Key committees and forums
Corporate governance committees support the Commissioner in his leadership, strategic management and stewardship of the ATO.
Through our forums we proactively consult, collaborate and co-design with internal and external stakeholders, to facilitate informed decision making.
Formal charters, agendas and minutes contribute to the integrity and transparency of our committees and forums.
This year we reviewed the operations of our committees and external forums and refreshed their charters to strengthen and further clarify roles.
FIGURE 2.1: Our committees and forums, at 30 June 2011
ATO Executive Committee
The ATO Executive Committee comprises the Commissioner, the Second Commissioners, and senior executive roles nominated by the Commissioner.
Currently the additional senior executive roles are:
- Chief Finance Officer - Robert Ravanello
- First Assistant Commissioner ATO People - David Diment
- Chief Information Officer - Bill Gibson
- Chief Operating Officer - Paul Duffus
Left to right: Bill Gibson, Bruce Quigley, Jennie Granger, Paul Duffus, David Butler, Michael D'Ascenzo, David Diment, Robert Ravanello.
The ATO Executive Committee assists the Commissioner in setting our longer term direction and to execute his responsibilities:
- to undertake the administration of Australia's taxation and aspects of its superannuation systems
- for the overall delivery of the ATO's commitments to government
- to manage the ATO as an agency under the Financial Management Act 1997 and Public Service Act 1999.
The Audit Committee provides assurance and assistance on our risk, control and compliance frameworks, our external accountability requirements, legislative compliance and internal and external audit.
It has three independent private sector members:
- Margaret Gibson - professional director and former partner and board member of PricewaterhouseCoopers
- Peter Kennedy - member of various Australian Government audit committees and Comsuper Executive Board
- Mark Sullivan AO - ACTEW Managing Director.
Refreshing our committee's charter
We refreshed the broad charter of our Audit Committee in 2010-11 following a comprehensive review of its functions and operations. Two additional documents now accompany the Audit Committee charter:
- a compendium, providing evidence of Audit Committee 'better practice' principles and practices
- an assurance matrix, identifying the assurances and evidence the Audit Committee seeks against its charter obligations.
Achievements included overseeing the internal audit, fraud and corruption control and financial statements programs of work. In the latter, the number of findings decreased significantly from 29 in November 2010 to 16 in May 2011. Of particular note is the work the Audit Committee undertook, in partnership with our Security Committee, to have the ANAO's 'A' finding on security classification downgraded to a 'B' finding, in recognition of the progress made in addressing the classification. A category 'A' finding poses a significant business or financial risk to the entity and a category 'B' finding poses a moderate business risk.
Independent member Mark Sullivan makes a point.
Plenary Governance Forum
The forum is a key governance mechanism assisting the Commissioner with assessment and review of our overall performance and conformance against our commitments, with subsequent reporting to ministers and the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit.
Operating as a think tank, the People Committee provides strategic guidance on how our people system can be enhanced to support our strategic direction and business outcomes in the most effective and sustainable way, consistent with our values.
In 2010-11, our 'think-tank' People Committee met four times to identify opportunities and challenges for our people system.
Since the committee's establishment in December 2008, more than 30 private and public sector experts have joined the Commissioner to explore and advise on best practice for developing our people system. They contribute their experiences and expertise and share their organisation's approaches. This advice is complemented by the views of a range of our employees.
This year attendees included Mark Crosweller (Commissioner, ACT Emergency Services), Carl Harman (Academy Dean, National Australia Bank), Catherine Walsh (Manager, Australia Post), Carmel McGregor (Deputy Commissioner, Australian Public Service Commission), Rose Clements (HR Director, Microsoft) and Joris Luijke (HR Director, Atlassian).
Among other initiatives, we heard from Altassian about their 24 hour innovation sprint - where people are allocated time to explain how they could do their jobs more effectively. The importance of on-the-job experiences, learning from peers, coaches and mentors and the effectiveness of a centralised learning and development model, were also shared.
Other topics discussed this year included leadership, retaining high achievers via improved employee commitment, and creating an effective work culture, as well as our integrity framework systems and our complaint and compliment handling.
The Security Committee ensures a consistent, integrated, enterprise-wide approach to security.
The forum ensures an integrated approach to resource management and provides advice to the ATO Executive Committee in relation to the management of our budget.
In administering the tax and superannuation systems, we regularly seek the advice and opinions of over 60 consultative forums with about 1,000 members.
These external consultative forums provide us with different views and experiences and support our enterprise-wide strategic focus on issues, risk and assurance.
Our consultative forums help us:
- identify and understand industry, community, tax professional and tax intermediary needs and priorities
- use this insight to improve the effectiveness of our products, services, advice and compliance strategies
- promote improvements to the tax and superannuation systems
- consult on new policy implementation design.
External members are generally appointed by their associations. Our tax technical decision-making processes are augmented by external members on our tax technical panels, including the views of senior counsel or retired judges as special advisers or members.
Visit our site for more information on our external consultative forums and advisory bodies.