Chapter 7: Principle 4: Greater flexibility will strengthen the ADF

Key findings of Review

The ADF Review found that flexibility is imperative for many Defence members, and that a lack of flexible work options – be that real or perceived – was acting as a serious impediment to retention. The ADF Review reported that in all three Services:

There is an increased propensity for women to leave the ADF at points that coincide with a typical point where personnel, particularly women, are starting families.1

Furthermore, the most recent Defence Annual Report provided that exiting members cited both the ‘lack of control over life’ and ‘the uncertainty with long term career plans’ among their top reasons for leaving Defence.2

Evidence indicates that one of the top barriers to flexibility in Defence is the lack of awareness of both members and supervisors as to what flexible work arrangements (FWA) are actually available.3 The ADF Review also heard that members who access flexible work may be disadvantaged in their career progression.

The ADF Review found that Defence lacked reliable data on the uptake and operation of FWA. Many FWA that were in place were informal or ad hoc and, as such, a member’s experience of flexible work was highly dependent on the support of particular supervisors or Commanding Officers. Some members told the ADF Review that they could access ‘informal’ flexible work arrangements when necessary, such as working around ‘pick up’ and ‘drop off’ hours at childcare or school, or the occasional afternoon off to attend a function or child’s sporting event. While the ADF Review acknowledged the value of these informal arrangements for certain members, it considered it critical that members have greater certainty about their ability to access flexible work. Formalising FWA also sends a clear message that the organisation is committed to flexibility.

Without a centralised, tri-Service approach to implementing flexible work, the ADF Review noted a varied and inconsistent application of flexible work practices across Defence. It also found that greater education, monitoring, reporting and rethinking of workforce models and job roles were required to increase Defence’s employment of flexible work.

After considering the unique work environment and the commitment required by military personnel, the ADF Review concluded that creating a more flexible work environment would not only act as a critical retention tool, but would also increase diversity and strengthen Defence’s capability. It found that
‘[i]t is not possible to increase the representation of women and the diversity of the ADF workforce and leadership without better enabling members to balance work and family.’4

The Audit’s findings in respect of each recommendation under this Principle follow.

Recommendation 13

Each Service Chief should set an annual growth target for the number of flexible work arrangements (FWA) to be agreed with the CDF. This recommendation applies to both men and women. Progress against this target is to be reported annually in the ‘Women in the ADF’ Report.

 

Intent of Recommendation 13

The ADF Review found patchy awareness of, and access to, FWA. FWA that did exist were mostly informal and reliant on a particular CO or supervisor’s support. The ADF Review found significant confusion and competing narratives about whether access to flexible work arrangements was possible, whether it was ‘allowed’ and whether it would be supported. There was also a recurring perception that access to FWA effectively put a ‘break on your career’ and put an undue burden on the full time members of the team. The ADF Review spoke to many people, both men and women, who could not see a way to balance their work and family lives and were considering discharging as a result.

The intent of Recommendation 13 was to increase access to flexible work arrangements to allow ADF members to balance competing work and family commitments. In developing this recommendation, the ADF Review explained that strengthening the implementation and awareness of flexible work practices would increase the ADF’s capability, not diminish it, and serve to act as a recruitment and retention tool that would support Defence’s focus on ab initio recruitment.

The recommendation acknowledged the link between capability and flexibility and explained that clear organisational support was required to increase the number of FWA.

Implementation actions

In October 2012, COSC considered Recommendation 13 and it was agreed-in-principle.5

In April 2013, COSC deferred agreement on setting a target number of FWA until COSC had a more comprehensive understanding of the current level of flexible employment across the ADF.6 COSC also agreed that a broader definition of ‘Flexible Employment’ was needed, building upon that defined in the existing Defence Instructions (General) 49-4 Flexible Work in the Australian Defence Force. In a copy of the DI(G) 49-4 provided to the Audit and dated effective from 8 May 2012, the policy provided that the FWA available to Defence members were as follows:

  • Temporary Home Located Work (THLW)

THLW enables a Defence Member to complete work at a specified location outside their normal workplace. THLW may be utilised in a temporary or occasional arrangement, or as an ongoing arrangement for a specified time, on a part-time or full-time basis.

  • Variable Working Hours (VWH)

VWH allow Defence Members flexibility with their start and finish time as well as any periods of absence from the workplace. This may be utilised as a one-off or as an ongoing arrangement.

  • Part-time Leave Without Pay (PTLWOP)

PTLWOP enables Defence Members to work a reduced number of days or work part days in a fortnight pay period. PTLWOP includes job-sharing.7

In July 2013, Defence People Group then prepared an Agendum paper ahead of the COSC meeting in October that year, as the Service Chiefs were asked to reconsider setting a target for flexible work. The paper provided projections of the number of individual FWA required to achieve the two percent target within each Service’s permanent trained personnel:

  • Navy: 150 individual FWA
  • Army: 503 individual FWA
  • Air Force: 260 individual FWA.8

The Agendum paper further provided that, while the target of two percent is modest:

Advice from [Defence’s] Gender Equality Advisory Board (GEAB) indicates that the symbolism and cultural intent of an FW target is more important than the target itself... Service Chief commitment to a FW target aims to encourage cultural acceptance of FW and enhance accessibility for all ranks and locations.9

The briefing recommends the setting of an initial, baseline target that would enable Defence to meet Recommendation 13, and which could be later adjusted.10

At its subsequent October 2013 meeting:

COSC agreed that Service Chiefs have established a Flexible Working Arrangement target of 2% for the trained force, to meet Recommendation 13 of ‘the Report’ (attachment A of the Agendum Paper). A review of progress is required in the middle of 2014.11

This is also reinforced in the Service Chiefs’ accountabilities set out in the Performance Framework, and is to be reported in the Defence Annual Report.12

The ‘Women in the ADF’ Report was published for the first time in November 2013, as a supplement to the Defence Annual Report 2012-13. This Report reiterated the Services’ commitment to setting a FWA target of two percent13 and also includes some data on current use of flexible work practices.14

COSC also agreed that each Service would report annually on unit level flexible capability management strategies, to be included in the Defence Annual Report as commentary to the data on flexible work.15 The Audit understands that this requirement was included at the suggestion of Navy and is designed to encourage reporting of flexible work practices that are not encompassed by the target, such as flex-crewing.16 This requirement has been drafted in broad terms, so as to enable any FWA to be reported as the Service Chiefs see fit:17

[Existing flexible work practices] such as shift work, multi-crewing and alternate crew rosters... are valuable and important arrangements for operationally focused units, which although not prescribed within the policy, should be communicated in addition to individual FWA... (as) it would further enhance messaging on the ADF being a flexible employer.18

Definitional and data capture issues have to date been some of the barriers to establishing a FWA target. Defence has sought to remedy these issues with amendments to the relevant policy on flexible work, DI(G) 49-4. While still in draft at the time of writing, the draft DI(G) 49-4 describes the flexible work arrangements that Defence Members can access as follows:

  1. Variable Work Hours (VWH). VWH allow Defence members the flexibility to vary their start and finish times, as well as periods of absence from the workplace to suit their personal circumstances, whilst still completing the normal outputs of their role. These may be used as a temporary, occasional or ongoing arrangement and do not represent a reduction in working hours, simply a redistribution. VWH includes compressed working hours across the week.
  2. Home Located Work (HLW). This arrangement enables the Defence member to complete work from home. HLW may be utilised in a temporary or occasional arrangement, or as an ongoing arrangement for a specified time, on a part-time or full-time basis. HLW is a form of telework.19
  3. Alternate Location Work (ALW). This arrangement enables Defence members to complete work from an alternate location outside of their posting location, such as another Defence base. ALW may be utilised for a specified time, on a part-time or full-time basis. In some circumstances, ALW may fulfil the definition of telework.
  4. Remote Overseas Work (ROW). This arrangement enables Defence members to undertake work against an Australian based position whist living or residing overseas. ROW is generally for a long-term period where a member is accompanying a spouse who will be employed by either the Australian Government (either Defence or other agency) or a private company. ROW is a form of telework.
  5. Part Time Leave Without Pay (PTLWOP). PTLWOP enable Defence members to maintain continuity of service while working a reduced number of days or part days in any fortnightly pay period. PTLWOP has been adopted as the means of allowing Defence members of the Permanent Forces to work reduced hours for an agreed proportion of the pay period without any detrimental effect on continuity of service, for MSBS purposes.
  6. Job Share (JS). Job-sharing is an FWA that occurs when two or more Defence members share the output of one job. In this instance, position responsibilities can be divided proportionally between members to enable ownership and responsibility of specific tasks. In most cases job-share will be combined with PTLWOP, and may include the position being shared between two Permanent Force members, or a Permanent Force member and Reserve member.

In addition to more clearly defining the FWA available to members, there has also been significant progress in relation to data collection. Defence has acknowledged that existing data management systems were not sufficient to report on the achievement of a target on FWA, as data practices only allowed for capture of those personnel using PTLWOP.20

As a result, Defence People Group has identified potential PMKeyS changes required to support the implementation of both the ADF Review and the Review of Employment Pathways for APS Women in the Department of Defence (the McGregor Review).21 These IT systems reforms have been identified as follows:

  1. data fields for personnel on all types of FWA to be recorded on PMKeyS
  2. data fields to identify and specify FWA categories by type and position
  3. capacity to reflect job-share arrangements.22

These reforms were initially identified to inform broad business requirements for implementing flexible work.23 The Audit was advised in October 2013 that this new ‘IT intervention’ has been developed ‘to gain a more accurate picture of (flexible employment) uptake across the ADF’.24 It is also envisaged that data collection will allow for monitoring of flexible work practices and implementation across such variables as location; gender; rank; and type of FWA.25 At the time of writing the Audit is unclear whether such reforms have been implemented, although this accords to the reporting accountabilities set down by the Performance Framework.26

Capturing data on FWA will be further improved by an IT initiative enabling internal ADF systems to record flexible arrangements that last longer than four weeks in length.

The Audit has also been advised that the data captured for this recommendation will be reported in the ‘Women in the ADF’ Report, as well as reported to COSC on a twice-yearly basis.27 As stated above, the ‘Women in the ADF’ Report was published for the first time in 2013 and as such the new reporting system is not available for 2012-2013.28 Instead, the Report provides data in relation to the proportion of ADF members on PTLWOP.29

Navy

Navy has agreed to the baseline target for individual FWA of two percent of non-seagoing trained forces by December 2014.30

The Audit is encouraged by the Chief of Navy’s commitment to embracing flexible work as evidenced by his direction to DGNP to consider a higher target.31 However, in a brief for Chief of Navy ahead of the COSC meeting in October, the Director General Navy People advised the Chief of Navy to implement a ‘modest’ target due to concerns about data collection:

There is extensive use of FWA across Navy and... the proposed target will only measure a small portion of the total FWA options available... While there is no doubt a higher number of individuals currently accessing FWA in Navy, the majority of these are ‘informal’ in nature, based on trust and output and are, therefore, not reported. Setting a higher target may, therefore, force a shift in focus to one of presenteeism (through submission of formal requests/approvals purely for the purpose of reporting) which is considered a backward step for Navy. 2% is therefore considered an appropriate, albeit modest, baseline target which would likely allow for future growth without adversely impacting capability...32

In its work to identify a target for FWA within Navy, Director Navy Workforce Management reported that, as of 31 July 2013, 225 personnel were ‘already accessing a form of FWA’.33 However, this data is based on the numbers of members accessing not only PTLWOP, but also Long Service Leave (including on half pay), Leave Without Pay, Maternity Leave on Half Pay and Parental Leave on Half Pay.

Data was also provided to the Audit from the ODU, which provided that, at 6 March 2013, 55 Navy members were utilising flexible employment.34 This document provides a breakdown of this figure, based on the different types of FWA being utilised. The Audit notes that the types of FWA considered align to those encompassed in the draft DI(G) 49-4 (that is, VWH, HLW, ALW, ROW, PTLWOP, and JS). However, the ODU provides that this data ‘is not indicative of the current access to or use of FWA within the ADF.’35 All data was collected manually and it is anticipated that mandated electronic reporting would yield a more accurate indication of current use of FWA.

