FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT TOOLKIT

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1 FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT TOOLKIT Reissued: September 2015

2 Department of Treasury and Finance Level 6, State Administration Centre 200 Victoria Square ADELAIDE SOUTH AUSTRALIA 5000 AUSTRALIA Financial Management Team Telephone: Facsimile: Website: Published by the Department of Treasury and Finance Reissue date: 10 September 2015 State of South Australia The Financial Management Toolkit is a companion document to Treasurer s instructions. It has been developed to assist SA public authorities with the implementation of the requirements of these instructions. It contains guidance, examples and checklists. Reissue date: September

3 TABLE OF CONTENTS Framework for financial management in the SA Public Sector... 4 About the Toolkit... 6 Background... 7 Internal control environment... 8 Financial management compliance program Flowchart Framework for financial management compliance Financial management reporting Flowchart Framework for financial management reporting Guidance TI 5 Debt Recovery & Write offs Guidance TI 11 Payment of Creditors Accounts Guidance TI 13 Expenditure incurred by Ministers and Ministerial Staff Guidance TI 15 Grant Funding Guidance TI 25 Taxation Policies Guidance TI 28 Financial Management Compliance Programs Financial management compliance checklist Part 1 - Financial management accountability Part 2 - Financial accounting and budgeting Part 3 - Financial management reporting Financial reporting checklist Administrative restructure checklists Transferee entity Transferor entity Risk management policy statement issued by the Premier and Treasurer Bibliography Reissue date: September

4 FRAMEWORK FOR FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT IN THE SA PUBLIC SECTOR The Framework for Financial Management applying in the SA Public Sector has as its foundation the Public Finance and Audit Act The Act regulates the receipt and expenditure of public money and provides for auditing the receipt and expenditure of public money and for examination of the degree of efficiency and economy with which public resources are used. There are numerous other Acts of Parliament that address certain aspects of financial management in the State refer to page 16 for a listing of financial management and related legislation in SA. Treasurer s instructions issued pursuant to section 41 of the Public Finance and Audit Act 1987 deal with: requiring accounts to be maintained and records to be made and kept by the Treasurer and public authorities and setting out the form and content of those accounts and records; setting out the form and content of financial statements that must be prepared by the Treasurer and public authorities pursuant to the Public Finance and Audit Act 1987; requiring that procedures, set out in the instructions, be followed in the course of financial administration by the Treasurer and public authorities; requiring that procedures, set out in the instructions, be followed in the operation of special deposit accounts; setting out the procedures and processes with respect to the payment of certain debts by a public authority in connection with a scheme to provide for the payment of interest due to the late payment of specified classes of debts; and regulating matters related to the receipt, expenditure or investment of money, the acquisition or disposal of property, or the incurring of liabilities, by the Treasurer and public authorities. The Commissioner for Public Sector Employment and the State Procurement Board have also issued sub-ordinate legislation pursuant to their respective Acts. Refer to page 16 under sub-ordinate legislation for a listing of such instruments. In addition, policies are also issued by the Department of Treasury and Finance, the Department of the Premier and Cabinet and the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure, which enhance the framework for financial management and other aspects of public sector management in South Australia. These are listed on page 16 under other financial management policies/requirements of the State. Public authorities should ensure compliance with all mandatory requirements of each element forming part of the overall framework for financial management. Treasurer s Instruction 28 Financial Management Compliance Program requires a financial management compliance program to provide assurances with respect to those elements of the above framework that specifically relate to financial Reissue date: September

5 management. The Financial Management Toolkit provides guidance in relation to implementing the requirements of Treasurer s instructions. Reissue date: September

6 ABOUT THE TOOLKIT Authority Statement The Financial Management Toolkit contains guidance for agencies. Its requirements are not mandatory. Objective The Financial Management Toolkit is intended to assist Chief Executives and responsible officers with their financial management responsibilities, through providing guidance on core financial management controls, procedures, and financial management compliance programs. It contains guidance and checklists in relation to internal controls, compliance programs, financial reporting and administrative restructures. It does not include all possible policies, procedures and systems that may be used to ensure compliance with Treasurer s instructions. Definitions Terms have the same meaning as contained in Treasurer s instructions. Reissue date: September

