Service continuity: national auditor urges drills for disruption


Electrical Power Station, Australia

What would happen in any week-long disruption to government operations? The national auditor looked at three agencies to see how they’d cope — and what we can learn from past disruption.

It’s not just terrorism that threatens the safety of staff and continued operation of government services, the federal Attorney-General has warned agency heads in a new directive. Bushfires, floods or a simple power outage can have profound and costly impact on essential ICT systems, employees and families in the community.

Preparation is key: the A-G reminded agency heads to apply the Protective Security Policy Framework and promote protective security as part of their agency’s culture. The directive stated this would build trust with Australians and international partners, with an added bonus:

“A progressive protective security culture that engages with risk will foster innovation, leading to the increased productivity of Government business.”

The Australian National Audit Office agrees. In the latest in its audit series on Business Continuity Management, released last week, the ANAO looked at three agencies for their preparedness and openness to learning from past incidents. More than just dealing with root cause, Auditor-General Ian McPhee said agencies must consider and address the impact of interrupted operations on the community:

FREE membership to The Mandarin

Receive unlimited access, get all the latest public sector news and features, plus The Juice, our daily news update sent direct to your inbox.

The Mandarin is where Australia's public sector leaders discuss their work and the issues faced within modern bureaucracy. Join today to discover the latest in public administration thinking and news from our dedicated reporters, current and former agency heads and senior executives.