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Appendix 5 : Performance in implementing the Commonwealth Disability Strategy

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The department commenced its implementation of the Commonwealth Disability Strategy in 2002-03. Through our policies and programmes we aim to ensure people with disabilities are able to participate fully in community life. Following is a qualitative report on performance against each of the performance indicators.

Section A : Role of policy adviser

Performance indicator No. 1 Performance measure Current level of performance

New or revised programme/policy proposals assess impact on the lives of people with disabilities prior to decision.

Percentage of new or revised policy/programme proposals that document that the impact on the lives of people with disabilities was considered prior to decision making.

Our policies and programmes encompass both transport and regional issues:

  • We give consideration in all policy advice to issues relating to health, the aged and people with disabilities, particularly those residing in regional areas.
  • In developing the new Regional Partnerships programme, the department assessed the impact of the programme on people with disabilities.

  • Accessibility to the AusLink Green Paper was promoted through its availability on our Internet site, or by calling a 1800 number. The department also held face to face consultations in geographically diverse locations.

The department encourages airports and airlines to consider their obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and to work together to facilitate and promote compliance with the requirements of the Act. These activities were pursued through the National Advisory Facilitation Committee.

Performance indicator No. 2 Performance measure Current level of performance

People with disabilities are included in consultations about new or revised policy/programme proposals.

Percentage of consultations about new or revised policy/programme proposals that are developed in consultation with people with disabilities.

The department aims to ensure that all venues for public consultations and conferences are accessible to people with physical disabilities.

In September 2002 the department completed the Technical Review on Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002, a technical review of the draft Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport (Transport Standards). A widespread community consultation programme, which included people with disabilities, was a major component of the review. In March 2003 the Australian Transport Council agreed to the recommended amendments to the Transport Standards, resulting from the technical review and the associated Regulatory Impact Statement.

Performance indicator No. 3 Performance measure Current level of performance

Public announcements of new, revised or proposed policy/programme initiatives are available in accessible formats for people with disabilities in a timely manner.

Percentage of new or revised policy/programme announcements available in a range of accessible formats.

The department aims to ensure that all venues for policy or programme announcements are accessible to people with disabilities.

Announcements of new policies and programmes and all departmental corporate publications, such as the Annual Report and Portfolio Budget Statements, are available on the department's website www.dotars.gov.au in hypertext mark up language (HTML). Where practical, no paper-based publications are released without an electronic equivalent.

Time taken to provide announcements in accessible formats.

In line with the department's commitment to providing accessible information to all Australians, including people with disabilities, our websites are compliant with internationally recognised web publishing standards. We also use software recommended by the National Office of the Information Economy as an accessibility testing tool to ensure information is provided to our clients and stakeholders in the most appropriate format.

During the first half of 2003, the department launched a new corporate website that provided an upgraded search engine and subject-based navigation to assist our clients and stakeholders locate the information they require more easily.

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Section B : Role of regulator

Performance indicator No. 1 Performance measure Current level of performance

Publicly available information on regulations and quasi-regulations is available in accessible formats for people with disabilities.

Percentage of publicly available information on regulations and quasi-regulations requested and provided in:

  • accessible electronic formats
  • accessible formats other than electronic.

Average time taken to provide accessible material in:

  • electronic format
  • formats other than electronic.

The department's policy and programme areas provide reports, regulations and requirements through our website www.dotars.gov.au

We monitor all information placed on our website to ensure that it is accessible to people with a disability.

The department has a range of freecall 1800 numbers to enable people throughout Australia to access information relating to a range of areas administered by the department. These include the provision of information on the importation of vehicles, and information relating to transport safety from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB). The call service on 1800 011 034 also enables people to notify the ATSB of accidents and incidents.

Performance indicator No. 2 Performance measure Current level of performance

Publicly available regulatory compliance reporting is available in accessible formats for people with disabilities.

As above

Regularly maintained information is available on the department's Internet relating to specific areas of regulation with appropriate links to other relevant websites.

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Section C : Role of purchaser

Performance indicator No. 1 Performance measure Current level of performance

Publicly available information on agreed purchasing specifications available in accessible formats for people with disabilities.

Percentage of publicly available purchasing specifications requested and the average time taken to provide materials in accessible electronic or other formats.

The department provides appropriate information through a range of channels including print, Internet and telephone. Compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 where appropriate is a requirement for all regional programme funding recipients.

Performance indicator No. 2 Performance measure Current level of performance

Processes for purchasing goods or services with a direct impact on the lives of people with disabilities are developed in consultation with people with disabilities.

Percentage of processes for purchasing goods or services that directly impact on the lives of people with disabilities that are developed in consultation with people with disabilities.

The department ensures that people with disabilities are consulted about the purchase of any goods or services that affect their lives.