7 BACKGROUND The Treasurer issued the Financial Management Framework in 1998 to assist SA public authorities with establishing essential controls and processes for good financial management. Most SA public authorities have now established and documented these controls. In late 2006, the Department of Treasury and Finance commenced a comprehensive review of the Financial Management Framework. It was considered appropriate to review the Financial Management Framework at that time due to a number of factors including: since 1998, there had been significant changes in financial management practices and new or revised pronouncements have been issued by relevant authorities such as the Australian standard on Compliance Programs and Risk Management; and changes to Australian accounting and auditing (external and internal) standards, including those resulting from the international harmonisation program; and in 2006, the Department of Treasury and Finance undertook a review of Treasurer s instructions. As the Financial Management Framework was issued pursuant to a Treasurer s instruction, it was appropriate to review this document as part of that review. Following the completion of the review of the Financial Management Framework, the Financial Management Framework was withdrawn (effective 30 June 2008); and a revised Treasurer s Instruction 2 Financial Management and a new Treasurer s Instruction 28 Financial Management Compliance Program, were issued, effective 1 July The Department of Treasury and Finance has issued the Financial Management Toolkit to provide guidance to assist agencies with their financial management responsibilities. Acknowledgement The Financial Management Team within the Public Finance Branch of the Department of Treasury and Finance wishes to express gratitude to SA public authorities and officers of the Auditor-General s Department for their input into the development of the Financial Management Toolkit. Key references used in developing the Financial Management Toolkit were the Australian standard Compliance Programs and the Financial Management Framework (withdrawn). A full bibliography is included at pages 145 to 146. Reissue date: September

8 INTERNAL CONTROL ENVIRONMENT The Chief Executive has a responsibility to establish and maintain an appropriate internal control environment in accordance with Treasurer s Instruction 2 Financial Management. Internal controls are processes (including elements such as policies, procedures and systems) that are established, operated and monitored by officers responsible for governance and management of the public authority, to provide reasonable assurance regarding the achievement of the public authority s objectives. Internal controls are designed to provide reasonable assurance to the responsible Chief Executive / Governing Authority / management in relation to the: effectiveness and efficiency of operations; reliability of management, statutory, financial and taxation reporting; appropriate management and control of risk; and compliance with applicable legislation, sub-ordinate legislation and other financial management policies of the State. An effective internal control environment involves the systematic review, appraisal and reporting of financial (including management, statutory, taxation and budgetary) and operational control systems and their effectiveness, including (but not limited to) the: relevance of established plans, policies, and procedures and the extent to which the public authority is complying with these; review of committees, operations and programs and outcomes to ascertain whether results are consistent with established objectives and goals; economy and efficiency with which resources are employed; appropriateness of the public authority s personnel and supervision arrangements; integrity of information systems; extent to which assets are accounted for and safeguarded from losses (eg waste, extravagance, inefficient administration, fraud or poor value for money); appropriateness, reliability and integrity of financial and other management information, including the ability to identify, measure, classify, report and act upon that information; extent to which financial management, financial administration and financial reporting matters comply with applicable legislation, sub-ordinate legislation and other financial management policies of the State; and monitoring of information and appropriateness of action taken. Reissue date: September

9 Each public authority will develop an approach to assessing the design and effectiveness of controls that reflects their unique circumstances. Professional judgement It is anticipated that each Chief Executive and responsible officers in a public authority will exercise professional judgement in the: establishment and maintenance of an appropriate model for governance, risk and internal control management; determination and application of materiality; selection and scope of appropriate procedures and policies; assessment and evaluation of internal controls; and extent of documentation of procedures, communications, results, reviews and conclusions. Policies, Procedures and Systems Background Treasurer s Instruction 2 Financial Management requires policies, procedures and systems documentation to be reviewed on a regular basis, revised where necessary and be readily available to all relevant officers of the authority. The development, implementation and review of policies, procedures and systems is a continual process as can be seen from the diagram below. As part of this process, it is important to remember, each Chief Executive and the responsible officers exercise professional judgment in the establishment and maintenance of appropriate policies, procedures and systems documentation. Figure 1 Process of development and review of policies, procedures and system documentation Needs analysis and/or Gap identification Maintenance / Review Drafting/Development and/or Amendment Communication and/or Implementation Consultation and Finalisation Approval / Authorisation Reissue date: September

