Information sessions

26 March 2019: Upcoming Sydney workshop

The ROC is pleased to announce that we will be delivering an interactive workshop in Sydney on Tuesday 26 March 2019. In response to the feedback received at our previous information sessions, we have refreshed our program.

The interactive workshop will be delivered at:

Karstens Sydney
Level 1, 111 Harrington St, The Rocks

The workshop will include recent developments around the governance of registered organisations, and will provide attendees with the opportunity to engage with the Commissioner and staff of the Commission representing the education, compliance and finance teams.

The information delivered in the workshop is essential for officers and administrators of registered organisations, employer associations, industrial groups, auditors and peak bodies.

Morning tea and a light lunch will be provided.

The program for the half-day Sydney workshop is as follows:

8:15am - 8:45am    Registration

Plenary

8:45am - 9:50am    Welcome                        Bill Steenson, Principal Lawyer, Compliance

                               Opening address           Welcome by Commissioner, Mark Bielecki

                               Presentations                 Recent updates to the whistleblower regime, financial reporting and the financial training and compliance audit

Concurrent workshops 1 (Attendees to select one seminar from each concurrent session)

9:50am - 10:30am    Financial reporting workshop    or     Elections, Annual Returns and Notifications of Change workshop

10:30am - 10:50am  Morning tea

Concurrent workshops 2

10:50am - 11:20am   Whistleblower regime workshop    or    Officer and related party disclosures workshop

Plenary

11:25am - 11:45am    New ROC tools and website updates

Concurrent workshops 3

11:50am - 12:15pm    Compliance and litigation workshop    or    A question and answer session on ROC procedures

Plenary

12:20pm - 12:30pm    Summary and conclusion

12:30pm - 1:30pm      Lunch and opportunity for networking

To register your attendance at the Sydney workshop, please complete the registration form (DOCX 72.9KB) and email it to regorgs@roc.gov.au by 13 March 2019.

November 2018: Brisbane information session

A half-day Brisbane information session was held on Tuesday 20 November 2018 at the Christie Conference Space in Brisbane, Queensland.

Brisbane info program 2.png

Agenda

  • Induction for new office holders
  • Corrupting benefits and officer and related party overview
  • Round table discussion on corrupting benefits hypothetical
  • Q&A session regarding corrupting benefits and officer and related party disclosures
  • Compliance with financial reporting
  • ROC tools, templates andcompliance calculator
  • Inquiries and investigations case studies

Presentation slides

  • Officer and Related Party Disclosures and 'Corrupting Benefits' Amendments
  • Financial reporting - obligations and requirements
  • Ten speed case studies on assessments, inquiries and investigations

Panel members - Q&A session on corrupting benefits and officer and related party disclosure

  • Patrick Coyle - Principal Lawyer - Litigation - Registered Organisations Commission
  • Catherine Bebbington - Senior Adviser - Education and Reporting - Registered Organisations Commission
  • Declan Clifford - Executive Officer - Registered Organisations Commission

September 2018: Perth information session

A half-day Perth information session was held on Wednesday 19 September 2018 at the Rendezvous Hotel in Perth, Western Australia.

 DSCN1069

Agenda

  •    Induction for new office holders
  •    Corrupting benefits and officer and related party disclosures overview 
  •    Q&A session regarding corrupting benefits and officer and related party disclosures
  •    Compliance with financial reporting requirements
  •    ROC tools, templates and compliance calculator 
  •    Inquiries and investigations: case studies on how to navigate them towards positive outcomes

Presentation slides

  •    Officer and Related Party Disclosures and 'Corrupting Benefits' Amendments
  •    Financial reporting - obligations and requirements
  •    Ten speed case studies on assessments, inquiries and investigations

Panel members - Q&A session on corrupting benefits and officer and related party disclosures

  •    Bill Steenson - Principal Lawyer - Compliance and Investigations - Registered Organisations Commission
  •    Eve Anderson - Principal Adviser - Education and Reporting - Registered Organisations Commission
  •    Declan Clifford - Executive Assistant - Registered Organisations Commission

 

July 2018: Darwin information session

A half-day Darwin information session was held on Tuesday 24 July 2018 at the Darwin Innovation Hub in Darwin, Northern Territory.

