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Auditor-General Audit reports for 2012-13 No. 55 Performance audit Indigenous Employment - The Australian Government's contribution to the Australian Employment Covenant: Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations


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T h e A u d i t o r - G e n e r a l

Audit Report No.55 2012-13 Performance Audit

Indigenous Employment: The Australian Government's Contribution to the Australian Employment Covenant

Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations

A u s t r a l i a n N a t i o n a l A u d i t O f f i c e

 

ANAO Audit Report No.55 2012-13 Indigenous Employment: The Australian Government's Contribution to the Australian Employment Covenant

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© Commonwealth of Australia 2013 

ISSN 1036-7632 ISBN 0 642 81382 5 (Print)  ISBN 0 642 81383 3 (On‐line) 

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Or via email: webmaster@anao.gov.au

 

         

 

ANAO Audit Report No.55 2012-13 Indigenous Employment: The Australian Government's Contribution to the Australian Employment Covenant

2

   

© Commonwealth of Australia 2013 

ISSN 1036-7632 ISBN 0 642 81382 5 (Print)  ISBN 0 642 81383 3 (On‐line) 

Except for the content in this document supplied by third parties, the Australian National Audit Office logo, the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, and any material protected by a trade mark, this document is licensed by the

Australian National Audit Office for use under the terms of a

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 Australia licence. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/au/

You are free to copy and communicate the document in its current form for non-commercial purposes, as long as you attribute the document to the Australian National Audit Office and abide by the other licence terms. You may not alter or adapt the work in any way.

Permission to use material for which the copyright is owned by a third party must be sought from the relevant copyright owner. As far as practicable, such material will be clearly labelled.

For terms of use of the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, visit It’s an Honour at http://www.itsanhonour.gov.au/coat-arms/index.cfm.

Requests and inquiries concerning reproduction and rights should be addressed to:

Executive Director Corporate Management Branch Australian National Audit Office 19 National Circuit BARTON ACT 2600

Or via email: webmaster@anao.gov.au

 

         

 

ANAO Audit Report No.55 2012-13

Indigenous Employment: The Australian Government's Contribution to the Australian Employment Covenant

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Canberra ACT 26 June 2013

Dear Mr President Dear Madam Speaker

The Australian National Audit Office has undertaken an independent performance audit in the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations with the authority contained in the Auditor-General Act 1997. I present the report of this audit to the Parliament. The report is titled Indigenous Employment: The Australian Government's Contribution to the Australian Employment Covenant.

Following its presentation and receipt, the report will be placed on the Australian National Audit Office’s Homepage—http://www.anao.gov.au.

Yours sincerely

Ian McPhee Auditor-General

The Honourable the President of the Senate The Honourable the Speaker of the House of Representatives Parliament House Canberra ACT    

ANAO Audit Report No.55 2012-13 Indigenous Employment: The Australian Government's Contribution to the Australian Employment Covenant

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AUDITING FOR AUSTRALIA

The Auditor-General is head of the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO). The ANAO assists the Auditor-General to carry out his duties under the Auditor-General Act 1997 to undertake performance audits, financial statement audits and assurance reviews of Commonwealth public sector bodies and to provide independent reports and advice for the Parliament, the Australian Government and the community. The aim is to improve Commonwealth public sector administration and accountability.

For further information contact: The Publications Manager Australian National Audit Office GPO Box 707 Canberra ACT 2601

Telephone: (02) 6203 7505 Fax: (02) 6203 7519

Email: webmaster@anao.gov.au

ANAO audit reports and information about the ANAO are available at our internet address:

http://www.anao.gov.au

Audit Team Sarah Pratt Sam Playfair Steven Favell Dr Andrew Pope

 

 

 

   

ANAO Audit Report No.55 2012-13

Indigenous Employment: The Australian Government's Contribution to the Australian Employment Covenant

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Contents Abbreviations .................................................................................................................. 7 

Glossary ......................................................................................................................... 8 

Summary and Recommendations ............................................................................ 11 

Summary ...................................................................................................................... 12 

Introduction ............................................................................................................. 12 

Australian Employment Covenant ........................................................................... 13 

Audit objective, scope and criteria .......................................................................... 16 

Overall conclusion ................................................................................................... 16 

Key findings by chapter ........................................................................................... 19 

Summary of agency response ................................................................................ 21 

Summary of the Australian Employment Covenant’s response ............................. 23  Recommendation ......................................................................................................... 24 

Audit Findings ............................................................................................................ 25 

1.  Introduction ............................................................................................................. 26 

Indigenous employment .......................................................................................... 26 

Australian Employment Covenant ........................................................................... 28 

Australian Government commitments under the Covenant .................................... 30 

Progress to date ...................................................................................................... 32 

Audit objective, scope, criteria and methodology ................................................... 32 

2.  Arrangements to Support Collaboration .................................................................. 34 

Introduction ............................................................................................................. 34 

Identifying a shared goal ......................................................................................... 35 

Arrangements to support collaboration between the AEC and DEEWR ................ 36  DEEWR’s internal management arrangements ...................................................... 41 

Conclusions ............................................................................................................. 45 

3.  Implementation Arrangements ................................................................................ 46 

Introduction ............................................................................................................. 46 

Implementation model for the Covenant ................................................................. 47 

DEEWR’s role in implementation ............................................................................ 49 

Strategies to engage with Indigenous job seekers ................................................. 50 

Employer and industry training requirements ......................................................... 52 

Australian Government programs supporting the Covenant................................... 55  Conclusions ............................................................................................................. 61 

4.  Performance Measurement .................................................................................... 63 

Introduction ............................................................................................................. 63 

Australian Government’s monitoring commitments under the Covenant ............... 64  Measurement of the Australian Government’s contribution to the Covenant ......... 67  Evaluation ............................................................................................................... 72 

ANAO Audit Report No.55 2012-13 Indigenous Employment: The Australian Government's Contribution to the Australian Employment Covenant

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AUDITING FOR AUSTRALIA

The Auditor-General is head of the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO). The ANAO assists the Auditor-General to carry out his duties under the Auditor-General Act 1997 to undertake performance audits, financial statement audits and assurance reviews of Commonwealth public sector bodies and to provide independent reports and advice for the Parliament, the Australian Government and the community. The aim is to improve Commonwealth public sector administration and accountability.

For further information contact: The Publications Manager Australian National Audit Office GPO Box 707 Canberra ACT 2601

Telephone: (02) 6203 7505 Fax: (02) 6203 7519

Email: webmaster@anao.gov.au

ANAO audit reports and information about the ANAO are available at our internet address:

http://www.anao.gov.au

Audit Team Sarah Pratt Sam Playfair Steven Favell Dr Andrew Pope

 

 

 

   

ANAO Audit Report No.55 2012-13 Indigenous Employment: The Australian Government's Contribution to the Australian Employment Covenant

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Conclusions ............................................................................................................. 73 

Appendices ................................................................................................................. 77 

Appendix 1:  Agency response to proposed report ................................................. 78 

Appendix 2:  Australian Employment Covenant’s response to proposed report ..... 81  Index ............................................................................................................................. 83 

Series Titles .................................................................................................................. 85 

Current Better Practice Guides .................................................................................... 92 

Tables

Table 3.1 Australian Government programs supporting the Covenant .............. 56  Table 4.1 JSA 13 and 26 week outcomes for Indigenous job seekers placed with a Covenant employer (1 February 2009 to 12 November 2012) ............................................................................ 71 

Figures

Figure 2.1 DEEWR’s internal management structure .......................................... 41 

Figure 3.1 DEEWR’s internal Covenant implementation model .......................... 48  Figure 3.2 DEEWR’s preliminary analysis of Indigenous job seekers ................. 51 

 

   

ANAO Audit Report No.55 2012-13 Indigenous Employment: The Australian Government's Contribution to the Australian Employment Covenant

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Conclusions ............................................................................................................. 73 

Appendices ................................................................................................................. 77 

Appendix 1:  Agency response to proposed report ................................................. 78 

Appendix 2:  Australian Employment Covenant’s response to proposed report ..... 81  Index ............................................................................................................................. 83 

Series Titles .................................................................................................................. 85 

Current Better Practice Guides .................................................................................... 92 

Tables

Table 3.1 Australian Government programs supporting the Covenant .............. 56  Table 4.1 JSA 13 and 26 week outcomes for Indigenous job seekers placed with a Covenant employer (1 February 2009 to 12 November 2012) ............................................................................ 71 

Figures

Figure 2.1 DEEWR’s internal management structure .......................................... 41 

Figure 3.1 DEEWR’s internal Covenant implementation model .......................... 48  Figure 3.2 DEEWR’s preliminary analysis of Indigenous job seekers ................. 51 

 

   

ANAO Audit Report No.55 2012-13

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Abbreviations

AEC  Australian Employment Covenant 

ANAO  Australian National Audit Office 

CAP  Covenant Action Plan 

COAG  Council of Australian Governments 

CDEP  Community Development Employment Projects 

DEEWR  Department  of  Education,  Employment  and  Workplace  Relations 

ESP  Employment Service Provider 

ESS  Employment Services System 

IEDS  Indigenous Economic Development Strategy 

IEP  Indigenous Employment Program 

JSA  Job Services Australia 

LLNP  Language, Literacy and Numeracy Program 

NIRA  National Indigenous Reform Agreement 

RTO  Registered Training Organisation 

STEP  Structured Training and Employment Projects 

STEP ERS  Structured Training and Employment Projects Employment  Related Services 

TAFE  Technical and Further Education  

VET  Vocational Education and Training 

WELL  Workplace English, Literacy and Language 

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Glossary

Australian  Employment  Covenant (AEC 

The  private‐sector  organisation  created  to  implement  the  commitments outlined in the Covenant agreement.  

AEC employer  An  employer,  public  or  private  sector,  that  has  made  a  commitment  of  Indigenous‐specific  jobs  under  the  Covenant agreement. The AEC now operates as part of the  GenerationOne organisation. 

Closing the Gap   Closing  the  Gap  is  a  commitment  by  all  Australian  governments  to  improve  the  lives  of  Indigenous  Australians, and in particular provide for a better future for  Indigenous children. The commitment is supported by six  targets  that  measure  improvements  in  life  expectancy,  employment and education.  

The Covenant  The  agreement  between  the  former  Prime  Minister,  Kevin Rudd, on behalf of the Australian Government, and  Mr Andrew Forrest, on behalf of the AEC Executive.  

Indigenous   Indigenous  is  used  as  a  general  term  to  refer  to  both  Aboriginal  and  Torres  Strait  Islander  people,  and  when  referencing  other  material.  Where  relevant,  the  term  Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander has been used.  

Indigenous  Employment  Program  

The Indigenous Employment Program and aims to increase  opportunities  for  Aboriginal  and  Torres  Strait  Islander  people,  their  communities  and  employers  through  employment, business support and economic development  activities.  

Job Services  Australia  

Job  Services  Australia  is  the  Australian  Government  employment  services  program  that  supports  job  seekers  and employers. 

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Indigenous Employment: The Australian Government's Contribution to the Australian Employment Covenant

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National  Indigenous  Reform  Agreement  

The  overarching  agreement  between  the  Australian  and  state/territory governments to give effect to the Closing the  Gap policy commitment. Supported by a series of bilateral  agreements with each state and territory government, and a  range of national partnership agreements.  

 

ANAO Audit Report No.55 2012-13

Indigenous Employment: The Australian Government's Contribution to the Australian Employment Covenant

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National  Indigenous  Reform  Agreement  

The  overarching  agreement  between  the  Australian  and  state/territory governments to give effect to the Closing the  Gap policy commitment. Supported by a series of bilateral  agreements with each state and territory government, and a  range of national partnership agreements.  

 

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Summary and Recommendations

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Summary

Introduction 1. Indigenous Australians experience higher levels of unemployment than  non‐Indigenous  Australians  and  improving  the  participation  of  Indigenous  Australians in the economy has been a long‐term policy focus of governments.1  In 2008, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) committed to closing  the gap on Indigenous disadvantage. One of the six Closing the Gap targets  relates to employment outcomes—to halve the gap in employment outcomes  between  Indigenous  and  non‐Indigenous  Australians  by  2018.  To  meet  this  target,  the  level  of  employment  for  Indigenous  Australians  would  need  to  increase by approximately 100 000 persons, which represents an increase of  almost 60 per cent on the number of Indigenous people employed in 2008-09.2 

2. There are a number of general factors that can influence employment  outcomes, including the extent to which opportunities for employment exist  and  individuals’  circumstances  in  relation  to  job‐readiness,  skills,  education  and  health  or  disability.  There  has  been  a  range  of  different  employment  programs administered by the Australian Government to address Indigenous  employment;  currently  two  of  the  major  programs  are  the  Indigenous  Employment Program and the Job Services Australia network. Both of these  programs operate to train and place Indigenous people into employment. 

3. The National Indigenous Reform Agreement (NIRA), which provides  the framework for the Closing the Gap policy, also identifies the importance of  involving  the  private  sector  in  initiatives  to  help  address  Indigenous  disadvantage,  alongside  the  efforts  of  government.  As  part  of  this,  the  Australian Government committed to encouraging the private sector to engage  with  Indigenous  Australians  and  to  contribute  to  Indigenous  Australians’  economic development, including through mechanisms such as the Australian  Employment Covenant. The NIRA also notes that engagement with the private  sector and a focus on industry sectors with strong potential for jobs growth is 

                                                       1 In 2006, according to Census data, the unemployment rate for Indigenous people was 16 per cent. In 2011, the unemployment rate for Indigenous people was 17 per cent. At both points in time, the unemployment rate for

Indigenous people was more than three times the unemployment rate of non-Indigenous Australians. 2 Council of Australian Governments, National Indigenous Reform Agreement (Closing the Gap) [Internet], COAG, Canberra, 2008, p. 8, available from

[accessed 21 January 2013].

Summary

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fundamental  to  improving  economic  development  opportunities  for  Indigenous Australians.3  

Australian Employment Covenant 4. The Australian Employment Covenant4 (the Covenant) was launched  on 30 October 2008 by the then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and the Covenant  founder, Mr Andrew Forrest with the aspiration of securing 50 000 sustainable  jobs  to  be  filled  by  Indigenous  Australians  (although  a  timeframe  was  not  specified).  The  Covenant  is  a  national,  industry‐led  initiative  designed  to  facilitate  connections  between  Indigenous  job  seekers,  employers  and  Commonwealth‐funded  employment  and  training  service  providers.  The  Covenant model involves employers publicly committing to providing jobs for  Indigenous  people  and,  the  Australian  Government  brokering  training  solutions for job seekers, placing job seekers into  Covenant identified jobs and  providing  ongoing  placement  support  for  these  job  seekers.  The  Australian  Government  supported  the  Covenant  as  it  had  the  potential  to  make  a  significant contribution to its Closing the Gap target and to complement other  employment initiatives.   

5. The Covenant was announced and implemented at a time when the  Australian Government was already delivering various employment programs  aimed at helping Indigenous Australians break the cycle of unemployment.  These  programs  included  the  Indigenous  Employment  Program  (IEP),  Community  Development  Employment  Projects  (CDEP),  and  Job  Network  (Job  Services  Australia  (JSA)  from  1 July 2009).  The  Covenant’s  point  of  difference  to  existing  Indigenous  employment  programs  is  that  it  is  industry‐led, and aims to drive active engagement and partnership with the  private  sector  to  develop  explicit  commitments  to  tackle  Indigenous  disadvantage. 

6. To coordinate the engagement with the private sector, the Covenant  founder, Andrew Forrest, established a not‐for‐profit organisation known as  the  Australian  Employment  Covenant  (AEC).  The  AEC’s  role  was  to  work 

                                                       3   Council of Australian Governments, National Indigenous Reform Agreement (Closing the Gap) [Internet], COAG, Canberra, 2008, p-A40, available from

agreement_sept_12.pdf> [accessed 21 January 2013]. 4 The Australian Employment Covenant refers to: the agreement signed by the relevant parties (the Covenant), and the entity that coordinates the commitment of ‘covenant jobs’ by employers (the AEC).

ANAO Audit Report No.55 2012-13 Indigenous Employment: The Australian Government's Contribution to the Australian Employment Covenant

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Summary

Introduction 1. Indigenous Australians experience higher levels of unemployment than  non‐Indigenous  Australians  and  improving  the  participation  of  Indigenous  Australians in the economy has been a long‐term policy focus of governments.1  In 2008, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) committed to closing  the gap on Indigenous disadvantage. One of the six Closing the Gap targets  relates to employment outcomes—to halve the gap in employment outcomes  between  Indigenous  and  non‐Indigenous  Australians  by  2018.  To  meet  this  target,  the  level  of  employment  for  Indigenous  Australians  would  need  to  increase by approximately 100 000 persons, which represents an increase of  almost 60 per cent on the number of Indigenous people employed in 2008-09.2 

2. There are a number of general factors that can influence employment  outcomes, including the extent to which opportunities for employment exist  and  individuals’  circumstances  in  relation  to  job‐readiness,  skills,  education  and  health  or  disability.  There  has  been  a  range  of  different  employment  programs administered by the Australian Government to address Indigenous  employment;  currently  two  of  the  major  programs  are  the  Indigenous  Employment Program and the Job Services Australia network. Both of these  programs operate to train and place Indigenous people into employment. 

3. The National Indigenous Reform Agreement (NIRA), which provides  the framework for the Closing the Gap policy, also identifies the importance of  involving  the  private  sector  in  initiatives  to  help  address  Indigenous  disadvantage,  alongside  the  efforts  of  government.  As  part  of  this,  the  Australian Government committed to encouraging the private sector to engage  with  Indigenous  Australians  and  to  contribute  to  Indigenous  Australians’  economic development, including through mechanisms such as the Australian  Employment Covenant. The NIRA also notes that engagement with the private  sector and a focus on industry sectors with strong potential for jobs growth is 

                                                       1 In 2006, according to Census data, the unemployment rate for Indigenous people was 16 per cent. In 2011, the unemployment rate for Indigenous people was 17 per cent. At both points in time, the unemployment rate for

Indigenous people was more than three times the unemployment rate of non-Indigenous Australians. 2 Council of Australian Governments, National Indigenous Reform Agreement (Closing the Gap) [Internet], COAG, Canberra, 2008, p. 8, available from

[accessed 21 January 2013].

Summary

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Indigenous Employment: The Australian Government's Contribution to the Australian Employment Covenant

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fundamental  to  improving  economic  development  opportunities  for  Indigenous Australians.3  

Australian Employment Covenant 4. The Australian Employment Covenant4 (the Covenant) was launched  on 30 October 2008 by the then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and the Covenant  founder, Mr Andrew Forrest with the aspiration of securing 50 000 sustainable  jobs  to  be  filled  by  Indigenous  Australians  (although  a  timeframe  was  not  specified).  The  Covenant  is  a  national,  industry‐led  initiative  designed  to  facilitate  connections  between  Indigenous  job  seekers,  employers  and  Commonwealth‐funded  employment  and  training  service  providers.  The  Covenant model involves employers publicly committing to providing jobs for  Indigenous  people  and,  the  Australian  Government  brokering  training  solutions for job seekers, placing job seekers into  Covenant identified jobs and  providing  ongoing  placement  support  for  these  job  seekers.  The  Australian  Government  supported  the  Covenant  as  it  had  the  potential  to  make  a  significant contribution to its Closing the Gap target and to complement other  employment initiatives.   

5. The Covenant was announced and implemented at a time when the  Australian Government was already delivering various employment programs  aimed at helping Indigenous Australians break the cycle of unemployment.  These  programs  included  the  Indigenous  Employment  Program  (IEP),  Community  Development  Employment  Projects  (CDEP),  and  Job  Network  (Job  Services  Australia  (JSA)  from  1 July 2009).  The  Covenant’s  point  of  difference  to  existing  Indigenous  employment  programs  is  that  it  is  industry‐led, and aims to drive active engagement and partnership with the  private  sector  to  develop  explicit  commitments  to  tackle  Indigenous  disadvantage. 

6. To coordinate the engagement with the private sector, the Covenant  founder, Andrew Forrest, established a not‐for‐profit organisation known as  the  Australian  Employment  Covenant  (AEC).  The  AEC’s  role  was  to  work 

                                                       3   Council of Australian Governments, National Indigenous Reform Agreement (Closing the Gap) [Internet], COAG, Canberra, 2008, p-A40, available from

agreement_sept_12.pdf> [accessed 21 January 2013]. 4 The Australian Employment Covenant refers to: the agreement signed by the relevant parties (the Covenant), and the entity that coordinates the commitment of ‘covenant jobs’ by employers (the AEC).

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with  the  private  sector  and  act  as  the  bridge  between  the  sector  and  the  Government.  