10 The significance of undertaking at critical points in time (eg annually, at times of organisational policy or system change) a needs or gap analysis cannot be understated. Such an analysis will facilitate effective planning and prioritisation for the timely development and/or amendment of policies, procedures and system documentation. Documentation of Policies, Procedures and Systems Documentation should: be written in plain English; be current, relevant and useful; have context; consider risks and opportunities; consider impact and implications; identify benefits (and any associated dis-benefits); where possible have results/outcomes/aspects that are measurable (old saying what gets measured gets done); identify an owner and/or an expert to assist with implementation issues; and provide for common sense to prevail. Review of Policies The Chief Executive and responsible officers exercise judgement in relation to the methodology and/or processes required to maintain agencies policies and procedures. Examples of such methodologies / processes which are consistent with the requirements of TI 2 include: 1. Monitoring via Policy and Procedure Review Log Agency A maintains a Policy and Procedure Review Log (Review Log). This document records potential amendments required to policy and procedure documentation. Items listed on the Review Log may have resulted from changes to/from legislation, mandatory requirements, central agency guidance, systems including enhancements, staff movements, business practises and/or processes and administrative changes. The Review Log is monitored and on a regular basis an assessment and evaluation of those issues identified is performed and the respective policies and procedures are revised where necessary. Every one or two years, if necessary, policy and procedure documentation is considered in its entirety. Considerations included at this time include but are not limited to environmental scan, business efficiencies, relevance, governance issues, need etc. Reissue date: September

11 2. Co-ordinated approach rolling basis All of Agency B s policies and procedures include a review date and a contact person on each policy and procedure. This review date (relates to a policy being considered in its entirety) is generally every two years but in some instances, it is more appropriate for the policy or procedure to be considered in its entirety on an annual or more regular basis. The review dates are structured such that policies and procedures are considered in their entirety on a rolling basis so that, in any given year, at least 50% of all policies and procedures are reviewed, in their entirety. All reviews are co-ordinated and managed by a nominated officer. The nominated officer forwards an to the respective contact person for the respective policy or procedure three months before the review date. At this time, the nominated officer also follows up with the respective contact person for those policies and procedures which are not due to be considered, in their entirety, until the following year. This follow up requests the contact person to look at the policy and/or procedure in relation to mandatory requirements, environmental matters and business activities and to advise whether, based on their evaluation and assessment, any ad-hoc amendments are requirement to the policy and/or procedure to ensure it remains current, relevant and useful. 3. Environmental scan On an annual basis, Agency C performs an environmental scan of changes in legislation and other mandatory requirements, central agency guidance, systems, staff movement, business practices etc. An assessment and evaluation of these changes is performed and where necessary, the respective policies are updated. The assessment and evaluation may result in certain policies being updated in the current year and other policies being updated in the following year. The assessment and evaluation considers the purpose, scope, nature and any risks and opportunities associated with the document and respective changes. Each branch/division within Agency C maintains a Procedures Register which records all documented procedures. On a regular basis, the owner of the procedures looks at the documents in relation to work instructions and where required, revises the documentation. Agency C also has a policy that requires a review of its policies and procedures, in their entirety, every two years, or earlier, if necessary. Consideration relate to improvements in business practices, efficiencies, whether policies and procedures are still needed, impact and implications, risks and opportunities etc. 4. Complete review Agency X is a small agency. It has only a few policies and procedures. All policies and procedures are reviewed in their entirety on an annual basis. 5. Approval of Policies and Procedures Policies and procedures need to be appropriately approved in accordance with the agency s delegations of authority. Reissue date: September

12 Availability of Policies and Procedures Policies and procedures should be available to relevant personnel at the point of use, because they are an integral part of operations, governance, accountability and financial administration. Policies and procedures need to be readily available to be used. This may adversely affect agency operations, the internal control environment, governance, financial management etc. Planning, operational, monitoring and financial management policies and procedures are fundamental to avoiding or minimising impact on an agency s operations, organisational structures and financial management arrangements and/or to reduce the time to recover from and/or manage events, matters or issues. Aspects to consider: Are there mechanisms for the introduction and promotion of new and/or modified policies and procedures within the agency eg , bulletins, briefings, training, meetings, internal websites etc? Do you use paper based or electronic format eg external web, intra sa or internal websites, CD rom etc? Sensitivity, confidentiality and operational access and use by appropriate and relevant employees. Functions or responsibilities under an outsourced service arrangement Certain financial management functions and responsibilities can be subject to an outsourced service arrangement, including an arrangement with Shared Services SA. Where this occurs, responsibilities will be defined in an agreement between the public authority and the service provider for key tasks, activities and controls associated with the outsourced financial management functions. Public authorities are to apply the requirements of Treasurer s Instruction 2 Financial Management to those allocated responsibilities agreed to be under the management control of the public authority. The requirement to develop, implement, document and maintain a robust and transparent financial management compliance program remains with the Chief Executive. Financial Management Compliance checklist The checklist provided on pages 53 to 76 will assist public authorities in assessing the effectiveness of their internal control environment. An effective internal control environment is critical to demonstrate: performance against public sector governance requirements, ethics and standards; that accountability requirements have been discharged; and that Parliamentary and community expectations have been met. Reissue date: September

