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Auditor-General Report No. 6/2016 management and administration of credit cards by act government entities
Government Response Provided out of session September 2016 (TABLED 13 December 2016)

Recommendation

Action

Status

1. ACT Government entities should review the allocation of ACT Government credit cards and determine if cards not being used should be rescinded.

Government Response – Agreed

Entities will annually review the allocation of ACT Government credit cards.

The Education Directorate Credit Card Administrator monitors credit card usage and investigates if credit cards are not being used. Strategic Finance undertakes an annual review of credit card activity as well the delegate reviewing a monthly acquittal for each card. When credit card holders go on extended leave, change positions or leave the Directorate cards are cancelled.

Complete

5. All ACT Government entities should provide guidance on credit card management and administration for supporting controls. However particular attention needs to be given to guidance on:

  1. tax invoices, especially explaining the need for these to be obtained for all transactions over $82.50 (GST incl) and defining what constitutes a tax invoice;
  2. appropriate retention of documentation to demonstrate appropriate use; and
  3. the use of WhOG purchasing arrangements, including the need for documentation to demonstrate any departures from the arrangements.

Government Response – Agreed

Entities will review their existing credit card guidance to ensure these areas are adequately covered, if not already covered.

The Education Directorate currently provides guidance to office and school credit card holders on the requirements and retention of tax invoices, documented details on the purpose of the expenditure and the requirement to use WhOG arrangements or a documented explanation for going outside WhOG arrangements.

The Directorate will remind cardholders of the above requirements as follows:

  • in Directorate policy and procedures;
  • via the School Bulletin and All staff alert;
  • at regular School Business Manager training opportunities;
  • highlighted at the time of issuing new credit cards;
  • monitored as part of monthly review of credit card statements; and
  • if non compliance is found it will be followed up.

Complete

6. All ACT Government entities should investigate opportunities to:

  1. access Corporate Online for the purpose of obtaining detailed transactional data on credit card use within the entity; or
  2. receive reports from SS with respect to credit card use within the entity, and
  3. use transactional data, or reports from SS, to review and evaluate the use of credit cards within the entity, including the ongoing appropriateness of the issue of credit cards to staff and any opportunities for improvement with respect to the efficient and effective management of credit cards in the entity.

Government Response – Agreed

Shared Services will investigate the use of Corporate Online by all agencies and additional analytics for Shared Services entities.

In relation to this recommendation:

  • The Education Directorate School Credit Card Administrator can access Corporate Online for School credit card users and provides transactional data if requested by schools.
  • Education Directorate will request Shared Services to provide transactional data if required.

Complete

Auditor-General Report No. 3/2017 2015-16 Financial Audits – Computer Information Systems

Recommendation

Action

Status

14. Monitoring of Audit Logs

  1. The Education Directorate with respect to Maze should develop and document procedures for the review of audit logs and perform periodic reviews of audit logs.

As reported at paragraph 2.23 of the Report, Maze does not have the functionality to produce audit logs. This will be addressed as part of the replacement of the student administration system (Maze). The Maze system will be replaced by the new School Administration System (SAS) with implementation commencing in June 2017 through to September 2018. The Education Directorate expects that SAS audit logging will be fully complete in July 2018.

In progress

Auditor-General Report No. 11/2016 2015-16 Financial Audits – Financial Results And Audit Findings

Recommendation

Action

Status

The Audit Office issued an unqualified audit report on the Directorate’s 2015-16 financial statements.

The Audit Office reported two previously unresolved audit findings:

  • salary reports distributed to schools and business units did not always have evidence of review. This control weakness increases the risk of erroneous or fraudulent salary payments not being promptly detected and corrected; and
  • the Directorate’s school administration system (Maze) does not have a capability to generate audit logs on access to the system or its data. The Directorate also does not have a documented policy for the review of audit logs.

Instructions and reminders on action to be taken in reviewing salary reports have been issued to relevant staff.

The Directorate will address this control weakness as part of the replacement of the student administration system (Maze). The Maze system will be replaced by the new School Administration System (SAS) with implementation commencing in June 2017 through to September 2018. The Education Directorate expects that SAS audit logging will be fully complete in July 2018.

Complete

In progress

Two new audit findings were identified in 2015-16:

A review of the Directorate’s ‘Fraud and Corruption, Prevention and Response Plan 2013-15’ (the Plan) was due to be completed by July 2015. This did not occur, however, the Directorate commenced a review of the Plan in 2015-16. As the Plan has not been reviewed and updated in a timely manner, the Directorate has less assurance that fraud and corruption is reduced.

