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Management of Human Resources

Staffing overview

The Department employed 970 staff as at 30 June 2002. This was an increase of 109 from the previous years total. Since 200001 there has been an increase in personnel numbers across most levels, with the APS 14 group, including graduate recruits, rising by 19 and the APS 56 group by 36. The Executive Level (EL12) group has seen the largest movement, with an increase of 56. The only group to show a decline in numbers has been the SES, which decreased by four. Table 10 provides a breakdown of employees into ongoing and non-ongoing, full-time and part-time, and male and female.

There were 61 non-ongoing employees as at 30 June 2002, a decrease of 13 from the previous year. Representation of women in the Department increased from 45.64 per cent in 200001 to 46.49 per cent in 200102.

Table 10: Ongoing and non-ongoing full-time and part-time employees (not including inoperative or Indian Ocean Territories staff), by gender

Gender Ongoing
full-time
Ongoing
part-time
Non-ongoing
full-time
Non-ongoing
part-time
Total
2000-01
2001-02
2000-01
2001-02
2000-01
2001-02
2000-01
2001-02
2000-01
2001-02
Male
427
488
14
11
25
18
2
2
468
519
Female
321
369
25
41
41
33
6
8
393
451
Total
748
857
39
52
66
51
8
10
861
970

The turnover rate for ongoing employees was 11.27 per cent, significantly lower than the previous years figure of 15.6 per cent.

Machinery of government changes

As a consequence of machinery of government changes 80 staff were transferred to the Department in December 2001. Of these, 77 were transferred from the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations and three from the Department of Finance and Administration. This resulted in an increase of 23 staff in the central office and 57 in regional offices. The majority of these staff are employed in the Regional Programmes Division.

The majority (886) of the Departments staff (excluding IOTs) are located in Canberra with the remaining (84) located in all States and Territories.

Table 11: Employees by classification level and location, in 200001 and 200102

Location APS 1-4 APS 5-6 EL 1 EL 2 SES*/SEC HPO* Total
2000
-01
2001
-02
2000
-01
2001
-02
2000
-01
2001
-02
2000
-01
2001
-02
2000
-01
2001
-02
2000
-01
2001
-02
2000
-01
2001
-02
ACT
192
201
246
249
176
224
168
168
48
44
-
-
830
886
NSW
-
7
2
10
-
1
2
1
-
-
-
-
4
19
NT
-
-
-
-
-
1
-
-
-
-
-
1
0
2
Pacific
Ocean
Territores
-
-
-
-
-
1
-
-
-
-
-
1
0
2
Qld
1
2
2
9
2
4
5
4
-
-
-
-
10
19
SA
-
1
1
4
1
2
-
1
-
-
-
-
2
8
Tas
-
-
-
2
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
0
2
Vic
-
2
1
9
1
2
-
-
-
-
-
-
2
13
WA
4
3
2
7
5
6
2
3
-
-
-
-
13
19
Total
197
216
254
290
185
241
177
177
48
44
-
2
861
970

Note: * Holder of Public Office

The Departments staff are employed under the Public Service Act 1999. Indian Ocean Territories (IOTs) staff are employed under either the Christmas Island Administrative Ordinance 1968 or the Cocos (Keeling) Islands Administrative Ordinance 1975 (with the exception of seven staff who are employed under the Public Service Act 1999). Staffing details for the IOTs are provided in Table 12 and Table 13 below. The number of IOTs staff has fallen by eight in the past year.

Table 12: IOT staff ongoing and non-ongoing, full-time and part-time employees (not including inoperatives), by gender, 200102

Gender Ongoing
full-time
On-ongoing
part -time
Non-ongoing
full -time
Non-ongoing
part-time
HPO* Casual Total
Male
50
-
6
2
1
1
60
Female
33
6
14
6
-
4
63
Total
83
6
20
8
1
5
123

Note: Does not include inoperative staff.

