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People Management

To undertake our role and responsibilities to a high standard, we are going to need sufficient resources - resources that are structured appropriately and managed with an emphasis on organisational performance. Presently there are not enough of us … I also believe that there has been insufficient attention given to the importance of supporting, recognising and rewarding people within the department.
Dr Shergold in his address to staff on 14 May 2003

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Workforce planning

The department continued to produce regular staffing reports during the year, including monthly staffing figures and detailed commencement and cessation profiles. Reports were provided monthly to the Secretary as part of the comprehensive Corporate Report.

The staff age profile analysis for the year indicated that the department continued to maintain a relatively youthful workforce. Approximately 33 per cent of staff employed were in the 25 to 34 years age group and 30 per cent were in the 35 to 44 years age group. Staff in the 45 to 65 years age group accounted for 32 per cent of total staff.

In 2002-03, the department took steps to address staff attraction and retention issues. These included ensuring closer attention was paid to individual development needs and introducing initiatives such as the rewards and recognition scheme which will come into effect in 2003-04.

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Staffing

As at 30 June 2003, a total of 347 staff were employed by the department under the Public Service Act 1999. The figure was close to our 30 June 2002 figure of 345. The total staffing figure includes all ongoing and non-ongoing employees working either full-time or part-time as at 30 June 2003 and paid inoperative staff.

Women comprised 63 per cent of all staff, 46 per cent of the SES, 56 per cent of Executive Level staff and 72 per cent of APS Levels 1 to 6 staff.

Details of the department’s staffing profile in 2002-03 are provided in Appendix 1.

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Graduate recruitment

The department’s 2003 graduate recruitment campaign attracted a total of 630 responses from people seeking employment with the department. Twelve graduates were recruited. They were selected on the basis of their academic skills, their potential ability to contribute to effective policy development and their understanding of contemporary issues. Graduate recruits to the department continued to complete a training and development programme in their first year of service, to complement the skills and experience that they acquired during their deployment to line areas.

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Workplace diversity

The department’s second workplace diversity programme was developed with input from staff. The programme continued to reflect the department’s ongoing commitment to providing a fair and equitable working environment for all staff. Improvements made to the programme included: individual and group responsibilities identified to assist in fostering a culture where diversity is valued and supported; performance indicators revised to provide more meaningful and responsive data for evaluation purposes; and a new format that focuses on key issues and is easy to read. A suite of personnel management guides covering the Disability Action Plan, the APS Values and Code of Conduct and the management of workplace harassment continued to support the Workplace Diversity Programme and could be readily accessed by staff via the intranet. The Workplace Diversity Programme was also made available to the wider Australian community via the internet.

Staff were again prompted to update their workplace diversity data through the online facility introduced in 2001-02. The facility continued to complement the arrangements in place for the collection of workplace diversity data on staff members’ commencement with the department. Workplace diversity data is reported each year in the Public Service Commissioner’s State of the Service Report.

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Remuneration, Australian Workplace Agreements and the Certified Agreement

All SES and 103 Executive Level staff were covered by AWAs as at 30 June 2003. Remuneration arrangements for SES and Executive Level staff covered by AWAs were based on the principles that remuneration must:

  • be fair and competitive
  • be sufficiently flexible to reflect the particular skills, experience and work responsibilities of individual employees
  • be clearly linked to performance, in order to provide better rewards for better performance in achieving corporate priorities, upholding the APS values and demonstrating leadership behaviours
  • take account of efficiency gains, including any reductions in administrative complexity and cost achieved through the simplification of rules governing employment.

The salary ranges and median salaries paid for SES bands are set out in Table 5 below.

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Table 5   Senior Executive Service salary ranges and median salaries
SES Band
Salary ranges ($)
Median
salaries ($)
1
88,000 - 120,000
99,000
2
120,000 - 150,000
122,000
3
150,000 - 180,000
151,000

Information on SES staff who received, or were due to receive, total remuneration of $100,000 or more is set out in Note 10 to the Financial Statements in this report.

The department’s third certified agreement made directly with non-SES staff was negotiated during the year. The agreement covers the period 4 December 2002 to 30 September 2004 and provides for:

  • pay increases of 4.2 per cent from 4 December 2002 and 3.8 per cent from 1 October 2003
  • an increase in ordinary hours of work from seven hours and 21 minutes to seven hours and 30 minutes per day, which would be partially offset by the provision of two additional days of leave for staff over the Christmas-New Year period.
  • the introduction of a travel charge card for staff who travel on official business
  • the abolition of the Part Day Travel Allowance
  • streamlined relocation assistance guidelines
  • the trial of a rewards and recognition scheme.