13 Aspects of an internal control environment Treasurer s Instruction 2 Financial Management mandates that each SA public authority develop, implement, document and maintain policies, procedures, systems and internal controls which will assist the Chief Executive to discharge his or her financial management accountability. Treasurer s Instruction 2 Financial Management identifies the following areas of an internal control environment: Risk management Resource management Income management Expenditure management Asset and liability management Other areas include (but are not limited to): Governance matters Contract management Economy and efficiency of resources Information and communication system management Management of reporting arrangements Examples of financial management matters to be considered within these areas include (but are not limited to): Governance matters The Chief Executive should ensure that each board/committee has a code and/or charter. Each board/committee should undertake a regular review of it s performance in relation to meeting its code and/or charter and report the results of that review to the Chief Executive/ Board or Governing Body. The Chief Executive should ensure that personnel appointed 1 have the appropriate skills and knowledge to perform tasks required and that competence and training needs of personnel are identified and addressed to enable personnel to fulfil their compliance and performance obligations. The Chief Executive should ensure competence and training needs of personnel are identified and addressed to enable personnel to fulfil their compliance and performance obligations. 1 Note, pursuant to TI 7, the Treasurer may appoint a representative to attend Board meetings of a designated public corporation. TI 7 also prescribes the role and responsibilities of the Chair in relation to this representative. Reissue date: September

14 Contract management The Chief Executive should establish, document and maintain a contract register which will include details of all contracts that result in income to or expenditure by the public authority or that relate to any dealings with an asset or liability (other than in relation to employees) controlled or administered by the public authority. The Chief Executive should establish and document service level agreements for services rendered to or services to be received from all SA public authorities. Economy and efficiency of resources The Chief Executive should only incur expenditure when it is within the authorised budget (as maintained by the Department of Treasury and Finance) and for authorised purposes. The Chief Executive should manage the: - expenditure lifecycle to ensure that all expenditure incurred represents value for money and is for purposes that are consistent with the public authority s objectives. - asset lifecycle to ensure that all tangible and intangible assets are put to optimal use for purposes consistent with the public authority s objectives. - the liability lifecycle to ensure that all liabilities incurred and balances used are for purposes consistent with the public authority s objectives and that all undisputed liabilities are satisfied when due and payable. Information and communication system management The Chief Executive should develop, document and maintain policies and procedures relating to the management of information and communication technology, covering the following areas: - physical and logical security; - project management and system development, e.g. business case requirements; resource planning; programming and testing requirements; sign offs; - change management; - standard methodologies; - backup, disaster and other recovery and contingency planning; - delivery and support; and - security controls, integrity controls, project controls such as approvals, authorisations, verifications, control totals, segregation of duties etc. The Chief Executive should ensure that a register of licences is established, documented, maintained and reviewed on a regular basis. Reissue date: September

15 The Chief Executive should develop performance measures to provide assurance that business, information and communication systems are effective and delivering benefits to the public authority and/or community. The Chief Executive should establish and implement appropriate security over the information process/data flows by appropriate user controls, e.g. regularly review error logs and monitor access to and transactions processed through financial management systems. Management of reporting arrangements The Chief Executive should ensure that the content, format and timing of reporting are consistent with regulatory requirements. For example, annual reports should comply with the requirements outlined in the Department of the Premier and Cabinet Circular 013 Annual Reporting Requirements; general purpose financial statements should be consistent with the Model Financial Statements issued by the Department of Treasury and Finance. The Chief Executive should ensure that internal reporting arrangements: - set out appropriate reporting criteria and obligations; - establish timelines for regular reporting; - include exception reporting and/or ad-hoc reporting of emerging issues; - have systems and processes in place to ensure accuracy and completeness of information; - present reports in a style that is easy to understand and use, and can provide non-financial information where relevant; and - provide relevant, accurate and complete information to the correct user(s) to enable the appropriate information to be conveyed, actions to be taken or decisions to be made. The Chief Executive should ensure materiality assessments are undertaken that consider what the information is to be used for; which information is significant; and the extent to which amounts reported need to be free from error. The Chief Executive should ensure reporting of information is cost effective in its acquisition, preparation and dissemination. Reissue date: September

