4.2 External scrutiny

Judicial decisions, decisions of administrative tribunals and by the Australian Information Commissioner

There were no decisions of any Court during 2017–18 that had, or may have, a significant impact on the operations of the ARC.

There were also no decisions of administrative tribunals or the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner during 2017–18 that had, or may have, a significant impact on the operations of the ARC.

Reports on ARC operations by the Auditor-General

During 2017–18, the ARC was not directly involved in any audits conducted by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO).

To ensure that the ARC is adhering to best practice, ANAO performance audit reports, recommendations, and key learnings are disseminated to relevant work areas across the ARC for review and consideration.

Parliamentary Services and reporting to Parliamentary Committees

The ARC provides high-quality parliamentary services to support the agency and the Minister in fulfilling their accountability requirements. These services include: processing, monitoring and quality-assuring ministerial correspondence and briefings; coordinating question time briefs and senate estimates; liaising; and supporting the senior executive and the Minister’s office.

In March 2018 the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee released its report on Annual Reports for the agencies for which it is responsible—Annual Reports (No. 1 of 2018).

The committee assessed the ARC Annual Report 2016–17 as meeting all the requirements under the PGPA Rule relating to the letter of transmittal, inclusion of audit reports, style and formatting, and assessment of performance against targets.

During 2017–18, the ARC appeared before the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee for:

  • Additional Estimates—February 2018
  • Budget Estimates—June 2018.

ARC officials also attended the Supplementary Budget Estimates in October 2017, but were not called to give evidence.

From these hearings, the ARC received 43 Questions on Notice and all were tabled within the required timeframe.

The ARC also prepared submissions to parliamentary committee inquiries during the year. ARC
submissions were lodged directly to the relevant committee or input was provided to the responsible department.

Reports on ARC operations by the
Commonwealth Ombudsman

During 2017–18, the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s Office commenced two investigations into ARC business. These investigations involved consideration by the Ombudsman of the assessment of and scores awarded to unfunded grant proposals, along with allegations of bias and an appraisal of the grant assessment process.

The investigations are still current.

Agency capability reviews

No capability reviews of the ARC were conducted or released during 2017–18.