1001.0 - Australian Bureau of Statistics -- Annual Report, 2013-14  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 04/11/2014   
   Page tools: Print Print Page RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product

MANAGEMENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES

It is our people who will ensure we are a successful and sustainable organisation. Preparing our people for the future will enable us to deliver on our mission and work towards achieving our vision. Human resource (HR) management is a critical function within the agency. The ABS needs employees who:

  • understand Australia’s evolving information needs and can assist the ABS to meet these needs
  • recognise the changes to the ABS operating environment, and can help the ABS to meet these changes
  • possess professional competencies and a commitment to both Australian Public Service (APS) and ABS Values.

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)

Ongoing
Non-ongoing
Location
Full-time
Part-time
Full-time
Part-time
Total
Central Office (ACT)
1132
207
38
7
1384
NSW
215
43
11
42
311
VIC
267
60
9
3
339
QLD
154
33
4
22
213
SA
143
58
0
1
202
WA
112
30
4
36
182
TAS
97
23
2
2
124
NT
38
6
2
0
46
ACT
6
1
0
0
7
Total
2164
461
70
113
2808
(a) Includes operative and paid inoperative staff.
(b) Excludes the Australian Statistician (Statutory appointment).


Table 11.2: Number of ABS Senior Executive Staff by level, sex and year (a)

SES level
Sex
Year (at 30 June)
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
(a) Includes only operative, substantive SES officers as at 30 June, but excludes the Australian Statistician, who is a statutory office holder appointed under the . Excludes SES outposted to another department, i.e. one SES Officer for 2008–10 and 2011–12.

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.

The Statistician commissioned a comprehensive study of gender balanced leadership particularly focusing on this issue. The report, conducted by Kristen Stone, was presented at the May 2014 Management Meeting and was well accepted—the key areas of focus included the availability of more flexible working arrangements at the SES level and a range of other development activities. An implementation plan for the recommendations is currently being developed.

AUSTRALIAN PUBLIC SERVICE VALUES AND EMPLOYMENT PRINCIPLES IN THE ABS

APS Values and Employment Principles are widely promoted and strongly observed throughout the ABS. The ABS has a complementary set of values, which underpin the work that we do to deliver on our mission as Australia’s national statistical agency. These values are drawn from the United Nations Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics and are consistent with the values of many national statistical agencies around the world.
The ABS has long-established and strongly upheld agency values that are fundamental to the ABS performing its role as an independent provider of statistical information.

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:

  • promoted in learning and development activities across all levels from the induction of new starters through to senior management development programs
  • actively applied through human resource processes
  • supported by a suite of guidelines, policies and procedures, which themselves acknowledge the APS Values and Employment Principles
  • reflected as appropriate throughout ABS corporate documents, which are readily accessible to all employees through the ABS intranet
  • advertised through promotional material including posters, and bookmarks distributed to all employees and new starters.


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

The ABS supports all forms of diversity, such as differences in gender, age, language, ethnicity, cultural background, disability, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, family responsibilities, differences between individuals in educational level, life experience, work experience, socio-economic background and personality.
The Workplace Diversity Action Plan 2013-2017 and the Reconciliation Action Plan 2013 - 2016 form the core of the ABS Workplace Diversity Program and have been integrated with the ABS People Plan.
The ABS has identified four overarching strategies in the Workplace Diversity Action Plan to achieve positive outcomes from increased workplace diversity:

1. Strengthen a respectful and inclusive work environment and culture

2. Improve our ability to attract, recruit and retain people of diverse backgrounds and targeted under-represented diversity groups

3. Improve our understanding of workplace diversity issues and increase the analysis and utilisation of workplace diversity metrics

4. As a statistical services provider, ensure accessible services, products and data collection practices are provided for people with disability and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

ACCESS FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

The Workplace Diversity Action Plan 2013-2017 includes actions that aim to ensure accessible and equitable ABS business and workplace policies and practices for clients and employees with disabilities.
The ABS has reported, as required, on its employment-related activities for disability through the Australian Public Service Commission’s agency survey for 2013–14.

