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Part 4: Management and accountability

This part provides an overview of the Commission’s approach to corporate governance and the management of its resources

Organisational capability and change

In 2010–11, the Commission set out on a journey to reposition itself to deliver on the broad reform goals outlined in the report Ahead of the game: Blueprint for the reform of Australian Government administration (the Blueprint).

Work continued in 2011–12 on further initiatives to support the continuing change process and equip the Commission to deliver on its strategic priorities. Our aim was to be recognised as a repository of deep knowledge, expertise and guidance and to have strong relationships and partnerships with departments and agencies so that we are respected agents of change.

To this end, we focused on developing a workforce and culture capable of providing policy leadership on people and workforce issues that is collaborative, high performing, innovative, curious and client focused.

This meant that 2011–12 was a year full of challenge, but also one of great opportunity as our workforce came to grips with the requirements of our new responsibilities and culture. Improving Commission capability is an ongoing process; the year ahead will see further initiatives to sustain the change and consolidate the gains already achieved.


During the year the Commission continued to maintain the momentum of cultural and organisational change necessary to transform our internal people, process and system capabilities to support our business priorities. The Commission:

  • implemented our strategic plan 2011–14, which details how we are responding to the demands and expectations of us by government and our clients
  • completed the workforce plan 2011–12, which guides the development and maintenance of a skilled, capable and diverse workforce that is valued and engaged and identifies strategies to ensure that our workforce is directly linked to the Commission’s future directions and priorities
  • redefined the way we approach reconciliation, to strengthen our relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and Indigenous APS employees
  • implemented a statement of leadership behaviours against which the Commission leadership group was measured using a 360-degree feedback tool
  • revised the ICT strategic plan for 2012 to 2015 and updated the ICT workforce plan, which identifies three key focus areas for developing the Commission’s ICT capabilities
  • completed the implementation of a new electronic document and records management system that strengthens our recordkeeping
  • redeveloped our website to improve access to its content and simplify its management.

Corporate governance framework

The Commission’s outcome and anticipated use of resources are set out in our Portfolio Budget Statements 2011–12 and strategic plan for 2011–14. Actions to achieve the Commission’s outcome are detailed in group business plans and individual performance agreements, which provide the framework for staff compliance and accountability.

The Commission’s corporate governance framework (Figure 2) brings together all the components necessary to manage and monitor the achievement of the Commission’s outcome.

Figure 2: Corporate governance framework, 2011–12

Corporate committees

The Executive establishes the directions and work program of the Commission and directs the agenda for the Commission Management Committee. The Executive approves business plans and budgets and determines senior staffing matters. It meets regularly as a group on a needs basis.

The Commission reviewed its committee structure in 2010–11 and the results were implemented in October 2011. The revised structure creates a committee system that guides the Commission’s strategic thinking and monitors performance.

Four advisory committees support the Executive in its management and accountability role.

Commission Management Committee

The Commission Management Committee is chaired by the Commissioner and comprises the Executive and group managers. The committee meets fortnightly and is the forum for scoping strategic challenges and direction and for providing updates on Commission activities. It also monitors progress against our strategic priorities.

Audit and Risk Management Committee

The Audit and Risk Management Committee is established in accordance with the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 and its responsibilities are detailed in the audit charter. The committee met four times in 2011–12.

Workplace Relations Committee

The Workplace Relations Committee is responsible for advising the Commissioner on the implementation and development of the Commission’s enterprise agreement. The committee met four times in 2011–12.

Work Health and Safety Committee

The Work Health and Safety Committee (formerly the Occupational Health and Safety Committee) is responsible for advising the Commissioner and other officers under the legislation on the administration of the Commission’s work health and safety policies and practices. The committee met four times in 2011–12.

Risk management

Risk management is integrated into the daily activities of the Commission. The systematic application of risk management supports good decision-making, enables sound judgments and promotes the cost-effective use of resources throughout the Commission.