The data captured by the ODU demonstrates the breakdown of FWA in Navy as follows:36

Figure 30: Flexible Work Arrangements in Navy (provided by ODU)

 Flexible Work Arrangements in Navy (provided by ODU)

While not purporting to be wholly accurate, these statistics place Navy’s current deployment of flexible work at around 0.41% (n=55).37

According to briefing material provided to COSC by Defence People Group, Navy must achieve 150 individual FWA to reach the two percent target.38

As these varying figures suggest, there is currently no single data source that reliably captures the information required to monitor the FWA target within Navy. Furthermore, any information that is currently available is isolated to formal arrangements and, as such, many informal arrangements are not being captured.

Navy has engaged an external provider to support the implementation of the flexibility initiative, and it is anticipated that this will include guidance on data collection, including what should be measured and reported.39 While it is envisaged that the PMKeyS reforms to data fields will assist with reporting, the Flexibility Initiative will also consider whether the planned PMKeyS functionality is the best method for the collection of data, or whether data should be gathered another way.40

Army

The Chief of Army has also agreed to the FWA target of two percent of the trained force by December 2014.

Army advised the Audit that they currently have approximately 0.5% of members using FWA.41 Statistics provided to the Audit by Army demonstrate the breakdown of these arrangements in Army as follows:42

Figure 31: Flexible Work Arrangements in Army (provided by Army)

 Flexible Work Arrangements in Army (provided by Army)

Preliminary data provided by the ODU places Army with 0.22% of personnel accessing FWA.43 This data provided the following breakdown of FWA:

Figure 32: Flexible Work Arrangements in Army (provided by ODU)

 Flexible Work Arrangements in Army (provided by ODU)

Again, the disparity between these two sets of statistics serves to illustrate the current difficulty in measuring data on FWA.

According to material provided to the Audit, Defence People Group have estimated that Army requires 503 individual FWA to meet the two percent target.44

The Audit was also provided with a copy of a minute from DGPERS-A directing all Commanders to ensure the capture of FWA information.45 The minute reiterates that all FWA which endure for more than 30 days, both formal and informal, should be identified, including those relating to members who:

  1. are on part time leave without pay
  2. job share
  3. undertake temporary home located work
  4. use variable working hours, and
  5. work from a remote locality.46

The minute also provides that this data is to be provided for officers and other ranks, and is to be segregated by both gender and rank.47

The minute requests provision of this information by a set date in September 2013.48 It is not apparent whether this is intended to be an enduring method of data collection, which would align with the responsibilities specified by the Performance Framework and other reporting requirements, or whether this was a one-off initiative to gather data for the Audit’s purposes.

Air Force

Air Force has also agreed to the two percent target of individual members using FWA by December 2014.

The number of Air Force members currently utilising FWA is unclear. Air Force provided that, as of April 2013, 1.35% of Air Force members were already working flexibly on formal FWA.49 However, another document provided by Air Force in August 2013 provides that 362 Air Force members are utilising FWA, accounting for 2.79% of the trained force.50 Based on the most recent statistics, Air Force is easily exceeding the target for individual FWA.51 However, it is unclear from this document whether the data capture has considered FWA as defined by the draft DI(G) 49-4.52

The Audit was again provided with the ODU’s statistics on Air Force’s use of FWA, as defined by the new draft DI(G) 49-4. According to this data, Air Force had 0.64% (n=90) of its members utilising FWA as of March 2013.53

Figure 33: Flexible Work Arrangements in Air Force (provided by ODU)

 Flexible Work Arrangements in Air Force (provided by ODU)

As noted above, Defence People Group has advised that 260 individual FWA are required for Air Force to meet the two percent target.

In a brief for the Chief of Air Force from April 2013, Air Force’s, Director General – Personnel recognised the modesty of a two percent target:

1.35% ...of Air Force members are already working flexibly with formal reporting arrangements in place. With the proposed implementation of PSS reporting functionality, it is suspected that Air Force will likely overachieve against this target.54

Into the future, Air Force hopes to achieve a target greater than two percent once a corporate reporting tool has been implemented and the outcomes of the Position Profiles Project are known.55 Currently, Air Force records all formal FWA via a manual system.56 Air Force is awaiting a ‘corporate reporting solution’ to ensure accurate data collection on FWA.57

Audit findings

After some consideration, all three Service Chiefs, together with the CDF, agreed to a target of two percent of the trained workforce accessing individual FWA by December 2014. While the COSC agreement provides that this target is to be reviewed, the Audit emphasises the distinction between a target which is intended to be re-evaluated and an annual ‘growth’ target, which was the ADF Review’s recommendation.

Nonetheless, while some data provided to the Audit on the current use of FWA indicates that this target is ‘modest’, the Audit agrees that the setting of a FWA target across the Services sends a strong message in relation to increasing the ADF’s employment of flexible work practices.

Inherent in the successful implementation of this recommendation is a consistent and clear definition of a ‘flexible work arrangement’, as well as agreed methods of data collection and monitoring. The finalisation of the draft DI(G) 49-4 will be a pivotal step in establishing a recognised, tri-Service definition of FWA, as well as other associated policy regarding flexible work practices in the ADF.

The evidence above clearly illustrates that data collection and definitional issues have proved a significant barrier for all three Services in measuring and monitoring FWA. The Audit recognises that some of these difficulties are likely to be alleviated by the introduction of an established definition of FWA. For example, some information provided to the Audit relied on members’ use of Long Service Leave (including on half pay), Leave Without Pay, Maternity Leave on Half Pay and Parental Leave on Half Pay. The Audit considers that these arrangements represent leave entitlements, not FWA, and as such this data cannot be relied upon as a true indication of flexible work rates.

Further, while significant updates to PMKeyS have been identified to support the ADF Review’s recommendations in relation to flexible work, it is unknown what progress has been made on these ‘broad FWA business requirements’ or what the associated timeframes will be.58

The Performance Framework promises progress in relation to data collection, including that the Directorate of Workforce Development (DWD) will monitor the PMKeyS data reporting mechanism, assessing this data against the target – both at a service and tri-service level.59 The Audit considers that centralising data collection and monitoring across Defence will ensure a more accurate indication of FWA use and welcomes the tri-Service implementation of such processes.

The Audit also notes that the Performance Framework delegates the monitoring of FWA, as well as the job of ensuring that each Service achieves or exceeds its target, to the respective Service Directors General Personnel.

Finally, the Audit considers the additional requirement for each Service to report on unit level flexible capability management strategies to be significant in promoting organisational support and sharing good practice.

The ADF Review did not prescribe the level of the target and the Audit makes no comment on whether the target should be higher or lower. Although it is not yet possible to measure the Services’ current use of FWA against the baseline target, the Audit is satisfied that each Service has achieved against this recommendation. As evidenced by the material provided by the three Services and by the ODU, the introduction of a tri-service, COSC-approved base target, together with the anticipated goal to set a greater ‘growth’ target; the new accepted definition of flexible work; and the preliminary methods of data collection indicate to the Audit that significant progress will continue to be made in relation to Recommendation 13.

Recommendation 14

COSC should:

Establish a central ADF Flexible Work Directorate, reporting to the Deputy Secretary, Defence People Group, to inform policy and best practice.

Responsibilities include:

  • Monitoring progress against the growth targets of FWA.
  • Collecting tri-Service data on applications for flexible work arrangements, applications that are refused, applications that are granted, in order that there is a better understanding of and strategic assessment of flexible work arrangements across the ADF.
  • Training and educating middle managers, including NCOs on available tools and how to manage FWAs effectively.
  • Reporting to COSC on progress.

Direct that, within each Service, the responsibilities of the Service personnel agencies include:

  • As a priority, reviewing job design, statements of duty and team work allocation to identify those positions where full time work is the only sensible model. All others roles should be identified as potentially available in flexible work arrangements.
  • Building workforce models and personnel arrangements to increase workforce flexibility, address the negative impact of work/life balance and increase locational stability, such as fly-in/ fly-out and alternative crewing.
  • Reviewing all FWA applications in consultation with the commanding officers. For those which are rejected the application will be referred to the Director General of Personnel of each Service for review. These instances will be reported and monitored.
  • Maintaining an up to date FWA register which includes expressions of interest, information on locality, type of work and matching applicants for job sharing/FWA where possible.
  • Reporting to COSC through the Service Chiefs.

 

Intent of Recommendation 14

The ADF Review found ‘a broad range of structural and cultural barriers’ to implementing further use of FWA within the ADF.60 For this reason, although a number of formal and informal flexible work policies and practices were already in place across the ADF, the ADF Review considered that a centralised body would ensure the most effective and consistent approach to managing and supporting FWA.

In particular, the intent of Recommendation 14 was to encourage the development of a consolidated method for data collection which could allow for promoting a greater understanding of how flexible work practices are currently being used within the ADF; and provide for a strategic approach to encouraging further use of FWA by members. Centralising the approval processes for FWA applications, including the review of rejected applications, will also enable management to find solutions at a higher, more strategic level than at unit or base level.61

A comprehensive review of job design, duty statements and team work allocation is critical in determining where and how flexible work practices can be implemented. While it is likely, as some ADF personnel reported, that some jobs simply cannot be worked ‘flexibly’, each Service should actively identify those positions where full-time is the only appropriate option, leaving the remainder of roles open to FWA.

Given the critical role of ‘middle management’ in implementing and sustaining FWA, these personnel should have the knowledge and skills to manage FWA in their workforce. Educating middle managers on effective implementation and management in a flexible work environment is crucial to ensuring its success and uptake amongst ADF members.

Implementation actions

This recommendation was agreed-in-principle.

The first part of this section will detail the tri-Service actions taken with respect to the central ADF Flexible Work Directorate. The remainder will address the actions of each individual Service in respect of implementing the second half of the recommendation.

Fundamental to Recommendation 14 is the establishment of a centralised ADF Flexible Work Directorate.62 As part of the People, Strategy and Culture Branch (within Defence People Group), the Workforce Development Directorate (the Directorate), was approved in April 2013 to develop ‘an overarching workplace flexibility strategy’, and has taken the lead on flexibility in the ADF.63 The Directorate will specifically focus on issues of mentoring and flexible employment.64

‘Workplace flexibility’ has also been identified as one of six key areas of focus in the Performance Framework for Gender Inclusion in the ADF (Performance Framework), a component of Defence’s overarching ‘Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2013 – 2017’.65

The Performance Framework prescribes the accountabilities and responsibilities of the Directorate as follows:

  • Monitor new PMKeyS reporting mechanism for capturing Flexible Work data
  • Monitor Service and ADF progress against FWA targets
  • Develop training packages on FWA and flexible work that can be tailored for personnel at all levels of the organisation
  • Develop tools and guides to support the implementation of FWA across Defence.66

The Directorate’s role also includes coordination of the work of the Defence Flexible Employment Working Group, which was established by the ODU to ensure a ‘whole of Defence’ approach both to the ADF Review and the Review of Employment Pathways for APS Women in the Department of Defence (the McGregor Review) recommendations.67

As evidenced, these roles and accountabilities give action to much of the first component of Recommendation 14, and a briefing to the Deputy Secretary Defence People Group on the Directorate also states that the Directorate has ‘assumed responsibility’ for these items of Recommendation 14. This brief also provides a table documenting initial work undertaken by the Directorate and the tasks and actions which were to be completed by 30 June 2013. These key tasks were outlined as such:

  • Consolidate existing flexible employment tools, guides and information kits (for use on People Connect)
  • Develop a prominent Flexible Employment ‘tab’ on PeopleConnect (encompassing links to APS and ADF programs, guide, initiatives and tools)
  • Develop a Communications Strategy to communicate the value of the Flexible Employment tab
  • Complete a handover with the ODU for the strategic oversight and implementation of ADF Flexible Employment initiatives.

The ODU provided evidence regarding the DPG website ‘PeopleConnect’ headed ‘Workplace Flexibility in Defence’, which links to ADF and APS Workplace Flexibility websites and information, policy, forms and tools, which appears to address the first two dot points. However, the Audit is not aware of any evidence of the development of a communications strategy to promote this resource. The Audit also understands that responsibility for the Directorate has now passed from the ODU to the People, Strategy and Culture Branch in the Defence People Group, fulfilling the final requirement above.

