Policy

Financial Accountability and Legislative Requirements - Policy

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Body

1. Purpose and Objectives

The purpose of this policy is to define the financial accountability and legislative requirements of the University.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

No entries for this document.

3. Policy Scope/Coverage

This policy applies to all University staff.

4. Policy Statement

This policy outlines the financial responsibilities for staff within the University, the role of policies within the University's financial administration and provides details regarding the Acts and Statutes as they relate to the financial aspect of the University.

The University of Queensland is a statutory body.

As defined in section 9 of the Financial Accountability Act 2009, a statutory body:

  • is established under an Act (that is, its enabling legislation);
  • has control of funds (that is, can make decisions about how funds are expended); and
  • includes, or its governing body includes, at least one member who is appointed under an Act by the Governor in Council or a Minister or whose appointment is confirmed by the Governor in Council or a Minister.

The University must comply with the financial administration, accounting, controls, management, auditing and reporting requirements of the following:

  • its enabling legislation - The University of Queensland Act 1998
  • the Financial Accountability Act 2009
  • the Financial Accountability Regulation 2009
  • the Financial and Performance Management Standard 2009 issued in terms of the Financial Accountability Act 2009 Section 57
  • the Statutory Bodies Financial Arrangements Act 1982 and the Statutory Bodies Financial Arrangements Amendment Act 2003
  • the Statutory Bodies Financial Arrangements Regulation 2007
  • the Higher Education Support Act 2003
  • Auditor-General Act 2009
  • Right to Information Act 2009
  • Information Privacy Act 2009
  • Public Records Act 2002
  • Public Sector Ethics Act 1994
  • Integrity Act 2009
  • Public Service Act 2008

To do this, the University relies on its staff with delegated financial responsibilities to keep proper accounts and records of income, expenditure, assets and liabilities made on behalf of the University.

Specific policies, procedures and guidelines governing how these accounts are maintained and how income and expenditure is recorded and authorised are provided in Section 9 of the UQ Policies and Procedures Library

5. Financial Management Practices

Section 16(1) of the Financial and Performance Management Standard 2009 states the University must prepare and maintain a financial management practice manual for use in the financial management of the University.

Section 16 also states that the manual:

  • is required to comply with related legislation, regulation or policies;
  • supports the management of the University’s financial resources;
  • may be in the form of hard copy, electronic form, or electronic system processes (or combination thereof); and
  • must be adopted by all agency staff in the performance of their financial management roles.

The University's financial policies, procedures and guidelines are maintained in Section 9 of the UQ Policies and Procedures Library which facilitates an auditable and controlled financial framework.

The University will facilitate awareness within its organisational units of the University's financial policies, procedures and guidelines and provide advice on the implications of any diversions from these policies, procedures and guidelines.

FBS retains the responsibility for the maintenance of appropriate, officially endorsed and up-to-date financial information, training and guidance on the use of the Finance Management Practices section of the PPL.

All managers and staff are required to follow the policies, procedures and guidelines within the Financial Management Practices section of the PPL so as to fulfil their accountability requirements within the University. 

Upon receipt of advice that the policies, procedures or guidelines have been updated, organisational units are required to undertake an appraisal of their existing procedures to determine if they comply with the revised requirements. Any corrective action necessary to ensure compliance is to be undertaken promptly.

All entries in the PPL are is to be read in conjunction with any other Act or law that is applicable to the financial management of the University.

The PPL is available from the University's website. The URL address is: http://ppl.app.uq.edu.au

6. Financial Accountability

6.1 The University of Queensland Act

The University of Queensland was proclaimed in 1909 under The University of Queensland Act 1909. Powers relating to the University’s property and finance are conferred upon the University Senate by Part 2 (s9) and Part 5 of the current Act. These powers include the powers of investment, financial arrangements, budgetary requirements, preparation of annual financial statements and audit thereof.

In terms of Section 45 of the University of Queensland Act 1998, the University is declared a statutory body under the Financial Accountability Act 2009.

Under Section 51, the University’s financial year is a calendar year – i.e. from 1 January to 31 December.  The operating expenditure for the year is authorised by an annual budget that is approved by Senate late in the previous year.

6.2 Financial Accountability Act

The Financial Accountability Act 2009 (the Act) and its subordinate legislation, the Financial and Performance Management Standard 2009 (the Standard), establish the high-level financial management and accountability obligations for all statutory bodies.

The Act and the Standard are principles-based, focusing on accountability and outcomes. They provide an appropriate level of discretion to agency executives to optimise resource allocation and tailor systems for the administration of their agency, whilst also ensuring a high-level of accountability.

