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Corporate Plan 2016–17

(July 2016)

Download our Corporate Plan 2016-17 (pdf 2.4mb)

At a glance

The infographic (below) is a summary of our Corporate Plan 2016-17. It describes our purpose, operating context, values and strategy.

supporting the food regulation system infographic

Food Standards Australia New Zealand’s Purpose

FSANZ’s purpose, to contribute to the cooperative food regulatory system by developing evidence-based standards, providing evidence-based advice, coordinating regulatory responses and providing information about food standards, ensures we have a safe food supply and that consumers have sufficient information to make well-informed choices.

FSANZ is established by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991, which was enacted to implement an Intergovernmental Agreement between the Australian Government and all states and territories and a treaty agreement between Australia and New Zealand. The object of the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act is to ensure a high standard of public health protection throughout Australia and New Zealand and the objective of FSANZ is a safe food supply and well-informed consumers. 

This is the FSANZ Corporate Plan prepared, for subsection 35(1)(b) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (the PGPA Act), for the first of the four annual reporting periods commencing on 1 July 2016 and ending on 30 June 2020. The Plan is prepared in accordance with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 and is reviewed annually.

In accord with section 20 of the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991 FSANZ also publishes a three-year forward plan for applications, proposals on which it intends to develop food standards.

We also publish plans and framework documents associated with our strategic enablers, which are identified in this Plan, and prepare an annual business plan, which describes the work that we propose to complete to achieve the Plan’s strategic intent.

Message from the Chair

philippa smith This Corporate Plan is our primary planning document, providing a high-level strategic and operational outlook.

The central role of food in people’s lives provides the context for food regulation and standards.

Food is important for nutrition, is an intrinsic part of our culture and a critically important and growing contributor to the Australian and New Zealand economies. Both countries have a reputation as producers and exporters of safe, high quality products.

For these reasons, all governments have an interest in the establishment of a strong food safety culture and effective food regulation. Australian and New Zealand governments have agreed on a co-operative approach in which FSANZ has a critical and central function.

This plan sets out how we will achieve our vision to position FSANZ in the contemporary food regulatory system as a trusted and leading source of advice in our areas of expertise. It outlines further initiatives to meet community expectations that FSANZ will demonstrate leadership in informing the development of food policy.

While we aim to build our contribution to policy-making in the regulatory system, the development of food standards remains our core work. Standards underpin confidence in our food supply by helping industry and regulators mitigate food-related risk. At the same time, they allow innovation, competitiveness and trade at an industry level. Most importantly, food standards protect the immediate health and safety of consumers. They can also contribute to longer term public policy objectives especially when part of a coordinated set of strategies aimed at improving diet-related contributions to public health.

FSANZ performs a critical role in a complex bi-national food regulatory system. We have a shared responsibility with national, state and territory governments to ensure a safe food supply. Governments set the policy framework and, through their food laws, enforce food regulations. FSANZ’s central role is providing an expert, science-based source of advice on a broad range of food-related issues as well as a focal point for a coordinated, cross-border approach to food surveillance and monitoring, food recalls and responses to food incidents.

Being evidence-based is central to our work. This plan (together with our associated business plans) outlines how we will reinforce and enhance our reputation for excellence in scientific risk analysis; build stronger links with local and counterpart food regulatory agencies; develop constructive working relationships with the primary production and processed food sectors and strengthen our connections with consumers and public health agencies.

Some of the strategic imperatives and the changing environment in the food regulatory system and globalised markets, and the strategic themes that the Board has identified to address them, are set out in the Plan. In repositioning itself to respond to the challenges of its complex and dynamic operating environment, FSANZ will build on what I see as its core strengths––being evidence based, professional and working collaboratively with all of its stakeholders––to provide confidence in food produced in, or sold in, Australia and New Zealand.

Phillipa Smith AM
Chair

Environment

The Operating Context

Ensuring the safety of food is a shared responsibility of national governments (Australia and New Zealand) and state and territory governments.
FSANZ has a central role as an independent expert and science-based, source of advice on a broad range of food-related issues and for assessing food-related risks. The structure of the food regulatory system is designed to assure our independence as an evidence-based adviser.

