Annual Report 2017–18: 3. Management and accountability
Doing our work in a way that is efficient, organised and open is important
Small and agile
We are a small, agile executive agency. To achieve our purpose of accelerating digital transformation of government we collaborate with multiple partners across government and industry to encourage investment in digital services, improve the user experience and improve return on ICT and digital investment.
The pace of digital change requires us to have the right-sized governance, appropriate for our small agency and our fast-paced operating environment.
Our approach ensures that we are adequately governed to meet our public accountabilities, and enables us to work in an agile way—forming multidisciplinary teams with partners, responding quickly to change, making small, fast improvements and delivering continuously as we learn through testing with users.
Senior leadership team
In 2017–18 our senior leadership team comprised our:
- CEO, Randall Brugeaud
- Chief Digital Officer, Peter Alexander
- Chief Investment and Advisory Officer, Lesley Seebeck
- Chief Procurement Officer, Anthony Vlasic
- Chief People Officer, Jo Cantle
- Chief Finance Officer, GP de Wet
- Chief Communications Officer, Genine Johnson.
Randall Brugeaud | CEO
Randall was Acting CEO for two months during 2017–18 and returned to our agency to take on the CEO role permanently after the departure of our former CEO, Gavin Slater, at the end of June.
Before his appointment, Randall spent almost 30 years working in a range of public and private sector roles with a focus on transformation, most recently as Deputy Australian Statistician and Chief Operating Officer at the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
As CEO, Randall is responsible for leading our agency to ensure we deliver on the promise of digital transformation in government and in accordance with our agency’s establishing order and the PGPA Act.
Peter Alexander | Chief Digital Officer
Peter joined the DTA in late-2016. He has extensive experience in Australian Government delivering policy, services, change programs, government collaboration, financial management, security and corporate management including as the Chief Information Officer at the Treasury and a senior executive in the Department of Finance.
Responsibilities include platforms, partnerships, Australian Public Service capability uplift and whole-of-government Digital/ICT graduate program, and performance dashboards.
Lesley Seebeck | Chief Investment and Advisory Officer
Lesley joined the DTA in mid-2017. She has broad experience across strategy, ICT and transformation sectors including in cyber security, strategic planning and delivery within complex, multidisciplinary environments spanning government, industry and academia.
Responsibilities include the Digital Investment Management Office, advice on proposed ICT and digital projects, cyber security and critical infrastructure.
Anthony Vlasic | Chief Procurement Officer
Anthony joined the DTA in late-2017. He has more than 20 years’ experience working in a range of predominantly private sector roles in financial services and consulting, including experience in strategy, transformation, program delivery, sourcing and technology.
Responsibilities include strategic sourcing, digital sourcing and sourcing development, Digital Marketplace and ICT procurement.
Jo Cantle | Chief People Officer
Jo joined the DTA in late-2016. She has over 25 years’ experience in the public and private sectors working across a range of functions including human resources, banking and finance, project delivery, change management and communications.
Responsibilities include people strategy, people operations and people projects, and the negotiation of the DTA enterprise agreement.
GP de Wet | Chief Finance Officer
GP joined the DTA in late-2016. He has worked across a number of Commonwealth agencies in a range of corporate finance roles over the past 10 years, and previously worked in the private sector in both Australia and abroad.
Responsibilities include financial management, property, security and agency IT.
Genine Johnson | Chief Communications Officer
Genine joined the DTA in late 2016. She is a communications and media strategist with more than 20 years’ experience in communications, media and engagement roles in various Commonwealth and state government agencies.
Responsibilities include internal communications, external communications and engagement.
Our corporate governance framework includes:
- business planning
- risk and fraud management
- audit and assurance activities
- Accountable Authority Instructions (issued by the CEO)
- policies and guidelines.
Our system of governance and accountability for public resources is shaped by the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act), and associated legislative instruments.
During 2017–18 we had two formal governance committees:
- Executive Group
- Audit Committee.
Our Executive Group is our agency’s key governance body, determining strategic direction and monitoring and managing the overall performance of the organisation.
Our Executive Group comprises our senior leadership team. Our Executive Group is supported by several informal committees that meet regularly to resolve operational issues and provide advice on strategic issues.