The Commission’s risk management framework is reviewed each year and consists of:

  • a risk management statement from the Commissioner, which is published on the Commission’s external website
  • a risk management policy
  • a risk assessment handbook.

The aims of the Commission’s risk management policy are to:

  • develop a Commission-wide understanding of risk management
  • create an environment where all employees assume responsibility for managing risk
  • ensure that relevant risks are considered in decision-making processes
  • ensure that significant risks faced by the Commission are identified and understood
  • ensure that material risks are appropriately monitored through documented review processes and that key mitigating actions are reported to management on a regular basis.

During 2011–12 the Commission conducted a comprehensive risk analysis and assessment to identify risks to achieving its objectives. New risk mitigation strategies were developed and implemented; they are monitored by the Commission’s Audit and Risk Management Committee.

The Commission continued to participate in Comcover’s annual risk management benchmarking survey. In 2011–12, the Commission received a discount of 5.25% on its Comcover insurance premium for 2012–13.

Commission plans

Strategic priorities

The Commission’s strategic priorities for 2011–12 were:

  • One APS—build a unified, citizen-centric APS by leading APS organisational and human capital strategies
  • APS agencies—lead APS agencies’ adoption of best human capital practices and assure agencies’ organisational capability
  • APS leaders—develop outstanding leaders and shape a cohesive leadership network
  • APS values—instil and enliven APS ethics and values to inspire excellence
  • APSC capability—invest in and grow the Commission’s capability to deliver its expanded role.

These priorities are reflected in specific objectives and deliverables under the Commission’s programs and group business planning. All involve a whole-of-Commission approach.

The Commission’s strategic plan identified our aim to be recognised as a repository of deep knowledge, expertise and guidance and the need to build strong relationships and work in partnership with departments and agencies so that we are respected agents of change. To do this, the Commission has developed a new workforce plan.

Workforce plan

The Commission’s workforce plan 2011–12 guides the development and maintenance of a skilled, capable and diverse workforce that is valued and engaged, and identifies strategies to ensure that our workforce is directly linked to the Commission’s future directions and priorities.

Fraud control plan

The Commission’s fraud control plan 2011–12 to 2012–13 establishes the framework for detecting, reporting on and investigating fraud within the Commission. The plan also outlines ongoing fraud awareness steps to ensure that staff are aware of their responsibilities under the plan.

Business continuity plan

The Commission’s business continuity plan details the steps to be taken in the event of a disruption to business operations.

The plan’s objectives are to maintain the continuity of essential services as far as is practicable and to minimise the impact of any disruption to the availability of services. The plan provides practical assistance and guidance to staff on how to ensure that the Commission is able to resume normal business operations following a disaster.

Environmental management system

The Commission aims to minimise the use of non-renewable resources. Ongoing activities include the use of recycled paper products for most work activities, maximising the benefits from energy-saving devices, and undertaking purchasing with energy efficiency in mind. Appendix F provides more detail on the Commission’s environmental performance.

Reconciliation action plan 2012–14

The Commission recognises that, as a central agency involved in the development of employees, leaders and the culture of the APS, it is vital that we take a leadership role in reconciliation with Indigenous people.

The objectives of the reconciliation action plan are to:

  • establish a culturally competent, diverse and inclusive organisational culture within the Commission
  • promote, influence and lead the embedding of a culturally competent, diverse and inclusive organisational culture across the APS.

The Commission reviewed its plan in 2010–11: the new plan redefines the way we approach reconciliation to strengthen our relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and Indigenous APS employees. It has as its theme ‘Hear my story’. As this name suggests, the plan includes a program of activities throughout 2012–13 that encourages ‘narrative learning’, by giving Commission employees a series of in-house or outbound opportunities to listen to stories by and about Indigenous Australians and to link them to our own circumstances and the Commission’s work.

Client engagement strategy

In 2011, the Commission launched a client engagement strategy, which pilots a set of ‘rules of engagement’ and engagement methodologies supplemented by a strategic communications plan. The pilot was subsequently expanded, so that increased numbers of senior employees now operate as client managers who have responsibility as the Commission’s principal contact with APS departments, agencies and networks.