7. Under the Covenant the Australian Government committed to: 

 support and promote the Covenant’s objective, on a non‐discriminatory  basis and in accordance with the law;  

 engage Employment Service Providers in efforts to attract and support  at least 50 000 Indigenous people to participate in Covenant training,  placement and support; and  

 provide  for  pre‐employment  job  training  for  Indigenous  job  seekers  tailored  to  the  specifications  of  Covenant  Employers  (who  were  to  guarantee  employment upon completion of specified training by the  Indigenous job‐seeker).   

8. To  give  effect  to  these  commitments,  the  Australian  Government,  agreed to undertake specific activities in support of the Covenant, which were  to  be  implemented  by  the  Department  of  Education,  Employment  and  Workplace Relations (DEEWR). The four specific roles were: 

 facilitating  and  coordinating  training  for  eligible  Indigenous  Australians to the appropriate job standards of the employing industry; 

 facilitating referral, placement and support processes involving the take  up of AEC jobs by eligible Indigenous job seekers; 

 facilitating post‐placement and mentor support for eligible Indigenous  Australians  through  universal  employment  services,  the  Indigenous  Employment Program and the Community Development Employment  Projects Program; and  

 recording  and  tracking  of  Covenant  jobs  and  the  placement  and  retention  of  Indigenous  job  seekers  into  Covenant  jobs  and  training  (where the information is recorded within the Australian Government’s  IT systems) following the implementation date in February 2009.5 

9. The Australian Government’s commitments had a short and long‐term  focus. In the short‐term, the Government agreed to contribute financially to the 

                                                       5 Australian Government, Fact Sheet - The Australian Employment Covenant [Internet], Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, Canberra, 2008, available from

[accessed 30 May 2012].

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with  the  private  sector  and  act  as  the  bridge  between  the  sector  and  the  Government.  

7. Under the Covenant the Australian Government committed to: 

 support and promote the Covenant’s objective, on a non‐discriminatory  basis and in accordance with the law;  

 engage Employment Service Providers in efforts to attract and support  at least 50 000 Indigenous people to participate in Covenant training,  placement and support; and  

 provide  for  pre‐employment  job  training  for  Indigenous  job  seekers  tailored  to  the  specifications  of  Covenant  Employers  (who  were  to  guarantee  employment upon completion of specified training by the  Indigenous job‐seeker).   

8. To  give  effect  to  these  commitments,  the  Australian  Government,  agreed to undertake specific activities in support of the Covenant, which were  to  be  implemented  by  the  Department  of  Education,  Employment  and  Workplace Relations (DEEWR). The four specific roles were: 

 facilitating  and  coordinating  training  for  eligible  Indigenous  Australians to the appropriate job standards of the employing industry; 

 facilitating referral, placement and support processes involving the take  up of AEC jobs by eligible Indigenous job seekers; 

 facilitating post‐placement and mentor support for eligible Indigenous  Australians  through  universal  employment  services,  the  Indigenous  Employment Program and the Community Development Employment  Projects Program; and  

 recording  and  tracking  of  Covenant  jobs  and  the  placement  and  retention  of  Indigenous  job  seekers  into  Covenant  jobs  and  training  (where the information is recorded within the Australian Government’s  IT systems) following the implementation date in February 2009.5 

9. The Australian Government’s commitments had a short and long‐term  focus. In the short‐term, the Government agreed to contribute financially to the 

                                                       5 Australian Government, Fact Sheet - The Australian Employment Covenant [Internet], Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, Canberra, 2008, available from

[accessed 30 May 2012].

Summary

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establishment  of  the  AEC  and  provide  direct  funding  to  the  AEC  of  up  to  $20.9 million for the first three years of the Covenant. Over the longer‐term, the  Australian  Government  had  an  ongoing  role  to  support  the  Covenant  to  achieve its target of 50 000 sustainable jobs. The Government planned to fulfil  its  commitments  to  pre‐employment  training  and  employment  placement  support  through  existing  programs  such  as  the  IEP,  JSA  and  the  CDEP  Program.  The  Australian  Government  expected  to  contribute  up  to  $200 million worth of funding to the Covenant through the IEP and JSA alone  in  the  form  of  funding  for  pre‐employment  training  and  employment  placement  support,  some  of  which  was  provided  directly  to  Covenant  employers.  

10. The Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development  reaffirmed the Australian Government’s ongoing support for the Covenant in  March  2013.  The  Minister  also  announced  that  the  Australian  Government  would  continue  to  meet  its  commitments  by  providing  direct  assistance  to  many of the employers who have signed up to the Covenant and by providing  Indigenous job seekers with pre‐vocational training and other support to help  them to take up the jobs available through the Covenant.6 

11. In March 2013, the AEC reported that more than 330 employers had  made public commitments of over 60 000 jobs for Indigenous Australians and  that this had led to 14 000 job placements.7 The ‘covenant jobs’ come from a  cross‐section of the economy, including industries such as the mining, retail,  hospitality, transport and construction sectors. Also in March 2013, the Australian  Government  reported  that  it  had  allocated  $150  million  worth  of  support  to  Covenant employers through the IEP.8 Activities able to be supported with this 

                                                       6 J Collins (Minister for Community Services, Indigenous Employment and Economic Development), ‘GenerationOne breakfast’ [Internet], Speech to the GenerationOne Senior Executive Breakfast, Australian Parliament House, Canberra,

20 March 2013, available from [accessed 21 March 2013]. 7 A Forrest, ‘Expectations Lead - Results Follow’ [Internet], Speech to the GenerationOne Senior Executive Breakfast,

Australian Parliament House, Canberra, 20 March 2013, available from [accessed 21 March 2013]. In June 2013, the AEC informed the ANAO that 338 employers had made commitments to 62 000 jobs and that 15 000 job placements had been made. 8

J Collins (Minister for Community Services, Indigenous Employment and Economic Development), ‘GenerationOne breakfast’ [Internet], Speech to the GenerationOne Senior Executive Breakfast, Australian Parliament House, Canberra, 20 March 2013, available from [accessed 21 March 2013].

The department informed the ANAO that DEEWR’s practice is to report commitments rather than actual expenditure to reflect the amount of support that the Australian Government has agreed to provide as expenditure figures are affected by organisational performance and do not reflect the government’s commitment. In the Minister’s speech of 20 March 2013, a figure of $73 million was indicated as having been provided to a group of employers. The department has clarified that this figure is a subset of the overall amount allocated rather than an actual expenditure.

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allocation  included  training  for  specific  operations,  such  as  warehousing,  meat  processing  or  forklift  driving,  or  general  industry  training  in  areas  such  as  hospitality,  construction,  resources  sector,  and  business  administration.  Some  funded projects also included workplace mentors to provide ongoing support to  job seekers once they had commenced in employment.   

Audit objective, scope and criteria 12. The objective of the audit was to assess the effectiveness of DEEWR’s  management  of  the  Australian  Government’s  contribution  to  the  Covenant.  The  scope  of  the  audit  is  the  Australian  Government’s  role  in  the  initial  establishment  of  the  Covenant  and  its  ongoing  contribution  through  other  employment programs. 

13. To  reach  a  conclusion  against  this  objective  the  ANAO  examined  whether DEEWR established: 

 effective  governance  arrangements  to  support  the  Australian  Government’s contribution to the Covenant and its objectives; 

 implementation arrangements to facilitate the Australian Government’s  responsibilities under the Covenant; and 

 performance  systems  that  enabled  the  department  to  undertake  the  Australian  Government’s  performance  reporting  role  under  the  Covenant  agreement  and  to  monitor  the  Australian  Government’s  broader contribution to the Covenant. 

Overall conclusion 14. The  Australian  Government  agreed  to  the  Australian  Employment  Covenant (the Covenant) in October 2008 as a means of contributing to Closing  the Gap in Indigenous employment. The Covenant represents an innovative  approach to collaboration between the public and private sectors to encourage  community  involvement  and  support  in  the  delivery  of  policy  outcomes.  However, while the partnership has achieved some of its aims in relation to  employment  outcomes  and  generating  job  commitments  from  business  and  industry, it did not facilitate the expected level of ongoing collaboration. The  Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations’ (DEEWR’s)  management  of  the  Australian  Government’s  contribution  was  effective  in  part,  but  there  is  limited  performance  information  available  to  accurately  measure  the  Australian  Government’s  contribution  to  the  Covenant.  In  supporting the Covenant, DEEWR considered that the existing employment 

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allocation  included  training  for  specific  operations,  such  as  warehousing,  meat  processing  or  forklift  driving,  or  general  industry  training  in  areas  such  as  hospitality,  construction,  resources  sector,  and  business  administration.  Some  funded projects also included workplace mentors to provide ongoing support to  job seekers once they had commenced in employment.   

Audit objective, scope and criteria 12. The objective of the audit was to assess the effectiveness of DEEWR’s  management  of  the  Australian  Government’s  contribution  to  the  Covenant.  The  scope  of  the  audit  is  the  Australian  Government’s  role  in  the  initial  establishment  of  the  Covenant  and  its  ongoing  contribution  through  other  employment programs. 

13. To  reach  a  conclusion  against  this  objective  the  ANAO  examined  whether DEEWR established: 

 effective  governance  arrangements  to  support  the  Australian  Government’s contribution to the Covenant and its objectives; 

 implementation arrangements to facilitate the Australian Government’s  responsibilities under the Covenant; and 

 performance  systems  that  enabled  the  department  to  undertake  the  Australian  Government’s  performance  reporting  role  under  the  Covenant  agreement  and  to  monitor  the  Australian  Government’s  broader contribution to the Covenant. 

Overall conclusion 14. The  Australian  Government  agreed  to  the  Australian  Employment  Covenant (the Covenant) in October 2008 as a means of contributing to Closing  the Gap in Indigenous employment. The Covenant represents an innovative  approach to collaboration between the public and private sectors to encourage  community  involvement  and  support  in  the  delivery  of  policy  outcomes.  However, while the partnership has achieved some of its aims in relation to  employment  outcomes  and  generating  job  commitments  from  business  and  industry, it did not facilitate the expected level of ongoing collaboration. The  Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations’ (DEEWR’s)  management  of  the  Australian  Government’s  contribution  was  effective  in  part,  but  there  is  limited  performance  information  available  to  accurately  measure  the  Australian  Government’s  contribution  to  the  Covenant.  In  supporting the Covenant, DEEWR considered that the existing employment 

Summary

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service delivery system was sufficient to meet the Australian Government’s  commitments  without  major  changes  to  the  department’s  approach.  While  there were some efforts to facilitate involvement of the employment service  network in the early stages of the Covenant, this was not sustained, and as a  consequence the department’s approach to the Covenant was not significantly  different from the existing service delivery approach. Future joint initiatives  would also benefit from consideration as to where existing service delivery  models can be adapted to better support partnership approaches.  

15. Establishing effective arrangements to support collaboration between  the Australian Employment Covenant (AEC) and DEEWR was an important  element  of  the  Covenant.  DEEWR  developed  a  number  of  mechanisms  to  guide and support delivery of the Australian Government’s commitments and  to collaborate with the AEC. These arrangements were largely focused on the  initial implementation of the Covenant, and included the establishment of the  Australian  Government  Coordinator  for  the  initiative,  an  internal  implementation team, a departmental taskforce, internal working groups and  an  inter‐departmental  committee.  These  initial  arrangements  were  not  supplemented  by  the  development  of  ongoing  management  arrangements  tailored  to  the  Australian  Government’s  role  in  the  Covenant.  As  a  consequence,  the  department’s  long‐term  approach  to  supporting  the  Covenant was not well‐defined. 

16. To support the Australian Government’s contribution to the Covenant,  DEEWR committed to recording and tracking Covenant jobs as well as the  placement  and  retention  of  Indigenous  job  seekers  into  Covenant  jobs  and  training. DEEWR identified gaps in its data collection system after the initial  implementation of the Covenant but did not progress further work to address  these  gaps.  Consequently,  DEEWR  largely  relied  on  data  from  the  AEC  to  report  outcomes  in  relation  to  the  Covenant.  While  DEEWR  was  not  responsible for measuring the overall success of the Covenant, the department  should, at a minimum, have been able to track and readily identify the extent  to which it was meeting the commitments made by the Australian Government  to  training,  referral,  placement  and  ongoing  support  for  Indigenous  job  seekers.  

17. In  order  to  fulfil  its  commitments  for  training  and  employment  support, DEEWR relied on the AEC to provide information from employers  about  detailed  job  requirements,  including  skills  and  qualifications,  against  which the department could tailor training solutions. DEEWR’s information  requirements did not fully align with the information the AEC provided about 

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job  requirements  and  this  resulted  in  fewer  packages  of  support  being  developed  than  expected.  There  was  also  limited  awareness  within  the  DEEWR  service  provider  network  of  opportunities  associated  with  the  Covenant. At the end of four years, the department had engaged on training  needs with approximately 70 Covenant employers, or less than a quarter of  employers who had committed jobs under the Covenant. Adopting additional  measures to facilitate the improved connections between the employers and  job seekers sought through the Covenant, would have better supported the  Australian Government’s commitments.  

18. The  Covenant  initiative  is  consistent  with  broader  Australian  Government objectives of engaging with the private sector in Closing the Gap  on Indigenous Disadvantage. As an industry‐led partnership, it represented an  innovative  approach  to  delivering  employment  outcomes  that  relied  on  collaboration between parties. The Covenant’s implementation has highlighted  a  number  of  issues  for  further  consideration  in  future  partnership  arrangements  entered  into  by  the  Australian  Government.  These  include:  establishing  a  clear  understanding  of  the  timeframe  of  the  partnership  and  when key outcomes are to be achieved, and developing reliable approaches to  measuring contributions to partnerships.   

19. Against this background, the ANAO has made one recommendation  directed  at  DEEWR  developing  options,  in  consultation  with  the  AEC,  to  clarify the Australian Government’s approach and ongoing contribution of the  Covenant  and  more  effectively  measuring  the  Australian  Government’s  contribution to the initiative.  

20. Partnerships between governments and industry, such as the Covenant,  are  likely  to  be  ways  governments  can  leverage  from,  and  build  greater  resilience  in,  communities  going  forward.  From  a  policy  perspective,  it  is  important that governments learn from and develop such arrangements. In the  case of the Australian Employment Covenant, the initiative was innovative,  and the experience highlights that benefits can be achieved through this kind  of  partnership.    The  experience  also  underlines  the  importance  of  active  engagement  with  existing  service  delivery  mechanisms,  adjusting  arrangements where necessary and, having the means of assessing both the  contributions to the partnership and overall value of the initiative. 

   

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job  requirements  and  this  resulted  in  fewer  packages  of  support  being  developed  than  expected.  There  was  also  limited  awareness  within  the  DEEWR  service  provider  network  of  opportunities  associated  with  the  Covenant. At the end of four years, the department had engaged on training  needs with approximately 70 Covenant employers, or less than a quarter of  employers who had committed jobs under the Covenant. Adopting additional  measures to facilitate the improved connections between the employers and  job seekers sought through the Covenant, would have better supported the  Australian Government’s commitments.  

18. The  Covenant  initiative  is  consistent  with  broader  Australian  Government objectives of engaging with the private sector in Closing the Gap  on Indigenous Disadvantage. As an industry‐led partnership, it represented an  innovative  approach  to  delivering  employment  outcomes  that  relied  on  collaboration between parties. The Covenant’s implementation has highlighted  a  number  of  issues  for  further  consideration  in  future  partnership  arrangements  entered  into  by  the  Australian  Government.  These  include:  establishing  a  clear  understanding  of  the  timeframe  of  the  partnership  and  when key outcomes are to be achieved, and developing reliable approaches to  measuring contributions to partnerships.   

19. Against this background, the ANAO has made one recommendation  directed  at  DEEWR  developing  options,  in  consultation  with  the  AEC,  to  clarify the Australian Government’s approach and ongoing contribution of the  Covenant  and  more  effectively  measuring  the  Australian  Government’s  contribution to the initiative.  

20. Partnerships between governments and industry, such as the Covenant,  are  likely  to  be  ways  governments  can  leverage  from,  and  build  greater  resilience  in,  communities  going  forward.  From  a  policy  perspective,  it  is  important that governments learn from and develop such arrangements. In the  case of the Australian Employment Covenant, the initiative was innovative,  and the experience highlights that benefits can be achieved through this kind  of  partnership.    The  experience  also  underlines  the  importance  of  active  engagement  with  existing  service  delivery  mechanisms,  adjusting  arrangements where necessary and, having the means of assessing both the  contributions to the partnership and overall value of the initiative. 

   

Summary

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Key findings by chapter

Arrangements to Support Collaboration (Chapter 2)

21. Successful  partnerships  are  supported  by  strong  management  arrangements  that  facilitate  effective  collaboration  between  the  different  parties. It is also important that the partners have visibility over the results  being achieved by the implementation of agreed strategies and the individual  contributions directed to the achievement of common goals. In the case of the  Covenant, the preconditions for successful collaboration were present with, in  the first instance, the establishment of a shared goal, the authoritative support  of  the  respective  organisations’  leaderships  and  formal  supporting  arrangements.  

22. The  two  main  formal  arrangements  between  the  AEC  and  DEEWR  were  the  Covenant  document  and  the  funding  agreement.  These  were  supported  by  the  establishment  of  the  role  of  the  Australian  Government  Coordinator and further by the secondment of DEEWR officers to the AEC.  However,  the  Covenant  was  a  high  level  document  and  did  not  provide  a  detailed description of the roles and responsibilities to support implementation  by  each  party.  The  funding  agreement  set  out  the  AEC’s  responsibilities  specifically  in  relation  to  the  initial  funding,  although  not  broader  responsibilities  in  relation  to  the  Covenant’s  outcomes.  Further  tailored  arrangements  were  not  developed  to  direct  and  provide  visibility  over  DEEWR’s ongoing contribution to the Covenant or the specific outcomes to be  achieved. 

Implementation Arrangements (Chapter 3)

23. To  implement  the  Australian  Government’s  commitments,  DEEWR  relied heavily on the AEC to provide information from employers regarding  training  requirements.  In  general,  DEEWR  considered  that  information  provided  by  the  AEC  on  job  commitments  did  not  include  sufficient  specification  of  job  details  to  enable  service  providers  to  take  appropriate  action.  When  this  information  approach  demonstrated  limited  success,  DEEWR developed several alternative strategies to collect information about  training  needs  but  these  were  not  fully  effective  and  the  result  was  that  DEEWR  did  not  develop  an  industry  or  regional  approach  to  addressing  employer needs in line with the Australian Government’s agreed role.  

24. While there was some early engagement with existing programs and  service providers, a survey by DEEWR of employment service providers in 

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April 2009,  just  after  DEEWR’s  promotional  activities,  found  that  only  35 per cent of providers understood their role in the delivery of the Covenant.  An  outcome  of  an  internal  preliminary  evaluation  report  completed  by  DEEWR in February 2010 found that significant gains were likely to be made  by increasing employment service providers’ awareness and understanding of  the Covenant but DEEWR did not pursue this strategy. Consideration was also  not  given  to  the  existing  contractual  incentives  of  employment  service  providers and whether there was scope to modify these to accommodate the  AEC model. 

25. In implementing the Australian Government’s commitments under the  Covenant, DEEWR considered that its approach was to ensure that the needs  of  Covenant  employers  were  met  by  the  existing  employment  and  training  systems.  Further,  the  department  considered  that  the  nature  of  the  existing  service delivery model could address the needs of individual employers and  that significant change to service delivery was not necessary to support the  Covenant.  While  it  was  intended  that  the  Covenant  would  be  supported  through  existing  programs,  the  Covenant  also  presented  opportunities  for  DEEWR to engage with new employers and implement new approaches to  training  and  employment.  A  more  sustained  approach  to  engaging  with  employment  service  providers,  such  as  by  industry  and/or  employer,  may  have supported additional engagement with employers in regions. Future joint  initiatives  would  benefit  from  consideration  as  to  where  service  delivery  models can be adapted to better support partnership approaches. 

Performance Measurement (Chapter 4)

26. DEEWR  is  not  responsible  for  measuring  the  overall  results  of  the  Covenant, but it is a partner to the agreement and should, at a minimum, have  been  able  to  measure  the  Australian  Government’s  contribution.  DEEWR’s  public reporting on this contribution has a number of limitations. For example,  in  May 2012,  the  Australian  Government  announced  that  since  the  commencement of the Covenant, the Australian Government had assisted 73  employers  with  up  to  $132  million  in  funding.  Some  caution  needs  to  be  applied when considering the department’s performance data as the figures  include funding committed to employers (not actual expenditure on training  and support)9, the figures include  a number of errors, projects entered into 

                                                       9 As noted in footnote 8, DEEWR advises that it’s practice is to report funding committed rather than actual expenditure.

