Skip to main content

HREOC - Annual Report 2001 - 2002: Appendix 5: Human resources and administrative services

Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission
Annual Report 2001-2002

Appendix 5: Human resources and administrative services

Performance management and staff development

The Commission's Performance Management Scheme provides a framework to manage and develop our staff to achieve our corporate objectives. The scheme provides regular and formal assessment of an employee's work performance and allows for access to training and skill development.

The Commission's Certified Agreement recognises the need to provide adequate training for staff to support workplace changes. This is especially relevant with changes in the information technology area where staff are provided with relevant and ongoing computer training.

As part of the Commission's staff development strategy staff are provided with support under our Studies Assistance policy. The policy provides for access to study leave where study is relevant to the work of the Commission, an individual's work responsibilities and where it assists with career development.

Workplace diversity and equal employment opportunity

The Commission's Workplace Diversity Plan has been in operation since September 1999 and will be reviewed in the latter part of 2002. The Commission recognises that diversity in our staff is one of our greatest strengths and assets and is committed to valuing and promoting the principles of workplace diversity through our work practices. The Commission supported an Indigenous trainee during the first part of 2002 as part of the Commission's Indigenous employment strategy. A further placement is planned in the latter part of 2002. Other strategies under the Plan focus on supporting staff with family responsibilities and supporting employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Occupational health and safety

The Commission's Health and Safety Committee includes a staff health and safety representative and four corporate support staff who met regularly through the year. The focus for the year was on occupational health and safety training for staff and supervisors, with two training sessions held in early 2002. The Committee monitors any issues that arise. Ongoing assistance and support on occupational health, safety and ergonomic issues is provided to new and existing staff. There have been no dangerous accidents or occurrences reported.

The Commission continues to provide staff with access to counselling services through its Employee Assistance Program. This is a free and confidential service for staff and their families to provide counselling on personal and work related problems if required.

Workplace relations and employment

Staff in the Commission are employed under section 22 of the Public Service Act 1999. The Commission's current Agreement was certified by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission in June 2000 and is in operation until 1 August 2002. The Agreement is comprehensive and was certified under section 170LK of the Workplace Relations Act 1976. The number of Commission employees covered by the Agreement as at 30 June 2001 was 99, including both ongoing and non-ongoing staff. Productivity savings funded a salary increase to staff, delivered in three instalments over the life of the Agreement. A one-off bonus was payable to staff on certification. The Agreement maintains core employment conditions, with some streamlining of allowances, and supports family friendly policies. Staff are able to purchase additional leave and access further benefits such as salary packaging and cashing out five days recreation leave subject to conditions. Salary progression within classification levels is subject to performance assessment. Salary ranges are reflected in the table below. The Commission has three staff covered by Australian Workplace Agreements, including one Senior Executive level staff member.

The Commission provides corporate support to the Office of the Federal Privacy Commissioner, which is co-located with the Commission and has negotiated a Memorandum of Understanding for the provision of corporate support. Staff in the Office of the Federal Privacy Commissioner are covered by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission's Certified Agreement and related workplace polices until a new Agreement is negotiated after the expiry of the current Agreement. The Commission also provides corporate support to the Secretariat of the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions which is co-located with the Commission.

Staffing overview

The Commission's average staffing level for the year was 95 staff with a turnover of 13 percent for ongoing staff. This was a similar turnover to the previous year. In order to meet some short-term staffing needs for the year additional non-ongoing staff were employed to assist with the National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention. An overview of the Commission's staffing profile as at 30 June 2002 is summarised in the table below. This includes three staff on leave without pay.

