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HREOC - Annual Report 2001 - 2002: Appendix 5: Human resources and administrative services

Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission

Annual Report 2001-2002

Appendix 5: Human
resources and administrative services

Performance management
and staff development

The Commission's
Performance Management Scheme provides a framework to manage and develop
our staff to achieve our corporate objectives. The scheme provides
regular and formal assessment of an employee's work performance and
allows for access to training and skill development.

The Commission's
Certified Agreement recognises the need to provide adequate training
for staff to support workplace changes. This is especially relevant
with changes in the information technology area where staff are provided
with relevant and ongoing computer training.

As part of the
Commission's staff development strategy staff are provided with support
under our Studies Assistance policy. The policy provides for access
to study leave where study is relevant to the work of the Commission,
an individual's work responsibilities and where it assists with career
development.

Workplace diversity and
equal employment opportunity

The Commission's
Workplace Diversity Plan has been in operation since September
1999 and will be reviewed in the latter part of 2002. The Commission
recognises that diversity in our staff is one of our greatest strengths
and assets and is committed to valuing and promoting the principles
of workplace diversity through our work practices. The Commission
supported an Indigenous trainee during the first part of 2002 as part
of the Commission's Indigenous employment strategy. A further placement
is planned in the latter part of 2002. Other strategies under the
Plan focus on supporting staff with family responsibilities and supporting
employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Occupational health and
safety

The Commission's
Health and Safety Committee includes a staff health and safety representative
and four corporate support staff who met regularly through the year.
The focus for the year was on occupational health and safety training
for staff and supervisors, with two training sessions held in early
2002. The Committee monitors any issues that arise. Ongoing assistance
and support on occupational health, safety and ergonomic issues is
provided to new and existing staff. There have been no dangerous accidents
or occurrences reported.

The Commission
continues to provide 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.

Workplace relations and
employment

Staff in the
Commission are employed under section 22 of the Public Service
Act 1999
. The Commission's current Agreement was certified by
the Australian Industrial Relations Commission in June 2000 and is
in operation until 1 August 2002. The Agreement is comprehensive and
was certified under section 170LK of the Workplace Relations Act
1976
. The number of Commission employees covered by the Agreement
as at 30 June 2001 was 99, including both ongoing and non-ongoing
staff. Productivity savings funded a salary increase to staff, delivered
in three instalments over the life of the Agreement. A one-off bonus
was payable to staff on certification. The Agreement maintains core
employment conditions, with some streamlining of allowances, and supports
family friendly policies. Staff are able to purchase additional leave
and access further benefits such as salary packaging and cashing out
five days recreation leave subject to conditions. Salary progression
within classification levels is subject to performance assessment.
Salary ranges are reflected in the table below. The Commission has
three staff covered by Australian Workplace Agreements, including
one Senior Executive level staff member.

The Commission
provides corporate support to the Office of the Federal Privacy Commissioner,
which is co-located with the Commission and has negotiated a Memorandum
of Understanding for the provision of corporate support. Staff in
the Office of the Federal Privacy Commissioner are covered by the
Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission's Certified Agreement
and related workplace polices until a new Agreement is negotiated
after the expiry of the current Agreement. The Commission also provides
corporate support to the Secretariat of the Asia Pacific Forum of
National Human Rights Institutions which is co-located with the Commission.

Staffing overview

The Commission's
average staffing level for the year was 95 staff with a turnover of
13 percent for ongoing staff. This was a similar turnover to the previous
year. In order to meet some short-term staffing needs for the year
additional non-ongoing staff were employed to assist with the National
Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention. An overview of the
Commission's staffing profile as at 30 June 2002 is summarised in
the table below. This includes three staff on leave without pay.

