Multicultural plan 2013-15

Last updated: 13 Jul 2015

This page is: archived

The ethos of the Australian Public Service, as expressed through its Values, is one that is committed to service to achieve the best results for the Australian community and the Government. It is respectful of all people, including their rights and heritage. The Government has committed to delivering government services that are responsive to the needs of Australia’s culturally and linguistically diverse communities and to a whole-of-government approach to the implementation of the Access and Equity framework.

This Agency Multicultural Plan:

is an individual agency plan for the Australian Public Service Commission (‘the Commission’) under the Prime Minister & Cabinet Portfolio.

Our Vision for the Multicultural Access and Equity Policy

Consistent with the APS Values and Employment Principles, our vision for multicultural access and equity is to ensure that all APS employees (including prospective employees) and other stakeholders have access to advice, education, information and services to meet their needs: and that our work, including our education, information and services, supports APS agencies to develop the leadership and organisational capability to serve the diverse Australian community in a responsive and inclusive way.

Our Agency

What is the Commission’s core business?

The Australian Public Service Commission promotes good practice in strengthening the capability of the Australian Public Service to meet the evolving needs of citizens and the government, supports leadership and learning and development in the APS, and fosters ethical behaviour and workplaces that value diversity. We also have an important evaluation role in working with other APS agencies to ensure that the APS is performing effectively and consistently with the APS Values and Employment Principles. The Commission includes the Office of the Merit Protection Commissioner.

How does the work of the Commission impact Australia’s culturally and linguistically diverse communities?

The Commission has role to ensure the legislation, policy and framework for APS employment terms and conditions applies, and is available to, to all APS employment regardless of their background and provides appropriate flexibility for employees from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.  And through data collection, analysis and publication the Commission makes culturally and linguistically diverse data, research, and contemporary thinking available to other departments, agencies and the public.

How does this Multicultural Plan support the Commission’s core business?

We aspire to be a respectful and healthy organisation. We aspire to be open, transparent and accountable. We aspire to be a place that respects the rights and dignity of others. This plan brings multicultural awareness to the Commission.  It assists us to be mindful of our culturally diverse society and provide assistance to clients where needed to meet the goals and aims of the Commission.

Implementing this Plan will ensure that the impact on culturally and linguistically diverse communities is considered when developing policies, programs and strategies for the APS, and that all APS employees (including prospective employees) and other stakeholders are able to access advice, education, information and services to meet their needs.
Finally, this Multicultural Plan will also support the Commission in providing a positive example to other APS agencies of a professional and respectful approach to multiculturalism in line with the APS Values and Employment Principles.

Our Agency Multicultural Plan

  • The APSC Executive Diversity Champion is Mr Ian Fitzgerald, Chief Human Capital Officer
  • This Agency Multicultural Plan, and our Workforce Diversity Plan, supports our vision - To lead and shape a unified, high-performing Australian public service.

Our Multicultural Plan will assist us to ensure that every aspect of our work pays the proper attention to ensuring that we assist APS agencies to engage with, and respond to the needs of, the diverse Australian community that we serve. Therefore, we need to consider the issues affecting:

  • APS employees who are from culturally diverse backgrounds;
  • APS employees providing services and programs, or developing policies, for (or that may affect) culturally diverse individuals and communities;
  • APS leaders who have a particular role in supporting and promoting multicultural access and equity.

Engaging with our staff

In addition to the areas of focus (below), and the development of key capabilities, the Commission will bring the aims and actions of this Plan to the attention of all employees through communication, involvement in developing and implementing actions and solutions, and through the celebration of the diversity in our workplace and in the Australian community.

Drawing on better practice

As a small agency, and drawing on our role in leadership in the APS, the Commission will draw on the better practices developed across all agency multicultural plans. The issues around inclusion of the diversity of multicultural Australia in the Commission are not unique to us. How we implement solutions is unique.