In early 2012, the strategy was reviewed and found to be very effective in developing relationships to foster engagement on key APS issues such as workplace bargaining; leadership development; workforce measurement; reporting; recruitment; guidelines on making public comment and participation online; workforce planning; the APSjobs upgrade; and the Public Service Amendment Bill.

New website

On May 24, 2012 the Commission launched a refreshed website. The new website was created in response to:

  • ongoing client demand for an improved site that meets their needs
  • the need for better compliance with government e-publishing requirements for accessibility and recordkeeping
  • organisational demands for improved professionalism, governance and administrative efficiency.

During the reporting period, the Commission sought best practice architecture expertise and consulted with client groups about their requirements for the website. Clients from different agencies, work areas and with different levels of APS experience provided valuable feedback on how the site should be structured, the information they needed and how they would like to be kept informed by the Commission. The Commission then worked with a content management system provider to develop a site that better met the new requirements.

The resulting new site has introduced several new resources and improvements including:

  • a restructure of our home page to provide a greater emphasis on providing news to our clients, not just about publication releases, but also about networking and briefing opportunities and items of topical interest
  • client-focused pages and content that better targets information towards individual needs
  • new blogs and news feeds that allow clients to be alerted when the site is updated
  • improved search facilities that enable clients to filter automatically by topic and keyword and separate current from archive material.

Electronic document and records management system

During 2011–12, the Commission implemented a new electronic document and records management system (‘Squirrel’). Squirrel supports the Commission’s strategic business priorities and delivers business efficiency as a single corporate document and records store. It provides greater access to and faster retrieval of authoritative information and compliance with the government’s legislative and corporate governance requirements.

Compliance and accountability

The Commission conducts a review of its compliance with the financial management and accountability framework every six months. The results of the 2011–12 reviews confirmed that the Commission’s internal control environment is operating effectively. During 2011–12, the Commission began a project to align its Chief Executive’s Instructions (CEIs) with the model issued by the Department of Finance and Deregulation. The Commission is also updating its CEIs, mandatory procedures and additional guidance material to comply with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules which take effect from 1 July 2012.

The Commission has an ongoing process of reviewing its human resource policies to ensure that they are consistent with better practice and contemporary human resource management principles.

Ethical standards

The Commission supports a culture of strong commitment to the APS Values, and there are a number of mechanisms in place to ensure that the APS Values are reflected in the Commission’s day-to-day work. For example:

  • A set of action items are identified in the Commission’s strategic plan that support the embedding of the APS Values in ‘the way we do things around here’. These actions cascade down from business plans to individual performance agreements.
  • The Commission’s performance management framework requires employees to demonstrate their commitment to the APS Values. Managers are required to provide feedback to employees on their performance against both business outcomes and adherence to the APS Values and Code of Conduct.
  • Leadership behaviours for senior staff have been developed, in consultation with Commission employees. The Executive and SES of the Commission are held to account against these behaviours, which include being role models for the APS Values. A recent 360-degree feedback process for the Executive and SES was designed and implemented around these leadership behaviours.
  • The Commission’s induction package for new staff includes information on the Code of Conduct and the APS Values and the Commission’s expectations of its employees.

The Commission’s Executive has also reviewed the results of the 2012 employee census conducted for the purposes of the State of the Service Report which included several questions about adherence to the APS Values and Code of Conduct.

Internal audit

The Commission’s internal audit function is undertaken by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.

During 2011–12, compliance checks on payroll data analytics, and performance audits of the APS Employment Database’s data security, our procurement and contract management, and management of cross-agency arrangements were completed. The Commission is implementing the recommendations accepted by the Commission.

As at 30 June 2012 two more audits were underway—of financial data analytics and business continuity management.

External scrutiny

Reports by the Auditor-General, parliamentary committees and the Commonwealth Ombudsman

There were no reports into the operations of the Commission by the Auditor-General, a parliamentary committee or the Commonwealth Ombudsman in 2011–12. Reports of general application are considered by the Commission’s Audit and Risk Management Committee.

