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Annual Report 2007-2008: Appendix 5 - Human Resources and Administrative Services

Appendix 5
Human Resources and Administrative Services

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Performance management and staff development

HREOC reviews staff performance annually through its Performance Management
Scheme. The Scheme provides an opportunity to set goals and priorities and
assess the level of individual performance and contribution to Unit
outcomes.

The Scheme also provides an opportunity to identify and address learning and
development needs and to plan effectively for the acquisition of identified
skill requirements.

HREOC supports additional professional development through its Studies
Assistance Program. During 2007-08, HREOC provided assistance in the form of
study leave, examination leave and/or financial assistance to 16 staff.

HREOC provided opportunities for work experience and internships through
placements in various units.

Workplace diversity and equal employment opportunity

Throughout the year, HREOC supported diversity events, including
International Women’s Day, NAIDOC Week and Harmony Day. The workplace
diversity committee is developing a Calendar of Events for 2008 to ensure that
opportunities to celebrate and acknowledge various events are undertaken with
care, creativity and forward planning.

HREOC’s Reconciliation and Action Plan was developed during the year
and the strategies developed will link in with our Workplace Diversity Plan.

A new Indigenous Employment Strategy is in development to maximise our
capacity to attract, engage and retain Indigenous applicants.

Reconciliation Action Plan

HREOC has developed a Reconciliation Action Plan (‘RAP’) as part
of its commitment to Reconciliation Australia’s National Program of
Action for Reconciliation
.

HREOC launched its RAP on Friday 25 May 2007, to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the 1967 referendum that changed the provisions of
Australia’s Constitution relating to Aboriginal people.

Throughout 2007-08, HREOC has worked with Reconciliation Australia to improve
and develop its RAP. HREOC hopes to have a revised RAP approved by
Reconciliation Australia and in place early in the 2008-09 financial year.

In addition to HREOC’s extensive ‘core work’ in relation to
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (see Chapter 6), HREOC and its
staff undertook a range of activities under the RAP in 2007-08, including:

  • Placement of Indigenous interns and students participating in the
    ‘Aurora’ project;
  • Revising HREOC’s induction procedures to ensure that all staff
    receive Indigenous cultural awareness training;
  • Commemoration and celebration of significant events, including the
    national apology to the Stolen Generations on 13 February 2008; and
  • Organising seminars on issues relating to the human rights of
    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

HREOC’s RAP is available on-line at
www.humanrights.gov.au/about/rap.html

Occupational health and safety

The new Health and Safety Management Arrangements (HSMAs), required as a
result of changes to the Safety Rehabilitation Compensation and Other
Legislation Amendment Act 2007
, were finalised in June. The HSMA was
developed in consultation with the OHS committee and staff.

HREOC’s commitment to staff health and well being, on site and off
site, continued with workplace assessments for the resolution of ergonomic
issues, access to a software program that encourages staff to take regular
breaks throughout the day, and access to preventative/informative health
information sessions.

HREOC offers support to staff through QUIT smoking programs, flu vaccinations
and a Healthy Lifestyle Program.

HREOC provides staff with access to counselling services through its Employee
Assistance Program. This is a free and confidential service for staff and their
families to provide counselling on personal and work-related problems if
required. No systemic issues have been identified through this service.

Workplace relations and employment

HREOC’s Certified Agreement expires in December 2008. Consultation with
staff will commence in September on a new agreement.

The current agreement provides core employment conditions and supports family
friendly policies. It offers 14 weeks paid maternity leave, four weeks paid
parental leave, and access to extended leave following maternity or parental
leave. HREOC also supports access to part-time employment up until the child
reaches school age.

Salary progression within classification levels is subject to performance
assessment. Salary ranges are shown at Table 40.

HREOC has eight staff covered by Australian Workplace Agreements, including
one senior executive service (SES) level staff member.

Consultancy services

HREOC uses consultants where there is a need to access skills, expertise or
independence not available within HREOC.