 

Classification Male Female Full-time Part-time Total Ongoing Total non-
Ongoing
Statutory Office Holder
2
2
3
1
 
4
SES Band
 
1
1
 
1
 
SES Band 1
 
 
 
 
 
 
EL 2 above the barrier
($79 603 - 81 637)
 
3
2
1
3
 
EL 2
($67 941 - 78 247)
9
10
17
2
16
3
EL 1
($58 908 - 64 600)
8
2
9
1
10
0
APS 6
($45 951 - 52 784)
6
19
25
 
23
2
APS 5
($42 544 - 45 113)
3
4
7
 
5
2
APS 4
($38 143 - 41 416)
3
3
6
 
6
0
APS 3
($34 224 - 36 938)
2
15
13
4
11
6
APS 2
($30 047 - 33 320)
1
5
6
 
3
3
APS 1
($26 550 - 29 344)
3
 
 
3
1
2
TOTAL
37
64
89
12
79
22

Consultancy services

During 2001-02 the Commission used a range of consultancy services where there was, for example, a need for rapid access to latest technology and experience in its application; lack of in-house resources; the need for independent study; or a need for a change agent or facilitator. There were 10 consultants under engagement during the financial year and total payments of $245, 143.75 were made to consultants. A full listing of the names and amounts is available below.

HREOC - CONSULTANCY SERVICES 2001/2002
NAME SUMMARY PRICE PROCESS JUSTIFICATION
David Allen Consulting Pty Ltd Human Rights China Projects $ 41,997.00 Direct Engagement Consultant who had previously undertaken closely related work for HREOC
Oziris Pty Ltd Video documentary project $ 25,530.00 Select Tender Specialist skills not available within HREOC
Sagric International Pty Ltd Management Service $ 53,163.75 Select Tender Specialist skills not available within HREOC
Dr Harry Blagg Report on Juvenile Diversion Schemes in WA $ 10,909.00 Signed Agreement Specialist skills not available within HREOC
Melbourne Enterprises Int'nl Ltd Consultancy Service China Projects $ 27,500.00 Signed Agreement Recognised and pre eminent expert
Shearwater Management Consultants Pty Ltd Consultancy Service China Projects $ 15,600.00 Signed Agreement Recognised and pre eminent expert
DVA Navion Strategic Planning $ 14,998.00 Signed Agreement Recognised and pre eminent expert
University of Wollongong Collaborative Research and Evaluation $ 18,181.00 Signed Agreement Recognised and pre eminent expert
Griffith University Negotiate Native Title Practices $ 15,245.00 Signed Agreement Recognised and pre eminent expert
Damir Ivkovic Komnas Ham projects $ 22,020.00 Direct Engagement Consultant who had previously undertaken closely related work for HREOC
      Total $ 245,143.75

 

Purchasing

The Commission's purchasing procedures are based on the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines issued by the Department of Finance and Administration. The procedures address a wide range of purchasing situations, allowing managers to be flexible when making purchasing decisions whilst complying with the Commonealth's core principle of value for money.

Ecologically sustainable development and environmental performance

The Commission uses energy saving methods in its operations and endeavours to make the best use of resources.

The Commission has implemented a number of environmental initiatives to ensure issues of environmental impact are addressed. Waste paper, cardboard, printer cartridges and other recyclable materials are recycled subject to the availability of appropriate recycling schemes. Preference is given to environmentally sound products when purchasing office supplies. Purchase and/or leasing of "Energy Star" rated office machines and equipment is encouraged, as are machines with 'power save' features.

Fraud control

The Commission has prepared a fraud risk assessment and fraud control plan and has procedures and processes in place to assist in the process of fraud prevention, detection, investigation and reporting in line with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines. The Fraud Control Plan is made available electronically to all Commission staff.

Commonwealth Disability Strategy

The revised Commonwealth Disability Strategy was launched by the Government in late 2000. Full details on the Strategy can be found on the Department of Family and Community Services' website at www.facs.gov.au/disability/cds. Through the Strategy the Government seeks to ensure its policies, programs and services are as accessible to people with disabilities as they are to all other Australians. This of course is integral to the work of the Commission and evident in the work we do.

The Commission along with all other Commonwealth agencies has to report against the Strategy performance framework annually. The Strategy identifies five core roles that may be relevant to the agency. The Commission's primary roles are that of policy adviser, service provider and employer. Full details on the policies and services highlighted in the appendices can be found within the relevant section of the Annual Report.