The Audit also found evidence of progress made in relation to ensuring that data capture includes FWA applications that have been granted, as well as those that have been refused. While part of the responsibility for this recommendation lies with the individual Service, data collection processes have also been enhanced by the creation of the ADF-wide form AE406 Application for Flexible Work, and the PMKeyS employee ‘checklist’, ADF Flexible Work Arrangements, which will be used to capture FWA request and approval data.68 Once sufficient data is available, common and consistent reporting against the two percent target to COSC will be undertaken. This is expected by the last quarter of 2014.69

The ADF Review recommended that the Services re-examine job design. The Audit was advised that APS work is being undertaken through the Directorate of Workforce Development which may be useful to the Services in their approach to job design.70 In the Audit’s discussions with the Directorate, plans for a guide to job design were in a very preliminary stage. The Audit welcomes an ADF-wide commitment to focus on job design, as limited material was provided by the Services to indicate any progress on this front. The Audit heard some of the challenges the ADF faces in rethinking job design:

[I]n the ADF it has got to do with workflow... it is very hard to redesign the whole job when you have certain skill sets in each workflow point, specific engineering skills, high level tertiary qualifications... You can see how that may be challenging.71

Further activities under Recommendation 14

The Audit now considers the second component of Recommendation 14, which directs each Service’s personnel agencies to undertake certain activities. Broadly, these activities included a review of job design; building workforce models; review of all FWA applications, including the referral of rejected FWA applications to the individual Service’s Director General Personnel; maintain a FWA register; and reporting to COSC through the Service Chiefs.

Navy

Navy advised the Audit that ‘considerable research and work has been undertaken by Navy on flexible work arrangements and flexible careers.’72 Navy cited New Generation Navy Culture Project 12 – Manage Careers More Flexibly as evidence of work completed in relation to this recommendation73 and advised that Navy has adopted an ‘incremental approach to increasing flexibility’.74 Navy told the Audit that the service has ‘for some time... made use of existing policies and practices to provide flexible work arrangements which meet both the Navy and the individuals’ needs.’75

In relation to reviewing job design, Navy provided evidence of work which had been undertaken in relation to scoping positions suitable for FWA.76 The date of this material is not clear, however data referred to in this document places it around mid-2011,77 prior to the ADF Review.

The Audit was advised that much of the work planned for Recommendation 14, including the review of job design, is to be encompassed by the work on a flexibility initiative framework which is currently being undertaken by an external provider.78 This includes data collection and education on flexible work practices, reviewing job design, building workforce models, reviewing FWA applications and maintaining an FWA register.79 Navy advised that presently, apart from PMKeyS, Navy does not maintain a central register nor monitor the numbers of people on FWA.80

The Audit was provided with a detailed agenda from the ‘kick-off meeting’ for the Flexibility Initiative from June 2013, which provided that the Initiative would look into the following key questions:

  • How does Navy provide flexible working arrangements and flexible career arrangements for its members, and in turn increase attraction and retention?
  • How does Navy respond to the Broderick Recommendations and prepare for Suakin in a consolidated and coordinated way?
  • How do we effectively measure flexibility (both formal and informal usage) across Navy?81

At the time of writing, Navy had been presented with the Executive Summary of the Diversity and Flexibility ‘Roadmap Report’, though the Audit has not been provided with this documentation.82 The next New Generation Navy Steering Group meeting was scheduled for February 2014.83

Navy also advised the Audit of specific examples of flexible work practices currently being used in their Service.84 The Audit notes these as examples of practice that existed prior to the ADF Review, and as such does not consider them as part of a response to the ADF Review’s recommendations of August 2012.

Army

Army told the Audit that ‘considerable work has been completed to increase the awareness and use of Flexible Work Arrangements within the Army’.85

Chief of Army demonstrated the importance of leadership to implementation and normalisation of FWA through Army’s Commanding Officers Workshop. This took the form of a road show on implementing flexible work and visited major bases in Australia to brief and train Commanding Officers and the Career Management Agency.86 This training sought to provide support measures for Commanding Officers implementing flexible work, such as what to consider when an application is made for an individual to access FWA.87

The Commanders Workshops were preceded by the viewing of an address by Chief of Army. This video, together with Chief of Army’s statement on Flexible Work in the Australian Army,88 provides key statements in relation to the implementation of flexible work in the Army. The audience heard statements from Chief of Army such as:

Providing our officers and soldiers with the flexibility they need to balance their work and their personal commitments is a key element of retaining them. Commanders are to take a long term view of retention and appreciate the needs of their people in the context of a thirty year career, not a three year posting.89

...I expect that:

  • It will be usual for all members to access informal and formal flexible work arrangements.
  • It will be normal for units to plan to accommodate those arrangements in the development of daily routines, training and exercise plans.
  • There will be no disadvantage to members who access flexible work.
  • Commanders will consider Flexible Work Arrangements applications with the expectation that they will find a way to accommodate and approve them.
  • Soldiers will challenge their chain of command to accommodate their need for flexible work.
  • Commanders will challenge Army to support them and their soldiers.9

A specific guide to flexible work in Army has also been created, providing a practical guide to support both individual members who wish to apply for FWA and the Commanders who receive such applications. This guide, the Flexible Work Arrangements Handbook, was critically reviewed at a Chief of Army’s Women’s Workshop on FWA held in March 2013,91 and feedback from participants was the impetus for the Commanders Workshop discussed above.92 The Flexible Work Arrangements Handbook was published in July 2013.

These initiatives by Army serve to action the training and education component of Recommendation 14, albeit a component which was recommended be administered by the centralised Directorate.

The Directorate of Workforce Strategy is also developing training on FWA for inclusion within the All Corps Officer Training Continuum and All Corps Soldier Training Continuum. The aim of this training is to increase junior leader’s awareness of FWA and how they can be utilised.93

Provision for review of all FWA applications is included in the DI(G) 49-4 which was in draft at the time of writing. The draft policy includes a statement that any rejected FWA application will be processed to CMA for monitoring. As this is a whole of Defence policy, this action should be uniform across all three Services. Army also advised the Audit that the requirement to process unsuccessful FWA applications should ‘identify if there are any support measures which could be provided to enable the delegate to approve the FWA’.94 The Audit notes that this measure aligns with the allocation of responsibility provided for by the Performance Framework.95

No direct reference to a ‘FWA register’ as described by Recommendation 14 was provided by Army. However, in July 2013 a Flexible Work Cell was established to centrally manage Army’s FWA, both formal and informal.96 The Cell was recommended by a submission from the Chief of Army’s Senior Advisory Committee on enhanced career management for soldiers.97

The purported aim of introducing Service centralised management of flexible work was to ‘aid in reducing the potential wastage of trained personnel and facilitate networking with members who wish to undertake FWA’.98 It is anticipated that the Cell will liaise between career advisors, chain of command and individual soldiers who have been identified for flexible work opportunities.99

The Cell was established with staffing of a Captain and a Sergeant, and a Warrant Officer (Class 1) was to join the team in January 2014.100 At the time of writing, Business Procedures and a Chief of Army Directive to support and advertise the Cell were in the process of being developed.101

Some actions by Army are designed to support the role of the new centralised Directorate. As noted in relation to Recommendation 13, DGPERS-A directed Commanders to record all FWA (formal and informal) longer than 30 days in length.102 As noted previously, it is unclear whether this minute references an enduring data collection system, or whether this was a one-off request for data.103 Such an action accords with the Performance Framework, which provides for Commanders/Directors to ensure that all staff FWA extending beyond one month are formally recorded on PMKeyS in accordance with policy.104

Air Force

Air Force is currently reviewing all positions to assist in determining which roles are unlikely to be able to support FWA. The formal use of Duty Statements in Air Force lapsed approximately 20 years ago ‘leaving the organisation without a critical tool to facilitate identifying the duties, roles, responsibilities and training liability for each position in PMKeyS.’105 As such, in April 2013 the Chief of Air Force and Director General – Personnel agreed that Position Profiles were required for all Permanent Air Force and Reserve positions.106

The Position Profiles Project seeks to employ advances in information technology to improve management and capability. The guiding principle for this work is that ‘all positions should be able to accommodate flexible working arrangements, unless there is a valid capability reason not to do so.’107 Air Force also envisions that data produced will allow for a balance to be struck between personnel and position requirements, and will be available to all personnel as well as all managers.108

It is envisaged that the Position Profiles Project could be implemented over a PAR cycle and that ongoing support could occur in tandem with PAR cycles and unit personnel’s management of such. The Audit was also advised that Air Force is working with Project SUAKIN (discussed further under Recommendation 16) to align the Position Profiles Project with the intent of Project SUAKIN, and allow for review of access to and use of flexible work. This liaison accords with the responsibilities assigned by the Performance Framework and demonstrates great potential for a sustainable approach to job redesign.109

Air Force advised the Audit that the Project will take place over three phases, the first of which is now complete:

  • Phase 1: Project planning and initiation.
  • Phase 2A/B:

Application of extant policy and processes for collection, validation and posting of urgently needed position profile data in PMKeyS by 1 March 2014.

Development and application of enhanced processes to implement and maintain future profiles for all AF positions by 31 December 2014.

  • Phase 3: Refine Position Profile parameters and update data to align with the Information Technology/Human Resources information systems to be achieved by 31 December 2015.110

In September 2013 a trial of the Project was conducted by DGPERS-AF. The trial found the need for a ‘simpler, more automated process, with pre-filled templates where appropriate’.111 Accordingly, the Terms of Reference for the Project have been revised to allow better use of existing and planned personal management decision support tools.

Additionally, Air Force has made provision to ensure all FWA applications rejected at unit level are now forwarded to DGPERS-AF for further review.112 RAAF has also provided supporting material to both members and Commanders, to provide guidance when undertaking or approving applications for FWA.113

Air Force advised the Audit that they have had ‘dedicated teams’ within Personnel Branch (Flexible Employment and Remuneration Cell and Workforce Diversity) since 2009 and 2010 respectively. However, no evidence was provided to the Audit that any action had been taken with respect to the recommendation to maintain a FWA register. Air Force told the Audit that future work for the Service includes the development of a system for both permanent and reserve members to register their interest in flexible work and to facilitate the matching of skilled resources to the right roles. Air Force acknowledged that, while there is a future intent to explore the formalisation of the FWA register, this is currently very informal and has limited oversight.114

The Audit was also told that Air Force intends to review data regarding locations, job types and roles of members who are currently accessing FWA in order to identify flexible work trends.115 The Audit was not advised who or how this data will be monitored, but it is envisaged it will be linked to outcomes of the Position Profiles Project.116

Air Force has also made significant progress with respect to educational and information materials on flexible work. Air Force provided the Audit with a number of excerpts from the DP-AF website, including information about flexible work such as ‘FWA options explained’, and ‘Relevant Links/FAQ’; as well as information about the FWA application process. These documents also include some practical guidance for members utilising flexible work, such as office processes to enable successful implementation of flexible work practices such as job sharing.117

The online information for members about the process includes links to a template for developing a flexible employment schedule and information to assist in creating a workplace flexible employment communication plan. Air Force has also produced guidance for members planning to apply for FWA, with a ‘FWA Application Checklist’ which includes good use of examples.118

Other documents provided for Air Force members wishing to work flexibly include a FWA Supporting Statement (Business Case) form, which acts as a plan to assist with negotiations between the member and management; ‘Developing a FE Schedule’ guide, which is a tool to assist the establishment of roles and expectations arising from a FWA; and ‘Developing a Workplace FE Communication Plan’, a guide to assist the development and maintenance of flexible employment.

Air Force have also produced a ‘Commander’s Guide to Flexible Employment’. This is a useful and relatively recent document which emphasises the ‘pivotal role’119 Commanders have in increasing the use of flexible work within Air Force, linking to the relevant DI(G) and the greater responsibility now on Command to accommodate FWA.120 The Guide also includes practical examples and case studies of FWA, FAQs and a flexible employment checklist for Commanders.121

Audit findings

Recommendation 14 is multi-faceted and requires a co-ordinated, consistent, whole-of-Defence approach to flexible work. The Audit acknowledges the significant progress with respect to a number of the sub-recommendations within Recommendation 14.

Most notably, the establishment of a centralised Flexible Work Directorate is a critical step in moving towards a more flexible ADF, and the Audit commends Defence for this achievement. The Directorate will provide a unified focus to flexibility across Defence and will assist in supporting the individual Services to implement further flexible work practices. The Audit also notes the introduction of an ADF-wide form for members to apply for FWA, which will be used to enhance data collection and monitoring throughout the whole of Defence.