Focus area/s

  • Advice and information to APS employees, particularly in relation to recruitment and engagement, whistleblowing, Review of Action matters, or Code of Conduct matters
  • APS Leadership, learning and development
  • APS Jobs - which provides a portal where members of the Australian public can search for employment vacancies in the APS
  • International Team
  • Panel Services
  • The Commission’s Training Centre
  • Website and on-line presence

Target Groups for Multicultural access & equity in Australia1

  • Migrants with low levels of English proficiency
  • Refugees and humanitarian entrants
  • Visibly different migrants
  • Newly arrived communities and individuals with low levels of knowledge of the Australian system, and
  • Other migrants experiencing difficulties in accessing services based on age, gender, disability, youth or coming from collectivist cultures

Leadership

The Commission has a vision ‘To lead and shape a unified, high-performing Australian public service. Therefore, the Commission has a particular role to assist the Australian Public Service to effectively implement the Multicultural Access & Equity Policy. In particular, Recommendation 12 of the government report Access and Equity for a multicultural Australia: Inquiry into the responsiveness of Australian Government services to Australia’s culturally and linguistically diverse population places a particular obligation on the Commission. That is:
That the Australian Government assess or develop training packages on Access and Equity policy and cultural competency and incorporate them into Australian Public Service Commission sponsored courses and individual agency training on leadership, policy development and service delivery.
In response to this recommendation, the Centre for Leadership and Learning has indicated that a whole-of-APS strategy for the development of leadership and core skills is currently being progressed. The inclusion of cultural competency as an essential skill for an effective public service is being considered within this framework.

Minimum obligations

Executive accountability: Department or agency to assign a Senior Executive Officer to be responsible for implementation of multicultural access and equity obligations.
Department or agency commitment: Department or agency leadership to ensure that staff understand and are committed to multicultural access and equity implementation.

  Action Responsibility Timeline Target
1.1

Executive accountability

Assign a Senior Executive Officer to be responsible for implementation of multicultural access and equity obligations.

Executive

30 June 2013

Diversity Champion ensures that multicultural access and equity is appropriately discussed and considered in planning and programs

1.2

Embedding APS Values

Integrate equity and diversity principles into the resource material prepared for agencies as part of Embedding the APS Values

Ethics Group

 

Support Agencies in ‘Embedding the Values’ to inspire excellence

1.3

Commitment

Incorporate the Commission’s vision for multicultural access and equity into each Group’s business plans, and reflect that in the Commission’s strategy.

Group Managers

September 2013 and ongoing

Ensure that multicultural access and equity is appropriately included in planning and programs

1.3

Implement Inquiry Report recommendation 12

Effectively implement the Multicultural Access & Equity Policy. In particular, Recommendation 12 of the government report Access and Equity for a multicultural Australia: Inquiry into the responsiveness of Australian Government services to Australia’s culturally and linguistically diverse population. That is:
12. That the Australian Government assess or develop training packages on Access and Equity policy and cultural competency and incorporate them into Australian Public Service Commission sponsored courses and individual agency training on leadership, policy development and service delivery.
Activities include the inclusion of cultural competency as an essential skill for an effective public service will be considered within the leadership and core skills framework.

Centre for Leadership and Learning

June 2014

Implement the agreed response from the APSC to Recommendation 12 to the satisfaction of the Government

Engagement

Minimum obligations

Stakeholder engagement: Department or agency to have an engagement strategy to understand culturally and linguistically diverse communities’ interactions with department or agency.
Language and communication: Department or agency to have a language and communication plan for culturally and linguistically diverse communities, including on the use of languages other than English and incorporating the use of interpreters and translators.

  Action Responsibility Timeline Target

2.1

Stakeholder engagement

Update stakeholder engagement current planning to include multi-cultural diversity when making contact with L&D consultants.

Centre for Leadership and Learning

By 30 Sept 2013

Ensure L&D consultants implement the relevant elements of this Plan

2.2

Stakeholder engagement

Considering both current and future stakeholders, implement a language and communication plan, including consideration of translation and interpreter services, and translated publications where appropriate for:

  • Corporate web pages
  • On-line and printed publications
  • APS Jobs

Client Engagement

By January 2014

Ensure ease of access by culturally diverse groups to all Commission information and programs

2.3

Stakeholder engagement

Develop a plan to consider and respond to the needs of those people attending the Training Centre beyond their language needs, particularly accommodating cultural and religious obligations (eg. religious observance, diet, and communication)

Training Centre

 

People accessing the Training Centre feel welcomed, and are comfortable to seek to have their needs met

2.4

Language and communication

Develop a priority languages list to define the languages to be selected when translating information and publications.

Client Engagement

By September 2013, with translation on a case-by-case basis

Ensure appropriate multicultural material is developed

Performance

The Commission has a role to play in leadership of the APS. We need to lead by example, which includes measuring our performance and responding to any issues this raises. It is our aim to promote better practice.

Minimum obligations

Performance indicators and reporting: Department or agency to develop a set of KPIs relating to engagement with, or outcomes of services to, culturally and linguistically diverse clients.
Feedback: Department or agency to have arrangements in place to ensure affected culturally and linguistically diverse communities are able to provide feedback on department or agency multicultural access and equity performance.