During 2013–14 initiatives to enable access to ABS products and services for clients with disabilities included:

Quality assurance and quality improvement mechanisms: the ABS continues work to comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.0 developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

ABS Service Delivery Charter: this Charter describes the relationship between the ABS and its customers. The Charter specifies what to expect when accessing the ABS website and other services. Feedback and complaint mechanisms for ABS customers are set out in the Charter.

Collection mechanisms: the ABS has three collection mechanisms relating to disability.

These are:

    – the Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC)
    – the ABS Short Disability Module
    – the Census of Population and Housing (Census).

RECONCILIATION ACTION PLAN

The ABS is committed to reconciliation. In line with the ABS mission, the ABS assists and encourages informed decision making, research and discussion among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, their communities and organisations, and within governments and the wider community. It does this by leading and coordinating statistical activity involving and relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The ABS Reconciliation Action Plan sets out actions the ABS will take to:

  • increase the recruitment, retention and development opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the ABS
  • build the capability of ABS employees to respond effectively to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities through respect and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and culture
  • ensure that ABS policies, programs and services effectively respond to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities
  • develop the statistical literacy skills of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities to enable them to make informed decisions about themselves, their families and their communities.

Key diversity and reconciliation achievements

Key diversity and reconciliation achievements in 2013–14 are:
  • the introduction of a Senior Disability Champion role, occupied by a Senior Executive officer
  • commissioning an internal study to support gender balanced leadership in the ABS
  • the Senior Reconciliation Champion actively participating as a member of the APS Senior Champion Network including facilitation of the NT forum of the APS Indigenous Employment Network
  • establishing the ABS Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employee Network and the
    ABS Disability and Carers Employee Network
  • increasing diversity and cultural awareness through online and face-to-face training, local and national celebrations and regular communications to staff on diversity and reconciliation achievements
  • introducing mandatory online diversity training; addressing and preventing bullying and harassment
  • a major review of the ABS Reasonable Workplace Adjustment Guidelines and processes, which are expected to be released in 2014–15
  • developing an external protocol for consulting and engaging with staff with disability, due to be released early 2014–15
  • displaying traditional custodians names in all ABS video conference rooms and the provision of an Acknowledgement of Country card to all SES officers, and an increase in the delivery of an Acknowledgement of Country by SES officers at appropriate events
  • extension of the Harassment and Workplace Support Officer (HWSO) Network to ABS Interviewers, and identification of HWSOs who have Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural competency
  • establishing a new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Roundtable to: improve participation in ABS surveys; inform appropriate development and enhancement of survey questions, standards and statistical constructs; and build statistical literacy and use of ABS data
  • promoting external development and networking opportunities available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees such as APS Indigenous employee forum; Australian Electoral Commission Youth Program.


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:

  • Migrant Statistics Management Board
  • Migrant Statistics Reference Group.

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
ABS migrant and ethnicity data, was maintained and updated by the National Migrant Statistics Unit.

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 .


KPI 2: Culturally and linguistically diverse people can access ABS data

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
The ABS continues its strong support to strengthen the business and people management capability of our staff. In the past year, development priorities have evolved with the emerging needs of an organisation in the midst of significant organisational transformation and fiscal restraint.

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.
A significant proportion of the program has been delivered using video-conferencing facilities and e-learning. Projects form the basis of an experiential learning component.

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)

Total ABS operative staff (b)
Attendance days
Average training days
2004–05
2,630
12,562
4.8
2005–06 (d)
2,865
16,163(c)
5.6
2006–07
3,065
13,491(c)
4.4
2007–08
2,733
9,907
3.6
2008–09
2,489
6,179
2.5
2009–10
2,593
7,397
2.9
2010–11(d)
3,416
12,054
3.5
2011–12
3,213
15,541
4.8
2012–13
2,920
7547(e)
2.6
2013-14
2,878
5,935
2.06
(a) Excludes on the job and Census Data Processing (DPC) training.
(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.