The ADF Review recommended that the central Directorate take responsibility for training and educating middle managers. Aside from documents such as the Performance Framework assigning this responsibility, there was little evidence of action on this part of the recommendation.122 Despite this, some Services are already actively educating managers.

The Audit notes that Navy provided substantial material on existing policies and practices as evidence of implementation. While the Audit recognises these existing practices as part of an ongoing commitment to increasing flexibility in Navy, the ADF Review’s recommendations sought to go beyond extant practices and provide a structural framework for the implementation of sustainable work practices.

Navy’s engagement of an external provider to prepare and implement a Flexibility Initiative is encouraging and promises to deliver on much of what was required by Recommendation 14. However, it is difficult to assess Navy’s progress with respect to this recommendation without further information about that project. Nonetheless, the Audit welcomes the continued commitment of Navy to this project and looks forward to further work in this area.

In respect of Army, the Audit notes strong, high-level messaging, especially from Chief of Army, to raise awareness of and ‘normalise’ flexible work. In particular, the Audit commends those actions which acknowledge the importance of leadership to sustainable organisational change, including the Commanders Workshop road show, a video address from Chief of Army and publications such as the Flexible Work Arrangements Handbook. The Audit also found implementation evidence of training initiatives; review of FWA applications; improvements to data capture and management; and the establishment of an Army specific Flexible Work Cell.

The Audit is not aware of any work by Army on job design, statements of duty and team work allocation, nor any progress on redesigning workforce models to ensure a sustainable approach to flexible work practices. Despite strong tangible progress the Audit considers that the next step to mainstreaming flexible work arrangements is to re-envisage job design and workforce models.

Meanwhile, Air Force has commenced work on job design through its Position Profiles Project, which will allow for ‘Position Profiles’ to be created and in turn inform decisions about increasing access to flexible work. The Audit supports Air Force’s continued commitment to this project, and welcomes future work as a result of its findings.

The Audit notes that Air Force has ensured all FWA applications rejected at unit level will be forwarded to DGPERS-AF and the Audit also acknowledges the promise of improvements to data collection and monitoring. The Audit also notes Air Force’s intention to develop a system which mirrors much of the ADF Review’s recommendation regarding a FWA register.

Air Force provided the Audit with evidence of much practical, ‘day-to-day’ material, including excerpts from websites, guides for members, guides for Commanders, tools such as checklists, communication strategies and flexible work plans. The development of these resources indicates a strong commitment to the realities of implementing flexible employment.

The developments to date from all Services are commendable and there has been significant progress against a number of the elements contained in Recommendation 14. The Audit recognises that there are some operational constraints which may prevent Defence from applying flexible employment broadly and notes that, in providing information to the Audit, a number of existing practices were relied upon by the Services as evidence of meeting the intent of this recommendation.

Despite the recommendation urging that review of job design, statements of duty and work allocations be a priority for each Service, the Audit is not aware of significant progress in this regard. The Audit does of course acknowledge the promise of work in this field by Navy and Air Force through the Flexibility Initiative and the Position Profiles Project respectively. There is also tri-Service work being done in this area, albeit in the early stages.

Similarly, little progress had been made by the individual Services with respect to building and reconceptualising workforce models to increase flexibility. Also of concern to the Audit was the absence of this part of the recommendation in the Performance Framework, which does not appear to delegate the development of workforce models and personnel arrangements.

Recommendation 15
COSC should introduce a workforce management system that enables more than one member to be posted/assigned to the same position. Such a system would enable commanders to request and, where appropriate, be provided with additional staffing to facilitate flexible work practices, such as job sharing. This reform must be widely communicated and effectively explained to all ADF members.

 

Intent of Recommendation 15

Providing the framework for a workforce management system in which more than one member may be posted to the same position was considered a critical step by the ADF Review in terms of supporting the use of flexible work. Increased flexibility and family friendly workforce policies were also seen as presenting opportunities for greater recruitment and retention, especially as the ADF Review observed that members of both sexes are increasingly seeking opportunities of flexible work.

The ADF Review identified the requirement for a strategic and clear communication plan to convey both the intent and rationale behind this recommendation to ADF members. In its initial consultations, the ADF Review found that different Defence cohorts held vastly different perceptions in relation to this issue. While some Defence members, particularly those in human resources related areas, advised the ADF Review that such practices have always been possible, many personnel – particularly those in operational roles – said that they were not. For this reason, a specific communication strategy was recommended to ensure that if, as some parts of Defence assured the ADF Review, the workforce management system could support flexible work, members were aware and felt confident accessing it.

Implementation actions

Navy

Navy advised the Audit that their Workforce Management System already provides for multiple head counts against individual positions. Navy told the Audit that the limitation in implementation is in funding, as the management system requires reporting against Average Funded Strength (AFS), rather than people against positions.123 Navy provides that the current funding model limits the ADF’s ability to increase the level of job sharing, and points to Plan SUAKIN as a means to remedy this in the future and provide for the creation of different categories of work.124

Army

Army advised the Audit that existing workforce practices allow for two names to be placed against the one position in what is known as ‘double head count’. Double head count provides for a member to work PTLWOP or job share with another member.125 From the material provided by Army, it can be observed that for members utilising this practice there is no amendment to that member’s seniority, minimum time in rank requirements or service obligations.126 The possibility of double head counting has been in place since December 2011.127 While this was an existing practice, the Audit understands Army has focussed on raising awareness about double head counts within both the soldier stream and within wider Army.

Army has provided the Audit with internal correspondence from Soldier Career Management which serves as a reminder for staff to review the procedures for the Flexible Work Cell and the PTLWOP application processes and ensure data is captured accordingly.

Army also directed the Audit to a recent submission on enhanced career management for soldiers, which recommends:

Where appropriate, CM-A be given the authority to use greater flexibility in the use of authorised establishment positions... to enable flexible work practices for defined periods of time.128

Army suggests that the establishment of the FW Cell will assist in identifying opportunities where soldiers, supported by CMA and their chain of command, may utilise job sharing positions.

Amongst the wider Army, the Audit was advised that the Director of Workforce Strategy actively promoted the process of double head count in the Flexible Work Program and Commanders Workshop, supported by the Chief of Army’s Minute from August 2013 (detailed above), Enabling Flexible Work Arrangements.129

Air Force

Air Force advised the Audit that their workforce system already allows more than one member to be posted to the same position. They indicated that there is ‘limited opportunity to progress the development of a single-Service (Air Force) workforce management system.’130

Air Force told the Audit that the Position Profiles Project will assist in determining how this recommendation could be further implemented across various positions in Air Force, as this project seeks to allow greater capability management of both personnel and positions.

Air Force advised the Audit that no permanent Air Force positions had been ‘tagged’ as part-time or FWA-friendly, as ‘(t)he assumption is that most positions are suitable/available for flexible employment, subject to local (CO) and DP-AF management.’131 Air Force also told the Audit that their Career Management Agency can and does assign more than one member per position when required for a variety of reasons, one of which is flexible employment. However, the same document then went on to explain that ‘double-hatting’ is ‘usually a ‘by-exception’ outcome’,132 used commonly as a holding position until ‘the matter can be rectified’.133 It appears that approval of such a practice is at the discretion of management, both at the local level (that is, the Commanding Officer) and Director General Personnel – Air Force.

Audit findings

Each Service listed examples of existing practices as evidence of satisfying this recommendation.

The Audit heard that many ADF members are unsure of what flexible work practices are available to them and also that managers themselves were uncertain about what types of arrangements were possible. Effective communication is a fundamental underpinning of creating greater flexibility.

If, as the Audit heard, these options already exist, this must be more widely communicated and those members whose obligation it is to consider and/or approve applications for FWA must have the information that enables them to give full consideration both to the individual member’s application, as well as to their own managerial ability to support such arrangements.

Army was the only Service to provide the Audit with evidence of communicating the existence of their practice of ‘double head count’. There is evidence of acknowledgment by each Service that flexible work initiatives need to be led by the senior leadership.

The Audit reiterates that this recommendation is intended to apply across the workforce as a whole, not just to ‘highly feminised’ work areas. The availability of FWA must be gender neutral so that both men and women can have access.

The Audit welcomes continued work by all three Services in regard to this recommendation.

Recommendation 16
COSC should ensure that, in implementing the recommendations outlined in Plan SUAKIN (part of the Rethink Reserves study into the Reserve Forces), the specific impact of the reforms on women is monitored and that any issues arising are addressed.

 

Intent of Recommendation 16

Plan (or Project) SUAKIN is a workforce reform project aimed at delivering an innovative workforce model ‘which will put Defence into a position to meet future workforce challenges by establishing a contemporary and flexible workforce structure.’134 A workforce of this kind would include provision for a range of service options, such as full-time, part-time and casual roles with Defence. The 2012-13 Defence Annual Report provided that these options should not only allow ‘ADF members to continue to serve as their circumstances change’,135 but also ‘leave Defence less vulnerable to future workforce uncertainty.’136 The Plan SUAKIN reforms also included comprehensive review and revision of existing legal, policy and ICT structures.

Though the ADF Review recognised that Plan SUAKIN was not a gender based strategy, it strongly supported the Plan and viewed its framework as having enormous potential to build more flexibility into the Defence workforce model. While Plan SUAKIN would benefit all Defence members, the intent of Recommendation 16 was that its impacts on female members be closely monitored, particularly during early implementation of the reforms.

Implementation actions

Recommendation 16 was agreed and the implementation of Phase 1 of Plan SUAKIN was approved by COSC on 25 May 2012. Representatives from Plan SUAKIN advised the Audit that Phase 1 of the Plan was on track for delivery on 30 June 2014.137 The continuation of Phase 2 of Plan SUAKIN was approved by COSC in October 2013 and at the time of writing was awaiting funding approval.138 Plan SUAKIN was officially launched by the Assistant Minister for Defence on 26 November 2013.

The Audit was provided with a copy of a signed minute from the VCDF which explicitly states that ‘any aspects of Project SUAKIN presented for COSC or Capability Delivery Reform Committee deliberation properly consider and cross-reference the relevant recommendation from the reference, to assure COSC that our team is meeting both the spirit and intent of recommendation 16 through all stages of the project.’139

A briefing accompanying this minute was also provided to the Audit, and notes that Plan [or Project] SUAKIN had consulted with the Defence People Group (specifically, the team overseeing the implementation of the Review into the Treatment of Women in the ADF). This briefing goes on to state that the VCDF will continue to liaise with the Defence Flexible Employment Working Group (which, as noted above in Recommendation 14, is now within the Directorate) ‘to ensure ongoing engagement and oversight regarding the relationship between [Plan] SUAKIN deliverables and recommendations contained within the reference.’140

The Audit was also provided with the SUAKIN – Defence Communication Strategy. This document highlights issues of consistency in messaging about the various Defence Culture Reviews – including the Review into the Treatment of Women in the ADF:

28. Components of the Defence Cultural Reviews, particularly the Review in the Treatment of Women in the ADF have direct implications for SUAKIN change and communication activities. This creates a risk of contradictory, or mixed, messages within Defence.

29. As an example, SUAKIN aims to deliver a flexible employment spectrum for all ADF members. Broderick’s review into the treatment of women in the ADF referred to SUAKIN as a solution to many issues. This linkage of Broderick with SUAKIN has the potential to influence audience perceptions of SUAKIN and the project’s focus, narrowing its perceived outcomes to delivering flexible employment options for women in the ADF.141

Finally, the Audit was made aware of an event designed to increase collaboration and awareness of certain overlapping projects, the Interconnected Project Gathering and Information Exchange.142 At this event, participants were provided some commentary from the Defence People Group (specifically, the team overseeing the implementation of the ADF Review) on how Plan SUAKIN and the ADF Review align and observed that:

Recommendations 13-15 will establish short term solutions to deliver frameworks for flexible work arrangements, but it is reliant on SUAKIN for longevity to deliver flexible employment.143

Navy

Navy advised the Audit that Director of Navy Plans and Programs (DNPP) staff have been liaising with Plan SUAKIN and the ODU staff on the recommendations of the ADF Review. It is also intended that Next Generation Navy Integrated Project Team on Flexibility and Diversity, Navy Women’s Strategic Advisor (NWSA) and DNPP personnel will continue to liaise with the Plan SUAKIN team.

