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MANAGEMENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES
It is our people who will ensure we can meet the challenge of transforming the ABS to better engage with partners, develop responsive processes, make the best use of modern technologies, and be a high performing and accountable organisation. Preparing our people for the future will enable us to work towards achieving our vision. Human resource (HR) management is a critical function within the agency. The ABS needs employees who:
As at 30 June 2016, there were 3,586 operative and inoperative staff (60 of these are unpaid inoperative staff) employed at the ABS under the Public Service Act 1999: 1,711 males and 1,875 females.
There were also 3,482 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, 3,039 were Census Field Officers and 443 were household survey interviewers.
The following tables show the profile of ABS staff by employment classification and sex, and by location and type of employment for operative and paid inoperative staff. Staff employed under the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975 (interviewers and Census field staff), and 60 unpaid inoperative staff are excluded from the tables.
EMPLOYMENT CLASSIFICATION BY SEX AND EMPLOYMENT TYPE, 30 JUNE 2015 & 2016 (a)(b)
(b) Excludes the Australian Statistician (Statutory appointment).
NUMBER OF ABS STAFF BY LOCATION, EMPLOYMENT TYPE AND STATUS, AT 30 JUNE 2015 & 2016 (a)(b)
(b) Excludes the Australian Statistician (Statutory appointment).
NUMBER OF ABS SES OFFICERS BY LEVEL, SEX AND YEAR (a)
At 30 June 2016 there were 19 women in the ABS Senior Executive Service (SES), representing 46.3% of the total number of ABS SES officers.
ABS WORKFORCE STRATEGY 2015-19
The ABS recognises that our people are essential to successfully realising our transformation goals and achieving our vision and objectives. To deliver our ambitious transformation agenda, we are changing our culture, driving high performance, and building capability.
The ABS Workforce Strategy 2015–19 provides a five-year strategic outlook for transforming our workforce through driving high performance. It is aligned with the ABS Corporate Plan 2015–19, and focuses exclusively on the workforce (our people and culture) elements of transformation.
The ABS Workforce Strategy 2015–19 is implemented through annual ABS People and Culture Action Plans, which set out the national operational strategies and actions to progress us towards our desired outcomes.
The four high-level strategies outlined in the ABS Workforce Strategy 2015–19 are delivering our transformation agenda by:
WORKPLACE DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION IN THE ABS
The ABS is committed to creating workplaces that are accessible and inclusive for all staff. The ABS recognises that valuing our employee diversity and capitalising on their unique perspectives and talents encourages an innovative, productive and fulfilling workplace that will continue to attract and retain employees and make the ABS an employer of choice.
The following plans form the ABS Workplace Diversity Program:
These plans are integrated with the ABS People and Culture Action Plan 2015–16 and the ABS Workforce Strategy 2015–19. Actions that support delivery focus on:
In addition, the ABS demonstrated its commitment to access and equity through the ABS Agency Multicultural Plan 2013–15 (ABS cat. no. 1012.0), which has been replaced by the new Government requirements as set out in the revised Multicultural Access and Equity Policy.
WORKPLACE DIVERSITY ACTION PLAN
Through the ABS Workplace Diversity Action Plan 2013–2017, we will continue our commitment to identifying and addressing barriers to inclusion that may be experienced by some people in our community and workforce. The Workplace Diversity Action Plan 2013–2017 sets out four key strategies:
RECONCILIATION ACTION PLAN
The ABS is committed to reconciliation. The ABS leads and coordinates 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:
NUMBER OF ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLES EMPLOYED IN THE ABS, 2015–16 (a)
DISABILITY REPORTING MECHANISM
Since 1994, Commonwealth non-corporate entities have reported on their performance as policy adviser, purchaser, employer, regulator and provider under the Commonwealth Disability Strategy. In 2007–08, reporting on the employer role was transferred to the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) State of the Service Report and the APS Statistical Bulletin. These reports are available at www.apsc.gov.au. From 2010–11, entities have no longer been required to report on these functions.
The Commonwealth Disability Strategy has been overtaken by the National Disability Strategy 2010–2020, which sets out a ten-year national policy framework to improve the lives of people with disability, promote participation and create a more inclusive society. A high level two-yearly report will track progress against each of the six outcome areas of the Strategy and present a picture of how people with disability are faring. The first of these reports was made available in late 2014, and can be found at www.dss.gov.au.
At 30 June 2016 there were 76 staff (excluding unpaid inoperatives) who identified as having disability, representing 2.1% of the total number of office-based staff in the ABS.
