1001.0 - Australian Bureau of Statistics - Annual Report, 2017-18  
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MANAGEMENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES

INTRODUCTION

The ABS human resource (HR) management function is critical in delivering ABS People and Culture Transformation Goals. Our people ensure we transform the ABS through new statistical infrastructure, systems, processes and culture to better meet Australia’s need for quality information to inform important decisions.

As at 30 June 2018, there were 2,713 operative and inoperative staff (including 37 unpaid inoperative staff) employed at the ABS under the Public Service Act 1999: 1,284 males and 1,429 females.

There were also 546 interviewers employed under the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975 to assist with data collection under Regulation 7 of the Census and Statistics Regulation 2016, and appointed as authorised officers under Section 16 of the Census and Statistics Act 1905.

Figure 6.1 and Tables 6.1, 6.2 and 6.3 show the profile of ABS staff by employment classification and gender, and by location and type of employment for operative and paid inoperative staff. Interviewers employed under the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975 and unpaid inoperative staff are excluded.

FIGURE 6.1: TOTAL EMPLOYEES BY CLASSIFICATION AND GENDER, 30 JUNE 2018 (a) (b) (c)
Figure 6.1 shows the total ABS employees by classification and gender as at 30 June 2018.

(a) Includes operative and paid inoperative, ongoing and non-ongoing staff employed under the Public Service Act 1999.
(b) Excludes the Australian Statistician (statutory appointment).
(c) Does not include Interviewers.

TABLE 6.1: TOTAL EMPLOYEES BY CLASSIFICATION, GENDER AND EMPLOYMENT TYPE, AT 30 JUNE 2017 & 2018 (a) (b) (c)

As at 30 June 2017
As at 30 June 2018
OngoingNon-OngoingOngoingNon-ongoing

ClassificationFemaleMaleFemale MaleTotal FemaleMaleFemaleMale Total

Cadet
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Graduate
21
21
0
0
42
12
17
0
0
29
APS1
2
0
21
16
39
0
0
0
0
0
APS2
1
3
45
29
78
1
2
77
47
127
APS3
21
17
30
35
103
19
14
38
28
99
APS4
230
217
67
66
580
208
210
88
86
592
APS5
286
200
21
17
524
278
191
22
19
510
APS6
367
332
17
35
751
339
300
11
27
677
EXEC1
217
221
9
11
458
227
226
4
7
464
EXEC2
60
85
3
7
155
49
76
4
4
133
SES
22
20
0
3
45
22
21
0
2
45

Total
1227
1116
213
219
2775
1155
1057
244
220
2676

(a) Includes operative and paid inoperative, ongoing and non-ongoing staff employed under the Public Service Act 1999.
(b) Excludes the Australian Statistician (statutory appointment).
(c) Does not include Interviewers.

TABLE 6.2: TOTAL EMPLOYEES BY OFFICE LOCATION, EMPLOYMENT TYPE AND STATUS, AT 30 JUNE 2017 & 2018 (a) (b) (c)

As at 30 June 2017
As at 30 June 2018

OngoingNon-OngoingOngoingNon-ongoing

Full-timePart-timeFull-time Part-timeTotal Full-timePart-timeFull-timePart-timeTotal

Adelaide
135
55
15
4
209
132
46
15
2
195
Brisbane
147
35
4
1
187
134
31
11
3
179
Canberra
954
160
117
40
1271
867
155
83
21
1126
Dandenong
5
0
0
0
5
3
0
2
8
13
Darwin
15
5
0
0
20
16
2
0
0
18
Geelong
126
5
48
94
273
158
10
80
130
378
Hobart
85
23
7
5
120
72
25
4
0
101
Melbourne
241
55
30
8
334
241
56
20
7
324
Perth
78
30
26
6
140
75
26
59
7
167
Sydney
156
33
8
19
216
136
27
11
1
175

Total
1942
401
255
177
2775
1834
378
285
179
2676

(a) Includes operative and paid inoperative, ongoing and non-ongoing staff employed under the Public Service Act 1999.
(b) Excludes the Australian Statistician (statutory appointment).
(c) Does not include Interviewers.

Table 6.3 indicates there were 20 women in the ABS Senior Executive Service (SES) at 30 June 2018, representing 50.0% of the total number of ongoing operative SES officers in the ABS. This number differs from Table 6.1 as it does not include outposted officers nor non-ongoing officers.

TABLE 6.3: NUMBER OF ABS ONGOING OPERATIVE SENIOR EXECUTIVE STAFF (SES) BY LEVEL, AT 30 JUNE EACH YEAR (a) (b)

SES Level
Sex

Year (at 30 June)(b)
1
2
3
Male
Female
Total

2008
33
6
3
27
15
42
2009
26
7
3
26
10
36
2010
27
6
4
29
8
37
2011
26
7
4
26
11
37
2012
23
7
4
24
10
34
2013
28
8
4
30
10
40
2014
29
7
3
30
9
39
2015
26
6
2
26
8
34
2016
29
9
3
22
19
41
2017
30
9
2
20
21
41
2018
29
8
3
20
20
40

(a) Includes only operative, substantive SES officers as at 30 June 2018. Excludes the Australian Statistician, who is a statutory office holder appointed under the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975, and SES officers outposted or seconded to another department.
(b) Figures are a point in time (i.e. on the 30th of June for each year).

ABS WORKFORCE STRATEGY 2015–2019

The ABS Workforce Strategy 2015–2019 provides a five-year strategic outlook for transforming our workforce and driving high performance. It complements the ABS Corporate Plan, and focuses exclusively on the workforce (our people and culture) elements of transformation.