Court and tribunal decisions

There were no judicial decisions or decisions of administrative tribunals in 2011–12 that had a significant impact on the operations of the Commission.

People management

The Commission’s approach to people management is to support and develop individuals in an environment that allows them to work at their full potential.

Staff profile

The Commission’s workforce increased by 3.4% in the past year to 271 employees, excluding non-ongoing employees employed in the Commission’s regional offices, who provide fee-for-service work on an ad hoc basis. The Commission workforce is primarily (90%) based in Canberra.

The Commission continues to have a predominantly female (73%), full-time (85%) workforce employed on an ongoing basis (91%). Female employees form the greater part of the part-time workforce (83%), and the total part-time workforce has marginally increased (by 1.7% to 15%) from 2010–11.

Other notable trends in the Commission’s staffing are:

  • the proportion of employees identifying as Indigenous Australians has remained steady at 4.3%
  • 4.4% of employees have identified themselves as having a disability that affects them in the workplace
  • 5.9% of employees have identified that English is not their first language
  • 54% of employees are Executive Level employees.

Succession planning

The Commission has placed more emphasis on succession planning in light of the fact that 16% of the current workforce may elect to retire in the next five years and 11% are eligible to retire now. Forty-three per cent of Commission employees are ‘mature age workers’ (that is, over 45). The majority of potential retirees are at Executive Level.

Leave management

The average use of personal leave is 10 days per employee per annum; peaks of personal leave use are around school holiday periods. In 2011–12, where the employee nominated a specific reason for personal leave use, 27% were for ‘caring purposes’, 12% for ‘operation’, and 9% for ‘flu’. There were two instances where an employee used personal leave for ‘cultural or religious obligations’.

The Commission is currently trending at around 4% for personal leave use, with a slow downward trend evident (see Figure 3).

The Commission introduced a new leave management policy during the year to ensure that employees have a safe, healthy and productive workplace. This includes ensuring that employees have adequate opportunity to achieve a good level of work–life balance and that the Commission achieves its program of work.

Figure 3: Personal leave use as a percentage of full-time employees entitled to personal leave, 2010–11 to 2011–12

More detailed information about the Commission’s workforce is set out in Appendix G.

Workforce planning

The Commission’s workforce requirements are identified each year as a key component of business planning. In 2011–12 the Commissioner involved all employees in the development of the strategic plan, a workforce plan, performance capabilities and leadership behaviours. A new workforce diversity plan (including you) and an Indigenous Australian employment strategy (creating paths) will be launched in the second half of 2012.

Workforce planning has the aim of developing a workforce that will be recognised for providing thought leadership on people and workforce issues and as professional human capital practitioners consistent with the objective of the Commission’s strategic plan. The Commission aims for a workforce that is agile, mobile and outcome focused, with a reputation for delivery.

During 2011–12 the Commission:

  • implemented a statement of leadership behaviours against which the Commission leadership group was measured using a 360-degree feedback tool
  • identified the key capabilities for the Commission to deliver on its strategic priorities, and integrated them into the performance appraisal scheme and performance development plans. In 2012–13 this will be extended to identify the capabilities of individuals who are currently under-utilised with a view to taking advantage of these in work planning, talent management, and succession planning
  • identified key Executive Level roles and commenced structured succession management for them.

People management policy

In 2011–12 the Commission undertook a major review and revision of its people management policies. The new suite of policies reflects contemporary better practice in support of the Commission’s strategic priorities. Employees, employee representatives and relevant expert advisers were integral to the development of the new and revised policies.

The new policies were developed to support the new enterprise agreement, which was negotiated in 2011. The agreement provides a framework for a workplace culture of respect and accountability. The new agreement was developed in accordance with the APS bargaining framework and provides the capacity for a manager and their team to develop work practices that are mutually beneficial.