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April 2009,  just  after  DEEWR’s  promotional  activities,  found  that  only  35 per cent of providers understood their role in the delivery of the Covenant.  An  outcome  of  an  internal  preliminary  evaluation  report  completed  by  DEEWR in February 2010 found that significant gains were likely to be made  by increasing employment service providers’ awareness and understanding of  the Covenant but DEEWR did not pursue this strategy. Consideration was also  not  given  to  the  existing  contractual  incentives  of  employment  service  providers and whether there was scope to modify these to accommodate the  AEC model. 

25. In implementing the Australian Government’s commitments under the  Covenant, DEEWR considered that its approach was to ensure that the needs  of  Covenant  employers  were  met  by  the  existing  employment  and  training  systems.  Further,  the  department  considered  that  the  nature  of  the  existing  service delivery model could address the needs of individual employers and  that significant change to service delivery was not necessary to support the  Covenant.  While  it  was  intended  that  the  Covenant  would  be  supported  through  existing  programs,  the  Covenant  also  presented  opportunities  for  DEEWR to engage with new employers and implement new approaches to  training  and  employment.  A  more  sustained  approach  to  engaging  with  employment  service  providers,  such  as  by  industry  and/or  employer,  may  have supported additional engagement with employers in regions. Future joint  initiatives  would  benefit  from  consideration  as  to  where  service  delivery  models can be adapted to better support partnership approaches. 

Performance Measurement (Chapter 4)

26. DEEWR  is  not  responsible  for  measuring  the  overall  results  of  the  Covenant, but it is a partner to the agreement and should, at a minimum, have  been  able  to  measure  the  Australian  Government’s  contribution.  DEEWR’s  public reporting on this contribution has a number of limitations. For example,  in  May 2012,  the  Australian  Government  announced  that  since  the  commencement of the Covenant, the Australian Government had assisted 73  employers  with  up  to  $132  million  in  funding.  Some  caution  needs  to  be  applied when considering the department’s performance data as the figures  include funding committed to employers (not actual expenditure on training  and support)9, the figures include  a number of errors, projects entered into 

                                                       9 As noted in footnote 8, DEEWR advises that it’s practice is to report funding committed rather than actual expenditure.

Summary

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before the Covenant was announced and funding to some service providers  (who were also Covenant employers). Data from the department’s system also  indicates that approximately 6000 26‐week outcomes have been achieved with  Covenant employers. Similarly, a more accurate figure cannot be determined  due to the limitations in the department’s systems.  

27. DEEWR did not establish a formal or regular monitoring mechanism in  relation to each of its four roles under the Covenant and did not set business  targets  to  be  achieved  in  each  area.  Without  detailed  operational  targets  against  the  Australian  Government’s  commitments,  it  was  difficult  for  the  department  to  specifically  measure  its  progress  and  achievements.  In  the  absence of a well developed performance framework, DEEWR was unable to  regularly assess its own overall performance, or readily identify the extent to  which it was meeting commitments made by the Australian Government.  

28. DEEWR initially made a number of changes to its employment services  systems  to  enable  the  department  to  track  information  and  expenditure  in  relation to Covenant placements and employers. In 2009, DEEWR identified  concerns with quality of data collected through its own systems. However, the  department decided against further investment in its systems. Similarly, after  undertaking initial evaluation work, the department decided not to complete a  final  evaluation.  The  lack  of  performance  information  and  evaluation  represents a missed opportunity for the department to assess the value of the  Covenant model, and importantly, to inform future partnerships of this nature. 

Summary of agency response 29. DEEWR provided a formal response to the proposed report which is  contained in full in Appendix 1. A summary of DEEWR’s response was also  provided: 

The ANAO has acknowledged in its report that DEEWR engaged positively  with  the  initiative  and  saw  the  Covenant  as  an  opportunity  to  strengthen  linkages  between  employment  service  providers  and,  employers  and  Indigenous  job  seekers.  The  ANAO  recognises  both  the  deployment  of  the  Australian  Government  Coordinator  and  the  secondment  of  a  number  of  department staff to the AEC as new and useful initiatives. 

The audit has pointed to several broad areas in which the department could  have been more responsive, over time, to the opportunities presented by the  initiative and to the need for clarity in roles, responsibilities and appropriate  monitoring of activities.  

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DEEWR  believes  that  as  this  is  an  audit  of  a  partnership  rather  than  a  program,  it  represents  a  relatively  untested  approach  for  audits.    As  the  ANAO has audited only one side of the partnership the conclusions that can  be drawn are necessarily limited.  Without a similarly in depth audit of the  AEC side of the partnership the audit missed the opportunity to examine the  interdependencies between partner roles and responsibilities â€ for example the  capacity  of  government‐funded  employment  services  to  prepare  and  train  Indigenous job seekers for Covenant jobs was dependent on the ability of the  AEC to work with employers to identify the availability of specific jobs and  skill requirements so providers could tailor training and other services to meet  these specific needs, but the audit has not examined the AECʹs performance of  this function.10 

DEEWR  is  strongly  committed  to  increasing  employment  outcomes  for  Indigenous Australians.  DEEWR works actively with Indigenous Australians,  employers, industry groups and providers to maximise employment outcomes  for  Indigenous  Australians.    The  success  of  this  partnership  approach  is  evidenced  by  the  outcomes  achieved  through  Government‐funded  employment services over the period of the Australian Employment Covenant.  To illustrate this, the department notes that, from 1 July 2009 to 31 March 2013,  over 152,000 job placements were achieved with Indigenous Australians by Job  Services Australia (JSA). 

The  partnership  with  the  Australian  Employment  Covenant  provided  an  opportunity to support a new approach to collaboration between the public  and  private  sectors  through  an  industry‐led  initiative  supported  by  Government  funding.  The  initiative  has  been  successful  in  generating  aspirational  commitments  from  employers,  with  the  AEC  reporting  over  60,000 commitments to date.  However, job commitments from employers do  not necessarily lead directly or immediately to identified jobs that can be filled  by Indigenous Australians.  The commitments made by employers reflect the  forward commitments of companies across Australia which will need to be  filled  progressively  over  a  number  of  years.  The  JSA  job  outcome  data  reported  above  shows  that  when  employers  have  identified  vacancies  with  clear skill requirements, jobs are filled. 

   

                                                       10 ANAO comment: The Covenant was an industry-led initiative with support from the Australian Government. Accordingly, as noted in paragraph 12, the focus of this audit was on the Australian Government’s contribution for the

Covenant initiative including over the longer-term.

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DEEWR  believes  that  as  this  is  an  audit  of  a  partnership  rather  than  a  program,  it  represents  a  relatively  untested  approach  for  audits.    As  the  ANAO has audited only one side of the partnership the conclusions that can  be drawn are necessarily limited.  Without a similarly in depth audit of the  AEC side of the partnership the audit missed the opportunity to examine the  interdependencies between partner roles and responsibilities â€ for example the  capacity  of  government‐funded  employment  services  to  prepare  and  train  Indigenous job seekers for Covenant jobs was dependent on the ability of the  AEC to work with employers to identify the availability of specific jobs and  skill requirements so providers could tailor training and other services to meet  these specific needs, but the audit has not examined the AECʹs performance of  this function.10 

DEEWR  is  strongly  committed  to  increasing  employment  outcomes  for  Indigenous Australians.  DEEWR works actively with Indigenous Australians,  employers, industry groups and providers to maximise employment outcomes  for  Indigenous  Australians.    The  success  of  this  partnership  approach  is  evidenced  by  the  outcomes  achieved  through  Government‐funded  employment services over the period of the Australian Employment Covenant.  To illustrate this, the department notes that, from 1 July 2009 to 31 March 2013,  over 152,000 job placements were achieved with Indigenous Australians by Job  Services Australia (JSA). 

The  partnership  with  the  Australian  Employment  Covenant  provided  an  opportunity to support a new approach to collaboration between the public  and  private  sectors  through  an  industry‐led  initiative  supported  by  Government  funding.  The  initiative  has  been  successful  in  generating  aspirational  commitments  from  employers,  with  the  AEC  reporting  over  60,000 commitments to date.  However, job commitments from employers do  not necessarily lead directly or immediately to identified jobs that can be filled  by Indigenous Australians.  The commitments made by employers reflect the  forward commitments of companies across Australia which will need to be  filled  progressively  over  a  number  of  years.  The  JSA  job  outcome  data  reported  above  shows  that  when  employers  have  identified  vacancies  with  clear skill requirements, jobs are filled. 

   

                                                       10 ANAO comment: The Covenant was an industry-led initiative with support from the Australian Government. Accordingly, as noted in paragraph 12, the focus of this audit was on the Australian Government’s contribution for the

Covenant initiative including over the longer-term.

Summary

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Summary of the Australian Employment Covenant’s response 30. The AEC organisation was not audited by the ANAO, however due to  its role in the Covenant initiative the AEC was provided with relevant extracts  of the proposed report. The AEC provided a formal response to the proposed  report which is contained in full in Appendix 2. A summary of AEC’s response  was also provided: 

On 30 October 2008 business leaders gathered together at Kirribilli House to  participate in the launch of the Australian Employment Covenant. The launch  was set at a significant point in our nation’s history. The apology to the Stolen  Generation  had  been  made  in  Parliament  earlier  that  year  and  Australia’s  conscience was focused on delivering meaningful reconciliation. 

The message from business leaders to both the Australian Government and  Indigenous Australians was that the issue of Indigenous disparity was not just  a Government or Indigenous Australia problem but was in fact an opportunity  for  all  Australians  to  solve  together  and  business  leaders,  who  carry  the  responsibility for the future hiring decisions, could play a significant role in  ending the disparity through employment. 

338 employers have committed over 62,000 jobs under the Covenant. To date  nearly  15,000  jobs  have  been  filled  by  Indigenous  Australians.  We  acknowledge the efforts of Indigenous people, employers and the Australian  Government, in particular DEEWR in driving these results. 

The  Proposed  Audit  Report  acknowledges  the  challenges  faced  in  the  implementation  and  fulfilment  of  the  Covenant’s  commitments.  In  spite  of  these  challenges  we  remain  committed  to  working  with  the  Australian  Government plus State and Territory Governments to ensure the balance of  jobs are filled.

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Recommendation

Recommendation No.1

Paragraph 4.41

In  order  to  sustain  the  focus  on  shared  objectives,  DEEWR, in consultation with the AEC prepares advice  for  the  Australian  Government  on  options  for  the  department’s ongoing involvement, including clarifying  roles  and  responsibilities  under  the  Covenant  and  strengthening  measures  to  monitor  the  delivery  of  the  Australian  Government’s  commitments  under  the  Covenant. 

DEEWR’s response: 

DEEWR agrees with qualification, in particular, with the  need for clarity in roles, responsibilities and appropriate  monitoring  of  activities  in  future  partnership  arrangements. 

DEEWR  does  not  consider  that  further  investment  in  strengthening  monitoring  processes  specific  to  the  Covenant  is  warranted;  rather  the  department  will  ensure that appropriate monitoring arrangements are in  place  to  support  the  next  stage  of  work  with  GenerationOne.  

The department notes that the nature and focus of the  partnership has changed now that the AEC has become  part of GenerationOne. The department has developed a  good  working  relationship  with  GenerationOne  and  is  looking to the future to ensure that the lessons learnt so  far  about  how  the  partnership  should  operate,  are  successfully applied. DEEWR will prepare advice for the  Government  on  options  for  the  departmentʹs  future  involvement,  including  specifying  roles  and  responsibilities in the context of the department’s work  with GenerationOne. The department will consult with  GenerationOne in the process of preparing this advice for  the Government. 

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Recommendation

Recommendation No.1

Paragraph 4.41

In  order  to  sustain  the  focus  on  shared  objectives,  DEEWR, in consultation with the AEC prepares advice  for  the  Australian  Government  on  options  for  the  department’s ongoing involvement, including clarifying  roles  and  responsibilities  under  the  Covenant  and  strengthening  measures  to  monitor  the  delivery  of  the  Australian  Government’s  commitments  under  the  Covenant. 

DEEWR’s response: 

DEEWR agrees with qualification, in particular, with the  need for clarity in roles, responsibilities and appropriate  monitoring  of  activities  in  future  partnership  arrangements. 

DEEWR  does  not  consider  that  further  investment  in  strengthening  monitoring  processes  specific  to  the  Covenant  is  warranted;  rather  the  department  will  ensure that appropriate monitoring arrangements are in  place  to  support  the  next  stage  of  work  with  GenerationOne.  

The department notes that the nature and focus of the  partnership has changed now that the AEC has become  part of GenerationOne. The department has developed a  good  working  relationship  with  GenerationOne  and  is  looking to the future to ensure that the lessons learnt so  far  about  how  the  partnership  should  operate,  are  successfully applied. DEEWR will prepare advice for the  Government  on  options  for  the  departmentʹs  future  involvement,  including  specifying  roles  and  responsibilities in the context of the department’s work  with GenerationOne. The department will consult with  GenerationOne in the process of preparing this advice for  the Government. 

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Audit Findings

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1. Introduction

This  chapter  covers  the  background  and  context  for  the  Australian  Employment  Covenant and the Australian Government’s contribution to the initiative. 

Indigenous employment 1.1 Indigenous Australians experience higher levels of unemployment than  non‐Indigenous Australians. In 2008, the Council of Australian Governments  (COAG) committed to closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage. One of the  six Closing the Gap targets relates to employment outcomes—to halve the gap  in  employment  outcomes  between  Indigenous  and  non‐Indigenous  Australians  by  2018.  To  meet  this  target,  the  level  of  employment  for  Indigenous  Australians  would  need  to  increase  by  approximately  100 000  persons, which represents an increase of almost 60 per cent on the number of  Indigenous people employed in 2008-09.11  

1.2 Employment and participation in the economy is considered to have  many  benefits  in  terms  of  living  standards  and  wellbeing.  Being  employed  leads to improvements in incomes for families and communities, which in turn  has a positive influence on health and the education of children. Employment  is  also  considered  to  enhance  self‐esteem,  increase  opportunities  for  self  development, influence interaction at the family and community levels, and  reduce social alienation.12 

1.3 Historical  trends  show  that  while  there  has  been  some  growth  in  overall Indigenous employment figures, this growth has been slow. In 2008, at  the time the Closing the Gap target was set, employment levels for Indigenous  people  aged  18-64  years  had  increased  only  slightly  to  64.1  per cent  from  60.9 per cent in 1994.13 Indigenous employment rates are also still behind those  of  the  non‐Indigenous  population  with  42  per  cent  of  the  Indigenous 

                                                       11 Council of Australian Governments, National Indigenous Reform Agreement (Closing the Gap) [Internet], COAG, Canberra, 2008, p. 8, available from

[accessed 21 January 2013]. 12 Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision, Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage: Key

Indicators 2011, Productivity Commission, Canberra, 2011, p. 4.59. 13 Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision, Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage: Key Indicators 2011, Productivity Commission, Canberra, 2011, p. 8.5. Employment data used in the Overcoming

Indigenous Disadvantage report relates to the 18-64 age group which differs from other data which uses the 15 years and over age group.

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1. Introduction

This  chapter  covers  the  background  and  context  for  the  Australian  Employment  Covenant and the Australian Government’s contribution to the initiative. 

Indigenous employment 1.1 Indigenous Australians experience higher levels of unemployment than  non‐Indigenous Australians. In 2008, the Council of Australian Governments  (COAG) committed to closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage. One of the  six Closing the Gap targets relates to employment outcomes—to halve the gap  in  employment  outcomes  between  Indigenous  and  non‐Indigenous  Australians  by  2018.  To  meet  this  target,  the  level  of  employment  for  Indigenous  Australians  would  need  to  increase  by  approximately  100 000  persons, which represents an increase of almost 60 per cent on the number of  Indigenous people employed in 2008-09.11  

1.2 Employment and participation in the economy is considered to have  many  benefits  in  terms  of  living  standards  and  wellbeing.  Being  employed  leads to improvements in incomes for families and communities, which in turn  has a positive influence on health and the education of children. Employment  is  also  considered  to  enhance  self‐esteem,  increase  opportunities  for  self  development, influence interaction at the family and community levels, and  reduce social alienation.12 

1.3 Historical  trends  show  that  while  there  has  been  some  growth  in  overall Indigenous employment figures, this growth has been slow. In 2008, at  the time the Closing the Gap target was set, employment levels for Indigenous  people  aged  18-64  years  had  increased  only  slightly  to  64.1  per cent  from  60.9 per cent in 1994.13 Indigenous employment rates are also still behind those  of  the  non‐Indigenous  population  with  42  per  cent  of  the  Indigenous 

                                                       11 Council of Australian Governments, National Indigenous Reform Agreement (Closing the Gap) [Internet], COAG, Canberra, 2008, p. 8, available from

[accessed 21 January 2013]. 12 Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision, Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage: Key

Indicators 2011, Productivity Commission, Canberra, 2011, p. 4.59. 13 Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision, Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage: Key Indicators 2011, Productivity Commission, Canberra, 2011, p. 8.5. Employment data used in the Overcoming

Indigenous Disadvantage report relates to the 18-64 age group which differs from other data which uses the 15 years and over age group.

Introduction

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population aged fifteen years and above employed compared to 61 per cent of  non‐Indigenous  people  above  fifteen  years  being  employed.14  In  2011,  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were three times more likely to be  unemployed than the non‐Indigenous population.15,16   

1.4 There  are  a  number  of  factors  which  can  influence  employment  outcomes. These  include  the  extent  to  which  opportunities  for  employment  exist and individual circumstances in relation to job‐readiness, skills, education  and  health  or  disability.  Indigenous  people  often  face  multiple  barriers  to  finding and sustaining paid employment. The Indigenous Economic Development  Strategy  2011‐2018  (IEDS)  released  by  the  Australian  Government  in  2011  reflects  that  to  improve  overall  economic  participation  outcomes and,  more  specifically, employment outcomes, support needs to be provided across the  job‐seeker  cycle.  That  is,  early  investment  in  education,  pre‐employment  preparation  and  training,  assistance  to  access  and  take  up  employment  opportunities, and in some cases, ongoing assistance to support retention.  

1.5 The  Australian  Government  administers  a  number  of  programs  that  seek  to  improve  Indigenous  employment.  The  key  programs  are  the  Indigenous  Employment  Program  (IEP),  Job  Services  Australia  (JSA)  (previously Job Network) and, in remote areas, the Community Development  Employment Projects (CDEP) Program which will be replaced by the Remote  Jobs  and  Communities  Program  (RJCP)  on  1 July 2013.  These  programs  are  directed at meeting the needs of employers and individual job seekers. To meet  employers’  skill  and  labour  needs,  JSA  providers:  work  with  employers  to  identify job and industry specific training needs and how they can be met;  refer available job seekers; and respond to employers’ inquiries. Through the  IEP, DEEWR provides funding to employers for a range of activities relating to  pre‐employment training, accredited training and post‐placement support. In  remote areas, from 1 July 2013, the RCJP will replace JSA, IEP, and CDEP to  provide  a  ‘one stop  shop’  for  employment  and  community  development  services.  

                                                       14 Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing-Characteristics of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, Cat. No. 2076.0 [Internet], ABS, Canberra, 2011, available from

[accessed 22 March 2013]. 15 ibid.

16 In 2011, the unemployment rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was 17 per cent compared to 5 per cent for the non-Indigenous population.

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1.6 The National Indigenous Reform Agreement (NIRA), which provides  the framework for the Closing the Gap policy, also identifies the importance of  involving  the  private  sector  in  initiatives  to  help  address  Indigenous  disadvantage,  alongside  the  efforts  of  government.  As  part  of  this,  the  Australian Government committed to encouraging the private sector to engage  with  Indigenous  Australians  and  to  contribute  to  Indigenous  Australians’  economic development, including through mechanisms such as the Australian  Employment Covenant (the Covenant). The NIRA also notes that engagement  with the private sector and a focus on industry sectors with strong potential for  jobs growth is fundamental to improving economic development opportunities  for Indigenous Australians.   

Australian Employment Covenant 1.7 The Australian Employment Covenant (the Covenant) was launched on  30 October 2008  by the Covenant  founder  Mr  Andrew  Forrest  and the  then  Prime Minister Kevin Rudd with the aspiration of securing 50 000 sustainable  jobs for Indigenous Australians (although a timeframe for achieving this was  not specified). The Covenant is a national, industry‐led initiative designed to  facilitate  connections  between  Indigenous  job  seekers,  employers  and  Commonwealth‐funded  employment  and  training  service  providers.  The  Covenant  recognises  that  improving  Indigenous  employment  outcomes  involves  a  three‐way  interaction  between  the  Australian  Government,  the  private sector and Indigenous job seekers (although Indigenous job seekers are  not signatories to the Covenant themselves). The Covenant model involves:  employers  committing  to  providing  jobs  for  Indigenous  people;  the  government  brokering  training  solutions  for  job  seekers;  the  placing  of  job  seekers into the Covenant jobs; and providing ongoing placement support for  those  job  seekers.  The  Covenant  also  notes  that  Indigenous  people  need  to  commit to accept and remain in employment once trained.  

