The information on activity and performance provided in this appendix refers to the Merit Protection Commissioner’s statutory functions. Information on the Merit Protection Commissioner’s functions can be found at www.meritprotectioncommission.gov.au.
Review of employment actions
The Merit Protection Commissioner, under section 33 of the Public Service Act and Part 5 of the Regulations, conducts three main categories of reviews:
- 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 2016–17. Table M3 provides information on the timeliness with which this function was performed. Both tables compare results for 2016–17 with those for 2015–16.
|Cases||Primary reviews—Code of Conduct||Primary reviews—other||Secondary reviews||Complaints/reviews by former employees||Total|
Notes: There is a variation in the number of cases on hand at the end of 2015–16 and at the start of 2016–17 because two cases were reassessed and handled as one case.
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||28||3||14||1||46||34|
|Received during the period||58||14||99||6||177||198|
|Lapsed or withdrawn||17||3||9||1||30||19|
|Total finalised during period||79||15||100||6||200||185|
|On hand at end of year||7||2||13||1||23||47|
|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||13.04||88.57||13.72||78|
The target timeframe for completion of primary and secondary reviews is 14 weeks from receipt of application.
Table M4 details the number of reviews by agency concerned.
|Agency concerned||Primary reviews—Code of Conduct||Primary reviews—other||Secondary reviews||Reviews/complaints by former employees||Total|
|Department of Human Services||23||1||24||0||48|
|Australian Taxation Office||9||0||1||0||10|
|Department of Defence||6||0||1||0||7|
|Department of Immigration and Border Protection||2||0||3||1||6|
|Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet||2||0||0||0||2|
|Department of Agriculture and Water Resources||0||0||2||0||2|
|Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development||2||0||0||0||2|
|Fourteen other agencies (one review each)||4||1||8||1||14|
Table M5 shows the main subject matter and the secondary subject matters for all secondary cases reviewed in 2016–17. The data in Table M5 is not directly comparable with the data in tables M2–M4, because a review may involve more than one subject matter.
|Subject matter||Secondary subject matter||Number|
|Note: Excludes Code of Conduct cases.|
|Conditions of employment||Allowances/other payments||1|
|Hours of work||2|
|Duties||Assignment/temporary assignment of duties||3|
|Fitness for duty assessment||1|
|Workplace environment and arrangements||Discrimination||2|
|Harassment||Bullying and harassment||3|
Table M6 shows the subject matter for all Code of Conduct cases reviewed in 2016–17. The data in Table M6 is not directly comparable with that in tables M2–M4, because a review may involve more than one subject matter.
|Subject matter identified||Number|
|Unauthorised access of agency databases||11|
|Failure to follow a direction||8|
|Bullying and harassment||5|
|Lack of respect and courtesy||5|
|Inappropriate use of email/internet||4|
|Failure to record attendance accurately||3|
|Misuse of Commonwealth property/assets||3|
|Inappropriate public comment/privacy breach||1|
|Misuse of credit card||1|
|Other (providing false information, illegal drug use, unreasonable directions)||6|
|Total number of matters identified||47|
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 M6. 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.
|Promotion review cases||2015–16||2016–17|
|Note: There is a variation in totals for 2015–16 published in the Merit Protection Commissioner’s Annual Report 2015–16 because one case that was subsequently withdrawn was incorrectly recorded as being lodged in 2016–17.|
|On hand at start of year||23||28|
|Received during the period||176||177|
|Lapsed or withdrawn||53||48|
|Total finalised during period||172||202|
|On hand at end of year||27||3|
|Target completion time (weeks)||8 or 12||8 or 12|
|Completed within target time (number)||104||130|
|Completed within target time (percentage)||96%||92%|
Table M8 lists those agencies whose promotions attracted review applications and the number of promotions considered.
|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.
|Australian Taxation Office||67||607||156||451||622||4|
|Department of Human Services||40||232||79||153||221||0|
|Department of Immigration and Border Protection||19||126||27||99||146||1|
|Department of Veterans’ Affairs||3||7||3||4||7||0|
|Fair Work Ombudsman||3||4||4||0||3||0|
|Department of Agriculture and Water Resources||2||2||2||0||4||0|
|Seven other agencies (with one review)||7||7||7||0||11||0|
Code of Conduct inquiries
Section 50A of the Public Service Act enables the Merit Protection Commissioner to inquire into and determine whether an APS employee or former employee has breached the Code of Conduct. Table M9 sets out information on Code of Conduct inquiry activity for 2016–17 compared with that for 2015–16.
|On hand at start of year||0||2|
|Received during the period||5||8|
|Total finalised during the period||3||9|
|On hand at end of year||2||1|
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 M10 sets out information on ISAC activity for 2016–17 compared with that for 2015–16.
|On hand at start of year||2||6|
|Received during the period||10||10|
|Total finalised during the period||6||11|
|On hand at end of year||6||5|