Part 3: Management and Accountability (page 3)

Financial Management

The department's procurement framework reflects the core principle governing Australian Government procurement—value for money. The department conducts all procurement activities in accordance with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules and the department's Chief Executive's Instructions and procurement procedures.

Purchasing policy and practices

The department's procurement approach encourages competition and ensures that the department uses resources efficiently, effectively, economically and ethically, while making decisions in a transparent and accountable manner. Procurement practices are non-discriminatory.

In 2012–13 major procurements were advertised on the AusTender website and in newspapers where appropriate.

Responsibility for procurement and the management of all contracts is governed by departmental delegations. Employees exercising these delegations are supported in their decision-making by detailed guidance material, targeted training programs and standard tendering, contracting and approval documentation, as well as expert advice from specialist procurement officers and legal advisers.

The department's tender documentation defines the tender conditions, requirements, assessment procedures and selection criteria for each procurement. In accordance with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules, preferred tenderers are selected on the basis of value for money.

Probity advice is sought, where necessary, and tenderers may request feedback on their submissions.

The department's procurement procedures were updated to reflect the implementation of the Commonwealth Procurement Rules on 1 July 2012.

ANAO access clauses

In 2012–13 all contracts of $100,000 or more (inclusive of GST) that used the department's standard template specified that the Auditor-General be given access to the contractor's premises.

Exempt contracts

No contracts in excess of $10,000, or standing offers, were exempted from being published on AusTender.

Consultancy services

The department engages individuals and companies to provide professional services under contracts for service, taking account of the skills and resources required for the task, the skills available internally and the cost-effectiveness of these options.

During 2012–13, 61 consultancy contracts were entered into involving total expenditure in 2012–13 of $1,477,917. In addition, seven ongoing consultancy contracts were active, involving total expenditure of $366,010 during 2012–13.

Information on the value of contracts and consultancies is available on the AusTender website at

Advertising and market research

Under section 311A of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, the department is required to disclose payments of more than $12,100 (inclusive of GST) to specific types of organisations:

  • advertising agencies
  • market research organisations
  • polling organisations
  • media advertising organisations
  • direct mail organisations.

Table 17 details expenditure on media advertising and market research in 2012–13.

During 2012–13 the department did not undertake any advertising campaigns.

Table 17: Media advertising and market research expenditure

Table 17: Media advertising and market research expenditure
Agency Description Amount ($)
Total 525,522
Media advertising
Adcorp Australia Ltd Advertising for staff and RDA committee vacancies and advertising for arts and cultural development programs 186,627
The Canberra Times Advertising for National Portrait Gallery programs 14,208
John Fairfax Publications Ltd Advertising for National Portrait Gallery programs 38,690
Nationwide News Advertising for National Portrait Gallery programs 23,132
Market research
Woolcott Research Pty Ltd Formative research and strategic advice for the taskforce on the constitutional recognition of local government 246,125
Deepend Melbourne Pty Ltd Market research and the development of a marketing strategy for Artbank 16,740


Information on grants awarded by the department during 2012–13 is available at

The department requires legal services to meet administrative, legislative and policy objectives and to protect Australian Government interests.

The department operates a small in-house legal unit and procures external legal services by accessing firms from the legal services multi-use list established by the Office of Legal Services Coordination in the Attorney-General's Department.

In 2012–13, the department's external legal expenditure was $1,582,044.78.

Asset management

The department has asset management responsibilities across a wide range of assets in the territories and in the arts sector.

The department administers significant strategic assets on behalf of the Australian Government in the non-self-governing territories, including land and infrastructure. These assets are associated with providing essential services including health, education, water, sewerage, power, transport, airports, ports, communication, law and order, and emergency services. The department manages heritage and cultural assets in the non-self-governing territories and Norfolk Island, as well as a Sidney Nolan art collection, and supports the National Institute of Dramatic Art to manage its Australian Government–owned building through a program of capital works.

The department maintains an evidence room as part of its administration of the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986. The room is a secure space that houses any objects seized on behalf of foreign countries and awaiting forfeiture, return to their owners or return through the embassies of the countries concerned.

The composition of the department's fixed asset base is mainly purchased and internally developed software, office fit-out and the National Portrait Gallery building and artworks. The National Portrait Gallery of Australia Act 2012 establishes the National Portrait Gallery as a separate entity from 1 July 2013.

