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  • ATO's internal fraud controls get tick of approval

    There is no evidence of internal fraud or corruption of a systemic nature within the ATO, according to an Inspector-General of Taxation report released today.

    Chief Operating Officer Jacqui Curtis said the findings were testament to the ATO’s commitment to fostering a culture of integrity and ethical behaviour.

    “While of course we have sound systems in place for managing the risk of internal fraud, we are also focused on creating an organisational culture which insulates us against those types of behaviours in the first place,” Ms Curtis said.

    “We are educating and empowering our staff to make ethical decisions about their own personal behaviour in relation to their work, but also to call out behaviour they don’t think is right.

    “To this end, late last year we appointed Dr Simon Longstaff as an independent Integrity Adviser to provide education, support and advice to senior ATO leaders and staff and to help reinforce a culture that personifies and values integrity.”

    Ms Curtis said this appointment was one of many improvements made by the ATO over the past 18 months to enhance the ATO’s processes to prevent and detect internal fraud and corruption.

    “While the report gives us confidence that we were already on the right track, we must always be looking for opportunities to refine and improve our processes.

    “It is vital that the community has confidence in our administration of Australia’s tax and super systems,” she said.

    Some of the other improvements we’ve made in recent months include:

    • Establishing an Integrity Unit to identify and analyse any integrity risks and emerging trends across the workforce - the Unit supplements the work we already had underway within our Fraud Prevention and Internal Investigations area
    • Actively identifying ‘high risk’ Senior Executive Service (SES) positions to ensure appropriate checks and controls are in place
    • Updating staff guidance on reporting conflicts of interest and introducing a new process to ensure SES conflicts of interest are regularly reviewed and managed appropriately
    • Bolstering our process for ensuring all staff have the appropriate security clearance for the position they hold
    • Tightening the process for our mandatory integrity training for all staff to ensure that the training is completed regularly within specified timeframes.

    The report also considered external fraud risks. We have agreed in full or part to all 13 of the recommendations for the ATO made by the IGT in its report and had already implemented many of them in advance of the report being tabled. Where we have disagreed with parts of recommendations it is because we believe that our existing strategies, process or procedures are adequate to address the risk which exists and the costs of additional resources outweigh the benefits.

    The implementation of all recommendations will have ongoing oversight from the ATO Audit and Risk Committee to ensure we continue this good progress.

    Read the ATO’s formal response to the IGTExternal Link.

    Last modified: 22 Oct 2018QC 57125