Darwin

Agenda

  •    Induction for new office holders
  •    Corrupting benefits and officer and related party disclosures overview 
  •    Q&A session regarding corrupting benefits and officer and related party disclosures
  •    Compliance with financial reporting - common errors, tips and tools
  •    ROC tools, templates and compliance calculator 
  •    Case studies on assessment, inquiries and investigations
  •    Networking and engaging with ROC staff

Presentation slides

  •    Corrupting benefits and officer and related party disclosures
  •    Compliance with financial reporting - common errors, tips and tools
  •    Case studies on assessment, inquiries and investigations

Panel members - Q&A session on corrupting benefits and officer and related party disclosures

  •    Bill Steenson - Principal Lawyer - Compliance and Investigations - Registered Organisations Commission
  •    Patrick Coyle - Principal Lawyer - Litigation - Registered Organisations Commission
  •    Catherine Bebbington - Senior Adviser - Education and Reporting - Registered Organisations Commission

 

May 2018: Melbourne information session

A half-day Melbourne information session was held on Friday 4 May 2018 at the William Angliss Institute in Melbourne, Victoria.

Melbourne Panel_4 May 2018

Agenda

  •    Induction for new office holders
  •    Corrupting benefits and officer and related party disclosure issues
  •    Panel discussion and Q&A session regarding corrupting benefits and officer and related party disclosures
  •    Compliance with financial reporting - common errors, tips and tools
  •    ROC tools, templates and compliance calculator
  •    Case studies on assessment, inquiries and investigations

Presentation slides

Panel members - Q&A session on corrupting benefits and officer and related party disclosures

 

March 2018: Parramatta information session

 A full-day Parramatta information session was held on Tuesday 6 March 2018 at the Parramatta RSL Club in New South Wales.

Parramatta Information Session-registration desks_6 March 2018

Agenda

  •    Launch of the ROC's Officer Induction Kit
  •    Corrupting benefits and officer and related party disclosures
  •    Panel discussion and Q&A session regarding corrupting benefits and officer and related party issues
  •    Financial reporting tips
  •    ROC templates and the launch of the ROC Flower and compliance calculator
  •    Inquiries and investigations, with case studies
  •    Whistleblowers and protected disclosures - ROC's approach and what organisations need to know

Presentation slides

Panel members - Q&A session on corrupting benefits and officer and related party disclosures

Information session Q&As

Many questions have been asked at the information sessions about specific circumstances, particularly in relation to corrupting benefits and disclosure obligations for bargaining representatives. The ROC cannot provide legal advice about how the law applies to individual specific circumstances, however our guidance notes and other resources on a range of topics might assist organisations and their branches to identify issues they need to think about.

General

All subscribers to the ROC website are notified about significant website updates, including the release of new documents and information, by emailed notices. If you would like to be kept informed, please subscribe here.

Officer and related party statements 

The ORP statement can be with the GPFR but it must be a separate statement. NOTE: it cannot be a note or included in another statement. A template statement is available on the ROC’s website.

The time frames for providing the ORP statement to members and lodging it with the ROC are different to the time frames for the GPFR, so they may need to be lodged separately. More detail on the timeframes regarding financial reporting is on our financial reporting page, as are details about timeframes for ORP statements. You should also check your rulebook. Your rulebook might provide additional obligations.

Remember that a branch that is not required to prepare a financial report is still required to provide and lodge an ORP statement.

Yes.

Financial reporting

Yes, but the individual auditor should be registered under the RO Act.

No, and they should not be. Documents that can be signed prior to the first meeting are the Operating Report, the section 255(2A) report and the Officer’s Declaration Statement (if used). They could also be signed at the first meeting, but they must be signed before the audit.

The first meeting passes the resolution in the Committee of Management Statement. The Committee of Management Statement cannot be signed until after the resolution has been passed, but it must be signed before the audit. Then, between the first and second meetings, the auditor finalises the entire financial return and signs the Auditor’s Report.

At the second meeting the Committee of Management Statement, the Auditor’s Report (which includes the audit of the signed Committee of Management Statement), the Operating Report, the Officer’s Declaration Statement (if used) and the section 255(2A) report have all already been signed. The only document that is signed after the second meeting is the Designated Officer’s Certificate.

Yes – all loans which exceed $1000 must be disclosed.

Yes - all loans which exceed $1000 must be disclosed.

Yes. If the RO Act refers to the word ‘members’ without qualification, the ROC takes the view that this includes all members of the organisation, whether financial or unfinancial.

These methods are all sufficient, as long as all members can access it (for example, it should not be password protected unless all members are provided with the password) and it is free of charge.

If it is provided on a website, we recommend that you send an email or other notification (in a newsletter for instance) letting members know that the report is available and where.

Publication of the full report in a reporting unit’s journal (that is free of charge to all members) is another option.

The issue of State and Federal entities can be complex for organisations. The two entities are legally and financially separate (even if in practice they might be very similar with the same members, the same people holding office, and money commonly transferred between them).

