Independent News For The Australian Public Service
Edition Number 396. Updated Tuesday, 11 February 2014

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Defence tops list of non-compliers

Defence has topped the list of Agency financial non-compliance in the latest PS report card published by the Department of Finance.
 The 2012-2013 Certificate of Compliance Report said Defence was responsible for 22.3 per cent of non-compliance across the APS, with Foreign Affairs second (12 per cent, followed by Health and Ageing (11.4 per cent).
 This was an improvement on the Defence's result the previous year of 29.2 per cent.
 Overall, there were 14,027 instances of non-compliance, an increase of 10 per cent on the 2011-12 results.
 Minister for Finance, Mathias Cormann said Agencies had again reported relatively low levels of non-compliance when compared to the many millions of financial transactions they undertook each year on behalf of Government.
 “This result is still comparable to performances over the past four years. As in previous years when reported non‑compliance has increased, this is strongly correlated to changed financial management framework requirements,” Mr Cormann said.

Finance report card
 “This year’s increase is due to the introduction of mandatory reporting requirements in the Commonwealth Procurement Rules, which came into effect on 1 July2012.”
 He said that when the impact of this new requirement was removed, overall non-compliance was in line with the downward trend experienced over previous years.
 Mr Cormann said from 1 July, Commonwealth entities operating under the Financial Management and Accountability Act or the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 would operate under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act).
 “The PGPA Act moves from a prescriptive, compliance-based approach to financial management to a broader principles-based approach to performance and resource management,” he said.
 “Instead of legislative provisions that focus on process, the PGPA Act contains a stronger focus on duties, internal controls and risk.”
 The report stated that the instances of non-compliance reported in Agency Certificates generally arose from one or more of the following: inaction by individuals, such as not seeking the necessary approvals for particular expenditure; lack of timely action by individuals, such as not banking public money within the required timeframe and particular actions taken by individuals, such as relying on an outdated delegation or drawing right.
 There were also instances of a lack of awareness of key requirements due to changes in staffing, structures or activities and system or process issues, either at the Agency or sub-Agency level.
 The full report can be found at this PS News link. 

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