FSANZ’s work underpins the work of the food regulation system to achieve confidence in our food supply. We also help food regulators and industry achieve consistent application of food laws to enhance the confidence of consumers and industry, while the broader policy settings are set by government.
The Strategic Context

FSANZ’s strategic environment is complex and dynamic. This Corporate Plan has been developed in the context of a number of trends that have been identified by FSANZ as strategic challenges for food regulation in the period covered by this Plan and beyond:

  • Increasing globalisation of the food supply chain and the consequential demand for more sophisticated traceability mechanisms and supply chain intelligence.
  • The growing pace of technological innovation which brings changes in food production techniques and types of foods offered for sale.
  • A desire for reduced regulation replaced by increased recognition of international standards and industry codes of practice and enhanced scrutiny of regulatory proposals.
  • The rapid proliferation of ‘real time’ information about food and the opportunities and threats this poses for maintaining consumer confidence in the safety and quality of food.
  • Growing concern about the increased prevalence of lifestyle diseases, such as obesity, and the role that food regulation can play in addressing these challenges.
  • The ongoing need for government agencies to focus on efficiencies and effectiveness in a budget-constrained environment.

Who we are (our identity)

FSANZ is a Commonwealth corporate entity established under the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991 (the FSANZ Act).
 
FSANZ is governed by a Board that is appointed by the Australian Government.
 
FSANZ provides independent leadership in the complex inter-jurisdictional food regulatory system and is a central source of information about food for government, consumers and industry.

What we do (our role)

  • Build and sustain food regulatory measures and practices to ensure a safe food supply chain and support a dynamic and sustainable food production and manufacturing sector.
  • Coordinate national response, stakeholder engagement, and surveillance and monitoring.
  • Provide evidence-based scientific and technical advice and information about food to support the bi-national food regulatory system and decision-making on food matters.
  • Support informed consumer decisions about food by collecting and providing relevant information.

How we operate (our values)

  • Striving for professionalism and excellence in whatever we do.
  • Collaborating effectively to achieve results.
  • Being inclusive in how we work.
  • Being transparent in our decision making and processes.
  • Being proactive and responsive in identifying and questioning issues raised.
  • Demonstrating innovation and creativity as well as consistency in the work we do.
  • Showing leadership of the highest standard.

Our Strategic Intent

To address the strategic challenges ahead, the FSANZ Board will focus on five themes, to ensure our resources are allocated effectively in achieving our purpose i.e. contributing to the multi-jurisdictional food regulatory system by ensuring a safe food supply and well-informed consumers.
 
Repositioning FSANZ in the contemporary food regulatory system as a trusted source of advice on food, a leader in its areas of expertise; an active participant in developing non-regulatory options to manage risks related to food; and a contributor to the development of broader food policy by promoting the use of scientific evidence in policy development.

Initiative

Performance measure

Baseline

Food regulatory goal addressed

2020 objective

Redefine our authorising environment

FSANZ will help revise the Forum’s Overarching Statement for the Food Regulatory System, to endorse the repositioning of FSANZ as a contributor to broader food policy

FSANZ is described as a standard setting body responsible for developing food standards to be considered by the Forum

Public confidence in the quality and safety of food

FSANZ plays a critical role in influencing food regulatory policy and responses to food-related issues, including diet-related public health issues

FSANZ risk management capacity

FSANZ will enhance its policy development capability and further develop its approach to risk management as a distinct professional discipline

FSANZ risk management is a component of risk analysis

 

Public confidence in the quality and safety of food

FSANZ is recognised as a pre-eminent, globally leading authority on food safety risk management

Reducing regulatory burden

FSANZ will report on action taken by it to reduce the regulatory impact of the food regulatory system, no later than 31 December in each year

 

FSANZ publishes details of regulatory measures developed in its annual report

An economically efficient regulatory system

FSANZ’s regulatory impact is no more than necessary

Building on FSANZ’s core strengths of scientific/technical excellence and custodian of food-related data and information to establish the agency as a trusted and coherent interpreter of information related to food composition and safety.

