The public sector deals with a range of complex challenges in delivering programs and services to achieve the intended outcomes for government. Contemporary challenges include the need to innovate and effectively manage risks in a period of fiscal constraint, engage constructively with stakeholders in the design and delivery of programs and services, and collaborate successfully across government and jurisdictions to address complex issues.
Effective governance arrangements and practices contribute to strong, sustainable and accountable performance.
Our governance practice encompasses a range of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ elements, outlined in the Public Sector Commission’s Good Governance Guide, to achieve strong organisational performance. The Good Governance Guide is a valuable tool ensuring our administration and reporting obligations are identified, managed and addressed.
The nine governance principles of the Good Governance Guide detailed in Table 8, demonstrate our governance in practices across the department and the pages to find this information in our report. On these pages we discuss existing governance practices that provide accountability for results and decisions in the successful delivery of programs and services.
Under Public Sector Management Act 1994 (section 33), Financial Management Act 2006 and Treasurer’s Instruction 107 - Authorisations, all departments are required to maintain a record of the powers, delegations, authorisations, appointments and administrative instruments. Across the department, the process is managed by the operational areas to ensure officers are acting with valid authority. During 2018-19 an internal review will be undertaken of systems and processes to manage delegations and monitor them to ensure the department and relevant officers act within their powers and responsibilities.
Under section 47 of the of the Public Sector Management Act 1994, (PSM Act), all Chief
Executive Officers (otherwise known as Directors General) appointed under section 45 of the
PSM Act, must enter into a performance agreement each financial year with their Minister and
the Public Sector Commissioner.
The Public Sector Commission implemented a simplified process for the 2017–18 performance framework cycle. The framework focused on addressing Government priorities, policies and key reform themes contributing to sector-wide initiatives.
During the year, the department’s Corporate Executive continued to provide open and
transparent leadership and strategic direction to deliver its key strategic goals and outcomes.
The Corporate Executive remained committed to the ongoing review of the department’s governance arrangements. The purpose was to build strong leadership and an ethical and values-based culture, provide regular and consistent communication, implement and manage appropriate governance committee structures, and apply clear accountability mechanisms.
Chaired by the Director General, the Corporate Executive met each month to discuss strategic priorities, consider submissions for decision and note reports requiring executive oversight. The Corporate Executive also met weekly to discuss significant issues, media related matters and submissions for noting. Corporate Executive regional visits took place twice a year, and included a Corporate Executive meeting, site visits and engagement with various local government and industry representatives. Approved Corporate Executive minutes are published on the department’s intranet providing transparency and accountability.
Agricultural Working Group
Board of Examiners
Board of Examiners (BOE) under Mining Industry Advisory Committee
Building Commission Advisory Committee
Building Services Board
Charitable Collections Advisory Committee
Commission for Occupational
Safety and Health
Construction Industry Long Service Leave Payments Board
Construction Industry Safety Advisory Committee
Consumer Advisory Committee
Electrical Licensing Board
Electrical Regulatory Authorities Council
Environment Liaison Committee
Gas Licensing Committee
Gas Technical Regulators Committee
Legislation Advisory Committee
Mental Health Strategies Working Group
Minerals Research Institute of WA
Mines Survey Board
Mining Industry Advisory Committee
Mining Industry Liaison Committee
Mining Rehabilitation Advisory
Ministerial Advisory Panel
Motor Vehicle Industry Advisory Committee
Nano Diesel Particulate Matter Working Group
Painters Reference Group
Plumbers Licensing Board
Plumbing Industry Reference Group
Property Industry Advisory Committee
Strategic Leadership Focus Area Working Party
WorkSafe Awards Judging Panel
The Audit and Risk Subcommittee (Audit Subcommittee), chaired by the Director General,
continued to act as an independent advisory body providing high level oversight of the
department’s governance structure and processes, risk management, values and ethical
culture, internal control framework, fraud and corruption control, financial statements and
It was also responsible for overseeing the Internal Audit function and monitoring its performance. The Audit Subcommittee comprised of one external independent member, six internal members and an observer from the Office of the Auditor General.
The Performance Subcommittee assisted the Director General and Corporate Executive in meeting their governance and management responsibilities, ensuring the department had clear business metrics, and was reporting against an Outcomes Based Management (OBM) framework for efficiently running the department’s operations.
The Finance Subcommittee ensured that the department managed its finances in a responsible manner while focused on whole-of-Government objectives and delivering services in the most efficient way.
The Digital Technology Subcommittee provided a forum for the executive and senior leadership
teams to consider and discuss new and strategic approaches to the department’s technology
The Subcommittee established ongoing strategic partnerships across government to provide independent assurance and improved benefits for agencies and people, in line with the Digital WA: Western Australian Government ICT Strategy, and provided greater transparency and optimisation of the department’s investment portfolio.
The Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and Diversity Subcommittee continued to strengthen governance and be the focal point for accountability and decision-making on EEO and diversity matters at the department.
The Director General maintains an effective internal audit function that operates in accordance
with the Professional Practices Framework of The Institute of Internal Auditors, in compliance
with the Financial Management Act 2006 and Treasurer’s Instructions.
The Internal Audit function operates under an approved Audit Charter as required by the Treasurer’s Instructions and, in accordance with this legislation, provides independent, objective assurance, and consulting services designed to add value and improve the department’s operations.
The department’s Internal Audit mission is to enhance and protect organisational value by providing risk-based and objective assurance, advice and insight. The Annual Audit Plan is riskbased and is continually reviewed and amended during the year to reflect current and emerging risks.
During 2017–18, work was conducted on 12 internal audits and Internal Audit continued to assist the Audit and Risk Subcommittee to monitor the implementation of identified improvement opportunities.
The department remained committed to ensuring that it operates within a ‘risk aware’ culture
that encourages responsible and informed risk-based decision-making within its declared risk
framework. The department began developing a new Risk Policy and customised Risk
Framework to ensure appropriate measures would be taken to minimise the department’s
exposure to risk and maintain stakeholder confidence.
It also began implementing an enterprise wide risk management system, which will provide greater visibility of appropriate risk information. The system will also centralise and concisely capture assessed risks on a consistent basis that reflects the new Risk Framework.
The 2017–18 financial year also saw significant changes in the amalgamation of the two departments. These changes included both structural and the physical relocation of some business areas, and the consolidation of information technology systems and practices. A review and refresh of business continuity plans and disaster recovery procedures and testing will be a focus in 2018–19.