Applicants applying for funding for the department's regional programmes are expected to show that their projects are supported by the local community and are developed in line with local community needs, including recognition of the needs of people with disabilities under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

Performance indicator No. 3 Performance measure Current level of performance

Purchasing specifications and contract requirements for the purchase of goods or services are consistent with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

Percentage of purchasing specifications for goods and services that specify that tender organisations must comply with the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the percentage of contracts for the purchase of goods and services that require the contractor to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

The department ensures that all successful tender organisations for the provision of goods and services comply with the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

In providing specifications for the purchase of goods and services for the Indian Ocean Territories, the department's territories office in Perth ensures that those specifications are checked for compliance with Commonwealth law including the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

Performance indicator No. 4 Performance measure Current level of performance

Publicly available performance reporting against the purchase contract specifications requested in accessible formats for people with disabilities is provided.

Percentage of publicly available performance reports against the contract purchasing specification requested, and average time taken to provide in electronic and other accessible formats.

The department's purchasing practices and procedures are subject to the provisions of the Chief Executive's Instruction relating to procurement and are consistent with the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines and Best Practice Guidance.

All relevant information on contracts let by the department is made publicly available through our annual report. This information is available on our website in accessible formats for all Australians, including those with disabilities.

Performance indicator No. 5 Performance measure Current level of performance

Complaints/grievance mechanisms, including access to external mechanisms, in place to address concerns raised about the providers' performance.

Established complaints and grievance mechanisms, including access to external mechanisms, in operation.

The department's Client Service Charter includes mechanisms for the raising of complaints/grievances including access to the Ombudsman. Detailed information on the department's Client Service Charter is provided in Section D-Role of Provider of this report.

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Section D : Role of provider

Performance indicator No. 1 Performance measure Current level of performance

Providers have established mechanisms for quality improvement and assurance.

Evidence of quality improvement and assurance systems in operation, e.g. annual assessment of quality improvement and assessment systems.

During the first half of 2003, the department launched a new corporate website that provided an upgraded search engine and subject-based navigation to assist our clients and stakeholders locate the information they require more easily.

Access to information on Commonwealth funding programmes is available through the Commonwealth Regional Information Service (CRIS). A free directory of Commonwealth programmes, the Commonwealth Regional Information Directory, is available through DOTARS and can be ordered through www.dotars.gov.au/cris or www.regionalaustralia.gov.au

All departmental corporate publications such as annual reports, Portfolio Budget Statements, Corporate Plan and Client Service Charter are available on the department's website in HTML. Where practical, no paper-based publications are released without an electronic equivalent.

Performance indicator No. 2 Performance measure Current level of performance

Providers have an established service charter that specifies the roles of the provider and consumer and service standards which address accessibility for people with disabilities.

Established service charter that adequately reflects the needs of people with disabilities in operation, e.g. annual assessment of provider's service charter.

The department's Client Service Charter provides an overview of our services and service standards and states our commitment to provide a high level of service to all Australians. The Client Service Charter is written in clear language to guide our clients regarding their rights and responsibilities, and encourages them to provide feedback on the service we provide.

The charter provides information on how to:

  • contact the department
  • have decisions reviewed
  • raise complaints
  • have complaints or concerns referred to the Ombudsman.

The charter is written in a clear concise style and is available in accessible format through our Internet on www.dotars.gov.au/dept/charter.htm and in hard copy. We ensure that all clients can easily access information regarding our services through free-call lines and information available on our website www.dotars.gov.au

Community members including people with disabilities can contact the department's client service officer to provide feedback on our service or make a complaint via:

  • a toll free Client Service Feedback Line 1800 075 001
  • email clientserv@dotars.gov.au
  • fax (02) 6257 2505
  • a detachable reply paid postage feedback form attached to our Client Service Charter pamphlet
  • feedback form emailed directly from our the Client Service Charter available on our website.

As detailed in Section A-Role of the Policy Advisor of this report, the department is committed to providing accessible information to all Australians, including people with disabilities.

The department uses standard versions of the HTML. We endeavour to avoid formatting/presentation gimmicks, reduce unnecessary graphic images and simplify those used, providing alternative ways to access graphically depicted information.

Descriptive images include a text description or ALT information within the HTML tag. The department's Internet Publishing Standards are available to employees on our internal website and are aligned with the Guidelines for Commonwealth Information Published in Electronic Formats.

The Client Service Charter is reviewed in line with the DOTARS Corporate Plan and is available at www.dotars.gov.au/dept/charter.htm

Performance indicator No. 3 Performance measure Current level of performance

Complaints/grievance mechanism, including access to external mechanisms, in place to address issues and concerns raised about performance.

Established complaints/ grievance mechanisms, including access to external mechanisms, in operation.

In addition to the wide range of complaints/grievance mechanisms using standard technologies detailed above, clients with disabilities may access the National Relay Service line.

If clients are dissatisfied at any time with the handling of complaints/grievances by the department, our Client Service Charter provides a range of contact avenues for the Commonwealth Ombudsman, including a toll free contact number, email and postal addresses.

