Annual Report 2014–15—Chapter 3: Management framework

Corporate governance

Until 2014, the APVMA was a prescribed agency under the FMA Act. The PGPA Act replaced the FMA Act on 1 July 2014, and the APVMA completed its transition from an FMA Act agency to a corporate Commonwealth entity under the PGPA Act during 2014–15.

The APVMA is a body corporate with a separate legal identity from the Commonwealth of Australia. The APVMA CEO is responsible for the governance and management of the APVMA, with the support of the executive team (see Chapter 1), the Advisory Board and the Audit Committee (see Appendix A).

Planning

Corporate and operational plans

As an independent statutory authority, the APVMA is required to conduct rigorous corporate planning and reporting. Our planning and reporting requirements are set out in the Administration Act.

Our central planning document is the corporate plan, which defines the principal objectives of the APVMA and gives a broad outline of the strategies to achieve these objectives. Each corporate plan has a life of four years. This year, we developed the APVMA Corporate Plan 2015–19. The corporate plan is aligned with the APVMA Regulator Performance Framework, which outlines key performance measures for the APVMA.

In addition, each year an operational plan is developed that sets out the actions needed to achieve the objectives in the corporate plan. Our operational effectiveness is measured each year through the performance indicators set out in the operational plan and the Portfolio Budget Statement.

Input to decision making

Our stakeholders are an integral part of our business, and it is essential that we meet their needs. It is also essential that our processes reflect best international practice and the latest science.

We place a high priority on interaction and consultation with our stakeholders and with other regulatory agencies. Stakeholders from industry, chemical users, government and the community all provide input and are involved in our decision making, and development of guidelines and operational policy.

We have established committees and processes to facilitate this involvement (see Appendix A). We also conduct public consultation to inform proposals, and form internal and external working groups and reference groups to address specific issues.

Accountability

Internal accountability structures

Corporate risk management

The methodology used to assess risk at the APVMA is consistent with the International Risk Management Standard and best practice. A comprehensive Risk Management Plan is in place.

Risks are reviewed by the APVMA's Senior Leadership Team on a regular basis, to ensure that all risks facing the organisation are identified. Risks are assessed and scored, with consensus sought on the likelihood of the risk occurring and the possible consequences. For high and unacceptable risks, treatments are then developed and controls are documented. The risk treatments are regularly monitored to ensure that they are implemented.

A Risk Register is maintained to document the risks. The Risk Register is constantly updated to ensure that it reflects the current risks facing the organisation.

The APVMA Audit Committee regularly reviews this framework and the Risk Register.

Quality management systems

The APVMA is currently developing a new approach to quality management. This will be presented to the APVMA Senior Leadership Team in July 2015, before presentation for approval to the Executive Leadership Team. The new approach will align the APVMA with industry best practice for quality management and is scheduled to be implemented by the end of 2015–16.

Fraud control

The APVMA has a fraud risk assessment and a Fraud Control Plan in place that comply with the Commonwealth fraud control guidelines. The plan includes fraud prevention, detection, investigation, reporting and data collection procedures. This year, a new Fraud Control Plan was developed for 2014–16.

There were no cases of fraud during the reporting period.

External accountability structures

Reporting

Our performance is publicly reported in an annual report that is prepared according to the Requirements for annual reports for non-corporate Commonwealth entities subject to the PGPA Act, issued by the Australian Government Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The APVMA Gazette lists all APVMA notices and decisions required under the Agvet Code, including registrations, reviews and changes to registration status. The gazette is published fortnightly and is available from the APVMA website.

APVMA service charter

We aim to provide the highest quality service to all our stakeholders. The APVMA Client Service Charter outlines the standards of service that external audiences can expect when interacting with the APVMA. The charter applies to all stakeholders, including the chemicals industry that the APVMA regulates, other government agencies, chemical users and the community.

In early 2015, we revised the charter to set out mutual expectations and APVMA response time standards. Client service workshops were held for all staff to coincide with the launch of the new charter.

Parliamentary committees and other reviews

The APVMA made a supplementary submission to the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee inquiry into the implications of the use of fenthion by Australia's horticulture industry. The APVMA CEO (Kareena Arthy), Executive Director, Scientific Assessment and Chemical Review (Dr Raj Bhula), and Director, Chemical Review (Dr Matthew O'Mullane), gave evidence at a public hearing of the committee on 7 July 2014.

The APVMA appeared before the Senate Estimates Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee hearings on 20 November 2014 (supplementary), 23 February 2015 (additional) and 25 May 2015 (budget).

Auditor-General's reports

The APVMA was not audited by the Australian National Audit Office in 2014–15, other than the audit of the APVMA 2013–14 financial statements.

Ombudsman

During 2014–15, there were no reports to parliament or investigations by the Commonwealth Ombudsman about the APVMA.

Courts and tribunals

During 2014–15, the APVMA was notified of two matters before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) and one matter before the Federal Court. One of the AAT matters has been withdrawn, and the other matters are ongoing.

Five AAT matters were carried over from the previous year. Four of these matters have been withdrawn, and one is ongoing.

Office of the Australian Information Commissioner reviews

During 2014–15, the APVMA did not receive any notifications of reviews or complaints from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).

One complaint about how the APVMA handled a freedom of information internal review was carried over from the previous year. The OAIC decided not to investigate the complaint.

Privacy

The APVMA adheres to the Privacy Act 1988. The APVMA's privacy policy is located on the APVMA website. Our operations were not subject to any report or determinations by the Privacy Commissioner.

Environmental performance

The APVMA has adopted an environmental management system, in accordance with requirements of s. 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, the Agvet Code and the Greening of Government program. This enables the APVMA to minimise the impact of its activities on the environment, in alignment with the principles of ecologically sustainable development and environmental management. The environmental management system uses ISO 14001:2004 as its framework.

The APVMA works to reduce its environmental impact by:

  • recycling paper, plastic and kitchen waste to reduce its impact on landfill
  • maintaining water tanks for watering gardens at the APVMA's premises in Canberra
  • meeting the whole-of-government Energy Efficiency in Government Operations target for energy use of 7500 megajoules per person
  • purchasing 100 per cent recycled paper
  • using environmental criteria guidelines to ensure that environmental impacts are considered for all purchases
  • using VM Ware computer hardware to reduce electricity consumption
  • using high-efficiency T5 lighting and movement-activated lighting
  • using videoconferencing facilities to minimise travel
  • using multifunction-device printers that reduce paper waste by secure release, and authenticate all print, copy, scan and fax jobs
  • maintaining on-site worm farms to process waste food collected from APVMA kitchens, thus reducing waste going to landfill.

We strive to continually improve our environment management systems. Our new electronic document and records management system will help reduce our paper and printer consumables.

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