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Operational policies and practices

Performance management

In 2002-03 we promoted performance improvement and achievement of organisational objectives by actively managing performance at both corporate and divisional levels. This was realised through planning, managing, reviewing and providing feedback about work performance and developmental needs.

At a divisional level, the department's performance management framework provided individual agreements that set and assessed performance goals in relation to corporate objectives while satisfying the performance measures stated in the Certified Agreement. Through the performance exchange system, using a Plan on a Page and Results on a Page, employees were encouraged to meet performance targets and in doing so facilitated broader departmental objectives.

As a result of feedback from the ANAO report on Managing People for Business Outcomes, the Performance Management, Rewards and Recognition task force was set up during 2002-03 to develop recommendations for the improved alignment of organisational, divisional, team and individual performance. The task force reported in June 2003 and its recommendations will be considered by the People Management Committee during 2003.

Remuneration and rewards

Non-salary benefits

The Certified Agreement and Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs) provide a range of non-salary benefits to help balance the work and home life needs of employees and support workplace diversity principles. Non-salary benefits included:

  • flexible and innovative working arrangements such as part-time work, home-based work and flexible working hours
  • return-to-work assistance
  • carers' room and nursing parents' room
  • study assistance
  • annual close-down during the Christmas-New Year period
  • up to 187.5 hours (25 days) full pay personal circumstances leave and a further accrual of 187.5 hours on completion of each 12-month period of service for full-time employees and adjusted for part-time employees.

Performance pay

While there was no formal non-SES performance-based pay scheme in the department, the Certified Agreement defines a system of salary progression. After 12 months substantive employment at a salary point and subject to satisfactory performance, employees progress to the next salary point within the salary scale for each classification level, until the top salary point for that level is reached.

Many non-SES AWAs include additional salary payments, negotiated according to individual skills, work performance and experience. Additional salary payment recipients increased 76 per cent from 21 in 2001-02 to 37 in 2002-03. This is shown in Table 3 below.

Table 3: Additional salary payments made during 2002-03
Classification Number Aggregate amount $ Average amount $ Range per annum $
APS3 1 386 386 386
APS6 2 24 531 12 266 7 000-17 531
EL1 2 20 220 10 110 10 000-10 220
EL2 32 239 122 7 473 3 500-40 100
Total 37 284 259 7 683 386-40 100

SES employees were also entitled to 'pay at risk' upon assessment of performance and contribution to corporate development during the year. Pay at risk payments for the 2002-03 year will be paid in 2003-04. The pay at risk payment for 2001-02 was paid on 6 June 2002.


The remuneration range, shown in table 4, provides the total available cash benefits received by APS employees during 2002-03. For SES, this includes salary, other remuneration benefits and actual pay at risk payments, but does not include superannuation contributions made by the department or non-salary benefits described earlier.

Table 4: Remuneration range for departmental employees by classification as at 30 June 2003
Classification Minimum $ Maximum $
APS Level 1 28 557 31 455
APS Level 2 32 342 35 706
Graduate APS 34 412 34 412
APS Level 3 36 687 45 000
APS Level 4 40 884 48 926
APS Level 5 45 644 49 460
APS Level 6 49 488 72 612
Executive Level 1 63 110 78 369
Executive Level 2 72 826 150 000
SES Band 1 121 973 164 142
SES Band 2 141 916 161 482
SES Band 3 184 634 184 634

Employee relations

The Departmental Consultative Committee (DCC) monitors the implementation of the terms and conditions of employment contained in the Department of Transport and Regional Services Certified Agreement 2002-2004. This employment framework enables delivery of the organisation's requirements, encourages staff to commit to the organisation's goals, and promotes innovation and flexibility.

Certified Agreement

The Department of Transport and Regional Services Certified Agreement 2002-2004 presents the shared aspirations of our employees, outlines the character of the employment relationship and specifies terms and conditions of employment consistent with those aspirations and that relationship.

An electronic copy of the Certified Agreement 2002-2004 is available at www.dotars.gov.au/dept/cert.aspx

Key features of the agreement include:

  • flexible remuneration packaging
  • flexible working arrangements to enable employees to better balance their work and personal lives
  • improving learning and development opportunities.

The Certified Agreement applies to staff employed under the Public Service Act 1999, other than Senior Executive Service (SES) employees and non-SES officers on Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs). As at 30 June 2003, 840 staff were employed under the Certified Agreement.

Australian Workplace Agreements

Remuneration and conditions of all SES employees are specified in AWAs. All departmental AWAs are consistent with the government's policy parameters for agreement-making in the APS, as stated in the Workplace Relations Act 1996. At 30 June 2003, AWAs covered 41 SES employees.

AWAs also affect non-SES employees who negotiated an agreement with the department. In addition to any negotiated salary benefits, non-SES employees covered by AWAs may also benefit from provisions stated within the Certified Agreement.

As at 30 June 2003, 81 employees (including 40 non-SES employees) were employed under AWAs.

