The Directorate's activities are subject to scrutiny through a range of processes. These include our internal corporate governance and auditing processes and through parliamentary committees, courts, the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal, the ACT Auditor-General's Office , the ACT Ombudsman, the ACT Human Rights Commissioners for Discrimination, for Disability and for Children and Young People, and the Privacy Commissioner in the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.
The Directorate has strong organisational controls in place to maintain an appropriate level of internal scrutiny and to support its legislative functions, objectives and performance targets.
Core governance arrangements including management accountability processes are supplemented by strong internal audit and risk management functions and the role of the senior executive responsible for business integrity risk.
Each of these aspects of security is discussed in other sections of this annual report as detailed below:
- financial reporting and accountabilities in Section A5 and A6
- internal audit and risk management in Section C1
- fraud control and management in Section C2
- corporate governance framework in Section C5.
The Directorate's Liaison Unit welcomes and values feedback on a broad range of enquiries, concerns and complaints regarding public schools and the central office. Enquiries range from school matters to Directorate policies. Parental issues regarding school based matters are directed to principals in the first instance. For further assistance, the Directorate's Community Liaison team offers parents and the community direct and skilled assistance in responding to their concerns. The Directorate ensures that matters are dealt with in a proactive and timely manner. All schools and branches in the central office have a designated complaints officer.
All formal complaints are handled under the provisions of the Directorate's Complaints Resolution policy. The policy outlines the principles for management of complaints and provides information about timeframes, processes and a complainant's right to ask for a review of the response received if they are not satisfied. It does not cover complaints made by members of staff about matters associated with their employment, which are dealt with through procedures outlined in industrial agreements. The policy is available at all public schools and on the Directorate's website.
Complaints in relation to child abuse and neglect are referred to the Office for Children, Youth and Family Support within the Community Services Directorate.
There were two formal complaints lodged with the Directorate during the reporting period. The complaints were resolved to the satisfaction of the clients.
External appeals, complaints and reviews
The Directorate's Legal Liaison Section coordinates responses to appeals and complaints made under a range of administrative law and human rights provisions. These include:
- Ombudsman Act 1989 (ACT)
- Human Rights Commission Act 2005 (ACT)
- Discrimination Act 1991 (ACT)
- Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Commonwealth)
- Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Act 1986 (Commonwealth)
- Privacy Act 1988 (Commonwealth).
During the reporting period the Directorate received eight new inquiries under these legislative provisions. Six of these remain on-going and two were closed by the ACT Human Rights Commission as being dealt with to the Commission's satisfaction.
Seven matters remained unresolved from the previous reporting period. During this reporting period, one of these matters was resolved through conciliation, two were withdrawn and the remaining four were closed by the Commission under section 78(1) of the Human Rights Commission Act 2005.
No privacy complaints were received by the Directorate from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, now part of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, during 2011-12.
Workplace protection orders
Two applications (on behalf of schools) were made to the Magistrate's Court for workplace protection orders during 2011-12.
The Auditor-General's Office (Audit Office) is an observer on the Directorate's Audit Committee. During 2011-12, the Audit Office conducted audits on the annual financial statements, statement of performance and early childhood schooling.
The Audit Office issued an unqualified audit report on the Directorate's 2010-11 financial statements and an unqualified Report of Factual Findings on the 2010-11 statement of performance.
The Audit Office made a number of recommendations for improving administrative effectiveness of early childhood schooling. The Directorate agreed in full or in part with the recommendations. The Directorate has implemented several recommendations. The planning for the implementation of the remainder of the recommendations is underway.
Table B2.1: External audits conducted by the Audit Office, 2011-12
Recommendations/ outcome of inquiry
Response to the outcome of inquiry
2010-11 Financial Audits
Report number: 5/2011
Tabled: 21 December 2011
The Audit Office issued an unqualified audit report on the Directorate's 2010-11 financial statements and an unqualified Report of Factual Findings on its 2010-11 statement of performance.
The Audit Office recommended improvements to:
The Directorate agreed with the recommendations and:
Early Childhood Schooling
Report number: 3/2012
Tabled: 12 June 2012
The Audit Office reviewed the administrative effectiveness of the Directorate's delivery of early childhood schooling.
The Audit Office recommended to:
The Directorate has agreed in full or in part with the recommendations.
The Directorate has:
In addition, the Directorate will:
Source: Information, Communications and Governance Branch
For more information contact:
Information, Communications and Governance
(02) 6205 7661