The four high level strategies outlined in the ABS Workforce Strategy 2015–2019 are:
    • reshaping our workforce capability

    • aligning our staffing profile and structure to a rationalised and responsive Forward Work Program

    • building a high-performing culture and improving our diversity

    • improving our leadership to drive a high-performing culture.


The ABS Workforce Strategy 2015–2019 is supported by annual ABS People and Culture Action Plans which set out the national initiatives and actions to implement these strategies.

ABS WORKFORCE PLANNING

The ABS uses workforce planning to anticipate and respond appropriately to both internal and external changes to the ABS organisational environment. The ABS takes a strategic approach to workforce development, positioning human resource development to encompass a range of HR functions – such as talent management, succession planning, employee engagement, organisational and cultural change. These are in addition to the more traditional workforce development functions such as training and development, career development, leadership development, graduate programs and technical and other training.

The ABS has also initiated development and implementation of operational workforce plans that focus on identifying and planning to address the specific operational workforce requirements of each part of the business. These plans act as a control mechanism to address systemic statistical risks related to human resources across the ABS. The operational plans acknowledge the unique requirements and challenges facing the workforce across the ABS to compile and report key economic and social indicators in support of national decision making and to inform policy development.

A number of ABS staff have been displaced since 2016 and have been assigned to a Business Centre within the ABS where they are supported with development opportunities, priority access to suitable temporary and ongoing vacancies and deployed to funded and unfunded work to maintain their skills and continue to contribute meaningfully. The ABS has worked hard to secure placement (permanent or temporary, inside the ABS and across the Australian Public Service (APS)) for all displaced staff. In February 2018, the Australian Statistician made the difficult decision to invoke the Managing Excess Staffing provisions of the ABS Enterprise Agreement 2016 for displaced staff in the ABS Business Centre. Of the 96 employees declared potentially excess to requirements, as of 30 June 2018, 23 remained temporarily in the Business Centre, with others having been placed in ongoing roles or choosing to leave the ABS. The ABS would like to acknowledge the many agencies across the APS, state and territory governments and in the private sector, who engaged with us to support the placement and assistance to displaced staff.

ABS CULTURAL CHANGE PROGRAMS

The ABS is a trusted, highly respected and capable national statistical organisation. Our people rise to challenges, demonstrate high standards of professionalism and technical expertise, and maintain the ABS’s reputation for excellence. The ABS also has a supportive workplace culture that we strive to retain.

Being high performing not only relies on embracing new technology and ways of working, but also taking deliberate steps to continue to engage, empower and motivate our people.

While drawing upon the positive aspects of the ABS culture, we also need to respond to the emerging information needs of our customers, changing expectations of partners and data providers, and the increased volume, complexity and pace that characterise the world of data we now must navigate to retain our influence and achieve our purpose.

The ABS transformation goals explicitly include People and Culture. It is our aspiration to “have a highly diverse, expert, motivated and agile workforce” that is ”high performing, aligned, engaged, innovative and accountable”.

In 2017–18 the Australian Statistician drove leader-led culture change through a range of elements and activities, strengthening several high performance behaviours identified in benchmark organisational culture research undertaken the previous year. These activities included:
    • the adoption of a practical definition of “culture”

    • the development of a statement of cultural intent, “ABS: Our Culture 2018–21”

    • leadership coaching for SES to understand each individual’s impact on organisational culture and support new behaviours to lead culture change

    • divisional culture action sessions with staff to identify and act on data-driven local culture change initiatives

    • the first ever SES/Director leadership summit, with a theme of customers, problem-solving and accountability

    • identification of existing successful high performance manager and team leader routines used in the ABS, to be shared and embraced by all

    • embedding of high performance behaviours, aligned with our cultural aspirations, in the ABS’s new job design model.


Leaders have particular responsibility to demonstrate and encourage behaviour that reinforces our cultural intent at all times. ABS SES officers and Directors have committed to uphold this responsibility and embody behaviours that lead to high performance in individuals and teams. The success of the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey is due in large part to the embodiment of customer-focused, collaborative, accountable, agile and innovative behaviours across our project team.

ABS culture will continue to develop and respond to findings of recent external reviews and feedback from our staff, stakeholders and customers.

Evaluation of the ABS culture change program’s effectiveness will occur in 2018–19 using results from the 2018 APS Employee Census and other measures.

WORKPLACE DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION IN THE ABS

The ABS is committed to creating and providing a workplace that is inclusive, and benefits from the diverse skills, perspectives and experiences of our employees, who reflect the communities we serve.

The ABS Workforce Strategy 2015–2019 recognises that our people are the key to fulfilling the ABS’s purpose and successfully transforming our organisation. The ABS has recently developed its first Inclusion and Diversity Strategy which articulates the ABS’s commitment to an inclusive, diverse and representative workforce, and its launch is planned for the second half of 2018.