Army

Army provided limited material in relation to Recommendation 16. Army advised the Audit that ‘Army is committed to supporting Plan SUAKIN and has posted a number of Army Reserve members to the project’144 and provided a list of those staff assigned to Plan SUAKIN.145

Air Force

Air Force advised the Audit that it was their intention to be ‘actively engaged in this project’,146 although limited material was provided to demonstrate this. Air Force provided that the Service has funded 180 days from the Air Force program to perform the Project Manager role, and has three Service representatives attending the SUAKIN Technical Design Group. Air Force also advised there was ‘considerable effort’ being invested by Air Force Reserves in Plan SUAKIN in relation to work agreements and funding aspects.

Audit findings

Plan SUAKIN provides the framework across law, policy and technology to build a more flexible ADF. While there is progress by the Services and Recommendation 16 has been noted by the VCDF, the Audit is conscious that certain flexibility initiatives may not be sustainable without the enduring infrastructure promised by Plan SUAKIN. The Audit agrees with DPG’s assessment that the long-term structural framework which Plan SUAKIN intends to provide will support and drive a more flexible ADF workforce. Without this infrastructure, the Audit is concerned that the Services will be required to modify and ‘work around’ existing systems and processes on an ad hoc basis, without a thorough consideration of a sustainable and long-lasting flexible employment workforce model across the whole of the ADF.147

The material provided to the Audit demonstrates that each of the Services has committed to the implementation of Plan SUAKIN. Little detail was provided, however, as to any specific approach to monitoring the impacts of Plan SUAKIN on female members into the future. The Audit notes that there is evidence from the Services of liaison and consultation with Plan SUAKIN, indicating the potential for significant ongoing collaboration.

Recommendation 17
The Service Chiefs should instruct their career management agencies, as part of career planning and/or when posting decisions are made, to develop a support to posting plan for members. Such a plan should be developed in consultation and with the agreement of each member, and address issues of locational stability (eg back to back postings), recruitment to geographical area, schooling, child care, occasional care, emergency support, and other supports as required. A support to posting plan should also consider ways to support flexible work arrangements across postings.

 

Intent of Recommendation 17

The unique nature of a career in Defence, including posting cycles and deployments, can have a significant impact on ADF members and their families. It can also have an impact on recruitment and retention. In the ADF’s most recent exit survey, all exiting Defence members, regardless of gender, listed both the ‘lack of control over life’ and ‘the uncertainty with long term career plans’ within their top reasons for leaving Defence.148

The ADF Review found that providing members with longer term career plans would assist the ADF to attract and retain the best talent. The intent of Recommendation 17 was therefore that a coordinated plan be developed to support members and their families in new and continuing postings.

Implementation actions

The Audit understands that a working group was established in relation to Recommendation 17, with the specific focus of deciding whether a new form should be designed to capture the information required by this recommendation. A Support to Posting Form was drafted, a copy of which was provided to the Audit.149

The draft form provided for the completing member to select an option from the following list if support to posting was required:

  • partner’s employment
  • dependent schooling needs
  • access dependents (not at home)
  • locational stability
  • occasional care
  • service spouse employment
  • dependent special needs support
  • emergency support
  • housing assistance
  • family support availability
  • dependent medical support needs
  • childcare
  • education
  • other support.150

The draft form then allowed the member space to provide their ‘justification’ for such.

The minutes supplied from a meeting of this working group on 7 February 2013 indicate that none of the Services supported the introduction of a new form.151 As such, the ODU did not move ahead with implementation.

Further material provided to the Audit indicates that the ODU discussed system changes for PMKeYS amendments to the Employment Preferences and Restriction (EPAR) form. The proposed systems changes were as follows:

(1) Insert Five Year Career Plan Section: enables personnel to articulate their preferred five year plan to career advisors/ managers.

(2) Posting Considerations and Support Requirements: includes a series of drop down or tick boxes identifying areas that may require consideration or support.

(3) Justification: text box for members to provide explanation for support required and identify any documentation that supports the request.152

The justification for these changes, as provided by the ODU, explains that they would allow the ADF to meet Recommendation 17 without the need to create an additional form, policy or process – instead refining and improving existing processes. It was envisioned that this would minimise resource impost, reduce staff effort and avoid duplication.

The minutes from a subsequent meeting of the working group on 28 February 2013 explained that the requested PMKeyS changes were not workable:

Updates to PMKeyS are resource intensive and lengthy. The proposed changes to the EPAR would cost millions of dollars, and given the service intent to investigate incorporate (sic) ‘Support to Posting’ changes in revised service PAR in the future, the cost for return on investment is not considered viable.153

Following the lack of approval to update PMKeyS processes, the ODU reconvened another working group of the Services to reconsider their positions on the suggested ‘Support to Posting’ form.154 The Services’ positions were unchanged and they would not support the proposed form.155

As a result of this outcome, the ODU concluded that, as DPG actions to obtain a whole of Defence outcome were not achieved, any further action by DPG on Recommendation 17 was complete and responsibility and ongoing action for this recommendation would pass to the Service Chiefs.156

The Performance Framework for Gender Inclusion in the ADF also identified the delivery of support to posting plans as an action item, with responsibility for this item assigned to Service Personnel Directors General, as well as individual members.157 The Framework provides that reporting and/or documenting of this achievement is to take place through Service CMA/PMA (Personnel Management Agency) business rules and/or policy.158

Navy

Navy advised the Audit that their existing processes support Recommendation 17. Specifically, the current EPAR (Employment Preference and Restriction) form provides ‘a means by which members could provide career managers with information critical to their posting and career plan.’159

Through material provided to the Audit, it is evident that Navy did consider the development of a new form specifically designed to capture the information required for Recommendation 17.160 However, Navy decided against introducing a new form and has instead approved the roll out of the current EPAR form across all ranks.161 This strategy was widely communicated by a signal from the Chief of Navy, which the Audit understands was released in May 2013.162

The current EPAR form, available on PMKeyS, has a ‘drop down’ menu allowing members to select from reasons such as ‘family health’, ‘family employment’, ‘family education’ and ‘locational stability’ as reasons to support their posting preferences.163 The Audit noted the comments in internal correspondence that ‘(t)hese accord with most of the aspects of support identified in [the] Broderick Review.’164 This communication, from the Women’s Strategic Adviser, also advised of the potential to ‘prioritise’ these requirements on the system and to provide space on the form for the member to expand upon these reasons, where required.165

It is envisioned that, in the event that a member does have special posting considerations, the submission of a completed EPAR will act as a trigger for communication between that individual member and their career manager.166 As such, the Chief of Navy’s signal provided that, where individuals have special considerations for future posting decisions, those members should submit an updated EPAR through PMKeyS Self Service.

However, the Chief of Navy prefaces the introduction of this new strategy with the following statement:

Whilst the EPAR will form the basis for career discussions, it does not guarantee that Navy can meet an individual’s needs in all cases. The requirement to balance organisational priorities against individual needs will remain but it is hoped this process will achieve a mutually beneficial outcome.167

Navy also plans to reinforce and educate Navy personnel on these support processes, targeting career and workforce management. The Workforce Management Capability Improvement Program is currently underway in Navy People Branch and aims to ‘ensure a professional and capable pool of career managers well equipped to support the career and training requirements of Navy personnel.’168 This includes a focus on consistency and equity in applying policy and an effective response to members’ posting considerations, such as flexibility and locational stability.169

The Audit notes that there is some indication that Navy may consider the adoption of a new, alternate PAR in the future.170

Army

In response to this recommendation, Army emphasised the significance of the career management relationships. Army advised the Audit that the relationship between individual, chain of command and the career management directorate should be ‘an open and honest discussion about career aspirations and intentions encompassing issues such as the need for geographic stability; flexible work arrangements; specific reasons for geographic preferences (dependent health care); and dependent schooling requirements (particularly the final school years 11-12).’171

However, to assist this process and ensure any posting considerations of Army members are taken into account, Army has developed new PAR forms which include a specific section on posting considerations.172 Both the Officer173 and OR174 forms provide for a member to select if any of the following are considered posting support requirements:

  • One or more dependents is recognised as ‘special needs’
  • Service spouse
  • Current tertiary study
  • Family members employment
  • Child care requirements
  • Support to family requirements
  • Other consideration that might affect my next posting.

The PAR forms then allow space for the member to write a brief ‘posting consideration statement’. At the time of writing, the new form was due to be implemented from January 2014.175

While Army has provided the Audit with DOCM-A guidance to completion of the new Officer PAR form, this document focusses on the performance reporting aspects of the form and does not reference the inclusion of ‘Posting Considerations’. The Army’s response to Recommendation 17 simply provides:

To assist the Career Management Agency in understanding the posting considerations of officers and soldiers, the Officer Performance Appraisal Report (AE 359) and Draft Other Ranks Performance Appraisal Report include a section on Posting Considerations.176

Army has rolled out education resources for EPAR assessing officers, which includes two examples of how such forms might be completed. One of the forms provides an example of a member with posting support requirements, although the purpose of this training is for members conducting assessments, rather than members who may need assistance with completing the form.

Air Force

Air Force directed the Audit to existing practices and policies in response to Recommendation 17. Air Force, like the other Services, focussed on optimising the use of their existing EPAR form, and also told the Audit that they had ‘reinforced the importance of having an up to date EPAR form lodged through to the (Personnel Manager)’.177 Air Force also advised that members were regularly reminded to initiate discussion with their Personnel Manager.

Air Force advised that communication between individual members and their Personnel Manager is to be a ‘consultative process... to discuss posting opportunities, personal circumstances and desires’.178 Air Force also highlighted the suite of policy and guidance which is provided to Personnel Managers in an effort to ensure that posting decisions are made in consideration of co-location of serving spouses, locational stability and alignment with the critical years of dependents’ schooling.179

These represent our intention to consider fully member circumstances. Individual circumstances and desires are balanced against the unit/organisational capability requirements.180

Air Force informed the Audit of those mechanisms available to members in the event they are concerned about their posting, such as:

  • Raising concern through the chain of command (including a review of posting decision)
  • Applications for preferential treatment postings
  • Redress of Grievance options
  • Support and assistance from Defence Community Organisation, Defence Families Australia, Chaplaincy network and psychology sections.181

The Audit was also provided with material in relation to ‘Preferential Treatment’ (PT). The preferential treatment policy provides for possible exceptions to the ordinary posting rules and policies where an individual’s circumstances are so compelling as to warrant it. To grant preferential treatment, a member’s circumstances:

...must be sufficiently compelling and demonstrably more severe than those encountered by other Air Force personnel, to warrant overriding Service needs. The member should also be able to demonstrate that the circumstances are resolvable within the PT posting period such that they will again be able to meet their posting obligation without restriction.182

The policy states that PT generally means that the individual will reduce their promotion or re-specialisation prospects and, if their circumstances persist, may be assessed as to their suitability to continue in service. PT must also be limited to less than 24 months.183

In the future, Air Force reported to the Audit that they will consider expanding the Member Support Framework to support individual members who are facing particularly challenging personal circumstances.184 However all these actions relate to health and wellbeing, which does not encompass a broad range of ‘posting considerations’ relevant to work/life balance or family obligations.

Air Force also advised the Audit that they intend to review the use of the Personnel Appraisal Report (PAR).185 The Audit was also told that a trial of the performance appraisal component of the new Air Force Personnel Performance System was conducted in November 2013.186 Participating members are due to return information in early 2014 and, once received, this data will be collated and assessed against that information received as part of the regular Performance Appraisal Report. Air Force advised:

Presentation to the board (of the information collected) is to determine any gap or negative response from promotion board members as [to] the efficacy of the information collected and how they consider differences in reporting, and the information contained, might influence outcomes.187

In the interim, material provided by Air Force advises that the current ‘EPAR includes provision for amplifying remarks’ (with respect to individual posting preferences).188

Finally, Air Force stated that the Position Profiles Project will assist with this recommendation, as knowledge of each position’s inherent requirements will create ‘better understanding of the member’s suitability to be posted to particular positions.’189

Audit findings

Most of the evidence provided in relation to progress on Recommendation 17 was centred on changes to forms and/or IT systems.

