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Management and accountability, continued

Information and communication technology

The Commission’s ICT infrastructure services are provided under a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. As part of this arrangement, the Commission moved to a new desktop environment based on Microsoft Windows 7 and Office 2007.

The Commission also developed a range of in-house applications to better support its business requirements. These included:

  • the Indigenous employment database to provide better data collection and reporting in relation to the Commission’s Indigenous employment initiatives
  • the Employment Policy Advice database to support the advisory service function
  • a redeployment register function within the APSjobs web portal to support agencies to better handle requests for redeployment between agencies.

During 2010-11 the Commission commenced several projects to improve access to information, both internally and externally. These projects are:

  • the development of a new communications channel on the Commission’s intranet for news, information and resources to ensure that communications are strategically aligned and follow Commission conventions, policies and practice
  • the development of a new corporate portal on the Commission’s intranet designed to provide a single access point to all corporate policies, procedures and guidance material to ensure that administrative activities align with Commission policies
  • the review of all Commission web pages to assess their compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. The Commission will use the results of the audit to enable it to meet the Australian Government requirement that all government websites are to be WCAG Level A standard by December 2012.

The Commission updated its ICT Strategic Plan to take account of APS reform initiatives. New systems planned for development in 2011-12 include:

  • an extended web presence to allow the presentation of supporting material and, in some cases, the generation of dialogue between the Commission and its clients
  • improvements to the systems supporting capturing of data relating to the SES cap
  • enhancements to APSjobs to support a new service to manage graduate recruitment across the APS
  • implementation of web survey tools to allow collection, consolidation and reporting of a range of information from agencies.

Financial performance

This section provides a summary of the Commission’s financial performance during 2010-11. Further information is available in Part 5, which includes the independent auditor’s report and the Commission’s audited financial statements for the period to 30 June 2011.

Departmental activities

2010-11 income

The Commission’s total income for 2010-11 was $52.56 million. Appropriation from government accounted for 57.3%, and sales of goods and services accounted for 42.6%. Table 17 details Commission income since 2008-09.

Table 17: Commission income, 2008-09 to 2010-11
Source 2008-09
($ million)
2009-10
($ million)
2010-11
($ million)
Appropriation 22.132 20.731 30.096
Non-appropriation 19.365 19.961 22.460
Total 41.497 40.692 52.556

Table 18 details the income source by percentage since 2008-09.

Table 18: Percentage of income by source, 2008-09 to 2010-11
Income source 2008-09 (%) 2009-10 (%) 2010-11 (%)
Appropriation from government 53.3 50.9 57.3
Sales of goods and services 46.6 49.0 42.6
Other income (gains from sale of assets and resources received free of charge) 0.1 0.1 0.1

Appropriation funding

Appropriation funding increased from $20.731 million in 2009-10 to $30.10 million in 2010-11. The increase was to support the Commission’s role in implementing key APS reforms ($14.43 million) and was partially offset by the cessation of funding for the Career Transition and Support Centre ($0.67 million). In line with net cash appropriation arrangements, revenue from government was reduced by an amount equal to the budget-funded proportion of depreciation and amortisation expense ($0.83 million) and portfolio savings.

Three significant changes to the Commission’s appropriation funding occurred in 2010-11:

  • An FMA Act section 32 determination transferred funding of $3.98 million for agreement making, classification structures, Australian public service remuneration arrangements, work-level standards advice and the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal to the Commission from the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR).
  • The 2010-11 Mid-Year Economic Fiscal Outlook reduced the Commission’s funding for the APS reform measure announced in the 2010-11 Budget by $8.17 million. This reduction delivered on the government’s election commitment.
  • The Administrative Arrangements Order of 14 September 2010 transferred responsibility for the Remuneration Tribunal to the Commission. Funding of $1.10 million for the Remuneration Tribunal functions was transferred to the Commission from DEEWR with effect from November 2010.

As a result of the transfer of functions and funding to the Commission, the percentage of appropriation from government increased from 50.9% in 2009-10 to 57.3% in 2010-11.

Non-appropriation income

Table 19 shows the non-appropriation income, by source, that the Commission received from the sale of goods and rendering of services in 2009-10 and 2010-11. Workplace relations and capability reviews are new income sources for the Commission.