RECRUITMENT
The ABS continues to build on the improvements to recruitment processes implemented in previous years. Activity during 2013–14 focused on:

  • introducing the use of electronic resources for induction and familiarisation (‘onboarding’)
  • ensuring national consistency in recruitment practices and processes
  • further streamlining procedures to achieve greater efficiencies and effectiveness of outcomes.

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

Overview
The ABS is committed to fostering a proactive and collaborative approach to the management of health, safety and wellbeing in the workplace. Specialist teams, include a network of Work Health and Safety (WHS) Advisors, with a focus on prevention and wellbeing at work, early intervention and the management of rehabilitation and return to work programs, support managers and workers to implement a safe system of work.

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.

Achievements
Measures taken to ensure the health, safety and welfare of employees during 2013–14 included:

  • ELG/SMG endorsed a set of key WHS priorities for the ABS WHS Strategy 2014–2017, which will be underpinned by an annual action plan which is currently under development.
  • An ABS mental health initiative (Wellbeing@ABS) was launched by ABS Senior Management in April 2014. All EL1, EL2 and APS 5/6 supervisors participated in the compulsory ‘Managing Mental Health in the Workplace’ training as part of Phase 1 of the Wellbeing@ABS project. As part of Phase 2, all APS 1–6 staff were invited to undertake ‘Understanding Mental Health in the Workplace’ training, with selected staff also completing Mental Health First Aid training.
  • A national influenza vaccination program was conducted across all ABS offices in March and April, with 39% of office-based staff receiving vaccinations, compared with 37% in 2012–13.
  • A national 10,000 steps walking challenge was held in September–October, with 131 teams and 35% participation by office-based staff.


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.

TRAINING

In the ABS there are several WHS roles filled by trained staff:

  • First Aid Officers generally receive CPR training annually, and complete a new accreditation every three years.
  • Health and Safety Representatives have the option of completing a 5-day training course upon commencement in the role, and are then entitled to attend a 1-day refresher course each subsequent 12 months.
  • Wardens are required to attend training in the emergency procedures for their workplace annually, with skills retention training undertaken at periods not greater than 6 months.

A total of 263 staff received training for a specific WHS role during 2013–14.

Table 11.4: WHS position, June 2014

Position
Filled
Vacant
Received training during 2013-14
First Aid Officer
59
0
28
Health and Safety representative
72
8
22
Warden
231
15
213

Provisional improvement notices
No provisional improvement notices were issued to the ABS by Health and Safety Representatives during 2013–14.

Comcare investigations and inspections
In 2013–14, there were no Comcare investigations undertaken, and no improvement notices issued to the ABS. There are no ongoing actions. Three Liaison Inspections were initiated and finalised, with no further action required. There is one ongoing action plan for a Liaison Inspection that was initiated in 2012–13.

Comcare premium
The ABS Comcare premium rate for 2013–14 was 2.28% of total salary (including GST).

Table 11.5: Comcare workers’ compensation premium rate

2010-11
2011-12
2012-13
2013-14
ABS
1.51
1.27
1.93
2.28
All agencies combined average
1.20
1.41
1.77
1.81

Incidents and investigations
Under the Work Health and Safety Act (Cth) 2011, the ABS is required to report all ‘notifiable incidents’ which arise out of the undertakings of the ABS. Notifiable incidents include the death of a person, serious injury or illness, or a dangerous incident. There was one notifiable incident in 2013–14, reflecting an incidence rate of 0.3 notifiable incidents per 1,000 full-time employees (FTE).

Workplace injuries and illnesses
The top three mechanisms of incident reported in the ABS during 2013–14 were body stressing, mental stress and ‘other and unspecified mechanism of incident’.

Workers’ compensation
There were 29 accepted workers’ compensation claims with a date of injury occurring within 2013–14, compared to 38 in 2012–13.

Table 11.6: ABS premium group claims incidence

2009-10
2010-11
2011-12
2012-13
2013-14
Accepted claims
28
49(b)
125(c)
38
29
(a) When comparing recent periods with previous year’s data it should be noted that the data on the current period is the least mature
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.

Attendance management
The ABS takes a proactive approach to the management of attendance and unscheduled absences. In 2013–14 the average number of days of unscheduled absence per FTE was 13.0 days. This is in line with the Australian Government median over the previous two years (13.7 days per FTE in 2012–13 and 12.6 days per FTE in 2011–12).