Despite attempts by the ODU to coordinate a whole of Defence response to Recommendation 17, none of the three Services supported the introduction of a new, Defence-wide Support to Posting Plan form. As such, it was determined that the Service Chiefs would be responsible for implementation actions on this recommendation and would ‘own’ this recommendation at the time of audit. All the Services have foreshadowed the possibility of ongoing review and possible reformulation of their existing forms.

All three Services have utilised, and in some instances expanded upon, existing practices to evidence this recommendation. Navy considered a new form but decided against it, instead broadening the application of the current form to all ranks. This ‘roll out’ was communicated and the Audit understands targeted education on support to posting is planned. Army rolled out their existing practice to more members, devising a new form for both Officers and other ranks. Educational resources were also produced for the assessing officers, and the example of this material provided to the Audit appeared promising. Air Force also chose to optimise their current form and further promote its use.

This recommendation seeks to provide ADF members with the opportunity to raise important issues that affect posting decisions and to collaborate on how best to address these issues. This requires more than modifying a form. These discussions rest on trusted relationships between an individual, their chain of command and the career management agency. The ADF Review highlighted the benefit to both the individual member and the organisation in providing the opportunity for a detailed discussion to ensure that appropriate and reasonable support can be delivered and that the relationship remains strong.

For some Services the ‘support to posting’ component came within the Services’ Employment Preference and Restriction (EPAR) form, and in others within their Performance Appraisal Report (PAR). As noted in Recommendation 7, the Audit heard mixed views about the efficacy and use of these forms throughout the Services.

The Audit is particularly concerned about conflating ‘support to posting’ discussions with an individual’s performance review. It is important that an assessment of an individual’s performance is separate from broader considerations about their personal life and situation. These are discussions to be had in the context of career planning, not performance appraisal. The Audit is concerned that, if these matters are not separated, personnel will be reluctant to engage in full and frank discussion.

Conclusion – Principle 4

The Audit has found evidence of a strong commitment and demonstrated progress in introducing greater flexibility to the ADF. It commends Defence and each of the Services for their efforts in this regard.

Most notably, Defence has set a target for individual uptake of FWA across all trained forces by December 2014, a critical step which has also provided the impetus for improved data collection and monitoring of members’ use of flexible work practices. Meeting this recommendation has resolved some fundamental definitional and data concerns, and Defence’s workforce model will benefit as a result.

The Audit commends the ADF for its tri-Service approach to flexible work, through the establishment of the Workforce Development Directorate. While the Directorate is only recently formed, this centralised body will provide a focussed hub for data collection, policy development and education about flexible work. Additionally, the Directorate has already commenced work on certain resources and programs that will assist the Services as they implement their individual, Service-specific approach to increasing flexibility.

Plan SUAKIN promises long term workforce reform and will provide the infrastructure for a more flexible ADF. The success and sustainability of this project will be dependent on the Services’ continuing commitment to engage with it. While each of the Services provided evidence of investing in Plan SUAKIN, the Audit considers that greater consideration could be given to the ADF Review’s recommendation to monitor and respond to the project’s impact on women.

The Audit was provided with vast amounts of material detailing extant policies and practice. The Audit is concerned that, in adjusting certain existing practices, the intention of the recommendations may be lost. This is particularly the case in instances where the ADF Review called for innovative rethinking of existing and accepted models of work, allocation of duties, workforce management systems and supports to posting. The Audit was advised about ongoing and future work in this area, such as Navy’s Flexibility Initiative and Air Force’s Position Profiles Project, and welcomes each Service’s continued commitment to rethinking flexibility in a Defence workforce model.

The Audit also encourages the ADF to shift its focus from support to posting forms to the types of discussions and relationships required to support a member in current and future postings. The Audit also strongly urges the ADF to avoid conflating performance appraisal issues with support to posting planning.

________________________________________________________________

Chapter 7: Endnotes

  1. Australian Human Rights Commission, Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force: Phase 2 Report (2012), p 218.
  2. Department of Defence, Defence Annual Report 2012-13, Chapter 6: ‘Women in the ADF’ Report, 2013, p 14. At http://www.defence.gov.au/AnnualReports/12-13/default.asp (viewed 20 November 2013).
  3. Department of Defence, SUAKIN – Defence Communication Strategy, 8 February 2013, p 6 [18].
  4. Australian Human Rights Commission, Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force: Phase 2 Report (2012), p 217.
  5. Department of Defence, Information DEFGRAM NO 00/2012: Chiefs of Service Committee Foundation Statement regarding the Implementation of the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force Phase 2 Report, October 2012, provided to the Audit by Deputy Secretary Defence People, 26 August 2013.
  6. Chiefs of Service Committee, Agendum 50 of 13 – Strategies for implementing recommendations from the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force – (Broderick) Phase 2 Report, 2012, 18 April 2013, p 2 [7].
  7. Department of Defence, DRAFT Defence Instructions PERS 49-4 Flexible work arrangements for members of the Australian Defence Force, 26 August 2013.
  8. Chiefs of Service Committee, Agendum 50 of 13 – Strategies for implementing recommendations from the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force – (Broderick) Phase 2 Report, 2012, 18 April 2013, Attachment A at [1]. Note that Navy’s figures are based on shore-based postings only. Air Force figures are estimated figures only according to modelling data provided by Director General Workforce Planning at 21 March 2012.
  9. Chiefs of Service Committee, Agendum 50 of 13 – Strategies for implementing recommendations from the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force – (Broderick) Phase 2 Report, 2012, 18 April 2013, Attachment A at [3].
  10. Chiefs of Service Committee, Agendum 50 of 13 – Strategies for implementing recommendations from the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force – (Broderick) Phase 2 Report, 2012, 18 April 2013, Attachment A at [3].
  11. Chiefs of Service Committee, Agendum 69 of 13: Framework for Gender Inclusion in the Australian Defence Force – Implementing Recommendations from the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force – Phase 2 Report, 2012, 18 October 2013, provided to the Audit by ODU, 29 November 2013.
  12. Chiefs of Service Committee, Agendum Paper 69 of 13: Framework for Gender Inclusion in the Australian Defence Force – Implementing Recommendations from the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force – Phase 2 Report, 2012, 22 July 2013, p 1, provided to the Audit by ODU, 29 October 2013.
  13. Department of Defence, Defence Annual Report 2012-13, Chapter 6: ‘Women in the ADF’ Report, 2013, p 35. At http://www.defence.gov.au/AnnualReports/12-13/default.asp (viewed 20 November 2013).
  14. Department of Defence, Defence Annual Report 2012-13, Chapter 6: ‘Women in the ADF’ Report, 2013, pp 22-24, Tables 26-28. At http://www.defence.gov.au/AnnualReports/12-13/default.asp (viewed 20 November 2013).
  15. Chiefs of Service Committee, Agendum Paper 69 of 13: Framework for Gender Inclusion in the Australian Defence Force – Implementing Recommendations from the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force – Phase 2 Report, 2012, 22 July 2013, p 1, provided to the Audit by ODU, 29 October 2013.
  16. Director General Navy People, Brief for CN: Draft COSC Agendum Paper 69 of 13 – Call on CDF: Framework for Gender Inclusion in the Australian Defence Force – Implementing Recommendations from the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force – Phase 2 Report, 2012, August 2013, p 2 [6].
  17. Chiefs of Service Committee, Agendum 50 of 13 – Strategies for implementing recommendations from the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force – (Broderick) Phase 2 Report, 2012, 18 April 2013, p 2.
  18. Chiefs of Service Committee, Agendum 50 of 13 – Strategies for implementing recommendations from the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force – (Broderick) Phase 2 Report, 2012, 18 April 2013, Attachment A at [6].
  19. ‘Telework’ is defined as work performed primarily on computers linked to other locations, especially from home or a remote location. References to telework in this document have been included for the purposes of Australian Government reporting requirements (Department of Defence, DRAFT Defence Instructions PERS 49-4 Flexible work arrangements for members of the Australian Defence Force, 26 August 2013, Annex A).
  20. Defence People Group, PMKeyS Business Requirements – McGregor and Broderick Reforms, 21 January 2013.
  21. Defence People Group, PMKeyS Business Requirements – McGregor and Broderick Reforms, 21 January 2013.
  22. Defence People Group, PMKeyS Business Requirements – McGregor and Broderick Reforms, 21 January 2013.
  23. Defence People Group, PMKeyS Business Requirements – McGregor and Broderick Reforms, 21 January 2013.
  24. Organisational Development Unit, email to the Audit, 29 October 2013.
  25. Organisational Development Unit, email to the Audit, 29 October 2013.
  26. Defence People Group, Performance Framework for Gender Inclusion in the Australian Defence Force, October 2013, p 15, provided to the Audit by ODU, 29 October 2013. The Performance Framework provides that Commanders/Directors must ensure all staff FWA extending beyond one month are formally recorded on PMKeyS.
  27. Organisational Development Unit, email to the Audit, 29 October 2013.
  28. Department of Defence, Defence Annual Report 2012-13, Chapter 6: ‘Women in the ADF’ Report, 2013, p 22. At http://www.defence.gov.au/AnnualReports/12-13/default.asp (viewed 20 November 2013).
  29. See Department of Defence, Defence Annual Report 2012-13, Chapter 6: ‘Women in the ADF’ Report, 2013, p 24. At http://www.defence.gov.au/AnnualReports/12-13/default.asp (viewed 20 November 2013). Table 28 provides that 0.6% Navy, 0.3% Army and 1.1% Air Force members were undertaking PTLWOP as at final pay of 2012-13 (based on the respective proportions of the trained force only).
  30. In an attempt to bring the data together in support of a proposed target, the following is provided:

    The target will only apply to non-seagoing Trained Force personnel. (This is not to say it won’t exist in ships but rather, the nature of sea service and unpredictability around ships’ programs makes it unreasonable to apply the target to seagoing personnel for the purpose of reporting.

    By definition, any target would therefore only apply to the shore based trained force within Navy which can be divided into two main groups:

    Operationally focussed Headquarters (eg NORCOM, HQJOC, MAROPS, FHQ) – approx. 1300 personnel; and

    Non-operationally focussed Headquarters and/or establishments. (NHQ, Shore establishments, Non-Navy Groups) – approximately 5800 personnel.

    (Director General Navy People, Brief for CN: Draft COSC Agendum Paper 69 of 13 – Call on CDF: Framework for Gender Inclusion in the Australian Defence Force – Implementing Recommendations from the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force – Phase 2 Report, 2012, August 2013, Annex A at [13-14]).

