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Chapter 2: Summary of Audit Findings

ADFA has made significant progress in implementing the Review’s recommendations. The senior leaders at ADFA are committed to cultural change and have worked with a view to embedding reforms.

Further work is required in certain areas, including in the development and delivery of an evidence based sexual ethics program with an expert educator. Continued efforts are also required to separate concepts of equity and diversity from the complaints process. Ongoing training on and evaluation of the complaints process is required to ensure it is responsive and effective.

The establishment of Residential Support Officers has been a positive and valuable addition to ADFA – both for staff and undergraduates. The development of a new Unacceptable Behaviour Survey applicable to ADFA and other recruit and training settings provides a promising benchmarking tool.

The following table identifies the main findings of the Audit. Detail and supporting evidence can be found in the body of the Audit report.

ADFA’s Role and Purpose
Recommendations 1-5
  • There is evidence that these recommendations are being progressed or have been implemented.
  • ADFA’s role as ‘pre-eminent’ has been amended to the ‘premier tri-service military and training establishment in Australia’.
  • Despite improvements to corporate messaging, focus groups and interviews indicate that there is still a lack of clarity and an ambivalence among staff and undergraduates about ADFA’s role and purpose.
  • There is a strong perception among ADFA staff and undergraduates that each of the Services continue to have different expectations of ADFA.
  • The support of the CDF and the greater presence of the Service Chiefs on campus has been noted. Many undergraduates spoke of this positively.
  • Respective accountabilities for the implementation of the Review recommendations have been accepted or delegated appropriately and a performance framework is being utilised.
  • An extensive Communications Plan was finalised in October 2012. While it is very comprehensive the Audit notes that the Plan is still in its infancy and therefore cannot assess its success or effectiveness.
Equity and Diversity
Recommendations 6-10
  • ADFA has undertaken a number of actions with the aim of promoting a more positive and values based concept of equity and diversity.
  • The COMDT is leading from the front in promoting equity and diversity. A new policy statement signed by the COMDT promotes the value of equity and diversity at ADFA and outlines its benefits to the organisation.
  • Equity and diversity training incorporates the COMDT’s policy statement, but some lessons continue to aggregate equity and diversity with unacceptable behaviour and the complaints process.
  • The close alignment between equity and diversity and the complaints process makes it difficult for ADFA to teach equity and diversity principles as core values underpinning ethical leadership.
  • The expansion of the Equity Adviser Network is a positive step but further evaluation is required to understand and address issues of access to the Network.
  • The creation and expansion of the Sexual Offence Support Person (SOSP) Network is welcomed. This is an important source of support and assistance to complainants and respondents.
  • More work is required to create regular forums for undergraduates and staff where female role models from within and beyond the ADF present on their experiences.
  • The ‘Linking with Universities’ forum is a positive development that ADFA could build upon.
ADFA’s Structure and Staffing
Recommendations 11-15
  • These recommendations are in the process of being implemented but further effort is required to realise their full intent.
  • A formal, regular mechanism has been established to allow engagement between the COMDT and the ADF Service Chiefs.
  • The Career Management Agencies (CMA) accept that posting the right staff to ADFA is critical, but that their job requires balancing competing priorities across all training environments and other operational requirements.
  • The COMDT now has an enhanced role in the selection of staff at ADFA but this is not yet formalised and he is still not the decision maker. For the 2013 intake of staff the COMDT was able to interview new staff, but only after the posting decision had been made by the CMA.
  • The COMDT and the CMA will actively try to change negative perceptions of a posting to ADFA through communications strategies and a ‘roadshow’ approach in 2013.
  • The Services have not delegated authority to the COMDT to remove underperforming staff or undergraduates.
  • The number of female military staff being posted to ADFA has increased over the last three years.
  • There is no evidence that innovative strategies for gaining a wider pool of educators from within Defence have been employed for ADFA.
  • There continues to be a perception of a disconnect between what the Services say in relation to a posting to ADFA and the actual impact of the posting at ADFA on one’s career/promotion.
  • In 2012 there was still wide variability in the quality of staff posted at ADFA.
  • The tenure of the COMDT AFDA is now 3 years which is a welcome development.
  • Significant effort is being invested in incorporating the intent of the Review’s recommendations into staff induction and training.
  • The performance review process has not changed however there are now more avenues of feedback which are being incorporated into performance appraisals.
Midshipmen and Cadets are Young People and Future Leaders
Recommendations 16-18
  • Substantial work has been undertaken in the development of a feasibility study which outlines a range of options for a single Service and work placement program for each of the Services. The Services have decided not to implement any of the proposed options on the basis that they were not feasible. Having explored the single Service placement options, the Audit considers further measures should be developed to meet the underlying intent of the Recommendation.
  • The minimum entry age has been reviewed however it was decided that the age should not be changed due to recruitment imperatives.
  • Recruitment options to address life differentials of male and female undergraduates were considered in the feasibility study and it was decided by the Services not to undertake any further actions. After consultation with the Audit further options are now being explored by the RIT.