During 2007-08, four new consultancy arrangements were entered into involving
total actual expenditure including GST of $283 800.

Consultant
Name
Description
Contract Price
Actual
Payments
Selection Process
Justification*
Australian Multicultural Foundation
Establish Steering Committee to research and prepare a report on Freedom of
Religion and Belief
$209 000
$88 000
Direct Source
A,B,C
Australian National University
Research project – Creating a representative Indigenous voice
$22 000
$22 000
Select Tender
A,B,C
SW Consulting
Develop and Coordinate the Community Partnership for Human Rights
Evaluation Project
$30 800
Nil
Select Tender
A,B
Prof. Richard Harding and Prof. Neil Morgan
Research into the implementation in Australia of the Optional Protocol to
the Convention against Torture
$22 000
Nil
Select Tender
A,B
Total
$283 800
$110 000

*A – skills currently unavailable within the agency

B – need for specialised or professional skills

C – need for independent research or assessment

Purchasing

HREOC’s purchasing procedures adhere to the Commonwealth Procurement
Guidelines issued by the Department of Finance and Administration and updated to
incorporate policy changes effective 1 January 2005. They address a wide range
of procurement situations, allowing managers flexibility when making procurement
decisions, while complying with the Commonwealth’s core procurement
principle of value for money. There were no contracts exempt from publishing
through AusTender in 2007-08.

There was no competitive tendering and contracting during 2006-07 that
resulted in a transfer of providers of goods and services from a Commonwealth
organisation to a non-government body.

Ecologically sustainable development and environmental performance

While human rights principles are fundamentally embedded within the
principles of ecologically sustainable development (ESD), HREOC’s
activities do not explicitly contribute to ESD nor impact directly on the
environment other than through its business operations in the consumption of
those resources required to maintain the operations of HREOC.

HREOC uses energy saving methods in its operations and endeavours to make the
best use of resources. Purchase and/or leasing of ‘Energy Star’
rated office machines and equipment with ‘power save’ features is
encouraged, and preference is given to environmentally sound products when
purchasing office supplies.

HREOC has implemented a number of environmentally friendly initiatives to
reduce the environmental impact from its operating practices. Major energy
consuming services such as air conditioning and lighting are switched off
outside work hours. In addition waste paper, cardboard, printer cartridges and
other materials are recycled subject to the availability of appropriate
recycling services. HREOC also uses new generation low mercury triphosphor
fluorescent tubes.

During 2007-08 HREOC and staff participated in the Earth Hour initiative
which was held on Saturday 29 March 2008.

Audit Committee

Consistent with the ASX (Australian Stock Exchange) principles of good
corporate governance and the requirements of the Financial Management and
Accountability Act 1997
, HREOC maintains an audit committee to advise the
President on the Commission’s compliance with external reporting
requirements and the effectiveness and efficiency of internal control and risk
management mechanisms. The audit committee met four times during the reporting
period.

Fraud control

HREOC has a Fraud Risk Assessment and Fraud Control Plan and has procedures
and processes in place to assist in the process of fraud prevention, detection,
investigation and reporting in line with the Commonwealth Fraud Control
Guidelines. The Fraud Control Plan is made available electronically to all HREOC
staff.

Staffing

HREOC’s average staffing level for the year was 116 staff, with a
turnover of12 per cent for ongoing staff. An overview of HREOC’s staffing
profile as at 30 June 2008 is summarised in the table below. The number of
part-time staff excludes casual staff.

