Management of human resources

Our people

Supporting and managing our people

The department continues to invest in aligning its business strategy and workforce planning to meet current requirements and plan for the future workforce. Importantly we use workforce analytics and data to understand our workforce profile, trends and future requirements.

At 30 June 2016 the department employed 36,594 people, of whom 31,623 (86.4%) were ongoing and 4,971 (13.6%) were non-ongoing. Of the non-ongoing employees 3,346 (67.3%) were intermittent/irregular staff. This compares to 30 June 2015 when the department employed 34,890 people, of whom 31,094 (89.1%) were ongoing and 3,796 (10.9%) were non-ongoing. Of the non-ongoing employees 2,672 (70.4%) were intermittent/irregular staff.

At 30 June 2016 the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) staff was 30,776 compared to 29,589 in 2014-15. The FTE is fewer than the total number of people employed, as the total headcount includes full-time, part-time and intermittent/irregular staff.

The department supports staff in balancing work and personal commitments through access to flexible working hours. At 30 June 2016, 12,344 (33.7%) of staff worked part-time (includes intermittent/irregular employees)-that is, they worked less than 37.5 hours a week. This compares to 12,091 (34.7%) of staff at 30 June 2015.

Appendix F presents statistics on staff by classification, location, employment status, employment type, gender, disability, diverse background and Indigenous. It also sets out staff salary ranges and employment arrangements.

Job Placement Services Scheme

The Department of Human Services Agreement 2011-14 formalises our commitment through the Job Placement Services Scheme to retain and redeploy staff whose roles may be affected by organisational change. The scheme aims to ensure that valuable skills and capabilities are retained. Information about the scheme is available for staff on our intranet. In 2015-16, 131 people on the Job Placement Services Scheme were found permanent placement or left the department, compared to 95 people in 2014-15.

Commitment to consultation

The department consults with employees and, where they choose, their representatives in accordance with the Department of Human Services Agreement 2011-2014 and the Department of Human Services Medical Officers Agreement 2013-2014.

Workplace relations

Enterprise agreements

The Department of Human Services Agreement 2011-2014 covers all non-Senior Executive Service (SES) staff except Medical Officers. Medical Officers are covered by the Department of Human Services Medical Officers Agreement 2013-2014.

The department is continuing formal negotiations for a new enterprise agreement. We are committed to meeting the requirements of the Australian Government Workplace Bargaining Policy 2015. In the meantime the existing agreements still apply.

The department held 16 enterprise bargaining meetings with union and employee bargaining representatives between July 2015 and June 2016. Two unsuccessful ballots were held in September 2015 and February 2016. We are committed to keeping all staff fully informed throughout the bargaining process. During this period the department also managed 5 rounds of protected industrial action that had minimal impact on service delivery.

Individual flexibility arrangements

Individual flexibility arrangements are used to supplement the conditions of staff in exceptional circumstances. As an example, the department has used individual flexibility arrangements to assist with recruitment to remote and isolated localities. In 2015-16 the department had 61 individual flexibility arrangements compared to 64 arrangements in 2014-15.

People change management

The department provides people change support when staff are affected by organisational changes. This is through online self-help which gives staff and managers access to tools to assist them in managing people change, and direct service support to business teams which provides tailored solutions for specific needs.

Strategic workforce planning

To support the shift towards more flexible and agile business approaches, workforce transformation has continued through strategic workforce planning, job design, people change, and learning and development initiatives. Strategic workforce planning plays a key role in developing strategies required to ensure that the workforce is supported and positioned to achieve our strategic priorities, government outcomes and customer outcomes. Executive discussions at both the departmental and group level occurred to consider future workforce requirements and strategies to deliver business outcomes.

The department uses the APS Job Family Model to underpin strategic workforce planning and job design activities. This level of workforce segmentation helps the department better understand its workforce, assists in identifying demand for critical roles and addresses related labour market shortages. Occupations the department identified as workforce priorities include jobs in technology, strategic policy, research, programme and project management, and compliance and regulation.