1.8 To coordinate the engagement with the private sector, the Covenant  founder, Andrew Forrest, established a not for profit organisation known as  the  Australian  Employment  Covenant  (AEC).  The  AEC’s  role  was  to  work  with  the  private  sector  and  act  as  the  bridge  between  the  sector  and  the  Government. The AEC Executive committed to:  

 providing  leadership  and  the  facilitation  to  drive  the  collaborative  efforts of industry in securing 50 000 sustainable jobs;  

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1.6 The National Indigenous Reform Agreement (NIRA), which provides  the framework for the Closing the Gap policy, also identifies the importance of  involving  the  private  sector  in  initiatives  to  help  address  Indigenous  disadvantage,  alongside  the  efforts  of  government.  As  part  of  this,  the  Australian Government committed to encouraging the private sector to engage  with  Indigenous  Australians  and  to  contribute  to  Indigenous  Australians’  economic development, including through mechanisms such as the Australian  Employment Covenant (the Covenant). The NIRA also notes that engagement  with the private sector and a focus on industry sectors with strong potential for  jobs growth is fundamental to improving economic development opportunities  for Indigenous Australians.   

Australian Employment Covenant 1.7 The Australian Employment Covenant (the Covenant) was launched on  30 October 2008  by the Covenant  founder  Mr  Andrew  Forrest  and the  then  Prime Minister Kevin Rudd with the aspiration of securing 50 000 sustainable  jobs for Indigenous Australians (although a timeframe for achieving this was  not specified). The Covenant is a national, industry‐led initiative designed to  facilitate  connections  between  Indigenous  job  seekers,  employers  and  Commonwealth‐funded  employment  and  training  service  providers.  The  Covenant  recognises  that  improving  Indigenous  employment  outcomes  involves  a  three‐way  interaction  between  the  Australian  Government,  the  private sector and Indigenous job seekers (although Indigenous job seekers are  not signatories to the Covenant themselves). The Covenant model involves:  employers  committing  to  providing  jobs  for  Indigenous  people;  the  government  brokering  training  solutions  for  job  seekers;  the  placing  of  job  seekers into the Covenant jobs; and providing ongoing placement support for  those  job  seekers.  The  Covenant  also  notes  that  Indigenous  people  need  to  commit to accept and remain in employment once trained.  

1.8 To coordinate the engagement with the private sector, the Covenant  founder, Andrew Forrest, established a not for profit organisation known as  the  Australian  Employment  Covenant  (AEC).  The  AEC’s  role  was  to  work  with  the  private  sector  and  act  as  the  bridge  between  the  sector  and  the  Government. The AEC Executive committed to:  

 providing  leadership  and  the  facilitation  to  drive  the  collaborative  efforts of industry in securing 50 000 sustainable jobs;  

Introduction

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 raising  awareness  of  the  Covenant  and  endeavour  to  establish  a  national  consciousness  of  the  issues  relating  to  Indigenous  disadvantage; and  

 providing  support  to  all  stakeholders  in  meeting  their  obligations  under the Covenant, including:  

 actively  encouraging  and  increasing  the  commitment  by  Australian employers to employ Indigenous workers;  

 working  with  the  Indigenous  community  to  encourage  participation in the Covenant;  

 sharing industry specifications for pre‐employment training;  

 providing support mechanisms and information to employers,  mentors, training providers, employment service providers and  Indigenous Australians;  

 advising government on barriers to sustainable employment for  Indigenous Australians; and  

 providing a network of patrons, ambassadors and champions to  support and encourage participation in the program.  

1.9 The  Australian  Government  supported  the  Covenant,  as  it  had  the  potential to make a significant contribution to its goal to halve the gap between  Indigenous  and  non‐Indigenous  employment  outcomes  over  a  decade  and  complement  other  employment  initiatives.  The  Covenant  is  also  consistent  with the policy direction of the Government to engage the private sector to  increase the participation of Indigenous people in the economy, as emphasised  in the NIRA. 

1.10 The Covenant was announced and implemented at a time when the  Australian Government was already delivering various employment programs  aimed at helping Indigenous Australians break the cycle of unemployment.  Programs  such  as  the  IEP,  CDEP,  and  Job  Network  (replaced  by  JSA  from  July 2009) were all components of the employment infrastructure that was in  place  during  the  implementation  phase  of  the  Covenant.  At  the  time  the  Covenant commenced in 2008, there were nearly 81 000 Indigenous job seekers  on the Job Network caseload. As at 31 December 2012, DEEWR advised that  there were 91 461 Indigenous job seekers on the JSA caseload, which equates to  12.3 per cent of the total JSA caseload. 

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1.11 The  Covenant’s  point  of  difference  to  these  existing  Indigenous  employment programs is that it is industry‐led, and focuses on industry and  private  sector  employers  to  generate  explicit  commitments  on  mass  to  contribute  to  tackling  Indigenous  disadvantage.  The  Covenant  offered  an  alternative approach for the Australian Government’s employment services in  terms  of  engaging  with  employers  on  a  sector  or  industry  basis.  As  the  Covenant is an industry‐led initiative, there is a heavy reliance on employers to  provide the opportunity for employment outcomes for Indigenous Australians.  When the Covenant was announced, many private sector organisations had  existing Indigenous employment programs and commitments to reconciliation.  The Covenant aimed to build on this base and encourage new organisations to  commit to contributing to Indigenous employment.  

Australian Government commitments under the Covenant 1.12 The Australian Government’s broad commitments under the Covenant  were to: 

 support and promote the Covenant objective, on a non‐discriminatory  basis and in accordance with the law;  

 engage Employment Service Providers in efforts to attract and support  at least 50 000 Indigenous people to participate in Covenant training,  placement and support; and  

 provide for pre‐employment job training in accordance with training  tailored  to  the  specifications  of  Covenant  Employers  (who  will  guarantee  employment upon completion of specified training by the  Indigenous job‐seeker).   

1.13 To give effect to these commitments the Australian Government agreed  to undertake specific activities in support of the Covenant, which were to be  implemented by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace  Relations (DEEWR). The four specific roles were: 

 facilitating  and  coordinating  training  for  eligible  Indigenous  Australians to the appropriate job standards of the employing industry; 

 facilitating referral, placement and support processes involving the take  up of Covenant jobs by eligible Indigenous job seekers; 

 facilitating post placement and mentor support for eligible Indigenous  Australians  through  universal  employment  services,  the  Indigenous 

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1.11 The  Covenant’s  point  of  difference  to  these  existing  Indigenous  employment programs is that it is industry‐led, and focuses on industry and  private  sector  employers  to  generate  explicit  commitments  on  mass  to  contribute  to  tackling  Indigenous  disadvantage.  The  Covenant  offered  an  alternative approach for the Australian Government’s employment services in  terms  of  engaging  with  employers  on  a  sector  or  industry  basis.  As  the  Covenant is an industry‐led initiative, there is a heavy reliance on employers to  provide the opportunity for employment outcomes for Indigenous Australians.  When the Covenant was announced, many private sector organisations had  existing Indigenous employment programs and commitments to reconciliation.  The Covenant aimed to build on this base and encourage new organisations to  commit to contributing to Indigenous employment.  

Australian Government commitments under the Covenant 1.12 The Australian Government’s broad commitments under the Covenant  were to: 

 support and promote the Covenant objective, on a non‐discriminatory  basis and in accordance with the law;  

 engage Employment Service Providers in efforts to attract and support  at least 50 000 Indigenous people to participate in Covenant training,  placement and support; and  

 provide for pre‐employment job training in accordance with training  tailored  to  the  specifications  of  Covenant  Employers  (who  will  guarantee  employment upon completion of specified training by the  Indigenous job‐seeker).   

1.13 To give effect to these commitments the Australian Government agreed  to undertake specific activities in support of the Covenant, which were to be  implemented by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace  Relations (DEEWR). The four specific roles were: 

 facilitating  and  coordinating  training  for  eligible  Indigenous  Australians to the appropriate job standards of the employing industry; 

 facilitating referral, placement and support processes involving the take  up of Covenant jobs by eligible Indigenous job seekers; 

 facilitating post placement and mentor support for eligible Indigenous  Australians  through  universal  employment  services,  the  Indigenous 

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Employment Program and the Community Development Employment  Projects Program; and  

 recording  and  tracking  of  Covenant  jobs  and  the  placement  and  retention  of  Indigenous  job  seekers  into  Covenant  jobs  and  training  (where the information is recorded within the Australian Government’s  IT systems) following the implementation date in February 2009. 17  

1.14 The Australian Government’s commitments had a short and long‐term  focus. In the short‐term, the Government agreed to contribute financially to the  establishment  of  the  AEC  and  provide  direct  funding  to  the  AEC  of  up  to  $20.9 million for the first three years of the Covenant in addition to support  otherwise  available  to  industry  through  government  programs.  Over  the  longer‐term, the Australian Government had an ongoing role to support the  Covenant  achieve  its  target  of  50 000  sustainable  jobs.  The  Government  planned  to  fulfil  its  commitments  to  pre‐employment  training  and  employment placement support through existing programs such as the IEP,  JSA  and  the  CDEP  Program.  In  this  respect,  the  Australian  Government  expected to contribute up to $200 million worth of funding to the Covenant  through the IEP and JSA alone in the form of funding for pre‐employment  training  and  employment  placement  support,  some  of  which  is  provided  directly to employers.  

1.15 In March 2013, the Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic  Development reaffirmed the Australian Government’s ongoing support for the  Covenant.  The  Minister  also  announced  that  the  Australian  Government  would continue to meet its commitments to  by providing direct assistance to  many of the employers who have signed up to the Covenant and by providing  Indigenous job seekers with pre‐vocational training and other support to help  them to take up the jobs available through the Covenant.18 

                                                       17 Australian Government, The Australian Employment Covenant (Fact Sheet) [Internet], Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, Canberra, available from

[accessed 30 May 2012]. 18 J Collins (Minister for Community Services, Indigenous Employment and Economic Development), ‘GenerationOne breakfast’ [Internet], Speech to the GenerationOne Senior Executive Breakfast, Australian Parliament House, Canberra,

20 March 2013, available from [accessed 21 March 2013].

The department informed the ANAO that DEEWR’s practice is to report commitments rather than actual expenditure to reflect the amount of support that the Australian Government has agreed to provide as expenditure figures are affected by organisational performance and do not reflect the government’s commitment. In the Minister’s speech of 20 March 2013, a figure of $73 million was indicated as having been provided to a group of employers. The department has clarified that this figure is a subset of the overall amount allocated rather than an actual expenditure.

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Progress to date 1.16 In March 2013, the AEC reported that more than 330 employers had  made public commitments of over 60 000 jobs for Indigenous Australians and  that this had led to 14 000 job placements.19 The ‘covenant jobs’ come from a  cross‐section of the economy, including industries such as the mining, retail,  hospitality,  transport  and  construction  sectors.  Also  in  March 2013,  the  Australian  Government  reported  that  it  had  allocated  $150  million  worth  of  support to Covenant employers through the IEP.20 Activities able to be supported  with this allocation included training for specific operations, such as warehousing,  meat processing or forklift driving, or general industry training in areas such as  hospitality,  construction,  resources  sector,  and  business  administration.  Some  funded projects also included workplace mentors to provide ongoing support to  job  seekers  once  they  had  commenced  in  employment.  The  level  of  support  provided by the Australian Government is discussed further in Chapter 4. 

Audit objective, scope, criteria and methodology 1.17 The objective of the audit was to assess the effectiveness of DEEWR’s  management  of  the  Australian  Government’s  contribution  to  the  Covenant.  The  scope  of  the  audit  is  the  Australian  Government’s  role  in  the  initial  establishment  of  the  Covenant  and  its  ongoing  contribution  through  other  employment programs. 

1.18 To  reach  a  conclusion  against  this  objective  the  ANAO  examined  whether: 

 DEEWR established effective governance arrangements to support the  Australian  Government’s  contribution  to  the  Covenant  and  its  objectives; 

 DEEWR  established  implementation  arrangements  to  facilitate  the  Australian Government’s responsibilities under the Covenant; and 

                                                       19 A Forrest, ‘Expectations Lead - Results Follow’ [Internet], Speech to the GenerationOne Senior Executive Breakfast, Australian Parliament House, Canberra, 20 March 2013, available from

[accessed 21 March 2013]. In June 2013, the AEC informed the ANAO that 338 employers had made commitments to 62 000 jobs and that 15 000 job placements had been made. 20

J Collins (Minister for Community Services, Indigenous Employment and Economic Development), ‘GenerationOne breakfast’ [Internet], Speech to the GenerationOne Senior Executive Breakfast, Australian Parliament House, Canberra, 20 March 2013, available from [accessed 21 March 2013].

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Progress to date 1.16 In March 2013, the AEC reported that more than 330 employers had  made public commitments of over 60 000 jobs for Indigenous Australians and  that this had led to 14 000 job placements.19 The ‘covenant jobs’ come from a  cross‐section of the economy, including industries such as the mining, retail,  hospitality,  transport  and  construction  sectors.  Also  in  March 2013,  the  Australian  Government  reported  that  it  had  allocated  $150  million  worth  of  support to Covenant employers through the IEP.20 Activities able to be supported  with this allocation included training for specific operations, such as warehousing,  meat processing or forklift driving, or general industry training in areas such as  hospitality,  construction,  resources  sector,  and  business  administration.  Some  funded projects also included workplace mentors to provide ongoing support to  job  seekers  once  they  had  commenced  in  employment.  The  level  of  support  provided by the Australian Government is discussed further in Chapter 4. 

Audit objective, scope, criteria and methodology 1.17 The objective of the audit was to assess the effectiveness of DEEWR’s  management  of  the  Australian  Government’s  contribution  to  the  Covenant.  The  scope  of  the  audit  is  the  Australian  Government’s  role  in  the  initial  establishment  of  the  Covenant  and  its  ongoing  contribution  through  other  employment programs. 

1.18 To  reach  a  conclusion  against  this  objective  the  ANAO  examined  whether: 

 DEEWR established effective governance arrangements to support the  Australian  Government’s  contribution  to  the  Covenant  and  its  objectives; 

 DEEWR  established  implementation  arrangements  to  facilitate  the  Australian Government’s responsibilities under the Covenant; and 

                                                       19 A Forrest, ‘Expectations Lead - Results Follow’ [Internet], Speech to the GenerationOne Senior Executive Breakfast, Australian Parliament House, Canberra, 20 March 2013, available from

[accessed 21 March 2013]. In June 2013, the AEC informed the ANAO that 338 employers had made commitments to 62 000 jobs and that 15 000 job placements had been made. 20 J Collins (Minister for Community Services, Indigenous Employment and Economic Development), ‘GenerationOne breakfast’ [Internet], Speech to the GenerationOne Senior Executive Breakfast, Australian Parliament House, Canberra, 20 March 2013, available from [accessed 21 March 2013].

Introduction

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 DEEWR established performance systems that enabled the department  to undertake the Australian Government’s performance reporting role  under the Covenant agreement and to monitor its broader contribution  to the Covenant. 

1.19 The audit involved:  

 examination of DEEWR documents relating to the Covenant including  strategic  planning  documents,  implementation  plans,  guidelines,  Ministerial  briefs,  employment  project  information,  performance  information, and any previous review materials (such as evaluations or  audits);  

 analysis of data provided by DEEWR relating to Covenant employment  projects and the JSA network;  

 interviews with relevant DEEWR staff;  

 interviews with AEC staff;  

 interviews with employment service providers; and  

 interviews  with  Covenant  stakeholders  such  as  representatives  from  industry, peak bodies, and Covenant employers. 

1.20 The  audit  was  conducted  in  accordance  with  the  ANAO’s  Auditing  Standards at a cost of $313,059.58.   

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2. Arrangements to Support Collaboration

This  chapter  examines  the  arrangements  to  support  collaboration  established  by  DEEWR to guide the delivery of the Australian Government’s commitments under the  Australian Employment Covenant. 

Introduction 2.1 It  is  increasingly  being  recognised  that  complex  public  policy  issues  cannot  be  addressed  by  governments  alone,  and  that  collaboration  with  non‐government,  including  private  sector,  organisations  is  required  to  leverage resources and capacity of a broader range of organisations.21  In these  situations, the importance of a clear framework through which parties interact  is accentuated due to the distinctive challenges that can arise when operating  across  public  and  private  sectors  in  pursuit  of  common  objectives.  For  an  initiative such as the Australian Employment Covenant (the Covenant), where  the  Australian  Government  operates  in  conjunction  with  the  private  sector,  successful arrangements are likely to feature a number of key factors. These  include:  identification  of  a  shared  goal;  clear  and  distinct  roles  and  responsibilities; understanding of each parties’ roles; management of shared  risks; and clear lines of accountability for results.   

2.2 The  ANAO  considered  whether  DEEWR  established  effective  arrangements to support collaboration and the achievement of the Australian  Government’s commitments under the Covenant. This chapter covers: 

 the identification of a shared goal; 

 the  arrangements  to  support  collaboration  between  the  Australian  Employment Covenant (AEC) and DEEWR; and  

 DEEWR’s  own  management  arrangements  to  meet  its  commitments  under the Covenant.  

                                                       21 J Bourgon, A New Synthesis of Public Administration: Serving in the 21st Century, School of Policy Studies, McGill-Queen’s University Press, Ontario, 2011, p. 46.

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2. Arrangements to Support Collaboration

This  chapter  examines  the  arrangements  to  support  collaboration  established  by  DEEWR to guide the delivery of the Australian Government’s commitments under the  Australian Employment Covenant. 

Introduction 2.1 It  is  increasingly  being  recognised  that  complex  public  policy  issues  cannot  be  addressed  by  governments  alone,  and  that  collaboration  with  non‐government,  including  private  sector,  organisations  is  required  to  leverage resources and capacity of a broader range of organisations.21  In these  situations, the importance of a clear framework through which parties interact  is accentuated due to the distinctive challenges that can arise when operating  across  public  and  private  sectors  in  pursuit  of  common  objectives.  For  an  initiative such as the Australian Employment Covenant (the Covenant), where  the  Australian  Government  operates  in  conjunction  with  the  private  sector,  successful arrangements are likely to feature a number of key factors. These  include:  identification  of  a  shared  goal;  clear  and  distinct  roles  and  responsibilities; understanding of each parties’ roles; management of shared  risks; and clear lines of accountability for results.   

2.2 The  ANAO  considered  whether  DEEWR  established  effective  arrangements to support collaboration and the achievement of the Australian  Government’s commitments under the Covenant. This chapter covers: 

 the identification of a shared goal; 

 the  arrangements  to  support  collaboration  between  the  Australian  Employment Covenant (AEC) and DEEWR; and  

 DEEWR’s  own  management  arrangements  to  meet  its  commitments  under the Covenant.  

                                                       21 J Bourgon, A New Synthesis of Public Administration: Serving in the 21st Century, School of Policy Studies, McGill-Queen’s University Press, Ontario, 2011, p. 46.

Arrangements to Support Collaboration

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Identifying a shared goal 2.3 The  Covenant  was  a  new  initiative  that  presented  opportunities  for  government and the private sector to develop a complementary relationship.  Connecting Indigenous job seekers with employers to improve employment  outcomes has been an established policy focus of the Australian Government.  As such, there was strong alignment between the goals of the AEC in securing  50 000  sustainable  jobs  for  Indigenous  job  seekers  and  the  Australian  Government’s  Closing  the  Gap  targets.  If  successful,  the  Covenant  would  contribute  significantly  to  the  100 000  jobs  target  of  the  Australian  Government. 

2.4 In addition to sharing similar goals, the AEC and DEEWR were both  able  to  bring  strengths  to  the  partnership:  DEEWR’s  national  network  of  existing employment service providers; and the AEC’s industry and business  connections in the private sector, which was considered central to bringing  forward a ‘critical mass’ of job vacancies that could be efficiently addressed by  employment  service  providers.  Further,  both  organisations  received  authoritative commitment from their respective leaderships. Accordingly, in  the  initial  stages  of  the  agreement,  appropriate  conditions  were  in  place  to  facilitate successful outcomes through the Covenant. 

2.5 While  the  Covenant  established  the  foundations  for  a  strong  partnership,  it  was  also  a  high‐level  document  that  needed  supporting  arrangements to clarify the details of the partnership. An area requiring further  clarity  was  the  overall  outcomes  and  objectives  of  the  Covenant,  and  the  associated timeframes for achievement. Under the signed Covenant, the AEC  and  the  Australian  Government  agreed  to  ‘an  aspiration  to  secure  50 000  sustainable jobs filled by Indigenous Australians.’ A timeframe of two years  was initially associated with the Covenant, and DEEWR reflected in its public  factsheet  the  intention  to  mean  ‘the  placement  and  long‐term  retention  of  50 000  Indigenous  people  into  ‘Covenant  Jobs’  within  a  two  year  period’.  However, the signed Covenant agreement refers only to the achievement of  50 000 sustainable jobs filled by Indigenous Australians, without specifying the  timeframe for this to be achieved. In March 2013, the Minister for Indigenous  Employment  and  Economic  Development  reaffirmed  the  Australian  Government’s ongoing support for the Covenant and intention to continue to 

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fulfil the government’s commitments.22 DEEWR’s factsheet and other public  information however does not reflect this commitment.  