Recruitment and selection

Another practice identified for attention in the ANAO report, Managing People for Business Outcomes, was recruitment and selection. The Recruitment and Selection Task Force was set up to review recruitment and selection policies and procedures and to recommend changes that would improve the consistency and efficiency of selection decisions. The work of the task force included an assessment of how new work level standards and capabilities will be used in job design and recruitment. The task force reported in June 2003. The People Management Committee will consider the recommendations of the task force early in 2003-04.

Learning and development

An identified strategic people management objective for the department was 'to assign priority and resources to developing the skills and knowledge of its people'. Learning and development emerged in the 2002 People and Workplace Survey as an area valued by employees that required improvement. It was also highlighted in the ANAO report, Managing People for Business Outcomes.

The survey indicated that of the staff considering leaving the department, 56 per cent nominated their primary reason as career advancement, while 47 per cent reported their primary reason as furthering personal development.

Responding to this, the Learning and Development Task Force was set up to develop recommendations on the future of learning and development in the department. Their recommendations included:

  • maintain our Investors in People accreditation
  • implement a mentoring and coaching programme
  • continue to encourage Plan on a Page, Results on a Page and 360-degree feedback
  • promote the in-house Career Management Service.
Mentoring programme pilot

A pilot mentoring programme, precipitated by feedback from the previous People and Workplace Survey, was administered in the Regional Programmes and Transport Programmes divisions in 2002. This contributed to the corporate priority of building a learning culture through improving knowledge exchange and communication, allowing the department to continue as a high performing organisation.

Participants responded favourably to the six-month pilot of 17 mentoring partnerships. We are currently considering future implementation of the programme in line with the greater learning and development framework.

Evaluation of the pilot gave encouraging results. The structure was perceived as highly suitable, enabling successful mentoring partnerships and contributing to the professional development of those being mentored. Participants were formally matched, provided with initial training, development and ongoing support via recall sessions and given the opportunity for 360-degree feedback.

While partnership selection is expected to become more collaborative, it is anticipated that future generations of the mentoring programme will resemble closely the structure used in the pilot.

Leading in DOTARS

The successful Leading in DOTARS programme concluded in May 2003. A total of 755 employees participated in the programme which commenced in June 2001. During 2002-03, 344 staff completed this three-day workshop programme to realise the corporate priority of:

Promoting leadership at all levels and improving our people development to enhance our individual, team and corporate capabilities.

The programme targeted leadership and citizenship, interpersonal relationships and skills, communication techniques such as feedback and listening, teamwork and team building.

Graduate Development Programme

We continued to place a strong emphasis on the Graduate Development Programme. Twenty-four employees completed the programme in 2002 and 19 graduates commenced employment in February 2003, including one internal recruit and one graduate who separated from the department in April. This represented a 21 per cent decrease from the previous year. Recruitment levels for 2004 are expected to reflect current workforce planning requirements.

Graduates undertook on-the-job learning including a series of rotations through various divisions of the department, regular meetings, workplace group projects, and off-the-job-development such as an industry tour and professional development coursework.

During the year, a programme evaluation was undertaken. Emerging recommendations from the evaluation, which was finalised in June 2003, will further strengthen the programme and assist in longer-term workforce planning.

Staff mobility

We recognise the value of increasing the career opportunities of employees. During the year and in line with the Certified Agreement, we made every effort to fill vacancies with existing ongoing employees. Vacancies longer than six weeks were generally first advertised internally as open to all ongoing employees. Feedback was also useful as a means to identify both organisational and individual requirements along with areas for skills development.

Workplace diversity

As stipulated in section 18 of the Public Service Act 1999, we maintained a Workplace Diversity Programme to assist in realising APS Values. The programme was designed to incorporate flexible working arrangements, attract and develop staff from diverse backgrounds, recognise and promote diverse contributions and raise awareness of workplace diversity. Included was a Workplace Diversity Advisory Team promoting an environment of workplace diversity awareness within the department and providing feedback and advice to the executive on workplace diversity matters. The Workplace Diversity Programme will be reviewed in 2005.

By encouraging workplace diversity we enrich organisational culture. Continuing the department's commitment to workplace diversity, the secretary and People Management Committee have endorsed an expansion of the Women's Network to become the Diversity and Equity Network as of 1 July 2003.

Occupational health and safety

We remain committed to ensuring the health and safety of staff in the workplace. Under guidance from the Occupational Health and Safety Committee, processes associated with the health, safety and welfare of employees at work were developed and implemented.

The Occupational Health and Safety Policy promotes a 'safe, supportive and professional workplace'. During the year the following strategies were employed:

  • a health assessment programme which achieved a high response rate similar to that reported last year
  • an employee assistance programme
  • workstation assessments
  • an annual influenza vaccination programme
  • well-publicised intranet communiques promoting a safe, supportive and professional workplace.

Comcare premium

To meet the department's reporting requirements under section 74 of the Occupational Health and Safety (Commonwealth Employment) Act 1991, the 2002-03 Comcare premium paid was $350 912, representing an increase from the 2001-02 figure of $298 688. However, it is expected that this figure will be reviewed by Comcare in line with increases in salaries for the year 2002-03. Four incidents causing incapacity were reported for the period 2002-03. During the year, no incidents required investigation by Comcare and no notices were issued.

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