NUMBER OF STAFF IDENTIFYING AS HAVING A DISABILITY EMPLOYED IN THE ABS, 2015-16 (a)
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 ABS Gender Diversity Action Plan 2014–17 has four strategies:
ABS STAFF BY LEVEL BY SEX 2015-16
(b) Excludes the Australian Statistician (statutory appointment).
AGENCY MULTICULTURAL PLAN
The ABS is committed to improving how we engage and respond to the needs of Australians from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. and we foster an organisation that recognises and supports them.
The ABS Agency Multicultural Plan 2013–15 was released in July 2013, under the requirements of the Australian Government Multicultural Access and Equity Policy.
Under streamlined arrangements for the implementation of the Multicultural Access and Equity Policy implemented in early 2016, departments and agencies are no longer required to develop and implement individual Agency Multicultural Plans. Instead, a single, whole-of-government plan covers the multicultural access and equity efforts of all departments and agencies, and the ABS continues to demonstrate its commitment to multicultural service delivery through strategies and policies.
KEY DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION PROGRAM ACHIEVEMENTS IN 2015-16
TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT
Training statistics from 2005–06 to 2015–16 are presented in the table below.
In line with the ABS Workforce Strategy 2015–2019 and the ABS People and Culture Action Plan 2015–16, the ABS is reshaping its workforce capability to ensure we have the right people with the right skills to transform, while continuing to deliver high quality official statistics.
KEY ACHIEVEMENTS IN 2015-16
To enable transformation the ABS is embarking on a Statistical Transformation Learning and Development Pathway Program which focuses on upskilling and reskilling traditional processing type staff in the areas of data analysis and conceptual and critical thinking capabilities. This program will include foundational, intermediate and advanced level pathways. Staff participating in these pathways will need to graduate successfully through the relevant assessment gates in order to access the higher-end development options. The program will be a blended program with a range of online learning solutions, face-to-face master class sessions, on-the-job development opportunities and access to university accredited courses.
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.
(f) Significant decrease in face to face sessions with more emphasis on e-learning/blended learning approaches.
(g) Minor correction to published numbers.
(h) Rise in average training days due to significant graduate intake, mandatory e-learning modules for new recruits and new telework arrangements, availability of new e-learning modules for self-directed learning, and focus on skills for transformation such as Agile Methodology and EL1 orientation.
RECRUITMENT KEY ACHIEVEMENTS IN 2015–16
In 2015–16 the ABS undertook a number of recruitment processes, including:
A number of initiatives were implemented in the 2015 national APS/EL recruitment exercise to reflect best practice and provide maximum flexibility for future staffing decisions. In particular, initiatives to address potential unconscious bias (unconscious bias training for panel members and blind recruiting) resulted in an improvement in attracting and placing women in positions across the ABS at higher rates than in the past.
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 of work health and safety (WHS) advisors and rehabilitation specialists focus on wellbeing at work, preventing injury and illness, early intervention if injury or illness occurs, rehabilitation and return to work programs.
In 2015–16, the ABS completed the second year of its Work Health and Safety and Rehabilitation Management System Strategy (2014–17). It is underpinned by the ABS Work Health and Safety and Rehabilitation Management Statement of Commitment which focuses on:
The Senior Management Group is the senior executive forum with responsibility for oversight of the ABS WHS and Rehabilitation Management System.
KEY ACHIEVEMENTS IN 2015–16
Measures taken to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of employees during 2015–16 included:
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. All ABS Health and Safety Committees met at least four times in 2015–16, with 92% of meetings held three-monthly.
Revised and new WHS policies and guidelines regarding WHS Issue Resolution, Indoor Air Quality, Thermal Comfort and First Aid were released in 2015–16, following consultation with staff and their representatives.
WHS modules are available to all staff via the ABS e-learning system. In 2015–16:
In the ABS there are a number of specific WHS roles filled by trained staff:
PROVISIONAL IMPROVEMENT NOTICES
No Provisional Improvement Notices were issued to the ABS during 2015–16.
COMCARE INVESTIGATIONS AND INSPECTIONS
There were no Comcare investigations or inspections during 2015–16.
The ABS Comcare premium rate for 2015–16 was 2.21% of total salary (excluding GST).
COMCARE WORKERS COMPENSATION PREMIUM RATE
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 eight notifiable incidents in 2015–16 (three serious injuries or illnesses and five dangerous incidents).
WORKPLACE INJURIES AND ILLNESSES
The top three mechanisms of incident resulting in injury or illness reported in the ABS during 2015–16 were body stressing, mental stress, and falls, trips and slips. In addition, there were 247 safety incidents reported that resulted in no injury or damage only to property.