The Audit Committee reviews and gives independent advice and assurance to the CEO about the appropriateness of our agency’s financial and performance reporting and systems of risk oversight, risk management and internal control.
The committee comprises an independent chair, two independent members and a Senior Executive Service (SES) officer from our agency as an internal member. The Audit Committee is directly accountable to our CEO.
In 2017–18 our agency’s Internal Audit function assisted the Audit Committee to deliver an internal audit program using a contracted audit provider.
We also updated our Internal Audit Charter to ensure it continues to reflect leading practice as well as supporting improvements in our agency.
During the year we completed and tabled with the Audit Committee an audit of Agency Performance Reporting. We also began work on internal audits into Stakeholder Engagement and Financial Processes, to be delivered in early 2018–19.
Corporate planning and reporting
We have a framework of policies supported by Accountable Authority Instructions that assure we comply with legislative requirements, and expectations of probity, accountability and transparency.
Our Corporate Plan is our overarching planning document. We identify organisational priorities in our Corporate Plan and report on our agency performance in our annual report’s annual performance statement (see Chapter 2).
Our Executive Group oversees our corporate planning and monitoring of organisational risks.
Risk management is a key enabler to manage the effect of uncertainty on our business objectives. Many of our delivery approaches, such as agile and iterative development, help to contain risk and respond quickly to changes in the surrounding environment or feedback.
We take a risk-based approach to treat sources of risk that may have a negative impact on our ability to deliver our priorities, while remaining open to positive risks and opportunities that support our objectives.
During 2017–18 we began refreshing our Risk Management Framework and Policy to reflect the changes to our agency since its establishment. This framework articulates our risk appetite and behaviours and covers the systems, structures, policies, processes, people and practices that have a risk oversight or management role. The framework is supported by an Enterprise Risk Management Plan.
The framework and plan are informed and supported by project and program risk assessments and other assurance activities that identify and treat risks across our agency.
Throughout 2018–19 we will continue to develop, implement and improve risk systems and processes and integrate them into business processes and performance monitoring.
Risk management underpins our corporate planning, and is also supported by our Fraud and Corruption Control Plan and internal and external assurance processes.
Fraud prevention and control
In accordance with the PGPA Act, we have conducted fraud risk assessments and prepared a fraud control plan, to minimise the incidence of fraud through appropriate fraud prevention, detection, investigation and reporting mechanisms.
Our fraud control plan provides the basis for managing fraud for the Executive Group, management and individuals. It includes:
- potential internal and external fraud risks
- fraud prevention and detection mechanisms
- investigation, reporting, recording and response strategies for fraudulent activities.
No instances of fraud were identified during the year.
Our employees are obliged to adhere to standards of integrity and behaviour governed by the APS legislative, regulatory and ethical framework. Our accountability for performance, financial probity and ethical behaviour is aligned with the APS Values and Code of Conduct, set out in the Public Service Act 1999.
We are accountable to the Parliament through the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Digital Transformation. Other external scrutiny of our agency is provided through Parliamentary Committees, the Commonwealth Ombudsman, Australian Information Commissioner and Australian National Audit Office.
During the year our agency was not the subject of any judicial decisions or decisions of administrative tribunals or the Australian Information Commissioner in 2017–18. We were not the subject of any reports by the Commonwealth Ombudsman or capability reviews by the Australian Public Service Commission.
Australian National Audit Office
During 2017–18 our agency was one of six included in an independent performance audit by the Australian National Audit Office, Mitigating Insider Threats through Personnel Security, report number 38 of 2017–18.
The audit identified some areas needing improvement and made five recommendations relating to our agency, recommending we:
- conduct a personnel security risk assessment that considers whether changes are needed to our protective security practices
- take immediate action to comply with the Protective Security Policy Framework governance requirements
- implement quality assurance mechanisms to reconcile our personnel records with the Australian Government Security Vetting Agency’s clearance holder records, and start clearance processes for any personnel who do not hold a required clearance
- review our policies and procedures for eligibility waivers to ensure we are compliant with Protective Security Policy Framework mandatory controls
- implement the Protective Security Policy Framework requirement to undertake an annual health check for clearance holders and their managers.
