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About annual accountability and why it’s important to DCJ

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The purpose, objectives and outcomes of annual accountability


Annual accountability is a mandatory process that ensures your organisation is accountable for the funding it receives and the services it’s agreed to deliver on our behalf.


As an annual checkpoint for performance, it’s designed to work with the regular performance monitoring that forms part of our ongoing engagement with you.

The nature of that engagement is described in the Charter for working with contracted service providers.

In the charter, we commit to working with service providers to achieve the outcomes agreed in contracts. Service providers, in turn, ensure their organisations support stable and outcomes-focused service delivery.

Annual accountability is a practical demonstration of both parties honouring those commitments.

Objectives and outcomes

The annual accountability process, and the information requested from service providers, is designed to achieve four objectives.

Importantly, the outcomes of the process — areas for improvement by DCJ, individual service providers and the sector in general — act as risk controls to guarantee service delivery.


Ensure government funds are being used as agreed in contracts

  • Report on usage of funds
  • Recover unspent funds, as required; and assist the service provider to address the reason funds weren’t spent, if required
  • Investigate suspected misuse of funds and take necessary action

Identify any issues affecting a service provider’s ability to maintain stable, uninterrupted delivery of services

  • Work with the service provider to initiate actions necessary to strengthen their governance, financial management and service delivery practices

Determine whether a service provider continues to have the capacity and capability to deliver better outcomes for our clients

  • Acknowledge good service delivery and performance
  • Work with the service provider to put in place a formal improvement plan

Reveal trends and common issues across programs and districts

  • Put in place systemic and process improvements, and address program and local issues
  • Target support and assistance to strengthen practices within the sector

To make these outcomes possible, we’ve designed a process that’s able to deal with:

  • contracts that range in value from several thousand dollars to tens-of-millions
  • a broadening range of service providers and an increasing number of commercial players, differing markedly in size and nature, as well as in the number and value of contracts held.

How we use the information you submit

The information we collect enables DCJ to meet various responsibilities during and after the annual accountability process.

The information is a key input to the annual accountability assessments. It enables us to verify funds are being used as agreed in the contract, key elements of the contract are being complied with, and performance requirements are being met.

Insight gained from the information feeds into the commissioning process to assist with forward planning for programs. This insight also provides useful information to guide policies and processes, and how we can build on positive outcomes for programs.

The information may be used to investigate significant issues, complaints and allegations of misconduct. It also provides us with relevant information when we're required to respond to requests from regulators or report to government.

The importance of annual accountability, and how it supports our partnerships

The annual accountability process contributes to the continual improvement of performance by DCJ and the service sector.

From DCJ’s perspective, annual accountability offers a detailed picture of the current capacity and performance of our service providers. This, in turn, gives a snapshot of the strength and viability of the funded services sector.

The information collected and compiled during the process is fed back to programs as part of the commissioning cycle. This enables us to determine ways in which we may better support the sector, and identify ways to improve and innovate at the program and sector levels.

From an individual service provider’s perspective, annual accountability confirms the organisation is performing as expected, and that it continues to have the required capacity and capability to deliver services as agreed in its contract with us. This is valuable for verifying governance and financial management practices.

From a sector perspective, the annual accountability process assures DCJ and our service partners that the service sector continues to be capable of delivering better outcomes for our clients.

How annual accountability assists us to meet our obligations

Service providers are asked to submit comprehensive information to us in their annual accountability reporting. This enables the department to meet its own accountabilities: to Government, regulators and, ultimately, the people of NSW.

The DCJ Partnerships directorate, which has responsibility for human service contract management, is subject to:

  • internal audit by the DCJ Governance and Audit Branch
  • reporting requirements of the NSW Ombudsman, the NSW Police Force and the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC)
  • annual review of financial and performance management systems by the NSW Auditor-General to confirm we're managing risks to the service system.

The annual accountability process, and the information collected, plays a significant role in us being able to meet these obligations.

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Last updated: 19 Jul 2023