Classification Male Female Full-time Part-time Total
Ongoing
Total
non-
Ongoing
Statutory
Office Holder
2
2
3
1
4
SES
Band
1
1
1
SES
Band 1
EL
2 above the barrier
($79 603 - 81 637)
3
2
1
3
EL
2
($67 941 - 78 247)
9
10
17
2
16
3
EL
1
($58 908 - 64 600)
8
2
9
1
10
0
APS
6
($45 951 - 52 784)
6
19
25
23
2
APS
5
($42 544 - 45 113)
3
4
7
5
2
APS
4
($38 143 - 41 416)
3
3
6
6
0
APS
3
($34 224 - 36 938)
2
15
13
4
11
6
APS
2
($30 047 - 33 320)
1
5
6
3
3
APS
1
($26 550 - 29 344)
3
3
1
2
TOTAL
37
64
89
12
79
22

Consultancy
services

During 2001-02
the Commission used a range of consultancy services where there was,
for example, a need for rapid access to latest technology and experience
in its application; lack of in-house resources; the need for independent
study; or a need for a change agent or facilitator. There were 10
consultants under engagement during the financial year and total payments
of $245, 143.75 were made to consultants. A full listing of the names
and amounts is available below.

HREOC - CONSULTANCY SERVICES
2001/2002
NAME SUMMARY PRICE PROCESS JUSTIFICATION
David
Allen Consulting Pty Ltd
Human Rights China Projects $
41,997.00
Direct
Engagement
Consultant
who had previously undertaken closely related work for HREOC
Oziris
Pty Ltd
Video
documentary project
$
25,530.00
Select
Tender
Specialist
skills not available within HREOC
Sagric
International Pty Ltd
Management
Service
$
53,163.75
Select
Tender
Specialist
skills not available within HREOC
Dr
Harry Blagg
Report
on Juvenile Diversion Schemes in WA
$
10,909.00
Signed
Agreement
Specialist
skills not available within HREOC
Melbourne
Enterprises Int'nl Ltd
Consultancy
Service China Projects
$
27,500.00
Signed
Agreement
Recognised
and pre eminent expert
Shearwater
Management Consultants Pty Ltd
Consultancy
Service China Projects
$
15,600.00
Signed
Agreement
Recognised
and pre eminent expert
DVA
Navion
Strategic
Planning
$
14,998.00
Signed
Agreement
Recognised
and pre eminent expert
University
of Wollongong
Collaborative
Research and Evaluation
$
18,181.00
Signed
Agreement
Recognised
and pre eminent expert
Griffith
University
Negotiate
Native Title Practices
$
15,245.00
Signed
Agreement
Recognised
and pre eminent expert
Damir
Ivkovic
Komnas
Ham projects
$
22,020.00
Direct
Engagement
Consultant
who had previously undertaken closely related work for HREOC
      Total
$ 245,143.75

 

Purchasing

The Commission's
purchasing procedures are based on the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines
issued by the Department of Finance and Administration. The procedures
address a wide range of purchasing situations, allowing managers to
be flexible when making purchasing decisions whilst complying with
the Commonealth's core principle of value for money.

Ecologically sustainable
development and environmental performance

The Commission
uses energy saving methods in its operations and endeavours to make
the best use of resources.

The Commission
has implemented a number of environmental initiatives to ensure issues
of environmental impact are addressed. Waste paper, cardboard, printer
cartridges and other recyclable materials are recycled subject to
the availability of appropriate recycling schemes. Preference is given
to environmentally sound products when purchasing office supplies.
Purchase and/or leasing of "Energy Star" rated office machines
and equipment is encouraged, as are machines with 'power save' features.

Fraud control

The Commission
has prepared 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 Commission staff.

Commonwealth
Disability Strategy

The revised Commonwealth
Disability Strategy was launched by the Government in late 2000. Full
details on the Strategy can be found on the Department of Family and
Community Services' website at www.facs.gov.au/disability/cds.
Through the Strategy 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 the Commission and evident in the work we do.

The Commission
along with all other Commonwealth agencies has to report against the
Strategy performance framework annually. The Strategy identifies five
core roles that may be relevant to the agency. The Commission's primary
roles are that of policy adviser, service provider and employer. Full
details on the policies and services highlighted in the appendices
can be found within the relevant section of the Annual Report.

The Commission's
last Disability Action Plan was reviewed in 2001 and this can be found
on the Commission's website at www.humanrights.gov.au/disability_rights/action_plans/.
The Commission will be developing a new Action Plan in the latter
part of 2002. The Commission is committed to implementing best practices
in providing and improving access to its services for people with
disabilities. In particular our complaint handling processes, online
access to our services and website, and consultation with disability
groups provide examples of what we are doing to achieve this. Further
details of these can be found within our Annual Report.