Fostering inclusiveness

To support our commitment to an inclusive and diverse organisation the ABS has:
    • provided support for people with disability via reasonable workplace adjustments (RWA) including physical, technological and flexible options

    • co-developed the new ABS Reconciliation Action Plan 2018–2021 (RAP) with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employee network (Youmpla). The RAP is due for release in the latter half of 2018

    • acquired the SBS Cultural Competence Program (CCP) to raise cultural awareness, understanding and capability across the organisation

    • participated in the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) to understand the overall impact of inclusion initiatives on the organisational culture for both identifying and non-identifying LGBTI+ employees. The ABS’s result increased by 14 base points equating to a 50% improvement on the previous year’s results

    • increased our employee networks from two to six with the creation of the ABS Pride Network, Leveraging Asperger’s and Autism Network, Gender Equity Network, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Network in addition to our existing Disability and Carers’ Network and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Network (Youmpla)

    • increased the number of Senior Executives who are diversity champions to ten to provide strong support to our diverse employee networks

    • brought together members of our Youmpla employee network on the 10th anniversary of the National Apology for a face-to-face workshop focused on enhancing support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees

    • released a Disability and Carers’ Resources document which provides information for employees on resources available internally and externally

    • released the Inclusion and Diversity Channel which provides on-demand videos of inclusion and diversity activities that have been presented in the ABS.


The Australian Statistician, David Kalisch, continued to drive inclusion and diversity initiatives in his role as a Male Champion of Change through:
    • release of Flex Works – which is a commitment to a default ‘yes’ to reasonable requests from employees to work flexibly, unless there is a compelling and justifiable business reason not to. This initiative won the ABS the 2018 Federal Government Champion Flexible Working Award

    • signing up to the Closing the Gender Pay Gap Report 2017 and undertaking an ABS gender pay audit, using the Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s (WGEA) industry standard for measuring gender pay gaps. The ABS wide pay gap was 3.2% in December 2017 compared with 8.6% for the APS for 2015–16 (the most recent figure available) and a national workforce estimate of around 15% for 2017.


ABS is very proud of Adelaide-based employee, Justin Lokhorst, who won an individual Australian Public Service Diversity and Gender Equality Award for his personal contribution to promoting diversity and inclusion.

The Australian Human Rights Commission’s Disability Discrimination Commissioner recognised our engagement with the disability sector to ensure adoption of best practice support and accessibility in the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey (AMLPS).

Recruiting for a diverse workforce

The ABS has continued to identify opportunities to recruit and attract a diverse workforce including:
    • participating in affirmative measure recruitment programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples including APS Indigenous Graduate program, Indigenous Australian Government Development Program (IAGDP), Indigenous Apprentice Program, Australian Government Indigenous Lateral Entry Program (AGILE) and positions with the ABS advertised as affirmative measures (for example, ABS Graduate Program)

    • participating in the APS GradAccess Program for graduates with a disability

    • partnering with JobAccess to increase employment opportunities for people with a disability

    • participating in the ‘Dandelion 2’ program which sources and assesses autistic talent for the APS, to identify suitable candidates for the ABS from the second half of 2018

    • utilising the APS RecruitAbility scheme for all vacancies

    • updating the inclusion and diversity material on the ABS website Careers Pages.


In our 2018 graduate intake, 3% of graduates identified with a disability, and 42% were female.

ABS workforce diversity profile

As at 30 June 2018, staff who identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples represented 0.8% of the total number of staff (office-based staff and interviewers) in the ABS (excluding unpaid inoperative staff). The APS Employee Census for 2018 identified 1.0% of staff who identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and we continue to support staff to willingly identify through the payroll system.

TABLE 6.4: NUMBER OF ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLES EMPLOYED IN THE ABS, 2017-18 (a)

30 June 2017
30 June 2018

Ongoing employees
22
23
Non-ongoing employees
4
2
Ongoing Interviewers
n/a
1
Non-ongoing Interviewers
n/a
0

Total
26
26

(a) Includes operative and paid inoperative staff as at 30 June 2018.
n/a not available – data not recorded in HR system in 2016–17.

According to data from the ABS HR systems as at 30 June 2018, staff who identified as having disability represented 2.0% of the total number of staff (office-based staff and interviewers) in the ABS (excluding unpaid inoperative staff). The APS Employee Census for 2018 identified 7.0% of staff who have a disability and we continue to encourage and support staff to willingly identify through the payroll system.

TABLE 6.5: NUMBER OF STAFF IDENTIFYING AS HAVING DISABILITY EMPLOYED IN THE ABS, 2017-18 (a)

30 June 2017
30 June 2018

Ongoing employees
65
59
Non-ongoing employees
3
2
Ongoing Interviewers
n/a
4
Non-ongoing Interviewers
n/a
0

Total
68
65

a) Includes operative and paid inoperative staff as at 30 June 2018.
n/a not available – data not recorded in HR system in 2016–17.

The ABS is committed to achieving gender diversity at all levels. Just over half (54.8%) of the workforce is female.

TABLE 6.6: TOTAL EMPLOYEES (INCLUDING INTERVIEWERS) BY LEVEL AND GENDER AS AT 30 JUNE 2018 (a) (b)

Classification
Female
Male
Total

Cadet
0
0
0
Graduate
12
17
29
APS1
0
0
0
APS2
78
49
127
APS3
57
42
99
APS4
296
296
592
APS5
300
210
510
APS6
350
327
677
EXEC1
231
233
464
EXEC2
53
80
133
SES
22
23
45

Interviewers
365
179
544

Total
1764
1456
3220

(a) Includes operative and paid inoperative, ongoing and non-ongoing staff and SES staff on secondment to other agencies.
(b) Excludes the Australian Statistician (statutory appointment).

TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT

In line with the ABS Workforce Strategy 2015–2019 and the ABS People and Culture Action Plan 2017 & 2018, the ABS is reshaping its workforce capability to ensure we have the right people with the right skills to achieve transformation, while continuing to deliver high quality official statistics. Training statistics from 2007–08 to 2017–18 are presented in Table 6.7.

