1001.0 - Australian Bureau of Statistics -- Annual Report, 2014-15  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/10/2015   
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MANAGEMENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES

INTRODUCTION

It is our workforce who will ensure we can meet the challenge of transforming the ABS to engage better with partners, develop responsive processes, make the best use of modern technologies, and be a high performing and accountable organisation. Preparing ABS staff for the future will enable us to deliver on our vision and work towards achieving our vision. Human resources management is a critical function within the agency.

The ABS needs employees who:

  • understand Australia's evolving information needs, and can help the ABS meet these needs
  • recognise the changes to the ABS operating environment, and can help the ABS adapt to these changes
  • possess professional competencies and a commitment to the Australian Public Service (APS) Values.
Proficient management of human resources is the key to ensuring the engagement and retention of a workforce that can deliver the ABS work program now and into the future.

As at 30 June 2015, there were 2,900 staff employed at the ABS under the Public Service Act 1999: 1,384 men and 1,516 women. This includes operative and inoperative employees. The ABS had 2,824 operative and paid inoperative staff, as at 30 June 2015.

There were also 1,435 staff 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. Of these, 919 were Census Field Officers and 516 were Household Survey Interviewers.

Table 7.1: Number of ABS staff by location and status, at 30 June 2015 (a) (b)

Ongoing
Non-ongoing
Full-time
Part-time
Full-time
Part-time
Total

Sydney
194
47
21
60
322
Melbourne
250
61
15
8
334
Brisbane
154
35
22
25
236
Adelaide
149
51
9
5
214
Perth
100
30
35
35
200
Hobart
85
26
17
5
133
Darwin
32
8
5
0
45
Canberra
1 059
195
62
24
1 340
Total
2 023
453
186
162
2 824

(a) Includes operative and paid inoperative staff.
(b) Excludes the Australian Statistician (Statutory appointment).


At 30 June 2015 there were eight women in the ABS Senior Executive Service (SES), representing 24% of the total number of ABS SES officers.

Table 7.2: Number of ABS SES officers 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
2015
26
6
2
26
8
34

(a) Includes only operative, substantive SES officers as at 30 June 2015. Excludes the Australian Statistician, who is a statutory office holder appointed under the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975. Excludes SES officers outposted to another department, i.e. one SES Officer for 2008–10 and 2011–12.

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 our goals. The Plan is revised annually.

The four high-level national strategies progressed through the 2014–15 People Plan were:
    1. Strengthen business and leadership capability to prepare for the future
    2. Demonstrate strong leadership to drive cultural change and support our people through organisational transformation
    3. Shape our future workforce through effective deployment, recruitment and employment practice
    4. Understand and monitor our workforce and external environment.

These strategies reflect the people-related priorities articulated in the ABS Corporate Plan.

WORKPLACE DIVERSITY IN THE ABS

The ABS is committed to valuing and supporting a diverse workforce, including differences in gender, age, language, ethnicity, cultural background, disability, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, family responsibilities, educational level, life experience, work experience, socioeconomic background and personality.

The following plans form the ABS Workplace Diversity Program. These plans are integrated with the ABS People Plan 2014-15.
In addition, the ABS demonstrates commitment to access and equity through the ABS Agency Multicultural Plan 2013-15 (cat. no. 1012.0).

Workplace diversity action plan

The Workplace Diversity Action Plan 2013–2017 sets out four strategies that aim to achieve positive outcomes from increased workplace diversity:
  • Strengthen a respectful and inclusive work environment and culture.
  • Improve our ability to attract, recruit and retain people of diverse backgrounds and targeted under-represented diversity groups (note: the targeted groups are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and people with disability).
  • Improve our understanding of workplace diversity issues and increase the analysis and utilisation of workplace diversity metrics.
  • 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.

Reconciliation Action Plan

The ABS is committed to reconciliation. 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 2013–2016 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.
Table 7.3: Number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples employed in the ABS, 2014-15

30 June 2014
30 June 2015

Ongoing employees
25
21
Non-ongoing employees
1
1
Total
26
22


Gender Diversity Action Plan

In November 2014, the ABS Gender Diversity Action Plan 2014–17 was introduced. It sets out the organisation's commitment to achieving gender diversity at all levels in the ABS. It aims to do this by identifying and removing barriers to allow women the same access to, and participation in, leadership roles as their male colleagues.