The department’s workforce planning processes provide an evidence base for executive decisions on people strategies. The strategies include:

  • developing tailored workforce strategies for different workforce segments or business areas
  • understanding the mix of employment types necessary to service our customers
  • building a capable and engaged workforce with the skills necessary to meet our evolving commitments to the community and government

Planning also occurs at the group level and a number of specialist divisions to ensure workforce strategies are aligned to the specific workforce needs of each business area. The department operates a Workforce Planning Account Manager Model, which works in partnership with business groups and divisions to support the implementation of workforce plans.

Apprentices, cadets and graduates

An important part of our strategic workforce planning involves recruiting and retaining young people with the potential to meet the future challenges of delivering future business outcomes.

The Apprenticeship Programme is made up of certificate or diploma level study and formal workplace components to provide on-the-job training to supplement formal study. Both components need to be successfully completed to graduate from this programme.

In 2015, over 200 apprentices commenced with the department’s whole-of-government Indigenous Apprenticeships Programme-around 150 apprentices in the department and 65 apprentices with other government agencies. In 2016, 17 apprentices started in the ICT Apprenticeship Programme, managed by the Department of Finance. In 2016, 15 cadets began working in the department under the programme.

Two cadets from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Indigenous Cadetship Programme are also working in the department. This programme is made up of approved university study and workplace components, both of which need to be successfully completed to graduate.

The National Graduate Program offers university graduates professional development opportunities, accredited learning and specialised events and activities. The programme offers 2 pathways-generalist and professional. The professional pathway attracts people with allied health, communications, finance, human resources, ICT and legal qualifications. The department’s 2016 intake for the National Graduate Program included 60 generalist pathway and 35 professional pathway participants.

All programmes and pathways have a strong focus on diversity, especially in attracting and retaining Indigenous people and people with disability.

Under our Entry Level Framework, the department also continued the allied health university student placement programme and summer/winter vacation placement and work experience placements for high school students.

Workforce availability

The unscheduled absence result for 2015-16 was 16.5 days per full-time equivalent (FTE), an increase from 16.47 days per FTE in 2014-15.

The department has implemented a comprehensive range of measures to improve workforce availability, including effective staff engagement, people management and health and safety measures. During the year the department identified a strong relationship between engagement and the proportion of staff with less than 10 days absence in a 12-month period. During 2015-16, the proportion of employees with less than 10 days absence has improved from 52.68% at 30 June 2015 to 54.48% at 30 June 2016.

Under our Attendance Strategy 2013-17: supporting a healthy and engaged workforce, the department continues to:

  • build leadership capability including training managers in the Positive Attendance for Managers course which has been completed by 811 managers in 2015-16. Since the inception of the course on 1 January 2013, up to 30 June 2015 a further 3,826 attendees were recorded
  • improve attendance reporting to enable managers to analyse, monitor and target responses to emerging issues
  • implement regular reporting by major business areas on action being taken to implement the attendance strategy, with the information used to develop a Better Practice Guide for Managing Attendance which focuses on what action managers at all levels can take to better engage staff on attendance issues

Employee engagement

In 2016, 82% of the department’s employees completed the APS Employee Census compared to 76% in 2015. Census results showed that the levels of employee engagement remained steady or improved from the 2015 departmental engagement score across all 4 indices.

Table 60 shows a continued level of improvement in employee engagement since 2013.

Table 60: Levels of employee engagement
Engagement element index scores1 2013 2014 2015 2016
Job engagement index scores 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6
Team engagement index scores 6.1 6.3 6.4 6.4
Supervisor engagement index scores 7.0 7.0 7.2 7.2
Agency engagement index scores 5.3 5.5 5.7 5.7

1. The engagement index uses a 0 to 10 point scale, with 10 being the highest level of engagement.

Standards of behaviour

Possible breaches of the APS Code of Conduct are taken seriously and appropriate action is taken when required. Investigations are conducted in line with departmental procedures, which ensure that staff are treated fairly. If a breach of the APS Code of Conduct is found, sanctions may be imposed. In 2015-16 there were 368 findings of a breach of the code compared to 268 in 2014-15.

Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013

The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 allows for the investigation of allegations of serious wrongdoing in the Australian Public Service. Information about the scheme is available to staff on the department’s intranet and to the public on our website.

Responsibilities and functions under the Act are delegated to a core group of staff to ensure appropriate control and oversight in managing disclosures. In 2015-16 the department received 28 public interest disclosures compared to 16 in 2014-15.

Performance management

Our performance management process is designed to foster a culture of high performance by providing all staff with a clear link between their work effort and departmental priorities.

All eligible staff develop and negotiate an individual performance agreement with their manager. The agreements:

  • give staff a clear understanding of their role and the performance and behavioural standards expected of them
  • align individual and team work effort to departmental priorities
  • help staff identify their learning and career development needs

In 2015-16, 93.8% of staff (96.1% in 2014-15) had individual performance agreements negotiated. There were 5.93% of staff (3.17% in 2014-15) without agreements due to long-term leave or they had not completed more than 8 weeks of duties within the performance cycle.

Recruitment

During 2015-16 the department advertised approximately 400 vacancy notices in the Australian Public Service employment gazette, resulting in an estimated 4,000 ongoing vacancies being filled through engagements, transfers and promotions. The department managed approximately 46,000 candidate applications for these ongoing roles.

We are committed to increasing the representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff through the use of Special Measures recruitment. There were 30 Special Measures vacancy notice advertisements in the Australian Public Service employment gazette during 2015-16.

Recruitment processes have been advertised for a variety of roles including customer service, social work, compliance and debt management, corporate and entry level programmes ranging from APS2 to EL2 classification levels.

The department has a requirement for a flexible workforce which is essential to the efficient delivery of customer services, including during periods of high demand. As part of its recruitment activities the department undertakes recruitment for non-ongoing and/or intermittent and irregular employees.

Accessible and inclusive workplaces

The department is committed to creating workplaces that are accessible and inclusive for all staff. It is guided by the Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2011-15 and Workplace Accessibility Plan 2011-15. During the year we consulted widely with over 1,000 staff who contributed in forums and online consultation about updating the strategy and plan.

Staff Diversity

The department has significant diversity across its workforce with 23.9% of staff, as at 30 June 2016, identifying as having a culturally and linguistically diverse background. The diversity of our people assists us to better understand the needs of our multicultural customers and to ensure that we provide culturally appropriate services to the Australian community. The department’s Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (Multicultural) Employee Plan 2014-16 outlines the department’s commitment to increasing and supporting diversity in its workforce. The department provides multicultural awareness training to staff, celebrates days of significance such as Harmony Day and Refugee Week and provides a Community Language Allowance to recognise staff who use their language skills to service our multicultural customers. A new plan is being developed and will be considered by the Executive Committee in 2016-17.

ICT support for greater accessibility

During the year we delivered our workplace accessibility programmes which provide support, training and advice to around 500 staff who use assistive technology software. In 2015-16 we also continued to:

  • deliver our inter-agency accessibility support initiatives that were established under the APS Diversity Council. In 2015-16 this included a shared service pilot programme which provided cross-agency assistive technology support services for APS Diversity Council member agencies
  • lead an ICT Accessibility Community of Practice pilot programme which includes representatives from the agencies involved. The community of practice focuses on the challenges and opportunities that ICT offers to people with disability, and helps to promote best practice
  • provide accessibility support services to DVA

During the year the department entered into a new arrangement with the National Disability Insurance Agency which includes support and training for assistive technology and accessible telecommunication products for staff with disability and their managers.

Employment of people with disability

The department’s Workplace Accessibility Plan 2011-15 and Disability Recruitment Strategy contain recruitment and retention strategies for attracting and retaining people with disability. A new plan is being developed and will be considered by the Executive in 2016-17. At 30 June 2016, 4.9% of staff in the department identified as having disability, compared to 4.7 at 30 June 2015.