A total of 205 staff were covered by the department’s Certified Agreement 2002-2004 as at 30 June 2003. The indicative salary ranges for non-SES staff are set out in Table 6 below.

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Table 6   Non-Senior Executive Service indicative salary ranges
PMC Band level*
Salary ranges ($)
1 (APS Levels 1-3)
28,916 - 40,117
2 (APS Levels 4-6)
41,420 - 59,134
3 (Executive Level 1)
63,562 - 70,856
4 (Executive Level 2)
73,982 - 88,049

* Refers to salary bands defined in the Certified Agreement.

The department’s staff are employed under either its Certified Agreement or an AWA. If an employee can make a business case he or she may access a range of non-salary benefits such as a home based computer, a mobile phone, airport lounge membership or journal subscriptions.

The salaries of Executive Level employees who had signed AWAs were based on the prescribed salary rates for Executive Level staff in the department’s Certified Agreement and are set out in Table 6 above.

SES and Executive Level staff who were on AWAs for a minimum of three months during the appraisal cycle commencing 1 October 2001 and ending 30 September 2002 were eligible for performance bonuses. For SES staff, the amount of performance bonus was a matter for the Secretary to determine, with 15 per cent of the employee’s salary being the maximum payable. Executive Level performance bonuses were based on individual performance ratings. Total performance payments made to SES and Executive Level staff following completion of the appraisal cycle are set out in Table 7.

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Table 7   Performance pay
Level
Staff
eligible
Staff
paid
Amount
paid ($)
Average ($)
Range
($)
SES Band 3
3
2
27,332
13,666
(a)
SES Band 2
7
6
73,816
12,303
6,050 - 18,300
SES Band 1
23
22
174,260
7,921
2,073 - 14,400
Executive Level 2
50
49
261,256
5,332
1,060 - 10,140
Executive Level 1
50
50
176,672
3,533
770 - 5,600
Total
133
129
713,336
 
 

(a) Only two employees at SES Band 3 received performance pay

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Performance appraisal, training and development

The Performance Appraisal and Development (PAD) scheme continued to provide effective performance management in the department through both the use of individual performance agreements, established at the start of each performance appraisal cycle, and a process of regular review and feedback exchange between employees and their managers during the year. The PAD scheme ensured that all employees clearly understood their roles in the department and the standards of performance expected of them. The scheme also provided a means of recognising individual contributions and achievements and of identifying and progressing training and development needs.

The PAD scheme agreement developed each year between each staff member and his or her manager requires the parties to agree to a training regime for the individual. To address the training and development needs of staff, the department maintained a database of appropriate training and development programmes on the intranet. The programmes during 2002-03 were in the main offered by external providers. However, core internal programmes and development opportunities continued to be provided by the department. These included: departmental information sessions for new staff; performance appraisal awareness training; and training in security awareness and the use of departmental systems, particularly in relation to personal access to the human resource management database, the financial management system and the ministerial correspondence system.

The department also offered a work experience interchange programme, studies assistance, a full-time study award, and the graduate programme mentioned above. Lunchtime briefing sessions were again conducted during the year, with topics such as Preparing for Performance Appraisal, Getting the Most Out of Meetings and Discussions, The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Special Role in the Cabinet Process, and the new certified agreement. The Secretary also addressed all staff on various occasions on the roles, responsibilities and resources of the department.

A total of 166 staff participated in 270 staff days’ worth of structured training courses during the year.

One staff member commenced an exchange posting to the United Kingdom as part of the ongoing exchange programme the department has with its United Kingdom counterpart. A member of the United Kingdom Civil Service is working in the department on a two-year placement, as is a Canadian public servant. An employee was awarded the department’s full-time study award to complete tertiary studies. Eighteen staff accessed the department’s studies assistance provisions to continue their tertiary studies on a part-time basis. Four staff participated in the SES Career Development Assessment Centres organised by the APS Commission.