16 FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT COMPLIANCE PROGRAM Treasurer s Instruction 28 Financial Management Compliance Program mandates that each Chief Executive must develop, implement, document and maintain a robust and transparent financial management compliance program. A public authority s financial management compliance program will include the monitoring and review of the internal control environment including ethical values and performance targets and indicators. Treasurer s Instruction 28 Financial Management Compliance Program identifies the following areas as a part of the financial management compliance program: compliance with applicable financial management legislation; sub-ordinate legislation and other mandatory requirements of the State. assessment of policies, procedures, systems and internal controls for income, expense, asset, liability, budgetary and reporting activities. Compliance with applicable financial management legislation, sub-ordinate legislation and other mandatory requirements of the State. An effective financial management compliance program will include an assessment of the public authorities compliance with financial management, financial administration and financial reporting matters contained within: Relevant legislation Public Finance and Audit Act 1987, Appropriation Act (annual act), Public Sector Act 2009, State Procurement Act 2004, Public Corporations Act 1993, South Australian Government Financing Authority Act, Statutory Authorities enabling legislation, and Commonwealth and State Taxation Legislation. Sub-ordinate legislation Treasurer s instructions (including accounting policy statements), Commissioner for Public Sector Employment s Standards and Code of Ethics for the SA Public Sector, and State Procurement Board Policies. Other financial management policies/requirements of the State Department of Treasury and Finance Circulars, Department of Premier and Cabinet Policies and Circulars, Leasing Guidelines, Cash Alignment Policy, Monthly Monitoring Requirements, Government endorsed contractual arrangements, Government endorsed Information System Management Framework including Information, Communication and Technology policies and standards, State Records requirements. The flowchart titled Framework for Financial Management Compliance on page 20 will assist SA public authorities in identifying applicable laws, regulations and other mandatory requirements. Reissue date: September

17 When meeting reporting obligations and strengthening internal control environments, the Chief Executive is required to comply with all of the requirements contained within the Treasurer s instructions, and accounting policy statements except where: the mandatory requirement is conditional and the condition is not present; or the Treasurer has approved a variation. When in rare and exceptional circumstances, factors outside a public authority s control prevent the public authority from complying with the requirements contained within the Treasurer s instructions and accounting policy statements, the Chief Executive will advise the Under Treasurer of: the requirement not complied with; the circumstances surrounding the inability to comply; the reasons for the inability to comply; and if possible, what compensating control/alternative procedure will be performed by the public authority. Other areas to be considered as part of the financial management compliance program Apart from an assessment of policies, procedures, systems and internal controls for income, expense, asset, liability, budgetary and reporting activities, other areas to be considered as part of the financial management compliance program include (but are not limited to): governance matters information and communication systems monitoring and reporting arrangements Examples of financial management compliance matters to be considered within these areas include (but are not limited to): Governance matters The Chief Executive is responsible for fostering an appropriate compliance culture that is consistent with the public authority s values, strategies, governance, and ethics. The Chief Executive should nominate a senior officer with authority and responsibility for the overall design, consistency and integrity of the financial management compliance program. The Chief Executive should ensure that the public authority s commitment to financial management compliance is ongoing. Reissue date: September

18 Information and communication systems The Chief Executive should ensure that strategic and business planning activities provide clear direction and guidance for information and communication technology (including the alignment/integration with other information and communication systems within the public authority and the SA public sector) and its future development. Information and communication technology developments and solutions should align with the Government s broader e-government and information and communication technology policy initiatives. The Chief Executive should articulate roles and responsibilities of system owners and other key stakeholders. The Chief Executive should perform a regular assessment of: - benefits delivered from business, information and communication technology systems. This will include the review of performance measures, comparisons of expected benefits with actual benefits and, where appropriate, the development of action plans. - the effect of information and communication technology that supports financial management not being available for an extended period. This will include the review and testing of disaster recovery and business continuity plans. - information and communication technology risks and their impact on financial management including information security risks. Public authorities should comply with the Australian Standard HB Information Security Risk Management Guidelines. -. the adequacy of security and control over financial management information, including an assessment of security policies; password controls (applications and operating platforms); segregation of incompatible duties and user access levels; and physical access to sensitive financial management information and communication technology assets. Monitoring and reporting arrangements The Chief Executive should implement appropriate systems to ensure he or she is informed on all relevant financial management compliance and governance matters. The Chief Executive should ensure that the compliance program and outcome/operational performance is regularly monitored and reviewed. Monitoring is the process of gathering data for the purpose of: - identifying and resolving problems; - ensuring that compliance obligations are met; - reviewing the integrity and effectiveness of the compliance program; - tracking progress on meeting policy commitments, objectives and targets; and Reissue date: September

