information Technology Strategy Committee is charged with ensuring a clear strategic vision for the development of information technology systems and software in the department and to provide senior-level oversight of its implementation. The Committee is chaired by the First Assistant Secretary of the Diplomatic Security, Information Management and Services Division, who is also designated as Chief Information Officer. The Committee comprises the division heads responsible for significant IT operations in the department. The associate members are the Chief Finance Officer; the Assistant Secretaries of the Executive, Planning and Evaluation Branch and the Information Management Branch; as well as the chairs of the department's other IT governance bodies (the Technical Advisory Group and the Consultative Committee on Information Management). The Committee's role is to:

  • prepare a rolling five-year IT Plan 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
  • oversee major IT projects at a strategic level.

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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 department's 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 Committee meets at least three times a year.

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