Key achievements in 2017–18
    • Thirty-one graduates commenced the 2018 ABS Graduate Development Program. This program supports graduates to quickly build professional capability and now includes a seminar series and a graduate coaching program. The ABS also made it into the Top 100 Graduate Employers list produced by the GradAustralia Student Survey with a ranking of 17th.

    • The first iteration of the Enterprise Learning Model (ELM) was developed, including the articulation of high performing behaviours for the future ABS. These are the observable characteristics that inform the way we work and interact with each other, and will position the ABS as a credible, trusted and collaborative partner, and a high performing organisation. The ELM will continue to evolve over the coming 12 months and is intended to complement ABS job design work.

    • New technology and new business processes will lead to increased efficiency across the ABS and initiate the need to review the roles people play within their teams to contribute to ABS success. The ABS has invested in the development of a new job design framework against which the workforce implications of the new technologies can be tested. New statistical roles described will be adopted by the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) to bolster the APS job family framework in the area of data analytics.

    • A review of the existing Development and Performance Framework has commenced to ensure desired behaviours are reinforced at the individual level and that our people are able to benefit from a contemporary approach to defining and supporting their valuable contribution to the achievement of the ABS purpose

    • Collaborative partnerships between the National Learning and Capability Development section and Statistical Business Transformation (SBT) Program have resulted in the development of a suite of artefacts that can be used to showcase the new SBT Program products and systems.

    • Coaching conversations and skills have been a key element across our development programs at all levels. Executive Coaching and mentoring is available for all EL/SES staff with 17 in-house coaches being trained.

    • Corporate and leadership capability development continues to be a priority for the ABS. In March 2018, 225 ABS leaders came together for the inaugural SES/EL2 Summit in Canberra. With the theme of ‘Leadership for the future – Customers, Problem Solving and Accountability’, the Summit represented an opportunity for the expanded ABS leadership team to consider issues critical to the ongoing success of the ABS, the ABS transformation program and beyond. Key themes arising from the Summit are guiding future development of this cohort and supporting ABS cultural change.

    • The Executive Capability Development seminar series was launched as a new development program for the ABS EL cohort. The program consists of monthly seminars led by SES or external speakers, broadcast to all ABS locations and recorded for wider subsequent dissemination and on-demand viewing.

    • The Management Fundamentals: People and Performance Program was developed and delivered to 328 staff across eight locations. This program is aimed at supporting managers to build high performing teams through effective people and performance management. Ninety-eight per cent evaluated the program as being relevant to their workplace and 93 per cent said their skills, knowledge and confidence had improved.

    • The second program in this series, Management Fundamentals: Leading Teams Through Change was developed and delivered to 157 staff across six locations and is focused on building the capability of team leaders to support and lead through periods of change. Ninety-six per cent evaluated the program as being relevant to their workplace and 94 per cent said their skills, knowledge and confidence had improved.

    • Agile Essentials workshops were provided to 244 staff members, addressing fundamental principles and practices of Agile, including Scrum, Lean and Kanban. Ninety-one per cent evaluated the program as being relevant to their workplace and 87 per cent said their skills and knowledge had improved.


TABLE 6.7: ABS EMPLOYEE TRAINING DAYS (a)

Total ABS operative staff (b)
Attendance days
Average training days

2007-08
2733
9907
3.6
2008-09
2489
6179
2.5
2009-10
2593
7397
2.9
2010-11(c)
3416
12054
3.5
2011-12
3213
15541
4.8
2012-13
2919(d)
7547(e)
2.6
2013-14
2723(d)
5935
2.2
2014-15
2750(d)
2970(f)
1.1(d)
2015-16(c)
3446
7689
2.2(g)
2016-17
2716
4730(h)
1.7
2017-18
2614
3079(i)
1.2

(a) Excludes on the job and Census Data Processing (DPC) training and excludes the Australian Statistician (statutory appointment).
(b) Comprises full time and part time operative staff headcount (excluding interviewers).
(c) Increase due to Census Management Unit operations.
(d) Minor correction to original published numbers.
(e) Decrease partly due to move to e-learning approaches.
(f) Significant decrease in face-to-face sessions with more emphasis on e-learn/blended learning approaches.
(g) Rise in average training days due to significant graduate intake, mandatory e-learning modules for new recruits and new telework arrangements, availability of new e-learning modules for self-directed learning, and focus on skills for transformation such as Agile Methodology and EL1 orientation.
(h) A reduction from previous year due to lower staffing levels, limited face-to-face delivery and use of e-learning.
(i) Decrease in attendance days on the previous financial year driven by Census (including field staff) training and onboarding undertaken in 2016–17.

RECRUITMENT

The efficiency and effectiveness of the ABS depends on attracting and retaining the right people.

Key achievements in 2017–18

In 2017–18 ABS recruitment processes included recruitment of:
    • around 150 temporary staff for the AMLPS

    • 31 graduates, who commenced the Graduate Development Program in February 2018

    • 80 promotions and ongoing engagements in specialist areas such as economics, methodology and ICT

    • 65 promotions and ongoing engagements in our National Data Acquisition Centre in Geelong

    • 264 ongoing and non-ongoing Field Interviewers across Australia.


Initiatives in recruitment practices have included using agile techniques for the recruitment of temporary staff for the AMLPS, co-designing selection processes with panels to best meet their needs and increasing the use of video interviewing to improve timeliness and help assess candidate suitability.