During the year we implemented a direct experience programme, which is designed to help change any negative attitudes of senior executives about recruitment, career progress and overall work experience of people with disability.

The RecruitAbility scheme was developed under the APS Disability Employment Strategy, where job applicants with disability who meet the minimum requirements of an advertised vacancy are advanced to a further stage in the selection process. The scheme helps to build the confidence and capability of applicants with disability and supports their employment and career development. The department is now applying RecruitAbility to all gazetted vacancies including graduate recruitment, with staff on selection panels having a strong awareness of the issues facing people with disability.

The department’s Scanning Operations Centre provides substantial employment opportunities for people with disability. Work includes mail sorting, digitising customer correspondence and data entry. The centre has 72 staff of which 15.3% identify as having disability.

Training for people on the autism spectrum

The Dandelion Programme is a unique partnership between the department, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Specialist People Foundation to provide ICT traineeships with the department to people on the autism spectrum. It creates training opportunities for people on the autism spectrum to systematically process information and excel in roles that use their skills.

The programme uses a 5 week selection, assessment and on-boarding programme (conducted by HPE and Specialist People Foundation) for hiring people with autism. After completing these, candidates who fit the job profile are employed by HPE and then contracted to the department to commence a 3 year traineeship.

The department now has 37 trainees who are working in areas such as software testing, programming, systems analytics, data analytics and information analytics.

Other diversity initiatives

During the year other diversity initiatives which encourage and support learning and inclusion included:

  • providing multicultural awareness training to staff through eLearning and face-to-face training packages
  • hosting 5 staff diversity networks to provide information and support to Indigenous staff, staff with disability, mature age staff, staff from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (CALD) and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex staff

Reconciliation Action Plan

The department’s Reconciliation Action Plan 2015-2017, granted elevate status by Reconciliation Australia, positions the department as a national leader in taking action towards reconciliation.

Throughout the year we continued to take action towards meeting the plan’s targets, which include:

We also continued to share our experiences and knowledge with other government departments-for example, by providing information sessions on Indigenous recruitment and retention, making our Indigenous Cultural Awareness training available, and support for trialling our Indigenous Mentoring Programme (see Support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees).

Employment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

The department has a target of increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples employment to 5% by the end of 2017. In 2015-16 the department achieved 4.2% representation of Indigenous staff, which is above the APS target of 3%.

The department also supported its Indigenous staff by continuing to implement actions under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employees Plan 2011-2015. The plan focussed on implementing support strategies, including an Indigenous Buddy Programme, the Indigenous Mentoring Programme and the Indigenous Scholarship Programme. We consulted widely with over 500 staff who contributed in forums and online consultation to inform updating the employees plan.

Support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees

To improve economic and social outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the department maintained its strong commitment to its role in the government’s Closing the Gap initiative.

As a large employer, the department provides a number of support and other programmes to engage and retain its Indigenous workforce. These programmes include:

  • the Indigenous Mentoring Programme which assigns trained Indigenous staff members (204 mentors in 2015-16) to help newly recruited Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees to ‘navigate’ their way around the department and the APS, and to deal with balancing their responsibilities and obligations to their community and their new workplace
  • an Indigenous Buddy Programme which also supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees to adjust to the new workplace
  • the Indigenous Cultural Capability Framework, which takes a 3 tiered approach to increase and build staff knowledge and awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures
  • online Indigenous cultural awareness eLearning training accessed by 5,703 staff in 2015-16, and cultural awareness face-to-face training, with 2,170 staff participating in 2015-16
  • secondment programmes, with 6 staff completing secondments to Indigenous communities as part of the Jawun Indigenous Community Secondment Programme in 2015-16. Two staff also completed secondments with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  • continued support for Indigenous employees through local Indigenous Employment Network meetings, which provide learning and development opportunities that reflect community-based support mechanisms

Learning and Development

The department invests substantially in capability building. The Learning Strategy 2015-19 guides the distribution of this investment to ensure the continuation of efficient, best practice learning services. The strategy recognises the need to evolve departmental learning methodologies and tools to support workforce change and advancements in technology. It represents a cultural shift across the department from ‘training’ to ‘learning’, and supports learning investments that build a workforce with the capability to meet future service delivery challenges.