Staff are made aware of the department's commitment to client service. An electronic copy of the Client Service Charter is available to all departmental employees and is located on the department's intranet.

Our Client Service Charter is reviewed annually taking into consideration feedback from clients and stakeholders and ensuring consistency with the objectives and priorities of our Corporate Plan.

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Section E : Role of Employer

Performance indicator No. 1 Performance measure Current level of performance

Employment policies, procedures and practices comply with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

Number of employment policies, procedures and practices that meet the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, e.g. annual assessment of employment policies, procedures and practices.

Compliance with requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 underpins the department's employment policies and procedures. The concept of workplace diversity, encompassing gender, disability, indigenous, linguistic and cultural background guides our work and the ways in which we relate to each other, our stakeholders and our clients.

We aim to attract, retain and develop a diverse group of people within the organisation, thus developing a workplace environment where diversity is valued. Diversity provides our department with a wide variety of skills, talents, experiences and approaches, enabling people to add value to the work of the department.

Employment opportunities available to the Australian community are advertised on the department's external website and via other media, detailing all information necessary to submit an application. In addition, applicants are offered ways to cater for their particular needs in the selection process (such as audio applications and telephone interviews).

The department actively facilitates workplace diversity awareness among staff through distribution of workplace diversity posters, by publicising the Workplace Diversity Programme on the department's intranet, and through creation of a Diversity and Equity network to be launched 1 July 2003, which is an expansion of the department's former Women's Network. Our revised work level standards and the department's values emphasise behaviour promoting workplace diversity.

Performance indicator No. 2 Performance measure Current level of performance

Recruitment information for potential job applicants is available in accessible formats on request.

Percentage of recruitment information requested and provided in:

  • accessible electronic formats
  • accessible formats other than electronic.

Average time taken to provide accessible information in:

  • electronic formats
  • formats other than electronic.

The department remains committed to electronic forms of communication. Employment opportunities available to the Australian community are advertised on the department's external website and via other media, detailing all information necessary to submit an application. In addition, applicants are offered ways to cater for their particular needs in the selection process (such as audio applications and telephone interviews).

Our employment decisions encompass APS values that promote a workplace free from discrimination and which recognises and utilises the diversity of the Australian community it serves. The department's Workplace Diversity Programme states the organisation's objective to attract and retain a diverse range of employees. The department also endeavours to include people with disabilities on selection committees.

Performance indicator No. 3 Performance measure Current level of performance

Agency recruiters and managers apply the principle of 'reasonable adjustment'.

Percentage of recruiters and managers provided with information on 'reasonable adjustment', e.g. annual sampling of information provided on 'reasonable adjustment'.

Information pertaining to 'reasonable adjustment' is published on the department's intranet and is accessible by all staff including recruiters and managers. The department strives to include at least one session annually on workplace diversity in EL2/SES1 retreats.

The department encourages collection of reports from divisional leaders on positive and negative workplace diversity outcomes (including disability issues) in their areas. A section on compliance with Commonwealth legislation including the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 is incorporated in all departmental contracts.

'Reasonable adjustment' is applied on a case-by-case basis and staff identifying as having a disability are consulted on practical measures that might be implemented to assist them perform their jobs and enable them to take advantage of development opportunities.

Performance indicator No. 4 Performance measure Current level of performance

Training and development programmes consider the needs of staff with disabilities.

Percentage of training and development programmes that consider the needs of staff with disabilities, e.g. annual sampling of training and development programmes.

The department provides training and development programmes through external providers who are required to meet the standards of the Commonwealth Disability Strategy and the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992. Employees with disabilities attending training and development programmes indicate those arrangements that are needed to meet their requirements. Training and development courses can be booked and paid on-line.

Performance indicator No. 5 Performance measure Current level of performance

Training and development programmes include information on disability issues as they relate to the content of the programme.

Percentage of training and development programmes that include information on disability issues as they relate the programme.

Workshops included in annual EL2/SES1 retreats explore workplace diversity issues. Performance exchanges promote awareness of all areas of workplace diversity including those relating to people with disabilities and issues of disability discrimination.

Performance indicator No. 6 Performance measure Current level of performance

Complaints/grievance mechanism, including access to external mechanisms, in place to address issues and concerns raised by staff.

Establish complaints and grievance mechanisms, including access to external mechanisms in operation.

The department prides itself on being a safe, supportive and professional workplace and maintains policies regarding grievance resolution on employment matters which are available to all our people through the department's internal website. A range of formal and informal avenues are available for resolving complaints within the department.

Internal processes, as defined in the Certified Agreement and in accordance with the Public Service Act 1999, may be accessed by employees dissatisfied with the manner in which an employment decision has been made.

Under the Public Service Regulation 83, an employee may lodge a grievance with a supervisor or directly with the secretary and an inquiry will be held into the grievance. An employee with a complaint may also pursue the matter externally, including seeking legal advice.

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