COMMONWEALTH DISABILITY
STRATEGY PERFORMANCE REPORTING JUNE 2002

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

Policy Advisor Role

Performance
Indicator 1:
New or revised policy/program assess 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 2001-02

  • 100 percent
    of Terms of Reference for Commission Inquiries are distributed for
    comment prior to a decision to proceed.
  • Submissions
    to Inquiries are taken in a range of formats, including verbal/audio
    (transcribed by the Commission), email, and handwritten letters.
  • Submissions
    are made available to all on the Commission's website, except where
    otherwise requested or indicated.
  • Public hearings
    for the National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention
    were held in venues accessible to people with disabilities.
  • Disability
    related email discussion lists are monitored for relevant policy
    issues, and are used to announce calls for submissions.
  • Performance
    measure = 100 percent.

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 2001-02

  • National
    racism conference Beyond Tolerance held in an accessible
    venue and included a speaker from Action on Disability within Ethnic
    Communities. The Executive Director of the National Ethnic Disability
    Alliance was a member of the conference advisory committee.
  • The Accessible
    Ecommerce Forum and Building Access Policy Committee are actively
    resourced by the Commission. Disability sector representatives work
    with the Commission in developing ongoing agenda for these fora.
  • A Summit was
    hosted to provide an opportunity for national disability peak organisations
    to express views about the effectiveness of the Disability Discrimination
    Act, and to suggest priorities and directions for future Commission
    policy initiatives.

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 2001-02

  • All information
    about new Commission initiatives is available on a W3C/WAI compliant
    website simultaneous with public release. For more information on
    accessibility compliance refer to www.w3c.org. Performance measure
    for web release = 100 percent.
  • Email lists
    deliver information and links to several thousand subscribers. All
    national disability peaks subscribe to this list.
  • Added to the
    race discrimination part of the Commission website were the records
    of the national consultations undertaken for the World Conference
    Against Racism, speeches delivered at the national racism conference
    Beyond Tolerance (posted as delivered) and revised fact sheets on
    the Racial Discrimination Act.
  • All public
    announcements and publications issued by the Sex Discrimination
    Unit are available on the website, including key speeches delivered
    by the Commissioner, op-ed pieces and media releases.
  • The Disability
    Rights Update is distributed via Radio for the Print Handicapped,
    a national network. In 2001, the Disability Rights Unit evaluated
    the update service via a user survey and incorporated feedback to
    improve navigation of the website.
  • Other accessible
    formats are available on request, and can be provided within three
    days.
  • For the provision
    of announcements in accessible formats the performance measure =
    100 percent.

Provider Role

Further details
on the Commission's complaint handling function with a full description
of its services and relevant statistics can be found in the Complaint
Handling Section of the Annual Report.

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/emails/visits to complaints information service related to
    disability issues.
  • Number of
    groups that attended complaint handling information sessions, or
    were visited by the Complaint Handling Section during regional and
    interstate visits included disability advocacy and disability legal
    services.

Current level
of performance 2001-02

  • Commission
    complaints information is available in electronic and alternative
    formats. Email facility and accessible online complaint form for
    the lodgement of complaints is available. TTY facility is available
    with a national 1300 number at local call cost.
  • All complaint
    handling brochures and publications are available on the Commission's
    website in accessible electronic format. Information about the complaints
    process and legislation is available in plain English format on
    the Commission's website. The website is updated regularly.
  • 19 percent
    of phone/email enquiries to the Complaint Information Service related
    to disability issues.
  • 15 percent
    of all written enquiries to the Complaint Information Service related
    to disability issues.
  • 155 groups
    attended a Complaint Handling Section session or were visited by
    Complaint Handling Section staff.
  • Commission
    information is available in alternative formats on request.
  • A complaints
    information referral list is updated regularly to ensure callers
    with disabilities can be referred to an appropriate advocacy groups.