Food–related data publication

FSANZ will make food related data holdings available through its website by 2017–18

FSANZ provides access to NUTTAB and NPC data

Public confidence in the quality and safety of food

Food-related information held by FSANZ will be available publicly

Graduated risk analysis

Processes are revised to permit reallocation of resources

A standard risk assessment model is applied to assessment activities

An economically efficient regulatory system

Resources are allocated proportionately to risk

Social media and engagement

FSANZ will develop a new digital portal to position FSANZ as an authoritative source of information and the prime custodian of the evidence base for regulating food in Australia and New Zealand and to contribute to Australian Government initiatives to make data and information holdings in the public sector more available to the community

Some FSANZ-held data is published on NUTTAB and NPC

Consumers have adequate information relating to food to enable them to make informed choices

FSANZ will host a comprehensive information source that is widely accessible

Building on FSANZ’s established relationships with networks of trusted experts and international counterparts to establish a better understanding of emerging risks and practical risk mitigation options.

International engagement

Provide a leading role in international food regulation and food safety fora

FSANZ is an active participant in Codex, INFOSAN and related fora

Public confidence in the quality and safety of food and consistency with international standards

Trusted and recognized leader in food safety risk management

Emerging risks

FSANZ will publish an emerging risks report no later than 31 December in each year

Emerging risks are recorded and monitored internally

Public confidence in the quality and safety of food

FSANZ will have a reliable and comprehensive understanding of the sources of emerging risk

 

Deepening FSANZ’s engagement with stakeholders and improving responsiveness. FSANZ will review its Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Strategy in the context of broader work underway in the food regulatory system to strengthen the involvement of stakeholders in the development of policy, standards and implementation. FSANZ will also explore ways to engage with stakeholders that have traditionally been difficult to reach.

Board responsiveness

The Board will develop new meeting and information procedures to enhance transparency of its decision-making, by FSANZ68

Board meetings are closed

An economically efficient regulatory system

More information and reports on Board decisions are publicly available

Engaging with isolated stakeholders

FSANZ will develop new engagement systems to connect with small and medium enterprises and educators

FSANZ engages formally with public health, consumer advocates and industry

 

An economically efficient regulatory system

 

FSANZ will be accessible to more stakeholders

Achieving efficiency and effectiveness.

Financial sustainability and transparency

FSANZ will publish a four year budget on its website

FSANZ publishes an annual budget, as required by law. Forward estimates are published in the portfolio budget statements

An economically efficient regulatory system

FSANZ has the financial capacity to engage fully in the food regulatory system

Workforce planning

FSANZ will align its workforce to meet the requirements of its strategic intent and conduct an annual capability audit

FSANZ staffing is aligned to the provision of expert advice and evidence-based solutions to risk management challenges

An economically efficient regulatory system

FSANZ’s workforce is aligned to perform a wider role within the food regulatory system

 

Achieving our purpose

Develop food regulatory measures (standards) or contribute to other control measures using the risk analysis process 

We use risk analysis to develop food regulatory measures (standards or codes of practice). We also apply risk analysis to other work, for example, when we respond to requests for advice from other agencies in the food regulation system including the assessment of risks for imported foods.
 
Risk analysis is an internationally recognised process used to assess risks to human health from food-related hazards. It has three parts––risk management, risk assessment and risk communication.
 
In recent years, FSANZ has taken action to ensure our risk management decisions continue to be based on the best available evidence and are supported by a high level of consultation and transparency. Our risk management decisions are based on an awareness of contemporary public health issues, emerging technologies used in the wider food industry and current and emerging community concerns.
 
We will reinforce and build on the work that has been done to strengthen our risk analysis capacity and leverage this work through collaborative partnerships with international counterparts.
 
FSANZ will also explore options available for playing a greater role in promoting the use of scientific evidence and good practice in a deregulatory and globalised environment. Surveillance and monitoring will be important elements of our approach to ensuring that regulation is outcome-focussed. Enhanced traceability systems and the proactive collection and analysis of market intelligence will increase our capacity to respond to new or emerging risks. Keeping local data is also important in the making, application and evaluation of internationally recognised standards.
 
Our activities and work plans are identified in our supporting business plans, the Science Strategy and Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Strategy.
 

Co-ordinate national response, conduct surveillance and monitoring 

FSANZ performs a critical coordination function in the system, bringing government agencies, industry, consumer and public health representatives together when needed.
 