Table 40: HREOC staffing profile (as 30 June 2008)
Classification
Male
Female
Full- time
Part- time
Total Ongoing
Total Non-ongoing
Total
StatutoryOffice Holder
3
3
1
 
4
4
SES Band 2
1
1
1
1
EL 2 ($88,116-$105,879)
12
12
21
3
22
2
24
EL 1 ($76,401-$83,782)
5
21
20
6
19
7
26
APS 6 ($61,079-$68,458)
10
20
28
2
23
7
30
APS 5 ($55,178-$59,596)
2
4
5
5
1
6
APS 4 ($49,470-$53,714)
15
14
4
9
9
18
APS 3 ($44,387-$47,907)
2
12
4
10
10
4
14
APS 2 ($40,043-43,215)
2
2
0
2
0
2
APS 1 ($34,434-$38,057)
1
0
1
1
0
1
Total
38
88
98
28
92
34
126

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COMMONWEALTH DISABILITY STRATEGY (CDS)

HREOC, along with all other Commonwealth agencies, reports against the CDS
performance framework annually. Full details on the CDS can be found on the
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
website at: www.facsia.gov.au/disability/cds/default.htm

Through the CDS, the government seeks to ensure its policies, programs and
services are as accessible to people with disabilities as they are to all other
Australians. This, of course, is integral to the work of HREOC and evident in
the work we do. The CDS identifies four core roles that may be relevant to the
agency. HREOC’s primary roles are that of policy adviser and service
provider. HREOC’s employer role is now dealt with through the State of
the Service
report which is compiled by the Australian Public Service
Commission. Full details on the policies and services highlighted in the
Appendices can be found within the relevant section of the Annual Report.

HREOC is committed to implementing best practice in providing and improving
access to its services for people with disabilities. In particular, our CHS,
on-line access to our services, website and education material, and consultation
with disability groups provide examples of what we are doing to achieve
this.

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COMMONWEALTH DISABILITY STRATEGY PERFORMANCE REPORTING JUNE 2008

Further details on programs and policies outlined against the performance
indicators can be found in the relevant sections of the Annual Report.

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POLICY ADVISER ROLE

HREOC disability rights programs are planned by reference to the
Commission’s jurisdiction under the Disability Discrimination Act and the
Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act and include consultations with
disability groups and partnerships with disability organisations.

Performance indicator 1

New or revised policy/program assesses impact on the lives of people
with disabilities prior to decision

Performance measure

Percentage of new or revised policy/program proposals that document that the
impact of the proposal was considered prior to the decision-making stage.

Current level of performance 2007-2008

  • HREOC public Inquiries and exemption applications include people with
    disabilities to seek views on the issue before finalisation.
  • National peak disability groups and selected regional groups are
    consulted on new projects in the development phase to seek their views on
    impact. In the Disability Rights Unit compliance is 100 per cent.
  • All submissions to Inquiries are taken in a range of formats,
    including verbal/audio (transcribed by HREOC), e-mail and handwritten
    letters.
  • All new initiatives are made publicly available through HREOC’s
    website and key disability organisations are informed of developments through
    HREOC’s e-mail lists.
  • Through the use of HREOC’s website and e-based networks HREOC
    provides extensive information about new and revised policies and programs and
    seeks feedback at any stage on their effect.

Performance Examples

  • Ongoing inspection of immigration detention facilities and commentary
    regarding asylum-seekers and refugees has a strong focus on:

    • the availability and quality of mental health services, and
    • the connection between declining mental health, immigration detention
      and restrictive visa conditions.

Goals and Actions for 2008-2009

  • Promote ratification and implementation of the Convention on the
    Rights of Persons with Disabilities
    including: promoting effective review of
    laws, policies and programs; promoting awareness of the Convention; promoting
    development of NGO strategies to use the Convention.
  • Promote adoption and implementation of DDA Disability Standards.

Performance indicator 2

People with disabilities are included in consultation about new or
revised policy/program proposals

Performance measure

Percentage of consultations about new or revised policy/program proposals
that are developed in consultation with people with disabilities.

Current level of performance 2007-2008

  • Consultation with people with disabilities and their representative
    organisations occurs at a number of levels, through:

    • direct contact with representative organisations at a national and
      state/territory level;
    • invitation to respond to new and revised policy/programs through
      HREOC’s website, e-based networks, in writing or by phone; and
    • public forums, conferences and public meetings.
  • New initiatives are made publicly available through HREOC’s
    website, and disability organisations and individuals are informed of
    developments through HREOC’s e-mail lists.
  • Public consultation events all occur in accessible venues with
    hearing augmentation and sign language interpreters available.