  Action Responsibility Timeline Target
3.1

Performance indicators and reporting

Agency’s interaction is with the APS through a range of service delivery functions. Within this framework, our KPIs are:

Leadership, Learning and Development

  • Consultant information session held to reinforce content key message inclusion for all relevant programs
  • All leadership, learning and development programs have specific content key messages associated with diversity where related to service delivery or policy functions
  • L&D design standard developed for multicultural diversity issues
  • Environmental scan identifies existing L&D programs/packages that can be evaluated against the design standard
  • Evaluation of programs against design standard
  • Outcomes of evaluation released and any next steps identified (where new materials are required)

Centre for Leadership and Learning

July 2014

Collate and review material to continually improve

3.2

Feedback

Leadership, Learning and Development
Ensure evaluation strategy for the Core Skills Strategy includes scope to illicit information about the diversity element of the project.

Centre for Leadership and Learning

July 2014

Collate and review material to continually improve

Capability

The Commission has a role to play in leadership of the APS. And in leading, we need to ensure that the APS appropriately reflects and incorporates the diversity of the Australian community that it serves. In order to be able to consider and respond to the issues facing a culturally diverse community, our employees need to have an understanding of how to explore, understand and properly incorporate these issues.

Minimum obligations

Cultural competency: Department or agency to have training and development measures to equip staff with cultural competency skills.
Research and data: Department or agency to collect ethnicity data on the culturally and linguistically diverse groups with which the department or agency engages and to which it delivers services directly or indirectly.

  Action Responsibility Timeline Target
4.1

Cultural competency

Implement cultural awareness and competency training.

Group Manager, Corporate

January 2014

100% of employees have completed appropriate cultural awareness training, and feel confident to apply it.

4.2

Research and data

Collect ethnicity data on the culturally and linguistically diverse groups with which the Commission engages.

Client Engagement

January 2014

Ensure appropriate multicultural material is developed

Responsiveness

The Commission has a role to play in leadership of the APS. And in leading, we need to ensure that the APS appropriately reflects and incorporates the diversity of the Australian community that it serves. This requires the Commission to also be alert to, and respond to the needs – and changing needs of the whole community

Minimum obligations

Standards: Any whole-of-government standards and guidelines developed by the department or agency must address multicultural access and equity considerations.
Policy, program and service delivery: Provision to ensure that policies, programs, community interactions and service delivery (whether in-house or outsourced) are effective for culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
Outsourced services: Where relevant, provision for incorporation of multicultural access and equity requirements into contracts, grant agreements and related guidance material of which the department or agency has carriage.

  Action Responsibility Timeline Target
5.1

Standards

Promote awareness of adherence to relevant Australian Government standards and guidelines as part of the governance and audit program.

Group Manager, Corporate

July 2014

Ensure AG standards and guidelines are included in relevant Chief Executive’s Instructions (CEI’s) and other audit guidance material

5.2

Policy, program and service delivery

Reviews of policies, programs or services to include consideration of the particular needs of multicultural and other diverse groups

Commission-wide

Ongoing process

Ensure all ongoing work of the Commission takes into account multi-cultural diversity

Openness

The Commission has a role to play in leadership of the APS. And in leading, we need to ensure that the APS appropriately reflects and incorporates the diversity of the Australian community that it serves.

Minimum obligations

Publishing: Department or agency to publish AMPs on department or agency websites and performance reports against KPIs for culturally and linguistically diverse clients in department or agency annual reports.
Data: Department or agency to make culturally and linguistically diverse data available to other departments or agencies and the public.

  Action Responsibility Timeline Target
6.1

Publishing

Publish this Multicultural Plan on the Commission’s website, and performance reports against Multicultural Plan KPIs for culturally and linguistically diverse clients in annual reports

Client Engagement

Immediate

Compliance with policy obligations

6.2

Data

Through reports and publications, including the State of the Service and APSED reporting, make culturally and linguistically diverse data available to other departments or agencies and the public

Human Capital Research and Evaluation Group

Ongoing

Assist Agencies to increase their awareness and understanding of multicultural access and equity issues

6.3

Data

Undertake analysis of data to explore the implications for the APS (for example, consideration of the how reflective the APS is of the Australian community and the implications for policy and program development and delivery) and consider reporting on this in the State of the Service Report

Human Capital Research and Evaluation Group

   

1 As identified in Australia's Multicultural Policy