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MANAGEMENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES
Proficient management of human resources is the key to ensuring the engagement and retention of a workforce that is skilled to deliver the ABS work program now and into the future.
As at 30 June 2014, there were 3,435 staff employed at the ABS, 563 staff were employed to assist with data collection under Regulation 3 of the Statistics Regulations, and appointed as authorised officers under Section 16 of the Census and Statistics Act 1905. These employees were mostly household survey interviewers. 2,872 staff were employed under the Public Service Act 1999 —1,374 males and 1,498 females. This includes operative, paid inoperative and unpaid inoperative employees. The ABS had 2,808 operative and paid inoperative staff as at 30 June 2014.
Of the 3,435 staff employed Tables 11.1, and 11.2 present the profile of ABS staff by location and type of employment for operative and paid inoperative staff. Staff employed under the (interviewers and census field staff), and 64 unpaid operative staff are excluded from the tables.
Table 11.1: Number of ABS staff by location and status, at 30 June 2014 (a), (b)
(b) Excludes the Australian Statistician (Statutory appointment).
As of 30 June 2014, there were nine women in the ABS Senior Executive Service (SES), representing 24% of the total number of SES officers in the ABS.
Integrity — data, analysis and interpretation are always apolitical with the highest standards of integrity upheld.
Relevance — all information provided by the ABS is relevant in terms of timeliness and content.
Service — the ABS understands its service role and seeks to understand and meet its clients’ statistical needs.
Access for all — the ABS ensures its statistics can be easily accessed and used by the community, business and governments.
Professionalism — the professionalism of employees is actively supported to ensure the ABS has the technical and leadership skills required for the future.
Trust of providers — the ABS maintains provider trust by adhering to the highest level of data protection and privacy standards.
The importance of APS Values and Employment Principles is acknowledged and integrated into the management and operations of the ABS. The obligations of all employees to uphold the APS and ABS Values and abide by the APS Code of Conduct are:
ABS PEOPLE PLAN
The People Plan supports ongoing organisational performance and sustainability via an integrated, consistent and focused implementation of people-related initiatives across the ABS. The essence of the Plan is highlighted in the motto ‘Our People, Our Business, Our Future’, reflecting the value placed on our people and recognising that a highly skilled ABS workforce is critical to achieving the ABS mission. The Plan is revised annually.
The key objective of the Plan is to ensure that we can continue to meet our mission, through our people. The five high-level national strategies progressed through the People Plan 2013–2014 were:
1. Build core capability to prepare our people for the future
2. Strengthen leadership to help ensure organisational sustainability
3. Foster a high performance culture where staff are engaged, supported and active participants in change
4. Shape our workforce for the future through improving staff deployment, attraction and recruitment practices
5. Understand and monitor our workforce and external environment.
These strategies reflect the people-related priorities articulated in ABS Strategic Framework documents (Corporate Plan and Strategic Direction Statements). They are also closely aligned with recommendations made in Ahead of the Game: Blueprint for the reform of Australian Government Administration.
WORKPLACE DIVERSITY IN THE ABS
ACCESS FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
During 2013–14 initiatives to enable access to ABS products and services for clients with disabilities included:
– the ABS Short Disability Module
– the Census of Population and Housing (Census).
RECONCILIATION ACTION PLAN
Key diversity and reconciliation achievements
Key diversity and reconciliation achievements in 2013–14 are:
AGENCY MULTICULTURAL PLAN
The ABS released its Agency Multicultural Plan (AMP) 2013–15 in July 2013. The vision for the ABS AMP is one where Australians of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds are actively engaged with the Australian Bureau of Statistics and where governments and communities can make informed decisions about culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
The ABS AMP, located on the ABS website, covers the six dimensions of the Australian Government’s Multicultural Access and Equity Policy (leadership, engagement, performance, capability, responsiveness and openness) with minimum obligations attached to each dimension. Following are the Key Performance Indicators and key achievements made in 2013–14 against the ABS AMP.