WORKPLACE HEALTH AND SAFETY

The ABS is committed to fostering a proactive and collaborative approach to the management of work health, safety and wellbeing in the workplace. Specialist teams of work health and safety (WHS) advisors and rehabilitation specialists focus on wellbeing at work, preventing injury and illness, early intervention if injury or illness occurs and rehabilitation and return to work programs.

The ABS People Committee is the senior executive forum with responsibility for oversight of the ABS WHS and Rehabilitation Management Systems.

Key achievements in 2017–18:
    • significant reduction in injuries and notifiable incidents and significant improvements in case management of rehabilitation cases leading to a $1 million reduction in ComCare costs

    • designing and implementing safe work practices for the AMLPS

    • the ‘Steptember’ walking challenge

    • provision of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), including wellbeing seminars presented by Benestar

    • program of support for staff in roles impacted by significant change, including wellbeing checks and onsite counselling services

    • support for a range of health and safety initiatives including Mental Health Week, RUOK Day, World Day for Safety and Health at Work, Safe Work Month, and National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence

    • delivery of the flu vaccination program to 1,241 office-based staff.


Consultation and communication

The ABS has one national, one field-based and eight site-based Health and Safety Committees. Health and Safety Committees are required to meet at least once every three months and in 2017–18 achieved this requirement.

Revised and new WHS policies and guidelines on the following topics were released in 2017–18, following consultation with staff and their representatives:
    • WHS Legislative Compliance Policy and Guideline

    • Safety Investigation Management Policy and Guideline.


Training

WHS modules are available to all staff via the ABS e-learning system. In 2017–18:
    • 354 staff completed the Introduction to WHS module

    • 42 staff completed the WHS Risk Management module.


In the ABS there are a number of specific WHS roles filled by trained staff:
    • First Aid Officers must complete an accredited First Aid training course initially and attend a refresher course every 12 months. 45 staff undertook first aid training in 2017–18.

    • Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) have the option of completing a five-day training course upon commencement in the role, and the option of attending a one-day refresher course every 12 months. 23 staff undertook HSR training in 2017–18.

    • Wardens are required to attend skills retention training every six months. In addition, wardens are required to participate in a trial evacuation at least once annually. 109 staff undertook fire warden training in 2017–18.


Provisional Improvement Notices

No Provisional Improvement Notices (PINs) were issued to the ABS during 2017–18.

Comcare investigations and inspections

No notices were issued by Comcare under Part 10 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 during 2017–18.

The ABS has worked collaboratively with Comcare on implementing improved practices to reduce the risk of workplace injury and to reduce workers’ compensation claim numbers and duration. The ABS has attended Comcare WHS Forums and training throughout the year.

Comcare premium

The ABS Comcare premium rate for 2017–18 was 1.59% of total salary (excluding GST).

TABLE 6.8: COMCARE WORKERS' COMPENSATION PREMIUM RATE

2014-15
2015-16
2016-17
2017-18

ABS premium rate
2.46
2.21
2.2
1.59
Overall scheme premium rate
1.93
1.85
1.72
1.23


Incidents and investigations

Under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, the ABS is required to report all ‘notifiable incidents’ which arise from undertaking the business of the ABS. Notifiable incidents include the death of a person, serious injury or illness, or a dangerous incident. During 2017–18, there was one notifiable incident reported to Comcare.

Workplace injuries and illnesses

The top three mechanisms of incident resulting in injury or illness reported in the ABS during 2017–18 were ‘body stressing’ (116 incidents), ‘mental stress’ (99 incidents), and ‘falls, trips and slips’ (63 incidents). In addition, there were 184 safety incidents reported that resulted in no injury or only damage to property.

FIGURE 6.2: NUMBER OF INJURIES AND ILLNESS REPORTED BY MECHANISM OF INCIDENT, 2016–17 AND 2017–18 — ABS OPERATIONS (EXCLUDING CENSUS)
Figure 6.2 compares  the number of injuries and illnesses reported by ABS staff by mechanism of the incident between 2016-17 and 2017-18


Rehabilitation and workers’ compensation

ABS Rehabilitation Case Managers manage the impact of injury, illness and disease in employees across all areas of the organisation. Early intervention (EI) and proactive case management are key services provided to reduce the severity, duration and cost of workplace illness and injury to the organisation and individuals. Our Rehabilitation Case Managers deliver person-centred interventions to a high standard reinforced by an in-depth working knowledge of relevant provisions under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988, the Public Service Act 1999, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Enterprise Agreements, and ABS Corporate Work Health & Safety Manuals.

The ABS had five claims for workers’ compensation accepted by Comcare with a date of injury occurring in the 2017–18 financial year. An additional four compensation claims were submitted by ABS employees and subsequently disallowed by Comcare. There are three claims yet to be determined by Comcare which may fall within the 2017–18 financial year.

TABLE 6.9: ACCEPTED ABS COMPENSABLE CLAIMS BY DATE OF INJURY, 2014–15 TO 2017–18 (a)

Date of injury
Office-based Staff
ABS Interviewers
Census
Total

2014-15
14
10
4
28
2015-16
10
5
1
16
2016-17
11
9
19
39
2017-18
2
3
0
5

Total
37
27
24
88

(a) When comparing recent periods with previous years’ data, it should be noted that the data on the current period is subject to the late submission of claims.