The Commission's last Disability Action Plan was reviewed in 2001 and this can be found on the Commission's website at www.humanrights.gov.au/disability_rights/action_plans/. The Commission will be developing a new Action Plan in the latter part of 2002. The Commission is committed to implementing best practices in providing and improving access to its services for people with disabilities. In particular our complaint handling processes, online access to our services and website, and consultation with disability groups provide examples of what we are doing to achieve this. Further details of these can be found within our Annual Report.

COMMONWEALTH DISABILITY STRATEGY PERFORMANCE REPORTING JUNE 2002

Further details on programs and policies outlined against the performance indicators can be found in the relevant section of the Annual Report.

Policy Advisor Role

Performance Indicator 1:
New or revised policy/program assess impact on the lives of people with disabilities prior to decision

Performance measure

  • Percentage of new or revised policy/program proposals that document that the impact of the proposal was considered prior to the decision making stage.

Current level of performance 2001-02

  • 100 percent of Terms of Reference for Commission Inquiries are distributed for comment prior to a decision to proceed.
  • Submissions to Inquiries are taken in a range of formats, including verbal/audio (transcribed by the Commission), email, and handwritten letters.
  • Submissions are made available to all on the Commission's website, except where otherwise requested or indicated.
  • Public hearings for the National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention were held in venues accessible to people with disabilities.
  • Disability related email discussion lists are monitored for relevant policy issues, and are used to announce calls for submissions.
  • Performance measure = 100 percent.

Performance Indicator 2:
People with disabilities are included in consultation about new or revised policy/program proposals

Performance measure

  • Percentage of consultations about new or revised policy/program proposals that are developed in consultation with people with disabilities.

Current level of performance 2001-02

  • National racism conference Beyond Tolerance held in an accessible venue and included a speaker from Action on Disability within Ethnic Communities. The Executive Director of the National Ethnic Disability Alliance was a member of the conference advisory committee.
  • The Accessible Ecommerce Forum and Building Access Policy Committee are actively resourced by the Commission. Disability sector representatives work with the Commission in developing ongoing agenda for these fora.
  • A Summit was hosted to provide an opportunity for national disability peak organisations to express views about the effectiveness of the Disability Discrimination Act, and to suggest priorities and directions for future Commission policy initiatives.

Performance Indicator 3:
Public announcements of new, revised or proposed policy/program initiatives are available in accessible formats for people with disabilities in a timely manner

Performance measure

  • Percentage of new, revised or proposed policy/program announcements available in a range of accessible formats.
  • Time taken in providing announcements in accessible formats.

Current level of performance 2001-02

  • All information about new Commission initiatives is available on a W3C/WAI compliant website simultaneous with public release. For more information on accessibility compliance refer to www.w3c.org. Performance measure for web release = 100 percent.
  • Email lists deliver information and links to several thousand subscribers. All national disability peaks subscribe to this list.
  • Added to the race discrimination part of the Commission website were the records of the national consultations undertaken for the World Conference Against Racism, speeches delivered at the national racism conference Beyond Tolerance (posted as delivered) and revised fact sheets on the Racial Discrimination Act.
  • All public announcements and publications issued by the Sex Discrimination Unit are available on the website, including key speeches delivered by the Commissioner, op-ed pieces and media releases.
  • The Disability Rights Update is distributed via Radio for the Print Handicapped, a national network. In 2001, the Disability Rights Unit evaluated the update service via a user survey and incorporated feedback to improve navigation of the website.
  • Other accessible formats are available on request, and can be provided within three days.
  • For the provision of announcements in accessible formats the performance measure = 100 percent.

Provider Role

Further details on the Commission's complaint handling function with a full description of its services and relevant statistics can be found in the Complaint Handling Section of the Annual Report.