Performance Examples

  • The Sex Discrimination Commissioner consulted with disability
    stakeholder groups and individuals during her Listening Tour. The Commissioner
    visited every state and territory in Australia. Over 1 000 people took part in
    the 90 events held in metropolitan, regional and remote locations. An additional
    128 people contributed through the Listening Tour blog, with 39 612 viewers
    reading the Commissioner’s Listening Tour diary, and a total of 66 826
    hits. The Commissioner identified three crucial areas for achieving equality
    between women and men in Australia:

    • economic independence for women,
    • balancing work and family balance across the life cycle, and
    • freedom from discrimination, harassment and violence.
  • The Sex Discrimination Commissioner and the Disability Discrimination
    Commissioner met with Women with Disabilities Australia. Issues raised at this
    meeting included: sterilisation, violence against women, access to breast and
    cervical screening, removal of children from mothers with intellectual
    disability, lack of data regarding disability and concerns raised at airports
    regarding personal aids which are required during transit.
  • In early 2008 HREOC reviewed its strategic goals and direction though
    its planning process, HREOC21. This process involved all staff and key
    stakeholders, including representatives from peak disability groups to:

    • reflect on HREOC’s achievements to date;
    • create an inspired, motivating and realistic role for HREOC in the
      future; and
    • set clear and measurable goals and objectives to assist HREOC in
      achieving its vision.

Goals and Actions for 2008-2009

  • Consult with a wide range of groups including disability stakeholder
    groups and individuals in the development of a charter of rights proposal.
  • Use public inquiry processes, emphasising use of internet and media,
    to ensure the opportunity to participate for the broadest range of affected
    parties and to increase awareness of DDA requirements.
  • Assist and encourage industry bodies to develop compliance strategies

Performance indicator 3

Public announcements of new, revised or proposed policy/program
initiatives are available in accessible formats for people with disabilities in
a timely manner

Performance measure

  • Percentage of new, revised or proposed policy/program announcements
    available in a range of accessible formats.
  • Time taken in providing announcements in accessible formats.

Current level of performance 2007-2008

  • All information about new HREOC initiatives is available on a W3C/WAI
    compliant website, simultaneous with public release.
  • 100 per cent of announcements and information material available in
    accessible electronic format.
  • 100 per cent of material produced is also available in standard
    print, large print, audio and Braille on request.
  • The time taken to produce in other than electronic format varies
    according to the size of the document, but generally within seven days.

Goals and Actions 2008-2009

  • Review accessibility issues in relation to the Internet.

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PROVIDER ROLE

Further details on HREOC’s complaint handling function, with a full
description of its services and relevant statistics can be found in Chapter 4:
Complaint Handling Section.

Performance indicator 1

Complaints information service provides information about complaint
handling service to people with disabilities

Performance measure

  • Complaints information service accessible to people with
    disabilities.
  • Number of calls/e-mails/visits to complaints information service
    related to disability issues.
  • Number of groups that attended complaint handling information
    session, or were visited by the CHS during regional and interstate visits, that
    included disability advocacy and disability legal services.

Current level of performance 2007-2008

  • HREOC complaints information is available in electronic and
    alternative formats. An e-mail facility and accessible on-line complaint form
    for the lodgement of complaints is available. Telephone and TTY facilities are
    available with a national 1300 number at local call cost.
  • All complaint handling brochures and publications are available on
    HREOC’s website in accessible electronic format and are available in
    alternative formats on request. Information about the complaints process and
    legislation is available in plain English format on HREOC’s website. The
    website is updated regularly.
  • 16 per cent of phone, e-mail and written enquiries to the CHS are
    related to disability issues.
  • 59 groups attended a CHS information session or were visited by CHS
    staff.
  • A complaints information referral list is updated regularly to ensure
    callers with disabilities can be referred to appropriate advocacy groups and
    other appropriate services.