The Gender Diversity Action Plan 2014–17 has four overarching strategies:
  1. Recruiting and deploying for diverse leadership (to ensure that our SES selection processes are best practice and free from unintended bias).
  2. Working flexibly (to support increased use of flexible job design arrangements for senior staff, both in terms of locations and working arrangements).
  3. Staying connected (to ease the transition of staff entering into or returning from long periods of leave, and capitalise on the talent and expertise of former ABS staff).
  4. Building a more inclusive corporate culture (to promote a working environment where diverse leadership styles can flourish).

Table 7.4: ABS staff by level by gender 2014-15

Nominal Classification
Female
Male
Total

APS1
13
12
25
APS2
49
50
99
APS3
118
87
205
APS4
318
305
623
APS5
326
189
515
APS6
343
369
712
EL1
230
230
460
EL2
60
89
149
SESB1
7
20
27
SESB2
1
5
6
SESB3
0
3
3
Total
1 465
1 359
2 824

Includes operative and paid inoperative staff only
Excludes the Australian Statistician and unpaid inoperative staff

Agency Multicultural Plan

The ABS Agency Multicultural Plan 2013-15 was released in July 2013. Under the plan, the ABS is committed to improving how we engage and respond to the needs of Australians from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. The ABS works towards fostering an organisation that recognises and supports employees from culturally diverse backgrounds.

Key achievements in 2014-15
  • The APS RecruitAbility Scheme was implemented for positions advertised as part of the ABS 2015 APS/EL recruitment activity. The effects of unconscious bias were reduced by redacting personal identifiers from applications.
  • Employee diversity and cultural awareness was fostered through online and face-to-face training, events and regular communications.
  • A protocol for engaging with people with disability in the community was released.
  • Mutually beneficial partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations were created and employee cultural awareness was supported through participation in the Jawun Indigenous APS Community Secondment Program.
  • The Gender Diversity Working Group was established to oversee the successful implementation of the Gender Diversity Action Plan.
  • Unconscious bias training was provided for all SES employees, and an information session was presented for all staff.
  • The option for employees to select gender ‘X’ (Indeterminate/Intersex/Unspecified) in personnel records was implemented, in alignment with the 2013 Australian Government Guidelines on the Recognition of Sex and Gender.
  • The use of flexible working arrangements in the ABS was increased.
  • A Leadership Pipeline Mentoring Program was developed, to focus on middle managers who are a key cohort to become the future SES.
  • Specific cross-cultural training sessions were delivered to ABS staff working on international statistical capability development.


TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT


In line with the ABS People Plan 2014-15 priorities, 'building core capability' and 'strengthening leadership', the ABS has focused on enhancing the ABS learning approach and building quality programs to enable ABS transformation. Training statistics from 2005-06 to 2014-15 are presented in Table 7.5.

Key achievements in 2014-15
  • In early 2015 an enterprise-wide Learning Management System was procured and used to deploy training to a large Address Canvassing field force, in preparation for the 2016 Census.
  • Review of our suite of Leadership and Management training was ongoing, to ensure these programs will enable leaders to drive cultural change and support our people through organisational transformation.
  • An Executive Level Development Program was implemented, comprising a suite of new modules, predominantly e-learning, to build executive accountability in APS managers.
  • In partnership with the University of Canberra, the ABS developed a Graduate Certificate of Statistics.

Executive Coaching continues to be accessed by our Executive Level and SES staff to build their leadership capability with 34 employees accessing this service.

External consultation was undertaken in relation to the draft Statistical Capability Framework. The development of the Graduate Certificate of Statistics in partnership with the University of Canberra was an example of our commitment to external partnerships with tertiary institutions, in order to build statistical capability, with 34 employees accessing this service.

The Australian Statistician’s Fellowship Program, which engaged five participants after a competitive selection process, focuses on the development of leadership and critical capabilities. This program is challenging, practical and experiential.

The Graduate Development Program commenced in February 2015 with 44 participants.

The program, which is run over a nine-month period, has been delivered using a blended learning approach. Formal capability development along with networking opportunities enabled graduates to transition effectively into the ABS. Projects continue to form the basis of an experiential learning component.