There were 11 accepted workers compensation claims with a date of injury occurring within 2015–16, compared to 28 in 2014–15.
ACCEPTED ABS COMPENSABLE CLAIMS BY DATE OF INJURY, 2012-13 TO 2015-16 (a)
The ABS is committed to minimising the impact of injury, illness and disease in employees. The People Management and Wellbeing Section manages Comcare compensation claims to assist in returning ill and/or injured staff to work, health and independence by providing a safe, supportive environment and setting achievable goals.
The Section developed a Rehabilitation Management System (RMS) following a Comcare audit in March 2014. The Corrective Action Plan resulting from the audit was signed off as completed in December 2015. The RMS is used to ensure the ABS has the necessary controls in place to understand and comply with relevant legislation, guidelines and corporate policy; to establish and maintain the ABS’s performance against relevant requirements; and to ensure continual improvement particularly through the implementation of any future corrective action plans.
Current priorities include addressing long-term and high-cost claims in partnership with Comcare and working towards an active case management approach through staff education and early intervention initiatives.
In 2015–16, the average number of days of unscheduled absence per full-time equivalent (FTE) was 11.9 days (Table 6.10). This is less than the Australian Government (Large Agency) median over the previous two years (12.4 days per FTE in 2014–15 and 12.3 days per FTE in 2013–14).
UNSCHEDULED ABSENCE: DAYS PER FTE (a) (b) Unscheduled absence: days per FTE (a) (b)
(b) Totals do not include workers compensation due to a change in APSC reporting in the 2014-15 year. Figures may not match those contained in previous ABS reports as a result.
(c) The Australian Government (Large Agency) median for 2015–16 was not available at the time of preparing this report.
EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM UTILISATION
The EAP utilisation rate for ABS office-based staff during 2015–16 was 9.1% compared with 10.4% in 2014–15. The EAP utilisation rate for ABS Interviewer staff during 2015–16 was 5.1% compared with 5.9% in 2014–15.
CONSULTATION IN THE ABS
The ABS is committed to effective workplace relations that value communication, cooperation and effective consultation with employees and their chosen representatives, including union representatives, about matters that affect their workplace.
The ABS consultative framework comprises the following elements:
A meeting of the National Forum was held in November 2015 to discuss the ABS State of the Service Census results, the ABS Workforce Strategy and the Reconciliation and Diversity Action Plans. The National Forum also met in March 2016. The Forum had a strong focus on our people and the future direction of the ABS.
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 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, Individual Flexibility Arrangement, a Determination under s. 24(1) of the Public Service Act 1999 or a Determination under s. 16(3) of the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975 as at 30 June 2016 are as follows:
The ABS Enterprise Agreement 2016 outlines the salary arrangements for non-SES ABS employees employed under the Public Service Act 1999 for the period 3 June 2016 to 2 June 2019. A general salary increase of 3% was effective from 3 June 2016. Table 6.11 shows the salary ranges for ABS employees.
Prior to 3 June 2016 the ABS Enterprise Agreement 2011–2014 outlined the salary arrangements for non SES ABS employees employed under the Public Service Act 1999.
SALARY RANGES BY CLASSIFICATION AS AT 30 JUNE 2016
RECOGNITION AND REWARD
The ABS operates a Recognition and Reward Scheme that acknowledges 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. The current Recognition and Reward Scheme will be reviewed in 2016–17.
Total ABS expenditure for the scheme in 2015–16 was $ 67,456.
There is also an annual Australian Statistician’s Award that recognises extraordinary contributions made to the ABS by individual employees.
In January 2016, Australian Statistician’s Awards were presented to 12 staff.
PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT IN THE ABS
The ABS is committed to being a high-performing public agency, promoting a people-oriented culture through focus on leadership, communication, innovation and engagement.
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 updated to accommodate feedback from a national series of workshops. These workshops captured staff and manager experiences and perceptions of the effectiveness of performance and development in the ABS.
Where there are concerns about employee performance, ABS managers work with their employees by implementing an informal Performance Improvement Plan (PIP). ABS initiated ten PIPs for ongoing office-based staff during 2015–16. Where an employee’s performance has not improved through a PIP a formal underperformance process commences. Five employees were the subject of formal processes to manage underperformance. This resulted in a range of outcomes including employees meeting the expected level of performance, having their employment terminated or having their classification reduced. In addition, the contracts of two non-ongoing employees were terminated due to underperformance.
The DPF and the ABS implementation of it demonstrate ABS’s commitment to the APS employment principle that requires effective performance from each employee.