Goals and Actions 2008-2009

  • Targeted community education and liaison with disability groups and
    advocacy organisations in all states and in particular regional areas.
  • Liaise with Indigenous and disability networks in each state to
    ensure the CHS are responsive to their needs.
  • Liaise with networks working with young people and mature/older
    people with disabilities to ensure the CHS is responsive to their needs.

Performance indicator 2

Complaint handling service accessible to people with disabilities

Performance measure

  • Number of complaints received under the DDA.
  • Number of complaints lodged by people with disabilities under all
    legislation administered by HREOC.
  • Number of complainants who identify the need for specific assistance
    on intake form.
  • Complaints received about accessibility of service.

Current level of performance 2007-2008

  • 988 complaints were received under the DDA for 2007-2008.
  • Complaints were received from people identifying as having a
    disability under all Acts administered by HREOC. 51 per cent of responses to a
    survey question on demographics indicated the complainant had a disability. This
    was a similar response in past years.
  • 143 requests for assistance were recorded, including assistance with
    language interpreters and sign language interpreters, provision of information
    in an alternative format, TTY and assistance with writing.
  • There were no formal complaints received regarding the accessibility
    of HREOC complaint handling service or premises. Performance measure is 100 per
    cent.
  • HREOC’s premises are accessible. Premises used for remote and
    regional conciliation conferences are accessible. Performance measure is 100 per
    cent.
  • The Complaint Handling Section Access Committee reviews access to the
    CHS service by the community, including specific focus on people with
    disabilities.

Goals and Actions 2008-2009

  • Maintain a flexible approach to service delivery.

Performance indicator 3

Staff training and development, includes training related to people
with disabilities

Performance measure

Percentage of training programs that include information regarding people
with disabilities and relevance to complaint handling processes.

Current level of performance 2007-2008

  • CHS investigation and conciliation training courses include specific
    training on accommodating people with disabilities in the complaint handling
    investigation and conciliation processes. Performance measure is 100 per cent.
  • Ad hoc CHS training sessions specifically address relevance to people
    with disabilities who use complaint handling services. Performance measure is
    100 per cent.
  • CHS Complaint Handling Manual advises staff to consider reasonable
    accommodation for people with disabilities is provided during the investigation
    and conciliation process such as provision of Auslan interpreters, use of TTY
    and use of alternative formats for information. Performance measure is 100 per
    cent.

Goals and Actions 2008-2009

  • Provide specific client service training to all CHS staff, focussing
    on the needs of clients with disabilities.

Performance indicator 4

Complaint mechanism in place to address concerns raised about service
and addresses requirements of people with disabilities

Performance measure

Established complaint/grievance mechanism in operation. Detailed in the
Charter of Service, which is provided to all parties to a complaint and
available on the HREOC website. Provided in alternative format on request.

Current level of performance 2007-2008

  • Charter of Service addresses roles and responsibilities of HREOC and
    parties.
  • No complaints about accessibility of service or disability related
    issues were received under the Charter in the year.
  • Performance measure is 100 per cent.

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EMPLOYER ROLE

Performance indicator 1

Employment policies, procedures and practices comply with the
requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act

Performance measure

Number of employment policies, procedures and practices that meet the
requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act.

