Frequently asked annual reporting framework questions
Can you provide some tips for producing a top annual report?
Tony Malkovic is an experienced journalist and corporate communications consultant with extensive experience producing, writing and editing annual reports. For the past four years, he has compared IPAA's workshop on producing annual reports for Public Sector agencies. He has provided these tips for producing a top annual report.
Which entities must comply with the Annual reporting framework?
The Framework is covered by Commissioner's Circular 2013-01 Annual Reporting and applies to all entities covered by the Public Sector Management Act 1994, except for those listed in Schedule 1 of the Act. Departments and statutory authorities, both SES and non-SES, are thus included but Government Enterprises, courts and tribunals and others, such as universities are excluded. However, universities are included in Schedule 1 of the Financial Management Act 2006. Contact PSC or Department of Treasury for guidance.
What is the deadline for tabling annual reports in Parliament?
Refer to s64 of the Financial Management Act 2006 and, if relevant, the enabling legislation for your entity. The enabling legislation may specify a different period or way of determining the date for submission.
Can production of annual reports be outsourced to external contractors?
The use of external resources should be avoided wherever possible. If external resources are used, the cost should be reported and an explanation provided to the Public Sector Commissioner.
What information about the reporting costs needs to be provided to the Public Sector Commissioner?
- Number of hard-copies printed (not including photocopies or electronic versions).
- Printing cost (for printing hard-copies of the final report).
- Cost of staff time (this should be a reasonable attempt to capture the cost of all staff involved with producing the annual report. For example, by gathering an estimate of the hours of each person who worked on the annual report and multiplying that by their hourly rate (the time associated with the preparation and audit of the financial statements and KPIs should not be included)
- Cost of consultants/external resources if used.
- A comparison of the costs associated with the previous and the current financial year.
What does the Public Sector Commissioner do with the information about the reporting costs?
The information is considered with a range of other information about the public sector to help inform the Commissioner of public sector efficiency and effectiveness.
Can full colour be used?
A limited amount use of colour is permitted. Its purpose should be to add value to the report and enhance its readability. It should not be used extensively throughout the report or as a means of marketing or promoting the agency. Costs must be contained.
What date should be used to date the report?
The date the chief executive officer, chairperson or equivalent signs the report.
Why is there a maximum file size of 4mb?
The preferred method for distribution of the annual report is via the web. For people with slow connections, accessing large file sizes can be time consuming and frustrating.
What is meant by the annual report being bookmarked to enable navigation from the table of contents?
A reader can look at the table of contents and place the cursor on a particular section, click on it and the screen will skip to that section.
What is meant by the images should be compressed at a low resolution?
When saving or exporting the document as a PDF for web publishing, image compression must be set at a low resolution to minimise file size. The recommended compression settings are about 100 pixels per inch (ppi) for colour images and 150 pixels per inch for greyscale images (values may vary slightly depending on PDF software).
Can you clarify the requirement to produce the annual report in 12 point Arial font?
Under the Disability Services Act 1993, public authorities (in essence the vast majority of state government agencies) are required to have a disability access and inclusion plan (DAIP). One of the outcome areas of DAIPs is to ensure information is accessible for people with disability. The standard is 12 point Arial. Financial information in annual reports should be valued equally to written copy and be provided in 12 point. Agencies should make every endeavour to comply with this standard. See State Government access guidelines for information, services and facilities , Premier’s Circular 2003/08 , WA State Government badge style guide and Vision Australia legibility guidelines for further information.
Where can I find more information about making the report accessible to people with disabilities?
Go to the Disability Services Commission website at www.disability.wa.gov.au and refer to the Accessible information training package for more information. There are useful checklists in the resources section.
This year we have gone through a significant restructure, how is this to be reported?
Our actual FTE changed significantly during the year, what figure should be reported?
FTE numbers can change significantly, for example due to seasonal employment or operational changes. The average paid FTE for the financial year should be reported, refer to the HR MOIR Data Definitions on the PSC website. If the changes are significant an explanation should be included. Contact Department of Treasury or PSC for guidance.
Our organisational structure changed significantly during the year, how should this be reported?
Present the operational structure that was in place for the majority of the year and add a note explaining the changes made. Refer to TI 903(6) and TI 949 in the Financial Administration Bookcase.
Our annual report has been tabled in Parliament and a correction must be made, how is this done?
There is a set process for making alterations to papers and documents that have been tabled in Parliament. Refer to the Legislative Assembly of the Parliament of Western Australia, Standing Order 156 - Alteration of papers – 'Tabled papers and documents will only be altered or added to with the approval of the Speaker who will then inform the Assembly'. As it is a requirement for Annual Reports to be tabled in both Houses of Parliament, any alterations must also be tabled in the Legislative Council.
An agencies’ responsible Minister will need to write to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and to the President of the Legislative Council requesting that the amendment be made explaining in the letter what the error is. Once these have been received by they will be tabled when the Parliament is next sitting.
The electronic version must be exactly the same as the printed version. If an alteration to a tabled annual report is approved by the Parliament, the alteration must be added to the electronic version of the annual report on the agency web site and inserted into any existing printed copies held by the agency, with appropriate explanation. This is usually done by way of an addendum.
If an alteration is approved by the Parliament, agencies should ensure that the addendum containing the alteration is provided to the Parliamentary Library and State Library in both hard copy and electronic form so it can be uploaded onto the Parliamentary website, and the required number of hard copies provided to the statutory deposit body (National Library) and to the Department of the Premier and Cabinet library.
If extensive alterations are approved by the Parliament which require production of a complete new annual report, the original version and the corrected version should be retained on the department website, with appropriate explanation.
How do we apply for an ISBN/ISSN number?
The Australian ISBN Agency assigns ISBNs in Australia. Thorpe-Bowker is the independent agent in Australia for this system. While an ISBN is not mandatory, if they are used, they must be issued for each annual report.
Your agency may choose to apply for an ISSN which can be used for periodical publications therefore only one number is needed for the whole series of annual reports.
Do we need to provide an extract report?
No. As the main method of communicating annual reports should be the agency’s website, extract reports are no longer required.
Have any reporting requirements been removed?
Yes. It is no longer a requirement to report on:
- corruption prevention
- buying local
- waste paper recycling
- youth outcomes
- public interest disclosure (reports are to be submitted separately to the Public Sector Commission).
Page last updated 1 March 2013