In 2016-17, the Directorate completed its review of the ‘Fraud and Corruption, Prevention and Response Plan 2016-2018’.

Complete

The method used by the Directorate to measure a result for accountability indicator investigations and complaints commenced within stated policy timeframes (Output Class 1 ‘Public School Education’) was incorrect as the timeliness of action was not being measured. This presents a risk of incorrect or fraudulent reporting.

The Directorate has deleted this accountability indicator for 2016-17.

Complete

Auditor-General Report No. 5/2014
Capital Works Reporting

Recommendation

Action

Status

This Report has an outstanding recommendation related to the Education Directorate:

  1. The Commerce and Works Directorate’s Shared Services Procurement and directorates should develop capital works service level agreements, or the equivalent, by 31 December 2014. These should specify reporting responsibilitie

The development and implementation of this service level agreement has not yet been finalised by Procurement and Capital Works, Shared Services. Each quarter this recommendation is followed up with Procurement and Capital Works.

In progress

Select Committee On Estimates 2016-2017 REPORT No. 1 Inquiry Into Appropriation Bill 2016-2017 And The Appropriation (Office Of The Legislative Assembly) Bill 2016-2017 Government Response Tabled 9 August 2016

Recommendation

Action

Status

  1. The Committee recommends that the ACT Government acts to assist non-government schools to implement the Schools for All Report (including students with disabilities).

Government Response – Agreed

Implementation of Schools for All to date has been increasingly characterised by strong cross-sectoral working relationships across the government, independent and Catholic sectors. This is reflected in a range of governance and advisory groups such as the Program Board, the Program Working Group and most recently through a Schools for All stakeholder round table that will be delivered by all three schooling sectors.

All three sectors are committed to sharing resources, professional learning opportunities, research outcomes and policy frameworks to implement the Schools for All report. For example, public and Catholic sectors have shared their new student wellbeing frameworks; professional learning costs for an interstate speaker on challenging behaviours was shared across Association of Independent Schools and the Education Directorate; and all sectors are working collaboratively with the Teacher Quality Institute to enhance pre-service teacher skills.

With regard to financial assistance, all ACT schools are funded in accordance with the National Education Reform Agreement (NERA) and the needs based funding principles. Under this funding model schools in all sectors are funded in reference to the Schooling Resource Standard. Within the government schooling sector, all investments in Schools for All reforms are made within the NERA funding envelope.

The ACT Government does not wish to reduce the existing flexibility provided to non-government schools by mandating a specific part of the ACT Government’s share of the Schooling Resource Standard on a response to the Schools for All report, however, non-government schools have the opportunity to make these decisions within their respective NERA funding envelopes.

Complete

  1. The Committee recommends that the ACT Government considers innovative funding models that consider the capital needs of non government schools (including preschools).

Government Response – Agreed in principle

All ACT schools are funded in accordance with the National Education Reform Agreement and the needs based funding principles. The ACT Government provides around $65 million in funding non-government schools. The funding provided is to contribute to the ‘operating costs of school education’ and the ACT Government provides flexibility on how non-government schools or systems allocate this funding (either to recurrent or capital investments).

In addition to this funding the ACT Government also provides $1.3 million per year (ongoing) to non-government schools to establish and upgrade preschool facilities and provides land at no cost to non-government schools.

Through the 2017-18 Budget the ACT Government has also made a provision of $3.750 million per annum over four years for capital grant funding for infrastructure upgrades. Delivery of this funding is subject to the final form of the new Commonwealth funding model for education.

Complete

  1. The Committee recommends that the ACT Government works with the Australian Government to provide assistance to ensure broadband services to all ACT schools.

Government Response – Agreed in principle

The majority of Canberra public schools utilise a broadband connection supplied by the ACT Government. Where this is not possible, the Education Directorate provides the best available commercial connection to the internet.

The Education Directorate continues to provide advice to non-government schools in the ACT on connection to broadband services including those provided by the National Broadband Network.

Complete

  1. The Committee recommends that the ACT Government support long-term primary prevention funding to address the need for respectful relationship education in ACT schools.

Government Response – Noted

The Government provided $0.6 million over 2015-16 and 2016-17, for the Countering Domestic Violence – Promoting social and emotional learning initiative, designed to support ACT public schools in the provision of social and emotional learning programs.

The initiative provided additional resources to train teachers and staff on domestic violence issues, including mandatory reporting requirements. An Education Directorate Family Violence webpage is also now operational and includes resources for students, families and schools including information about relevant support services and curriculum material.

