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  • Appendix 1: Summary of findings and suggestions




    The current consultation system is fit for purpose. No significant change is required. The focus should be on continuing to refine the ATO’s consultation processes to improve the efficiency of the system and the outcomes it produces


    The current governance framework is appropriate. It is a coherent structure, with flexibility to engage stakeholders in the full range of appropriate consultative approaches




    Consideration should be given to the ATO executives responsible for stewardship groups having a quarterly consultation ‘stocktake’ discussion, informed by an appropriate report from the ATO Consultation Hub.


    Consideration should be given, within each stewardship group, to an external stakeholder member being appointed chair or co-chair.

    Where an external chair or co-chair is to be appointed it would be desirable for the person to be selected by the external stakeholder members of the group from within the membership in consultation with the ATO executive responsible for the group.

    Chairs or co-chairs should be appointed for a limited period, generally one year, but could be reappointed.

    Their role should include approval of the agenda and they should chair meetings of the group. Where there are co-chairs, the responsibility to do so should be shared equitably


    Consideration should be given to reviewing and rationalising membership of the stewardship groups to ensure that associations are ‘represented’ in the groups to which they can contribute, and from which they can derive, the most benefit.

    Consideration should be given to reducing ATO membership those who need to be a member on a continuous basis.

    Consideration should also be given to adopting a policy of having one member from each organisation on each stewardship group, rather than multiple members.

    Where an organisation, for good reason, wants to have others attend, those others should attend as invitees at the chair’s discretion.


    The ATO should consider establishing a policy of inviting stakeholder associations to nominate suitably qualified persons for appointment to relevant stewardship groups and specifically appointing them to the groups.

    If this recommendation were accepted, the ATO should consider a settling in period, potentially grandfathering current membership of at least some of the stewardship groups.

    Appointments for a fixed period would be quite normal, with re-appointment a possibility rather than an expectation.

    The ATO Consultation Hub should administer the appointment process to ensure consistency.


    Consideration should be given to setting an estimated completion date, for those matters under consultation that do not currently have one.

    The date should be listed on the ATO consultation website.

    Estimated completion dates should be amended (forward or backward) as the need arises, but when the date is extended the reports to the CSG and stewardship chairs should state the reasons for doing so.

    The CSG should receive and review, at each meeting, progress reports on those matters on the list of matters under consultation that are beyond (or not likely to complete by) their estimated completion date.


    Consideration should be given to stewardship groups using facilitators where the issue on which advice is sought is sufficiently significant, or its ramifications sufficiently extensive.


    As the objective of consultation is for the ATO to obtain advice, the emphasis in meetings should be on providing briefing papers in advance, expecting everyone to have read the papers, having a very brief introduction on the subject and encouraging dynamic discussion.


    In fulfilling its role, focusing on the operation of the consultation system, the CSG’s point of reference should be the seven COAG principles set out in this report.


    An exception report, showing those matters under consultation that have not been concluded by the estimated completion date and those likely not to do so would be a better tool for CSG oversight than the matter list it currently receives. The exception report would be in addition to the concise monthly report provided to the CSG and stewardship groups.

    The CSG should consider instituting a rolling program of ‘spot checks’ on a cross-section of the more significant initiatives by inviting to each meeting the ATO executive responsible for one of the working groups to give a report on progress.


    The CSG is likely to effectively fulfil its operational role if it has regular short, focused meetings most of which might be by videoconference and the occasional face-to-face meeting to take a holistic view of the system.


    The CSG should consider providing feedback to both the stewardship groups and ATO executives responsible for relevant business areas when consultation activities are at risk of not achieving timely outcomes.


    For benchmarking purposes, the ATO Consultation Hub should conduct a survey using the same questions as those used in the survey for this report at regular intervals and report the the ATO Executive and the CSG.


    Consideration should be given to the ATO publicising the Consultation section of its website by having short presentations made on its function and content at consultation meetings, preparing a briefing pack for ATO executives to use at town hall meetings and enlisting the support of stakeholder associations to publish targeted articles informing members of the existence of the site and what it contains.


    The ATO should have its matters under consultation linked to Link


    In addition to the guidance materials the ATO Consultation Hub produces and the regular stewardship committee secretariat meetings currently held, consideration should be given to conducting periodic training sessions for those in the business areas responsible for administering consultation groups and arranging induction and chairmanship training for new chairs of stewardship groups.

      Last modified: 22 Sep 2015QC 46926