KPI 1: Relevant statistics about culturally and linguistically diverse user issues are considered and incorporated into ABS business as appropriate.
Measure 1.1: Culturally and linguistically diverse user issues are considered and incorporated into ABS business as appropriate
To guide the work program and ensure that statistics are relevant, the ABS regularly consults with a range of user groups with representation from all levels of government, industry, researchers, policy makers and community organisations. In 2013–14 the ABS consulted with the following groups which had direct input into statistics on migrants:
In 2013–14 the National Migrant Statistics Unit undertook a data needs and priorities review, with findings presented to ABS senior executives. External stakeholders from across all Australian jurisdictions (Commonwealth, state/territory and local government) participated in the review, as well as a number of key academics, private organisations and some not-for-profit organisations. The review confirmed that the ABS migrant statistics program is focused on user priorities.
In 2013–14, the Census of Population and Housing program (Census) met with over 80 different organisations, some of which represented culturally and linguistically diverse people, to discuss contents of the Census and how to improve coverage across all communities.
Measure 1.2: Appropriate data products are expanded and accessible to, and shared with, other agencies
As part of the 2011 Census Data Enhancement project, which aims to improve and expand the range of official statistics available to Australian society, the (ABS cat. no. 3417.0.55.001) was released in 2013–14. This dataset integrates Census records and visa information from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s Settlement Database.
The ABS’s Migrant and Ethnicity theme page, which provides access to a wide range of
Other key achievements in the field of migrant statistics can be found in the Culture, Recreation and Migrant Statistics Program report, Chapter 5 in this .
Measure 2.1: Accessibility to culturally and linguistically diverse and migrant related statistics is maintained or improved
In 2013–14 the Australian Government Information Management Office’s guide: was added to the ABS Publishing Assistant and relevant recommendations were incorporated into the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines checklist. These checklists are used by ABS staff when developing online content.
Additionally, accessibility and user experiences for culturally and linguistically diverse people were improved by acquiring design advice and testing of e-forms, the provider portal and field staff systems.
KPI 3: Culturally and linguistically diverse people response rates to ABS data collections improve
Measure 3.1: Language skills of ABS staff are utilised, as available and appropriate, to communicate with providers
A key strategy for improving the response rates for culturally and linguistically diverse people to ABS data collections is arranging interpreters for providers in their own language where possible. In 2013–14 the Provider Contact Unit and Population Survey Operations updated their foreign language lists and used multi-lingual field staff, interviewers and office staff where appropriate to assist providers.
Measure 3.2: The Census undercount rate for culturally and linguistically diverse groups improves
One of the key uses of the Census undercount, which measures the Census coverage, is to evaluate the effectiveness of Census collection procedures so improvements can be made for future Censuses. The 2011 Census undercount rates for the 10 highest ranked countries of birth (in terms of population residing in Australia) according to the 2011 Census will be used as a benchmark to measure whether improvements are made in the 2016 Census. For more information on the Census undercount refer to Census of Population and Housing - Details of undercount, 2011 (ABS cat. no. 2940.0).
In 2013–14 a national culturally and linguistically diverse targeted strategy manager was appointed for the 2016 Census, to develop strategies to improve coverage of the Census amongst culturally and linguistically diverse people.
TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT
Areas of key focus in 2013–14 included the ABS Leadership Program, Managing for Performance Improvement (People Management & Wellbeing), Managing Mental Health in the Workplace (Work Health & Safety), and the Executive Level Development Program (blended learning). The primary outcome of the leadership program was to strengthen the leadership capabilities of senior officers to foster a high performance culture and to lead differently in the transformational change program which the organisation currently faces. The primary outcome of the other key programs was to increase the people management and performance skills of our managers to provide a high calibre working environment and to increase the efficiency and productivity of our workforce.
In line with our ABS People Plan priorities, building core capability and strengthening leadership, the National Training and Development Section (NTDS) also offered a range of other development options, many designed to deliver shorter, sharper learning. Executive Coaching has also been accessed by our Executive Level (EL) and SES staff.