19 - evaluating the effectiveness of internal and operational controls. Monitoring involves reviewing internal and external environments, monitoring performance against targets, challenging assumptions, reassessing information needs and systems, establishing follow-up procedures and assessing the effectiveness of controls. The Chief Executive should ensure the reporting of compliance matters is incorporated into standard operational reports. Separate reports should be prepared for major breaches and for urgent emerging issues. Note that Treasurer s Instruction 2 Financial Management requires Chief Executives to advise the Under Treasurer of a breach of any Treasurer s Instructions within 30 days that they become aware of that respective breach. The checklist titled Financial Management Compliance Checklist on pages 53 to 76 provides SA public authorities with guidance in assessing their compliance program/internal control environment. Reissue date: September

20 Reissue date: September

21 1. Public Sector Act This Act provides for the establishment of administrative units; the State s public service and its management eg all persons employed by or on behalf of the Crown must be employed under this Act; employees must act honestly; covers Chief Executive and other Executive appointment and responsibilities. The Act also provides for the functions of the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment such as developing and issuing directions and guidelines relating to personnel management matters. 2. Appropriation Act (annual act) - This Act provides for the appropriation of money from the Consolidated Account for each financial year. The schedule details the amounts proposed to be expended from the Consolidated Account during that financial year. 3. Public Corporations Act 1993 This Act provides for the control of public corporations. It covers management matters such as the performance and scope of operations; duties and liabilities of boards and directors; and financial provisions such as the payment of dividends. 4. Public Finance and Audit Act 1987 This Act regulates public finances; it establishes the Consolidated Account and deals with the receipt and application of public monies; public authorities ability to borrow; the Governor s Appropriation Fund. It provides for the audit of public authorities financial statements and for the Auditor-General to examine the degree of efficiency and economy with which public resources are used. Provides for the Treasurer to issue instructions. 5. State Procurement Act 2004 This Act establishes the State Procurement Board and regulates the procurement operations of public authorities. 6. Commonwealth Tax Legislation These Acts provide for the administration of FBT, GST and PAYG taxation and other related matters. 7. Australian Standards Standards Australia is an independent company (limited by guarantee), which prepares and publishes most of the voluntary technical and commercial standards used in Australia. Through a Memorandum of Understanding with the Commonwealth Government, Standards Australia is recognised as Australia s peak national standards body. These standards are developed through an open process of consultation and consensus, in which all interested parties are invited to participate. Reissue date: September

22 FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT REPORTING The ability to produce reports that assist with the planning, execution and monitoring of a public authority s performance is critical to the effectiveness of financial management. The Chief Executive of a public authority is accountable for meeting reporting obligations and strengthening internal control environments with an effective compliance program. Reporting for whole of Government purposes In some cases, public authorities form part of a Portfolio, which collates and summarises portfolio information for reporting to the Minister and identifies and assists with portfolio-wide compliance issues. The Department of Treasury and Finance: provides consolidated (whole of government) reporting to the Treasurer; provides guidance and assistance to public authorities and portfolios via whole of government training/information sessions and information systems; and manages the framework for public sector financial management. The flowchart titled Framework for Financial Management Reporting on page 24 presents the information and communication flow between public authorities, portfolios and the Department of Treasury and Finance for whole of government reporting purposes. Regulatory financial reporting Public authorities discharge accountability through regulatory financial reporting to various stakeholders. To enable Parliament to effectively hold the Government accountable for its performance in the use of resources and management of assets, clarity on the boundaries of the Government reporting entity is essential. Accountability can only be effective with the provision of complete and appropriate information. In large part, public authorities use their annual report to discharge accountability requirements to Parliament. The annual report includes the general purpose financial statements and non-financial information on operational activities. The Financial Reporting Checklist on pages 75 to 93 will assist public authorities with the preparation of their general purpose financial statements. At the end of each financial year, it is the Chief Executive s responsibility to perform an assessment of the effectiveness of the internal control environment and procedures over financial reporting. The Financial Management Compliance Checklist on pages 51 to 74 will assist public authorities in performing this assessment. Reissue date September

