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B2 Internal and external scrutiny


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.

Internal scrutiny

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:

Complaints resolution

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 scrutiny

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:

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.

Privacy complaints

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.

External audits

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

Report title

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 review of salary break-up reports in schools and central office
  • major variance explanations in the financial statement and statement of performance.

The Directorate agreed with the recommendations and:

  • has implemented a process of fortnightly salary reviews in schools and the central office
  • will improve the clarity and level of detail for major variance explanations in future reports.

 

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:

  • combine administrative responsibility and developing key performance indicators for the service delivery of all early childhood responsibilities including childcare
  • enhance planning for early childhood schooling programs, administration, business and risk management
  • improve clarity on roles, responsibilities and accountabilities for the delivery of early childhood schooling programs
  • improve clarity of early childhood schooling objectives
  • conduct regular evaluations of early childhood schooling programs
  • review fee subsidy structures
  • develop administrative and procedural guidance to ensure the birth to eight wrap around services model is realised
  • identify opportunities to extend the reach of Koori Preschool Programs to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community
  • review current policy and management arrangements for placement of Early Intervention Program services
  • review the feasibility of providing transport to Early Intervention Program students
  • maintain, monitor and report on the number of applications and enrolments for Preschool Early Entry Programs.

The Directorate has agreed in full or in part with the recommendations.

The Directorate has:

  • incorporated planning for targeted programs within the ACT Public Schools Enrolment Projections and increased analysis of programs to best meet the needs of targeted groups
  • implemented improved data collection systems and reporting processes.

In addition, the Directorate will:

  • investigate processes in consultation with CMCD and CSD to consider combining administrative responsibilities
  • review its documentation to more clearly articulate roles, responsibilities, accountabilities and objectives
  • evaluate the Early Childhood Schools Initiative in 2014
  • review the current model of ACT fee subsidy
  • refine the enrolment policy for early childhood schools
  • seek to improve relationships with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community
  • review current arrangements for the placement of Early Intervention Program services and the feasibility of transport support to Early Intervention Program students.

Source: Information, Communications and Governance Branch


For more information contact:
Director
Information, Communications and Governance
(02) 6205 7661