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  • Modernising Business Registers Business Advisory Group key messages 13 October 2021

    Welcome and introductions

    Karen Redhead opened the meeting and welcomed guests and members. No conflicts were declared.

    Kristy Bullock was welcomed and will be replacing John Ahern as the InfoTrack representative.

    Jodie Stevenson will be replacing Damien Hobbin. Damien was thanked for his contribution to the group and the significant role he played in establishing director ID.

    Program update

    Karen reminded attendees of the forum’s Terms of reference regarding the need to respect the confidentiality of the information provided (including by other members of the forum) which is not for the use of any commercial advantage, including marketing or access to privileged information.

    Michelle Crosby provided an update on the Companies release:

    • the ATO is transforming into a Tax, Super and Registry business
    • communications recently issued about the launch of the Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS) website and extension of the Companies register transition to 2023. The delay to the Company release reflects challenges stemming from COVID-19, reallocating resources to support stimulus measures and a better understanding of the data and build required
    • development of the Companies release will occur from now until 2023, with the transition occurring as a single release
    • partnering with Foster Moore and using their commercial off-the-shelf product for the Companies release – we will commence with building the registration processes, followed by maintenance services, search functionality compliance and reporting activities
    • to support the development of the Companies release, a number of workshops and sub-groups are planned and members will be invited. A timeline of upcoming workshops will be shared with members.

    A question was asked if forms would continue to be known as ‘forms’. Michelle advised forms will transition into ‘services’ and some ‘services’ have been presented at the Design Working Group in a design canvass format.

    Karen Redhead provided a program update:

    • the ABRS website launched publicly on 6 October 2021
    • director ID will move from private to public beta in November 2021
    • the director ID registration service – called ‘ABRS online’ – will become available on the website once public beta launches.

    The soft launch of the website is a part of the onboarding plan and provides an opportunity for third party providers early access to see what information is available for the director ID number requirements before public beta commences.

    A legislative instrument was registered on 29 September which put into place the arrangements for existing directors. Further information is available on the Federal Register of Legislation, Corporations (Director Identification Numbers—Transitional Application Period) Instrument 2021External Link.

    ATO registry experience strategy

    The ATO registry experience strategy sets the direction for how the ATO will establish the ABRS brand and reputation through building trust and confidence in the community over time. The strategy has been developed using the lens of the both the staff and client groups experience.

    To deliver the strategy a detailed annual action plan has been developed. The action plan reflects four key focus areas:

    • build trust and confidence
    • connect with users
    • design streamlined solutions
    • embed and influence the experience.

    In recognition of the complex ecosystem, we are interested in our registry partners feedback and insights to help influence the approach and management of the customer experience.

    Members’ provided feedback and insights, in particular in understanding the different roles the registry partners play and the different experiences that may result, including Intermediaries, the different role of agents – we will continue to seek opportunities to engage and gain continued input as we iterate the detailed action plan.

    Treasury update

    Kate Penney provided an introduction as the new representative from Treasury.

    The legislative instrument has been registered in preparation for director ID.

    A key focus includes work on the delegation model. Currently working closely with both agencies to provide a proposed solution.

    Planning workshops with agencies will occur over the coming weeks to consider changes to the modernising business register (MBR) schedule, and legislative/policy change may be required.

    Further opportunities for feedback and consultation with members will be considered.

    Law and policy update

    Director ID disclosure advice (recently presented at the Design Working Group) sets out when ABRS can disclose a director ID number under law, including how secrecy and privacy laws apply to ABRS staff.

    Re-making the director ID data standard and a disclosure framework. This will incorporate the Corporations Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (CATSI) Corporations Act 2006 provisions and director ID obligations.

    Further information regarding managing director ID is available on, see Manage your director IDExternal Link.

    Further advice regarding the collection, storing and sharing of director ID was requested.

    Director ID – private beta and public beta readiness

    Private beta closure report was shared. Key points include:

    • successful onboarding of 102 directors
    • digital applications taking approximately four minutes
    • phone and paper channels were tested for non-digital applicants. Time taken approximately 15 minutes to complete
    • overall, positive feedback received from participants.

    The Business Assurance dashboard was shared which covers seven enabling areas and is used to track readiness for public beta.

    Director ID – communications and onboarding update

    A high-level director ID timeline was shared with the group, including phases of the onboarding process and engagement activities with different audiences.

    Recent engagement activities since the launch of the ABRS website has included contacting digital service providers to create awareness and seek support with messaging.

    The broader ‘one-to-many’ director ID communications are grouped into three phases:

    • aware and prepare – this is the current phase and includes the launch of the ABRS website. Focus on who needs to apply and when
    • apply now – commencing in November 2021 with public beta. Communications will support a clear call to action through to November 2022. Providing targeted communications for individuals that fall within CATSI provisions
    • linking – this phase will involve the companies release and as we move towards business as usual.

    There have been over 16,000 visits to since the launch of the website.

    Certification of identity documents for non-digital applicants was discussed. Further out-of-session discussion to be organised. Information from where decisions on this topic have been drawn will be shared with members.

    Signature requirements

    An out-of-session workshop will be held 19 October to understand current pain points around wet ink signatures, with the aim of identifying improvements for investigation and incorporation into MBR program. An invitation will be issued to members.

    We will be looking to develop and implement a broad range of communication activities.

    Linking director ID

    Following prior consultations, the high-level design for the future and transitional state of linking director IDs to company records was shared. An out of session workshop will be organised to consider the consolidated view.

    Wrap and close

    Proposed meeting dates for 2022 have been included with meeting papers.

    A survey in the lead-up to community co-design workshops (Companies register) will be distributed to members.

    Karen thanked everyone for their time.

      Last modified: 18 Nov 2021QC 67342