At 30 June 2016 the department leased 436 commercial properties covering 731,977 square metres. The number of properties reduced from 484 the previous year as a result of co-locating 29 Medicare service centres into Centrelink service centres and other rationalisation of the department’s existing property portfolio.
In addition to existing myGov sites in Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth the department opened a new regional myGov site in Albury, New South Wales.
The department also owns 36 residential properties and leases another 7 in remote locations. These properties provide accommodation for staff in places where it would otherwise be difficult for staff to locate suitable accommodation.
The department is working with the National Disability Insurance Agency and DVA to deliver property solutions for their accommodation requirements.
The department continually reviews its property portfolio to ensure it meets business objectives and is as efficient as possible.
In 2014 PricewaterhouseCoopers undertook an independent review of property operations across the department. Recommendations from the review which focussed on increased efficiency and ensuring value for money in accordance with the Commonwealth Property Management Framework were implemented during the year.
In 2015-16 expenditure on property operating expenses was $434.5 million ($430.4 million in 2014-15), with a further $64.3 million on capital improvements ($59.3 million in 2014-15).
The department’s assets management policies and procedures encompass whole-of-life assets management. The department publishes guidance and procedures for staff and conducts a risk‑based rolling stocktake and independent valuations to maintain the accuracy of assets records.
During the year the department provided assurance on the existence, validity and valuation of the assets held. Specifically the department undertook:
- a stocktake to confirm the existence and location of the department’s assets
- a valuation of leasehold improvements, ICT assets, general plant and equipment, and data centre equipment
- an assets impairment review in accordance with the Australian Accounting Standard AASB 136—Impairment of assets
The composition of the department’s assets base is mainly software, leasehold improvements and data centre equipment.
Effective governance of the department’s protective security programme is vital to providing a security environment that protects the department’s people, information, assets and infrastructure.
The department’s compliance with the mandatory requirements of the Australian Government Protective Security Policy Framework is managed through activities such as effective security risk management, monitoring and review of security plans and policies, and training and education.
The department’s protective security policy aligns with the framework and emphasises the need for security as part of the department’s culture. With an increased focus on security governance, in 2015-16 we strengthened governance arrangements with the creation of a Security Steering Group. Established as a sub-committee of the department’s Risk, Business Continuity and Security Committee, the group is to ensure alignment of the department’s security programme with broader corporate controls in areas such as people management, fraud, property, procurement, privacy, and information management.
Government operates within an environment of cyber security threats that are increasing in number and sophistication. We are focused on protecting the extensive customer data holdings and payment systems that the department administers.
The department has effective risk controls in place to ensure that we are well positioned in our approach to cyber security. We assess risks and work closely with national and international agencies to ensure that our safeguards follow global best practice. Our cyber security governance, management and operational practices are designed to enable the department’s business and provide assurance in response to the changing threat environment.
The department’s size, scale and ICT capability make it well-placed to be a provider of shared services within the APS.
The department continues to provide a range of corporate services to other agencies including services to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C). We provide ICT and learning and development services to a number of agencies and this year managed the Indigenous Apprenticeships Programme for another 7 agencies.
During 2015-16 we transitioned the National Disability Insurance Agency to a broad suite of ICT and corporate services. This includes end user computing, telephony, online channels and business systems, with corporate services transitioned being payroll management, credit management, accounts receivable, accounts payable, travel, fleet management and security services. See National Disability Insurance Agency and the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
The department continued to provide travel, credit card, fleet management services and learning and development services to the PM&C.
We continued to support DVA with end user computing (including assistive technology support), telephony and ICT infrastructure services. We also provided internet gateway services to 8 agencies.
In 2015-16, we managed and administered the Indigenous Apprentices Program (IAP) for a number of agencies. The programme is a 12-month programme providing an accredited qualification and on the job learning. It provides specialist support services such as Indigenous mentors, Indigenous buddies and Indigenous Cultural Awareness Training for supervisors. See also Apprentices, cadets and graduates.
Around 200 apprentices commenced in the programme across agencies that included DSS, Department of Health, Department of Defence, Department of the Environment, DVA, DIBP, and PM&C.
We facilitated training for a number of agencies, in particular providing a range of courses to DSS. These courses included managing workplace bullying, customer service training, and positive attendance training for managers, strategic thinking and disability awareness.
In support of the Department of Finance’s Shared and Common Services Programme, the department has been working closely with DSS, DVA and the Department of Health to explore opportunities for us to provide shared corporate services on a fee-for-service basis.
The department intends to take a leading role in the transformation of the APS by consolidating and providing transactional and other corporate services to other Australian Government agencies, on a fee-for-service basis.
The department also undertook election services on behalf of the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) in relation to the 2016 Federal Election. Election services delivered included:
- contact centres
- election service centres
- blind and low vision registration and voting
- remote customers enrolment assistance and mobile polling
We have delivered these services on behalf of the AEC for past federal elections.