Our enabling legislation is the National Health Reform Act 2011 (Cwlth) as amended by the National Health Reform Amendment (Administrator and National Funding Body) Act 2012 (Cwlth).
This Commonwealth legislation is supported by common provisions in statutes in each state and territory that create the Administrator’s position, and set out their functions:
Table 9: State and territory legislation that supports the National Health Reform Act 2011
NEW SOUTH WALES
Health Services Act 1997
Health (Commonwealth State Funding Arrangements) Act 2012
Hospital and Health Boards Act 2011
National Health Funding Pool Administration (South Australia) Act 2012
National Health Funding Pool Act 2012
National Health Funding Administration Act 2012
Health (National Health Funding Pool and Administration) Act 2013
National Health Funding Pool and Administration
Figure 2: NHFB governance arrangements
The NHFB operates in a complex and challenging environment, involving a wide range of internal and external stakeholders. It is subject to legislation, regulations, standards and guidelines which are applicable to the NHFB and its activities.
The NHFB’s governance is based on principles of public sector governance including:
- accountability – to comply with the legislative requirements according to the parameters set
- collaboration – to maintain effective working relationships with all stakeholders, to instil continued confidence
- integrity – to conduct business and make decisions in a manner which demonstrates the principles of honesty, consistency, accuracy and ethics
- leadership – to ensure leadership, effective policy advice and best practice in the management of national health funding
- privacy – to comply with secrecy and disclosure requirements
- transparency – to be transparent in the reporting and transactions of funding activities within the Funding Pool.
The NHFB is committed to managing its business operations, so it strives to meet its strategic objectives, statutory obligations and ethical standards. This commitment is an integral part of the NHFB’s management practices, and the foundation of the NHFB’s Corporate Governance Framework.
A feature of the NHFB’s overall governance is its accountabilities to the:
- Administrator (an officer accountable to the Commonwealth, states and territories), in respect of the requirements for the NHFB to assist the Administrator in the performance of his or her duties
- Commonwealth Minister for Health, in respect of the NHFB’s existence as a non–corporate Commonwealth entity.
To facilitate the work of the Administrator and that of the NHFB, the NHFB has various governance arrangements in place. These include:
- Managing the Administrator’s Jurisdictional Advisory Committee, including secretariat functions.
- Facilitating the Chief Finance Officer and Reconciliation Advisory Group Committee, including secretariat functions.
- Working in collaboration with a number of external national health committees. the Administrator and the NHFB provide representation on the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority Jurisdictional Advisory Committee, Technical Advisory Committee, and Non–admitted Care Advisory Working Group.
- Assisting the Administrator in reporting to the Council of Australian Governments’ Health Council on the operations of the Funding Pool.
- Supporting representation on the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Committee where appropriate. The NHFB is a member of the National Health Information Performance Principal Committee, and the National Health Information Standards and Statistics Committee.
- Appointing an Audit Committee that is responsible for providing independent advice and assurance on the appropriateness of the NHFB’s accountability and control framework, including independently verifying and safeguarding the integrity of financial and performance reporting.
For more detail on the NHFB’s committee involvement, please see below.
Administrator’s Jurisdictional Advisory Committee
Chair Administrator of the National Health Funding Pool
the Administrator’s Jurisdictional Advisory Committee (the JAC) is a strategic advisory committee of senior representatives of states and territories, and relevant Commonwealth departments and agencies. The JAC considers strategic issues associated with those elements of national health reform for which the Administrator has responsibility.
The JAC enables collaboration between the Administrator (and the NHFB) and the Commonwealth, state and territory Health Departments on operational arrangements and priorities under the Agreement and the Act.
Chief Finance Officers / Reconciliation Advisory Group Committee
Chair NHFB Chief Executive Officer
The Chief Finance Officers/Reconciliation Advisory Group
(CFO/RAG) Committee is a technical group established by the NHFB, on behalf of the Administrator.
The CFO/RAG Committee enables collaboration between jurisdictions on issues impacting the operational management of the Funding Pool.
The CFO/RAG Committee also supports and informs the hospital service reconciliation and data matching requirements outlined in the Agreement, and enables technical collaboration between stakeholders.
NHFB Executive Committee
The NHFB Executive Committee is the primary decision making body in the NHFB. The Committee provides advice and makes recommendations to the Chief Executive Officer on policies, direction, initiatives, and immediate and emerging issues. The Committee also acts as a forum for discussion, prioritisation and forward planning.
NHFB Audit Committee
The NHFB Audit Committee is an assurance body formed in 2013 that comprises four independent members: Carol Holley (Chair), Mark Ridley, Ken Barker, and Diane Fielding. All members were appointed for a period of three years.
The functions of the Audit Committee include reviewing the appropriateness of the NHFB’s financial reports, performance reporting, systems of risk oversight and management and systems of internal controls.
Additionally, the Audit Committee supports the process of auditing the financial statements of both the NHFB and the Funding Pool.
The Audit Committee met six times during 2014–15, in July, August, October and December 2014; and in March and May 2015.
Audit committee members
Carol Holley was appointed as Chair of the NHFB Audit Committee on 1 March 2013.
Ms Holley is a Non–Executive Director and Chair of the Audit Committee of Australian Pharmaceutical Industries Limited, a Non–Executive Director of the Defence Housing Australia (DHA) Board, Chair of DHA Investment Management Limited, a member of the Property Committee of DHA, and Chair of the Board Audit Committee. She is also the Independent Chair of the Risk Management and Audit Committees of NSW, NSW Land and Housing Corporation Services, the Parliament of NSW, and a member of the Risk and Audit Committee of the NSW Police Force and the NSW Mental Health Commission.
Ms Holley is a Chartered Accountant, and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Mark Ridley is a former senior partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he held a number of leadership roles focused on assurance and risk management.