Table 7.5: ABS employee training days (a)

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

2005-06 (d)
2 865
16 163 (c)
5.6
2006-07 (d)
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
7 547 (e)
2.6
2013-14
2 878
5 935
2.1
2014-15
2 966
4 447 (f)
1.5

(a) Excludes on the job and Census Data Processing 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.
(f) Continued decrease due to increased e-learning options.

RECRUITMENT

In line with the interim arrangements for APS recruitment introduced by the Australian Public Service Commission in October 2013 (and streamlined in September 2014), priority was given to redeployment of existing staff and the use of higher duties and non-ongoing staff to fill vacant positions for most of 2013-14. With the exception of the graduate campaign and Indigenous Engagement Managers, ABS had not advertised APS positions since that time.

In April 2015 a national APS/EL recruitment strategy was advertised within the APS for positions at the APS4 - EL2 levels across four streams (statistical, methodology, ICT and business delivery), attracting over 2,000 applications. The strategy was a streamlined merit-based process reflecting best practice and designed to provide for maximum flexibility for future staffing decisions. It included a number of initiatives such as a shorter, more focused application process, simplified rating system, and national panels to ensure consistency of assessment. In order to address potential unconscious bias in the shortlisting process, applications were redacted to remove gender and other identifiers.

Graduates are an important source of ABS future leaders and the ABS graduate recruitment campaign continued to attract a large number of applicants from a broad range of disciplines. One-way video interviewing was introduced this year as part of the shortlisting process, to further enhance the robust assessment process.

Preparations are underway for the 2016 Census of Population and Housing with field staff being recruited in selected areas across Australia to undertake preliminary work for 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 work 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 to support managers and workers to implement a safe system of work.

The agency Senior Management Group has responsibility for oversight of the ABS WHS management system.

Key achievements in 2014-15

Measures taken to ensure the health, safety and welfare of employees during 2013-14 included:
  • The ABS Work Health Safety and Rehabilitation Management Strategy 2014-17 and Action Plan 2014-15 received executive endorsement. These plans guide biannual monitoring and assessment of WHS and rehabilitation management.
  • A revised Work Health and Safety and Rehabilitation Management Statement of Commitment received executive endorsement in preparation for wider consultation with employees and their representatives.
  • Focus on the health and safety of ABS field-based staff was strengthened, particularly in relation to supervision while in the field, communications and consultation
  • Angry Anderson, well-known Australian icon and ACT Lifeline patron, was the keynote speaker for a nationally broadcast seminar to recognise World Mental Health Day 2014.
  • The implementation of an activity–based work pilot in Adelaide Office and a teleworking pilot in Melbourne Office was supported. This will inform the roll-out of flexible work across the remainder of ABS offices from 2015–16.
  • A national influenza vaccination program was conducted across all ABS offices in autumn 2015, with 39% of office-based staff receiving the vaccination, equivalent to the uptake in 2013-14.
  • An annual national hazard inspection program was conducted; it identified 13% fewer hazards than the 2013 program.
  • The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) presented eight nationally broadcast and video-recorded worklifeAssist seminars for staff.

CONSULTATION AND COMMUNICATION

The ABS has one national, one interviewer and eight regional Health and Safety Committees. Health and Safety Committees are required to meet at least once every three months. During 2014-15, ABS Health and Safety Committees achieved 84% conformance with this requirement.

Revised WHS guidelines regarding personal protective equipment and first aid were released in 2014-15, following consultation with staff and their representatives. The ABS has also commenced a review of its WHS manual, and will release updated guidelines in 2015-16 following consultation.

TRAINING

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.
  • Health and Safety Representatives have the option of completing a five-day training course upon commencement in the role, and are then entitled to attend a one-day refresher course every 12 months.
  • Wardens are required to attend annual training in the emergency procedures for their workplace. Skills retention training must be undertaken at intervals not greater than six months.

Table 7.6: WHS Positions and Training, 2014-15

Position
Filled*
Vacant*
Received training during 2014-15

First Aid Officer
61
0
35
Health and Safety Representatives
68
2
32 (a)
Warden
214
11
177

* As at June 2015
(a) Health and Safety Committee representatives received training in November 2014 and February 2015 to assist them in their role.