Arrangements to support collaboration between the AEC and DEEWR 2.6 When  working  with  other  organisations,  effective  relationships,  and  approaches  which  favour  mutual  accountability  and  transparency  between  organisations, support the achievement of successful outcomes. There are risks  to  the  development  and  maintenance  of  good  relationships  if  there  are  not  clearly understood arrangements and approaches to communicating between  parties. 

The Covenant

2.7 The Covenant document is the overarching formal agreement that sets  out  the  commitments  of  both  the  AEC  and  DEEWR.  The  Covenant  also  outlines the overall goals and intentions that shaped the joint commitments  and associated guiding principles. 

2.8 The Covenant did not, however, provide a detailed structure or plan  through  which  either  party  was  to  execute  its  commitments  or  guide  the  relationship. For this reason, it was important to establish other supporting  arrangements  to  provide  detail  on  specific  roles  and  responsibilities,  the  operations  and  processes  supporting  the  agreement,  and  clear  reporting  arrangements  for  both  parties  against  agreed  tasks  and  milestones.  Such  arrangements would support transparency and mutual accountability for both  parties in progressing towards the Covenant’s outcomes. 

2.9 There were three main mechanisms put in place to help align activities  and  guide  the  partnership  between  the  AEC  and  DEEWR.  These  were:  the  establishment  of  an  Australian  Government  Coordinator;  a  funding  agreement; and a secondment agreement.  

                                                       22 J Collins (Minister for Community Services, Indigenous Employment and Economic Development), ‘GenerationOne breakfast’ [Internet], Speech to the GenerationOne Senior Executive Breakfast, Australian Parliament House, Canberra,

20 March 2013, available from [accessed 21 March 2013].

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fulfil the government’s commitments.22 DEEWR’s factsheet and other public  information however does not reflect this commitment.  

Arrangements to support collaboration between the AEC and DEEWR 2.6 When  working  with  other  organisations,  effective  relationships,  and  approaches  which  favour  mutual  accountability  and  transparency  between  organisations, support the achievement of successful outcomes. There are risks  to  the  development  and  maintenance  of  good  relationships  if  there  are  not  clearly understood arrangements and approaches to communicating between  parties. 

The Covenant

2.7 The Covenant document is the overarching formal agreement that sets  out  the  commitments  of  both  the  AEC  and  DEEWR.  The  Covenant  also  outlines the overall goals and intentions that shaped the joint commitments  and associated guiding principles. 

2.8 The Covenant did not, however, provide a detailed structure or plan  through  which  either  party  was  to  execute  its  commitments  or  guide  the  relationship. For this reason, it was important to establish other supporting  arrangements  to  provide  detail  on  specific  roles  and  responsibilities,  the  operations  and  processes  supporting  the  agreement,  and  clear  reporting  arrangements  for  both  parties  against  agreed  tasks  and  milestones.  Such  arrangements would support transparency and mutual accountability for both  parties in progressing towards the Covenant’s outcomes. 

2.9 There were three main mechanisms put in place to help align activities  and  guide  the  partnership  between  the  AEC  and  DEEWR.  These  were:  the  establishment  of  an  Australian  Government  Coordinator;  a  funding  agreement; and a secondment agreement.  

                                                       22 J Collins (Minister for Community Services, Indigenous Employment and Economic Development), ‘GenerationOne breakfast’ [Internet], Speech to the GenerationOne Senior Executive Breakfast, Australian Parliament House, Canberra,

20 March 2013, available from [accessed 21 March 2013].

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Australian Government Coordinator

2.10 The  key  mechanism  for  facilitating  effective  engagement  from  the  Australian Government’s perspective was the appointment of an Australian  Government  Coordinator  for  the  Covenant.  The  Australian  Government  Coordinator’s  role  was  to  lead  the  team  of  DEEWR  staff  established  in  DEEWR’s Perth office and work closely with the AEC Executive. 

2.11 The Australian Government Coordinator was a dedicated resource to  the Covenant and was the key liaison point with the AEC Executive to ensure  the alignment of both the AEC and DEEWR activities in order to progress the  Covenant.  The  coordinator  position  was  designed  to  be  a  ‘gateway  to  government’  for  the  initial  period  of  the  Covenant  implementation,  and  provided  access  to  government  and  the  services  that  government  could  provide  to  support  the  AEC.  The  Australian  Government  Coordinator  held  weekly  meetings  with  the  then  CEO  of  the  AEC,  led  and  directed  project  management and also reported to the responsible Group Manager in DEEWR’s  National Office.  

2.12 The  creation  of  the  role  of  Australian  Government  Coordinator  by  DEEWR to act as the liaison point between the AEC and DEEWR underlined  the  importance  of  visibility  in  supporting  the  relationship  between  the  two  parties. This arrangement created a strong connection point between the AEC,  based in Perth, and DEEWR national office in Canberra and enabled the two  parties to directly communicate their views and concerns to each other in an  efficient manner. The position of Australian Government Coordinator was in  place only for the initial implementation period and was not continued past  late 2009. 

Funding agreement

2.13 As noted in Chapter 1, the Australian Government agreed to fund the  AEC  to  undertake  specific  activities  in  the  short‐term  to  establish  the  Covenant.  DEEWR  was  responsible  for  negotiating  the  details  of  the  Australian Government’s support with the AEC. These negotiations took place  from  August  2008  until  early  2009  and  resulted  in:  an  interim  funding  agreement with the AEC for $725 000 which commenced on 30 October 2008  and concluded on 30 May 2009; and a longer‐term funding agreement under  the  Indigenous  Employment  Program  from  July 2009  until  December  2011  (with final payments in March 2012). Throughout this period, discussions were  also held in relation to the department’s support for the Covenant through  existing  programs  and  services.  DEEWR  considered  that  these  discussions 

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formed  the  basis  of  the  department’s  service  delivery  response  to  the  Covenant.  

2.14 The longer‐term funding agreement negotiated with the AEC identified  the activities for which the AEC was eligible to receive funding from DEEWR.  The Australian Government allocated direct funding of $20.2 million23 to the  AEC for it to:  

 raise  awareness  of the Covenant  and  to  sign AEC  Employers  to  the  Covenant  to  ensure  that  50 000  Covenant  job  commitments  are  achieved;  

 use its best endeavours to achieve the number of employment places  specified;  

 ensure that eligible persons are selected and employed as participants;  

 conduct additional activities; and  

 provide reporting to DEEWR.  

AEC reference group

2.15 The funding agreement between DEEWR and the AEC required that a  reference group be established within 14 days of the agreement being signed in  July 2009. The reference group was to be organised by the AEC Executive and  was  required  to  meet  monthly  for  the  first  three  months  and  then  at  least  quarterly thereafter. The purpose was to bring together senior executives from  both  the  AEC  and  DEEWR  to  offer  support  and  recommendations  to  the  project and resolve issues relating to the project.  

2.16 The reference group was also intended to address various issues not  specifically relating to the funding agreement. DEEWR expected the reference  group to act as the key mechanism for structured engagement with the AEC  after  the  initial  implementation  period  throughout  the  Covenant.  DEEWR  considered  that  the  reference  group  would  provide  a  platform  for  the  development  of  joint  management  arrangements  including  clearly  outlining  roles and accountabilities. The department also intended the reference group  to be the mechanism to drive activity for the team responsible for the Covenant 

                                                       23 Total direct funding allocated to the AEC by the Australian Government was $20.9 million: $725 000 in establishment funding; and $20.2 million as part of the longer-term funding agreement.

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formed  the  basis  of  the  department’s  service  delivery  response  to  the  Covenant.  

2.14 The longer‐term funding agreement negotiated with the AEC identified  the activities for which the AEC was eligible to receive funding from DEEWR.  The Australian Government allocated direct funding of $20.2 million23 to the  AEC for it to:  

 raise  awareness  of the Covenant  and  to  sign AEC  Employers  to  the  Covenant  to  ensure  that  50 000  Covenant  job  commitments  are  achieved;  

 use its best endeavours to achieve the number of employment places  specified;  

 ensure that eligible persons are selected and employed as participants;  

 conduct additional activities; and  

 provide reporting to DEEWR.  

AEC reference group

2.15 The funding agreement between DEEWR and the AEC required that a  reference group be established within 14 days of the agreement being signed in  July 2009. The reference group was to be organised by the AEC Executive and  was  required  to  meet  monthly  for  the  first  three  months  and  then  at  least  quarterly thereafter. The purpose was to bring together senior executives from  both  the  AEC  and  DEEWR  to  offer  support  and  recommendations  to  the  project and resolve issues relating to the project.  

2.16 The reference group was also intended to address various issues not  specifically relating to the funding agreement. DEEWR expected the reference  group to act as the key mechanism for structured engagement with the AEC  after  the  initial  implementation  period  throughout  the  Covenant.  DEEWR  considered  that  the  reference  group  would  provide  a  platform  for  the  development  of  joint  management  arrangements  including  clearly  outlining  roles and accountabilities. The department also intended the reference group  to be the mechanism to drive activity for the team responsible for the Covenant 

                                                       23 Total direct funding allocated to the AEC by the Australian Government was $20.9 million: $725 000 in establishment funding; and $20.2 million as part of the longer-term funding agreement.

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initiative  within  the  DEEWR  national  office,  other  program  areas  and  Covenant contact officers within DEEWR’s state and territory offices.   

2.17 Although important roles were ascribed to the reference group and it  would  have  fulfilled  an  important  role  in  the  overall  governance  of  the  partnership, the group met only once, in August 2010. DEEWR advised the  ANAO that the reference group was not formed because the AEC declined to  participate  in  the  group.  The  AEC  advised  the  ANAO  that  its  current  management are not aware of any preference for not meeting through the AEC  reference group. In the absence of the reference group, DEEWR considered  that the opportunity to develop collaborative management processes beyond  the initial implementation phase was made difficult. No arrangements were  subsequently  developed  by  either  the  AEC  or  DEEWR,  suggesting  that  the  initial focus and effort evident in the early pronouncements were dissipated  over time.  

Secondment agreement

2.18 The secondment agreement was a twelve month contract, established  on  24  August  2009,  to  provide  for  up  to  five  DEEWR  staff  members  to  be  seconded  to  an  AEC  state  office.  The  secondment  agreement  outlined  the  DEEWR secondees’ role with the AEC as to: 

 work with Covenant employers to convert their job commitments into  job commencements; 

 work with human resources areas of Covenant employers to develop  Indigenous employment plans; 

 work  with  DEEWR  and  state  government  agencies  to  help  facilitate  pre‐employment training; and 

 work with employment service providers through DEEWR to source  Indigenous job seekers for the positions.  

2.19 The department agreed to have the DEEWR secondees support AEC  State Managers by connecting employers who had signed up to the Covenant,  with  DEEWR  employment  services  in  order  to  help  them  convert  their  commitments into placements. However, despite the agreement that was in  place outlining the purpose and function of the secondees in the AEC state  office,  at  times  the  department  considered  that  secondees  were  performing  regular administrative tasks for the AEC rather than their agreed roles.   

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2.20 Overall, DEEWR’s view was that the secondment agreement did not  fulfil its potential as the AEC did not use DEEWR secondees’ expertise and  knowledge  as  agreed.  Some  DEEWR  seconded  employees  indicated  to  the  ANAO that their experience in the AEC did not match their expectations and  attributed  this  to  a  lack  of  common  understanding  of  respective  roles  and  responsibilities. Although there were some difficulties in the implementation  of  the  agreement,  the  secondment  arrangement  was  a  new  and  useful  approach  to  linking  the  activities  of  the  two  organisations  and  directly  supporting the Covenant.  

Effectiveness of arrangements to support collaboration

2.21 The  Covenant  and  the  funding  agreement  established  a  broad  framework  to  support  collaboration  between  the  AEC  and  DEEWR.  The  Covenant provided the broad responsibilities of each party and the funding  agreement outlined the specific process by which the AEC would be supported  for their activities, and focused the relationship on the deliverables under the  funding  agreement.  These  instruments  were  supported  by  the  Australian  Government  Coordinator  position  and  the  secondment  arrangement  of  DEEWR staff to the AEC. 

2.22 The Australian Government Coordinator was also a useful approach to  managing  collaboration  between  the  two  organisations.  After  DEEWR’s  support for the Australian Government Coordinator position finished, strong  alternative  arrangements  to  facilitate  the  Covenant  were  not  established  although DEEWR advised the ANAO that the proposed reference group was  to be the main way of supporting collaboration. As noted above, the group was  not established and no alternative arrangement was developed.  

2.23 For partnerships to be successful, it is important that the partners have  visibility  over  the  results  being  achieved  by  the  implementation  of  agreed  strategies and the individual contributions directed to the achievement of a  common goal. The arrangements that were established focused attention on  the  AEC’s  contribution  to  the  partnership.  In  contrast,  there  was  limited  visibility of DEEWR’s contribution to the Covenant in terms of defined roles  and responsibilities and clear lines of accountability for tasks and performance.  DEEWR advised the ANAO that the department’s own ongoing arrangements  were limited because of the AEC’s lack of engagement with the department.  However, the ANAO considers there was scope for a supporting arrangement  to more clearly articulate DEEWR’s contribution to the partnership to provide  greater visibility of the department’s contribution towards the shared goal.  

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2.20 Overall, DEEWR’s view was that the secondment agreement did not  fulfil its potential as the AEC did not use DEEWR secondees’ expertise and  knowledge  as  agreed.  Some  DEEWR  seconded  employees  indicated  to  the  ANAO that their experience in the AEC did not match their expectations and  attributed  this  to  a  lack  of  common  understanding  of  respective  roles  and  responsibilities. Although there were some difficulties in the implementation  of  the  agreement,  the  secondment  arrangement  was  a  new  and  useful  approach  to  linking  the  activities  of  the  two  organisations  and  directly  supporting the Covenant.  

Effectiveness of arrangements to support collaboration

2.21 The  Covenant  and  the  funding  agreement  established  a  broad  framework  to  support  collaboration  between  the  AEC  and  DEEWR.  The  Covenant provided the broad responsibilities of each party and the funding  agreement outlined the specific process by which the AEC would be supported  for their activities, and focused the relationship on the deliverables under the  funding  agreement.  These  instruments  were  supported  by  the  Australian  Government  Coordinator  position  and  the  secondment  arrangement  of  DEEWR staff to the AEC. 

2.22 The Australian Government Coordinator was also a useful approach to  managing  collaboration  between  the  two  organisations.  After  DEEWR’s  support for the Australian Government Coordinator position finished, strong  alternative  arrangements  to  facilitate  the  Covenant  were  not  established  although DEEWR advised the ANAO that the proposed reference group was  to be the main way of supporting collaboration. As noted above, the group was  not established and no alternative arrangement was developed.  

2.23 For partnerships to be successful, it is important that the partners have  visibility  over  the  results  being  achieved  by  the  implementation  of  agreed  strategies and the individual contributions directed to the achievement of a  common goal. The arrangements that were established focused attention on  the  AEC’s  contribution  to  the  partnership.  In  contrast,  there  was  limited  visibility of DEEWR’s contribution to the Covenant in terms of defined roles  and responsibilities and clear lines of accountability for tasks and performance.  DEEWR advised the ANAO that the department’s own ongoing arrangements  were limited because of the AEC’s lack of engagement with the department.  However, the ANAO considers there was scope for a supporting arrangement  to more clearly articulate DEEWR’s contribution to the partnership to provide  greater visibility of the department’s contribution towards the shared goal.  

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DEEWR’s internal management arrangements 2.24 As noted in Chapter 1, the Australian Government’s contribution to the  Covenant  included  a  funding  contribution  to  the  AEC  and  broader  commitments  to  facilitate  the  identification,  recruitment  and  preparation  of  Indigenous job seekers for successful placement in the work place. DEEWR  developed  supporting  internal  management  arrangements  in  order  to  give  effect  to  the  overarching  responsibilities  agreed  to  in  the  Covenant.  These  arrangements  were  developed  at  the  national  office  level  and  provided  to  DEEWR’s  state  and  territory  offices.  Figure  2.1  outlines  the  structure  of  DEEWR’s internal management structure established to support the successful  implementation  of  the  Covenant  and  the  fulfilment  of  the  Australian  Government commitments under the Covenant. 

Figure 2.1

DEEWR’s internal management structure

 

Source: DEEWR’s AEC National Implementation Plan.

2.25 To  develop  consistent  implementation  arrangements  across  its  network, an AEC ‘Implementation and Management Team’ was established in  the  DEEWR  National  Office.  This  team  fulfilled  a  project  management  role   and developed an overarching national implementation plan. 

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2.26 The intended audiences of the implementation plan were the DEEWR  AEC  Taskforce  and  related  working  groups,  State  Managers,  and  the  AEC  Interdepartmental  Committee.  The  national  implementation  plan  covered  areas  such  as  management  arrangements,  DEEWR’s  deliverables,  the  AEC  model, risk management and the departmental resourcing for the AEC. The  implementation  plan  was  also  distributed  to  DEEWR  state  and  territory  networks to facilitate the development of state and territory implementation  plans. However, the implementation plan was largely focused on positioning  the  department  for  the  implementation  date  of  February 2009  and  did  not  outline the department’s longer‐term approach to the Covenant.  

2.27 DEEWR  state  and  territory  offices  were  tasked  with  organising  implementation  working  groups  with  responsibilities  for  developing  local  implementation  plans  and  liaising  with  local  service  providers.  State  and  territory offices were also responsible for targeting job seekers who might be  suitable Covenant applicants and developing engagement strategies based on  client characteristics, skills profiles, barriers and geography. This was also to  include  working  with  schools  and  other  education  institutions,  such  as  Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutions and Registered Training  Organisations (RTO), to target potential applicants. 

2.28 DEEWR’s  advice  to  its  Minister  in  January 2009  indicated  that  the  department had undertaken significant work in preparation for the Covenant  implementation date and the department was well placed to be in a position to  respond to its role in the Covenant, with most of DEEWR’s implementation  arrangements being put in place by February 2009. However, implementation  planning  was  largely  focused  on  mobilising  the  department  to  meet  the  commencement date of February 2009 and a more limited focus was given to  developing tailored approaches to the ongoing implementation in support of  the Australian Government commitments after February 2009. As noted above,  the longer‐term commitment was not defined in the Covenant agreement.  

Taskforce and working groups

2.29 DEEWR established an inter‐departmental committee, a departmental  taskforce  and  five  state  working  groups,  each  of  which  developed  specific  components of the department’s response to the Covenant model. The AEC  Interdepartmental Committee was responsible for overseeing the development  of  the  Australian  Government’s  response  to  the  Covenant,  coordination  between agencies and monitoring performance against implementation plans.  The  interdepartmental  committee  was  chaired  by  DEEWR  and  included 

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2.26 The intended audiences of the implementation plan were the DEEWR  AEC  Taskforce  and  related  working  groups,  State  Managers,  and  the  AEC  Interdepartmental  Committee.  The  national  implementation  plan  covered  areas  such  as  management  arrangements,  DEEWR’s  deliverables,  the  AEC  model, risk management and the departmental resourcing for the AEC. The  implementation  plan  was  also  distributed  to  DEEWR  state  and  territory  networks to facilitate the development of state and territory implementation  plans. However, the implementation plan was largely focused on positioning  the  department  for  the  implementation  date  of  February 2009  and  did  not  outline the department’s longer‐term approach to the Covenant.  

2.27 DEEWR  state  and  territory  offices  were  tasked  with  organising  implementation  working  groups  with  responsibilities  for  developing  local  implementation  plans  and  liaising  with  local  service  providers.  State  and  territory offices were also responsible for targeting job seekers who might be  suitable Covenant applicants and developing engagement strategies based on  client characteristics, skills profiles, barriers and geography. This was also to  include  working  with  schools  and  other  education  institutions,  such  as  Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutions and Registered Training  Organisations (RTO), to target potential applicants. 

2.28 DEEWR’s  advice  to  its  Minister  in  January 2009  indicated  that  the  department had undertaken significant work in preparation for the Covenant  implementation date and the department was well placed to be in a position to  respond to its role in the Covenant, with most of DEEWR’s implementation  arrangements being put in place by February 2009. However, implementation  planning  was  largely  focused  on  mobilising  the  department  to  meet  the  commencement date of February 2009 and a more limited focus was given to  developing tailored approaches to the ongoing implementation in support of  the Australian Government commitments after February 2009. As noted above,  the longer‐term commitment was not defined in the Covenant agreement.  