Performance
Indicator 2:
Complaint handling service accessible to people with disabilities

Performance
measure

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

Current level
of performance 2001-02

  • 452 complaints
    were received under Disability Discrimination Act legislation for
    2001-02. Refer to the Complaints Handling Section of the Annual
    Report for further details.
  • Complaints
    were received from people identifying as having a disability under
    all Acts administered by the Commission. Forty seven (47) percent
    of responses to a demographics question indicated the complainant
    had a disability.
  • There were
    no complaints received regarding access to the Commission complaint
    handling service or premises. Performance measure = 100 percent.
  • The Commission's
    premises are accessible. Premises used for remote conciliations
    conferences are accessible. Performance measure = 100 percent.
  • The Complaint
    Handling Section Access Committee reviews access to the Commission's
    complaint handling service by the community, including specific
    focus on people with disabilities. Further details are available
    in the Annual Report.

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 2001-02

  • Complaint
    Handling Section investigation and conciliation training courses
    include specific training on accommodating people with disabilities
    in the complaint handling investigation and conciliation processes.
    Performance measure = 100 percent.
  • Ad hoc Complaint
    Handling Section training sessions specifically address relevance
    to people with disabilities who use complaint handling services.
    Performance measure = 100 percent.
  • The Commission's
    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, use of alternative formats for information. Performance
    measure = 100 percent.

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 Charter
    of Service which is provided to all parties to a complaint and available
    on website. Provided in alternative format on request.

Current level
of performance 2001-02

  • Charter of
    Service addresses roles and responsibilities of the Commission and
    parties.
  • No complaints
    about accessibility of service or disability related issues were
    received under the charter in the year.
  • Performance
    measure = 100 percent.

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 1992.

Current level
of performance 2001-02

  • The Corporate
    Plan includes reference to Australian Public Service values and
    social justice principles to ensure access to the Commission's services.
  • The Certified
    Agreement contains reference to workplace diversity principles.
    Most of the Commission's policies on employment are contained within
    the Agreement.
  • The Workplace
    Diversity Plan outlines strategies to maximise employment opportunities
    for people with disabilities. All new staff on induction are provided
    with a copy of the Plan.
  • The Email/Internet
    Policy is reviewed annually. It specifically refers to the inappropriate
    use of email that may demean people with disabilities.
  • No formal
    complaints/grievances made by staff with disabilities with regard
    to current work practices.
  • Reasonable
    adjustment principles are adhered to in the modification of an employees
    duties in the workplace. Two employees have been provided with special
    voice activated software to enable them to undertake their duties.

Goals for
2002-03

  • The Commission's
    Certified Agreement is due to be renegotiated after 1 August 2002.
    Workplace diversity principles will be maintained in the Agreement
    and related employment policies updated to reflect these.

Actions for
2002-03

  • The Workplace
    Diversity Committee to review the Workplace Diversity Plan. This
    has been scheduled for the latter part of 2002.

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 2001-02

  • Performance
    in providing accessible formats for recruitment material = 100 percent.
  • Recruitment
    information is able to be provided in any format. All recruitment
    material is on the Commission's website and available by download
    simultaneously as advertising in the press. Advertisements in the
    press advise that information is available at contact phone number,
    by TTY phone and on the Commission's website. The Commission website
    meets the criteria for accessibility as outlined in the Government
    Online Strategy. The Job Vacancies section at www.humanrights.gov.au/jobs/
    received approximately 36 350 page views during the period 1 July
    2001 - 30 June 2002.
  • There was
    one request for Braille during 2001-02 and this was provided within
    a week.

Actions for
2002-03

  • Website to
    include that information is able to be provided in other alternate
    formats such as Braille etc.
  • Continue to
    provide recruitment material on the website.
  • Monitor use
    of the website and requests for alternate formats.

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 2001-02

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

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 2001-02

  • Due to the
    small number of staff, training is coordinated by each of the unit
    managers under the Commission's Performance Management scheme.
  • Training
    nomination forms include specific requirements that may be needed
    such as:

    • wheelchair
      access
    • accessible
      toilets/parking
    • a hearing
      device
    • sign
      language interpreter
    • an attendant
    • a support
      person
    • 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 2001-02

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

Performance
Indicator 6:
Complaint/grievance mechanism, 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 2001-02

  • There is
    an established process in the Certified Agreement for complaints/grievances,
    which includes access to external review through the Australian
    Public Service Commission.
  • All staff
    are advised of access to the Commission'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 = 100 percent.

Actions 2002-03

  • The Commission's
    new Workplace Agreement will continue to provide access to grievance
    procedures.

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.

 

Appendix 5