PROVISIONAL IMPROVEMENT NOTICES

One Provisional Improvement Notice was issued to the ABS by a Health and Safety Representative during 2014-15 in relation to interviewer work in a remote community. The Provisional Improvement Notice was reviewed by Comcare and closed as the inspector was satisfied with the risk assessment documentation and emergency extraction plans provided to interviewers prior to subsequent remote community deployments.

COMCARE INVESTIGATIONS AND INSPECTIONS

In 2014-15 Comcare conducted four workplace inspections. One contravention of the primary duty of care requirement of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 was found. No notices were issued by Comcare under Part 10 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 during 2014-15.

The ABS has worked collaboratively with Comcare throughout the year on work health and safety and rehabilitation matters. The ABS works with Comcare to understand strategic changes in each organisation and to implement improved practices to reduce workers’ compensation claim numbers and duration. The ABS has invited Comcare inspectors to Health and Safety Representative forums.

COMCARE PREMIUM

The ABS Comcare Premium rate for 2014–15 was 2.46% of total salary including GST.

Table 7.7: Comcare workers' compensation premium rate

2011-12
2012-13
2013-14
2014-15

ABS
1.27
1.93
2.28
2.46
Australian Government average
1.41
1.77
1.81
2.12


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. There were two notifiable incidents in 2014-15 (one serious injury or illness and one dangerous incident).

WORKPLACE INJURIES AND ILLNESSES

The top three mechanisms of incident resulting in injury or illness reported in the ABS during 2014-15 were body stressing, mental stress and falls, trips and slips. In addition, there were 261 safety incidents reported that resulted in no injury or damage only to property.

WORKERS' COMPENSATION

There were 19 accepted workers’ compensation claims with a date of injury occurring within 2014-15, compared to 37 in 2013-14.

Table: 7.8 ABS accepted compensable claims by date of injury, 2011-12 to 2014-15 (a)

Accepted claims
2011-12
2012-13
2013-14
2014-15
TOTAL

ABS office-based and interviewers
37
40
37
16
130
Census
88
0
0
3
91
TOTAL
125
40
37
19
221

(a) When comparing recent periods with previous years’ 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.

The ABS is committed to the effective management of ill or injured employees. The People Management and Wellbeing Section strategically assesses and actively manages Comcare compensation claims to assist in returning injured staff to pre-injury duties within the ABS. The Section focused on developing the ABS Rehabilitation Management System following a Comcare audit in March 2014. All action items from the audit have either been signed off or are nearing completion. Current priorities include addressing long-term and high-cost claims and working on proactive approaches through employee education and early intervention.


ATTENDANCE MANAGEMENT


In 2014-15, the average number of days of unscheduled absence per full-time equivalent (FTE) was 13 days. This aligns with the Australian Government (Large Agency) median over the previous two years (13.4 days per FTE in 2013-14 and 13.7 days per FTE in 2012-13).

Table 7.9: Unscheduled absence: days per FTE (a)

2011-12
2012-13
2013-14
2014-15

ABS (b)
10.9
12.3
13.0
13.0
Australian Government (Large Agency) median
12.6
13.7
13.4
n/a (c)

(a) Excludes interviewers, non-ongoing Census 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 2014-15 was not available at the time of preparing this report.

EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (EAP) UTILISATION

The EAP utilisation rate for ABS office-based staff during 2014-15 was 2.6% compared with 2.2% in 2013-14. The EAP utilisation rate for ABS interviewer staff during 2014-15 was 1.5% compared with 1.3% in 2013-14.

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 comprises 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 capital city office
  • 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 November 2014 to discuss the ABS State of the Service Census results, the 2013-14 ABS People Plan, flexible work arrangements and the ABS Workplace Diversity and Reconciliation Action Plans. The National Forum also met in March 2015. The Forum had a strong focus on our people and the future directions of the ABS.

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 section 24 (1) of the Public Service Act 1999 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 Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975 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 s. 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: 2,862
  • ABS employees covered by the Australian Bureau of Statistics Interviewers Enterprise Agreement 2011-2014: 516
  • SES employees covered by s. 24(1) Determination: 36.

THE ABS SALARY SYSTEM

SALARY ARRANGEMENTS

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. The last general salary increase was in 2013-14 for APS1 to EL2 employees and was paid from 4 July 2013 as a general salary increase of 1% for all employees. Table 7.10 shows the salary ranges for ABS employees.

