Section 4 – Management and accountability

Corporate governance

The ACNC’s corporate governance is designed to facilitate effective decision making, efficient use of resources and to ensure we meet our obligations. It also encourages staff participation across the ACNC.

The ACNC Commissioner

The Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission Act 2012 (Cth) (ACNC Act) (Part 5-2) provides for the Commissioner’s establishment, functions and powers, including terms and conditions of employment. The Governor-General appointed Susan Pascoe AM as the Commissioner of the ACNC for a period of five years from 7 December 2012 until 30 September 2017.

Corporate and operational planning

Prior to the formal establishment of the ACNC, staff on the ACNC Taskforce developed a strategic plan to guide the new regulator. ACNC governance and business planning is facilitated by the strategic planning framework. The ACNC 2012 –15 Strategic Plan sets our organisational vision, mission, values and strategic priorities for the three year period. The strategic priorities closely align with the objects and functions of the ACNC Act. The Strategic Plan can be found on our website.

The ACNC will continue to develop annual business plans to ensure our annual planning meets the objects of the ACNC Act, giving effect to the strategies set out in the Strategic Plan. The Business Plan aligns with our strategic priorities including our objectives, activities, budgets, resources and performance measures. It ensures we identify the priorities for the year and we commence building the foundations that position us to achieve our objectives for the years ahead. Quarterly reports on the performance indicators in the Business Plan were provided to the ACNC Advisory Board (the Board).

The 2012–13 Business Plan was finalised and communicated to all staff in November 2012. It enabled the ACNC to focus on the most critical priorities for implementing the ACNC Act. The 2012–13 Business Plan was complemented by Directorate work plans. These articulated how we delivered our priorities for the year and provided the Executive with a clear line of sight between team outcomes and the ACNC’s strategic priorities.

Internal governance

The ACNC committee structure supports the Executive by providing oversight on key areas of focus for the business. The structure ensures decisions are made efficiently, particularly when promoting the objects of the ACNC Act, the ACNC’s strategic priorities and an effective risk management framework. Decisions are made by the Executive on the ACNC’s policies, procedures and governance approach.

Management committees

These committees form the basis by which the Commissioner monitors the ACNC’s performance and makes decisions.

  • Executive Committee – comprises the Commissioner and two Assistant Commissioners and is supported by the Executive Adviser to the Commissioner. The Executive meets weekly and decisions of the Executive are promptly reported to Directors for action and communication to their teams.
  • Management Committee – comprises the Commissioner, two Assistant Commissioners and Directors. It meets monthly with agenda items provided by any member and covering any aspect of the ACNC’s work benefiting from broad input. Directors provide monthly written reports to the Management Committee on the priorities in their Directorate plans.

Operational committees

The ACNC’s operational committees focus on core areas of work and oversee the implementation of action plans and projects. Membership is broad to ensure that those with relevant expertise or responsibility are present.

  • Audit and Risk Committee – manages risk and audit functions for the ACNC, including oversight of contracts, budgets, fraud control, memoranda of understanding and maintenance of ethical standards. This committee is chaired by the Commissioner.
  • Communications Committee – responsible for developing, implementing and monitoring the ACNC’s Stakeholder Engagement Plan and co-ordinating our range of internal and external information products.
  • Compliance Committee – responsible for developing, reviewing and monitoring strategies and policies supporting the ACNC’s integrated intelligence and compliance operations. Develops strategies to identify and address emerging compliance issues and to ensure objectivity, accountability and transparency in compliance processes and decisions.
  • Reporting Committee – responsible for developing and monitoring initiatives to reduce unnecessary regulatory requirements for not-for-profits (NFP). The reporting committee is also responsible for matters related to the development and maintenance of the ACNC reporting framework. This committee is chaired by the Commissioner.

Internal audit, risk management, audit controls and ethical standards

For the purposes of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (Cth) (FMA Act), the ACNC’s financial operations are managed according to the Australian Taxation Office’s (ATO) established processes for internal audit, risk, fraud control and maintaining ethical standards.

In addition to this, the ACNC has established its own risk function which is overseen by the ACNC Audit and Risk Committee.