Recruitment strategy

In 2011–12, the Commission focused on simplifying and streamlining recruitment processes to make the best use of online recruitment solutions. Coupled with this was an increasing emphasis on welcoming and on-boarding new recruits. Initiatives included developing an online induction manual, the allocation of ‘buddies’ for new recruits, and a ‘Welcome to the Commission’ championed by the leadership team. Each new recruit receives a personal welcome letter from the Commissioner.

In 2012–13, the Commission will continue to focus on supporting Indigenous Australian graduates and cadets, and providing work experience and other training opportunities.

Learning and development strategies

The Commission’s 2011–2014 workforce plan identified capabilities for the successful delivery of the Commission’s objectives (see Table 18). These capabilities will continue to drive the Commission’s learning and development strategies.

Table 18: Commission people capabilities
The APSC vision is to lead and shape a unified high-performing APS. To support this vision we aim to be recognised as an organisation that
  • drives change across the APS
  • provides effective support to agencies to build human capital and other capabilities to increase their efficiency and manage risk
  • develop outstanding leaders and shape a cohesive leadership network
  • instill and enliven APS to inspire excellence
  • effectively support the Public Service Commissioner and the Merit Protection Commissioner
To deliver on the vision and our strategic priorities we are developing people What we provide for our clients How we work within the APSC Individual characteristics of our people
who are:
curious and innovative High-quality, fresh, evidence-based ideas Seek out information and opportunities Seek knowledge and new ideas
high performing and confident Timely solutions that work Understand the business Make connections Know their strengths and limits
client focused and accountable Fit-for-purpose products and services Act independently within the scope of their authority Are of high integrity and adhere to the APS Values and ethics
collaborative and engaged The best solutions sourced/created across agency boundaries Collaborate and share with colleagues, motivated by APSC agenda, keen to make a difference, agility in thinking Actively speak up, contribute ideas, share information and participate
agile and mobile Responses that reflect changing priorities Accept that mobility in role and function is needed in response to changing need Have resilience and flexibility to cope well with change
and who have very high level of capability in:
their knowledge of the PS Act and APS employment framework Confidence in the advice sought Ensure that complete records of information and precedence are kept and shared Maintain the currency of their knowledge and have access to complete and accurate information
thought leadership in applying contemporary human capital planning and management knowledge and techniques Tools and processes that make sense and are easy to understand and apply Share their thinking; think laterally, and add to the knowledge base of the APSC Maintain the currency of their knowledge, continually seek new knowledge and be confident in their understanding
relationship management, establishing partnerships and collaboration Benefit from being part of APS-wide strategy and practice groups Look for opportunities for—and actively support—co-operation, knowledge sharing Maintain and invest in relationships for mutual benefits
critical and analytical thinking Robust evidence-based advice Question objectively and constructively Make time for consideration and reflection
project and program management Disciplined delivery on commitments Use structured project/program management disciplines Plan, document, monitor and report on their activities

Remuneration framework

The Commission’s remuneration framework and terms and conditions of employment consist of an enterprise agreement for non-SES staff and PS Act section 24(1) determinations for SES staff.

The enterprise agreement negotiated in 2011 will nominally expire on 30 April 2014. The agreement provides for a salary increase in July 2013. SES salaries are reviewed annually.

The salary ranges for the Commission’s classification levels are set out in Table 19.

Table 19: Salary ranges, 2009–10 to 2011–12
Classification 2009–10 ($’000) 2010–11 ($’000) 2011–12 ($’000)
Note: During 2011–12 the Commission employed 1 SES Band 3 employee not included in this table.
APS 1–2 37–47 37–48 38–49
APS 3–4 49–58 50–59 51–61
APS 5–6 60–75 62–76 63–78
EL 1 83–100 85–103 88–104
EL 2 105–132 107–138 111–139
SES 1 149–168 150–195 153–200
SES 2 200–225 193–227

Performance management

The Commission’s annual performance appraisal scheme directly links regular review of individual performance with incremental increases in salary. The scheme provides a structured mechanism for an employee and their manager to review past performance and develop a future work program in line with the Commission’s strategic objectives. The focus of the scheme is on development and support and, where necessary, the management of poor performance.