Table 13: IOT staff employees by classification group and location, 200001 and 200102

Location APS 1-4
and
equivalents
APS 5-6
and
equivalents
EL 1
and
equivalents
EL 2
and
equivalents
HPO Medical officers
(SES
equivalent)
Total
2000
-01
2001
-02
2000
-01
2001
-02
2000
-01
2001
-02
2000
-01
2001
-02
2000
-01
2001
-02
2000
-01
2001
-02
2000
-01
2001
-02
IOT
87
83
16
20
4
5
9
3
1
1
-
4
117
116
WA
1
1
1
1
-
-
2
-
-
-
-
-
4
2
Total
88
84
17
21
4
5
11
3
1
1
0
4
121
118

Note: Does not include casual or inoperative staff.

Note: Equivalents include: auxiliary, trade, domestic, technical and professional staff such as cleaners, laundry personnel, hospital cook, gardeners, marine workers, mechanics, technicians, electricians, stores manager, nurses, dentist, medical assistant, office workers, Harbour Master, Power Station Manager.

People management philosophy

There are three distinct themes that characterise the Departments people management philosophy, and underpin our values, systems and relationships. These are:

  • our strong belief in our people and in our values
  • our commitment to the development of our people
  • our focus on individual performance.

Like the APS, the Department has been steadily moving away from a prescriptive approach to managing people towards a more values-based approach. This approach enables line managers to better manage their staff and empowers employees to take responsibility for their personal management.

Human resources outcome

As a knowledge-based organisation, this Department relies heavily on the competencies and skills of its people. The manner in which we attract, retain and manage our people, plus the obligations we impose on them, are fundamental to our success as an organisation. For the Department to be successful, its people management outcome is focused on achieving:

A committed, capable and productive workforce that enables the Department to achieve its outcomes.

People management approach

The Department has adopted the ANAO model of nine people management practices in an effort to better align the Departments people management effort and reporting. These practices are shown in the figure below.

Figure 7: People management practices

Figure 7: People management practices

Strategic policy areas

Workforce planning (profile)

Workforce planning is a continuous process of shaping the workforce to ensure it is capable of meeting organisational objectives both in the present and in the future. As a department delivering a range of unique outputs, workforce planning is focused on supporting the individual work units needs, as part of their overall business planning. Workforce planning also looks at common workforce issues across the Department, informing the Departments approach to recruitment and selection, learning and development and the mobility of people.

Organisational development (informal arrangements, values, culture, behaviour)

Organisational development is a term applied to a wide range of strategies used by management to change the organisation climate and style in which people work together, in order to improve organisational effectiveness. Our organisational development interventions have focused on how people work together, structural arrangements and work practices, cultural change, leadership and organisational learning including knowledge management.

As the Department embraces a values-based approach to managing our people we incorporate and encourage workplace behaviours consistent with the APS and departmental values. We have sought to clarify what these behaviours are and incorporate them into our performance assessments and recognition and reward criteria. This has resulted in changes to our individual performance management, recruitment and selection, learning and development and work practices.

Operational policy and practices

Mobility programme

Throughout 2001-02, the Department ran a mobility programme that provided opportunity for ongoing employees to express interest in and be considered for employment opportunities either at their existing levels or temporarily at higher levels.

Through the new Certified Agreement, the mobility programme requires that employment opportunities longer than six weeks generally be first advertised within the Department. An assessment of employees expressing interest in such opportunities is required before other action to fill can occur. If no suitable candidates are found through this internal process, external filling action may occur. A key feature of this new process is the provision of feedback to those who expressed interest, in order that employees can work to build skills required for future opportunities.

Retention/separation issues

The level of staff separation in the Department fell during 2001-02, from 15.6 per cent last year to 11.27 per cent.

Learning and development

The Departments learning and development philosophy espouses a clear commitment to the development of staff, reflected in a commitment to learning and development, a comprehensive Studybank scheme and an ongoing commitment to maintaining our Investor In People accreditation.

The Secretarys Statement of Future Skills Requirements, launched in April 2001, established the basis for skill development in the Department over the next three years. The statement lists a series of work practice and work culture skills that are regarded by both staff and managers as the core skills set required to be an effective officer of the Department.

