Annual Report 2016–173. Report on organisational performance

Management and accountability

Enabling services

Enabling services is made up of multiple teams: people services, finance, ministerial, parliamentary and business services. These teams work together to make sure the DTA is able to support the digital transformation agenda.

Corporate governance

The DTA’s corporate governance framework includes: committees, business planning, risk and fraud management, audit and assurance activities, Accountable Authority Instructions (issued by the CEO), policies and guidelines.

The system of governance and accountability for public resources in the DTA is shaped by the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act), and associated legislative instruments.

Governance committees

The DTA has two formal governance committees, the Executive Group and the Audit Committee. The Executive Group is supported by a number of informal committees that meet regularly to resolve operational issues and provide advice on strategic issues.

Executive group

The Executive Group is the DTA’s key governance body, determining strategic direction and monitoring and managing the overall performance of the organisation.

Audit committee

The Audit Committee reviews and gives independent advice and assurance about the appropriateness of the DTA’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 DTA Senior Executive Service (SES) officer as an internal member. The Audit Committee is directly accountable to the CEO.

Corporate planning and reporting

The DTA has a framework of policies supported by Accountable Authority Instructions that assure conformance to legislative requirements, expectations of probity, accountability and transparency.

The Corporate Plan is the DTA’s overarching planning document. Organisational priorities are identified in the Corporate Plan and agency performance is reported in the performance statement in the Annual Report.

The Executive Group oversees the achievement of the Corporate Plan and the monitoring of the organisation’s risks.

Risk management

Underpinning corporate planning, risk management is also supported by the DTA’s fraud and corruption control plan and internal and external assurance processes.

During 2016–17 the DTA developed and implemented a Risk Management Framework and Policy which provides the basis to identify, prevent or mitigate the negative impact of uncertainty on the achievement of the DTA’s business objectives. 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 mitigate risks across the agency.

Throughout 2017–18, the DTA will continue to develop, implement and evaluate risk systems and processes and further integrate them into business processes and performance monitoring.

Fraud prevention and control

In accordance with the PGPA Act, the DTA has 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.

The DTA’s 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 potential fraud were substantiated by subsequent investigation during the year.

Internal audit

In 2016–17 the Audit Committee was assisted by DTA’s internal audit function to deliver an internal audit program using contracted audit providers.

External scrutiny

During 2016–17 the DTA was one of three agencies included in an independent performance audit (myGov Digital Services Report Number 59 of 2016–17) by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO). In November 2016, an audit was undertaken to assess the effectiveness of the myGov digital service.

The audit identified some areas needing improvement and made two recommendations relating to the DTA. In its report of 27 June 2017, the ANAO recommended that the DTA:

  • implement a targeted strategy to enlist Australian Government services to join myGov
  • establish a performance framework, including key performance indicators, to help assess the extent to which myGov is delivering expected outcomes.

In accordance with these recommendations, the DTA will continue to work closely with the Department of Human Services and member services to expand myGov’s take-up among Australian Government services, and to develop a performance framework for the myGov digital service.

The DTA was not the subject of judicial decisions or decisions of administrative tribunals or the Australian Information Commissioner in 2016–17. Nor was it the subject of any reports by parliamentary committees, the Commonwealth Ombudsman or capability reviews.

During the reporting year, the DTA appeared before the Senate Estimates (Finance and Public Administration Legislation) Committee on three occasions, on 17 October 2016, 27 February 2017 and 23 May 2017.

Ethical standards

DTA employees are obliged to adhere to standards of integrity and behaviour governed by the APS legislative, regulatory and ethical framework. Their 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.

Human resource management

As at 30 June 2017, the DTA had a total of 201 APS employees, including part-time and non-ongoing employees (based on headcount). Most of the DTA’s employees were located in the Canberra office (88 per cent) with the remaining 12 per cent located in the Sydney office.

During 2016–17, the DTA’s workforce increased, primarily because of the transfer of employees from the Department of Finance under machinery-of-government changes implemented in December 2016 and May 2017.

The DTA had an average staffing level (ASL) of 109 during the 2016–17 financial year. A detailed profile of its workforce is provided in Figure 4.

To ensure the DTA has the ability to attract and retain high-calibre candidates in a very competitive environment, the agency:

  • provides significant workplace flexibility to enable employees to balance their work and personal commitments
  • provides employees with the ability to improve understanding and experience in a whole-of-government environment
  • offers competitive remuneration.

As a new agency, significant work was undertaken throughout 2016–17 to develop and implement strategic human resource management frameworks, policies and other requirements.

Workforce planning, recruitment, retention and turnover

The DTA uses 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 2016–17, the DTA had an employee turnover rate of 37 per cent.

The increase in the DTA’s overall staffing level and employee turnover in 2016–17 resulted in a significant increase in recruitment activity for both ongoing and non-ongoing roles. Additionally, the DTA had a substantial contingent workforce with labour hire contractors engaged for their technical or specialist skills and capabilities.