Mr Ridley is currently Chair of the Audit Committee for the Department of Human Services, encompassing Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support, and Chair of the Audit Committee for the Clean Energy Regulator and the Royal Australian Mint. Mr Ridley is also an independent member of the Audit and Risk Committee of the Australian National University, and the Audit Committee for the Australian Financial Security Authority.
Mr Ridley is a Chartered Accountant (FCA), a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and a long–standing member of the Information Systems Audit and Control Association.
Ken Barker has 42 years of experience in public sector management and finance, previously working across four large NSW Government agencies (NSW Police, the former Public Works, Corrective Services, and NSW Health).
Mr Barker has a number of board and committee appointments, including Deputy Chair of the NSW Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network, board member of the NSW Clinical Excellence Commission and Agency for Clinical Innovation, and Chair of the National Blood Authority Audit Committee.
Prior to his retirement in 2009, he had been Chief Financial Officer of NSW Health for over 20 years.
Mr Barker was awarded the Public Service Medal in 2002 for Outstanding Public Service in public sector financial management. Mr Barker is a Fellow of the Institute of Public Accountants, and a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Diane Fielding joined the Australian Public Service in 1982, and retired in 2006 as First Assistant Secretary (Finance) for the Department of Defence. She had previously been the Chief Financial Officer of the Departments of Veterans’ Affairs, Social Security, and Centrelink.
Ms Fielding was a member of the CPA Australia Public Sector Committee for 14 years, and was a member of the Australian Institute of Management ACT Advisory Council from 2008 to 2013. She is currently the Chair of the Downer Community Association.
Ms Fielding is a Fellow of CPA Australia and the Australian Institute of Management, and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
The NHFB integrates its risk management practices with broader management and operational processes to achieve optimal business outcomes.
In line with the requirements under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013, the NHFB has an appropriate system of risk oversight and management. The NHFB uses a suite of risk management tools, including a Risk Management Framework, Risk Register, and a Risk Management Plan which comply with AS/NZS ISO31000: Risk Management.
The NHFB has:
- prepared fraud risk assessments and a fraud control plan
- appropriate fraud prevention, detection, investigation, and reporting mechanisms in place
- taken all reasonable measures to appropriately deal with fraud, including the provision of fraud awareness training to all staff in 2014–15.
The NHFB’s Fraud Control Plan was developed in accordance with Section 10 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014.
Audits and Assurance Reviews
The NHFB’s Audit and Assurance Programme during 2014–15 contained a total of 15 audit or assurance reviews. The Programme included 11 internal audit or assurance reviews, and four external assurance reviews.
During 2014–15, the NHFB also engaged an independent expert to undertake a reasonable assurance review of the control and governance model underpinning the Payments System.
The review was conducted in accordance with the Framework for Assurance Engagements issued by the Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (AUASB), and concluded that Payment System controls are effective in all material aspects.
Public Service Code of Conduct
The NHFB promotes adherence to the Australian Public Service (APS) Values and Code of Conduct.
Audit Committee members, including the Chair, are independent and external to the NHFB. See page 30 for further information on the Audit Committee.
No judicial or tribunal decisions have been made or are pending with regard to the NHFB.
No reports on the operations of the NHFB have been released by the Auditor–General, a Parliamentary Committee, or the Commonwealth Ombudsman.
In 2014–15 the NHFB leased assets from the Commonwealth Department of Health.
On 1 July 2014 the NHFB received a leasehold incentive in the form of an office fit–out. This asset was subsequently disposed when the lease was terminated on 31 January 2015.
The NHFB’s purchasing activities were conducted in line with the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines and the NHFB Accountable Authority Instructions.
The NHFB supports small business participation in the Commonwealth Government procurement market. Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) and Small Enterprise participation statistics are available on the Department of Finance’s website: finance.gov.au/procurement/statistics-on-commonwealth-purchasing-contracts/
No consultants were engaged by the NHFB in 2014–15.
Australian National Audit Office Access Clauses
The NHFB did not enter into any contracts precluding access by the Commonwealth Auditor–General.
The NHFB did not enter into any contracts that were exempt from publication on the AusTender website.
Health and Safety Outcomes
In 2014–15 the NHFB had no reportable incidents or serious personal injury incidents, and no notices or directions under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.
Advertising and Market Research
The NHFB did not undertake any advertising campaigns or market research during 2014–15.
Ecological and Environmental Reporting
The NHFB is committed to the principles of ecologically sustainable development.
In 2014–15 the NHFB has continued to minimise its environmental impact by:
- encouraging all staff members to reduce the volume of printing
- turning off lights and computers when the office is not in use
- utilising waste recycling stations
- reducing our office space
- limiting travel by using technological solutions whenever possible.
Commonwealth agencies have previously reported in annual reports on their performances as policy advisers, purchasers, employers, regulators, and providers under the Commonwealth Disability Strategy.
This has been replaced by reporting under the National Disability Strategy 2010–2020. This strategy sets out a ten–year national policy framework to improve the lives of people with disability, promote participation, and create a more inclusive society.
Information and reporting on the National Disability Strategy is available at: dss.gov.au/our-responsibilities/disability-and-carers/program-services/government-international/national-disability-strategy.
Information Publication Scheme
The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the FOI Act) gives members of the public a right to access copies of documents, other than exempt documents, held by the NHFB.
Agencies subject to the FOI Act are required to publish information to the public as part of the Information Publication Scheme.
In accordance with the FOI Act requirements, the NHFB publishes FOI information on its website at: nhfb.gov.au/contact-us/freedom-of-information/.
No FOI requests were received by the NHFB in 2014–15.
There were no grant programmes undertaken by the NHFB in 2014–15.