Performance Indicator 1:
Complaints information service provides information about complaint handling service to people with disabilities

Performance measure

  • Complaints information service accessible to people with disabilities.
  • Number of calls/emails/visits to complaints information service related to disability issues.
  • Number of groups that attended complaint handling information sessions, or were visited by the Complaint Handling Section during regional and interstate visits included disability advocacy and disability legal services.

Current level of performance 2001-02

  • Commission complaints information is available in electronic and alternative formats. Email facility and accessible online complaint form for the lodgement of complaints is available. TTY facility is available with a national 1300 number at local call cost.
  • All complaint handling brochures and publications are available on the Commission's website in accessible electronic format. Information about the complaints process and legislation is available in plain English format on the Commission's website. The website is updated regularly.
  • 19 percent of phone/email enquiries to the Complaint Information Service related to disability issues.
  • 15 percent of all written enquiries to the Complaint Information Service related to disability issues.
  • 155 groups attended a Complaint Handling Section session or were visited by Complaint Handling Section staff.
  • Commission information is available in alternative formats on request.
  • A complaints information referral list is updated regularly to ensure callers with disabilities can be referred to an appropriate advocacy groups.

Performance Indicator 2:
Complaint handling service accessible to people with disabilities

Performance measure

  • Number of complaints received under the Disability Discrimination Act.
  • Number of complaints lodged by people with disabilities under all legislation administered by the Commission.
  • Number of complainants who identify the need for specific assistance on intake form.
  • Complaints received about accessibility of service.

Current level of performance 2001-02

  • 452 complaints were received under Disability Discrimination Act legislation for 2001-02. Refer to the Complaints Handling Section of the Annual Report for further details.
  • Complaints were received from people identifying as having a disability under all Acts administered by the Commission. Forty seven (47) percent of responses to a demographics question indicated the complainant had a disability.
  • There were no complaints received regarding access to the Commission complaint handling service or premises. Performance measure = 100 percent.
  • The Commission's premises are accessible. Premises used for remote conciliations conferences are accessible. Performance measure = 100 percent.
  • The Complaint Handling Section Access Committee reviews access to the Commission's complaint handling service by the community, including specific focus on people with disabilities. Further details are available in the Annual Report.

Performance Indicator 3:
Staff training and development includes training related to people with disabilities

Performance measure

  • Percentage of training programs that include information regarding people with disabilities and relevance to complaint handling processes.

Current level of performance 2001-02

  • Complaint Handling Section investigation and conciliation training courses include specific training on accommodating people with disabilities in the complaint handling investigation and conciliation processes. Performance measure = 100 percent.
  • Ad hoc Complaint Handling Section training sessions specifically address relevance to people with disabilities who use complaint handling services. Performance measure = 100 percent.
  • The Commission's Complaint Handling Manual advises staff to consider reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities is provided during the investigation and conciliation process such as provision of Auslan interpreters, use of TTY, use of alternative formats for information. Performance measure = 100 percent.

Performance Indicator 4:
Complaint mechanism in place to address concerns raised about service and addresses requirements of people with disabilities

Performance measure

  • Established complaint/grievance mechanism in operation. Detailed in Charter of Service which is provided to all parties to a complaint and available on website. Provided in alternative format on request.

Current level of performance 2001-02

  • Charter of Service addresses roles and responsibilities of the Commission and parties.
  • No complaints about accessibility of service or disability related issues were received under the charter in the year.
  • Performance measure = 100 percent.

Employer Role

Performance Indicator 1:
Employment policies, procedures and practices comply with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act

Performance measure

  • Number of employment policies, procedures and practices that meet the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

Current level of performance 2001-02

  • The Corporate Plan includes reference to Australian Public Service values and social justice principles to ensure access to the Commission's services.
  • The Certified Agreement contains reference to workplace diversity principles. Most of the Commission's policies on employment are contained within the Agreement.
  • The Workplace Diversity Plan outlines strategies to maximise employment opportunities for people with disabilities. All new staff on induction are provided with a copy of the Plan.
  • The Email/Internet Policy is reviewed annually. It specifically refers to the inappropriate use of email that may demean people with disabilities.
  • No formal complaints/grievances made by staff with disabilities with regard to current work practices.
  • Reasonable adjustment principles are adhered to in the modification of an employees duties in the workplace. Two employees have been provided with special voice activated software to enable them to undertake their duties.