In 2016–17 the DTA took a strategic approach to recruiting employees with the right balance of technical skills and capability along with the leadership qualities to enable the DTA to successfully deliver on its priorities.

Work started in 2016–17 to develop a DTA workforce plan, with a focus on identifying key roles and capabilities. Once complete, the plan will provide a strategic basis for recruitment, capability development and succession planning in the forward years to ensure that the DTA maintains a highly capable workforce.

Flexible working arrangements

The DTA is focused on delivering outcomes to provide Australians with better access to government services via digital channels, enabling them to access services from anywhere and at times that suit them. The DTA applies the same approach to its workforce by providing staff with reasonable flexibility in how, when and where they perform their roles. This allows staff to balance their work, personal commitments and interests.

This flexibility is assisted by:

  • extensive mobile technology, including access to video conferencing from anywhere
  • access to flexible working hours such as part-time, job sharing and compressed hours
  • various forms of leave that can be accessed flexibly.
Staffing statistics – workforce profile as at 30 June 2017








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Employment arrangements

All DTA 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 received by SES officers in the DTA is determined on an individual basis by the Chief Executive Officer.

All DTA non-SES employees’ terms and conditions of employment are provided in DTO Determination 2015/01 (non-SES), a group determination made under section 24(1) of the Public Service Act 1999.

The DTO Determination was developed and implemented as an interim instrument to provide for the terms and conditions of employment for non-SES employees until the DTA negotiates and implements an enterprise agreement for the new agency.

Details the salary ranges applying to all DTA employees in 2016–17


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SES (all bands)*



* The SES salary range is based on the actual salaries of SES employees of the DTA as at 30 June 2017

Performance pay

The DTA did not pay performance bonuses to any employees in 2016–17.

Capability development

The DTA is committed to the personal and professional development of all staff. During 2016–17, the DTA provided employees with a variety of learning and development opportunities based on the 70:20:10 Model for Learning and Development. This follows the formula that people obtain 70 per cent of their knowledge from on-the-job experiences, 20 per cent from interactions with others, and 10 per cent from formal education.

Development opportunities included formal training and study, networking events and conferences, secondments, participating in working groups and taskforces and a range of in-house delivered training and information-sharing sessions.

In early 2017, the Deputy Australian Public Service Commissioner presented a session to all DTA staff on applying the APS Values, Code of Conduct and Employment Principles.

During 2016–17, the DTA made significant progress on the implementation of an online learning management system. The system will provide online compliance training and induction on a broad variety of subject areas including fraud, security, records management, APS values and work health and safety. Additionally, the system will provide development training spanning categories such as management, leadership and communications. The system is expected to be rolled out to all DTA employees in the second half of 2017.

Work health and safety

The DTA is committed to providing a safe workplace for all employees. The DTA recognises the importance of its legislative obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 to prevent work-related injury and illness.

As part of its commitment to providing a safe working environment, the DTA has:

  • developed and implemented work health and safety policies, procedures and guidance material
  • promoted the use of counselling for staff and their immediate family members through the employee assistance program
  • established a Health and Safety Committee and appointed health and safety representatives following a review of representative requirements for the expanded DTA
  • provided workstation assessments and ergonomically appropriate workstation equipment, including sit–stand desks and dual monitors
  • provided voluntary influenza vaccinations.

During 2016–17, there were no notifiable incidents that required reporting to Comcare, no directions or notices given to the DTA, and no work health and safety investigations. The DTA had one submitted but not determined workers compensation claim active as at 30 June 2017.

Supporting employees with carer responsibilities

The DTA fully supports 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 DTA’s Employee Assistance Program, which provides employees and their immediate family with free access to professional counselling and support services
  • 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.

Disability and Indigenous reporting

The DTA is committed to a diverse workforce and provides reasonable adjustment and support to employees with a disability. Both the Sydney and Canberra offices are accessible for employees and visitors.

In 2016–17 the DTA had one employee who identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. While the DTA has captured information from employees, it is not mandated and employees have not had self-service access to the HR system to enable them to amend or update their records.

As a new agency, the DTA has been developing processes and policies to support the attraction and retention of persons with disability or persons who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders. These processes will include regular communication with employees to encourage disclosure.

Technology strategy

The DTA uses multiple solutions to meet its ICT needs. Standing firm by a ‘cloud first mentality’ for corporate systems, the agency does not own any ICT infrastructure.

The DTA website is hosted on, the platform being developed to make it easier for government to build digital services. The website saves time and effort by managing infrastructure, so teams can focus on building a service.

The website is managed in accordance with the Archives Act 1983 and following the National Archives of Australia guidance. With every change to the site tracked in version control, the DTA is able to go back and rebuild the site as it was at any point in time.

The DTA’s primary ‘unclassified’ network is hosted by Google. The suite integrates with a wide range of agile products such as Trello, Slack, Github and Jira. All these products allow for real time collaboration across multiple locations.

The DTA’s protected network is hosted by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. DTA staff are able to access the network via Direct Access, used anywhere and across the multiple locations of the DTA.