Post-market control measures, such as incident response, recalls, surveillance and monitoring are important in minimising harmful effects and to maintain confidence in the food supply. These activities help to ensure that regulatory and non-regulatory activities are achieving their intended objectives.
Our work on risk management complements this important role. A focus for us in the coming years is to be responsive to the developing need the community has of a better understanding and confidence in sources of food. A major focus of our work with industry and others will be working with food businesses to develop stronger traceability systems, so responses can be more immediate and targetted.

Collect and provide food–related information and provide food related advice

Confidence in the food regulatory system depends on decision-making being based on the best available evidence. Often chemical or biological evidence will be paramount. Our work is frequently reviewed and commented on by peers from around Australia, New Zealand and internationally. FSANZ is an active participant, and often a leader of, domestic and international food-related policy development and the advancement of food-related knowledge.
 
FSANZ will maintain its unique and high level capability to provide advice about food composition and consumption. This information is fundamental in assuring the nutritional safety of food and for ensuring that approvals for adding substances to food are well within recognised safety limits.
 
Increasingly, FSANZ is being asked to provide advice based on consumer behavioural science; the consumer’s preference for food options; and regulatory economics, which requires the evaluation of costs and benefits of different regulatory options.
 
In recent years we have upgraded and expanded our web and communication tools. FSANZ is a trusted source of data and information. Our intent is to review our information architecture to consider options for expanding our role and creating an information hub for industry, the scientific community and consumers.
Importantly, FSANZ’s work and expertise can also contribute to whole-of-government strategies that seek to address longer term public health challenges such as obesity. FSANZ regards it as important that this source of information and expertise is used effectively.

Assessing our performance

Our performance can be assessed by looking at the contribution that we make to the effective operation of a multi-jurisdictional food regulatory system in which operational responsibility sits substantially with other governments. Within that system the purpose of FSANZ is to provide cohesion and leadership, principally as a source of expert scientific advice. Accordingly, we use the acceptance of the food regulatory measures that we develop as an indicator of the effectiveness of our performance as a standards developer.
 
Our work to coordinate post-market responses can be assessed by surveying food regulators and regulated entities.
 
Finally, our performance as a provider of information about food and food regulation can be assessed by regular surveys of a wider range of stakeholders.

Develop food regulatory measures (standards) or contribute to other control measures using the risk analysis process 

Our performance as a developer of food regulatory measures (standards) is assessed by the Forum, which considers all measures approved by FSANZ and may seek a review or amend a measure.  

Co-ordinate national response, conduct surveillance and monitoring 

Successful coordination of the food regulatory system relies on the actions of all participants. FSANZ’s contribution can be assessed by considering the views of other participants in the regulatory system and regulated entities.  
 
FSANZ’s contribution to achieving consistency can be assessed by surveying regulators and regulated entities. Surveys are conducted routinely at the conclusion of all food incidents and recalls.

Collect and provide food-related information and provide food–related advice

FSANZ collects and maintains a substantial volume of food-related information and makes that information available to a broad range of information users in government and in the broader community. Our success as a recorder and publisher of information will be measured by FSANZ being recognized as a primary source of information about food safety risk management in Australia and New Zealand. This can be measured in surveys of information users.

Risk oversight and management

Risk is managed by FSANZ through procedures described in our Risk Management Framework.

Strategic intent

For 2016‒20 the FSANZ Board identified five areas of strategic intent:
  • Reposition FSANZ in the contemporary food regulatory system as a trusted source of advice on food, a leader in its areas of expertise; an active participant in developing non-regulatory options to manage risks related to food; and a contributor to the development of broader food policy by promoting the use of scientific evidence in policy development.
  • Build on FSANZ’s core strengths of scientific/technical excellence and custodian of food-related data and information to establish the agency as a trusted and coherent interpreter of information related to food composition and safety.
  • Build on FSANZ’s established relationships with networks of trusted experts and international counterparts to establish a better understanding of emerging risks and practical risk mitigation options.
  • Deepening FSANZ’s engagement with stakeholders and improving responsiveness. FSANZ will review its Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Strategy in the context of broader work underway in the food regulatory system to strengthen the involvement of stakeholders in the development of policy, standards and implementation. FSANZ will also explore ways to engage with stakeholders that have traditionally been difficult to reach.
  • Achieving efficiency and effectiveness.

We have a moderate appetite for risks associated with achieving our strategic intent. 