Taskforce and working groups

2.29 DEEWR established an inter‐departmental committee, a departmental  taskforce  and  five  state  working  groups,  each  of  which  developed  specific  components of the department’s response to the Covenant model. The AEC  Interdepartmental Committee was responsible for overseeing the development  of  the  Australian  Government’s  response  to  the  Covenant,  coordination  between agencies and monitoring performance against implementation plans.  The  interdepartmental  committee  was  chaired  by  DEEWR  and  included 

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representatives  from  the  Department  of  Families,  Housing,  Community  Services  and  Indigenous  Affairs,  Department  of  Human  Services,  Prime  Minister and Cabinet, Infrastructure Australia, and the then Centrelink. The  AEC departmental taskforce was mainly responsible for the coordination of  the DEEWR state office input into the implementation plans.  

2.30 At the national office level, the AEC taskforce working groups were  established  to  develop  scoping  papers  and  consider  implementation  approaches.  At  the  state  level,  the  implementation  working  groups  were  responsible for developing the local implementation plans and liaising with  local employment service providers as mentioned above.  

2.31 The working groups established by DEEWR are an indication of the  investment by the department in the planning phase of the Covenant. Once the  initial implementation period was over, formal revised management structures  were not developed for the longer‐term which affected the clarity of ongoing  roles and responsibilities within DEEWR. 

Risk management

2.32 Initiatives that involve working with other organisations face new and  often complex risks. For this reason, it was important to ensure that there is a  common understanding of the risks associated with shared implementation of  the Covenant. 

2.33 DEEWR  undertook  risk  and  implementation  monitoring  throughout  2009 (the Covenant launch year). The majority of the risks identified, however,  focused on risks associated with the AEC and its activities. Less attention was  given to risks associated with DEEWR’s activities. Some examples of risks that  were identified by DEEWR were ‘AEC processes don’t operate smoothly’ and  ‘failure  to  get  sufficient  employers  buy  in.’  Similarly,  the  majority  of  the  potential risks identified by DEEWR were focused on the short‐term or initial  phases of the Covenant.  

2.34 Although  the  Covenant  was  a  new  way  of  operating  and  brought  together two differently focussed and structured organisations, DEEWR’s risk  assessment  did  not  include  consideration  of  risks  relating  to  managing  the  relationship between the two organisations. Further, while DEEWR undertook  risk assessments relating to the Covenant initiative, there was limited focus on  assessing the joint risks associated with the collaborative implementation and  delivery of the Covenant to achieve its desired outcome. Additional risks can  arise from a joint commitment which makes it increasingly more important to 

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undertake a structured approach to risk management. Equally, taking a shared  approach to each party’s risks may also allow additional perspectives to be  brought  to  bear.  In  this  respect,  risk  management  would  have  been  strengthened by DEEWR and the AEC conducting a joint risk assessment, with  a particular focus on identifying and managing shared risks in relation to the  overall desired outcome, as well as the specific risks relating to the process of  collaboration. 

Ongoing management arrangements

2.35 The Covenant committed the Australian Government and the AEC to  the  ‘aspiration  to  secure  50 000  sustainable  jobs  filled  by  Indigenous  Australians’. Initially, planning reflected that this would be achieved within a  two‐year  timeframe  (although  this  was  not  specified  in  the  Covenant).  However, the Australian Government has confirmed its ongoing support for  the  Covenant  and  continued  commitment  to  fulfil  the  Australian  Government’s role to pre‐employment training and support to Indigenous job  seekers, and direct funding support to Covenant employers.24 

2.36 DEEWR established implementation arrangements that were designed  to support the establishment and initial commencement phase of the initiative  by  February 2009.  The  department’s  management  arrangements  were  also  focused on this date, with some taskforces and working groups convened on  an  ‘as  needed’  basis  after  February 2009.  DEEWR  advised  the  ANAO,  however,  that  there  continue  to  be  arrangements  that  allow  and  encourage  communication  between  program  areas  and  state  office  staff  to  facilitate  a  shared  understanding  of  the  program  implementation  arrangements,  but  during this  audit the ANAO observed that the level of communication has  been limited.  

2.37 As discussed above, the reference group was intended to provide the  framework  for  the  ongoing  collaboration  between  DEEWR  and  the  AEC  although  this  was  not  put  in  place,  apart  from  a  single  meeting.  Neither  DEEWR  nor  the  AEC  put  in  place  any  formal  arrangements  to  assist  collaboration  since  the  initial  two‐year  funding  agreement  expired  and  the  AEC stopped reporting employment outcomes to DEEWR in 2012 (discussed 

                                                       24 J Collins (Minister for Community Services, Indigenous Employment and Economic Development), ‘GenerationOne breakfast’ [Internet], Speech to the GenerationOne Senior Executive Breakfast, Australian Parliament House, Canberra,

20 March 2013, available from [accessed 21 March 2013].

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undertake a structured approach to risk management. Equally, taking a shared  approach to each party’s risks may also allow additional perspectives to be  brought  to  bear.  In  this  respect,  risk  management  would  have  been  strengthened by DEEWR and the AEC conducting a joint risk assessment, with  a particular focus on identifying and managing shared risks in relation to the  overall desired outcome, as well as the specific risks relating to the process of  collaboration. 

Ongoing management arrangements

2.35 The Covenant committed the Australian Government and the AEC to  the  ‘aspiration  to  secure  50 000  sustainable  jobs  filled  by  Indigenous  Australians’. Initially, planning reflected that this would be achieved within a  two‐year  timeframe  (although  this  was  not  specified  in  the  Covenant).  However, the Australian Government has confirmed its ongoing support for  the  Covenant  and  continued  commitment  to  fulfil  the  Australian  Government’s role to pre‐employment training and support to Indigenous job  seekers, and direct funding support to Covenant employers.24 

2.36 DEEWR established implementation arrangements that were designed  to support the establishment and initial commencement phase of the initiative  by  February 2009.  The  department’s  management  arrangements  were  also  focused on this date, with some taskforces and working groups convened on  an  ‘as  needed’  basis  after  February 2009.  DEEWR  advised  the  ANAO,  however,  that  there  continue  to  be  arrangements  that  allow  and  encourage  communication  between  program  areas  and  state  office  staff  to  facilitate  a  shared  understanding  of  the  program  implementation  arrangements,  but  during this  audit the ANAO observed that the level of communication has  been limited.  

2.37 As discussed above, the reference group was intended to provide the  framework  for  the  ongoing  collaboration  between  DEEWR  and  the  AEC  although  this  was  not  put  in  place,  apart  from  a  single  meeting.  Neither  DEEWR  nor  the  AEC  put  in  place  any  formal  arrangements  to  assist  collaboration  since  the  initial  two‐year  funding  agreement  expired  and  the  AEC stopped reporting employment outcomes to DEEWR in 2012 (discussed 

                                                       24 J Collins (Minister for Community Services, Indigenous Employment and Economic Development), ‘GenerationOne breakfast’ [Internet], Speech to the GenerationOne Senior Executive Breakfast, Australian Parliament House, Canberra,

20 March 2013, available from [accessed 21 March 2013].

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further  in  Chapter  4).  DEEWR  linked  the  development  of  the  department’s  own internal arrangements with the level of engagement of the AEC with the  department. That is, the department’s view was that capacity within DEEWR  would have evolved if the AEC had more fully engaged with the department  in the post‐implementation period.  

Conclusions 2.38 Successful  partnerships  are  supported  by  strong  management  arrangements  that  facilitate  effective  collaboration  between  the  different  parties. It is also important that the partners have visibility over the results  being achieved by the implementation of agreed strategies and the individual  contributions directed to the achievement of common goals. In the case of the  Covenant, the preconditions for successful collaboration were present with, in  the first instance, the establishment of a shared goal, the authoritative support  of  the  respective  organisations’  leaderships  and  formal  supporting  arrangements.  

2.39 The  two  main  formal  arrangements  between  the  AEC  and  DEEWR  were  the  Covenant  document  and  the  funding  agreement.  These  were  supported  by  the  establishment  of  the  role  of  the  Australian  Government  Coordinator and further by the secondment of DEEWR officers to the AEC.  However,  the  Covenant  was  a  high  level  document  and  did  not  provide  a  detailed description of the roles and responsibilities to support implementation  by  each  party.  The  funding  agreement  set  out  the  AEC’s  responsibilities  specifically  in  relation  to  the  initial  funding,  although  not  broader  responsibilities  in  relation  to  the  Covenant’s  outcomes.  Further  tailored  arrangements  were  not  developed  to  direct  and  provide  visibility  over  DEEWR’s ongoing contribution to the Covenant or the specific outcomes to be  achieved. 

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3. Implementation Arrangements

This chapter examines the implementation arrangements established by DEEWR to  coordinate  and  implement  the  Australian  Government’s  commitments  under  the  Australian Employment Covenant.  

Introduction 3.1  Australian  Government  policy  has  emphasised  the  importance  of  engaging  with  the  private  sector  in  addressing  Indigenous  Disadvantage.25  Working with other organisations external to government to achieve common  policy objectives presents opportunities for governments as well as additional  implementation considerations. In particular, consideration needs to be given  to the potential for different organisations to have different: implementation  approaches;  stakeholder  and  governance  requirements;  and  organisational  cultures. Attention needs to be given to the effect these differences can have on  the  development  of  a  complementary  partnership.  The  Australian  Employment  Covenant  (the  Covenant)  initiative  brought  together  a  government agency with experience in the area of employment services, with  an  established  service  delivery  infrastructure,  and  a  newly  created  private  sector focused entity with access to a wide network of employers.  

3.2 Where  multiple  programs  or  initiatives  contribute  to  a  high‐level  objective, such as reducing Indigenous unemployment, a key issue underlying  effectiveness  is  to  identify  the  relationships  with  other,  similar  or  complementary,  programs  within  the  department,  other  agencies  and  other  jurisdictions  so  as  to  inform  decisions  about  strategies  supporting  implementation.26 As the Australian Government’s support for the Covenant  was  to  occur  from  within  existing  programs,  an  important  element  of  implementation was coordination. In particular, coordination of the relevant  programs, staff and employment service providers across the Department of  Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) network and with  the Australian Employment Covenant (AEC).  

                                                       25 Council of Australian Governments, National Indigenous Reform Agreement (Closing the Gap) [Internet], COAG, Canberra, 2008, p. A-40, available from

[accessed 21 January 2013]. 26 ANAO Better Practice Guide—Innovation in the Public Sector: Enabling Better Performance, Driving New Directions,

December 2009, Canberra, p. 28.

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3. Implementation Arrangements

This chapter examines the implementation arrangements established by DEEWR to  coordinate  and  implement  the  Australian  Government’s  commitments  under  the  Australian Employment Covenant.  

Introduction 3.1  Australian  Government  policy  has  emphasised  the  importance  of  engaging  with  the  private  sector  in  addressing  Indigenous  Disadvantage.25  Working with other organisations external to government to achieve common  policy objectives presents opportunities for governments as well as additional  implementation considerations. In particular, consideration needs to be given  to the potential for different organisations to have different: implementation  approaches;  stakeholder  and  governance  requirements;  and  organisational  cultures. Attention needs to be given to the effect these differences can have on  the  development  of  a  complementary  partnership.  The  Australian  Employment  Covenant  (the  Covenant)  initiative  brought  together  a  government agency with experience in the area of employment services, with  an  established  service  delivery  infrastructure,  and  a  newly  created  private  sector focused entity with access to a wide network of employers.  

3.2 Where  multiple  programs  or  initiatives  contribute  to  a  high‐level  objective, such as reducing Indigenous unemployment, a key issue underlying  effectiveness  is  to  identify  the  relationships  with  other,  similar  or  complementary,  programs  within  the  department,  other  agencies  and  other  jurisdictions  so  as  to  inform  decisions  about  strategies  supporting  implementation.26 As the Australian Government’s support for the Covenant  was  to  occur  from  within  existing  programs,  an  important  element  of  implementation was coordination. In particular, coordination of the relevant  programs, staff and employment service providers across the Department of  Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) network and with  the Australian Employment Covenant (AEC).  

                                                       25 Council of Australian Governments, National Indigenous Reform Agreement (Closing the Gap) [Internet], COAG, Canberra, 2008, p. A-40, available from

[accessed 21 January 2013]. 26 ANAO Better Practice Guide—Innovation in the Public Sector: Enabling Better Performance, Driving New Directions,

December 2009, Canberra, p. 28.

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3.3 The  ANAO  considered  whether  DEEWR  established  effective  implementation  arrangements  to  support  the  Australian  Government’s  responsibilities under the Covenant. This chapter covers:  

 implementation model of the Covenant;  

 DEEWR’s role in implementation;  

 strategies to engage with Indigenous job seekers; 

 employer and industry training requirements; and 

 Australian Government programs supporting the Covenant. 

Implementation model for the Covenant 3.4 To  support  the  implementation  of  the  Australian  Government’s  commitments  under  the  Covenant,  DEEWR  developed  a  Covenant  implementation model to guide the department’s efforts. Figure 3.1 represents  a  high‐level  overview  of  how  DEEWR  considered  the  Covenant  implementation model was intended to work.  

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Figure 3.1

DEEWR’s internal Covenant implementation model

 

Source: ANAO from DEEWR’s National Implementation Plan for the Australian Employment Covenant.

3.5 In overall terms, the implementation model for the Covenant allocated  to DEEWR the responsibility for the ‘supply’ of Indigenous job seekers and to  the  AEC  the  responsibility  for  creating  the  ‘demand’  for  Indigenous  job  seekers,  at  an  industry  and/or  regional  level.  One  of  DEEWR’s  major  assumptions  was  that  sufficient  numbers  of  Covenant  jobs  would  be  made  available by Covenant employers and identified to DEEWR by the AEC. While  the  model  is  presented  as  a  linear  sequence,  in  reality  the  steps  were  not  necessarily intended to occur in this order and DEEWR saw the department’s  model operating alongside the AEC’s activities. DEEWR recognised this in its  implementation plan and planned for concurrent activity such as advancing its  engagement  strategies  with  Indigenous  job  seekers.  However,  there  were 

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Figure 3.1

DEEWR’s internal Covenant implementation model

 

Source: ANAO from DEEWR’s National Implementation Plan for the Australian Employment Covenant.

3.5 In overall terms, the implementation model for the Covenant allocated  to DEEWR the responsibility for the ‘supply’ of Indigenous job seekers and to  the  AEC  the  responsibility  for  creating  the  ‘demand’  for  Indigenous  job  seekers,  at  an  industry  and/or  regional  level.  One  of  DEEWR’s  major  assumptions  was  that  sufficient  numbers  of  Covenant  jobs  would  be  made  available by Covenant employers and identified to DEEWR by the AEC. While  the  model  is  presented  as  a  linear  sequence,  in  reality  the  steps  were  not  necessarily intended to occur in this order and DEEWR saw the department’s  model operating alongside the AEC’s activities. DEEWR recognised this in its  implementation plan and planned for concurrent activity such as advancing its  engagement  strategies  with  Indigenous  job  seekers.  However,  there  were 

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constraints  to  the  extent  that  training  activities  could  be  developed  in  the  absence of identified vacancies. The Covenant model was premised on training  for  a  specific  job  and  DEEWR  could  not  advance  training  activities  in  the  absence of clearly identified, as opposed to projected, job vacancies and staff  requirements. In this respect, DEEWR considered that a balance was required  between the momentum of the Covenant initiative and the risk of delivering  ‘training for training’s sake’.  

DEEWR’s role in implementation 3.6 DEEWR  developed  a  detailed  and  operationally  focused  plan   describing  the  Australian  Government’s  role  and  how  the  department  intended to support this role. In its implementation plan, the four key roles  that DEEWR described to support the Australian Government’s commitment  were:  

 facilitating  and  coordinating  training  for  eligible  Indigenous  Australians to the appropriate job standards of the employing industry;  

 facilitating referral, placement and support processes involving the take  up of Covenant jobs by eligible Indigenous job seekers;  

 facilitating post‐placement and mentor support where required; and 

 recording and tracking Covenant jobs and the placement and retention  of Indigenous job seekers into Covenant jobs and training (where the  information  is  recorded  within  the  Australian  Government’s  IT  systems) following the implementation date of February 2009. 

3.7 Connecting  employers  with  Indigenous  job  seekers  has  been  a  long‐term  focus  of  the  department.  Before  the  Covenant  was  announced,  DEEWR  administered  a  range  of  employment‐related  programs  to  support  Indigenous  employment  outcomes.  Some  of  these  programs  focused  on  providing assistance directly to employers and others focused on supporting  individual job seekers.  

3.8 The Covenant offered an additional approach for DEEWR to connect  with employers in the private sector on a wider front. DEEWR considered that  the Covenant had the potential to offer the department information about a  critical  mass  of  vacancies  which  would  have  opened  opportunities  for  an  industry and/or regional‐led approach. As noted in Chapter 1, the Job Network  had  approximately  81 000  Indigenous  job  seekers  on  the  case  load  in  2008  when the Covenant started. In this way, the Covenant had the potential to 

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generate  significant  demand  for  Indigenous  job  seekers  from  employers.  DEEWR saw the Covenant as an opportunity to strengthen linkages between  employment  service  providers,  employers,  and  Indigenous  job  seekers.  DEEWR’s  approach  was  reliant  on  employers  committing  jobs  that  were  suitable to the candidates on the department’s employment services caseload. 

Strategies to engage with Indigenous job seekers 3.9 As  part  of  the  department’s  response  to  the  Covenant,  DEEWR  identified considerable opportunity to advance a robust job seeker strategy, as  the department was well placed at the state and national level to facilitate the  transition of Indigenous Australians into Covenant positions. The three key  components of DEEWR’s active job seeker engagement approach were: 

 examination  of  data  relating  to  the  profile,  characteristics  and  distribution of a potential Covenant participant pool;  

 engagement with Employment Service Providers, Centrelink and other  intermediaries to develop training and other job‐ready interventions for  potential Covenant participants; and 

 engagement  with  the  AEC  to  influence  and  shape  the  demand‐side  response to reflect more closely the job‐ready interventions undertaken,  and the characteristics and distribution of potential participants. 

3.10 In  December 2008,  the  department’s  AEC  Taskforce  advised  State  Coordinators  that  the  department  intended  to  drive  an  interventionist  approach to engagement with the AEC by identifying suitable jobs based on  the extensive data on Indigenous job seekers in the Active Case Load27. The  AEC Taskforce also encouraged State Coordinators to start considering which  Job  Network  providers  (now  Job  Services  Australia  providers)  might  be  targeted  for  Covenant  related  activities.  This  strategy  was  supported  by  preliminary  supply  side  analysis  and  distributed  to  DEEWR’s  state  and  territory offices. An overview of DEEWR’s preliminary analysis of Indigenous  job seekers is presented in Figure 3.2.  

                                                       27 Active Caseload is a point in time measure of job seekers currently referred to Job Services Australia.

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generate  significant  demand  for  Indigenous  job  seekers  from  employers.  DEEWR saw the Covenant as an opportunity to strengthen linkages between  employment  service  providers,  employers,  and  Indigenous  job  seekers.  DEEWR’s  approach  was  reliant  on  employers  committing  jobs  that  were  suitable to the candidates on the department’s employment services caseload. 

Strategies to engage with Indigenous job seekers 3.9 As  part  of  the  department’s  response  to  the  Covenant,  DEEWR  identified considerable opportunity to advance a robust job seeker strategy, as  the department was well placed at the state and national level to facilitate the  transition of Indigenous Australians into Covenant positions. The three key  components of DEEWR’s active job seeker engagement approach were: 

 examination  of  data  relating  to  the  profile,  characteristics  and  distribution of a potential Covenant participant pool;  

 engagement with Employment Service Providers, Centrelink and other  intermediaries to develop training and other job‐ready interventions for  potential Covenant participants; and 

 engagement  with  the  AEC  to  influence  and  shape  the  demand‐side  response to reflect more closely the job‐ready interventions undertaken,  and the characteristics and distribution of potential participants. 

3.10 In  December 2008,  the  department’s  AEC  Taskforce  advised  State  Coordinators  that  the  department  intended  to  drive  an  interventionist  approach to engagement with the AEC by identifying suitable jobs based on  the extensive data on Indigenous job seekers in the Active Case Load27. The  AEC Taskforce also encouraged State Coordinators to start considering which  Job  Network  providers  (now  Job  Services  Australia  providers)  might  be  targeted  for  Covenant  related  activities.  This  strategy  was  supported  by  preliminary  supply  side  analysis  and  distributed  to  DEEWR’s  state  and  territory offices. An overview of DEEWR’s preliminary analysis of Indigenous  job seekers is presented in Figure 3.2.  