Leading in DOTARS

Leading in DOTARS is the foundation programme for the Departments leadership initiatives. The workshops maximise the capacity of staff to lead at all levels and focus on behaviours the Department would like to foster to achieve its desired results.

Workshops commenced in June 2001, with 411 staff completing the programme by the end of June 2002.

The Leading in DOTARS programme provides participants with the opportunity to develop and extend their leadership capabilities in a range of areas including:

  • influencing others
  • developing and understanding the impact of ethics and values on decision making
  • managing changes that affect our work environment.

Graduate Development Programme

The Department places great importance on the Graduate Development Programme and demonstrates this through the high level of support provided to graduates by senior level mentors and supervisors. The programme provides graduates with a challenging development year that prepares them for a successful career in the APS.

All graduates participate in a comprehensive and structured development programme consisting of three challenging workplace rotations that are complemented by three formal training blocks, a tour of portfolio industries and a workplace project.

Throughout the programme graduates are given responsibility for a diverse range of tasks and projects and are exposed to policy issues affecting the portfolio.

Nineteen graduates completed the Graduate Development Programme at the end of 2001, and a further 24 graduates are currently participating in the 2002 programme, including six recruited to the programme internally.

It is anticipated that up to 25 graduates will be recruited from across Australia for the 2003 Graduate Development Programme.

Employee relations

Certified agreement

The Commonwealth Department of Transport and Regional Services Certified Agreement 19992001 nominally expired on 31 December 2001. It was replaced by the Department of Transport and Regional Services Certified Agreement 200204 (the CA), which was certified on 6 June 2002. The CA has a nominal expiry date of 30 June 2004.

The CA was negotiated with the Community and Public Sector Union and the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance of Australia under section 170LJ of the Workplace Relations Act 1996. This agreement was the result of extensive negotiations between management and union and staff elected representatives. The previous and current CA cover non-SES employees only.

The new CA was designed to assist the Department to achieve high quality results, strengthen relationships, and enable flexibility through building skills and providing opportunities for staff to develop. This helps to achieve effective people management and to promote a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities of our people. A key element of the CA is an emphasis on encouraging use of provisions designed to enable staff to better balance their work and personal lives.

The CA is a comprehensive Agreement containing a package of salaries, allowances, terms and conditions aimed at making the Department market competitive and an attractive place to work.

The CA provides for a series of pay increases for employees over the life of the Agreement. The first of these was a 3 per cent increase which became payable on 30 May 2002.

Initiatives in the CA include the introduction of flexible working arrangements, personal circumstances leave (described below) and commitments to introduce a travel card and to undertake a classification review to determine the appropriate staff profile and structure for delivery of the Departments outputs.

Australian Workplace Agreements

All SES employees have their salary and conditions set by Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs). In addition a number of non-SES employees are also covered by either comprehensive AWAs or AWAs which are read in conjunction with the CA.

The number of staff covered by various Agreements at 30 June 2002 is detailed below.

Table 14: Number of staff covered by the CA and AWAs

Classifications
CA AWA
SES
0
41
Non-SES
889
40

Salaries

Comprehending both CA and AWA rates of pay, the following table describes the range of annual salaries paid to the Departments employees, by classification, as at 30 June 2002.

Table 15: Range of annual salaries paid to the Departments employees, by classification, as at 30 June 2002

Classification
Minimum salary Maximum salary
APS Level 1
APS Level 2
Graduate APS
APS Level 3
APS Level 4
APS Level 5
APS Level 6
Executive Level 1
Executive Level 2
SES Band 1
SES Band 2
SES Band 3
$27 459
$31 098
$33 088
$35 276
$39 312
$43 888
$47 585
$60 683
$70 025
$89 000
$107 000
$132 000
$30 245
$34 333
$33 088
$45 000
$43 766
$47 679
$62 998
$72 550
$140 000*
$99 500
$121 500
$147 000

Note: * Includes an EL2 staff member on an AWA which recognises highly specialised skills and requirements of the position.