Goals for 2002-03

  • The Commission's Certified Agreement is due to be renegotiated after 1 August 2002. Workplace diversity principles will be maintained in the Agreement and related employment policies updated to reflect these.

Actions for 2002-03

  • The Workplace Diversity Committee to review the Workplace Diversity Plan. This has been scheduled for the latter part of 2002.

Performance Indicator 2:
Recruitment information for potential job applicants is available in accessible formats on request

Performance measure

  • Percentage of recruitment information requested and provided in alternate electronic formats and accessible formats other than electronic.
  • Average time taken to provide accessible information in electronic formats and formats other than electronic.

Current level of performance 2001-02

  • Performance in providing accessible formats for recruitment material = 100 percent.
  • Recruitment information is able to be provided in any format. All recruitment material is on the Commission's website and available by download simultaneously as advertising in the press. Advertisements in the press advise that information is available at contact phone number, by TTY phone and on the Commission's website. The Commission website meets the criteria for accessibility as outlined in the Government Online Strategy. The Job Vacancies section at https://humanrights.gov.au/about/jobs received approximately 36 350 page views during the period 1 July 2001 - 30 June 2002.
  • There was one request for Braille during 2001-02 and this was provided within a week.

Actions for 2002-03

  • Website to include that information is able to be provided in other alternate formats such as Braille etc.
  • Continue to provide recruitment material on the website.
  • Monitor use of the website and requests for alternate formats.

Performance Indicator 3:
Agency recruiters and managers apply the principle of reasonable adjustment

Performance measure

  • Percentage of recruiters and managers provided with information on reasonable adjustment.

Current level of performance 2001-02

  • Selection guidelines include information on reasonable adjustment and guidelines for interviewing staff with disabilities.
  • Recruitment action is managed internally and not outsourced.

Performance Indicator 4:
Training and development programs consider the needs of staff with disabilities

Performance measure

  • Percentage of training and development programs that consider the needs of staff with disabilities.

Current level of performance 2001-02

  • Due to the small number of staff, training is coordinated by each of the unit managers under the Commission's Performance Management scheme.
  • Training nomination forms include specific requirements that may be needed such as:
     

    • wheelchair access
    • accessible toilets/parking
    • a hearing device
    • sign language interpreter
    • an attendant
    • a support person
    • information in Braille, audio cassette, large print, ASCII format.

Performance Indicator 5:
Training and development programs include information on disability issues as they relate to the content of the program

Performance measure

  • Percentage of training and development programs that include information on disability issues as they relate to the program.

Current level of performance 2001-02

  • As noted above training is coordinated by each individual section.
  • Induction includes information on workplace diversity and relevant legislation that the Commission administers, including the Disability Discrimination Act.
  • The Complaint Handling Section conducts training and information on disability issues for staff.

Performance Indicator 6:
Complaint/grievance mechanism, including access to external mechanisms, in place to address issues and concerns by staff

Performance measure

  • Established complaints/grievance mechanisms, including access to external mechanisms in operation.

Current level of performance 2001-02

  • There is an established process in the Certified Agreement for complaints/grievances, which includes access to external review through the Australian Public Service Commission.
  • All staff are advised of access to the Commission's Employee Assistance Program and encouraged to use this service when needed. This free service provides counselling and support for staff and their families.
  • Provision of access to complaints/grievance mechanisms = 100 percent.

Actions 2002-03

  • The Commission's new Workplace Agreement will continue to provide access to grievance procedures.

Note: Accessible electronic formats include ASCII (or .txt) files and HTML for the web. Non electronic accessible formats include Braille, audio cassette, large print and easy English. Other ways of making information available include video captioning and Auslan interpreters.

 

Appendix 5