                                                       27 Active Caseload is a point in time measure of job seekers currently referred to Job Services Australia.

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Figure 3.2

DEEWR’s preliminary analysis of Indigenous job seekers

Workforce-aged population

 

Source: Information provided by DEEWR (based on DEEWR’s analysis from 2008).

Note: The 8.9 per cent unemployed does not reflect the unemployment rate at the time. This figure is based on the percentage of the Indigenous population who were unemployed out of the total Indigenous population of working age at the time, rather than the unemployment rate which reflects the percentage of the Indigenous labour force who are unemployed.

The Job Network case load can include clients who are employed but still receiving employment assistance in the form of training and/or placement support.

3.11 DEEWR completed its analysis of Indigenous job seekers in early 2009.  The  Covenant  was  based  on  a  model  that  relied  on  the  provision  of  information from employers about training needs—either directly to DEEWR  or  through  the  AEC.  After  which,  the  department  would  initiate  tailored  solutions  for  the  Covenant  employer,  through  either  the  Indigenous  Employment Program (IEP), Job Services Australia (JSA) or other institutions  such  as  TAFE.  As  such,  DEEWR  advised  that  their  strategies  focused  on  linking Covenant employers with employment services and accommodating  employer‐related requirements within existing services rather than focusing on  engaging with job seekers.  

3.12 While  training  and  development  needs  for  individual  Covenant  job  applicants  would  be  determined  by  training  specifications  identified  by  employers, an underlying assumption by the department was that employers 

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offering vacancies within common industries were likely to have shared basic  entry‐level requirements. Further, preliminary investigation into the numbers  and characteristics of potential Covenant candidates, combined with known  AEC target areas and industry information, would assist in identifying likely  training  needs  to  allow  for  early  planning  of  training  and  development  of  activities by location.  

Employer and industry training requirements 3.13 The  Covenant  reflects  a  focus  on  the  provision  of  both  employer‐specific and industry training needs. In order to effectively fulfil its  responsibilities, in line with the Covenant approach, DEEWR needed specific  information regarding the available jobs committed by Covenant employers.  

3.14 DEEWR’s  understanding  was  that  the  AEC  would  provide  this  information, and the department would then develop an appropriate response  to employers through existing programs. DEEWR advised the ANAO:  

under the principles of the Covenant the AEC was responsible for generating  increased  demand  for  Indigenous  employment  with  employers.  The  Government committed, through its employment services, to supporting the  recruitment  of  Indigenous  job  seekers  and  supporting  pre‐employment  training for AEC employers who wished to access that support. Under this  model the AEC was to introduce employers who had made job commitments  to DEEWR so that these employers’ needs could be actioned. 

3.15 DEEWR  considered  that  the  department’s  commitments  were  dependent  to  a  large  extent  on  the  AEC’s  performance  against  its  commitments,  to  provide  information  on  jobs,  and  that  advancing  and  promoting  the  Covenant  relied  on  having  a  critical  mass  of  job  vacancies.  However,  issues  in  this  model  emerged  early  on,  even  before  the  official  implementation date. DEEWR advised its Minister in January 2009:  

Despite  repeated  requests  for  details  about  the  positions,  we  have  yet  to  receive  any  information  that  would  assist  us  in  fulfilling  the  Australian  Government’s obligation to facilitate the referral, training and job placement  activities. To date, we understand that only three organisations have signed a  Covenant,  representing  a  commitment  of  310  jobs,  however,  the  job  specifications are not yet known. 

3.16 While DEEWR’s expectation was for the AEC to provide this level of  information from employers, this was not made explicit in either the Covenant  or the Funding Agreement, other than the AEC sharing industry specifications  with relevant stakeholders.  

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offering vacancies within common industries were likely to have shared basic  entry‐level requirements. Further, preliminary investigation into the numbers  and characteristics of potential Covenant candidates, combined with known  AEC target areas and industry information, would assist in identifying likely  training  needs  to  allow  for  early  planning  of  training  and  development  of  activities by location.  

Employer and industry training requirements 3.13 The  Covenant  reflects  a  focus  on  the  provision  of  both  employer‐specific and industry training needs. In order to effectively fulfil its  responsibilities, in line with the Covenant approach, DEEWR needed specific  information regarding the available jobs committed by Covenant employers.  

3.14 DEEWR’s  understanding  was  that  the  AEC  would  provide  this  information, and the department would then develop an appropriate response  to employers through existing programs. DEEWR advised the ANAO:  

under the principles of the Covenant the AEC was responsible for generating  increased  demand  for  Indigenous  employment  with  employers.  The  Government committed, through its employment services, to supporting the  recruitment  of  Indigenous  job  seekers  and  supporting  pre‐employment  training for AEC employers who wished to access that support. Under this  model the AEC was to introduce employers who had made job commitments  to DEEWR so that these employers’ needs could be actioned. 

3.15 DEEWR  considered  that  the  department’s  commitments  were  dependent  to  a  large  extent  on  the  AEC’s  performance  against  its  commitments,  to  provide  information  on  jobs,  and  that  advancing  and  promoting  the  Covenant  relied  on  having  a  critical  mass  of  job  vacancies.  However,  issues  in  this  model  emerged  early  on,  even  before  the  official  implementation date. DEEWR advised its Minister in January 2009:  

Despite  repeated  requests  for  details  about  the  positions,  we  have  yet  to  receive  any  information  that  would  assist  us  in  fulfilling  the  Australian  Government’s obligation to facilitate the referral, training and job placement  activities. To date, we understand that only three organisations have signed a  Covenant,  representing  a  commitment  of  310  jobs,  however,  the  job  specifications are not yet known. 

3.16 While DEEWR’s expectation was for the AEC to provide this level of  information from employers, this was not made explicit in either the Covenant  or the Funding Agreement, other than the AEC sharing industry specifications  with relevant stakeholders.  

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Identifying industry skills requirements

3.17 Leading  up  to  the  implementation  date  in  February 2009,  DEEWR  undertook planning that reflected an intention to provide an industry‐based  approach to supporting training for Indigenous job seekers in relation to the  Covenant initiative. DEEWR’s intention was to aggregate data from the AEC to  provide a more strategic approach to employer training needs for example,  from a regional or industry perspective.  

3.18 In addition to engaging with individual employers, DEEWR expected  that the AEC would liaise with relevant industry associations such as Industry  Skills Councils to obtain training requirements. However, the department also  saw a role for itself in approaching industry level bodies to examine possible  applications of shared entry‐level requirements. DEEWR saw this as enabling  an  understanding  of  employer  specifications  within  the  context  of  broader  industry standards. Through its own analysis, DEEWR was able to identify the  main  industries  that  Covenant  employers  belonged  to  as  hospitality,  retail,  construction  and  mining.  However,  the  department  did  not  pursue  industry‐based  strategies  because  it  considered  the  AEC  hadn’t  provided  sufficient information. DEEWR indicated that the department’s main response  under the Covenant would be to employers as the AEC employers were the  signatories to the AEC commitments, not Industry Skills Councils. There was  some limited engagement by DEEWR through inviting employer groups and  Industry  Skills  Councils  to  stakeholder  information  forums  held  in  January  and  February 2009,  but  overall,  DEEWR  gave  little  specific  attention  to  engaging with industry or industry representative bodies.   

Covenant Action Plans

3.19 Following early difficulties, it was recognised that a revised approach  was  needed  to  gather  the  necessary  information  from  employers  so  that  DEEWR could action their training needs. Covenant Action Plans (CAPs) were  introduced in 2009 as a mechanism for the AEC to work with employers to  establish employers’ needs, and then provide the necessary information to the  department. The CAPs included information about the workplace, mentoring  arrangements,  recruitment  processes  (including  training,  sourcing  and  retention strategies), and reporting arrangements relating to the AEC. DEEWR  was involved in the development of the CAPs and provided feedback to the  AEC throughout the process of their development.  

3.20 Approximately 50 CAPs were provided to DEEWR from 2010 to 2011.  While  the  CAP  process  provided  for  a  more  structured  approach  to  the 

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identification  of  employer  needs,  from  DEEWR’s  perspective  it  was  only  a  partial  solution.  In  particular,  the  CAPs  process  still  didn’t  provide  the  information  that  DEEWR  considered  it  needed  to  respond  to  employers’  training  needs.  DEEWR  also  advised  that  the  department  didn’t  receive  enough CAPs from the AEC to sufficiently action the Australian Government’s  role;  and  considered  that  the  AEC  had  difficulty  in  fulfilling  its  role  of  providing employer information and CAPs because, in the department’s view,  the  AEC  lacked  focus  on  translating  employer  demand  into  vacancies  that  could  be  filled.  The  department  also  expressed  concerns  about  the  AEC’s  capacity to fulfil its key role of engagement and facilitation with employers.  

3.21 Although  the  Covenant  model  required  the  AEC  to  bring  employer  demand to DEEWR, the department acknowledged that:  

Waiting for full CAP processes to be completed was not actually required for  an effective start in introducing employers to the Department. Engaging with  employers to determine how to meet their employment demand was normal  business for the Department.  

3.22 The AEC advised the ANAO that it worked with employers to obtain  the necessary information needed by DEEWR but faced some challenges as  only employers with regularly recurring demand were able to provide detailed  forecasts  of  jobs.  Further,  the  AEC  noted  that  many  businesses  can  only  provide  detailed  job  specifications  of  particular  jobs  as  the  jobs  become  available. In response the AEC created the AEC jobs board to provide a portal  for  AEC  employers  to  post  the  specifications  and  key  competency  requirements of a job (rather than just a job advertisement). This information  was then available to employment service providers to connect positions with  candidates  and  subsequently  tailor  training  for  the  candidate.  The  AEC  considered that this approach would provide a more responsive alternative to  the previous static process of compiling a CAP report that would be dated by  the time it could be acted on, and that the jobs board would provide timely  information about jobs, as they became available, to DEEWR and employment  service providers. 

3.23 As the Covenant was an innovative way of working, it is reasonable to  expect that some unforeseen obstacles would  occur during implementation.  The Covenant’s approach and the AEC’s activities brought new employers to  the  department,  however  available  departmental  data  does  not  support  an  accurate  measure  of  the  numbers  (discussed  further  in  Chapter 4).  In  the  absence of an industry‐based or regionally driven approach to the Covenant,  DEEWR  continued  its  service  delivery  approach  which  involved  engaging 

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identification  of  employer  needs,  from  DEEWR’s  perspective  it  was  only  a  partial  solution.  In  particular,  the  CAPs  process  still  didn’t  provide  the  information  that  DEEWR  considered  it  needed  to  respond  to  employers’  training  needs.  DEEWR  also  advised  that  the  department  didn’t  receive  enough CAPs from the AEC to sufficiently action the Australian Government’s  role;  and  considered  that  the  AEC  had  difficulty  in  fulfilling  its  role  of  providing employer information and CAPs because, in the department’s view,  the  AEC  lacked  focus  on  translating  employer  demand  into  vacancies  that  could  be  filled.  The  department  also  expressed  concerns  about  the  AEC’s  capacity to fulfil its key role of engagement and facilitation with employers.  

3.21 Although  the  Covenant  model  required  the  AEC  to  bring  employer  demand to DEEWR, the department acknowledged that:  

Waiting for full CAP processes to be completed was not actually required for  an effective start in introducing employers to the Department. Engaging with  employers to determine how to meet their employment demand was normal  business for the Department.  

3.22 The AEC advised the ANAO that it worked with employers to obtain  the necessary information needed by DEEWR but faced some challenges as  only employers with regularly recurring demand were able to provide detailed  forecasts  of  jobs.  Further,  the  AEC  noted  that  many  businesses  can  only  provide  detailed  job  specifications  of  particular  jobs  as  the  jobs  become  available. In response the AEC created the AEC jobs board to provide a portal  for  AEC  employers  to  post  the  specifications  and  key  competency  requirements of a job (rather than just a job advertisement). This information  was then available to employment service providers to connect positions with  candidates  and  subsequently  tailor  training  for  the  candidate.  The  AEC  considered that this approach would provide a more responsive alternative to  the previous static process of compiling a CAP report that would be dated by  the time it could be acted on, and that the jobs board would provide timely  information about jobs, as they became available, to DEEWR and employment  service providers. 

3.23 As the Covenant was an innovative way of working, it is reasonable to  expect that some unforeseen obstacles would  occur during implementation.  The Covenant’s approach and the AEC’s activities brought new employers to  the  department,  however  available  departmental  data  does  not  support  an  accurate  measure  of  the  numbers  (discussed  further  in  Chapter 4).  In  the  absence of an industry‐based or regionally driven approach to the Covenant,  DEEWR  continued  its  service  delivery  approach  which  involved  engaging 

Implementation Arrangements

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with individual employers. DEEWR considered that they had no alternative to  this approach because they didn’t have the intelligence from the AEC to take a  more strategic approach.  

Australian Government programs supporting the Covenant 3.24 DEEWR’s  approach  to  meeting  the  Australian  Government’s  commitments  for  training,  placements  and  ongoing  support  under  the  Covenant  was  planned  to  occur  through  existing  program  and  service  infrastructure. The challenge for the department was to bring together a range  of Indigenous, and mainstream, education, training and employment services  into  a  cohesive  support  package  for  job  seekers  and  employers  wishing  to  participate  in  the  Covenant  while  not  adversely  diverting  these  service  providers from their existing activities.   

3.25 To meet the Australian Government’s commitments, DEEWR identified  a number of existing programs and services that could be used to support the  delivery of the training elements of the Covenant. While some of the program  arrangements have since changed, at the time the Covenant was introduced,  there were a significant number of programs identified within DEEWR that  could support the Covenant. These programs are outlined in Table 3.1. 

   

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Table 3.1

Australian Government programs supporting the Covenant

Program Overview of Program

Programs currently managed by DEEWR

Job Services Australia Job Services Australia provides job seekers with flexible and tailored support to help them find a job. Assistance includes pre-employment training, mentoring, job search training, job placement, limited post-employment training. Employers are able to use Job Services Australia to find staff to meet their recruitment needs. Job Services Australia is delivered by a network of organisations across Australia.

Indigenous Employment Program Pre-employment training, post-employment training, mentoring, job placement.

Youth Connections Program The Youth Connections Program helps young people who have left school, or who are thinking of leaving school, to continue with

their education and ultimately gain a Year 12 (or equivalent) level education. Youth Connections providers also run outreach activities for young people in the community and aim to strengthen services so young people are better connected to education.

Indigenous Youth Mobility Program

Mentoring and other support, and infrastructure for Indigenous people from remote areas, to access Australian Apprenticeships, vocational education and training, and higher education available in ten participating major centres.

Local Employment Coordinators The Australian Government has employed Local Employment Coordinators to work in 20 Priority Employment Areas across

Australia identified as needing extra assistance. Local Employment Coordinators work in collaboration with employers, community groups and all levels of government to help develop local solutions to meet local labour market needs.

Regional Education, Skills and Jobs Coordinators

The primary objective of the Regional Education, Skills and Jobs (RESJ) Coordinators is to develop and implement Regional Education, Skills and Jobs Plans which provide local strategies to improve participation in and outcomes from education, skills training and employment. Improved coordination and integration of existing programs and services and more effective local planning will maximise opportunities for regional communities to participate in education, skills development and employment.

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Table 3.1

Australian Government programs supporting the Covenant

Program Overview of Program

Programs currently managed by DEEWR

Job Services Australia Job Services Australia provides job seekers with flexible and tailored support to help them find a job. Assistance includes pre-employment training, mentoring, job search training, job placement, limited post-employment training. Employers are able to use Job Services Australia to find staff to meet their recruitment needs. Job Services Australia is delivered by a network of organisations across Australia.

Indigenous Employment Program Pre-employment training, post-employment training, mentoring, job placement.

Youth Connections Program The Youth Connections Program helps young people who have left school, or who are thinking of leaving school, to continue with

their education and ultimately gain a Year 12 (or equivalent) level education. Youth Connections providers also run outreach activities for young people in the community and aim to strengthen services so young people are better connected to education.

Indigenous Youth Mobility Program

Mentoring and other support, and infrastructure for Indigenous people from remote areas, to access Australian Apprenticeships, vocational education and training, and higher education available in ten participating major centres.

Local Employment Coordinators The Australian Government has employed Local Employment Coordinators to work in 20 Priority Employment Areas across

Australia identified as needing extra assistance. Local Employment Coordinators work in collaboration with employers, community groups and all levels of government to help develop local solutions to meet local labour market needs.

Regional Education, Skills and Jobs Coordinators

The primary objective of the Regional Education, Skills and Jobs (RESJ) Coordinators is to develop and implement Regional Education, Skills and Jobs Plans which provide local strategies to improve participation in and outcomes from education, skills training and employment. Improved coordination and integration of existing programs and services and more effective local planning will maximise opportunities for regional communities to participate in education, skills development and employment.

Implementation Arrangements

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Program Overview of Program

School Business Community Partnership Brokers

The School Business Community Partnership Brokers (Partnership Brokers) program is focused on building partnerships to support young people to attain Year 12 or equivalent qualifications and reach their full educational and social potential. The program is designed to foster a strategic, whole of community approach to improving education and transition outcomes for all young people. This is achieved through a national network of Partnership Brokers that create new partnerships and enhance existing partnerships between and among four key stakeholder groups: education and training providers; business and industry; parents and families; and community groups.

Programs previously managed by DEEWR (now managed by Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education)

Productivity Places Program The objective of the Productivity Places Program (PPP) was to provide targeted training to support the development of skills in

Australia to meet existing and future industry demands. Under the Skilling Australia for the Future initiative, the PPP provided access to up to 711,000 qualification commencements over five years, from 2007-12, for existing workers wanting to gain or upgrade their skills and for job seekers wishing to enter the workforce. Responsibility for the program was transferred to Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Climate Change, Research and Tertiary Education (DIICCSRTE) in 2011. The program ended on 30 June 2012.

Australian Apprenticeships/User Choice

Employer and employee enter into a contract of training for apprenticeship or traineeship training arrangements. When eligible, under User Choice, the employer/employee has the capacity to select training provider and delivery options.

Australian Apprenticeships Access Program

The Australian Apprenticeships Access Program provides vulnerable job seekers who experience barriers to entering skilled employment with nationally recognised pre-vocational training, support and assistance. The Access Program is delivered locally by brokers and providers who work closely with employers to deliver training that meets industry needs. The program is provided at no cost to participants and assists them to find and keep an Australian Apprenticeship, or to enter employment or further education or training.

Access Providers Pre-vocational training and post placement support to assist disadvantaged job seekers to gain an Australian apprenticeship or other training or employment outcomes.

Language, Literacy and Numeracy Program (LLNP)

Helps job seekers improve language, literacy and numeracy skills. Job seekers are referred to local LLNP Providers via Centrelink or Employment Service Providers who do the initial assessment of eligibility to enter the program.

Workplace English Literacy and Language (WELL) Program

Funds employers to provide workplace based English language, literacy and numeracy.

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Program Overview of Program

Other

Other Registered Training Organisations Vocational Education and Training (VET) and pre-VET training. Scheduled courses as well as possibility of entering into specific

arrangements with employers and industry groups. Some operate in similar ways to Technical and Further Education (TAFE), while others are geared to specific enterprises and industries.

Technical and Further Education (TAFE) system

VET and pre-VET training. Scheduled courses as well as possibility of entering into specific arrangements with employers and industry groups.

Source: DEEWR National Implementation Plan for the Australian Employment Covenant, advice from DEEWR and the DEEWR website.

3.26 DEEWR  intended  that  most  of  the  Australian  Government  support  would  be  delivered  by  Job  Services  Australia  (JSA)28  and  the  Indigenous  Employment  Program  (IEP).  The  contribution  of  the  other  programs  listed  above  was  not  monitored  by  DEEWR  and,  accordingly,  no  information  is  available about the support that may have been provided. 

Job Services Australia and the Covenant

3.27 JSA is the Australian Government’s primary employment program. The  JSA  network  includes  93  providers  delivering  services  from  over  2100  sites  across Australia and is available to all job seekers. As an existing and well  established program, JSA (previously Job Network) providers were considered  to be well placed to contribute to the objective of the Covenant.  

3.28 Initially, DEEWR made a number of attempts to promote the Covenant  to its service provider network. These efforts included:  

 A  letter  to  all  employment  service  providers  on  18 December 2008  advising them of the Covenant and that their role will build on their  usual  business  practices  in  placing  Indigenous  job  seekers  into  employment.  

 Workshops  in  January  and  February 2009  with  employment  service  providers  and  other  stakeholders  such  as  Indigenous  organisations,  group  training  organisations,  businesses,  education  and  training  stakeholders, and other tiers of government. These workshops included 

                                                       28 At the time the AEC was launched the main employment services program in operation was Job Network. In July 2009, major reforms major reforms to employment services were introduced and Job Network was replaced by Job Services

Australia.