Non-salary benefits

Both the CA and AWAs are characterised by a range of leave provisions and flexible working arrangements to assist employees balance work and family commitments, combined with a mutual commitment to the personal and professional development of employees. These include:

  • flexible working hours available for all staff, subject to operational requirements
  • home-based work arrangements
  • study assistance
  • annual close-down over the ChristmasNew Year period
  • child caring facilities (a carers room and a nursing parents room)
  • 25 days (187.5 hours) accruable personal circumstances leave per annum, which is paid leave for a range of purposes including personal illness, caring responsibilities, ceremonial duties, and bereavement.

Performance pay

There is no general non-SES performance-based pay scheme in the Department.

Through the CA, employees are able to progress through a series of salary points to a maximum, for each classification. Salary progression is usually payable after 12 months service at a particular salary point, where an employee continues to meet the requirements of a position, including satisfactory performance and behaviour.

Many of the non-SES AWAs in the Department contain payments in addition to base salary in recognition of the individuals particular skills, work performance and experience. These payments vary considerably in amount and frequency but are payable on condition that the employee maintains a high standard of performance.

Additional payments made during 200102 are summarised as follows:

Table 16: Additional salary payments made during 200102

Classification
Number Aggregate
amount
Average
amount
Range*
APS 4
APS Level 6
Executive Level 1
Executive Level 2
1
1
4
15
$2 875
$6 267
$12 750
$84 520
$2 875
$6 267
$3 187
$5 635
$2 875
$6 267
$1 680-$6 000
$1 175-$15 000

* per annum

SES employees, through their AWA negotiations, are offered pay at risk in addition to base salary. Pay at risk is an annual payment to a maximum of 5 per cent of salary, payable on assessment of the employee against their agreed Plan on a Page, the SES Leadership Framework and their contribution to corporate development over the course of the year.

Pay at risk payments are summarised as follows:

Table 17: Pay at risk payments

Classification
Number Aggregate
amount
Average
amount
Range*
SES Band 1
SES Band 2 and 3*
25
17
$98 715
$123 419
$3 949
$7 260
$1 250-$5 194
$3 317-$26 963

Note: *Includes 2 SES Band 3 employees.

Performance management

The fundamental purpose of the individual performance management framework is to ensure our people are focused on contributing productively to the achievement of the Departments objectives. The additional benefits from such a process include the clarification of expectations, improved communication, including feedback and recognition and reward for effective performance and achieving results. The current framework provides sufficient mechanisms to achieve these benefits. This has been reinforced through performance measures contained in the CA, which commits parties bound by the Agreement to a performance management framework that aligns organisational, Divisional, team and individual performance. The intention is to encourage managers and employees to use Plans on a Page and Results on a Page consistent with our values. These activities would need to align with the broader objectives of the organisational performance framework.

360-degree feedback

An electronic 360-degree feedback instrument and process was successfully piloted and evaluated in the Department during November 2001 to March 2002. As a result the 360-degree feedback process has been offered to staff on a voluntary basis in support of other Departmental development programmes.

Rewards and recognition

As an accredited Investor in People, the Department is committed to IiP standards and principles of encouraging people to improve their own and others performances and ensuring that contributions are acknowledged. We recognise that people work best and feel more positive when they are valued.

In addition, our new CA clearly expresses that each division should continue to recognise and reward exceptional workplace efforts by individuals and teams.

As well as the more formal awards such as Public Service Medals, Australia Day Awards and the Departments Long Service Awards, the Departments Recognition and Reward scheme offers an informal mechanism to recognise achievements by individuals and teams. Each Division has its own unique scheme to recognise and reward outstanding achievements that fall within general Departmental guidelines. They are, however, not intended to replace other methods of recognition, or the much appreciated thank you from a manager to staff for a job well done.

In January 2002, the National Australia Day Council presented 10 Departmental officers with individual Australia Day Achievement Awards for noteworthy contribution to the work of the Department or for outstanding service over a number of years. To coincide with these Australia Day awards, the Department also selected 13 teams for presentation of an in-house Australia Day Achievement Team Plaque for exceptional work-team achievements and results during 2001.

Workforce diversity

The Department demonstrated its commitment to workplace diversity during 200102 through its continued implementation of the revised Workplace Diversity Programme Continuing to Encourage Wisdom.