Current level of performance 2007-08

  • HREOC’s Corporate Plan includes reference to the Australian
    Public Service (APS) Values and social justice principles to ensure access to
    HREOC’s services.
  • HREOC’s Certified Agreement 2005-08 contains a commitment to
    the acceptance of diversity in the workplace and preventing and eliminating
    discrimination. Most of HREOC’s policies on employment are contained
    within the Certified Agreement.
  • The Workplace Diversity Plan outlines strategies to maximise
    employment and developmental opportunities for people with disabilities. The
    Plan is available to all staff on HREOC’s intranet.
  • HREOC’s e-mail/Internet Policy is reviewed regularly. It
    specifically refers to the inappropriate use of e-mails that may demean people
    with disabilities.
  • No formal complaints/grievances were made by staff with disabilities
    with regard to current work practices.
  • Reasonable adjustment principles are adhered to in the modification
    of employee’s duties in the workplace. Two employees have been provided
    with voice-activated software to enable them to undertake their duties and
    another staff member with CCTV equipment.

Performance indicator 2

Recruitment information for potential job applicants is available in
accessible formats on request

Performance measure

  • Percentage of recruitment information requested and provided in
    alternate electronic formats and accessible formats other than electronic.
  • Average time taken to provide accessible information in electronic
    formats and formats other than electronic.

Current level of performance 2007-08

  • Performance in providing accessible formats for recruitment material
    is 100 per cent.
  • Applicants are advised on HREOC’s website that recruitment
    information is able to be provided in any format. All recruitment material is on
    HREOC’s website and available by download at the same time it is
    advertised in the press. Advertisements in the press advise that information is
    available by contact phone, by TTY phone and on HREOC’s website. The HREOC
    website meets the criteria for accessibility as outlined in the Government
    Online Strategy. The Jobs Page (www.humanrights.gov.au/about/jobs/) received 58
    522 page views during 2007-08.
  • There were no requests for Braille during 2007-08. HREOC is able to
    supply any requests within 3-7 days.

Performance indicator 3

Agency recruiters and managers apply the principle of reasonable
adjustment

Performance measure

Percentage of recruiters and managers provided with information on reasonable
adjustment.

Current level of performance 2007-08

  • Selection guidelines include information on reasonable adjustment and
    guidelines for interviewing staff with disabilities.
  • Recruitment action is managed internally and not outsourced and all
    committees are provided with selection information on reasonable adjustment.

Performance indicator 4

Training and development programs consider the needs of staff with
disabilities

Performance measure

Percentage of training and development programs that consider the needs of
staff with disabilities.

Current level of performance 2007-08

  • Due to the small number of staff in the agency, training is
    coordinated by each of the unit managers under HREOC’s Performance
    Management Scheme. The majority of training is provided off-site with external
    providers. Any in-house training programs recognise the needs of people with
    disabilities.
  • Training nomination forms allow staff to advise any specific
    requirements such as:

    • wheelchair access;
    • accessible toilets/parking;
    • a hearing device;
    • sign language interpreter;
    • an attendant;
    • a support person; and
    • information in Braille, audio cassette, large print, ASCII format.

Performance indicator 5

Training and development programs include information on disability
issues as they relate to the content of the program

Performance measure

Percentage of training and development programs that include information on
disability issues as they relate to the program.

Current level of performance 2007-08

  • As noted above, training is coordinated by each individual
    section.
  • Induction includes information on workplace diversity and relevant
    legislation that HREOC administers, including the Disability Discrimination
    Act.
  • The Complaint Handling Section conducts training and information on
    disability issues for staff.

Performance indicator 6

Complaint/grievance mechanisms, including access to external
mechanisms, in place to address issues and concerns by staff

Performance measure

Established complaints/grievance mechanisms, including access to external
mechanisms in operation.

Current level of performance 2007-08

  • There is an established process in the HREOC Certified Agreement for
    complaints/grievances, which includes access to external review through the
    Australian Public Service Commission.
  • All staff are advised of access to HREOC’s Employee Assistance
    Program and encouraged to use this service when needed. This free service
    provides counselling and support for staff and their families.
  • Provision of access to complaints/grievance mechanisms is100 per
    cent.

Note: Accessible electronic formats include ASCII (or txt) files and html for
the web. Non-electronic accessible formats include Braille, audio cassette,
large print and easy English. Other ways of making information available include
video captioning and Auslan interpreters.

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