A key deliverable of the strategy in 2015-16 is the release of the Human Services Capability Framework. The framework focuses on capabilities required now and into the future. A new curriculum to support these capabilities will be implemented in 2016-17.

Formal learning interventions were made up of technical and customer service courses as well as those relating to corporate, leadership and management. There were 539,848 attendances at over 28,383 different face-to-face and electronic learning sessions recorded on the department’s learning management system in 2015-16. This equates to an overall investment of 856,729 hours of formal learning.

Prioritised initiatives during 2015-16 included in the above totals were family and domestic violence awareness, gender guideline changes, customer service and dealing with customer aggression, unscheduled absenteeism management, and Indigenous cultural awareness as well as training to support improved technology and digital awareness.

Enhanced service delivery capability

The department continues to run programmes which support the service delivery capability of our workforce.

In 2015, 1,000 service delivery staff completed a Service Delivery Accreditation Program which recognises experienced and competent service officers, leaders and managers by awarding them a nationally-recognised qualification relevant to their roles. The 2015 programme offered the following 2 qualifications for service officers, team leaders and managers:

  • PSP40112 Certificate IV in Government (Service Delivery)-this nationally-recognised qualification was attained by 800 APS 3 and 4 service officers working in service delivery
  • PSP51112 Diploma of Government (Management)-this nationally-recognised qualification was attained by 200 APS 5 and 6 team leaders and managers working in service delivery

Induction programme

The Department of Human Services Induction Programme is a mandatory requirement for all new employees who have access to our sites and systems. The programme ensures new employees complete the department’s mandatory training and other requirements. In 2015-16 the programme was reviewed, leading to the introduction of a three-tiered approach (orientation, general induction and job role specific induction) so that staff are more job-ready earlier in the induction process. In 2015-16, 83% of new starters had participated in the programme, out of which 80% were within 2 weeks of commencement.

Leadership and management development

The APS-wide Public Sector Management Program targets high achieving mid-level managers in the department. The main objective is to build capability of future managers in the public service context, with a focus on ‘Building the Business of Government’. Sixty-four participants have successfully completed the programme since January 2015. Completion of this programme results in a Graduate Certificate in Business (Public Sector Management) with the option to gain credit which may be used towards a Masters level qualification.

In 2015-16 the department offered courses to managers on essential and advanced writing skills and started a pilot programme for managers to develop their coaching skills.

Departmental culture

The department continued to strengthen its ‘We’ culture by supporting staff and business areas to understand the behaviours that underpin the department’s culture. In 2015-16 an intranet ‘culture hub’ was created for all staff to access information, tools and resources about the department’s culture. To help build and embed the culture, the hub articulates the department’s expectations for a united and committed ‘We’ culture across the department.

Ethics and values

The department remains committed to ensuring all staff understand and comply with the APS Values and Code of Conduct.

During the year we surveyed members of the Harassment Contact Officer (HCO) Network about what support they need in their roles. Based on the survey findings the department will continue to provide refresher training and regular updates on topics such as the gender guidelines to HCOs.

Workplace Bullying Awareness Month was held in June 2016. The campaign aimed to reinforce a workplace culture where bullying is recognised, is unacceptable, and dealt with straight away.

Work Health and Safety and Injury Management

The department’s work health and safety policy, guidelines and procedures aim to identify, adopt and develop best practice in health and safety management, to reduce the social and financial cost of occupational injury and illness, and improve business outcomes.

The approach is founded on the Work Health and Safety Policy and the Work Health and Safety Strategy 2013-22-supporting healthy, safe and productive workplaces. The strategy is closely aligned with the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-22, and includes targets for reducing injuries by 30% and action areas for improvement. The policy and strategy are supported by the department’s health and safety consultation arrangements and integration of workplace health and safety priorities into business and risk management planning.