NTDS is currently transforming its business model from a reliance on face-to-face learning to a blended learning approach. Over time this will be the core interface for all capability development, with e-learning focus to date on developing core public service skills and capabilities. Modules are self-paced and can be completed from any desktop. NTDS has added nine new e-learning courses since last year, having a positive impact on national development opportunities and increasing accessibility while reducing travel expenditure.
Statistical capability development is under review following a reduction in the work program.
The work done over the last 12 months by the Statistical Capability Branch on the Statistical Capability Development Plan 2014–2019 and Statistical Capability Framework will be revisited. It is likely that the conversion of two statistical classroom courses into blended learning modules will continue.
The suite of foundation statistical programs continues to be offered frequently throughout the ABS, with the use of internal subject matter experts. This year the online ‘Presenter Toolkit’ was released to provide easily accessible information and advice for confident delivery.
The inaugural Australian Statistician’s Fellowship Program officially commenced in February 2014. Following a rigorous and competitive selection process, a group of five Fellows was engaged. This practical and experiential development program, which concludes in December 2016, is part of a continuous strategy to build core capability and strengthen the future leadership base of the ABS.
The Graduate Development Program commenced in February 2014 with 53 participants.
In continuing to improve manager capability and people management, the Future Leaders Program was delivered for EL1s (paperless and using ‘wiki’ technology), and a new program for APS 5 and APS6 supervisors, ‘Management Fundamentals’, was delivered nationally.
The results from the People Capability Framework (PCF) pilot provided a strong indication of the capability strengths and gaps at the ABS Group, Division and Regional Office levels. The pilot also demonstrated improved quality of discussion regarding Development and Performance Agreements. As a result the PCF will continue on an annual basis, ideally with full staff participation.
Technology infrastructure remains a high priority for effective delivery of the work program in support of the new business model. To support this new direction, NTDS fostered cross-cutting working relationships to plan for an Enterprise Wide Learning Management System. This infrastructure will provide the platform to deliver high quality learning solutions across the ABS, for office and field staff, and in the longer term for external clients.
Table 11.3: ABS employee training days(a)
(b) Comprises full time and part time staff operative headcount.
(c) Figures revised down since first published.
(d) Increase due to Census Management Unit operations.
(e) Decrease partly due to move to e-learning approaches.
With the introduction of the interim arrangements for APS recruitment by the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) in November 2013, greater priority is being given to the redeployment of existing staff.
Whilst in the process of reshaping our workforce to meet the needs and challenges of the future, it is important to continue to undertake some recruitment at the graduate level to ensure a cohort of skilled staff with the right capabilities to meet those challenges, and who can progress into more senior roles as they further develop and apply their skills in the workplace.
Graduates are an important source of ABS’s future leaders and the ABS graduate recruitment campaign continues to attract a large number of applications from a broad range of disciplines, The introduction of two additional assessment steps, online testing and telephone interviews, has ensured that applicants undergo a robust assessment throughout the selection process. This use of a multimodal approach to the assessment of applicants has streamlined graduate recruitment processes and has effectively reduced the number of panel interviews by two-thirds.
Preparations have already commenced for the 2016 Census of Population and Housing, with field staff being recruited in selected areas in South Australia and Western Australia to test new processes and procedures for implementation in the main event in 2016.
WORKPLACE HEALTH AND SAFETY
The agency Executive Leadership Group (ELG) and the Senior Management Group (SMG) are the senior executive forums with responsibility for oversight of the ABS work health and safety management system.
Consultation and communication
A new ABS Communication and Consultation Policy with supporting guidelines was released in May 2014, replacing the existing Health and Safety Management Arrangements.
The ABS has one National, eight Regional and one Interviewer Health and Safety Committees. Health and Safety Committees are required to meet on a quarterly basis. During 2013–14, ABS Health and Safety Committees achieved 78% conformance to the quarterly meeting schedule.
A total of 263 staff received training for a specific WHS role during 2013–14.