The ABS Rehabilitation Management System (RMS) is a framework of processes and procedures used to ensure that the ABS can achieve its rehabilitation objectives, recognise its compliance requirements and deliver continuous improvement. Work on corrective action is forward planned under a quality management system approach.

The invoiced ABS premium costs for 2018–19 are $3,252,548 (excluding GST) compared to $4,453,050 for 2017–18, a significant saving of $1.2 million reflecting improved claims management and increased emphasis on early intervention.

Figures 6.3, 6.4 and 6.5 show the number of accepted claims by mechanism of incident. Current priorities include addressing long-term and high-cost claims in partnership with the insurer (Comcare), and promoting earlier identification for early intervention through improved strategic engagement and education activity.

FIGURE 6.3: ACCEPTED ABS OFFICE-BASED CLAIMS BY MECHANISM OF INCIDENT 2014–15 TO 2017–18
Figure 6.3 compares the accepted ABS Office based claims by mechanism of incident between years 2014-15 through to 2017-18

FIGURE 6.4: ACCEPTED ABS INTERVIEWER CLAIMS BY MECHANISM OF INCIDENT 2014–15 TO 2017–18
Figure 6.4 compares the accepted ABS Interviewer based claims by mechanism of incident between years 2014-15 through to 2017-18

FIGURE 6.5: CENSUS ACCEPTED CLAIMS BY MECHANISM OF INCIDENT 2014–15 TO 2017–18
Figure 6.5 compares the accepted Census based claims by mechanism of incident between years 2014-15 through to 2017-18


Attendance management

In 2017–18, the average number of days of unscheduled absence per full-time equivalent (FTE) was 12.3 days (Table 6.10). In general, the slight increase from 2016–17 reflects a number of influences including 2017’s severe flu season, high pressure work at various times during the year (e.g. AMLPS) and the impact of various workplace changes.

TABLE 6.10: UNSCHEDULED ABSENCE: DAYS PER FTE (a) (b)

2015-16
2016-17
2017-18

ABS
12.1
11.8
12.3
Australian Government (Large Agency) median
12.5
12.3
n/a(c)

(a) Excludes interviewers, non-ongoing Census Data Processing Centre staff, and Census field staff.
(b) Totals do not include workers compensation.
(c) The Australian Government (Large Agency) median for 2017–18 was not available at the time of preparing this report.

Employee Assistance Program utilisation

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) utilisation rate for ABS office-based staff during 2017–18 was 9.8% compared with 10.2% in 2016–17. The EAP utilisation rate for ABS interviewer staff was 7.8% in 2017–18, compared with 8.2% in 2016–17.

CONSULTATION IN THE ABS

The ABS is committed to effective workplace relations that value communication, cooperation and effective consultation with employees and their chosen representatives, including union representatives, about matters that affect their workplace.

The ABS consultative framework comprises the following elements:
    • line managers and ABS leaders

    • consultative forums

    • the National Forum

    • employee representatives.


The National Forum generally meets twice a year to communicate and consult on significant national issues affecting the ABS workplace. The National Forum met in September 2017 and April 2018 to discuss flexible working, ABS transformation, and future priorities. The ABS put significant effort into increasing local level (i.e. within sections, Branches) consultation conversations during this financial year. The ABS HR team meets regularly with the CPSU to ensure ongoing consultation, engagement and positive relationships.

EMPLOYMENT ARRANGEMENTS

The ABS has a number of industrial instruments in place to cover the employment arrangements for various ABS workforces. The instruments that apply to employees engaged under the Public Service Act 1999 are:
    • the Australian Bureau of Statistics Enterprise Agreement 2016 which covers all ABS employees employed under the Public Service Act 1999, except Senior Executive Service employees

    • individual Determinations under section 24(1) of the Public Service Act 1999 which cover Senior Executive Service employees.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics Interviewers Enterprise Agreement 2017 is the employment instrument that applies to those engaged under the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975 in accordance with the Census and Statistics Regulation 2016 and covers field-based ABS Interviewers.

Details of the number of employees covered by an Enterprise Agreement, Individual Flexibility Arrangement, or a Determination under s. 24(1) of the Public Service Act 1999 as at 30 June 2018 are as follows:

    • ABS employees covered by the Australian Bureau of Statistics Enterprise Agreement 2016: 2665 (all APS & EL staff)

    • ABS employees covered by the Australian Bureau of Statistics Interviewers Enterprise Agreement 2017: 546

    • Individual Flexibility Arrangements made under the Australian Bureau of Statistics Enterprise Agreement 2016: 11

    • SES employees covered by s. 24(1) Determination (all SES who were employed during the 2017–18 financial year): 50.


ABS salary arrangements

The ABS Enterprise Agreement 2016 outlines the salary arrangements for non-SES ABS employees employed under the Public Service Act 1999 for the period of 3 June 2016 to 2 June 2019. A general salary increase of 1% was effective from 3 June 2018. Table 6.11 shows the salary ranges for ABS employees.

TABLE 6.11: SALARY RANGES BY CLASSIFICATION AS AT 30 JUNE 2018

Classification
Minimum ($)
Maximum ($)

Australian Public Service (APS) level
APS1
42,862
48,831
APS2
49,014
55,267
APS3
55,838
62,943
APS4
62,996
70,858
APS5
70,862
79,596
APS6
79,604
89,898

Executive Officer (EL1) level
EL1
97,800
113,005
EL2
122,095
146,884*

Senior Executive Service (SES) level (effective from 11 January 2018)
SES Band 1
164,832
200,889
SES Band 2
206,040
252,399
SES Band 3
257,550
n/a (a)

*Note – EL2 pay point 4 only accessible as detailed in clauses 14.1 and 14.2 of the ABS Enterprise Agreement 2016
(a) Not applicable (as there is not a maximum level for this classification).

