Case Study 6.1: Improving accountability within the Department
The Department has implemented several key initiatives aimed at improving accountability among its management and leadership cohort.
Accountability - A Roadmap for Leaders and Managers was introduced in October 2007 as a mandatory training program for all managers in the Department. The program ensures that participants are fully aware of their span of accountability and understand their responsibilities as leaders and managers in the Department. The program uses interactive case studies to develop participants' understanding of the relevant legislative frameworks, processes and policies and awareness of how more detailed training can be accessed in, for example, contract management, procurement and performance management. Over 100 staff have participated in the course.
All employees are accountable for the decisions they make and the actions they take in the name of the Department under various pieces of legislation. There are approximately 120 Acts that the Department either operates under or has responsibility for administering. Approximately 10,000 powers in these laws have been delegated to employees by the Minister or the Secretary. To give employees better access to information about the statutory responsibilities and authorities they have, the Department introduced the i-Delegate tool, which includes a searchable database that employees can access through the intranet.
In 2007-08, agencies were required to certify compliance with the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (FMA Act), for the first time. The Department established a management assurance process whereby all managerial employees are to complete compliance surveys every four months. These surveys require managers to account for all transactions dealing with public money and property. Training is provided to employees who are required to complete the survey, to raise awareness of obligations under the FMA Act.
Additionally, monthly meetings of the Department's Senior Executive Service Management Team (SESMT) are used to raise awareness of employee accountabilities arising from departmental and broader APS policies. For example, issues discussed in SESMT meetings in 2007-08 included departmental and employee responsibilities during the 2007 election caretaker period, occupational health and safety initiatives, performance management, and risk management.
Each of these measures serve to enhance and promote individual accountability within the Department.
Accountability - A Roadmap for Leaders and Managers