The department publishes asset management guidance and procedures for staff and conducts a rolling stocktake and independent valuations of assets to maintain the accuracy of asset records.

Human Resource Management

In 2012–13, the department focused on further developing its human resources policies and procedures to support managers and employees in the workplace. Achievements in 2012–13 included designing and implementing a learning and development framework and establishing the department's first health and wellbeing program.

At 30 June 2013 the department had 631 ongoing and non-ongoing employees employed under the Public Service Act 1999. The department also had 159 employees employed under the Indian Ocean Territories (Administration) and Indian Ocean Territories (Registered Nurses) Enterprise Agreements.

During the year, the department:

  • recruited a total of 57 ongoing, non-ongoing and casual employees
  • had a 13.67 per cent separation rate for ongoing employees
  • received over 1269 applications for vacant positions across the department.

Staffing statistics

Tables 18 to 21 provide information on staff numbers, location and employment type by headcount.

Table 18: Employees at 30 June 2011, 2012 and 2013a

Table 18: Employees at 30 June 2011, 2012 and 2013
2011 2012 2013
Number of employees 335 586b 631

a Excluding casual employees.

b The 14 December 2011 machinery of government change resulted in Arts and Sports functions being transferred into the department from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, comprising 327 funded positions, including 11 Senior Executive Service positions.

Table 19: Employees by location at 30 June 2013a

Table 19: Employees by location at 30 June 2013
Location Number
Total 631
Australian Capital Territory 552
New South Wales 20
Northern Territory 8
Queensland 8
South Australia 10
Victoria 6
Western Australia 24
Tasmania 3

a Excluding casual employees.

Table 20: Ongoing and non-ongoing employees at 30 June 2013a

Table 20: Ongoing and non-ongoing employees at 30 June 2013
Employment type Gender APS classification
Total 31 89 353 158 631
SES 1–3 EL 2 APS 6 – EL 1 APS 1–5 Total
Ongoing Female 16 54 215 102 387
Male 14 32 111 34 191
Subtotal 30 86 326 136 578
Non-ongoing Female 16 17 33
Male 1 3 11 5 20
Subtotal 1 3 27 22 53

a Excluding casual employees.

Table 21: Full-time and part-time employees at 30 June 2013a

Table 21: Full-time and part-time employees at 30 June 2013
Employment type Gender APS classification
Total 31 89 353 158 631
SES 1–3 EL 2 APS 6 – EL 1 APS 1–5 Total
Full-time Female 16 47 188 98 349
Male 15 35 109 35 194
Subtotal 31 82 297 133 543
Part-time Female 7 43 21 71
Male 13 4 17
Subtotal 7 56 25 88

a At 30 June 2013 the department employed four casual employees, with three employed in the APS 1-5 classification and one employed at the APS 6-EL1 classification.

Staff survey

The department conducted a staff survey for the first time in April 2012, which achieved a response rate of 61 per cent. The survey results guided the development of a department-wide action plan, which was implemented in 2012–13. Divisions also formulated their own action plans to address feedback from their staff.

The main areas of focus in the departmental action plan were:

  • setting the direction—engage employees with the department's vision
  • learning and development—establish an environment where personal and professional growth is valued
  • workforce planning—identify and mitigate workforce risks by implementing best practice strategies
  • culture and capability—strengthen frameworks to support a positive workplace culture.

Results from future staff surveys, including the Australian Public Service Commission's State of the Service employee census, will be used to gauge progress made through the action plans. The surveys will also assist the department to benchmark its progress against other APS agencies.

Learning and development

In 2012–13 the department implemented its first learning and development framework. The framework is shaped by the department's vision and business objectives, broader public service priorities and the development needs of individual employees.

Learning and development activities in 2012–13 focused on leadership capability, core skills and management essentials. Highlights during the year included a series of in-house seminars for the department's APS 6 and Executive Level 1 cohort to build people management capability and the launch of the Secretary's speaker series, ‘Perspectives’. The speaker series brought a range of talented and diverse presenters to the department to inspire and engage staff.

Performance management

The department's performance management framework helps to improve organisational performance by linking and aligning individual, team and organisational objectives and results. It also includes mechanisms for recognising and rewarding exceptional performance and managing underperformance.