Performance management in the ABS

The ABS is committed to being a high performing public agency, promoting a people- oriented culture through focus on leadership, communication, innovation and engagement.

Where there are concerns about employee performance, ABS managers work with their employees by implementing an informal Performance Improvement Plan (PIP). ABS initiated five PIPs for ongoing office-based staff during 2017–18. Where an employee’s performance has not improved through a PIP, a formal underperformance process commences. Three employees were the subject of formal processes to manage underperformance. This resulted in a range of outcomes including employees having their classification reduced, an employee resigning prior to the end of the process and termination of employment. In addition, the contracts of three non-ongoing employees were terminated due to underperformance.

During 2017–18, the ABS completed six investigations into suspected breaches of the APS Code of Conduct by ABS employees. None involved privacy breaches. One employee resigned from APS employment following a preliminary sanction decision of termination of employment and other employees received a sanction other than termination of employment.

Recognition

The ABS takes pride in recognising staff contributions to its successes. The ABS Excellence Awards recognise staff going above and beyond their normal work, acknowledging excellence in people management, client management, cultural change and leadership, innovation and dealing with exceptional circumstances. The awards are run quarterly and are an opportunity for all staff to be a part of the process, nominating colleagues for awards, or as award recipients.

In addition to the Excellence Awards there are also more immediate forms of recognition. These include development opportunities for staff, which may take the form of shadowing senior managers for short periods of time, working on high priority work to gain cross- organisational experience or acknowledging employees and their contributions at regular meetings. Both the Excellence Awards and manager recognition are non-salary benefit related recognition.

The two other award opportunities in the ABS are the Australian Statistician’s Awards and the Long Service Awards. These are also non-salary benefits awards.

The Australian Statistician’s Awards are held in conjunction with Australia Day Awards each year. The event celebrates Australia Day Achievement Medallion recipients on behalf of the National Australia Day Council, as well as those staff who have made exceptional contributions to the ABS in the past year. The Australian Statistician’s Awards provide an opportunity to recognise and reward ABS employees who have demonstrated outstanding contributions and leadership in people, statistics, innovation or service provision. All ABS staff are eligible for this award. Australia Day Achievement Medallions provide an opportunity to recognise and reward ABS employees who have demonstrated outstanding contributions in either representing Australia, or a state or territory, in a sporting, cultural, community, charitable, arts or similar endeavour, or any member of staff who has made a professional contribution in the external environment as an ABS officer. All ABS staff are eligible for this award.

In 2018, 11 staff members received Australian Statistician’s Awards, recognising their leadership, engagement and innovation. For the first time the Awards included a team category and four teams were recognised for outstanding innovative work and going above and beyond normal expectations.

Four staff were awarded Australia Day Achievement Medallions in recognition of representation at the state and national level for blackball pool, masters hockey and swimming, and fundraising for the Australian Cancer Research Foundation by competing in fitness and work-out challenges.

Long Service Awards are also celebrated each year to coincide with the United Nations Public Service Day which is 23 June. Acknowledging the contribution and commitment of staff to both the APS and the ABS over the years, this year there were 18 recipients of the 30-year Long Service Awards, and 37 recipients of the 20-year Long Service Awards.
Australia Day Awards recipients with the Australian Statistician - February 2018
Australia Day Awards recipients with the Australian Statistician – February 2018


ECOLOGICAL SUSTAINABILITY

Introduction

In 2017–18, the ABS continued its commitment to the principles of ecologically sustainable development as outlined in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

In accordance with the EPBC Act, the ABS has two key roles relating to ecologically sustainable development. The first is the ABS’s responsibility for providing statistics on the environment and environmental issues to enable informed decision making. The second is the impact of the ABS’s operations on the environment and the action being taken by the ABS to minimise that impact.

In accordance with sub-section 516A (6), of the EPBC Act, the ABS’s performance is outlined below.

516A (6) (a) How do the activities of the organisation, and the administration of legislation by the organisation, accord with the principles of ecologically sustainable development?

In accordance with the principles of ecologically sustainable development, the ABS pursues environmentally positive practices by:
    • seeking to minimise adverse environmental impacts from its operations

    • complying with relevant Commonwealth and territory environment legislation and the Australian Government’s environmental policies and initiatives

    • working towards continuously improving our environmental performance.


The ongoing environmental considerations for the ABS are:
    targeting reductions in energy usage and the generation of waste

    • complying with relevant Commonwealth and territory environment legislation and the Australian Government’s environmental policies and initiatives

    • encouraging and promoting environmentally sound procurement practices in compliance with Commonwealth Procurement Rules

    • providing for an environmentally sound workplace and implementing environmentally sound work practices

    • monitoring our energy performance and green lease commitments and implementing processes of continuous improvement

    • supporting and promoting an environmentally responsible culture.


516A (6) (b) How do the outcomes specified in a relevant Appropriations Act contribute to ecologically sustainable development?

The ABS receives appropriation for the purpose of producing statistics that inform decision making on a wide range of social and economic matters.

The ABS works closely with the community and governments to further build information on environmental statistics, to complement the more established information bases on population, society and the economy. The focus of this development work is the integration of environmental statistics with Australia’s economic and social statistics.

