Risk oversight and management

IP Australia’s approach to risk management is not about stopping or preventing action, it is about empowering staff to engage with risk to support informed choices. As an agency we are committed to developing a positive risk culture where all staff confidently respond to uncertainties and opportunities in their work.

Staff members are encouraged to pursue, retain and accept risks that have been well considered within the bounds of the agency’s appetite for risk and their personal responsibility and accountability limits. This is done in an open and transparent manner to reduce threats and seize opportunities for the benefit of the agency.

To ensure effective governance IP Australia embeds risk management through the following business processes:

  • risk management and assessment systems to support business processes including project, and planning activities
  • operational planning
  • consideration of risk management as standing items at quarterly Executive Board meetings, governance committee meetings and IP Australia’s Audit Committee.

IP Australia actively pursues the development of a positive risk culture where staff at all levels understand and manage risk as part of their day-to-day activities. As a regulator, we are conscious of our responsibility to engage with risk to enhance our staff capability, engage meaningfully with customers and improve our services.

To help staff implement the risk management policy and framework, and achieve the desired level of risk maturity, IP Australia promotes risk capability development. “Engage with Risk” is a core capability for all staff members and individual performance and development plans are used to directly engage staff with risk capability development. Structured and ad hoc learning and development processes aimed at all stages of the learning journey, from induction through to SES specific programs, support the framework.

We assess our risk management culture through our internal audit program and other benchmarking activities.

IP Australia’s Risk Management Framework includes:

  • Accountable Authority Instructions — sets out instructions from the Director General on managing risk within IP Australia.
  • Risk Management Policy and Framework — defines IP Australia’s approach to the management of risk, including our attitude to and objectives for risk management.
  • Risk Management Plan — ensures that risk management processes are efficiently integrated into day-to-day work.
  • Risk objectives, appetites, and tolerances — establishes how risk is measured.
  • Information sheets — provide a pragmatic, simple and consistent approach to help staff manage risk.

Strategic Risks

IP Australia faces a broad range of risks reflecting its responsibilities as an administrator, service provider and regulator for Australia’s IP rights system.

The following categories of strategic risk are used to measure and monitor threats and opportunities that may impact the achievement of IP Australia’s purpose and strategic objectives.

Risk Objectives
We are committed to fostering a thriving IP ecosystem that inspires and encourages innovation, achieves government objectives, and adds value to the global IP community. We uphold the integrity of the system and keep it safe from abuse.

Risk Response
We have established processes for the identification and prioritisation of policy issues to ensure the IP legislative framework keeps pace with what we are doing and what is happening within the broader IP ecosystem. This is governed by our Strategic Policy and International Committee.

Risk Objectives

As an administrator and service provider for Australia’s IP rights system we are committed to delivering high-quality IP rights. Our customers must have trust in the value of IP, have confidence in our ability to meet their needs, easily interact with our services, and have access to accurate information and data.

Risk Response

The production of high-quality IP rights is critical to our work and is supported through the implementation of our Quality Management System. The Information and Data Committee oversees the governance of information and data management within the agency.

Risk Objectives

We engage effectively with a diverse range of customers and stakeholders, domestically and internationally. We focus on collaboration and meaningful engagement to improve our effectiveness, performance, and expand our sphere of influence.

Risk Response

We have strategies and procedures in place to manage and implement activities to support the growth and sustainment of relationships with customers, stakeholders and partners.

Risk Objectives

We meet and administer our legislative responsibilities, fulfilling the Commonwealth’s policy agenda, adhering to our Accountable Authority Instructions, and maintaining relevant certifications.

Risk Response

We have established frameworks, and underpinning policies and procedures, to govern IP Australia in accordance with our legislative obligations. The Executive Board has responsibility for implementation, and our annual internal audit program and Audit Committee provide independent advice and assurance.

Risk Objectives

We take a strategic approach to investment to ensure our long-term sustainability and build our capacity to adapt to the changing needs of our customers and stakeholders.

Risk Response

Our established governance arrangements, financial management practices and internal controls, enable us to monitor, manage and report on our entity’s financial performance and sustainability. These activities are overseen by IP Australia’s Investment, ICT and Property Committee. Independent advice and assurance is provided through our internal audit programs, and our Audit Committee.

Risk Objectives
Our diverse, agile and capable workforce delivers value to the Australian community and our international partners. We aim to be an employer of choice and remain at the forefront of flexible working solutions.

Risk Response
We have established a Strategic Workforce Plan and People Strategy to leverage our existing workforce and determine how we can meet future workforce needs. The Workforce Strategy Committee is responsible for the governance of workforce issues.

Risk Appetite

IP Australia supports Australia’s innovation system by delivering world leading IP services that are modern, effective and efficient to ensure all Australians benefit from great ideas. We recognise it is not possible, or necessarily desirable, to eliminate risks inherent in our activities. Our risk appetites reflect these principles, are aligned to our strategic risks, and embedded into organisational decision-making. Our risk appetites and tolerances are updated dynamically to reflect our operating environment and staff members are supported to make decisions reflecting established appetites, tolerances, and risk escalation framework.