Table 11.4: WHS position, June 2014
Provisional improvement notices
Comcare investigations and inspections
Table 11.5: Comcare workers’ compensation premium rate
Incidents and investigations
Workplace injuries and illnesses
Table 11.6: ABS premium group claims incidence
and may not give a definitive view of related performance.
(b) Includes two claims relating to Census 2011.
(c) A greater number of claims were accepted in 2011–12 due to the greater number of staff employed by the ABS for the 2011 Census (87 claims relating to Census 2011).
People Management and Wellbeing (PMaW) strategically assess and actively manage Comcare compensation claims. This includes reviewing all ABS compensation claims, quality assuring our internal processes, and ensuring any action or intervention that is required is undertaken in a timely manner, to assist in returning injured staff to pre-injury duties/hours within the ABS. PMaW strives to always achieve positive outcomes for injured staff and the ABS, and will work closely with National Work Health and Safety to minimise the annual number of claims into the future.
Table 11.7: Unscheduled absence: days per FTE(a)
(b) A break in the ABS time series occurred in 2012–13. Therefore, data prior to this period is not comparable.
(c) The Australian Government (Large Agency) median for 2013–14 was not available at the time of preparing this report.
Employee Assistance Program utilisation
CONSULTATION IN THE ABS
The ABS consultative framework is comprised of the following elements:
A meeting of the National Forum was held in September 2013 to discuss the ABS Workplace Diversity and Reconciliation Action Plans, the ABS Business Centre, the People Capability Framework and the Review of ABS Pay and Leave. The National Forum also met in December 2013 to discuss the results of the 2013 National Employee Survey. The National Forum held in March 2014 had a strong focus on our people and discussed the ABS People and Workforce Plan, productivity, staff mobility, and development and career opportunities for ABS employees.
The instruments that apply to employees engaged under the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975 in accordance with the Statistics Regulations are:
Details of the number of employees covered by an Enterprise Agreement, or a Determination under section 24 (1) of the Public Service Act 1999, as at 30 June 2014 are as follows:
THE ABS SALARY SYSTEM
The ABS Enterprise Agreement 2011–2014 outlined the salary arrangements for non-SES ABS employees for the period 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2014. In 2013–14, salary increases for APS1 to EL2 employees were paid from 4 July 2013 as a general salary increase of 1% for all employees. Table 11.8 shows salary ranges for ABS employees with the general salary increase factored in.
A three-point salary range was introduced from 24 November 2011 for each classification. Employee salaries were transitioned to the new salary ranges by applying the provisions outlined in clauses 10.1, 10.2 and 12.1 of the , subject to the maximum of the salary range not being exceeded. Employee salaries were not forced to align with the new pay points.
Table 11.8: Salary ranges by classification as at 30 June 2014
(b) Not applicable (as there is not a maximum level for this classification).
RECOGNITION AND REWARD
An annual Statistician’s Award was introduced in 2011–12 to identify and recognise extraordinary contributions made to the ABS by individual employees. The quantum of this award is not prescribed, but may take the form of a significant non-cash reward or development opportunity. Organisational guidelines have been developed to ensure consistent conduct of recognition and reward in the ABS. Total ABS expenditure for the scheme in 2013–14 was $64,088.
PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT IN THE ABS
The ABS Development and Performance Framework (DPF) is designed to increase organisational performance by supporting all employees to maximise their performance through individual development, job satisfaction and positive, trusted working relationships.
To support a high performance culture, there was a focus over the year to increase the number of completed development and performance agreements, within the DPF cycle. The high level of completion rates in conjunction with the cascading of ABS goals from the most senior levels of management, through line-managers and teams to individuals, ensures that all employees are connected to the strategic direction of the ABS.
Building on strategies from previous years, the People Plan 2013–14 was launched. It included a key strategy of building core capability to prepare our people for the future.
In support of delivery of the People Plan 2013–14 and the DPF, the following key initiatives were conducted:
Through these initiatives the ABS demonstrates its commitment to the APS Employment Principle that requires effective performance from each employee.
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