For more information on ABS statistical publications and developments, please refer to the ABS website for:
    • Agriculture

    • Rural and Regional Statistics

    • Environment

    • Energy

    • Water

    • Land

    • Ecosystems.


516A (6) (c) What is the effect of the organisation’s activities on the environment?

ABS’s activities are predominately office-based and have the potential to affect the environment through consumption of energy and water, waste production and waste sent to landfill. The ABS seeks to improve its performance by measuring and managing:
    • energy consumption and greenhouse gas pollution across its offices

    • paper consumption

    • carbon emissions in transportation

    • water usage

    • waste sent to landfill, whilst increasing recycling of packaging and waste

    • the procurement of environmentally friendly products.


In 2017–18, the ABS completed its cycle of lease renewals on ABS properties, with the exception of our warehouse property, and all have Green Lease Schedules designed to build a collaborative approach with landlords to managing environmental impacts of the ABS and the buildings it occupies.

The joint whole-of-building and new fitout refurbishment at our Geelong office is an example of this collaborative effort. The National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) rating for our tenancy is 5.5 stars. This is even more impressive considering the building was originally constructed in the 1950s to store wool.

516A (6) (d) What measures are taken by the organisation to minimise the impact of its activities on the environment?

The ABS has sought to minimise its impact on the environment through a number of measures, including:

Targeting reductions in energy usage and the generation of waste by:
    • introducing activity-based work fitouts across all ABS offices to decrease office footprints by an additional 20%. In 2017–18, all ten of the ABS offices have been completed. This has reduced the environmental impact of fitout, furniture production, and the necessary operational services, particularly electricity

    • reducing energy consumption and waste in fitouts where possible by including energy efficient LED lights and smart lighting technologies in all tenanted areas. New office fitouts include T5 lighting systems, incorporating daylight harvesting, to reduce consumption nationally

    • the recent refit and base building works of the ABS Canberra Office is achieving an 86% recycling of building waste against a targeted 80%

    • maximising the amount of furniture and equipment reused for all property fitout projects and where this is not possible, recyclable materials from damaged and non-resalable furniture have been harvested. The Canberra Project has recovered approximately 700 meeting chairs, 48 arm chairs/lounges, 15 ottomans for collaborative areas, and refurbished or reused meeting room tables, task chairs (1,250), tambours (300), monitor arms and lockers

    • reducing the demand for paper and hard copies. ABS publications are available on the ABS website, and computer-assisted interviewing is used in place of paper forms where possible. We have also reduced the number of multi-functional devices (MFDs) in our tenancies to further reduce paper usage

    • reducing the impact of travel on the environment. Improvements in video conferencing equipment and software, and increasing the number of video conferencing facilities, support virtual teams across offices and reduce the requirement to travel

    • providing recycling services to all office-based staff, including:

      – recycling paper, bottles, aluminium cans, steel cans, plastic and cardboard products in all offices

      – recycling mobile phones, batteries, polystyrene in all sites where contractor packaging removal was not part of the contracts or service agreements

      – maintaining organic recycling of kitchen waste at ABS House Canberra.


Complying with relevant Commonwealth and Territory environment legislation and the Australian Government’s environmental policies and initiatives

The ABS has maintained its Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Energy Management Plan initiatives, developed in accordance with the ICT Sustainability Plan 2010–2015, which included for 2017–18:
    • continually refreshing programs for desktops, servers and storage, utilising the latest available technology

    • utilising “Print on Demand” functionality on all printers and MFDs

    • utilising duplex printing and copying

    • utilising reduced standby–timeout period on MFDs of 60 minutes

    • promoting use of100% recycled content copy paper.


Encouraging and promoting environmentally sound procurement practices in compliance with Commonwealth Procurement Rules by:
    • maintaining procurement of 10% green energy as part of the whole-of-government energy contract for ABS House and 10% green energy for the Sydney, Melbourne, Geelong, Dandenong and Adelaide Offices

    • including environmental and whole-of-life-cycle clauses as part of the tender and evaluation process in most procurement activities

    • leasing vehicles with 10.5 GVG rating in accordance with the Green Vehicle Guide and the further reduction of the fleet over the past twelve months from thirteen to nine vehicles

    • procuring 100% recycled paper for general office use

    • purchasing office equipment with a high energy efficiency rating.


Providing an environmentally sound workplace and implementing environmentally sound work practices

All staff have access to flexible working arrangements, which has reduced the need for staff to work at ABS offices full-time. This has reduced staff travel to and from offices, decreased the office footprint by an additional 20% and reduced associated office resources use, such as electricity, paper and furniture.

A knowledge framework, incorporating digital recordkeeping rather than paper records, has been implemented, with automatic recordkeeping facilities for ABS workgroup databases.

Environmental efficiency measures have been incorporated into the market testing process for new leases with the integration of Green Lease Schedules for each new tenancy.

Building management systems control lighting and reduce energy use.

Re-manufactured and recycled cartridges for photocopiers, faxes and printers are used wherever possible, and used printer cartridges are recycled.

Technological solutions are used to allow collaboration and sharing of information virtually rather than by hardcopy.

Monitoring our energy performance and green lease commitments, and implementing processes of continuous improvement

The ABS monitors its:
    • office energy consumption for all sites

    • Canberra office waste , including organic waste

    • Canberra office water consumption

    • national staff numbers

    • office attendance

    • national paper consumption

    • national fleet operations.


Supporting and promoting an environmentally responsible culture

An environmentally responsible culture is fostered by supporting local Green Teams to raise environmental awareness and develop local initiatives.