  31. Director General Navy People, Brief for CN: Draft COSC Agendum Paper 69 of 13 – Call on CDF: Framework for Gender Inclusion in the Australian Defence Force – Implementing Recommendations from the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force – Phase 2 Report, 2012, August 2013, p 1.
  32. Director General Navy People, Brief for CN: Draft COSC Agendum Paper 69 of 13 – Call on CDF: Framework for Gender Inclusion in the Australian Defence Force – Implementing Recommendations from the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force – Phase 2 Report, 2012, August 2013, p 2.
  33. Director General Navy People, Brief for CN: Draft COSC Agendum Paper 69 of 13 – Call on CDF: Framework for Gender Inclusion in the Australian Defence Force – Implementing Recommendations from the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force – Phase 2 Report, 2012, August 2013, Annex A, page 4 [10-11]. Note that ‘leave types’ counted as FWA consisted of PTLWOP, LSLHP, LWOP, MATLHP, and Parental LeaveHP. Note that of these leave types, only PTLWOP will be counted under the target. Navy explained to the Review that this is due to the fact that there is no way to differentiate between those members taking leave for financial reasons versus those utilising leave to achieve flexibility.
  34. Defence People Group, ADF Summary of Current Formal FWA as at 06 Mar 13.
  35. Defence People Group, ADF Summary of Current Formal FWA as at 06 Mar 13.
  36. Defence People Group, ADF Summary of Current Formal FWA as at 06 Mar 13.
  37. Defence People Group, ADF Summary of Current Formal FWA as at 06 Mar 13.
  38. Chiefs of Service Committee, Agendum Paper 69 of 13: Framework for Gender Inclusion in the Australian Defence Force – Implementing Recommendations from the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force – Phase 2 Report, 2012, 22 July 2013, Attachment A at [1] provided to the Audit by ODU, 29 October 2013.
  39. Royal Australian Navy, Royal Australian Navy Audit Summary Report in Response to the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force (Phase 2 Report) 2012, 30 August 2013, p 38.
  40. Royal Australian Navy, Royal Australian Navy Audit Summary Report in Response to the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force (Phase 2 Report) 2012, 30 August 2013, p 34. Note that the Audit was also advised by way of update on 12 December 2013 that, following the presentation of the Executive Summary of the Deloitte Diversity and Flexibility ‘Roadmap Report’ to the NGN Steering Group, the Program Director met with Deloitte to discuss the top five initiatives from the Report, for development and presentation at the Steering Group meeting scheduled for February 2014 (Organisational Development Unit, email to the Audit, 12 December 2013). At the time of writing, the outcome of this meeting was unknown.
  41. Director General Personnel – Army, Brief for CA (through DCA and DGPERS-A on outcomes of the Chief of Army’s Women’s Workshop – 26-27 Mar 2013, April 2013. Note that the Audit was subsequently advised that as at September 13 Army had 495 personnel on FWA (Consolidated Draft AHRC Audit Report Comments by Service/Branch/Institution, provided to the Audit on 28 February 2013).
  42. Director of Workforce Strategy – Army, Slide Show for the Flexible Work Arrangements Commanders Workshops, 2013.
  43. Defence People Group, ADF Summary of Current Formal FWA as at 06 Mar 13.
  44. Chiefs of Service Committee, Agendum Paper 69 of 13: Framework for Gender Inclusion in the Australian Defence Force – Implementing Recommendations from the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force – Phase 2 Report, 2012, 22 July 2013, Attachment A at [1], provided to the Audit by ODU, 29 October 2013.
  45. Director General Personnel – Army, Minute requesting information on FWA, 2013.
  46. Director General Personnel – Army, Minute requesting information on FWA, 2013.
  47. Director General Personnel – Army, Minute requesting information on FWA, 2013.
  48. Director General Personnel – Army, Minute requesting information on FWA, 2013.
  49. Royal Australian Air Force, Extracts/summaries taken from DGPERS-AF brief for CAF for April 2013 COSC, 2013.
  50. Royal Australian Air Force, Audit Evidence: Recommendation 13, 2013, p 1.
  51. Chiefs of Service Committee, Agendum Paper 69 of 13: Framework for Gender Inclusion in the Australian Defence Force – Implementing Recommendations from the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force – Phase 2 Report, 2012, 22 July 2013, Attachment A at [1], provided to the Audit by ODU, 29 October 2013.
  52. For example, Air Force, Audit Evidence: Recommendation 13, 2013, p 1. Air Force had 205 members utilising PTLWOP alone and 157 members utilising ‘other forms of FWA’.
  53. Defence People Group, ADF Summary of Current Formal FWA as at 06 Mar 13.
  54. Royal Australian Air Force, Extracts/summaries taken from DGPERS-AF brief for CAF for April 2013 COSC, 2013.COSC.
  55. Royal Australian Air Force, Audit Evidence: Recommendation 13, 2013, p 1.
  56. Royal Australian Air Force, Audit Evidence: Recommendation 13, 2013, p 1.
  57. Royal Australian Air Force, Audit Evidence: Recommendation 13, 2013, p 1.
  58. Defence People Group, PMKeyS Business Requirements – McGregor and Broderick Reforms, 21 January 2013.
  59. Defence People Group, Performance Framework for Gender Inclusion in the Australian Defence Force, October 2013, p 16, provided to the Audit by ODU, 29 October 2013.
  60. Australian Human Rights Commission, Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force: Phase 2 Report (2012), p 227.
  61. Australian Human Rights Commission, Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force: Phase 2 Report (2012), p 229.
  62. People Strategy and Culture, Brief for DEPSEC DP: Implementation Approach to Mentoring and Flexible Employment Pathway to Change Recommendations, May 2013 at [1].
  63. Defence People Group, Defence Workplace Flexibility Consultative Group Terms of Reference, July 2013, p 1.
  64. People Strategy and Culture, Brief for DEPSEC DP: Implementation Approach to Mentoring and Flexible Employment Pathway to Change Recommendations, May 2013 at [1].
  65. Defence People Group, Performance Framework for Gender Inclusion in the Australian Defence Force, October 2013, p 3, provided to the Audit by ODU, 29 October 2013.
  66. Defence People Group, Performance Framework for Gender Inclusion in the Australian Defence Force, October 2013, p 16, provided to the Audit by ODU, 29 October 2013.
  67. People Strategy and Culture, Brief for DEPSEC DP: Implementation Approach to Mentoring and Flexible Employment Pathway to Change Recommendations, May 2013 at [1].
  68. Australian Defence Force, Employee Checklist – ADF Flexible Work Arrangements Task, August 2013. The checklist is to be completed where a member has submitted form AE406 and the request has been actioned by the Approving Authority/Authoriser. As a requirement of the checklist, an unsuccessful FWA application is to be referred to the Service directed Reviewing Authority for review and further action where required. The electronic checklist then allows the completing member to note the date of referral, the outcome of referral to the Service directed Reviewing Authority, and the date the applicant was notified of the outcome.
  69. Consolidated Draft AHRC Audit Report Comments by Service/Branch/Institution, provided to the Audit on 28 February 2013.
  70. Consolidated Draft AHRC Audit Report Comments by Service/Branch/Institution, provided to the Audit on 28 February 2013.
  71. Meeting 13.
  72. Royal Australian Navy, Royal Australian Navy Audit Summary Report in Response to the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force (Phase 2 Report) 2012, 30 August 2013, p 34.
  73. Royal Australian Navy, Royal Australian Navy Audit Summary Report in Response to the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force (Phase 2 Report) 2012, 30 August 2013, p 35.
  74. Royal Australian Navy, Royal Australian Navy Audit Summary Report in Response to the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force (Phase 2 Report) 2012, 30 August 2013, p 34.
  75. Royal Australian Navy, Royal Australian Navy Audit Summary Report in Response to the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force (Phase 2 Report) 2012, 30 August 2013, p 37.
  76. Royal Australian Navy, Scoping Navy Position suitable for flexible work arrangements (Draft).
  77. The document provides data on distribution of Navy workforce as at 1 June 2011.
  78. Following a tender process, Deloitte were engaged by Navy to provide support in implementing the Flexibility Initiative.
  79. Royal Australian Navy, Royal Australian Navy Audit Summary Report in Response to the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force (Phase 2 Report) 2012, 30 August 2013, p 37.
  80. Royal Australian Navy, Royal Australian Navy Audit Summary Report in Response to the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force (Phase 2 Report) 2012, 30 August 2013, p 37.
  81. Deloitte, New Generation Navy – Diversity & Flexibility Initiative Kick-Off Meeting Agenda, 5 June 2013 (emphasis in original).
  82. Navy further advised the Audit that in addition to the recommendations of the ‘Enhancing Capability through Flexibility Report’ on work and job design, development and career pathways, performance and promotion, posting alignment and strategic workforce planning, Chief of Navy has directed further review of workforce structures to identify opportunities to realign sea service obligations as far as possible to enhance employment flexibility (Consolidated Draft AHRC Audit Report Comments by Service/Branch/Institution, provided to the Audit on 28 February 2013).
  83. Organisational Development Unit, email to the Audit, 11 December 2013.
  84. Navy advised the Audit that their Service currently utilises the following flexible work practices:

    Navy base HMAS Stirling provides their members with three different options for their working week or fortnight:

    – 5 day week (0740 – 1600 Monday to Friday)

    – 4.5 day week (0730 – 1630 Monday to Thursday; 0730 – 1215 Monday to Friday)

    – 9 day fortnight (0730 – 1630 Monday to Friday, with one day off per fortnight).

    ‘Minimum Duty Watch’ is a system introduced onto ships in 2009 to allow members serving at sea to have more time with their family. Minimum Duty Watch involves closing the ship after 1800, which reduces risk of fire in turn reducing the number of personnel required from 18 to six people.

    Navy provided that two female members who are accompanying their husbands on overseas postings are currently combining PTLWOP and Civil Schooling, by enrolling in part-time, external post-graduate studies. Navy told the Audit that such a practice minimises the potential disadvantage to a member’s career that would normally arise from taking LWOP for the entirety of their partner’s posting.

    (Royal Australian Navy, Royal Australian Navy Audit Summary Report in Response to the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force (Phase 2 Report) 2012, 30 August 2013, p 37.)