Table 19: Non-appropriation income received by source 2009-10 and 2010-11
Source 2009-10
Actual ($ million)
2010-11
Estimate ($ million)
2010-11
Actual ($ million)
Development programs 13.8 12.2 14.6
Employment services 3.1 1.9 3.4
International assistance 2.4 2.0 2.2
Better practice and evaluation 0.5 0.5 0.4
Workplace relations - 0.6 1.0
Capability reviews - - 0.7
Other services 0.2 0.0 0.2
Total 20.0 17.2 22.5

Table 20 details the percentage of non-appropriation income, by source, that the Commission received from sales of goods and services in 2009-10 and 2010-11.

Table 20: Percentage of non-appropriation income received by source, 2010-11
Source 2009-10 (%) 2010-11 (%)
Development programs 69 65
Employment services 15 15
International assistance 12 10
Better practice and evaluation 3 2
Workplace relations - 4
Capability reviews - 3
Other services 1 1

Income from development programs amounted to $14.6 million in 2010-11 ($13.8 million in 2009-10) and made up 28% (34% in 2009-10) of the Commission’s total income from all sources. Although total income from this source increased, the percentage declined due to new funding for APS reform activities and for functions transferred from the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

The majority of this income is earned in an open market, where agencies have a choice about where they source their services and the level of services required. As demand can be unpredictable, the Commission devotes considerable effort to estimating income and expenditure and to monitoring its financial performance during the year.

Operating result

The Commission’s operating result for 2010-11 was a surplus of $1.912 million (surplus of $0.799 million in 2009-10). The surplus is mainly due to lower than expected expenditure for APS reform activities and from effective management of costs. Table 21 details operating results for 2009-10 and 2010-11.

Table 21: Operating result, 2009-10 and 2010-11
  2009-10

         ($ million)

2010-11

         ($ million)

Surplus  0.799 1.912

Administered activities

On 14 September 2010, administration of the parliamentarians’ and judicial office holders’ remuneration and entitlements program was transferred from the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations to the Commission.

The objective of this program is to facilitate the payment of parliamentarians’ and judicial office holders’ remuneration, allowances and entitlements. The Commission receives special appropriations for the program, and the Department of the Senate, the Department of the House of Representatives and the Attorney-General’s Department make all payments.

For the part of the year that the Commission was responsible for this program, payments amounted to $35.68 million. Payments made are reported in Table C of note 20 of the Commission’s financial statements in Part 5.

Asset management

The Commission manages assets with a gross value of $8.45 million ($8.21 million in 2009-10). These assets are managed by groups to meet their business needs.

During 2010-11, two changes to the Commission’s asset base occurred with the transfer of the Remuneration Tribunal and the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal to the Commission.

The Commission conducts annual reviews of its capital budget and plan. A four-year capital investment plan is developed from which the Commission manages its future asset purchases and disposals. All assets owned by the Commission, including any information technology assets, are subject to an annual stocktake to verify the accuracy of asset records. Assets are depreciated at rates applicable for each asset class, as verified by the Australian National Audit Office.

Purchasing

The Commission’s purchasing is undertaken in accordance with the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines. Further guidance is provided to staff through the Commission Purchasing Guide and the Chief Executive’s Instructions.

The Commission has also established a framework for managing the risks inherent in procurement activities and has operational guidelines to support staff in assessing the risks associated with their projects.

The Commission has published the annual procurement plan on AusTender (as required by the procurement guidelines) to facilitate early procurement planning for 2011-12.

Purchaser-provider arrangements

The Commission has three purchaser-provider arrangements:

  • ICT infrastructure services provided under a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations
  • human resource support services provided under a memorandum of understanding with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • international assistance under an arrangement with AusAID.

The Commission’s agreement with the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations has been in place for two years and includes performance standards to monitor the delivery of services. Performance has met expectations.

The Commission’s agreement with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet began in April 2011. The aim is to realise benefits by combining with a number of agencies to deliver shared payroll services. The agreement includes performance standards and a reporting regime to facilitate the effective delivery of the Commission’s human resource services. Performance has been satisfactory.