23 Evaluating the effectiveness of internal controls over regulatory financial reporting In addition to the Financial Management Compliance Checklist, the following points may be of assistance in assessing the effectiveness of the internal control environment over regulatory financial reporting: for each of the significant accounts and disclosures, identify risks of misstatement with reference to existence or occurrence; completeness; valuation or allocation; rights and obligations; presentation and disclosure. based on the risks identified, and with reference to accounting policies, procedures and processes, identify the key controls that reduce either the likelihood or impact of the risk occurring. consider whether internal controls identified are designed such that they provide reasonable assurance that material misstatements would be prevented or detected by management throughout the year. where deficiencies in the design of internal controls have been identified, develop and implement appropriate remedial action plans, and report details to the Audit Committee and/or the Chief Executive/Board or Governing Body. give attention to complex and or unusual transactions such as measurement and reporting of financial instruments, machinery of Government changes. The Administrative Restructure Checklists (from page 96) may assist public authorities with machinery of Government changes. The following points may also be of assistance in assessing systems: test the effectiveness of key control activities, ie that they were operating as intended throughout the course of the year and not just at a point in time. This may involve: - directly testing a sample of significant control activities; - risk and control self assessments by management and staff; and - management and staff representation. review the evaluation to determine whether deficiencies either individually or in aggregate represent material weakness. Where deficiencies are identified, develop and implement appropriate remedial action plans. prepare and provide representation to the Chief Executive/Board or Governing Body regarding any material control weaknesses identified. Reissue date: September

24 Reissue date: September

25 GUIDANCE: TI 5 DEBT RECOVERY AND WRITE OFFS Introduction and Disclaimer This document is intended to provide guidance as to the interpretation of the obligations imposed in Treasurer s Instruction 5 Debt Recovery and Write Offs. The document is not a substitute for specialised advice, i.e. from the Department of Treasury and Finance or legal advice from the Crown Solicitor s Office. Q1 Is my agency bound by TI 5? A1. If your agency is a public authority as defined in sec 4 of the Public Finance and Audit Act 1987 (PFAA), then yes, it is obliged to comply with T I5 (and other Treasurer s Instructions). Treasurer s instructions are issued pursuant to section 41 of the PFAA and apply to all public authorities. A public authority is defined in section 4 of the PFAA to mean (a) (b) (c) a government department; a Minister; a statutory authority (i) (ii) that is an instrumentality of the Crown; or the accounts of which the Auditor-General is required by law to audit; (d) such other body or person as is prescribed, but, subject to any other provision of the Public Finance and Audit Act 1987, does not include a statutory authority where the Act by or under which the authority is appointed or established provides for the auditing of the accounts of the authority by a person other than the Auditor-General. Note: TI 1 provides an exemption for the University of Adelaide; Flinders University of South Australia; and the University of South Australia to comply with TI 5. Q2 What is a debt for the purposes of TI 5? A2. A debt, for the purposes of TI 5, in general terms, is an obligation to pay. TI 5 defines a debt quite broadly to mean a sum of money owed by a person or an entity to a public authority. It includes an obligation due to the authority and/or the right to receive and enforce payment (e.g. a loan receivable, claim, salary overpayment, loss, theft and deficiency of public assets, money owed for goods sold or services provided). For the purposes of this instruction, debt excludes sums of money owed by entities within the same reporting entity. Reissue date: September

26 For example: A Minister is entitled to a payment from a party arising under an agreement/contract. This includes a situation where a party has not fulfilled its contractual obligations; and the failure to meet certain conditions/obligations entitles the South Australian Government to recover certain amounts previously paid. Note: In the scenario above, where the parties then negotiate a Deed of Settlement in which, they agree the amount of repayment to be less than what the South Australian Government is owed under the original agreement/contract, then the reduced value of the debt being agreed under the Deed of Settlement would be subject to TI 5. Q3. Is it possible for there to be a debt, for the purposes of TI 5, even when it is not recognised/recorded in the public authority s accounts (financial statements/general ledger/debtors ledger)? A3. Yes. As indicated, TI 5 defines a debt quite broadly. A debt is a chose in action it is a right which a creditor has to enforce by taking action in a court of law against the person who owes the money. If a chose in action exists, there is a debt irrespective of whether the debt has been recorded in the accounts. For example: An overpayment of wages has occurred due to an administrative processing error by an outsourced service provider. The outsourced service provider discusses the situation with the public authority concerned and an agreement is reached not to reflect the overpaid salary in the accounts. Even though the debt is not recorded in the accounts of the agency, the overpayment of wages (i.e. debt) would still be subject to TI 5. Q4. TI 5 says a debt is not be written off where the debtor is a South Australian Government employee: who is a South Australian Government (public sector) employee for the purposes of clause 5.15 of TI 5? A4. A current South Australian Government (public sector) employee is one employed in and/or receiving income from the South Australian public sector. TI 5 stipulates that debts are not to be written off where the debtor is a current South Australian Government (public sector) employee and that current employees are to be pursued for prompt repayment. The exception to this rule is where the amount does not exceed $20, then the Chief Executive or agency head may at his or her discretion waive the amount. An employee is a person who is subject to a contract of service between them and an employing authority on behalf of the Crown. This includes employees who are absent from duty on leave of any kind. It clearly does not include persons who are deceased or whose employment has otherwise been terminated, for any reason. It is important to note that despite a person no longer being an employee, there is still an obligation on public authorities to seek to recover debts owed by the person. This includes attempted recovery from the estates of deceased persons. The fact that it is possible to write off a debt owed by former employees does not mean the obligation to seek recovery is diminished. Writing off of debts may only occur pursuant to TI 5 (see Q6). Reissue date: September

