Chapter 2: Summary of Audit findings

Principle 1: Strong leadership drives reform

  • COSC agreed to the implementation of all the ADF Review’s recommendations and integrated these reforms into Pathway to Change.
  • The most senior leadership has taken responsibility for the implementation of the ADF Review’s recommendations and COSC is updated on matters pertaining to its implementation.
  • COSC issued a Foundation Statement which articulates a strong and unambiguous commitment to the implementation of the ADF Review’s recommendations.
  • A performance framework for monitoring progress and embedding reform has been developed but is not yet operational.
  • Each Service has committed to a range of initiatives to achieve the intent of the Review’s recommendations.
  • The ADF has published its first ‘Women in the ADF’ Report. This provides an important and public baseline against which to track progress and the achievement of gender equality.
  • The ADF has investigated some options to ensure that Commanding Officers are held accountable for organisational culture. Overall however, there has been a reliance on existing measures and little progress has been made regarding the accountability of Commanding Officers.

Principle 2: Diversity of leadership increases capability

  • Increased diversity is evident on promotions boards which will help the Services consider a broader range of candidates for promotion.
  • The opening of dozens of star-rank positions to those with non-combat/operator backgrounds has created more opportunities for women and those with less traditional backgrounds to enter senior leadership (previously 97 positions were ‘quarantined’ for those with combat/operator backgrounds, now only 51 are quarantined).
  • All Services have worked to clarify some promotion requirements with the aim of strengthening transparent and equitable promotions systems. Navy has done this by mandating its Navy Leadership Development Workshops, Army through its Enhanced Career Management models, and Air Force through its Professional Military Education and Training.
  • The ADF has set targets for specific gender representation at Australian Command and Staff College (ACSC), Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies (CDSS) and in command positions.2
  • The Services, and Army in particular, are examining options for alternative career gateways in lieu of ACSC.
  • Navy’s reforms to the submariner career continuum are a thoughtful attempt to provide more balanced and rewarding careers over a longer period. Navy should attempt to use some of the principles applied, as well as lessons learned, to reform other categories.
  • Army’s Enhanced Career Management (ECM) provides the blueprint for building increased flexibility into the career continuums in a number of areas, including the acknowledgement of external education and skills.
  • Air Force’s career management reforms, including developing an enhanced position profile database, will help individuals manage their careers with more certainty.
  • All Services are pursuing some positive initiatives to provide external access to career development for those on leave, but more could be done. Services should consider what can be learned from each other.
  • Some work has been done to provide for formal long term career planning but further efforts are encouraged.

Principle 3: Increasing numbers requires increasing opportunities

  • The Services have made significant progress in implementing innovative recruitment strategies to attract and recruit more women.
  • The Audit encountered significant backlash from members against some of these innovative recruitment measures.
  • Each of the Services has set a target for the recruitment of women to their Service by 2023. COSC’s target for female representation is 25% for Navy and Air Force and 15% for Army. Army has also set a short term goal of 12% female representation by the middle of 2014.
  • The extent to which the Services are addressing occupational segregation is varied. Navy and Air Force have each set recruitment goals for areas in which women are underrepresented. Air Force has developed a number of innovative strategies to attract women to these areas, including the Graduate Pilot Scheme and amendments to IMPS/ROSO.
  • The Audit encountered apprehension regarding the integration of women into combat categories and perceptions that women were receiving special treatment and that standards were being lowered.
  • The Services have made significant progress in integrating and rationalising mentoring and networking programs. Further work is required on sponsorship programs.

Principle 4: Greater flexibility will strengthen the ADF

  • Significant issues regarding defining and measuring ‘flexible work’ have been addressed through the redrafting of the Defence Instructions on flexible work.
  • Each Service has committed to the establishment of a target for individual flexible working arrangements (FWA). Navy, Army and Air Force have all committed to two percent of their trained force utilising FWA by December 2014.
  • A tri-Service approach to centralising data and policy on flexible work will provide critical guidance and underpin greater flexibility in Defence.
  • Each Service is ensuring FWA applications are reviewed and have commenced efforts to develop a ‘register’, as required by the recommendation.
  • There is limited progress on the recommendations requiring a review of job design, building workforce models or workforce management systems.
  • Some Services have taken active steps to engage with, and educate, their command and leadership teams on the value of, and rationale for, FWA.

Principle 5: Gender based harassment and violence ruins lives, divides teams and damages operational effectiveness

  • The 2013 Unacceptable Behaviour Survey, as well as information provided to the Audit from serving members, shows that sexual misconduct exists in the ADF and such incidents were less likely to be reported than incidents of non-sexual unacceptable behaviour. Real and perceived obstacles to reporting are clearly still an issue for ADF members.
  • The Sexual Misconduct Prevention Office (SeMPRO), which provides a specialised, victim focused service outside and independent of the chain of command was established expeditiously by Defence and became fully operational on 23 July 2013.
  • Specialist staff, including those experienced in responding to trauma, have been appointed to key areas within SeMPRO.
  • SeMPRO staff have developed some key policies and operating procedures, established key relationships across the Services and are developing processes to ensure that SeMPRO is the single point of data collection for all sexual misconduct and abuse matters.
  • Whilst most leadership teams are aware of SeMPRO, many junior ADF members, in particular, have limited knowledge of its role and purpose.
  • SeMPRO only responds to issues of sexual abuse. The Values, Behaviour and Resolutions Branch in Defence continue to manage complaints of sexual harassment and discrimination.
  • SeMPRO has not engaged with external service providers in order to offer complainants an alternative avenue for support and advice if the complainant does not wish to engage with the ADF’s internal complaints system. The Audit is advised that the ADF is now considering a model for external referrals.3
  • SeMPRO has begun work on a sexual ethics program and a sexual ethics expert is assisting in elements of the program. Progress on the development and delivery of the program has been slow.
  • A restricted reporting regime has begun to allow victims to disclose sexual abuse to SeMPRO confidentially. SeMPRO can support victims without having to report incidents to those victims’ chain of command.
  • The ADF has introduced a process to assess whether a member convicted of a sexual offence is a fit and proper person to continue serving. The ADF has amended its Defence Instructions to waive the Initial Minimum Provision of Service and Return of Service Obligations to allow a member who wishes to discharge to do so, without penalty and expeditiously, where that member has experienced sexual harassment or sexual abuse and provides relevant supporting evidence of that harassment or abuse.

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Chapter 2: Endnotes

  1. Air Force has set targets for representation at ACSC and CDSS but has not set a target for gender in command positions (Consolidated Draft AHRC Audit Report Comments by Service/Branch/Institution, provided to the Audit on 28 February 2013).
  2. Consolidated Draft AHRC Audit Report Comments by Service/Branch/Institution, provided to the Audit on 28 February 2013.