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Glossary of terms

Accrual accounting System of accounting where items are brought to account and included in the financial statements as they are earned or incurred, rather than as they are received or paid.
Administered items Expenses, revenues, assets or liabilities managed by agencies on behalf of the Commonwealth. Agencies do not control administered items. Administered expenses include grants, subsidies and benefits. In many cases, administered expenses fund the delivery of third party outputs.
Agency Agencies are departments of state, departments of parliament and ‘prescribed agencies’ for the purposes of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997. Where the term is used generally in this document, it is meant to refer to departments, agencies, authorities and non-commercial companies.
Appropriation An authorisation by Parliament to spend moneys from the Consolidated Revenue Fund for a particular purpose.
APS employee A person engaged under section 22, or a person who is engaged as an APS employee under section 72, of the Public Service Act 1999.
Australian Workplace Agreement (AWA) Individual written agreement between an employer and employee about terms and conditions of employment, made under the Workplace Relations Act 1996.
Certified Agreement Collective agreement between an employer and a group of employees, or between an employer and a union or unions representing employees, made under the Workplace Relations Act 1996.
Competitive tendering and contracting (CTC) The process of contracting out the delivery of government activities previously performed by a Commonwealth agency to another organisation. The activity is submitted to competitive tender, and the preferred provider of the activity is selected from the range of bidders by evaluating offers against predetermined selection criteria.
Consolidated Revenue Fund Section 81 of the Constitution stipulates that all revenue raised or money received by the Commonwealth forms the one consolidated revenue fund (CRF). The CRF is not a bank account. The Official Public Account reflects most of the operations of the CRF.
Consultancy services Consultancy services are one particular type of service delivered under a contract for services. They are distinguished from other contracts by the nature of the work performed. A consultant is an entity, whether an individual, a partnership or a corporation, engaged to provide professional independent and expert advice or services. Typically, the term consultancy services is used to describe the application of expert professional skills to: investigate or diagnose a defined issue or problem, carry out defined research, reviews or evaluations; or provide independent advice, information or creative solutions to assist the agency in management decision making.
Corporate governance The process by which agencies are directed and controlled. It is generally understood to encompass authority, accountability, stewardship, leadership, direction and control.
Effectiveness The extent to which actual outcomes are achieved, in terms of planned outcomes, via relevant outputs or administered expenses. An intervention’s effectiveness should be distinguished from efficiency, which concerns the adequacy of its administration.
Inputs Resources in the form of people, materials, energy, facilities and funds that an agency uses in activities to produce outputs.
Internal auditing Internal auditing is an independent, objective assurance and consulting activity designed to add value and improve an organisation’s operations. It helps an organisation accomplish its objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk management, control, and governance processes.
Non-ongoing APS employee An APS employee who is not an ongoing APS employee.
Ongoing APS employee A person engaged as an ongoing APS employee as mentioned in paragraph 22(2)(a) of the Public Service Act 1999.
Outcomes The results, impacts or consequences of actions by the Commonwealth on the Australian community. Planned outcomes are the results or impacts that the Government wishes to achieve. Actual outcomes are the results or impacts actually achieved.
Outputs The goods and services produced by agencies on behalf of government for external organisations or individuals. Outputs include goods and services produced for other areas of government external to the agency.
Performance Evidence about performance that is collected and
information used systematically. Evidence may relate to appropriateness, effectiveness and efficiency. It may be about outcomes, factors that affect outcomes and what can be done to improve them. Performance information may be quantitative (numerical) or qualitative (descriptive). Its usefulness is enhanced by applying standards and other types of comparison (eg, with past performance, other lines of business, or level of need before the intervention) which allow judgments to be made about the extent to which interventions are achieving desired results.
Performance pay Also known as performance-linked bonuses and usually taking the form of a one-off payment in recognition of performance.
Purchaser-provider arrangements Arrangements under which the outputs of one agency arepurchased by another agency to contribute to outcomes.
Service charters It is Government policy that departments which provide services directly to the public have service charters in place. A service charter is a public statement about the service that a department will provide and what customers can expect from the department.


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Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Annual Report 2002–2003
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