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 ABS Enterprise Agreement 2011–2014, subject to the maximum of the salary range not being exceeded. Employee salaries were not forced to align with the new pay points.

Table 7.10: Salary ranges by classification as at 30 June 2013 (a)

Classification
Minimum ($)
Maximum ($)

Australian Public Service (APS) level
APS1 (Adult)
40 394
46 019
APS2
46 191
52 084
APS3
52 622
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
na(b)

(a) The salary ranges took effect from 5 July 2012.
(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 or medallion of commendation together with a gift voucher or in-kind award such as a work group morning tea or lunch.

Organisational guidelines have been developed to ensure consistent conduct of recognition and reward in the ABS.

Total ABS expenditure for the scheme in 2014-15 was $79,936.

There is also an annual Statistician's Award that recognises 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.

In January 2015, Australian Statistician's Awards were presented to four staff:
  • Philip Bell, for providing leadership through innovation in his leading and influential role in ABS survey methods.
  • Stuart Langdown, for providing leadership in service provision through his management of the release of data through the ABS website.
  • Paul Lowe, for providing leadership through innovation and leadership in statistics, through his exemplary leadership of the Transforming People Statistics Project, which is a highly innovative and integrated approach for the ABS to better deliver population and social statistics into the future.
  • Emily Walter, for leadership of our people, for her management and responsiveness for her team in the successful release of the one percent and five percent Census Confidentialised Unit Record Files.

PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT IN THE ABS

The ABS is committed to being a high-performing public agency, promoting a people-oriented culture through a 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.

The ABS Development and Performance Agreement was recently updated to accommodate the performance management changes to the Public Service Act 1999 that came into effect on 1 July 2015. To further enrich the performance culture within the ABS the successful Managing for Performance Improvement program, which aimed to increase the capability of managers by optimising existing APS and ABS performance management initiatives, is being transitioned into a blended learning program with e-learning modules provided for easier access.

The People Capability Framework (PCF), which complements the DPF and coincides with the start-of-cycle Development and Performance Agreement process, is designed to help managers and staff have more meaningful and structured development conversations, feeding into the development component of the DPF. Aggregate PCF results from the evaluation enable the ABS to:
  • understand its capability bench strength and associated development priorities across the organisation
  • align people capability development activities with current and future work program requirements (which is particularly important for our transformation)
  • inform workforce planning processes and learning and development solutions.
The 2014 PCF had a 54% employee self-evaluation participation rate, and an 83% manager evaluation participation rate. SES and Executive Level staff were expected to participate in the evaluation, with APS level staff strongly encouraged to participate through an opt-in approach.

The PCF demonstrates the ABS commitment to the APS employment principle that requires effective performance from each employee.
    ECOLOGICAL SUSTAINABILITY

    During 2014-15, the ABS was committed to the principles of Ecological Sustainable Development as outlined in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

    In accordance with the EPBC Act, which requires agencies to report on aspects of their performance relating to ecologically sustainable development, the ABS has two key roles. The first of these is in relation to the ABS’s responsibility for providing statistics on the environment and environmental issues to enable informed decision-making. The second role relates to the impact of the ABS’s operations on the environment and the action being taken by the ABS to minimise that impact.

    The ABS's response to the five components of sub-section 516A (6), as required by the EPBC Act, is described 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?
    The ABS has an endorsed Environmental Policy Statement which articulates our commitment to the identification and pursuit of effective environmental practices. 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 ABS has implemented an Environmental Management System (EMS), which identifies, implements and promotes environmentally sensitive operations.

    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 build information on environmental statistics further, 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 see the Program Reports for:
    • Agriculture and Rural Environment Statistics
    • Environment Statistics and Integration.

    516A (6) (c) What is the effect of the organisation's activities on the environment?
    The ABS seeks to minimise its impact on the environment through a number of measures, consistent with aims identified in its EMS.

    Identify, implement and promote environmental management systems and operations
    Since 2009, the ABS has maintained an EMS at its largest office site, ABS House in Canberra.

