Financial management

The Commission is a non-corporate entity under the PGPA Act. The Commission's audited financial statements for 2014–15 are at Appendix J.

The Commission's operating revenue from government for the 2014–15 financial year was $79.887 million. The Commission's appropriated revenue in the prior year was $79.996 million. An amount of $2.613 million from the 2013–14 appropriation was quarantined and as such was unable to be utilised for Commission purposes. Consequently the available revenue from government for the prior year was $77.383 million.

Operating expenses increased in 2014–15 to $86.15 million ($80.88 million in 2013–14). The major expenses in 2013–14 were $52.192 million in respect of employee expenses, $27.8 million relating to supplier payments, and $4.4 million in asset depreciation, amortisation and related expenses. The Commission, in accordance with its internal accounting policies, engaged an independent valuation to ensure carrying amount of assets did not differ materially from the assets' fair values as at the reporting date.

As a result the Commission recognised a $1.690 million write down of assets. Employee expenses increased in the 2014–15 year largely as a result of redundancy costs of $1.06 million incurred.

Note 21 of the financial statements compares performance of the Commission during 2014–15 compared to the budget outlined in the Commission's Portfolio Budget Statements, in addition to providing an explanation of major variances.

Under the Australian Government's net cash appropriation arrangement, the Commission is not funded for depreciation or amortisation expenses through appropriation revenue. The operating result, excluding unfunded charges, was an operating surplus of $764,000.

An agency resource statement table providing information about funding sources drawn upon by the agency is available.

A summary table of resources for outcome, including total administered expenses, revenue from government (appropriations) for outputs and the total price of outputs is available.

Information on advertising and market research can be found at Appendix H. Information on legal services expenditure and information on grant programs can be found at Appendix H.

Assets

The Commission's main asset types are leasehold improvements and computer equipment. Asset management is not considered to be a significant aspect of core business and so an assessment of the effectiveness of asset management is not reported.

Major accommodation projects

The Commission did not undertake any major accommodation projects in 2014–15.

Purchasing

The Commission's purchasing policies are outlined in the Accountable Authority Instructions, resource management policies and procurement policy, which reflect the principles of the Commonwealth Procurement Rules.

The following criteria are applied to all of the Commission's procurement activities:

  • value for money
  • efficiency and effectiveness
  • contestability and competitive neutrality
  • accountability and transparent reporting
  • ethics.

All open approaches to market are advertised on both the Commission website and the AusTender website.

Outcomes of all planned procurements at or above $80,000 are referred to the Procurement Committee for approval. Details are recorded in the Financial Management Information System and the Contracts Register.

Having identified process errors in 2014–15 under which reporting requirements on AusTender were not met in all instances, the Commission is reviewing its procedures and systems to ensure this issue is rectified in the forward year.

Information about the Procurement Committee can be found in the Fair Work Commission committees.

Purchaser-provider arrangements

The Commission's procurement policies are consistent with the PGPA Act and the Commonwealth Procurement Rules. To maintain this it applies the following criteria to all procurement activities:

  • value for money
  • encouraging competition
  • efficient, effective and ethical use of resources
  • accountability and transparency.

The Commission obtains value for money by accessing existing Australian Government panels or coordinated contract arrangements and, where applicable, it partners with other larger Australian Government departments and agencies when procuring goods and services.

Procurement initiatives to support small business

The Commission supports small business participation in the Australian Government procurement market. Small and medium enterprises (SME) and small enterprise participation statistics are available on the Department of Finance's website

The Commission's procurement practices support SMEs by using:

  • A range of a procurement methods including whole-of-government arrangements, panel arrangements, approach to market, multi-use lists and requests for quote. SMEs may be directly approached as part of this process.
  • The Commonwealth Contracting Suite for low-risk procurements valued under $200,000 where the panel arrangement or other method does not specify the documentation to be used in forming the contract.
  • Clear, simple language presented in an accessible format to communicate throughout the procurement process in keeping with the Small Business Engagement Principles.
  • Australian Industry Participation Plans in whole-of-government procurement where applicable.

Procurement plan

The Commission published an annual procurement plan outlining expected procurement activities during 2014–15. The plan is available on the AusTender website.

Contracts

List of contracts

The Commission's website lists all contracts valued at $100,000 and over that have not been fully performed or which have been entered into during the previous 12 months. Information on expenditure on contracts and consultancies is also available on the AusTender website.

Significant contracts approved by the Commission's Procurement Committee during 2014–15 included:

  • recording and transcription services
  • website review
  • unified communication system
  • Hewlett-Packard support renewal
  • professional information management services
  • development of cost model.

Consultants

The services of consultants are engaged where the necessary specialised or professional skills are unavailable within the Commission or where there is a need for independent research or assessment.

The Commission's practices on the selection and engagement of consultants are in accordance with the PGPA Act and related regulations including the Commonwealth Procurement Rules. The methods of selection used for consultancies are open tender, select tender, direct sourcing and panel arrangements (initially selected through either an open tender or select tender process).

During 2014–15, six new consultancy contracts were entered into involving total actual expenditure of $364,360 (including GST). In addition, two ongoing consultancy contracts were active during the 2014–15 year, involving total actual expenditure of $94,751 (including GST). One consultancy contract was entered into during 2014–15 but no expenditure was incurred during the financial year.

Annual reports contain information about actual expenditure on contracts for consultancies. Information on the value of contracts and consultancies is available on the AusTender website.

Competitive tendering and contracting

At 30 June 2015, there were no active contracts relating to the outsourcing of government activities under the Australian Government's competitive tendering and contracting policy.

Australian National Audit Office clauses

The Commission had no contracts let during the year that did not provide for the Auditor-General to have access to the contractor's premises.

Exempt contracts

The Commission had no contracts valued in excess of $10,000 that were exempt from reporting on the AusTender website.