The Directorate is working towards White Ribbon Accreditation and a number of schools have completed the White Ribbon Schools Program, providing school leaders and teacher with tools and strategies to implement respectful relationship and domestic violence education programs in schools.

Funding arrangements for later years will be considered in the context of the Government’s overarching family violence prevention package announced in the 2016-17 Budget.

Schools will continue to implement elements of the Australian Curriculum which support the development of respectful relationship skills in students. The Directorate has funded access to curriculum resources to support lessons in respectful relationships through the Curriculum into the Classroom package developed by Queensland Department of Education.

The Australian Government will be releasing further curriculum resources to support teachers to implement those elements of the Australian Curriculum that build respectful relationship skills in students. The ACT Government will continue to fund teachers to deliver the Australian Curriculum.

Ongoing

  1. The Committee recommends that the ACT Government provide clarification as to why incomplete school census numbers were given in responding to an ACT Legislative Assembly motion, insofar as it failed to include, without explanation, preschool numbers which the February census statistics did include.

Government Response – Agreed

The ACT Government response to the ACT Legislative Assembly motion of 6 April 2016 defined the student population for capacity and projection reporting as kindergarten to year 12 students, based on the February 2016 School Census.

The Education Directorate reports data in a number of formats and may include ‘all’ or a ‘subset’ of the total student population and will be dependent on stakeholder requirements. For future reporting, additional notes will be provided to ensure the audience is aware of the scope and/or restriction placed over reported data.

The management of preschool enrolments considers a number of factors differently to the other year levels, allowing the Education Directorate to effectively cater for preschool enrolment demand. These factors include: class size requirements under the National Quality Framework, number of preschool sessions, the configuration of learning spaces, the preschool school site and the variability of preschool enrolment numbers.

Complete

  1. The Committee recommends that the Education Directorate be consistent in how it calculates capacity in each ACT school so as to accurately reflect enrolment vacancies

Government Response – Agreed

The Education Directorate has an existing consistent process and methodology in place.

Complete

  1. The Committee recommends that the Education Directorate work closely with principals when assessing and determining what are reasonable capacity numbers for each ACT public school

Government Response – Agreed

The Education Directorate will continue to work closely with principals to determine reasonable capacity numbers for each ACT public school.

Complete

  1. The Committee recommends that the ACT Government continue to work closely with the non-government sector to facilitate better cross sectoral cooperation in such areas as Teacher Quality Institute accredited courses.

Government Response – Agreed

The ACT Government is continuing its work with the non-government sector to facilitate better cross sectoral cooperation including for accredited courses. A current example is the work being undertaken around Schools for All.

Complete

  1. The Committee recommends that the Education Directorate publish either in the Budget Papers or in the Annual Report the satisfaction surveys ratings for each of the categories of schools and what strategies are in place to enhance satisfaction.

Government Response – Agreed in principle

Overall satisfaction with public school education by school type (colleges, high schools, primary schools, P-10 schools, specialist schools and early childhood schools) is also published annually on the Education Directorate website in an information sheet entitled, What do people think about ACT public schools? The information sheet states that the survey results contribute to the school improvement process within each ACT public school.

The Budget Papers also report the overall satisfaction of students and parents and carers at Strategic Objective 2.

In addition, detailed school level results are published in School Board reports each year and ACT results are highlighted in the Education Directorate’s Annual Report.

Satisfaction surveys will continue to be undertaken and results published.

Complete

  1. The Committee recommends that the ACT Government provide information about how they audit vital school facilities such as pools and other equipment in special schools and whether they are subject to an annual condition assessment to ensure the facilities are in working condition.

Government Response – Agreed in principle

The Education Directorate currently prepares Condition Assessment Reports for all school facilities every three years. These reports include hydrotherapy pools at special schools.

Complete

  1. The Committee recommends that the ACT Government work with the non government schools sector to facilitate all schools being able to move to online NAPLAN testing.

Government Response – Agreed

The ACT Government is continuing to work closely with all ACT schools, including independent and catholic sector schools, in the move to NAPLAN Online. Catholic Education Office and Association of Independent Schools representatives are an integral part of the ACT’s NAPLAN Online project governance board. The ACT NAPLAN Online project team is working closely with all ACT schools, including training and helpdesk support, to ensure system, school and student readiness in the move to online assessment.

In progress

For further information contact:
Director
Governance and Community Liaison
(02) 6205 5511

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