Financial management

The department operated from 18 September 2013 to 30 June 2014 for the 2013–14 financial year. Before depreciation, amortisation and revaluations, the department reported an operating surplus for of $17.9 million (5.9 per cent of departmental revenue). The department incurred administered expenses of $1.7 billion for 2013–14.

Consultants

Through the Shared Services Centre, the department engages consultants to provide independent and expert advice or services, taking into account the skills and resources required for the task, the skills available internally and the cost-effectiveness of those options. The decision to engage a consultant is made in accordance with the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 and related regulations.

The methods of selection used for consultancies are open tender, prequalified tender, limited tender and panel arrangements (initially selected through either an open tender or prequalified tender process). Consultants are typically engaged to investigate or diagnose a defined issue or problem; carry out defined research, reviews or evaluations; or provide independent advice, information or creative solutions to assist the department in decision making.

During 2013–14, the department entered into 26 new consultancies, involving total actual expenditure of $2,175,676. In addition, 20 ongoing consultancy contracts were active during 2013–14, involving total actual expenditure of $2,709,919.

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.

Grants programmes

Information on grants awarded by the department during 2013–14 is available on the Department of Employments website.

Purchasing

The department’s procurement policies and practices, implemented by the Shared Services Centre, are consistent with all relevant Commonwealth laws, the Commonwealth financial framework (including the Commonwealth Procurement Rules) and other relevant policies. Specialist legal and probity advice is available to all areas of the department engaged in procurement. The department uses AusTender to publish its procurement activities and plans. As a result, the department’s procurement activities are readily communicated and accessible to all business enterprises.

The department implements the Indigenous Opportunities Policy and internal procurement policies aimed at increasing opportunities for businesses owned by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The department works in partnership with Supply Nation in applying the policies to support participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses in Australian Government procurement activities.

There were no contracts exempt from being reported on AusTender during 2013–14.

Shared Services Centre team wins Supply Nation Supplier Diversity Award

Dinesh Kumar and Amanda Harris holding an award

Dinesh Kumar, Assistant Director, and Amanda Harris, Director, Procurement and Grants Support team.

The Shared Services Centre’s Procurement and Grants Support team was recognised at the Supply Nation Supplier Diversity Awards in May 2014 for their leadership and advocacy in promoting Indigenous suppliers within the partner departments of Education and Employment.

The awards recognise private sector organisations and government agencies for their efforts in using Indigenous businesses to supply goods and services.

The team won the prestigious Government Member of the Year category by ensuring  that Indigenous businesses were front and centre in the minds of those responsible for procurement in the two partner departments.

Shared Services Centre Deputy CEO Danny Jones said, ‘This is a fantastic result which underlines our commitment to helping our partner departments achieve their Reconciliation Action Plan goals and to supporting their approach to Indigenous business more generally. On behalf of the Shared Services Centre executive, I would like to extend my hearty congratulations to the Procurement and Grants Support team for this outstanding result.’

The team took the opportunity to provide input into the design of the new procurement system, simplifying the procurement exemption provisions and promoting the use of Supply Nation- certified suppliers. Through these initiatives, the team raised awareness of Indigenous businesses that might meet the partner departments’ procurement needs.

Asset management

The department’s asset management functions were moved into the Shared Services Centre after its establishment, while the policy function remains within the department.

The department’s asset management policies and procedures emphasise whole-of-life asset management. The department’s activities during 2013–14 included:

  • completing a stocktake to confirm the existence and location of the department’s assets
  • conducting an asset impairment review in accordance with Australian Accounting Standard 136— Impairment of Assets to ensure that the department  only carries assets at a value above the recoverable amount
  • revaluing land and buildings including leasehold fit-outs as at 30 June 2014
  • assessing asset values (other than land and buildings) to ensure they were reported at fair value at 30 June 2014.