The functions for which statutory bodies’ management are accountable include:

  • the implementation and maintenance of systems to manage the body’s financial resources;
  • undertaking regular strategic and operational planning;
  • monitoring the performance of the agency;
  • preparing annual financial statements for audit by the Auditor-General; and
  • preparing an annual report which is tabled in Parliament by the appropriate Minister.

6.3 Financial and Performance Management Standard

Financial and Performance Management Standard 2009 provides a framework for departments and statutory bodies to develop and implement systems, practices and controls for their efficient, effective and economic, financial and performance management. The Standard requires accountable officers and statutory bodies to adopt a proactive approach in monitoring the appropriateness of the systems, operations and overall financial position and performance of the department or statutory body.

6.4 Statutory Bodies Financial Arrangements Act

The primary purpose of the Statutory Bodies Financial Arrangements Act 1982 (SBFA) and its subordinate legislation, the Statutory Bodies Financial Arrangements Regulation 2007, provides for the efficient and effective management of the powers of statutory bodies to enter into financial arrangements.  The Act establishes the borrowing and investment powers of agencies. Issues covered by the SBFA include guarantees, derivative transactions and the formation of companies.

6.5 Higher Education Support Act

Higher Education Support Act (HESA) 2003 is Commonwealth legislation which governs student financial support policies.

6.6 Auditor-General Act

The Auditor-General Act 2009 establishes the position of the Queensland Auditor-General and the Queensland Audit Office. The Act also confers on the Auditor-General and the Queensland Audit Office the functions and powers necessary to carry out independent audits of all Queensland public sector agencies.

 6.7 Right to Information Act and Information Privacy Act

The Right to Information reforms aim to make more information available, provide equal access to information across all sectors of the community, and provide appropriate protection for individuals' privacy.

The Right to Information Act 2009 and the Information Privacy Act 2009 replaced Freedom of Information (FOI) laws and provide appropriate safeguards for the way the public sector handles an individual's personal information.

The Right to Information Act:

  • gives the public a right to apply for access to documents held by government agencies and Ministers;
  • requires each agency to publish a publication scheme on its website which may include an online disclosure log of documents that have been released in response to Right to Information applications; and
  • establishes the Information Commissioner and Right to Information Commissioner to oversee Right to Information in Queensland.

The Information Privacy Act:

  • gives the public a right to apply to access and amend their own personal information;
  • details the privacy principles public sector agencies must comply with; and
  • establishes the Privacy Commissioner as a deputy to the Information Commissioner with particular responsibility for Information Privacy in Queensland.

6.8 Public Records Act

The Public Records Act 2002 provides for the management of public records in Queensland. A public record is any form of recorded information, both received and created, that provides evidence of the decisions and actions of a public authority while undertaking its business activities. The Public Records Act covers all public records irrespective of the technology or medium used to generate, capture, manage, preserve and access those records. All public authority employees have some responsibilities for making, keeping and managing the public records that they receive or create.

6.9 Public Sector Ethics Act

The Public Sector Ethics Act 1994 declares the ethical principles that are fundamental to good public administration. It covers the ethics obligations for public officials, code of conduct for public officials, additional responsibilities of chief executive officers and disciplinary action for contravention of approved codes of conduct. All public officials should adhere to the ethics obligations as set out in this Act.

6.10 Integrity Act

The purpose of the Integrity Act 2009 is to encourage confidence in public institutions by helping Ministers, members of the Legislative Assembly and others to deal appropriately with ethics or integrity issues, and regulating contact between lobbyists and State or local government representatives so that lobbying is conducted in accordance with public expectations of transparency and integrity.

The Act covers the role and functions of the Integrity Commissioner, advice on ethics or integrity issues as well as advice for designated persons on integrity issues.

6.11 Public Service Act

The main purposes of the Public Service Act 2008 are to:

  • establish a high performing apolitical public service that is responsive to Government priorities, focused on the delivery of services in a professional and non-partisan way;
  • promote the effectiveness and efficiency of government entities;
  • provide for the administration of the public service and the employment and management of public service employees;
  • provide for the rights and obligations of public service employees; and
  • promote equality of employment opportunity in the public service and in other particular agencies in the public sector.

To help achieve the main purposes, this Act fixes principles to guide public service management, public service employment and the work performance and personal conduct of public service employees. It establishes the Public Service Commission to enhance the public service’s human resource management and capability, and review and improve the overall effectiveness and efficiency of government entities.

Custodians
Chief Financial Officer
Mr Andrew Betts
Custodians
Chief Financial Officer
Mr Andrew Betts