  • Options for a new mentoring program have been developed. As yet ADFA has not implemented the new program and no timetable for implementation has been provided.
  • The comprehensive approach to alcohol management is evidence of a concerted effort on the part of ADFA to address excessive alcohol consumption. The pricing regime has been reviewed and drink prices have been increased. In respect of alcohol testing, ADFA has increased testing in 2012 to a level that is unparalleled in previous years.
Accommodation and Supervision
Recommendations 19-21
  • The broad crime assessment of the ADFA grounds conducted in response to the Review, while not without merit, does not in isolation address the intent of Recommendation 19.
  • The establishment of a Residential Support Officers (RSO) scheme has been a success.
  • More live-in accommodation for staff on the ADFA/RMC Duntroon grounds is not possible at this time.
  • A set of principles ‘addressing women’s security and safety and promoting the better engagement between staff and cadets in the residential setting’ (as per Recommendation 21 c)) has not been developed. Further work on this is required given that the 2012 Unacceptable Behaviour Survey shows that more unacceptable behaviour was experienced in the residential domain than any other, and that 45.3% of women and 19.8% of men had experienced unacceptable behaviour in the residential domain in the last 12 months.1
Minimising Risk, Managing Incidents and Ensuring the Safety of the Workplace Education
Recommendations 22-23
  • Progress on designing and implementing a sexual ethics and healthy relationships training package has been slow and an integrated, expert program was not in place in 2012.
  • The program taught in 2012 did not meet the intent of the Recommendation as it was limited in scope and was ad hoc in nature.
  • The design of the 2013 sexual ethics program looks promising, but as at March 2013 the Audit has not been provided with any course materials to assess.
  • ADFA plans to deliver the sexual ethics program internally, without the assistance of an external expert facilitator.
  • ADFA has reformed its complaints reporting response and management training, and focussed different modules at different parts of the undergraduate population.
  • Complaints training remains part of ‘equity and diversity’ training, and a separation of these areas would provide numerous benefits (see Recommendation 7).
  • The number of complaints made in 2012 and 2013 has increased, which may suggest a safer reporting environment, but there is still a stigma attached to using the equity adviser system.
  • Ongoing training and evaluation on making complaints is needed to ensure that complaints processes are effective.
Advice and Referral
Recommendation 24
  • ADFA has developed helpful resources, in the emergency and support contacts posters, and the ‘Useful contacts’ cards.
  • The establishment of the Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Office (SeMPRO) provides an opportunity to meet the intent of this Recommendation. It is critical that ADFA widely advertise SeMPRO and its functions, including its support line, and facilitate strong linkages between its Sexual Offence Support Person (SOSP) Network and SeMPRO.
Recommendations 25-29
  • Progress has been made on all of these recommendations. Further work is required in a small number of areas.
  • The Directorate of Strategic People Research (DSPR) and ADFA have improved the Unacceptable Behaviour survey, and the new instrument was administered for the first time at ADFA and RMC Duntroon in late 2012.
    • DSPR is preparing to administer versions of the Unacceptable Behaviour Survey in other Defence and tertiary institutions throughout 2013, in order to obtain benchmark data, share information and provide comparisons where possible.
  • ADFA’s complaints and incidents registers are much improved. More information is being collected in a more organised and systematic way, and regular reports are being provided to ADFA’s leadership.
  • An annual quality assurance process would improve the integrity of the system. While there are currently some inbuilt checking mechanisms, a more formal annual process would offer more stable long term assurance.
  • A strategic follow up to the survey had not occurred prior to the completion of the Audit. Providing swift feedback and follow up will help inform and engage the ADFA population and develop targeted strategies to address areas of concern.
Injury, Health and Wellbeing
Recommendations 30-31
  • ADFA has undertaken extensive work in the approach to injury management.
  • Although some measures have focused on female undergraduates, ADFA could further increase its focus on measures to alleviate the disproportionate injury rate of females compared to males.
  • ADFA has commenced recording injury statistics differentiated by gender, type and cause of injury in a format which lends itself to regular analysis of incidents and trends. After a preliminary analysis by ADFA, female undergraduates have been found to sustain a disproportionate number of gradual onset and sporting injuries. It is vital to ensure that injury patterns are regularly monitored and that management strategies are put in place to effectively respond and prevent further injury.
  • ADFA has implemented a number of substantial improvements to physical training, remedial training and rehabilitation programs.
  • The stigma associated with injury is being addressed through the removal of physical signs of medical restrictions, education programs and improved rehabilitation, however stigma still endures.
  • To enhance access to support services for undergraduates, posters with the contact details of internal and external emergency and support services have been displayed throughout training and accommodation areas.
  • ADFA has undertaken steps to develop partnerships with external service providers to assist in providing a holistic approach to undergraduate health, wellbeing and safety. The Audit was not provided with substantial information on the nature of the partnerships developed and the collaboration which is intended. However, it was encouraged by these steps. ADFA should ensure that these partnerships are developed and that the services are utilised.

  1. Directorate of Strategic People Policy Research, Australian Defence Force Academy 2012 Unacceptable Behaviour Survey Report, DSPPR Report 18/2012, Department of Defence, p 18.