Chapter 1: Audit Approach

The Report of the Review into the Treatment of Women at ADFA (November 2011) (ADFA Report) made 31 wide ranging recommendations to effect significant cultural change.

The ADF accepted all the recommendations made – 30 in full and one in principle.1

The Audit team does not expect that cultural change of the scale envisaged by the Review will have been achieved within 12 months. This is unrealistic. However the first 12 months are a critical window in which real change can commence or stall.

The Audit commenced in September 2012 and was completed in February 2013 with some additional clarifying material received in March 2013. Any reference in this report to the completion of the Audit refers to the end of February 2013.

The Audit conducted its assessment of progress based on inquiry and evidence from a range of sources, rather than simply conducting a compliance audit. Where possible, the Audit triangulated evidence from documentation, qualitative data from focus groups and interviews and, where relevant, its own observations and/or survey data.

The Audit was focussed on the processes involved in implementing the Review recommendations as well as, where possible, the reach or impact of the recommendations.2

The scope of the Audit was to review and analyse evidence of the implementation of the Review’s recommendations by:

  • Identifying and assessing the management actions taken to implement and monitor the recommendations
  • Interviewing staff responsible for implementing recommendations
  • Reviewing supporting documentation
  • Calling for and analysing submissions
  • Offering a 1800 number for those who wish to speak with the Audit team
  • Interviews and focus groups with undergraduates
  • Interviews and focus groups with staff
  • Observation of key events/processes
  • Analysis of survey data.

Whilst the Audit conducted an objective assessment of evidence of implementation, the overarching purpose of the Audit was not to ‘find fault’ or ‘surprise’ ADFA with adverse findings. This is not conducive to the shared purpose and investment in achieving real cultural change and improvement in the treatment of women.

The timeframe for the Audit was not dissimilar to the timeframe for the initial Review. This allowed for exchange and dialogue between the Audit team, ADFA and the ADF leadership on points of concern and gave time for ADFA to redirect or focus its efforts.

This Audit report represents a point in time perspective. The Audit is aware that progress has continued since the end of February when the Audit concluded. The team has remained committed to ongoing dialogue and providing whatever assistance it can to ADFA to realise the intent of the Review’s recommendations.

In this spirit, the Audit provided feedback on the main findings of the Audit to the Commandant of ADFA and the Director of the Review Implementation Team on 9 April 2013. This enabled a constructive discussion of achievements and areas for further endeavour. A full draft of the Audit report was provided to ADFA on 24 May 2013 for fact checking.

Risks

The Audit team was aware of the inherent risks of conducting the Audit given their role in the Review and in the generation of recommendations. There were both advantages and disadvantages of the Review team undertaking the Audit:

Advantages

  • Understanding of context and intent of recommendations
  • Awareness of organisational context and pressures
  • Sensitivity to military environment
  • Established relationships with leadership and key stakeholders
  • Access to documentation and data
  • Adequately resourced.

Disadvantages

  • Investment in seeing recommendations implemented
  • Possibility of not being perceived as objective or external.

On balance the advantages were assessed to outweigh the risks. The risks were managed by:

  • An evidence based approach using both qualitative and quantitative sources
  • Stressing the independent nature of the Audit in all communications.

A Note on Language and Structure of the Audit Report

The Review refers to the Review into the Treatment of Women at the Australian Defence Force Academy. This was Phase One of the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force conducted by the Australian Human Rights Commission. The Review commenced in April 2011 and reported in November 2011.

ADFA Report refers to the Report on the Review into the Treatment of Women at the Australian Defence Force Academy.

The Audit refers to the process of conducting the audit of progress on the implementation of the recommendations of the Review. The Audit commenced in September 2012 and was completed in February 2013.

Undergraduates refers to Officer Cadets and Midshipmen at ADFA. This change in terminology reflects the fact that on 1 July 2012 ADFA expanded its establishment and command responsibilities to include the Capability and Technology Management College. ADFA has restructured and has established the ADFA Undergraduates Directorate and a Directorate ADFA Postgraduates and Guard.3 The term undergraduates therefore better reflects the current cohort under consideration.

Structure of Audit Report – This Report begins with a description of the Audit methodology. It then considers the overarching approach to the implementation of the Review’s recommendations and identifies risks. The Report is structured around the main themes and recommendations of the Review’s Report. Each chapter begins with a reference back to the findings of the Review and is then followed by a short summary of the Audit’s main findings. Each recommendation is then examined in detail, beginning with a reiteration of the intent of the recommendation, the implementation actions to date and the Audit’s findings. Conclusions are drawn at the end of each set of recommendations. Where the Audit finds that insufficient action has been taken, the original Review recommendation is re-stated or an alternative action is suggested.

Quotes – The source of quotes used in the Audit is referenced in endnotes. The quotes are taken from documents or transcripts of interviews or focus groups. In some instances quotes taken from transcripts have been slightly amended to delete repetition or improve flow. None of these amendments have changed the intent or meaning of the quote.


  1. Department of Defence, Pathway to Change: Evolving Defence Culture, 2012, pp 42-47. At www.defence.gov.au/pathwaytochange/index.htm (viewed 7 March 2013). The ADF agreed in principle to Recommendation 1, which called for a reaffirmation of ‘ADFA’s pre-eminent role in the education and training of future ADF leaders’. The ADF said that ‘ADFA plays an important but not pre-eminent role in the education and training of future ADF leaders’.
  2. Hogwood and Gunn 1984:220, Brewer and deLeon 1983:345 in Stine, R.A. and Ellefson, P.V., “Organizational Effects on Policy Implementation in a Geographically Dispersed Organization: A Study of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry”, Staff Paper Series Number 107. At http://www.forestry.umn.edu/Publications/StaffPaperSeries/index.htm (viewed 17 August 2012).
  3. CDRE BJ Kafer, ‘Terms of Reference, Australian Defence Force Academy Command (ADFA), 2012 Establishment Review’, provided to the Audit by A McCormack, 19 November 2012.