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Defence, Security & Justice

Amalgation of a Government Department

A Governance, Risk & Compliance case study

The project

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) conducts independent merits review of administrative decisions made under Commonwealth laws.  It reviews decisions made by Australian Government ministers, departments and agencies and, in limited circumstances, decisions made by state government and non-government bodies.

The AAT was established by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975 and commenced operations on 1 July 1976. The Migration Review Tribunal, Refugee Review Tribunal and Social Security Appeals Tribunal were amalgamated with the AAT on 1 July 2015. The AAT falls within the portfolio of the Attorney-General.

The AAT can review decisions made under more than 400 Commonwealth Acts and legislative instruments. The most common types of decisions we review relate to:

  • child support
  • Commonwealth workers’ compensation
  • family assistance, paid parental leave, social security and student assistance
  • migration and refugee visas and visa-related decisions
  • taxation
  • veterans’ entitlements.

It can also review decisions relating to:

  • Australian citizenship
  • bankruptcy
  • civil aviation
  • corporations and financial services regulation
  • customs
  • freedom of information
  • the National Disability Insurance Scheme
  • passports
  • security assessments by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.

Our role

Staff in AAT registries provide administrative and other support in managing applications in each division. Conference Registrars conduct the majority of conferences and other ADR processes. The AAT has District Registries in each of the state capital cities and in Canberra.

Corporate and Enterprise Services staff advise and assist the President and the Registrar and provide a range of services for members and staff. They are responsible for business support services, communications, financial and human resource management, corporate legal and policy services, library and other information management services and technology services.

OCM worked closely with the Corporate and Enterprise Services staff to harmonise the business support services. With the Registry amalgamations came many challenges including bringing together multiple systems and processes and developing single policies.

OCM worked with the AAT on some of their major projects, including moving from four payroll, financial and HRs systems to one. OCM’s role was to review the project governance and ensure that all risks were being adequately addressed throughout the transformation process.

Five years on the AAT still operate four case management systems, however in 2016 a digital strategy was adopted which sets out a range of initiatives to improve the ability of external and internal users to operate in a more digital way.  A core component of that work was the implementation of a single case management solution for all applications lodged in the AAT.

In 2018, OCM were asked to conduct a review of their current systems. The objectives were to identify risk identify risks associated with the continued operation of the case management systems pending the introduction of a single case management solution, to assess the governance and resourcing arrangements for the four systems and to provide recommendations and corrective action.

In addition to our project assurance work, OCM also undertake between 8-10 internal audits annually, generally the audits cover a wide range of operational processes across the AAT including but not limited to: Procurement, Complaints Management, Records Management, IT Security, WHS, Application Whitelisting, and the verification of superannuation contributions.