Consideration of capabilities and performance at an organisational level by the leadership group ensures a fair and objective appraisal scheme. In 2012–13 a greater emphasis will be placed on talent management and succession planning.

Health and lifestyle

Information about the program is in the Commission’s report on work health and safety at Appendix C.

Rewards and recognition—Australia Day awards

The Commission formally recognises exceptional performance through the annual Australia Day awards. The Australia Day awards give us an opportunity to acknowledge and reward exceptional levels of sustained commitment, achievement and contribution to the work of the Commission.

These awards celebrate the achievements of teams and individuals who provide excellent customer service, demonstrate exceptional leadership, achieve substantial efficiencies or contribute to outstanding policy and program outcomes. In 2011–12 an additional criterion was included to reflect contribution of significant ideas, methods, technology, processes or knowledge.

A team award was presented to:

The Agency Bargaining Team of Roger Tarlinton, Marco Spaccavento, Lesley Butt, Diane Collins, Kathy McDevitt, Karen Williams, Margaret O’Brien, Ruth Cain, Sue Williamson, Shannon Wykes, Jillian Prideaux and Phil Marlan.

The team’s efforts to ensure that bargaining was successful occurred over a sustained period of time, commencing with policy development in the latter part of 2010 and continuing through 2011 with support to agencies engaged in bargaining. All of these tasks were achieved in a high-pressure climate with demanding stakeholders, many of whom were at very senior levels within agencies, and in the full glare of publicity.

Melinda Kopilow receives her Australia Day award from the Commissioner

Adele Moncur receives her Australia Day award from the Commissioner

Agency Bargaining Team after receiving their Australia Day award from the Commissioner (fifth from left)

Individual awards were presented to:

  • Melinda Kopilow, HR Adviser, Recruitment, for her exceptional contribution to the on-boarding and welcoming to the Commission of new staff during a period of substantial and sustained recruitment.
  • Adele Moncur, Assistant Director, Ethics, for her outstanding capacity for coordination, organisation, liaison and negotiation to complete substantive amendments to the Public Service Act to reflect the recommendations of the Blueprint. She led the project to a consistently high standard in often challenging circumstances.

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 has implemented videoconferencing systems in its Canberra and regional offices, upgraded its fibre-optic network to improve business continuity, and rolled out remote access for recruitment advisers located across Australia.

During 2011–12 the Commission undertook a range of ICT initiatives in support of its strategic outcomes. These included:

  • SES Cap: development of a web-based system to streamline the monitoring of and reporting on the size of the SES
  • APSjobs upgrade: enhancements to www.apsjobs.gov.au that modernise the look and functionality of the site
  • MPC support database: enhancements to the MPC database system to better support the review functions of the Merit Protection Commissioner.

During 2011–12 the Commission initiated several projects to improve access to information:

  • implementation of an enterprise document and records management system that has changed the way staff access corporate knowledge and share it with stakeholders
  • redevelopment of the Commission’s website to improve access to its content and simplify its management, progressing towards the objective that all government websites meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) Level A standards by December 2012.

The ICT strategic plan has been revised for 2012 to 2015 to align it with the overarching strategic plan for the Commission. Four priorities have been identified that reflect the needs of the Commission and are consistent with the strategic vision for the Australian Government’s use of ICT:

  • Support the Commission’s strategic outcomes: use technology to lead the adoption of best human capital practices, to develop outstanding leaders, to shape a cohesive leadership network, to instil and enliven APS values.
  • Enhance the Commission’s operating models: broaden the footprint of existing programs, and increase the efficiency, simplicity and security of how we manage agency networks, provide information and knowledge, advise and support agencies, provide HR services, and set/assure standards.
  • Enhance the Commission’s capabilities (people, processes and systems): augment our organisational capabilities with technology that simplifies corporate management and compliance, including workforce planning, governance and business processes, and the management of resources, stakeholders and risk.
  • Improve ICT capabilities: lift the maturity of ICT governance, infrastructure and operations in order to meet external compliance requirements, improve the reliability of ICT services, deliver consistent processes, and provide transparency in decision-making.