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Awards

The Australia Day Achievement Awards are part of the department’s internal system for recognising the performance of particular staff members. The medallions are provided by the National Australia Day Council to promote the celebration of Australia Day. They recognise the person’s or the team’s distinctive contributions, as made either during the course of the preceding year or over a longer timeframe. Awards were made in 2002-03 to:

  • the Bali Response Group (Simeon Gilding, Jacqui McRae, Marc Innes-Brown, Cath Halbert, Vicki Beth, Cheryl Harris, Liz Hickey and Kate Field) - for their whole-of-government coordination following the Bali terrorist attack, and their contribution to the related national memorial service
  • the National Security Campaign (Jamie Fox, Susie Van Den Heuvel, Fiona Skivington, Sophie Davey, Meegan Fitzharris, Richard Davies and Julie Campigli) - for their work in coordinating the development of television, radio and print advertising for the campaign ‘Let’s Look Out for Australia’
  • the Domestic Security and Border Protection Unit (Wendy Southern, Lesley Bennett, Cathy Maurer and Jamie Lowe) - for their work in relation to domestic security arrangements following the terrorist attack in Bali and their contribution to border protection and immigration detention issues
  • Russell James - for his contribution to whole-of-government preparations to develop a sustainable regime on water property rights for discussion by Cabinet and later the Council of Australian Governments (COAG)
  • Justin Douglas - for the role he played throughout 2002 in providing advice to the Prime Minister on medical indemnity insurance issues and support to the Secretaries’ Taskforce on Medical Indemnity
  • Margie Paten - for her contribution to the successful operations of the department’s Social Club over the past four years
  • Alison Camroux and Gavin Jackman - for their work on cloning and embryo research policy and legislation development throughout the course of 2002
  • Brian Day - for his contribution to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (2001-02) Taskforce logistics group in overseeing the construction of facilities at Coolum, Queensland.

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Workplace giving programme

The department introduced a workplace giving programme during the year, providing staff with a simple and convenient way to donate to one or more of their preferred charities or non-profit groups by way of regular payroll deductions. Each participating staff member’s donations of $2 or more were forwarded by the department to the staff member’s nominated organisation, provided the organisation was endorsed as a deductible gift recipient by the Australian Taxation Office.

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Occupational health and safety

The department maintained a strong focus on OH&S during the year, with several important initiatives completed to enhance the health and safety of our employees and our working environment. These included implementation of the new OH&S Risk Management Programme, health screenings, activities and information sessions conducted as part of the department’s Health Week programme, and an influenza vaccination programme.

A total of 269 staff participated in one or more Health Week activities. Participants reported positively on the programme, making comments including, ‘it shows the department values the health and well being of its employees’ and ‘it raises health awareness, improved health, staff morale and productivity’. The influenza vaccination programme again attracted a strong response with 119 staff participating.

Regular meetings of the OH&S Committee were held, with a wide range of issues impacting on the health and safety of our employees being addressed. All staff in the department were provided with advice on SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and protective masks were made available for staff called upon to work in environments where there was a risk or perceived risk of contracting the highly contagious respiratory illness.

Under the reporting requirements of section 68 of the Occupational Health and Safety (Commonwealth Employment) Act 1991, the department notified Comcare Australia of one case of an employee with a food allergy.

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Disability strategy

The department’s employment policies continued to reflect the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the department’s commitment to employment equity in its role as an employer. Guidance material on disability issues - including the information package for new employees, the Disability Action Plan and the Staff Selection Guide - was available for all staff via the intranet. All members of the Australian community were able to access information on employment opportunities in the department via our internet site, press advertisements or targeted recruitment campaigns. People with hearing or speech impairments who sought employment with the department were able to access the department’s TTY (telephone typewriter) facility.

The department’s Staff Selection Guide continued to provide guidance for all staff on addressing the needs of people with disabilities who attend the department as part of a selection process. Guidance on the principle of ‘reasonable adjustment’, as identified in the Commonwealth Disability Strategy, was also available. The PAD scheme continued to be the main vehicle used by all employees and their managers, including staff members with disabilities, to identify training and development needs. The department maintained a database of relevant training and development programmes for all staff and regularly promoted available courses on the intranet.

All staff in the department had access to appropriate complaint handling procedures. There were no complaints or grievances involving disability issues during the year.

In its role as a regulator, the Government Communications Unit continued to assist departments and agencies to comply with the government’s policies to ensure that information activities provided for the delivery of messages in ways that met the needs of people with hearing or sight impairments.

As a central coordinating agency, the department exercised its policy adviser role through the Social Policy Division, taking into account the needs of a range of target groups in the development of policy advice on key policy reforms. This included ensuring that the disadvantages faced by many people with disabilities participating in the labour market were considered in the development of policies on welfare reform and the new Job Network.

The department’s performance report against the Commonwealth Disability Strategy can be found at Appendix 5.

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Client service charter

The department commenced a review of its client service charter for the delivery of corporate services during 2002-03. The review is being conducted in close consultation with corporate service managers and staff and their clients and has a strong focus on identifying service outcomes and improving performance measures.

 

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