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MPC Annual report 2017–18: Appendix: Review of performance by function

This appendix provides information about the performance of the Merit Protection Commissioner’s statutory functions. Further information about the Merit Protection Commissioner’s functions can be found on the website, at http://www.meritprotectioncommission.gov.au.

Review of employment actions

Under section 33 of the Public Service Act and Part 5 of the Regulations the Merit Protection Commissioner conduct three main categories of reviews:

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

Table M1 provides information on the number of applications for review (other than promotion review) received and reviews completed in 2017–18. Table M2 provides information on the timeliness with which this function was performed. Both tables provide results for 2016–17 for comparison.

The target timeframe for completion of primary and secondary reviews is 14 weeks from receipt of the application.

Table M1: Review of employment actions workload, by type of review, 2017–18 compared with 2016–17
Cases
Primary reviews—Code of Conduct
Primary reviews
—other
Secondary reviews
Complaints/
reviews by former employees
Total
2017–18
2017–18
2016–17

On hand at start of year

7

2

13

1

23

46

Received during the period

55

5

98

8

166

177

Total cases

62

7

111

9

189

223

Reviewed

29

2

41

3

75

93

Not accepted

4

1

44

4

53

77

Lapsed or withdrawn

11

1

8

1

21

30

Total finalised during period

44

4

93

8

149

200

On hand at end of year

18

3

18

1

40

23

Notes: 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.

Part 7 of the Regulations covers complaints/reviews by former employees.

Table M2: Timeliness in handling reviews, 2017–18 compared with 2016–17
Review type
2016–17
2017–18
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

13.72

78

11.96

79

Primary reviews—other

22.36

50

14.57

50

Secondary reviews

15.3

79

11.27

78

Regulation Part 7*

16.29

50

7.17

66.7

Total Reviews
14.62
77.4
11.48
77.3

*Complaints or reviews by former employees

Table M3 details the number of reviews completed, by the agency concerned.

Table M3: Reviews completed, by agency, 2017–18
Agency concerned
Primary reviews—Code of Conduct
Primary reviews—other
Secondary reviews
Reviews/ complaints by former employees
Total

Department of Human Services

15

0

24

0

39

Department of Home Affairs & Department of Immigration and Border Protection

3

0

4

1

8

Department of Defence

3

0

2

0

5

Australian Taxation Office

1

0

3

0

4

Administrative Appeals Tribunal

0

0

2

0

2

Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission

2

0

0

0

2

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

2

0

0

0

2

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

1

0

1

0

2

Eleven other agencies
(one review each)

2

2

5

2

11

Total
29
2
41
3
75

Table M4 shows the main subject matter and the secondary subject matters for all secondary cases reviewed in 2017–18. The data in Table M4 is not directly comparable with the data in tables M1 to M3 because a review can involve more than one subject matter.

Table M4: Subject matter of reviews completed, 2017–18
Subject matter
Number

Salary, allowances and other payments

Overtime and allowances

4

Salary

1

Debt recovery

1

Subtotal
6

Flexible working arrangements

Part-time work

7

Relocation or outposting

3

Compassionate leave

2

Home-based work

1

Subtotal
13

Performance management

Unsatisfactory performance

2

Performance appraisal

6

Subtotal
8

Workplace behaviour

Handling of bullying complaints

4

Workplace directions or warnings

6

Subtotal
10

Leave

Leave

4

Subtotal
4

Other

Relocation

1

Redeployment policy

1

Outside employment

1

Restriction on duties

1

Subtotal
4
Total
 45

Note: Excludes Code of Conduct cases.

Table M5 shows the subject matter for all Code of Conduct cases reviewed in 2017–18. The data in Table M5 is not directly comparable with that in Tables M1 to M3 because a review may involve more than one main subject.

Table M5: Subject matter of Code of Conduct reviews completed, 2017–18
Subject matter identified
Number

Conflict of interest

4

Bullying and discourtesy

7

Unauthorised access of agency databases

4

Inappropriate use of IT resources

2

Inappropriate use of social media

2

Misuse of credit card

1

Failure to follow a direction or procedures

4

Other (including comments indicating fraud, outside employment and false information in a job application)

5

Total number of matters identified
29

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 2017–18 are provided in Table M6.

Table M6: Promotion review caseload, 2017–18 compared with 2016–17

Promotion review cases

2016–17

2017–18

On hand at start of year

28

3

Received during the period

177

97

Total caseload

205

100

Reviewed

141

57

Not accepted

13

5

Lapsed or withdrawn

48

14

Total finalised during period

202

76

On hand at end of year

3

24

Target completion time (weeks)

8 or 12

8 or 12

Completed within target time (number)

130

57

Completed within target time (percentage)

92%

100%

Note: ‘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 lists those agencies whose promotions attracted review applications and the number of promotions considered.

Table M7: Review of promotion decisions, by agency, 2017–18
Agency
Promotion reviews finalised
Total applications received
‘Active’ applications received
‘Protective’ applications received
Promotion decisions considered
Promotion decisions varied

Australian Taxation Office

33

129

53

76

110

1

Department of Home Affairs & Department of Immigration and Border Protection

8

82

9

73

111

0

Department of Defence

6

6

6

0

6

0

Department of Human Services

4

11

5

6

16

0

Fair Work Ombudsman

2

2

2

0

2

0

Australian Bureau of Statistics

2

17

2

15

20

0

Two agencies (with one review)

2

2

2

0

2

0

Total
57
249
79
170
267
1

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 might be subject to review may lodge a ‘protective’ application against the promotion of other successful candidates.

Fee-related services

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 M8 provides information on Code of Conduct inquiry activity for 2017–18 compared with 2016–17.

Table M8: Code of Conduct inquiries, 2017–18 compared with 2016–17
Status
2016–17
2017–18

On hand at start of year

2

1

Received during the period

8

4

Total workload

10

5

Completed

8

4

Lapsed/withdrawn

1

1

Total finalised during the period

9

5

On hand at end of year

1

0

Independent Selection Advisory Committees

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 2017–18 compared with that for 2016–17.

Table M9: Independent Selection Advisory Committees, 2017–18 compared with 2016–17
Status
2016–17
2017–18

On hand at start of year

6

5

Received during the period

10

14

Total workload

16

19

Completed

11

16

Lapsed/withdrawn

0

3

Total finalised during the period

11

19

On hand at end of year

5

0

 

Last reviewed: 
18 October 2018