Under moves to streamline its annual A$1 billion procurement programme, the Australian Taxation Office is streamlining the way goods and services are bought, managed, and allocated. The focus is on risk management, while delivering more tailored contracts, and benchmarking risk.
Ms Cawthra, a keynote speaker at next month’s 3rd Regional GovCFO Forum Australia says the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is developing a new risk differentiation framework. This framework marks a move away from one-size-fits-all contracts involving large and small suppliers.
Speaking to FutureGov, she says this peak revenue collection agency needs more sophistication in the handling of procurement arrangements. The aim is to cut red tape, and work within the dynamics of changing governance and reporting arrangements.
Effective 1st July 2014, the agency will roll out new procurement arrangements. This is built around a risk differentiation framework, offering more flexibility in the way contracts and suppliers are managed. These changes do not impact existing contracts, however, influence future purchasing decisions.
“We need points of differentiation that treat each contract differently,” Ms Cawthra says. “We also want to reduce red tape, manage resources more efficiently, and work more effectively with suppliers.”
With ICT procurement, Ms Cawthra adds that her division works in tandem with the CIO Mr Bill Gibson. “This can be a double-edge sword, in that CIOs are looking for particular outcomes. Our aim is to manage the overall financial drivers, as well as external and internal needs.”
The biggest concern for the ATO is the businesses’ ability to absorb ongoing budget pressures, while continuing to drive efficiency and effectiveness.
Into the New Year, the biggest opportunity for the finance team is continuing to drive key strategic directions, such as reducing red tape, and freeing up the business focus on delivery.
As a financial reporting management agency, the ATO is involved with the Department of Finance on new Financial Management Reforms. This work involves high-level committees and advisory bodies. It is also involved in the work of the recently-established Australian Commission of Audit. This audit, led by private and public sector members, is carrying out a top-down review of public spending.
More broadly, the ATO handles nearly 12 million annual tax returns. More than 600 million transactions are reported annually from sources. These include banks, share registries, employers, merchants, states and territories and other government departments. Partnerships with external service providers deliver and support over 750 networked systems.
Hear from key CFOs about financial management challenges at the 3rd Regional GovCFO Forum Australia. Speakers represent the ATO, Department of Communications, Department of Human Services, Department of Health, and other Australian and international agencies.