The framework encourages behaviours consistent with the APS Values and APS Code of Conduct and focuses on building capability and leadership skills through a strong emphasis on learning and development.

Workplace health and safety

The department is committed to ensuring a healthy and safe work environment for all staff. To enhance health and wellbeing outcomes, in August 2012 the Secretary launched the department's first Health and Wellbeing Program.

As part of the program, a series of initiatives including health checks and positive wellbeing programs have been made available to staff, with costs recovered in full or in part from participating staff. The participation rate in these activities has been high, with 180 staff participating in the 10,000 Step Walking Challenge and 40 staff registering for health checks.

Workplace health and safety policies

The department has a number of policies to align its operations to the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. The policies are intended to facilitate cooperation and consultation between the department and staff over work health and safety matters.

The Work Health and Safety Subcommittee periodically reviews work health and safety policies and reviews statistics, reports and recommendations about work health and safety measures.

Workplace health and safety incidents

In 2012–13, two notifiable incidents were reported to Comcare and no investigations were conducted under Part 10 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.


The department's remuneration policy operates in accordance with guidance issued by the Australian Public Service Commission. No employees received performance pay in 2012–13.

At 30 June 2013, non–Senior Executive Service employees were covered by the Department of Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government 2011 Enterprise Agreement.

The department also has two enterprise agreements covering non-APS employees in the Indian Ocean Territories Administration of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. The first agreement commenced in December 2011 and covers the majority of the Administration's employees. The second agreement, which started in April 2012, is specific to the particular needs of the territories' registered nurses.

Senior Executive Service employees have their conditions of employment provided through a determination made under the Public Service Act 1999, consistent with the Australian Public Service Bargaining Framework.

Tables 22 and 23 give breakdowns by APS classification of the coverage and salary ranges under the enterprise agreement and SES determinations.

Table 22: Employees covered by an enterprise agreement or APS Act determination at 30 June 2013a

Table 22: Employees covered by an enterprise agreement or APS Act determination at 30 June 2013
APS classification Enterprise agreement Section 24 (1) determination Total
Total 600 31 631
SES Bands 1 to 3 31 31
EL 2 (non-SES) 89 89
APS 6 to EL 1 (non-SES) 353 353
APS 1 to 5 (non-SES) 158 158

a Excluding casual employees.

Table 23: Available salary ranges at 30 June 2013a

Table 23: Available salary ranges at 30 June 2013
APS classification Minimum ($) Maximum ($) Total
SES Bands 1 to 3 156,500 309,505 31
EL 2 (non-SES) 110,210 128,041 89
APS 6 to EL 1 (non-SES) 74,615 112,417 353
APS 1 to 5 (non-SES) 42,682 72,100 158

a Excluding casual employees.


The department respects and values the diversity of its workforce. In 2012–13, the department:

  • offered cultural competency training to all staff
  • promoted and highlighted diversity events such as Harmony Day through a specific diversity intranet page
  • maintained a silver membership with the Australian Network on Disability
  • participated in the Australian Public Service Commission's Indigenous Pathways Program, with one student graduating and moving into full-time employment with the department and another starting their traineeship
  • participated in the Learn Earn Legend! Work Exposure with Government Program, which is run by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

Rewards and recognition

The department's 2012 staff survey results indicated a need for an enhanced rewards and recognition program. In response, a revised and fully integrated awards program and a rewards and recognition guideline were developed to recognise the efforts and achievements of individuals and teams.

The 2012–13 awards program included the Secretary's Merit Awards and the Australia Day Awards. The award winners are listed on pages 31 and 39.

Disability reporting mechanisms

The National Disability Strategy 2010–2020 sets out a 10-year national framework to improve the lives of people with disability and create a more inclusive society. A high-level two-yearly report will track progress against each of the six outcome areas of the strategy and present a picture of how people with disability are faring. The first of these reports will be released in 2014, and will be available at

Agency-level disability reporting occurs through the Australian Public Service Commission's annual State of the Service reports and the APS Statistical Bulletin. These reports are available at

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 information about social inclusion matters can be found at

Image: Employees undertaking a stretching exercise on yoga mats as part of a health and wellbeing program

Stretching for health: employees took advantage of various user-pays fitness and wellbeing sessions run during 2012–13.

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