27 Q5. TI 5 says a Chief Executive may exercise discretion to waive an amount not exceeding $20 owed by a current South Australian Government (public sector) employee is the $20 an annual maximum amount? A5. No, the $20 means a total amount. For example: During the current year, a payroll processing error was identified. The error had re-occurred in each of the four preceding years. This has resulted in a salary overpayment of $12 in each year, with a total salary overpayment of $48. The question becomes can TI 5 be interpreted such that a chief executive or agency head or delegate can exercise discretion to waive the total amount of $48 because each year the amount overpaid was less than $20 and the Chief Executive could have exercised discretion in each year, if he or she was aware of the overpayment? The provisions of TI 5 clause are clear and refer to a total amount. In this case, the total amount ($48) exceeds the $20 threshold in clause and accordingly the debtor, being a current South Australian Government (public sector) employee would be pursued for prompt repayment. Q6. The Chief Executive or agency head or a delegate in my agency wants to write off a debt. What is the process? A6. A debt may be written off only once a public authority s debt recovery policies and procedures have been followed and the approvals in TI 5 obtained. Where a Chief Executive or nominated employee s approval is required, public authorities are to follow internal policies and procedures. Where the Treasurer s approval is required: either the public authority s Minister may write to the Treasurer directly or alternatively the public authority s Chief Executive may write to the Under Treasurer, requesting a submission be forwarded to the Treasurer on his/her behalf. the correspondence to Treasury should clearly articulate: - whether the public authority s debt recovery policies and procedures have been followed or not. If they have not been followed, why not; - whether the Crown Solicitor s Office has provided advice. Where the Crown Solicitor s Office has provided advice, this should be attached; - the name of the debtor; the amount of the debt; background to the creation of the debt (including date); steps/processes undertaken by the public authority to recover the debt; and why it is asserted it cannot be or should not be recovered*; - where the debtor is a current South Australian Government employee, the debt relates to salary overpayment, and the public authority is subject to Determination 6 - why a public authority cannot recover the debt via unilateral deductions from an employee s salary (ie reliance upon section 70 Reissue date: September

28 of the PS Act). e.g. why an agency has not commenced recovery within 6 years of the debt being created; and - what changes/amendments, if any, will be made to the public authority s policies and procedures and/or contractual arrangements. * for example, whilst there is a prima facie obligation to repay debts arising from an overpayment, the obligation may be displaced in certain specific circumstances e.g. detrimental reliance on the amounts received in good faith. If any debtor asserts they have no obligation to repay based on this legal principle, advice should be sought from the Crown Solicitor s Office as the principle is extremely hard to demonstrate/make out. Q7 to Q11 relate in part to the interaction between the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment s Determination 6 Recovery of Overpayment and TI 5 Debt Recovery and Write Offs. Specifically in relation to the following statement which appears on page 5 of the Determination: The Commissioner for Public Sector Employment determines that where an agency relies upon section 70 of the PS Act to recover a debt owed by an employee created by an overpayment, the agency may only commence recovery of the debt within six (6) years of the debt being created. The above statement first appeared in the Determination that was reissued on 1 October Q7 Is my agency bound by the Determination of the Commissioner for Public Sector No. 6? Determination 6 applies to employees and public sector agencies covered by Part 7 of the Public Sector Act 2009 (PS Act). In the context of a public authority for the purposes of the PFAA - this largely includes: all administrative units (departments and attached office); certain statutory authorities where the Statute Amendments Act changed the employing authority to a Chief Executive of an administrative unit; and certain other identified/declared statutory authorities such as: the Courts Administration Authority; Urban Renewal Authority; Lifetime Support Authority; Education and Early Childhood Services Registration and Standards Board; and the Legal Professional Conduct Commissioner. Where your agency is not bound by Determination 6, the Office for the Public Sector. is encouraging agencies to adopt Determination 6 as policy. If there is any doubt as to whether or not your agency must or should follow the Determination, contact the Office for the Public Sector or the Crown Solicitor s Office. Reissue date: September

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