The department’s work health and safety priority areas continue to address:

  • body stressing injury prevention, including sedentary work
  • customer aggression
  • psychological health, including bullying and harassment
  • offsite safety, including remote travel

The targets for the strategy are to achieve:

  • zero workplace fatalities
  • effective compliance with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011
  • a consistent ‘effective’ rating on Safety Assurance Programme assessments, which involves reviewing safety management at a sample of workplaces annually
  • a reduction in the incidence rate of workers’ compensation claims resulting in 1 or more weeks off work and claims for musculoskeletal disorders of at least 15% by 2016 (against 2012 levels) and at least 30% by 2022 (against 2012 levels)

The department’s work health and safety outcomes in 2015-16 continue to show good progress against targets, particularly in reducing the incidence of workers’ compensation claims, increasing work health and safety awareness and improving Safety Assurance Programme results. These include:

  • reducing by 34.7% the number of workers’ compensation claims submitted to Comcare in 2015-16 (compared to 2011-12 levels), including a 46% reduction in the number of body stress injury claims
  • continuing to promote body stress injury prevention and minimising prolonged sitting with the ‘Take a stand for better health’ campaign, including the provision of sit-to-stand workstation equipment
  • assessing new furniture and equipment used in the department through the building design process
  • requiring all customer facing staff and managers to attend training every 4 years to reduce and manage customer aggression
  • developing new Customer Aggression Emergency Response Procedures to ensure an effective and coordinated response to aggressive behaviour and to provide clearer instructions to staff
  • implementing the security guard assessment deployment tool to ensure better informed decisions about site security
  • developing tailored customer management approaches to govern contact with customers who have demonstrated aggression against staff or other customers
  • implementing consistent risk controls for staff undertaking out-servicing functions
  • refining the Mental Fitness workshop to help address psychological health and wellbeing
  • consulting with staff on the psychological health strategy to create mentally-healthy workplaces, supported by an action plan
  • reviewing the remote servicing safe operating procedures

During the year the department introduced a number of initiatives and structural changes to support injury prevention, early intervention and rehabilitation, to enable early return-to-work and, in turn, reduce the likelihood of matters progressing to a claim for workers’ compensation. This included:

  • implementing the case maturity model for rehabilitation case management, which places greater emphasis and resourcing on the early phases of an employee’s injury to facilitate faster resolution and return to work
  • developing and implementing a new injury management performance and quality framework to further improve rehabilitation practice and outcomes by departmental rehabilitation case managers
  • working with rehabilitation and medical providers to improve return to work performance, including application of the department’s external rehabilitation provider performance framework
  • participating in the Comcare Claims Management Pilot, with departmental delegates and Allianz (contracted by Comcare) to manage all claims lodged after 4 February 2014

Figure 7: Accepted claims for 2015-16 by mechanism of injury (per cent of total claim numbers)
Figure 7: Accepted claims for 2015–16 by mechanism of injury (per cent of total claim numbers)

See  Appendix G for information required under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

Project Focus

The Project Focus pilot was implemented on 29 September 2014 to focus on active management and resolution of long-term workers’ compensation cases opened or re-opened between 2002 and 2012. The pilot ceased on 30 June 2016. Achievements included:

  • closing 652 long-term compensation claims
  • reducing the likely future cost of compensation-calculated by Comcare-by $41.7 million at 30 June 2016
  • undertaking 867 internal workplace assessments and initial needs assessments to reduce the risk of workplace injuries and to support improved return to work outcomes

The lessons from this trial will be integrated into the department’s ongoing rehabilitation case management arrangements.

Recognising excellence

The department’s Awards and Honours Programme recognises and rewards performance excellence. The main national award programme focuses on exceptional customer service, successful innovation, inspirational leadership, and business excellence of individuals and teams. The department also participates in external awards programmes.