It is the ROC’s strong recommendation that reporting units clearly distinguish which entity is the owner of what assets and debts and which should report them. If ownership is not identified then a reporting unit cannot keep proper financial records or produce an accurate financial report. The reporting unit cannot lodge the same financial report with the ROC and the relevant State regulator. Officers must be clear, when acting in relation to the finances of the reporting unit and conducting meetings, which entity they are currently representing.

If all of the assets and liabilities are in the State entity (and in the State system), the reporting unit may be able to apply for a section 269 or section 271 exemption from reporting with the ROC.

Yes, the Designated Officer’s Certificate can be signed on the same day as the second meeting but it must be after the meeting. The Designated Officer’s Certificate cannot be signed before the second meeting.

The format is not prescribed. Options could include presenting the information in diagrammatic form such as a pie-chart, for example, or in descriptive form such as in a table. The information only needs to be provided in one format of your choosing. The reporting unit and auditor should consider what information and format would be most useful for the members. 

The sub-section 255(2A) report only needs to be included once – it forms part of the general purpose financial report and because of this must be audited and must be included in the auditor’s scope. The sub-section 255(2A) report is a separate statement and should not be included in the Notes to the financial report.

Rules and elections

The RO Act requires the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) to use the rules of the organisation as in force on the day the nominations in the election opened, even if the rules have since changed.

There is no requirement for organisations to tell the ROC about rule alterations that will impact elections. However, if an organisation is trying to have rules certified that will change the election process, including this with the prescribed information will help the ROC work with the FWC and the organisation to achieve the best possible outcome for the organisation. The ROC has therefore put this on the template for prescribed information for an election because it might prevent expensive remedial actions that could arise if the rules are certified after the election has been arranged. If the information has not been provided in the prescribed information, the ROC will contact the organisation to ask whether rule alterations are pending.

There is no requirement for the ROC to inform the FWC about elections. The FWC informs the ROC about rule alterations after they have been certified. The organisation should also inform the AEC.

The ROC can liaise with the FWC to try to ensure that the rules are certified prior to issuing the decision for the election (and therefore prior to nominations opening). However, if the current rules contain a date on which nominations must open, the ROC will issue a decision before that date.

Also if the rules are unlikely to be certified by the FWC during a reasonable period of time, the ROC will issue a decision. The ROC must comply with the RO Act and the rules as they stand.

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) remains responsible for certifying alterations to the rules of organisations. If you have questions about the process the FWC has a Registered Organisations team which can assist.

Disclosure obligations for bargaining representatives

We recommend providing the disclosure to employees as early as possible, to ensure employees have sufficient time to absorb the information and ask questions. In addition, employees should be kept informed of the progress of bargaining and terms of the agreement – this should avoid surprises prior to the vote. Another alternative where possible might be to remove the relevant term from the agreement so that there is no need to make the disclosure.

 

A bargaining representative includes employer bargaining representatives and employee bargaining representatives. In practical terms this will commonly be the employer (or employers) who will be covered by the proposed enterprise agreement, and the union (or unions) which represents the interests of the employees.

 

Officer financial training

All officers who hold financial duties relating to the financial management of the organisation or branch are required to complete approved financial training under section 293K of the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 (RO Act), whether they are a volunteer or not and assuming an exemption does not apply.

It is the responsibility of the organisation or branch to ensure that the officer completes the training. The organisation/branch is liable for civil penalties of up to $105 000 (2018/2019) for breaching its obligation to ensure that the training has been done.

Where an officer refuses to undertake the training, the organisation or branch might wish to look at its rules to see what actions, if any, could be taken. For example, some organisations’ rules permit the removal of a person from office for gross misbehaviour or gross neglect of duty (following due process). The organisation might also wish to consider whether it has the power to prevent the officer from exercising duties that relate to the financial management of the organisation or branch (for example, participating in financial decisions made by the Committee of Management) until the officer completes the training.

In addition, it is possible that an officer who refuses to undertake required training has not exercised their powers, or discharged their duties, in good faith for the best interests of the organisation, and thus exposes themselves to penalties (section 286 RO Act).

It is the ROC's view that if an officer is re-elected to the same office they are currently holding and they have already undertaken approved financial training, then the officer does not need to undertake financial training again. However, ROC’s recommended best practice is that an officer who has been re-elected to the same office should undertake training again where the previous training was completed prior to May 2017 (given the legislative amendments that came into force at that time).

Where an officer is elected to a different office after undertaking approved financial training, the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 requires the officer to undertake the training again.