Table 11.7: Unscheduled absence: days per FTE(a)

2010-11
2011-12
2012-13
2013-14
ABS (b)
11.3
10.9
12.3
13.0
Australian Government (Large Agency) median(c)
12.0
12.6
13.7
N/A
(a) Excludes interviewers, non-ongoing Data Processing Centre staff, and Census field staff.
(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
The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) utilisation rate for ABS office-based staff during 2013–14 was 2.2% compared with 2.4% in 2012–13. The EAP utilisation rate for ABS interviewer staff was 1.3% in 2013–14, compared with 2.4% in 2012–13.

CONSULTATION IN THE ABS
The ABS is committed to effective workplace relations arrangements 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 is comprised of the following elements:

  • line managers who have key responsibility for ensuring timely and effective communication and consultation in the workplace
  • consultative forums which are convened in each resource centre, including regional offices
  • the National Forum, which includes ABS management, employee and union representatives
  • representatives of unions, meeting with management as necessary.

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.

AGREEMENT MAKING
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 2011–2014 which covers office-based employees
  • individual Determinations under s.24 (1) of the Public Service Act which cover Senior Executive Service employees.

The instruments that apply to employees engaged under the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975 in accordance with the Statistics Regulations are:
  • the Australian Bureau of Statistics Interviewers Agreement 2011–2014 which covers home-based ABS Interviewers
  • a collective Determination under s.16 (3) of the which covers Census field employees working on the 2016 Census of Population and Housing testing program.

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:

  • ABS employees covered by the Australian Bureau of Statistics Enterprise Agreement 2011–2014: 2827
  • ABS employees covered by the Australian Bureau of Statistics Interviewers Enterprise Agreement 2011–2014: 504
  • SES employees covered by section 24 (1) Determination: 47


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

Classification
Minimum ($) (a)
Maximum $ (b)
Australian Public Service (APS) level
APS1
40,394
46,019
APS2
46,191
52,084
APS3
56,622
59,318
APS4
59,368
66,777
APS5
66,781
75,013
APS6
75,020
84,721
Executive Officer Level (EL)
EL1
92,168
106,545
EL2
115,064
133,014
Senior Executive Service (SES) level
SES Band 1
156,704
194,511
SES Band 2
194,511
225,882
SES Band 3
225,882
N/A(b)
(a) The salary ranges took effect from 5 July 2013.
(b) Not applicable (as there is not a maximum level for this classification).

RECOGNITION AND REWARD
The ABS operates a Recognition and Reward Scheme, which recognises exceptional one-off achievements by individual employees and work groups. The awards may include a certificate of commendation together with a voucher, such as a store gift voucher, or in-kind award such as a work group morning tea.

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 is committed to being a high performing public agency which promotes a people-oriented culture through an increased focus on leadership, communication, innovation and engagement.

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:

  • Managing for Performance Improvement (MPI) programs were delivered to 617 Executive Level (EL) staff and above. This program aimed to increase the capability of managers to optimise existing APS and ABS performance management initiatives. An increase in manager capability for managing performance is expected to contribute to lifting performance across the ABS. An increase in the number of queries relating to managing employee performance, new performance improvement plans and formal underperformances processes, indicates that the MPI program has enhanced managers’ confidence and capability to identify and act on performance concerns.
  • The ABS People Capability Framework (PCF) was piloted (mandatory for all EL staff and available through an opt-in approach for all other ABS staff) to coincide with the 2013–14 DPF cycle. The PCF Evaluation is a tool designed to assist managers and staff to experience more meaningful and structured development conversations to feed in to the development component of the Development and Performance Agreement (DPA). The PCF focuses on discussing individual capability development needs, priorities, and opportunities to strengthen and focus the development activities of staff. Based on recommendations from the pilot, changes will be implemented and the PCF will be available for all ABS employees to use in the 2014–15 DPF cycle.

Through these initiatives the ABS demonstrates its commitment to the APS Employment Principle that requires effective performance from each employee.