The Commission’s international work under its arrangement with AusAID is provided in Part 2 of this report.

Consultants

The Commission engages consultancy services in circumstances where it requires particular expertise that is not available internally. During 2010-11, the Commission entered into 39

(14 in 2009-10) new consultancy contracts, involving total actual expenditure of $1.907 million ($521,000 in 2009-10). In addition, nine ongoing consultancy contracts were active during 2010-11, involving total actual expenditure of $589,000 (six involving $206,000 in 2009-10).

Information on the value of contracts and consultancies for 2010-11 is available through the AusTender website (www.tenders.gov.au). Additional details for consultancy contracts over $10,000 can be found on the Commission’s website.

Table 22 details expenditure on consultancy contracts between 2008-09 and 2010-11.

Table 22: Expenditure on consultancy contracts, 2008-09 to 2010-11
  Number of new consultancies let Number of ongoing consultancy contracts that were active Total actual expenditure on new consultancy contracts
($’000)
Total actual expenditure on ongoing consultancy contracts that were active
($’000)
Total actual expenditure on consultancy contracts
($’000)
2008-09 11 11 276 337 613
2009-10 14 6 521 206 727
2010-11 39 9 1,907 589 2,496

Australian National Audit Office access clauses

The Commission’s standard form contracts for services and consultancies provide for access by the Australian National Audit Office.

Accommodation

As part of the implementation of the Commission’s revised organisational structure, minor changes were made to the Commission’s accommodation in Canberra and to co-locate the small number of staff in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth offices with other agencies that have the same common ICT provider. Commission staff in Brisbane and Melbourne are co-located in the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations premises and in Adelaide and Perth with the Office of the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner.

Exempt contracts

The Commissioner may direct that contract details are not to be reported on AusTender if they would be subject to an exemption under the Freedom of Information Act 1982, and the Commissioner considers that the information is genuinely sensitive and harm is likely to be caused by its disclosure.

The Commission did not issue any exemptions during 2010-11.

Grant programs

The Commission did not administer any grant programs in 2010-11.

Outlook for 2011-12

The Commission’s operations and delivery of its strategic priorities in 2011-12 will be guided by the new strategic plan and supported by a workforce plan, SES leadership behaviour statement and revised governance arrangements.

The Commission will continue to design and implement its knowledge-management and information-sharing capabilities, so that it can provide a stronger evidence base for APS workforce policies and better metrics and data for the APS and agencies more broadly.

The Commission’s top priorities to facilitate the delivery of its strategies and objectives relate to people, process and system capabilities. The focus in 2011-12 will be to:

  • implement priorities identified in the Commission’s workforce diversity plan and the capability improvement plan
  • embed new committee structures
  • finalise the implementation of the new electronic document and records management system
  • develop stronger financial management and reporting frameworks
  • implement the client engagement strategy
  • update and implement the Commission’s ICT Strategic Plan.

Future funding arrangements

In April 2011, secretaries and the heads of larger agencies agreed to provide the Commission with funding for a period of five years commencing in 2011-12 to enable the Centre for Leadership and Learning to implement its program of reforms, and for two years to undertake reviews of APS classifications and work-level standards.

Under this funding arrangement, the Commission will provide regular (including in its annual report) progress reports on the work performed, including a description of progress, outputs and milestones achieved and the future work program. Continuation of funding beyond this period will be subject to an evaluation of the impact of the Centre for Leadership and Learning’s work, with a formal evaluation of the Centre for Leadership and Learning’s effectiveness to commence after the third year of the program.

Budget outlook

The Commission’s departmental revenue from government will decrease in 2011-12 by $4.27 million as a result of the reduction in funding for the APS reform measure. The departmental fee-for-service income is projected to be $3.66 million higher than the 2010-11 levels. This projected increase is due to the funding by agencies to enable the Centre for Leadership and Learning to implement its program of reforms and undertake reviews of APS classifications and work-level standards.

On a full-year basis administered payments for the parliamentarians’ and judicial office holders’ remuneration and entitlements program are expected to be $47.87 million for 2011-12.

Last reviewed: 
11 May 2018