  85. Australian Army, Response to 21 Recommendations of the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force Phase 2 Report 2012, Executive Overview, p 1 [6].
  86. Australian Army, Response to 21 Recommendations of the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force Phase 2 Report 2012, Executive Overview, p 1 [6]. The Commanders’ Workshops Program visited COMD FORCOMD, Sydney; CATC, Puckapunyal; HQ 6 Bde, Sydney; DCSTC, Melbourne; 17 Bde, Sydney; HQ 2 Div, Sydney; 1 Div, Brisbane; 7 Bde, Brisbane; ALTC, Bandiana; RMC-A, Canberra; AAAvnTC, Oakey; 16 Avn Bde, Brisbane; HQ FORCOMD, Sydney; 3 Bde, Townsville; 1 Bde, Darwin; SOCOMD, Sydney; DSCM-A, Canberra; DOCM-A, Canberra over April to July 2013 (Army Workforce Strategy, Information Brief for CA (through DCA and DGPERS-A) on the Army Flexible Work Program and Commanders Workshop, July 2013).
  87. Australian Army, Response to 21 Recommendations of the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force Phase 2 Report 2012, Executive Overview at [80].
  88. Chief of Army, Statement Flexible Work in the Australian Army, December 2012.
  89. Chief of Army, Statement Flexible Work in the Australian Army, December 2012.
  90. Chief of Army, Statement Flexible Work in the Australian Army, December 2012.
  91. Director General Personnel – Army, Brief for CA (through DCA and DGPERS-A on outcomes of the Chief of Army’s Women’s Workshop – 26-27 Mar 2013, April 2013.
  92. Australian Army, Response to 21 Recommendations of the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force Phase 2 Report 2012, Executive Overview, p 1 [6].
  93. Australian Army, Response to 21 Recommendations of the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force Phase 2 Report 2012, Executive Overview, p 2 [8].
  94. Australian Army, Response to 21 Recommendations of the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force Phase 2 Report 2012, Executive Overview at [82].
  95. The Performance Framework provides that Personnel Director Generals should ensure all non-approved applications for FWA are forwarded to Service personnel agencies for strategic oversight and further action where applicable.
  96. Australian Army, Response to 21 Recommendations of the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force Phase 2 Report 2012, Executive Overview, p 2 [7].
  97. Chief of Army’s Senior Advisory Committee, Chief of Army’s Senior Advisory Committee Submission: Enhanced Career Management – Army (Soldiers), June 2013, p 11 [32].
  98. Chief of Army’s Senior Advisory Committee, Chief of Army’s Senior Advisory Committee Submission: Enhanced Career Management – Army (Soldiers), June 2013, p 11 [32].
  99. Chief of Army’s Senior Advisory Committee, Chief of Army’s Senior Advisory Committee Submission: Enhanced Career Management – Army (Soldiers), June 2013, p 11 [32].
  100. Australian Army, Response to 21 Recommendations of the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force Phase 2 Report 2012, Executive Overview, p 2 [7].
  101. Australian Army, Response to 21 Recommendations of the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force Phase 2 Report 2012, Executive Overview, p 2 [7].
  102. Director General Personnel – Army, Minute requesting information on FWA, 2013.
  103. See Recommendation 13.
  104. Defence People Group, Performance Framework for Gender Inclusion in the Australian Defence Force, October 2013, p 15, provided to the Audit by ODU, 29 October 2013.
  105. Director General Personnel – Air Force, Brief for CAF: Air Force Position Profiles, April 2013, p 1 [1].
  106. Director General Personnel – Air Force, Brief for CAF: Air Force Position Profiles, April 2013.
  107. Royal Australian Air Force, Audit Evidence: Recommendation 13, 2013.
  108. Director General Personnel – Air Force, Brief for CAF: Air Force Position Profiles, April 2013, p 6 [12].
  109. Defence People Group, Performance Framework for Gender Inclusion in the Australian Defence Force, October 2013, pp 15-16, provided to the Audit by ODU, 29 October 2013.
  110. Organisational Development Unit, email to the Audit, 11 December 2013.
  111. Organisational Development Unit, email to the Audit, 11 December 2013.
  112. Royal Australian Air Force, Audit Evidence: Recommendation 13, 2013.
  113. Royal Australian Air Force, Audit Evidence: Recommendation 13, 2013.
  114. Royal Australian Air Force, Audit Evidence: Recommendation 13, 2013.
  115. Royal Australian Air Force, Audit Evidence: Recommendation 13, 2013.
  116. Royal Australian Air Force, Audit Evidence: Recommendation 13, 2013.
  117. Directorate of Personnel – Air Force, FWA options explained, 2013. As well as explaining the various FWA options available, this document provides that ‘(m)embers are encouraged to access the Public Folder in Microsoft Outlook – Exchange Posting and Flexible Employment – to facilitate the development of Job Share arrangements.’
  118. Royal Australian Air Force, Requesting Flexible Work Arrangements (FWA): Building the Business Case – A Guide for Members.
  119. Royal Australian Air Force, Commander’s Guide to Flexible Employment: Increasing Flexibility without Compromising Capability, Version 1, 2012.
  120. The draft Defence Instructions provided to the Audit provides that ‘Approving Authorities are to consider FW within capability commitments, unless a specific operational priority exists’ (Department of Defence, DRAFT Defence Instructions PERS 49-4 Flexible work arrangements for members of the Australian Defence Force, 26 August 2013, AL1).
  121. Royal Australian Air Force, Commander’s Guide to Flexible Employment: Increasing Flexibility without Compromising Capability, Version 1, 2012.
  122. For example, the Performance Framework provides that the accountabilities and responsibilities of Service Chiefs and Senior Leaders to include to ‘Reward the achievement of higher levels of workplace flexibility in a tangible way’ and to ‘Target the implementation of flexible work as a key performance indicator for PAR reporting purposes’ (Defence People Group, Performance Framework for Gender Inclusion in the Australian Defence Force, October 2013, p 15, provided to the Audit by ODU, 29 October 2013).
  123. As reported in the ADF Review, the ADF has a multitude of complex systems which govern workforce planning. ‘Average funded strength’ is a ‘budgetary measure used to count the average number of ADF members paid on a full-time equivalent basis during a financial year’.  ‘Establishment’ refers to the number of positions that exist, and ‘headcount’ is used to describe the total number of ADF members at a particular point in time (Australian Human Rights Commission, Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force: Phase 2 Report (2012), p 234).
  124. Royal Australian Navy, Royal Australian Navy Audit Summary Report in Response to the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force (Phase 2 Report) 2012, 30 August 2013, p 40.
  125. Army advises that there is scope to ‘overload’ a position with a double head count to 1.2 AFS to support FWA (Consolidated Draft AHRC Audit Report Comments by Service/Branch/Institution, provided to the Audit on 28 February 2013).
  126. Directorate of Officer Career Management – Army, Part Time Leave Without Pay Approval, 30 November 13.
  127. Australian Army, Response to 21 Recommendations of the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force Phase 2 Report 2012, Executive Overview at [83]. The Audit was also provided with a Minute from the Office of the Chief of Army dated 13 August 13, wherein Lieutenant General David Morrison provides authorisation for Army’s Career Management Agency, in consultation with DPLANS-A, to continue utilising double head counts for job sharing. This Minute was distributed across COMD FORCOMD, SOCAUST, COMD 1 DIV, DGCMA, DGPERS-A, VCDF Group, OSCDF Group, DPG, JOC, CDG, DMO, CIOG, DS&R Group, I&S Group.
  128. Australian Army, Response to 21 Recommendations of the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force Phase 2 Report 2012, Executive Overview at [84] citing Chief of Army’s Senior Advisory Committee, Chief of Army’s Senior Advisory Committee Submission: Enhanced Career Management – Army (Soldiers), June 2013 at [35].
  129. Australian Army, Response to 21 Recommendations of the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force Phase 2 Report 2012, Executive Overview at [85].
  130. Royal Australian Air Force, Audit Evidence: Recommendation 15, 2013.
  131. Royal Australian Air Force, Audit Evidence: Recommendation 15, 2013.
  132. Royal Australian Air Force, Audit Evidence: Recommendation 15, 2013.
  133. Royal Australian Air Force, Audit Evidence: Recommendation 15, 2013.
  134. Department of Defence, Defence Annual Report 2012-13, Chapter 6: ‘Women in the ADF’ Report, 2013, p 68. At http://www.defence.gov.au/AnnualReports/12-13/default.asp (viewed 20 November 2013).
  135. Department of Defence, Defence Annual Report 2012-13, Chapter 6: ‘Women in the ADF’ Report, 2013, p 68. At http://www.defence.gov.au/AnnualReports/12-13/default.asp (viewed 20 November 2013).
  136. Department of Defence, Defence Annual Report 2012-13, Chapter 6: ‘Women in the ADF’ Report, 2013, p 111.
  137. Meeting 11.
  138. Email to the Audit re: Plan Suakin, 23 October 2013.
  139. Cadet, Reserve and Employer Support Division, Brief for VCDF: Project SUAKIN’s Role in Meeting Recommendation 16 of the Review into Treatment of Women in the ADF (Phase 2 Report), April 2013, Enclosure 1, 3.
  140. Cadet, Reserve and Employer Support Division, Brief for VCDF: Project SUAKIN’s Role in Meeting Recommendation 16 of the Review into Treatment of Women in the ADF (Phase 2 Report), April 2013, Enclosure 1, 3.
  141. Department of Defence, SUAKIN – Defence Communication Strategy, 8 February 2013, p 7 [29-30].
  142. Suakin Communication Manager, Interconnected Project Gathering and Information Exchange, email to the Audit, 4 July 2013.
  143. Email to participants of the Interconnected Project Gathering and Information Exchange event, Attachment 1, Review into the Treatment of Women in the ADF – Phase 2 Report, 4 July 2013, provided by ODU.
  144. Australian Army, Response to 21 Recommendations of the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force Phase 2 Report 2012, Executive Overview at [87].
  145. Army have assigned 7 members in total to Plan SUAKIN, with a Brigadier appointed as Director General, a Colonel and a Major working on remuneration, a Lieutenant Colonel and a Warrant Officer (Class 2) working in career management/policy, another Lieutenant Colonel working in ForceNet and a Major working in SERVOP D.
  146. Royal Australian Air Force, Audit Evidence: Recommendation 16, 2013.
  147. For example, Plan SUAKIN envisions the introduction of part-time work to Defence, an option that is currently only available to Defence members by utilising the leave entitlement Part Time Leave Without Pay (PTLWOP).
  148. Department of Defence, Defence Annual Report 2012-13, Chapter 6: ‘Women in the ADF’ Report, 2013, p 14. At http://www.defence.gov.au/AnnualReports/12-13/default.asp (viewed 20 November 2013).
  149. Defence Personnel Group, Agenda – Broderick Recommendation 17: Support to Posting Plan Working Group 07 Feb 13, 2013.
  150. Defence Personnel Group, Agenda – Broderick Recommendation 17: Support to Posting Plan Working Group 07 Feb 13, 2013.
  151. Navy do not support the proposed form as existing EPAR already supports this (with some adjustment); Army do not support proposed form as they have developed a new Army Officer PAR with a section specifically addressing ‘Posting Support Requirements’; Air Force do not support the proposed form and would prefer to update their existing EPAR (Defence Personnel Group, Agenda – Broderick Recommendation 17: Support to Posting Plan Working Group 07 Feb 13, 2013, p 2).
  152. System Change Request, PMKeys, Defence Support Group, provided to the Audit, 26 August 2013.
  153. Defence Personnel Group, Agenda – Broderick Recommendation 17: Support to Posting Plan Working Group 28 Feb 13, 2013.
  154. Defence Personnel Group, Agenda – Broderick Recommendation 17: Support to Posting Plan Working Group 28 Feb 13, 2013.
  155. Defence Personnel Group, Agenda – Broderick Recommendation 17: Support to Posting Plan Working Group 28 Feb 13, 2013.
  156. Defence Personnel Group, Agenda – Broderick Recommendation 17: Support to Posting Plan Working Group 28 Feb 13, 2013.
  157. Defence People Group, Performance Framework for Gender Inclusion in the Australian Defence Force, October 2013, p 13, provided to the Audit by ODU, 29 October 2013.
  158. Defence People Group, Performance Framework for Gender Inclusion in the Australian Defence Force, October 2013, p 14, provided to the Audit by ODU, 29 October 2013.
  159. Royal Australian Navy, Royal Australian Navy Audit Summary Report in Response to the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force (Phase 2 Report) 2012, 30 August 2013, p 42 [141].
  160. Email, 25 February 2013, provided to the Audit 30 August 2013.
  161. To date, the EPAR form has been used primarily across junior soldiers, with limited application cross the officer, warrant officer and senior sailor ranks.
  162. Australian Royal Navy, CN Signal on EPAR Usage.
  163. Email, 25 February 2013, provided to the Audit 30 August 2013.
  164. Email, 25 February 2013, provided to the Audit 30 August 2013.
  165. Email, 25 February 2013, provided to the Audit 30 August 2013.
  166. Royal Australian Navy, Royal Australian Navy Audit Summary Report in Response to the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force (Phase 2 Report) 2012, 30 August 2013, p 42 [142].
  167. Australian Royal Navy, CN Signal on EPAR Usage, p 4.
  168. Royal Australian Navy, Royal Australian Navy Audit Summary Report in Response to the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force (Phase 2 Report) 2012, 30 August 2013, p 42 [145].
  169. Royal Australian Navy, Royal Australian Navy Audit Summary Report in Response to the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force (Phase 2 Report) 2012, 30 August 2013, p 42 [145].
  170. After a meeting with the Navy Women’s Strategic Adviser, Chief of Navy, Deputy Chief of Navy, Director General Navy People, Director of Navy Personnel and Policy, information was provided to the Audit that Navy would not action a new PAR before the completion of the 2013 Promotion and Command/Senior Staff Selection process.
  171. Australian Army, Response to 21 Recommendations of the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force Phase 2 Report 2012, Executive Overview, p 12 [88].
  172. Australian Army, Response to 21 Recommendations of the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force Phase 2 Report 2012, Executive Overview, p 12 [91]. The Officer Performance Appraisal Report (AE 359) and Draft Other Ranks Performance Appraisal Report both include a section on ‘Posting Considerations’.
  173. Officer Performance Appraisal Report (AE 359) form.
  174. Other Ranks Performance Appraisal Report (still in draft form at the time of writing).
  175. Defence Personnel Group, Agenda – Broderick Recommendation 17: Support to Posting Plan Working Group 07 Feb 13, 2013, 2.
  176. Australian Army, Response to 21 Recommendations of the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force Phase 2 Report 2012, Executive Overview, p 12 [91].
  177. Royal Australian Air Force, Audit Evidence: Recommendation 17, 2013.
  178. Royal Australian Air Force, Audit Evidence: Recommendation 17, 2013.
  179. Royal Australian Air Force, Audit Evidence: Recommendation 17, 2013; Director of Personnel – Air Force, Policy Guidance.
  180. Royal Australian Air Force, Audit Evidence: Recommendation 17, 2013.
  181. Royal Australian Air Force, Audit Evidence: Recommendation 17, 2013.
  182. Directorate of Personnel – Air Force, Preferential Treatment, 2013, 2013.
  183. Directorate of Personnel – Air Force, Preferential Treatment, 2013, 2013.
  184. Royal Australian Air Force, Audit Evidence Recommendation 17, 2013. Supplementary information in relation to this was provided to the Audit by way of Chief of Air Force Directive dated October 2013. This Directive provides an overview and directions for Command to execute actions in relation to Individual Welfare Boards, Member Support Coordination and Command Focus Groups.
  185. Director General Personnel – Air Force, Brief for CAF: Development of new Performance Appraisal System, AB14041593, June 2013.
  186. Organisational Development Unit, email to the Audit, 11 December 2013.
  187. Organisational Development Unit, email to the Audit, 11 December 2013.
  188. Broderick Report Recommendation 17 – Support to Posting Plan, prov