We acknowledged the importance of these recommendations, and agreed to implement them by 31 July 2018.
In August 2017 the Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee began an inquiry into the digital delivery of government services, with particular reference to:
- whether planned and existing programs are able to digitally deliver services
- strategies for whole-of-government digital transformation
- digital project delivery.
We provided a submission to the inquiry, defining the nature and scope of our role. The Committee tabled its report in the Senate on 27 June 2018. The report made a number of observations around digital policy, user experience, accountability measures, resourcing of the ICT workforce and education and training on digital competence for the Australian Public Service.
During the reporting year, we appeared before the Senate Estimates (Finance and Public Administration Legislation) Committee on 23 October 2017, 27 February 2018 and 21 May 2018.
To successfully lead the government’s digital transformation efforts, our workforce has unique and wide-ranging capabilities.
Our people have skills that many service delivery agencies need in a digital future, including:
- expertise in user-centred research and design
- agile delivery methodologies
- technology design and build
- systems architecture
- stakeholder engagement
- sophisticated procurement approaches.
As at 30 June 2018, our agency had 243 Australian Public Service employees, including part-time and non-ongoing employees (based on headcount).
Most of our employees are located in our Canberra office (93 per cent) with our remaining staff working in our Sydney office.
We had an average staffing level of 215 during 2017–18.
Figure 7 provides detailed workforce profile information.
Workforce planning and people management
We did a significant amount of work throughout 2017–18 to develop and implement strategies, frameworks, policies and procedures to support people management in our agency, including our:
- Performance Management Framework and supporting policies
- Strategic Workforce Plan 2018–2023
- Domestic and Family Violence Policy to provide support to employees experiencing domestic or family violence
- work health and safety policies and procedures.
We understand the benefits and value of a diverse workforce. This is reflected in our broad range of employment types to progress our work. Our workforce implementation plan, which complements our Strategic Workforce Plan, will help us improve our attraction and retention strategies and make the best use of all our people within these employment types.
Our Strategic Workforce Plan will help us build a responsive and agile future agency workforce. It includes five enterprise people strategies that we aim to deliver between 2018 and 2023. These areas of focus are:
- align the operating environment and workforce
- attract and retain talent
- strengthen partnerships
- improve resource management
- implement strategic workforce planning.
We have begun prioritising initiatives within these areas of focus.
Attracting and retaining the right people
To ensure we can attract and retain high-calibre candidates in a very competitive environment, we provide employees with:
- significant workplace flexibility to enable them to balance their work and personal commitments
- the ability to work on things that matter and improve access to government services for people and businesses
- access to a range of development opportunities to enable employees to enhance and maintain their skills and capabilities
- a diverse and inclusive work environment where our people feel supported
- competitive remuneration and employment conditions.
We use a variety of strategies such as flexible working arrangements, targeted recruitment processes and skills development to increase employee engagement and reduce ongoing employee turnover. In 2017–18, we had an ongoing employee turnover rate of 18 per cent.
Flexible working arrangements
We work with agencies to deliver more government services that people can access when and where it suits them.
We apply the same approach to our workforce by providing staff with reasonable flexibility in how, when and where they perform their roles by offering a broad range of flexible arrangements to support employees in their roles to enable them to balance their work and personal lives. Our focus is on what and how we deliver rather than when and where it is delivered.
Our employees have options on:
- where they work—at home, at one of our offices in a common space or at their desk, or a mixture of these places
- when they work—the days, hours and pattern of work (including staggered start and finish times), working part-time, a phased return from leave, or compressed hours
- how their role is structured—formal job-sharing of a full-time role with another employee, or sharing a role such as co-managing a unit, team or project.
Our agency also benefits from these flexible work arrangements, which:
- improve work/life balance
- improve productivity
- allow us to attract and retain the best staff
- help us achieve broader environmental and social outcomes
- improve our ability to accommodate needs of people with disability or injuries.
Diversity and inclusion
We are committed to building and maintaining a diverse workplace that fosters inclusiveness and supports all employees.
In 2017–18, we had three employees (1.3 per cent) who identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and four employees (1.6 per cent) who identified as having a disability.