Shared responsibility  

Food-related public health and safety is a shared responsibility of the Australian, New Zealand and state and territory governments, industry and consumers. FSANZ is responsible for developing food regulatory measures, for providing information and scientific assessments and for coordinating regulatory activities in consultation with, or at the request of, Australian jurisdictions or New Zealand.
 
In the context of the shared responsibility for food-related public health and safety FSANZ has a low appetite for risk.   

Corporate operations  

FSANZ is a corporate entity and the FSANZ Board has responsibility under the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act and the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act for managing resources. The Finance, Audit and Risk Management Committee has been established to advise the Board on enterprise risks the organisation may face.
 
In our corporate operations we have a low appetite for risk. 

Capability 

FSANZ has identified five key enablers of our strategic imperatives that will ensure that it makes an effective contribution to food regulation. These enablers are:

 

  • Risk – an anticipative approach to emerging issues.
  • Science – robust evidence and sustained, high quality scientific capability.
  • People – dedicated people with a broad spread of specialist disciplines.
  • Communication – a broad communication capacity.
  • Governance and process – good governance and effective processes.

Risk — our ability to look forward and respond quickly to emerging risk

In a world in which food risks can emerge quickly or advances in knowledge or innovation can change our understanding of a hazard, FSANZ has to be able to respond promptly and proportionately.

The FSANZ Risk Management Framework aims to ensure that FSANZ staff can effectively identify, monitor and respond to food safety and food-related public health issues in a transparent and coordinated manner that applies internationally recognised risk analysis methodology.

FSANZ manages enterprise risks proactively through the FSANZ Risk Management Framework.

Science — evidence and capability

FSANZ’s work is evidence-based. Each element of risk analysis demands an understanding of the evidence and its scientific value.
It is essential that we continue to enhance our scientific capability, have ready access to robust data and continue to be at the forefront of scientific work on all food-related issues.
 
The Science Strategy 2015−19 is focussed on achieving this by increasing our scientific capability, in physical, biological, economic and social sciences; enhancing the evidence base; building our collaboration and international links with the science community; enhancing our scientific communication and stakeholder engagement; enhancing our capability to identify and respond to emerging issues; providing leadership in developing regulatory science; and measuring our scientific performance.

People — Quality and dedication

A well-qualified and experienced workforce is vital for FSANZ to complete its work. Our People Strategy aims to ensure we have that workforce and the capacity to adapt to meet our changing strategic objectives.
 
As an evidence-based organisation, FSANZ employs people with qualifications and experience in a wide range of the traditional food-related scientific disciplines such as chemistry, toxicology, microbiology, nutrition and food technology. People with analytical skills in, for example, dietary modelling and epidemiology are also critical.
 
Skills in the economic and social sciences, communications and the law have become increasingly important to support efficient and effective standards development. Risk management requires strong policy development skills and risk managers will understand the work of the food industry and government.
FSANZ accepts that it will not always be possible to have these skills in house. Accordingly, an important part of FSANZ’s capability and capacity relies on access to outside expertise through mechanisms such as the FSANZ Fellows Program and links to academic, research and regulatory institutions within and outside Australia and New Zealand.

Communication

The Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Strategy 2015−19 recognises that all FSANZ staff have a role in communication and stakeholder engagement. The strategy is aimed at managing the varying communication roles and the vast array of information available in FSANZ.
 
The strategy identifies a growing reliance on social media to communicate efficiently with a range of audiences and the importance of using media to enhance role clarity and explain risk management decisions.
 
The strategy also strengthens our role as a respected hub for information on food safety and nutrition.

Appropriateness and effectiveness of our governance and processes

The Board and Executive use the FSANZ Corporate Governance Framework to achieve good governance. The framework details the systems, policies and procedures that have been agreed to in the agency to create effective processes. In addition:
  • the Board oversees the management of the agency
  • senior management guides and monitors work
  • management and staff disclose all material matters in a timely and accurate manner
  • policies are used to manage our relationships with stakeholders—including employees, Parliament, industry, consumer and health groups and the public.

Effective process is critical to the way we go about our business and meet legislative obligations. We will continue to look at ways to improve business efficiency and will undertake a number of business process reviews in 2016−20. In particular, we will examine the regulatory risk analysis process in order to ensure that the allocation of risk analysis resources is proportionate to risk.

FSANZ strategic map



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