Part 4: Ensuring progress
The Strategy recognises the shared responsibility of all agencies to be employers of choice for people with disability. There needs to be accountability shared across the APS to affect positive change and achieve the Strategy’s objectives. Clear roles, responsibilities, and governance processes are critical. Public accountability will be important in building trust with stakeholders and potential employees.
Monitoring, evaluation, and reporting
Outcome: We will monitor the implementation of the Strategy, evaluate progress and adjust actions as required to ensure success.
Internal reporting and monitoring will differ across APS departments and agencies due to their diverse size, structure and function. This Strategy provides a consistent framework for monitoring and reporting of the employment of people with disability.
The 7% target is not the sole measure of the Strategy’s success. Some agencies already have representation above 7% and it is important that these agencies continue to build on their success and share lessons learnt across the APS.
‘Success is not just about employment targets, it’s about what we want to achieve in our culture.’
– APS Senior Executive
Action 13: Monitor and report progress.
Agencies should seek to improve inclusion of people with disability by addressing their culture, recruitment and employee experience, rather than narrowly focusing on the numbers. Additional measurements, both qualitative and quantitative, should be developed and shared between agencies to assist in monitoring improvement. These measurements should consider intersections with reporting of other APS diversity and inclusion strategies.
Portfolios will be required to report on measures of success. Portfolio coordinators will be responsible for coordinating reporting requirements to the Secretaries Board and other governance bodies through the Australian Public Service Commission.
Public reporting will provide transparency in implementation and progress towards the 7% target. Agencies will be held to account by publicly reporting progress through:
- agency Annual Reports
- the annual State of the Service Report
- updates to the APS contribution to the National Disability Strategy
- a mid-Strategy progress report
- a final evaluation of the Strategy
The Australian Public Service Commission will co-design data collection and reporting mechanisms to capture a whole of APS perspective.
The Australian Public Service Commission will commission evaluations of the Strategy in 2022 and 2025.
Action 14: Build a clear understanding across the APS of the benefits of sharing and updating disability status in HR systems. Monitor and report on reported levels and their links to culture, accessibility and job satisfaction.
Employees with disability often choose not to share their disability status in HR systems. This may be due to concerns around stigma, privacy, how the data might affect their career and how they might be treated differently.
‘Benefits have to outweigh the costs, right now the benefits aren’t clear.’
- APS employee with disability
We must be clear about what is being asked for, how this data will be used, and why it is being collected. We should also ensure employees understand how they may benefit from sharing their disability status in HR systems. This data should be collected in a consistent manner across the APS.
It is important that agencies collect this data to understand disability demographics and how they are tracking against the target. Collecting this data from existing employees should not be seen as a primary tool for increasing reported representation.
We will correlate this data collection to efforts to enhance culture, accessibility and job design. The clear intent will be to ensure that agencies are seen to be working with their staff to use these tools to maximise job satisfaction, engagement and productivity.
The value of sharing this information with an employer and psychosocial safety are key considerations as to whether we can meet the target.
Departments and Agencies
Outcome: Departments and agencies will collaborate to leverage good practice across the APS.
Action 15: Build a partnership with the Australian Human Rights Commission to identify, support and enhance good practice.
By working collaboratively with the Disability Discrimination Commissioner’s Office at the Australian Human Rights Commission, the APS can build a partnership which underpins the robust measurement and evaluation of progress. This partnership will provide continued connection to good practice in employment of people with disability, accessible workplaces, and inclusive cultures. It will also support training and other initiatives to help agencies improve their approach.
Action 16: Agencies to collaborate to develop and share exemplary initiatives and innovative practices.
We must take full advantage of existing knowledge and successful practice in the APS. When agencies share their expertise and support each other, we implement change more quickly and efficiently.
‘Portfolio coordinators should support smaller APS agencies in implementing diversity initiatives.’
– APS agency
The Australian Public Service Commission will work with agencies to increase collaboration and the sharing of experience. It will support the development of networks within and across portfolios.
The Australian Public Service Commission will work with agencies to draw on knowledge, expertise and experience across the system, identifying partner agencies to develop, lead or deliver initiatives.
The Australian Public Service Commission will establish forums and mechanisms to share good practice including people with disability from the public sector, private sector, industry and academic institutions.
The Senior Executive Service
Outcome: We will ensure the Strategy is implemented across all agencies and that accountability for action rests with senior APS leadership.
The Senior Executive Service (SES) has an important role to play in implementing this Strategy. This is consistent with their responsibility to provide the APS-wide strategic leadership that contributes to a diverse, inclusive and effective public sector, promotes cooperation within and between agencies, including delivering outcomes across agency and portfolio boundaries.
Action 17: All Heads of departments and agencies will be accountable for implementing the Strategy and taking actions to support the key areas of the Strategy.
Agency Head Agreements will include Key Performance Indicators as part of their agency’s commitment to a disability confident and inclusive workforce.
Agency Chief Operating Officers will play a crucial role in sponsoring and guiding implementation, and in monitoring agency and portfolio progress.
Action 18: Disability Champions are to promote and drive implementation of the Strategy within their agency and collaborate APS-wide through the APS Disability Champions Network.
APS Disability Champions have an active role to play in leadership, seeking to remove barriers and visibly championing activities related to access and inclusion in the workplace.
‘I need to lead by example. I am a SES officer, a Disability Champion, and I have disability.’
– Disability Champion
Disability Champions should ensure they are aware of the needs and workplace context of employees with disability in their agency and champion inclusive, accessible practices. The Disability Champions Network will be a forum to monitor progress in Strategy implementation and the effectiveness of initiatives. The Network will undertake a formal annual review of its progress.