The National Disability Strategy 2010–2020 sets out a 10-year national policy framework to improve the lives of people with disability, promote participation and create a more inclusive society. High level reports tracking progress against the six outcome areas of the strategy are available at www.dss.gov.au.
Our employees have access to update their own records. Disclosure is not mandatory, but we encourage everyone to provide this information by communicating the benefits of disclosing diversity status. This information informs our policies, programs and adjustments we could implement to ensure inclusiveness for all our employees.
We are developing our first Diversity and Inclusion Strategy to identify our approach to attracting and retaining employees from diverse backgrounds, and establishing an enduring culture of inclusivity. In 2017–18 we appointed a diversity champion to lead, inspire and promote a culture of inclusion and collaboration, to support networks and develop inclusive action plans to demonstrate how we will embed diversity and inclusion in our workplace.
We are proud to be partnering with the APSC’s NextStep Program—the government entry-level program for people with disability. We are looking forward to engaging our first trainee in October 2018 and another in 2019.
Our offices in Canberra and Sydney are accessible for all employees and visitors to our agency.
Our co-lab function hosts an Accessibility Team to support and advise projects and products on all things accessibility and inclusivity. We have also appointed an Accessibility and Inclusivity Capability Lead to assist staff in ensuring services and products are being created that provide an inclusive user experience of everyday Australians when they access government services.
We use our own Digital Service Standard to advise government employees on 13 criteria that must be followed in the design and redesign of public-facing government services. Number 9 is ‘Make it Accessible’ and ensures the service is accessible to all users regardless of their ability and environment.
Supporting employees with carer responsibilities
We fully support employees with carer responsibilities. Carer support, which complies with the requirements of the Carer Recognition Act 2010, includes:
- family-friendly work arrangements such as access to flexible working arrangements and various forms of leave to meet caring responsibilities
- the Employee Assistance Program, which provides employees and their immediate family with free access to professional counselling and support
- non-discriminatory definition of immediate family that recognises family members by blood, marriage, traditional kinship, current or former partner or de facto partner, and those in a genuine domestic or household relationship.
All our SES officers are employed under the terms of individual determinations made under section 24(1) of the Public Service Act 1999, supplemented by a common law contract detailing remuneration. The amount of remuneration our SES officers receive is determined on an individual basis by the CEO in accordance with the SES Remuneration Policy.
In late 2017 we implemented a new group Determination, made under section 24(1) of the Public Service Act 1999. This is an interim instrument to provide for the terms and conditions of employment for all our non-SES employees until our agency negotiates and implements our first Enterprise Agreement.
At the end of 2017–18 we were finalising bargaining for the Enterprise Agreement, which will make sure our entitlements and remuneration remain competitive. During bargaining we have also developed and revised supporting policies and procedures to be fully transparent about entitlements that will apply to our employees once our Enterprise Agreement commences.
In 2017–18 salaries for our employees ranged from $45,197 to $309,000.
|Classification||Minimum ($)||Maximum ($)|
|SES (all bands)*||192,610||309,000|
* The SES salary range is based on the actual salaries of SES employees as at 30 June 2018.
Performance pay and other benefits
We did not pay performance bonuses to any employees in 2017–18. Our agency provides employees with a range of non-salary benefits including additional superannuation and salary packaging options.
We are committed to continued learning and the ongoing development of our employees. Building capability is about having connected, confident, capable and committed learners who interact effectively and grow individually and together. To build capability is to grow our organisation through our people—we want to help our people develop the skills they need to succeed in the workplace.
At the end of the reporting year were in the final stages of developing our Learning and Development Capability Framework. Our framework is based on the 70:20:10 model for learning and development (where 70 per cent of knowledge comes from job-related experiences, 20 per cent from interactions with others, and 10 per cent from formal education). It also focuses on learning styles, learning pathways, and the core capabilities our people need to deliver on our priorities.
In 2017–18 we implemented a learning management system, LearnHub, to support our employees do online training at any time and from anywhere. This includes mandatory compliance modules and courses to develop their professional skills and capabilities. Many of our employees are regularly accessing learning opportunities via LearnHub.
