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  • KPI 4 performance summary

    Compliance and monitoring approaches are streamlined and coordinated

    The following table shows the measures of good regulatory performance and the related metrics. The results of the metrics and analysis are outlined in the Appendix.

    Measure

    Description

    Metric(s)

    4.1

    Minimise frequency and impact of requests for information and
    coordinate with similar processes including those of other regulators.

    S5

    4.2

    Tailor information requests and only make when necessary, and only then in a way that minimises compliance costs to taxpayers.

    13, 14

    4.3

    Utilise existing information to limit the reliance on requests to taxpayers and share the information among other regulators, where possible.

    12, 14,
    A8, A9

    4.4

    Base monitoring and inspection approaches on risk and, where possible, take into account the circumstances and operational needs of taxpayers.

    A10

    Self-assessment rating: Good

    This assessment is based on the results of the metrics relating to each measure and the examples of how we streamline and coordinate compliance and monitoring approaches.

    Summary of metric results

    Performance either improved or met target for four of the seven metrics for this KPI with three based on activities.

    All targets for our measures in relation to Government and community were met. However, the number of agencies using ABR Explorer decreased toward the end of June 2020, due to the replacement of AUSkey in March 2020 by myGovID as the access service to ABR Explorer. We are working with those agencies that have not yet transitioned to myGovID to re-establish their access to ABR Explorer so they can continue to access ABR data.

    There has also been an improvement in the perceptions of our clients as to how we are integrating services better with other government agencies.

    Activity-based examples

    Our transition towards being a streamlined, integrated and data-driven organisation relies on having the right data available for our staff and clients, and the right tools and capabilities to understand and use the data in innovative ways. We also need to provide assurance that our use of data is ethical and soundly governed.

    We are embracing new technologies, including data-learning programs, to ensure our staff have the data, insights and skills needed to work smarter and improve interactions with clients. Our use of automation, artificial intelligence and sophisticated analytical techniques help us better understand our clients and provide the tailored and timely services they expect.

    We have been developing our data backbone – the infrastructure and tools to continue to manage, use and share information across our organisation. This needs to be scalable and flexible to cope with increasing data needs.

    In recent years, we have focused on enterprise-wide client data, one component of our data backbone, to provide timely and accurate information to help staff perform their role. The Enterprise Client Profile (ECP) tool provides staff with access to a range of client facts and insights. It generates consistent and timely information in a contemporary way and can be tailored to specific work requirements. We have around 13,000 staff currently using ECP, with users accessing the system over 70,000 times a day. ECP helps guide staff and ensure a more empathetic treatment of clients – for example, those faced with difficulty meeting their obligations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    While our data backbone is about the infrastructure to manage our data, analytics integration is about using data to help us to work smarter and deliver better outcomes for the community. Data analytics is increasingly integrated in work across the ATO.

    We ran our inaugural Data and Analytics Expo for staff in November 2019. This included webinars, a ‘hackathon’, demonstrations of our latest tools, and a panel discussion looking at the complexities of data ethics to answer the question of ‘how far is too far’. In June 2020, we introduced Data and Analytics as a new professional stream within the ATO, providing strategic direction on workforce capability development. This new professional stream covers data analytics, data management, data science, data engineers and revenue analysis. Analytics integration will transform the nature of ATO work and the outcomes we deliver.

    We brought together our client systems into a single client accounting system. This transitioned almost 17 million activity statement accounts, consisting of around 6 billion individual records, into the same system we were already using for income tax and superannuation. This was one of the largest and most complex data conversions in ATO – and APS – history. Planned enhancements include the incorporation of enterprise payments and receivable management using ATO data science and analytic modelling. As part of this, ‘Decision Optimisation’ technology will allow us to tailor our interactions with clients and select the best treatment strategy based on risk and previous compliance history.

    Our data democratisation and visualisation strategy aims to give staff access to the trusted data they need in a faster and more effective way. This will make it easier for them to draw insights for well informed and timely actions in supporting the community.

    We are progressing new and innovative ways of using automation and artificial intelligence to improve decision-making, streamline business processes and automate repetitive tasks. Machine learning and robotic process automation (RPA) technologies provide opportunities to increase our understanding of client behaviours and create efficiencies for more repetitive tasks. In 2019–20, we undertook scoping, governance, funding and delivery planning for implementing RPA at scale in the ATO. We will continue to look for new ways to use our existing technology and new tools to expand our capability.

    Underpinning the use of our data is the need for sound data governance and ethics, to ensure we maintain the trust and confidence of the community. In 2019–20, we developed our overarching data governance model and drafted principles for our Data Ethics Framework (with contributions from the ATO’s Integrity Advisor and across our organisation). Data governance also applies to the sharing of data and intelligence with our external partners. We worked with digital service providers to publish our Reasonable use of ATO digital services policy, which ensures services are used appropriately and system access is available.

    The ATO has received numerous requests for unit record and aggregated data relating to the stimulus programs which we administer, as well as for other data reported by taxpayers to the ATO. These requests have been for both one-off data sets and for regular data provisions and have been made by federal and state government agencies, and non-government entities, with all requests reviewed to ensure it is appropriate for the data to be provided, and where possible under confidentiality laws (including confidentiality laws enacted as part of the stimulus measures), the data requested has been released. Examples of this data provision include single touch payroll unit record data to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) (for use in their Weekly Payroll and Jobs series) and Jobkeeper and Cash Flow Bonus data to the ABS, Treasury and other entities.

    With rapid growth in online activity, there is greater need for governments to be able to verify the digital identity of individuals and businesses. It also brings greater opportunity for fraudsters to steal and sell personal data. The ATO continues to invest in securing taxpayer information through robust identity, authentication and authorisation platforms.

    In June 2019, we delivered myGovID and RAM as a new whole-of-government identity solution for individuals and businesses. This enabled the replacement of AUSkey as the log-in credential for businesses by March 2020.

    The transition from AUSkey to myGovID and RAM exceeded expectations on all indicators, including client adoption, usage and sentiment and has provided increased security. It has led to a reduction in calls to our contact centres. Having myGovID and RAM in place became a critical enabler for a range of stimulus measures, including cash flow boost and JobKeeper payments for businesses.

      Last modified: 05 Feb 2021QC 64650