The ICT workforce plan has been updated in line with the new strategic plan, and identifies three key focus areas for developing the Commission’s ICT capabilities: support and problem solving, vendor and contract management, and training and knowledge provision.

A new ICT investment plan is under development that will drive the strategic plan forward; in doing so, the Commission will investigate information technology and data solutions, and seek to leverage whole-of-government processes. The plan will identify initiatives to establish robust processes for ICT service delivery and to establish effective communications about ICT services and capabilities. It will form the basis of the Commission’s investment in ICT for 2012–13.

Financial performance

This section provides a summary of the Commission’s financial performance during 2011–12. Further information is available in Part 6, which includes the independent auditor’s report and the Commission’s audited financial statements for the period to 30 June 2012.

Departmental activities

2011–12 income

The Commission’s total income for 2011–12 was $55.94 million. Appropriation from government accounted for 46%, and sales of goods and services for 54%. Table 20 details Commission income since 2009–10.

Table 20: Commission income, 2009–10 to 2011–12
Source 2009–10 ($ million) 2010–11 ($ million) 2011–12 ($ million)
Appropriation 20.731 30.096 25.830
Non-appropriation 19.961 22.460 30.108
Total 40.692 52.556 55.938

Table 21 details the income source by percentage since 2009–10.

Table 21: Percentage of income by source, 2009–10 to 2011–12
Income source 2009–10 (%) 2010–11 (%) 2011–12 (%)
Appropriation from government 50.9 57.3 46.2
Sales of goods and services 49.0 42.6 53.7
Other income (gains from sale of assets and resources received free of charge) 0.1 0.1 0.1

Appropriation funding

Appropriation funding decreased from $30.10 million in 2010–11 to $25.83 million in 2011–12. This is a decrease of $4.27 million, reflecting the reduction in the funding for the APS reform budget measure.

Non-appropriation income

Table 22 shows the non-appropriation income, by source, that the Commission received from the sale of goods and rendering of services in 2010–11 and 2011–12.

Table 22: Non-appropriation income received by source, 2010–11 and 2011–12
Source 2010–11 Actual ($ million) 2011–12 Estimate ($ million) 2011–12 Actual ($ million)
Development programs 14.6 16.4 18.2
Employment services 3.4 3.0 3.2
International assistance 2.2 2.1 3.2
Better practice and evaluation 0.4 0.4 0.9
Workplace relations 1.0 2.2 1.9
Capability reviews 0.7 2.0 2.1
Other services 0.2 0.0 0.6
Total 22.5 26.1 30.1

Table 23 details the percentage of non-appropriation income, by source, that the Commission received from sales of goods and services in 2010–11 and 2011–12.

Table 23: Percentage of non-appropriation income received by source, 2010–11 and 2011–12
Source 2010–11 (%) 2011–12 (%)
Development programs 65 60
Employment services 15 11
International assistance 10 11
Better practice and evaluation 2 3
Workplace relations 4 6
Capability reviews 3 7
Other services 1 2

Income from development programs amounted to $18.16 million in 2011–12 ($14.58 million in 2010–11) and made up 32% (28% in 2010–11) of the Commission’s total income from all sources. Income from this source grew primarily due to fee-for-service activities of the Centre for Leadership and Learning ($3.06 million in 2011–12, nil in 2010–11). The percentage increase is commensurate with the reduced appropriation funding for APS reform activities.

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 2011–12 was a deficit of $0.73 million (surplus of $1.91 million in 2010–11). The deficit is mainly due to the impact of net cash funding for departmental capital budgets, where depreciation and amortisation expense is no longer funded by a revenue appropriation. This accounts for $0.73 million ($0.83 million in 2010–11) of the deficit in 2011–12.

Administered activities

The only administered program is facilitating 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.

Payments for the year amounted to $49.60 million. Payments made are reported in Table D of note 20 of the Commission’s financial statements in Part 6.