We provide our people with support in the form of leave and financial assistance, under our Study Assistance Program, for formal study that will enhance their skills and provide long-term benefit to our agency and broader public service. During 2017–18, we provided this support to 32 people to undertake study across disciplines including business information systems, business administration, commerce and human resource management.
We also held several in-house training sessions during the year on topics and capabilities including Google Analytics, Agile, the Digital Service Standard and Certificate IV in Procurement and Contracting.
Workplace health and safety
The health and safety of our workforce is of the utmost importance. We implemented several initiatives in 2017–18 to support and manage the health, safety and welfare of our workers. These included:
- Influenza vaccinations—We offered free onsite influenza vaccinations to our entire workforce, including contractors and secondees, before the start of the flu season. The uptake significantly increased, up by 50 per cent on 2017.
- Events and guest speakers—throughout the year we held and participated in activities to raise awareness of and support a number of events such as Mental Health Week, R U OK Day and International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
- For example, Jessica Rowe, TV personality and mental health ambassador, spoke with DTA staff about her mental health journey. She also provided strategies for coping with changes in personal and work life and how we can all work towards removing the stigma of mental health.
- Employee Assistance Program—Our people and their family members have access to free confidential counselling and support services through our Employee Assistance Program provider and various other support organisations.
- Domestic Violence Policy—We are committed to providing support to those who are experiencing family or domestic violence. In 2017–18 we implemented a Domestic Violence Policy detailing the support and services available to ensure our people have the flexibility and support they need to continue to be engaged at work while managing their personal circumstances.
- Early Intervention Policy—We developed this policy with a strong focus on providing injured employees with early support and assistance to accelerate their recovery and reduce the impact on their work and personal lives. Early intervention is also intended to reduce the probability of Comcare claims.
- Automated External Defibrillators—During 2017–18 we installed Automated External Defibrillators in all our office locations, with St John Ambulance providing full training to our first aid officers and other key people.
In addition to these initiatives, we continued to review, develop and expand our existing workplace, health and safety (WHS) activities to meet our agency’s changing needs. This included the work of our WHS Committee, the appointment and training of additional fire wardens and first aid officers, our WHS policies and procedures, work station assessments and providing ergonomic equipment.
During 2017–18 there were 10 hazard and 12 incident notifications (none were ‘notifiable incidents’), one Comcare claim was lodged and subsequently withdrawn and no investigations were conducted or notices given under Part 10 of the WHS Act.
We set an example for other agencies in how we deliver our internal ICT services and products. Standing firm by a ‘cloud first’ approach for corporate systems, we do not own any ICT infrastructure. We use multiple solutions to meet our ICT needs.
Our current and beta agency websites are hosted on cloud.gov.au, a platform that makes it easier for government to build digital services. Our website is managed in accordance with the Archives Act 1983 and follows National Archives of Australia guidance.
Our primary unclassified collaboration suite network is G suite hosted by Google. The suite integrates with a wide range of agile products such as Trello, Asana, Slack, Github and Jira. All these products allow for real-time collaboration across multiple locations.
Our protected network is hosted by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Our staff can access the network anywhere and across the multiple locations.
We are trialling Office 365 to become our primary corporate network, which we have tested as a pilot as part of the development and testing phase. This will provide a single, protected-level collaboration suite for all staff and replace the majority of the G Suite and portions of services provided over the protected network.
We aim to minimise our impact of our day-to-day operations on the environment and support the principles of the sustainable development in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
We employ a range of practical strategies to manage waste and be energy efficient, including:
- sustainable purchasing strategy when procuring high-use office supplies as well as exclusive use of 100 per cent carbon-neutral and recyclable print paper
- signage around our offices to direct employees to recycling points and waste services, with one recycling bin for every 20 staff members
- participation in initiatives such as printer toner cartridge, battery and felt pen recycling programs
- reduced power consumption strategies, including using waterless toilet facilities where appropriate and motion sensor lighting arrangements to reduce lighting after prolonged periods of inactivity.
Our Canberra office recognises the Commonwealth’s Green Lease Schedule guidelines and is in one of Canberra’s top-rated energy efficient buildings, according to the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS).
Freedom of information
We publish a range of information in accordance with the Information Publication Scheme, including requests under the Freedom of Information Act 1982. Details are available on our website: www.dta.gov.au.