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Management accountability - Annual Report 2011-2012: Australian Human Rights Commission

People and performance

Management accountability

Our main corporate governance practices

The Commission, as a legal entity, is constituted by the President and the
Commissioners. The President is the senior member of the Commission. The
Commission meets every sixth-to-eighth week to make its decisions. All meetings
are minuted.

The responsibilities of the Commission include preparing and implementing the
strategic plan, ensuring compliance with the APS Code of Conduct, ensuring
transparency and accountability for our work and fostering high ethical
standards in its execution. The President has specific responsibility for
financial management but has delegated some of those functions to the Executive

The Commission has developed a Governance Handbook which sets out its
responsibilities and, where relevant, the individual responsibilities of the
President and specific Commissioners.

Identifying financial and operational risk

We annually review and identify changes to business and operational risks
through our business risk assessment. Risks are categorised according to whether
they are strategic or corporate in nature. Controls and risk-mitigating
strategies are also identified along with an assessment of the residual

Protecting against fraud

We have undertaken a Fraud Risk Assessment, developed a Fraud Control Plan
and have procedures and processes in place to assist in fraud prevention,
detection, investigation and reporting in line with the Commonwealth Fraud
Control Guidelines. The Fraud Control Plan is available electronically to all
Commission staff.

Audit committee

Consistent with the Australian Stock Exchange principles of good corporate
governance and the requirements of the Financial Management and
Accountability Act 1997
(Cth), we maintain an audit committee. The audit
committee advises the President on compliance with external reporting
requirements and the effectiveness and efficiency of internal control and risk
management mechanisms. The audit committee met four times during the reporting

Complaint of age discrimination in recruitment

The complainant is 67 years old and applied for several positions through the
respondent recruitment company. He claimed that despite his qualifications, the
respondent did not invite him for an interview. The complainant said the
respondent advertised it offered a ‘young and dynamic culture’.

The respondent company denied it unlawfully discriminated against the
complainant and claimed there were other better matched or more qualified
applicants. The company claimed the phrase ‘young and dynamic’ was a
description of the retail services the client provides.

The complaint was resolved with an agreement that the respondent pay the
complainant $1,000 financial compensation, change and review the wording of its
advertisements and policy documents and arrange for the complainant to meet with
one of its senior consultants.