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Appendix: Review of performance by function

The information on activity and performance provided in Tables M2 to M9 refers to the Merit Protection Commissioner's statutory functions. Information on the Merit Protection Commissioner's functions can be found on her website, www.meritprotectioncommission.gov.au.

Review of employment actions

The three main categories of reviews conducted by the Merit Protection Commissioner under section 33 of the PS Act and Part 5 of the Regulations are:

  • reviews of breaches of the APS Code of Conduct
  • reviews of other employment actions
  • reviews of promotion decisions.

Table M2 provides information on the number of applications for review (other than promotion review) received and reviews completed in 2015–16.

Table M2: Review of employment actions workload for 2015–16 by type of review, compared with total reviews in 2014–15
Cases Primary reviews—Code of Conduct Primary reviews—other Secondary reviews Complaints/reviews by former employees Total
2015–16 2015–16 2014–15

Notes: There is a variation in the number of cases on hand at the end of 2014–15 and at the start of 2015–16 as one case was reassessed and was handled as two cases.

Primary reviews are reviews conducted by the Merit Protection Commissioner (MPC) without first being reviewed by the agency head. Secondary reviews are conducted by the MPC following a review conducted by the agency head or after the agency head decides the matter is not reviewable but the MPC considers it is.

On hand at start of year 15 0 19 0 34 52
Received during the period 72 18 103 5 198 161
Total cases 87 18 122 5 232 213
Reviewed 35 1 39 0 75 89
Not accepted 10 13 64 4 91 72
Lapsed or withdrawn 14 1 4 0 19 19
Total finalised during period 59 15 107 4 185 180
On hand at end of year 28 3 15 1 47 33

Table M3 provides information on the timeliness with which this function was performed. The table compares results for 2015–16 with those for 2014–15. The target timeframe for completion of primary and secondary reviews is 14 weeks from receipt of application.

Table M3: Timeliness in handling reviews, 2015–16 compared to 2014–15
Review type 2014–15 2015–16
Average time to complete reviews (weeks) Completed within target timeframes
(%)
Average time to complete reviews (weeks) Completed within target timeframes (%)
Primary reviews—Code of Conduct 15.16 82.98 13.04 88.57
Primary reviews—other 12.71 100 8.14 100
Secondary reviews 14.97 80 12.58 92.31
Reg 7.2/7.2A 11.57 100 N/A N/A
Total 15.01 82.02 12.91 90.67

Table M4 details the number of reviews by agency.

Table M4: Reviews completed, by agency, 2015–16
Agency Primary reviews—Code of Conduct Primary reviews—other Secondary reviews Complaints by former employees Total
Department of Human Services 14 0 12 0 26
Department of Defence 2 0 12 0 14
Department of Immigration and Border Protection 7 0 3 0 10
Australian Taxation Office 1 0 4 0 5
Bureau of Meteorology 3 0 1 0 4
Fair Work Ombudsman 2 0 1 0 3
Commonwealth Ombudsman 2 0 0 0 2
Eleven other agencies (one review each) 4 1 6 0 11
Total 35 1 39 0 75

Table M5 shows the main subject matter and the secondary subject matters for all secondary cases reviewed in 2015–16. The data in Table M5 is not directly comparable with the data in tables M2–M4 as one review may involve more than one subject matter.

Table M5: Subject matter of reviews completed (excluding Code of Conduct cases), 2015–16
Subject matter Secondary subject matter Number
Conditions of employment Allowances/other payments 3
Attendance/leave 6
Hours of work 3
Other entitlements 4
Subtotal   16
Duties Assignment of duties 1
Relocation 1
Reclassification 2
Subtotal   4
Miscellaneous Misconduct procedures 3
Access to information 2
Subtotal   5
Performance management Salary advancement 2
Performance appraisal 7
Training and development 1
Underperformance 2
Subtotal   12
Workplace environment and arrangements Management practices 2
Workplace direction 1
Training and development 1
Subtotal   4
Harassment Bullying and harassment 1
Subtotal   1
Total   42

Table M6 shows the subject matters for all Code of Conduct cases reviewed in 2015–16. The data in Table M6 is not directly comparable with the data in Tables M2–M4 as one review may involve more than one kind of subject matter.

Table M6: Subject matter of Code of Conduct reviews completed, 2015–16
Subject matter identified Number
Bullying and harassment 6
Conflict of interest 3
Failure to follow a direction 6
Inappropriate use of email/internet 4
Lack of respect and courtesy 9
Inappropriate use of social media 1
Misuse of Commonwealth property/assets 1
Other (providing false information, illegal drug use, unreasonable directions) 3
Unauthorised access of agency databases 8
Total number of matters identified in reviews 41

Review of promotion decisions

The Merit Protection Commissioner establishes promotion review committees to conduct reviews of promotion decisions for jobs at the APS 1 to 6 classifications.

Details of the promotion review caseload for 2015–16 are in Table M7. In this table, 'case' means an application by one or more APS employees for review of a promotion decision or decisions arising from a discrete agency selection exercise.

Table M7: Promotion review caseload, 2015–16 compared to 2014–15
Promotion review cases 2014–15 2015–16
On hand at start of year 1 23
Received during the period 47 176
Total caseload 48 199
Reviewed 14 108
Not accepted 3 11
Lapsed or withdrawn 8 53
Total finalised during period 25 172
On hand at end of year 23 27
Target completion time (weeks) 8 or 12 8 or 12
Completed within target time (number) 14 104
Completed within target time (percentage) 100 96

Table M8 lists those agencies whose promotions attracted review applications and the number of promotions considered.

Table M8: Review of promotion decisions, by agency, 2015–16
Agency Promotion reviews finalised Total applications received 'Active' applications received 'Protective' applications received Promotion decisions considered Promotion decisions varied

Notes: An APS employee may make an application for review of one or more promotion decisions. Not all applications are considered by a promotion review committee. Some applications are withdrawn, are held to be invalid or, in the case of 'protective' applications, do not proceed to review.

Unsuccessful candidates for a promotion may lodge an 'active' application seeking review of a promotion decision.

Employees who have been promoted and whose promotion may be subject to review may lodge a 'protective' application against the promotion of other successful candidates.

Department of Human Services 57 271 146 125 197 12
Australian Taxation Office 20 332 85 247 411 10
Department of Immigration and Border Protection 15 181 26 155 205 1
Five other agencies (with two reviews) 10 23 13 10 47 0
Six other agencies (with one review) 6 50 8 42 60 0
Total 108 857 278 579 920 23

Independent selection advisory committees

ISACs are established by the Merit Protection Commissioner at an agency head's request on a fee-for-service basis under Part 4 of the Regulations. Table M9 sets out information on ISAC activity for 2015–16 compared to that for 2014–15.

Table M9: Independent selection advisory committees, 2015–16 compared to 2014–15
  2014–15 2015–16
On hand at start of year 0 2
Received during the period 2 10
Total workload 2 12
Completed 0 6
Lapsed/withdrawn 0 0
Total finalised during the period 0 6
On hand at end of year 2 6