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As part of building and maintaining public confidence in the department, we need to be open about our policies, decisions, actions and achievements as a department. We do this by being publicly accountable and reporting on our activities and expenditure.
The department must comply with state policy and federal legislation about how we collect, use and keep personal information. The department's information management policy has more detail about how we deal with privacy, information security, records management, and freedom of information.
External audit and review
The department is externally reviewed by different authorities.
The SA Auditor-General reviews processes that cover finance and compliance, information systems, and performance management systems.
Ombudsman SA does audits and freedom of information reviews, investigates complaints about SA government and local government reviews, and can also receive information on their activities confidentially under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2018.
Ombudsman SA also monitors the use of information sharing guidelines for promoting the safety and wellbeing of children, young people and their families.
Parliamentary committees investigate specific issues. They monitor and review public sector organisations against relevant legislation or particular areas of activity.
Our internal audit (staff login required) is an audit and advisory service for the department including corporate office, schools, and preschools. It helps us by identifying improvements in risk management, control and corporate governance processes, systems and practices.
We participate in various national and state agreements that include performance reporting activities.
South Australia has agreed to national performance reporting that includes:
- national reporting on progress towards the Council of Australian Governments’ key commitments in education, located on the Productivity Commission’s performance dashboard
- contributing information annually for the Report on Government Services (ROGs), which encourages improved service delivery by providing governments, taxpayers and users of services with meaningful, balanced, credible, and comparative information
- reporting to the Australian Government on elements set out in national partnership agreements, including universal access to early childhood education.
Our public reporting at a state level includes:
- an agency statement as part of the state budget
- an annual report about our activities and outcomes for each calendar year
- regular updates on the Department for Education website.
Our local reporting includes:
- annual school and preschool reporting requirements outlined in the site annual reporting requirements (staff login required)
- preschool and school sites documenting complaints received and maintaining a complaints register, with a summary of the register reported by the school or preschool annually
- complaints data in the department’s annual report.
Measuring the performance of the department as an organisation is another way we are accountable to the South Australian public. We measure performance at various levels of the department.
Corporate performance measures
Performance and implementation progress reporting aligns to the strategic initiatives outlined in the department’s strategic plan.
Partnership performance measures
System-wide performance reviews report on strategically important areas for our preschools and schools. This includes outcomes in numeracy and literacy and student engagement. The reviews look at outcomes for all children and students from preschool through to secondary school. Performance is assessed against past results and focuses on improvement.
School and preschool performance measures
The improvement and accountability policy (staff login required) sets out the quality assurance expectations for all department preschools and schools. Site leaders make clear, measurable improvement goals and plans. These should be measured against standards, and be part of a quality self-review process.
The National Quality Framework applies to most long day care, family day care, preschool/kindergarten and out of school hours care services. Under the framework, the department’s early childhood services are assessed and rated against the National Quality Standard (NQS). Ratings are made public and promote transparency and accountability and help parents assess the quality of education and care services.
Continuous improvement – school reviews
Over a 3-year period, all government schools will be externally reviewed against the question: ‘how well does this school support student achievement, growth, challenge and equity?’. Schools will generally be reviewed every 3 years, but if greater improvement is required, a review might happen within 1 year.
A high-level report is given to each school reviewed and published on their own website. The principal and the education director will develop a response to the external review directions including their implementation and ongoing monitoring processes. The external review process is outlined in our external school review improvement framework (staff login required).
School and preschool improvement
The school and preschool improvement model ensures a differentiated approach to literary and numeracy improvement, based on high-quality support from education directors and local education teams.
The cycle sets out 5 steps for continuous improvement:
- analyse and prioritise
- determine challenge of practice
- plan actions for improvement
- improve practice and monitor impact
- review and evaluate.
Financial management compliance framework
We have an internal control environment that meets the Treasurer’s Instructions 2 – financial management and 28 –financial management compliance program.
Planning and Implementation Reporting unit, System Improvement division
Phone: 8226 1540
Email: education.PIR [at] sa.gov.au