    Operate in an environmentally responsible manner and where practical, reduce energy, waste and other resources
    • To reduce energy consumption and waste, ABS has rolled out smart lighting technologies in all tenanted areas. In addition, energy efficient LED lights and fluorescents are installed in new fit-outs and tenancy upgrades.
    • Free publications are available on the ABS website. ABS has increased the number of publications available electronically, reducing demand for hard copies.
    • ABS uses computer-assisted interviewing, where appropriate, in place of paper forms.
    • By improving video conferencing equipment software and increasing the number of video-conferencing facilities to support virtual teams, ABS has reduced the need for staff travel.
    • ABS provides recycling services in all offices.

    Comply with relevant Commonwealth and territory environment legislation and the Australian Government's environmental policies and initiatives
    ABS developed an ICT Energy Management Plan in alignment with requirements and targets set by the ICT Sustainability Plan 2010–2015, which includes:
    • server virtualisation
    • automatic shutdown of PCs overnight. Unused PCs stay powered off during the day
    • print-on-demand
    • duplex printing and copying
    • replacement of direct network printers to anywhere print multi-function devices (MFDs)
    • reduction of MFD numbers and replacement with mono-printers
    • reduced standby timeout period on MFDs from 90 to 60 minutes
    • continual refresh program for desktops, servers and storage, utilising latest available technology
    • introducing 100% recycled content copy paper
    • maintaining Altiris EiPower desktop energy measurement software
    • high-level metering of data centre (located in ABS House) and communications equipment energy consumption
    • intelligent management system for data centre air-conditioners upgraded to increase efficiency
    • variable speed drives in data centre condenser water pumps and cooling tower fans
    • intelligent server management system to maximise energy efficiencies - for newer technology servers.

    Encourage and promote environmentally sound procurement practices in compliance with Commonwealth Procurement Rules
    • ABS maintains procurement of 10% green energy as part of the whole-of-government energy contract for ABS House and 10% green energy for the New South Wales, Victorian and South Australian capital city offices.
    • ABS includes environmental and whole-of-life-cycle clauses as part of the tender and evaluation process in most procurement activities.
    • ABS leases vehicles with 10.5 GVG rating in accordance with the Green Vehicle Guide.
    • ABS procures 100% recycled paper for general office use.

    Provide an environmentally sound workplace and implement environmentally sound work practices
    • Progressive introduction of flexible working arrangements has reduced the need for staff to work from ABS offices full-time. Where implemented this has reduced staff travel to and from offices, decreased office footprint by 20%, and reduced demand for associated office resources use such as paper and furniture.
    • ABS maintains a building management system to control lighting and reduce energy use in accordance with green lease schedules.
    • ABS uses re-manufactured and recycled cartridges for photocopiers, faxes and printers, and recycling used printer cartridges wherever possible.
    • ABS purchases white goods with heavily weighted energy ratings.
    • ABS promotes sustainable environmental practices in the current Enterprise Agreements.

    Monitor our programs and implement processes of continuous improvement
    • ABS collects regular statistics on its environmental performance in accordance with all legislative requirements. This enables the ABS to monitor and report on the impact it has on the environment, and ensures the ABS is able to measure its continual improvement against these requirements, as reported and published in Energy Use in the Australian Government's Operations.

    Develop an environmentally responsible culture across all levels of our organisation and consult, educate, train and motivate staff about their environmental responsibilities
    • ABS promotes, celebrates and participates in environmental and energy programs around national and international events, and publishes tips on the intranet on ways to reduce the work and home environmental footprint.

    516A (6) (d) What measures are taken by the organisation to minimise the impact of its activities on the environment?
    The ABS's activities have the potential to affect the environment through consumption of energy and water, waste production and waste sent to landfill. A number of ongoing action plans, with relevant targets and objectives have been put in place to reduce the ABS’s environmental impact. These aim to:
    • reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas pollution
    • reduce paper consumption
    • reduce carbon emissions in transportation
    • decrease water usage
    • decrease waste sent to landfill, whilst increasing packaging and waste recycling
    • increase the procurement of environmentally friendly products.

    516A (6) (e) What are the mechanisms for reviewing and increasing effectiveness of these measures?
    The ABS has implemented an EMS at its largest site, ABS House in Canberra, and continues to monitor the activities of the organisation that have an environmental impact. Objectives and targets are set each year to manage and reduce the environmental impact.