Internal awards

The Pinnacle Achievement Awards are the department’s primary, national annual award programme. They include categories and criteria aligned to the department’s strategic direction, culture and leadership priorities. The Secretary announced category winners and highly commended recipients at an awards ceremony held in Canberra on 11 September 2015. Overall 10 individuals and 15 teams were acknowledged for their exceptional contribution and performance.

Significant Achievement Awards are sponsored by the SES and recognise achievements by individuals and teams within their business lines.

The ‘In the Moment’ programme encourages immediate and informal recognition at a local level.

The department’s Australia Day Achievement Awards, as part of the National Australia Day Council programme, recognise staff who have made a significant contribution to helping customers in the local community.

As part of the department’s celebration of NAIDOC Week, each year the department presents awards for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employee Achievement, Individual Achievement in Indigenous Servicing, and Team Achievement in Indigenous Servicing. The Secretary announced category winners and highly commended recipients of NAIDOC Awards at a ceremony held in Canberra on 7 July 2015. Five individuals and 3 teams were acknowledged for their exceptional achievements.

External awards

In 2015-16 the department participated in a number of public sector endorsed programmes as well as private sector industry association award programmes. The following external awards were achieved:

  • Australia Day 2016 Honours List-Mark Withnell, General Manager, Business Integrity Division, was awarded the Public Service Medal for delivering outstanding outcomes by improving intelligence-gathering to detect and deter fraud and non-compliance
  • Australia Day 2016 Honours List-Bridget Mather, a former Programme Director in Mackay, Queensland was awarded a Public Service Medal for her outstanding record of commitment to service excellence in the APS
  • Queen’s Birthday 2016 Honours List-Sue Kruse, General Manager, Business Transformation Division, was awarded the Public Service Medal for her significant role in the development and implementation of a number of high profile government initiatives
  • 2015 International Social Security Association Good Practice Award-joint winner with the Republic of Korea, recognising the success of the department’s ambitious approach to service delivery reform over the past 4 years, including the investment in digital services with a ‘digital‑first’ approach
  • 2015 Leadership in Government Awards-Tracey Sheather, National Manager, One-stop Shop Implementation was awarded winner of the Outstanding Contribution in Public Administration category for the rollout of over 100 one-stop shops in less than 2 years
  • 2015 Executive and Administrative Support Awards-winner of the Dot Fitzpatrick Memorial Award for Executive Assistant Mentoring. The department also had finalists in the APS 2-5 category and APS 6 and above category
  • 2015 Australian Awards for Excellence in Public Sector Management-commended for strong representation of digital transformation
  • 2015 National Archives of Australia-winner for Digital Excellence
  • Australasian Reporting Awards-a silver award for the department’s 2014-15 annual report

Service Recognition Programme

In 2015-16 the Service Recognition Programme acknowledged 1,999 staff for their increased level of experience, capability and insight developed through continuous employment in the APS. The programme is an important part of the staff engagement strategy to build a culture that values staff service contributions. Service recognition certificates and service pins are given to staff who reach 10, 20, 25, 30, 40 and 50 years of continuous service in the APS.

Workplace giving

The department has a workplace giving programme that allows staff to make one-off or regular donations to charities under post-tax arrangements directly from their pay.

This year more than $88,007 in donations was distributed to 43 charities. The main beneficiaries were Salvation Army ($11,550), Medecins Sans Frontieres ($9,103) and Hartley Lifecare ($7,818).

Charity fundraising

The department is committed to working closely with and supporting charitable organisations and community groups. With input from staff we develop a charity calendar that outlines the charities we commit to supporting over a 2 year period. Each month we support a charity listed in the calendar and raise awareness of the work they do through a range of internal communication activities and sometimes through fundraising.

Charities the department has supported during the year include, the Leukaemia Foundation, Save the Children Australia and Foodbank. We also participated in the annual Vinnies CEO Sleepout, raising more than $36,000 in 2016 and bringing our total over the past 6 years to $179,500.

The department has also provided local level support to a number of charities including Snowy Hydro SouthCare, Hartley Lifecare and Share the Dignity.

Page last updated: 18 November 2016

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