The goals of the programme are to:

  • attract to the Department and retain a diverse range of people
  • integrate the principles of diversity into management systems
  • utilise the Departments variety of skills, talents and experiences to add value to our work
  • create an environment of workplace diversity awareness.

The data in Table 18 provides information on equal employment opportunity (EEO) groups in the Department, listed by APS and equivalent classifications. The data do not include IOTs staff.

Table 18: EEO Groups by classification for permanent positions, including inoperative employees

All employees
EEO groups identified
Employees who
have volunteered
EEO information
Level
Men Women Total NESB ATSI PWD Total per cent
APS 1/2
APS3
APS4
APS5
APS6
EL1
EL2
SES
24
25
20
57
98
137
140
28
25
45
84
60
84
110
43
16

49
70
104
117
182
247
183
44

6
8
11
7
18
18
5
8
1
-
-
1
-
-
-
-
2
2
2
-
1
9
2
-
33
49
72
86
131
181
151
44
67
70
69
74
72
73
83
100
TOTAL
529
467
996
81
2
18
747
75

Notes: The following abbreviations are used in the table: NESBpeople with Non-English speaking backgrounds; ATSIAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people; and PWDpeople with disabilities.

Workplace diversity achievements for the year included:

  • developing the new Workplace Diversity Programme for 200104
  • continuing support for the Departments womens network and its initiatives
  • publishing regular Transard articles to generate increased awareness of APS workplace diversity issues
  • promoting events of cultural significance such as Harmony Day and NAIDOC Week
  • implementing a Career Development Programme for Women
  • introducing flexible leave provisions to encourage work/life balance.

Career advancement of women

The Career Advancement for Women action research project is a Department-initiated inquiry into the merit-based advancement of women. Through focus groups and interviews, the research project explores systemic factors that encourage and impede achievement of womens career aspirations. Outcomes of this project will inform the development of an action plan to address the merit-based advancement of women.

Occupational health and safety

200102 was an excellent year for occupational health and safety (OH&S) within the Department.

Comcare premium

The Comcare premium for 200102 was $298,688, which was $100,114 less than the premium for 200001. The main contributor to this decrease was a bonus of $78,711 paid to the Department by Comcare because our claims for the three years commencing 1 March 1998 were less than anticipated when compared to other Departments.

The Department accepted nine claims for staff injuries during 200102. This was a reduction of 25 per cent when compared to the previous years total. One incident was reported to Comcare under the incident reporting regulations of the Occupational Health and Safety (Commonwealth Employment) Act 1991.

The Department continued its strategy of prevention and rehabilitation to reduce the incidence and cost of higher impact injuries through a proactive approach to health. The key elements were:

  • continuing budget commitment to promote a safe and healthy work environment
  • promoting the Employee Assistance Programme to managers and staff to assist with personal and work-related problems.
  • This year saw a large increase in the percentage of staff taking advantage of the OH&S programs offered to them:
    • 331 staff had influenza vaccinations in March 2002 (which may be compared to 225 in 2001)
    • 351 staff had health assessments in 2002 (230 had them in 2001)these assessments involve a health professionals providing individual private assessments with cholesterol, triglyceride and glucose testing, and disseminating health and lifestyle information
    • the walking, and Good healthGreat futures, programmes proved popular
  • to help maintain the low incidence of workplace injury, qualified occupational therapists conducted over 60 workplace assessments during the year, and weekly soft tissue therapy sessions were held.

Key consultative committee

The Department maintains an OH&S agreement with relevant unions in accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety (Commonwealth Employment) Act 1991. Under this agreement the Health and Safety Committee is the key consultative forum between the Department and the unions.

The Health and Safety Committee has representatives from each of the Departments Divisions who are appointed through either election or direct appointment (depending on the number of nominations and the number of positions). Representatives receive five days training.

The committee met four times during the year and discussed items as varied as the correlation between OH&S programmes and the decrease in absenteeism, and understanding the work carried out in the ATSB laboratories. The raised awareness in preventative strategies that flows from these meetings appears to be reflected in the decrease in the Departments Comcare premium.