Asset management

The Commission manages assets with a gross value of $9.55 million ($8.45 million in 2010–11). These assets are managed by groups to meet their business needs.

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.


The Commission’s purchasing is undertaken in accordance with the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines. Further guidance is provided to staff through the Commission’s 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 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 was not appropriated funds to deliver outcomes through purchaser–provider arrangements in 2011–12; accordingly, a nil response is provided against this annual report requirement.


The Commission engages consultancy services in circumstances where it requires particular expertise that is not available internally or independent assessment or advice is required. During 2011–12, the Commission entered into 31 (39 in 2010–11) new consultancy contracts, involving total actual expenditure of $0.928 million ($1.907 million in 2010–11). In addition, 13 ongoing consultancy contracts were active during 2011–12, involving total actual expenditure of $1.187 million (nine involving $0.589 million in 2010–11).

Information on the value of contracts and consultancies for 2011–12 is available through the AusTender website (www.tenders.gov.au).

Table 24 details expenditure on consultancy contracts between 2009–10 and 2011–12.

Table 24: Expenditure on consultancy contracts, 2009–10 to 2011–12
Year 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)
2009–10 14 6 521 206 727
2010–11 39 9 1,907 589 2,496
2011–12 31 13 928 1,187 2,115

Australian National Audit Office access clauses

The Commission’s standard form contracts for services and consultancies provide for access by the Auditor-General.


In June 2012 the Commission undertook a refit of the main Canberra office through a reconfiguration of the office fit-out. The refit works increased the occupational density on the floors and allowed external Canberra staff, located across multiple sites, to be co-located within the Commission’s offices in Aviation House, Woden. The project enabled the retirement of several lease holdings—accommodation and property were consolidated in a single location and financial and operational savings achieved through this measure.

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 2011–12.

Grant programs

The Commission did not administer any grant programs in 2011–12.

Outlook for 2012–13

The Commission’s operations and delivery of its strategic priorities in 2012–13 will continue to be guided by our strategic plan.

We will continue to develop a workforce aligned to our strategic priorities and operating models, and will develop strategies to ensure the effective management and sharing of knowledge and information.

The focus in 2012–13 will be on:

  • implementing the priorities identified in the Commission’s workforce plan, the ‘including you’ workplace diversity program and ‘creating paths’, the Commission’s employment strategy for Indigenous Australians
  • developing and implementing strategies for effective knowledge management, succession and talent management
  • embedding fully documented and supported governance frameworks and strategies
  • considering the implementation of business systems to support and enhance the Commission’s corporate operations
  • continuing to implement strategies for effective client engagement.

Future funding arrangements

In July 2011, the Commission received payments from 57 Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 agencies and Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 bodies to support the APS reform activities conducted by the Commission as the first of the five-year funding agreements agreed in April 2011.

In June 2012, the Commission prepared the first biannual report on the work performed, including a description of progress, outputs and milestones achieved and the future work program.

Budget outlook

The Commission’s departmental revenue from government will decrease in 2012–13 by $2.52 million as a result of:

  • the additional 2.5% efficiency dividend ($0.58 million)
  • a reduction in funding of the APS reform measure ($0.60 million)
  • termination of funding for the APS Indigenous Employment Strategy in 2011–12 ($2.00 million). This is partly offset by new budget measure funding for the APS Employment and Capability Strategy for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander employers ($0.60 million), beginning in 2012–13. The net reduction in appropriation to the Indigenous Employment Strategy is $1.40 million a year.

Departmental fee-for-service income is projected to be slightly lower than the 2011–12 levels. This projected decrease is due to the expectation that agencies may reduce their discretionary spending on learning and development to meet the additional efficiency dividend imposed on their funding.

Administered payments for the parliamentarians’ and judicial office holders’ remuneration and entitlements program are expected to increase by $10.26 million to $59.85 million for 2012–13. This follows a review of the remuneration of parliamentarians which increased their base salary from March 2012.

Last reviewed: 
11 May 2018