During 2015–16 ABS completed eight investigations into suspected breaches of the APS Code of Conduct by ABS employees. None involved privacy breaches. Where breaches were determined, a range of sanctions were implemented including formal reprimands, fines, and reduction in classification. Two employees resigned their ABS employment following a preliminary sanction decision of termination of employment.
During 2015–16, the ABS remained 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 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 Environmental Policy Statement 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:
516A (6) (b) How do the outcomes specified in a relevant Appropriations Act contribute to ecologically sustainable development?
The ABS receives appropriation for the purpose of producing statistics that inform decision making on a wide range of social and economic matters.
The ABS works closely with the community and governments to further build information on environmental statistics, to complement the more established information bases on population, society and the economy. The focus of this development work is the integration of environmental statistics with Australia’s economic and social statistics.
For more information on ABS statistical publications and developments, please refer to the ABS website www.abs.gov.au for:
516A (6) (c) What is the effect of the organisation’s activities on the environment?
The ABS has sought to minimise its impact on the environment through a number of measures.
OPERATE IN AN ENVIRONMENTALLY RESPONSIBLE MANNER AND WHERE PRACTICAL, REDUCE ENERGY, WASTE AND OTHER RESOURCES
Flexible working environments have been introduced in five of the nine ABS sites across Australia, which has reduced the required tenancy footprint by 20% and staff need to attend ABS offices daily. This has reduced the environmental impact of fitout, furniture production, and necessary operational services, particularly electricity.
To reduce energy consumption and waste, fitouts have included energy efficient LED lights and smart lighting technologies in all tenanted areas.
ABS publications are available on the ABS website, reducing demand for print copies of publications.
Computer assisted interviewing is used in place of paper forms where possible.
Improvements in video conferencing equipment software and increasing the number of video conferencing facilities supports virtual teams and has reduced the requirement to travel.
Recycling services are provided to all office-based staff, including
COMPLY WITH RELEVANT COMMONWEALTH AND TERRITORY ENVIRONMENT LEGISLATION AND THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT'S ENVIRONMENTAL POLICIES AND INITIATIVES
An ABS ICT Energy Management Plan has been developed in alignment with requirements and targets set under the ICT Sustainability Plan 2010–2015, which includes:
ENCOURAGE AND PROMOTE ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND PROCUREMENT PRACTICES IN COMPLIANCE WITH COMMONWEALTH PROCUREMENT RULES
Procurement of 10% green energy as part of the whole-of-government energy contract for ABS House and 10% green energy for the Sydney, Melbourne, Geelong, Dandenong and Adelaide offices continued.
Environmental and whole-of-life-cycle clauses are included as part of the tender and evaluation process in most procurement activities.
Vehicles with 10.5 GVG rating, in accordance with the Green Vehicle Guide, are leased.
100% recycled paper is procured 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 full-time in ABS offices. This has reduced staff travel to and from offices, reduced office footprint by 20%, and reduced associated office resources use such as paper and furniture.
A knowledge framework has been implemented, incorporating digital recordkeeping rather than paper records, with automatic recordkeeping facilities for ABS workgroup databases.
Environmental efficiency measures have been incorporated into the market testing process for new leases with the integration of green lease schedules in each new tenancy.
A building management system controls lighting and reduces energy use.
Re-manufactured and recycled cartridges for photocopiers, faxes and printers, and recycling used printer cartridges are used wherever possible.
White goods with heavily weighted energy ratings are purchased.
MONITOR OUR PROGRAMS AND IMPLEMENT PROCESSES OF CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT
The ABS monitors its:
DEVELOP AN ENVIRONMENTALLY RESPONSIBLE CULTURE ACROSS ALL LEVELS OF OUR ORGANISATION AND CONSULT, EDUCATE, TRAIN AND MOTIVATE STAFF ABOUT THEIR ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITIES
ABS promotes, participates in, and celebrates environmental and energy programs around national and international events such as World Environment Day, Earth Hour and Walk and Ride to Work days.
All offices are encouraged to support local Green Teams to raise awareness and develop local initiatives.
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. The ABS seeks to improve its performance by measuring and managing:
516A (6) (e) What are the mechanisms for reviewing and increasing effectiveness of these measures?
The ABS implemented an EMS in 2012–13 at its largest site, ABS House in Canberra. This set a number of environmental performance objectives which continue to be used. Leases negotiated in Brisbane, Geelong, and Melbourne in 2015–16 have incorporated green lease schedules which will be used to build a collaborative approach to managing environmental impacts of the ABS and the buildings it occupies. In 2016–17, as the ABS develops the new lease and fitout of its largest office, the EMS will be revisited and used to set the future objectives of the ABS approach to environmental management and performance.
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