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Working at the commission

People and performance

Working at the Commission

Workplace philosophy

The Commission is committed to providing a flexible, family and lifestyle friendly workplace. Any staff member may start a conversation on flexible working arrangements and know that the Commission will consider and work with them to implement genuinely mutually beneficial work patterns wherever possible. These arrangements also support staff members with disabilities who may benefit from more flexible ways of working.

Meeting staff training and development

During 2010-11, the Commission delivered the following selection of training sessions to staff:

OHS for managers
Plain English writing
Financial management
Statutory conciliation
Complaint investigation

These were supplemented by learning and development activities approved under personal development plans.

Providing performance feedback

The Commission undertakes an annual strategic planning process to align the activities of all staff to the strategic goals of our organisation. During 2010-11, the Commission’s policy units adapted the performance management system to reflect the Integrated Leadership System, as used across the broader Australian Public Service.

Encouraging a diverse workplace

We celebrated Harmony Day with the publication of a recipe book which shared food and cultural origins from our diverse mix of staff. The Commission continues to exceed APS targets for the employment of people with a disability and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Working in a way that supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures

Our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), first developed with Reconciliation Australia in 2008, helps us achieve our vision by committing the whole organisation to working in a way that respects, values, engages and supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures.

In June 2011, we launched our updated RAP, in conjunction with the Commission’s move to new premises. This included honouring significant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by naming public meetings room in the new premises after them. The launch was attended by Reconciliation Australia representative and past Social Justice Commissioner, Tom Calma.

The RAP has been the basis for a range of ongoing activities, including commemorating and participating in significant Indigenous events and providing Indigenous cultural awareness training for all staff.

Ensuring our policies, programs and services are accessible

The Commission is committed to implementing best practice in relation to the provision and improvement of access to its services for people with disabilities and is in the process of reviewing our Disability Action Plan. Examples of best practice include our Complaint Handling processes, online access to our services, website and education material, and consultations with disability groups.

Since 1994, Commonwealth departments and agencies have reported on their performance as policy adviser, purchaser, employer, regulator and provider under the Commonwealth Disability Strategy. In 2007-08, reporting on the employer role was transferred to the Australian Public Service Commission’s State of the Service Report and the APS Statistical Bulletin. These reports are available at www.apsc.gov.au. From 2010-11, departments and agencies are no longer required to report on these functions.

The Commonwealth Disability Strategy has been overtaken by a new National Disability Strategy which sets out a ten year national policy framework for improving life for Australians with disability, their families and carers. A high level report to track progress for people with disability at a national level will be produced by the Standing Council on Community, Housing and Disability Services to the Council of Australian Governments and will be available at www.fahcsia.gov.au.

The Social Inclusion Measurement and Reporting Strategy agreed by the Government in December 2009 will also include some reporting on disability matters in its regular How Australia is Faring report and, if appropriate, in strategic change indicators in agency annual reports. More detail on social inclusion matters can be found at www.socialinclusion.gov.au.

Working to make our workplace environmentally sustainable

The Commission relocated its business premises during 2010-11. This relocation enabled the Commission to access a significantly improved energy efficient work environment and to implement environmentally friendly work systems. A new ‘Green Committee’ has been convened to support further improvements to the Commission’s commitment to minimise its environmental impact.

Ensuring health and safety at work

The Commission delivered OHS training for Managers this year to reinforce its responsibilities on health and safety issues. Fully adjustable ergonomic furniture was a feature of the new building fit-out. All staff were provided with access to ergonomic advice and support following the relocation. The Occupational Health and Safety Committee met quarterly to review safety issues across the organisation. The Commission has no current compensation claims.

Workplace relations and employment arrangements

The Commission’s Certified Agreement continues in force until January 2012. Salary progression within classification levels is subject to performance assessment. Salary ranges are reflected in the table in Appendix 6. Structurally the Commission has three SES employees, each covered by a section 24(1) Determination. The Commission has three non-SES employees covered by Australian Workplace Agreements and three on section 24(1) Determinations.

Our recruitment processes

The Commission undertakes merit based selection processes in accordance with the Public Service Act requirements, Australian Public Service Commission guidelines and Commission Recruitment and Selection policies.

Promoting staff ethics

The Commission has an Ethics Contact Officer responsible for ethics related issues in the workplace and is committed to fostering a high performing ethical culture. No such issues were raised for investigation or resolution during the year.

Our staff

The Commission’s average staffing level for the year was 112.85 staff, with a turnover of 14% for ongoing staff. The Commission has a diverse representation of staff, which includes:

81% women
4.5% Indigenous staff
6.4% people with a disability
12% NESB staff

An overview of the Commission’s staffing profile, as at 30 June 2011, is provided in Appendix 6.

Note: Additional staff were employed on a short term basis towards the end of the financial year. This included additional IT staff to assist with the relocation of the Commission’s computer network and staff to assist on the Australian Defence Force Review.