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Program Overview of Program

Other

Other Registered Training Organisations Vocational Education and Training (VET) and pre-VET training. Scheduled courses as well as possibility of entering into specific

arrangements with employers and industry groups. Some operate in similar ways to Technical and Further Education (TAFE), while others are geared to specific enterprises and industries.

Technical and Further Education (TAFE) system

VET and pre-VET training. Scheduled courses as well as possibility of entering into specific arrangements with employers and industry groups.

Source: DEEWR National Implementation Plan for the Australian Employment Covenant, advice from DEEWR and the DEEWR website.

3.26 DEEWR  intended  that  most  of  the  Australian  Government  support  would  be  delivered  by  Job  Services  Australia  (JSA)28  and  the  Indigenous  Employment  Program  (IEP).  The  contribution  of  the  other  programs  listed  above  was  not  monitored  by  DEEWR  and,  accordingly,  no  information  is  available about the support that may have been provided. 

Job Services Australia and the Covenant

3.27 JSA is the Australian Government’s primary employment program. The  JSA  network  includes  93  providers  delivering  services  from  over  2100  sites  across Australia and is available to all job seekers. As an existing and well  established program, JSA (previously Job Network) providers were considered  to be well placed to contribute to the objective of the Covenant.  

3.28 Initially, DEEWR made a number of attempts to promote the Covenant  to its service provider network. These efforts included:  

 A  letter  to  all  employment  service  providers  on  18 December 2008  advising them of the Covenant and that their role will build on their  usual  business  practices  in  placing  Indigenous  job  seekers  into  employment.  

 Workshops  in  January  and  February 2009  with  employment  service  providers  and  other  stakeholders  such  as  Indigenous  organisations,  group  training  organisations,  businesses,  education  and  training  stakeholders, and other tiers of government. These workshops included 

                                                       28 At the time the AEC was launched the main employment services program in operation was Job Network. In July 2009, major reforms major reforms to employment services were introduced and Job Network was replaced by Job Services

Australia.

Implementation Arrangements

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general information from both DEEWR and the AEC on maximising  Covenant success in that location.  

 Posting of general information for employers and jobseekers about the  Covenant on the Australian Job Search website.  

 A factsheet about the Covenant on the Provider Portal, a secure website  for providers of government employment services and DEEWR staff. 

3.29 A survey by DEEWR of Employment Service Providers (including Job  Network Providers) in April 2009, just after DEEWR’s promotional activities,  found  that  just  over  half  of  the  providers  had  heard  of  the  Covenant  (53 per cent) and only 35 per cent of these providers understood their role in  the delivery of the Covenant. A preliminary evaluation conducted by DEEWR  in  February 2010,  found  that  no  referrals  of  job  seekers  were  made  by  JSA  providers to at least 41 advertised AEC jobs (each of which may have related to  multiple  vacancies,  meaning  there  was  potential  to  increase  AEC  referral  activity by encouraging JSA providers to refer clients to advertised AEC jobs).  The evaluation suggested that considerable gains were likely to be made by  increasing employment service providers’ awareness and understanding of the  Covenant.  

3.30 DEEWR advised that in the first half of 2009, the department decided  against further large‐scale awareness raising, as it considered it would not be  an  effective  use  of  resources  as  the  number  of  Covenant  employer  introductions to the department remained limited. Later, in December 2010,  DEEWR  requested  JSA  Account  Managers  within  the  department  to  disseminate information about the Covenant and the AEC Jobs Board29 to JSA  stakeholders.  

3.31 The ANAO observed during audit fieldwork in 2012 that there were  service providers who indicated limited awareness of the Covenant and their  role  in  relation  to  supporting  the  Covenant.  While  there  was  high‐level  awareness at the peak body level, this awareness had not filtered down to the  operational level. A number of employment service providers noted that they  had received information from DEEWR early on in relation to the Covenant,  but had received limited contact or information in relation to the Covenant  since. In the view of the department, this lack of awareness from providers is 

                                                       29 The AEC Jobs Board was developed by the AEC to advertise online, in a single place, the jobs committed by Covenant employers.

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largely explained by the limited engagement of the AEC with the network,  specifically the AEC not bringing employers to the department in significant  numbers to have their commitments actioned. However, the Covenant makes  clear that engagement with employment service providers was the Australian  Government’s responsibility.  

3.32 In general, Covenant employers interviewed by the ANAO expressed  limited success in engaging with JSAs. Some of the difficulties included a lack  of proactive engagement by JSAs, inappropriate candidates for positions, and  non‐vocational barriers to employment. In other cases, Covenant employers  had  worked  with  a  few  select  JSAs  and  achieved  successful  outcomes.  DEEWR’s own data does not provide a clear indication of the contribution of  JSAs to the Covenant. This is discussed further in Chapter 4.  

3.33 JSAs  were  intended  to  be  one  of  the  major  vehicles  through  which  DEEWR facilitated its commitments under the Covenant. A key risk that was  not  formally  identified  by  the  department  was  a  disengaged  JSA  network.  DEEWR would have benefitted from a more active approach to assessing and  managing the network of JSAs. There was also scope for DEEWR to engage  and  promote  the  Covenant  more—particularly  with  JSA  Indigenous  specialists—which was likely to lead to greater awareness within the network.  

3.34 The switch to new IT systems and contracts from 1 July 2009 was an  opportunity  to  promote  the  Covenant  as  part  of  the  new  service  delivery  arrangements,  and  monitor  the  ongoing  activity  within  the  JSA  network.  Consideration  was  not  given  to  the  existing  contractual  incentives  for  JSA  providers to engage with Covenant employers through the Covenant model.  While there were efforts to engage the employment services network early on,  a more sustained approach to engaging with JSAs, such as by industry and/or  employer,  may  have  supported  additional  engagement  with  employers  in  regions. Further, this would have differentiated the department’s approach to  supporting the Covenant in addition to its usual service delivery approach.  

Indigenous Employment Program and the Covenant

3.35 The  Indigenous  Employment  Program  (IEP)  provides  support  to  employers, businesses and other organisations for activities or projects to help  increase employment outcomes and economic participation for Aboriginal and  Torres  Strait  Islander  people.  Employment  support  is  provided  by  either  directly  funding  an  employer  to  deliver  an  employment  program  or,  by 

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largely explained by the limited engagement of the AEC with the network,  specifically the AEC not bringing employers to the department in significant  numbers to have their commitments actioned. However, the Covenant makes  clear that engagement with employment service providers was the Australian  Government’s responsibility.  

3.32 In general, Covenant employers interviewed by the ANAO expressed  limited success in engaging with JSAs. Some of the difficulties included a lack  of proactive engagement by JSAs, inappropriate candidates for positions, and  non‐vocational barriers to employment. In other cases, Covenant employers  had  worked  with  a  few  select  JSAs  and  achieved  successful  outcomes.  DEEWR’s own data does not provide a clear indication of the contribution of  JSAs to the Covenant. This is discussed further in Chapter 4.  

3.33 JSAs  were  intended  to  be  one  of  the  major  vehicles  through  which  DEEWR facilitated its commitments under the Covenant. A key risk that was  not  formally  identified  by  the  department  was  a  disengaged  JSA  network.  DEEWR would have benefitted from a more active approach to assessing and  managing the network of JSAs. There was also scope for DEEWR to engage  and  promote  the  Covenant  more—particularly  with  JSA  Indigenous  specialists—which was likely to lead to greater awareness within the network.  

3.34 The switch to new IT systems and contracts from 1 July 2009 was an  opportunity  to  promote  the  Covenant  as  part  of  the  new  service  delivery  arrangements,  and  monitor  the  ongoing  activity  within  the  JSA  network.  Consideration  was  not  given  to  the  existing  contractual  incentives  for  JSA  providers to engage with Covenant employers through the Covenant model.  While there were efforts to engage the employment services network early on,  a more sustained approach to engaging with JSAs, such as by industry and/or  employer,  may  have  supported  additional  engagement  with  employers  in  regions. Further, this would have differentiated the department’s approach to  supporting the Covenant in addition to its usual service delivery approach.  

Indigenous Employment Program and the Covenant

3.35 The  Indigenous  Employment  Program  (IEP)  provides  support  to  employers, businesses and other organisations for activities or projects to help  increase employment outcomes and economic participation for Aboriginal and  Torres  Strait  Islander  people.  Employment  support  is  provided  by  either  directly  funding  an  employer  to  deliver  an  employment  program  or,  by 

Implementation Arrangements

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funding an IEP provider. The IEP became the main vehicle through which the  department responded to the Covenant. 

3.36 Through the IEP, DEEWR provided funding to employers for a range  of  activities  relating  to  pre‐employment  training,  accredited  training  and  post‐placement  support.  These  activities  included  training  for  specific  operations  such  as  warehousing,  meat  processing  and  forklift  driving,  or  general  industry  training  in  areas  such  as  hospitality,  construction,  the  resources  sector,  and  business  administration.  Some  funded  projects  also  included workplace mentors to provide ongoing support to job seekers once  they had commenced employment.  

3.37 Using  the  IEP  was  consistent  with  DEEWR’s  strategy  of  providing  tailored responses to Covenant employers. In this way, DEEWR was able to  provide  funding  for  approximately  70 Covenant  employers  according  to  a  May 2012  announcement  by  the  Minister  for  Indigenous  Economic  Development. However, these employers also included employment service  providers,  such  as  JSA  or  IEP  providers,  receiving  funding  for  their  usual  business activities and did not necessarily relate to commitments under the  Covenant in that organisation (discussed further in Chapter 4). The IEP also  tended to support projects with larger organisations. While this is a positive  result, there was also potential for smaller organisations to miss out in this  approach.  

3.38 The  department’s  initial  intention  was  to  advance  industry  and/or  regional responses to the Covenant through the IEP. However, this became an  employer‐by‐employer  basis,  consistent  with  the  department’s  existing  approach  through  the  IEP.  The  department  also  advised  that  it  had  pre‐existing  relationships  with  many  of  the  employers  included  in  the  70  Covenant employers listed above. This indicates that the department did not  adopt  a  significantly  different  approach  through  the  IEP  to  support  the  Covenant.   

Conclusions 3.39 To  implement  the  Australian  Government’s  commitments,  DEEWR  relied heavily on the AEC to provide information from employers regarding  training  requirements.  In  general,  DEEWR  considered  that  information  provided  by  the  AEC  on  job  commitments  did  not  include  sufficient  specification  of  job  details  to  enable  service  providers  to  take  appropriate  action.  When  this  information  approach  demonstrated  limited  success, 

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DEEWR developed several alternative strategies to collect information about  training  needs  but  these  were  not  fully  effective  and  the  result  was  that  DEEWR  did  not  develop  an  industry  or  regional  approach  to  addressing  employer needs in line with the Australian Government’s agreed role.  

3.40 While there was some early engagement with existing programs and  service providers, a survey by DEEWR of employment service providers in  April 2009,  just  after  DEEWR’s  promotional  activities,  found  that  only  35 per cent of providers understood their role in the delivery of the Covenant.  An  outcome  of  an  internal  preliminary  evaluation  report  developed  by  DEEWR in February 2010 found that significant gains were likely to be made  by increasing employment service providers’ awareness and understanding of  the Covenant but DEEWR did not pursue this strategy. Consideration was also  not  given  to  the  existing  contractual  incentives  of  employment  service  providers and whether there was scope to modify these to accommodate the  AEC model. 

3.41 In implementing the Australian Government’s commitments under the  Covenant, DEEWR considered that its approach was to ensure that the needs  of  Covenant  employers  were  met  by  the  existing  employment  and  training  systems.  Further,  the  department  considered  that  the  nature  of  the  existing  service delivery model could address the needs of individual employers and  that significant change to service delivery was not necessary to support the  Covenant.  While  it  was  intended  that  the  Covenant  would  be  supported  through  existing  programs,  the  Covenant  also  presented  opportunities  for  DEEWR to engage with new employers and implement new approaches to  training  and  employment.  A  more  sustained  approach  to  engaging  with  employment  service  providers,  such  as  by  industry  and/or  employer,  may  have supported additional engagement with employers in regions. Future joint  initiatives  would  benefit  from  consideration  as  to  where  service  delivery  models can be adapted to better support partnership approaches. 

 

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DEEWR developed several alternative strategies to collect information about  training  needs  but  these  were  not  fully  effective  and  the  result  was  that  DEEWR  did  not  develop  an  industry  or  regional  approach  to  addressing  employer needs in line with the Australian Government’s agreed role.  

3.40 While there was some early engagement with existing programs and  service providers, a survey by DEEWR of employment service providers in  April 2009,  just  after  DEEWR’s  promotional  activities,  found  that  only  35 per cent of providers understood their role in the delivery of the Covenant.  An  outcome  of  an  internal  preliminary  evaluation  report  developed  by  DEEWR in February 2010 found that significant gains were likely to be made  by increasing employment service providers’ awareness and understanding of  the Covenant but DEEWR did not pursue this strategy. Consideration was also  not  given  to  the  existing  contractual  incentives  of  employment  service  providers and whether there was scope to modify these to accommodate the  AEC model. 

3.41 In implementing the Australian Government’s commitments under the  Covenant, DEEWR considered that its approach was to ensure that the needs  of  Covenant  employers  were  met  by  the  existing  employment  and  training  systems.  Further,  the  department  considered  that  the  nature  of  the  existing  service delivery model could address the needs of individual employers and  that significant change to service delivery was not necessary to support the  Covenant.  While  it  was  intended  that  the  Covenant  would  be  supported  through  existing  programs,  the  Covenant  also  presented  opportunities  for  DEEWR to engage with new employers and implement new approaches to  training  and  employment.  A  more  sustained  approach  to  engaging  with  employment  service  providers,  such  as  by  industry  and/or  employer,  may  have supported additional engagement with employers in regions. Future joint  initiatives  would  benefit  from  consideration  as  to  where  service  delivery  models can be adapted to better support partnership approaches. 

 

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4. Performance Measurement

This chapter examines how the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace  Relations  approached  its  recording  and  tracking  role  under  the  Australian  Employment Covenant, and monitored and measured the Australian Government’s  performance in meeting its commitments under the Covenant.  

Introduction 4.1 Understanding the performance of an initiative is a key part of sound  management. Performance monitoring and reporting is important throughout  the life of an initiative as it enables a department and other stakeholders to  assess progress against objectives, identify and address emerging issues, make  management improvements, and review ongoing relevance and priority.30 A  performance  framework  allows  an  agency  to  set,  and  measure  progress  towards, objectives and goals.   

4.2 As the Covenant was a partnership that DEEWR was contributing to,  the department was not responsible for establishing a performance framework  for the Covenant as a whole. However, the Australian Government made a  commitment  to  recording  and  tracking  jobs,  and  placements  into  Covenant  jobs, as  well  as  a  commitment  to engaging  its  existing  employment  service  provider network to attract and support job seeker participation in Covenant  jobs and training. In this respect, the development of a targeted performance  framework  with  relevant  and  reliable  key  performance  indicators  was  an  important role for DEEWR to track and assess the Australian Government’s  commitments to the Covenant.  

4.3 The ANAO considered whether DEEWR has established performance  systems  to  enable  it  to  undertake  its  performance  reporting  role  under  the  Covenant  agreement  and  to  monitor  the  broader  commitments  to  the  Covenant. This chapter covers:  

 the  Australian  Government’s  monitoring  commitments  under  the  Covenant;  

 measurement  of  the  Australian  Government’s  contribution  to  the  Covenant; and 

                                                       30 ANAO Better Practice Guide, Implementation of Programme and Policy Initiatives, October 2006, Canberra, p. 51.

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 evaluation  of  the  Australian  Government’s  contribution  to  the  Covenant. 

Australian Government’s monitoring commitments under the Covenant 4.4 One  of  the  roles  identified  by  DEEWR  to  fulfil  the  Australian  Government’s commitments under the Covenant was :  

Recording  and  tracking  of  AEC  jobs  and  the  placement  and  retention  of  Indigenous job seekers into AEC jobs and training (where the information is  recorded  within  the  Australian  Government’s  IT  systems)  following  the  go‐live date in February 2009.31 

4.5 In  addition  to  providing  information  on  AEC  outcomes,  this  information would also allow DEEWR to monitor and report on the extent to  which  the  Australian  Government’s  existing  employment  programs  were  supporting the objective of the Covenant. 

4.6 As part of its implementation planning, DEEWR identified a number of  proxy indicators for the Closing the Gap targets that could support assessment  of Covenant outcomes, including indicators based on DEEWR’s administrative  data. These included:  

 Indigenous  job  placements  and  paid  outcomes  from  universal  employment services (now Job Services Australia);  

 job placements from the Indigenous Employment Program; 

 three‐month  employment  outcomes  (through  post‐program  monitoring); and  

 numbers of people on workforce‐aged income support payments.  

4.7 DEEWR recognised that a requirement of its information systems was  to facilitate connections between employers, job seekers, service providers and  the department. To support its monitoring commitments, DEEWR identified a  range of other indicators against which it could regularly report and assess its  own progress against. These included counting the number of:  

 employers who registered their interest in the Covenant;  

                                                       31 Australian Government, Fact Sheet - The Australian Employment Covenant [Internet], Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, Canberra, 2008, available from

[accessed 30 May 2012].

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 evaluation  of  the  Australian  Government’s  contribution  to  the  Covenant. 

Australian Government’s monitoring commitments under the Covenant 4.4 One  of  the  roles  identified  by  DEEWR  to  fulfil  the  Australian  Government’s commitments under the Covenant was :  

Recording  and  tracking  of  AEC  jobs  and  the  placement  and  retention  of  Indigenous job seekers into AEC jobs and training (where the information is  recorded  within  the  Australian  Government’s  IT  systems)  following  the  go‐live date in February 2009.31 

4.5 In  addition  to  providing  information  on  AEC  outcomes,  this  information would also allow DEEWR to monitor and report on the extent to  which  the  Australian  Government’s  existing  employment  programs  were  supporting the objective of the Covenant. 

4.6 As part of its implementation planning, DEEWR identified a number of  proxy indicators for the Closing the Gap targets that could support assessment  of Covenant outcomes, including indicators based on DEEWR’s administrative  data. These included:  

 Indigenous  job  placements  and  paid  outcomes  from  universal  employment services (now Job Services Australia);  

 job placements from the Indigenous Employment Program; 

 three‐month  employment  outcomes  (through  post‐program  monitoring); and  

 numbers of people on workforce‐aged income support payments.  

4.7 DEEWR recognised that a requirement of its information systems was  to facilitate connections between employers, job seekers, service providers and  the department. To support its monitoring commitments, DEEWR identified a  range of other indicators against which it could regularly report and assess its  own progress against. These included counting the number of:  

 employers who registered their interest in the Covenant;  

                                                       31 Australian Government, Fact Sheet - The Australian Employment Covenant [Internet], Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, Canberra, 2008, available from

[accessed 30 May 2012].

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 Covenant jobs advertised via DEEWR systems;  

 job seekers placed into a Covenant job using DEEWR systems;  

 job seekers who are undertaking training for a specific Covenant job  advertised  through  DEEWR  systems  and  whether  this  results  in  an  employment outcome;  

 job seekers undertaking training through STEP or STEP ERS contracts32;  

 job  seekers  placed  into  employment  through  STEP  or  STEP  ERS  contracts; 

 job seekers who receive mentoring through STEP ERS;  

 job seekers whose employers are accessing Wage Assistance; and  

 job seekers who remained in Covenant employment for a minimum of  26 weeks.  

4.8 To complete its approach to monitoring and measuring its performance  in relation to the Covenant, DEEWR also planned to track Covenant‐related  expenditure made through DEEWR’s employment services. In particular:  

 total  job  seeker  account  funds  expended  for  job  seekers  placed  in  Covenant training or employment;  

 total wage subsidies paid to employers for Covenant jobs; and  

 total STEP and STEP ERS funds paid to support the Covenant.  

                                                       32 Structured training and employment projects (STEP) and structured training and employment projects employment and related services (STEP ERS) were rolled into the Indigenous Employment Program from 1 July 2009.

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4.9 Collecting  and  analysing  this  data  at  regular  intervals  would  have  provided  DEEWR  with  a  comprehensive  picture  of  Australian  Government  activity  in  relation  to  the  Covenant,  and  position  the  AEC  and  DEEWR  to  make  informed  assessments  about  the  effectiveness  of  the  initiative.  At  the  time  of  the  Covenant’s  commencement,  DEEWR’s  existing  information  systems were not able to capture all of these proposed indicators. In order to  collect the required data, DEEWR planned to make a number of changes to its  information systems to be ready for deployment and use by February 2009.  The changes were designed to capture the central event of the ‘Covenant Job’,  against which other events would be defined. 

4.10 DEEWR  was  able  to  make  these  changes  as  anticipated  by  1 February 2009. However some limitations remained to DEEWR’s ability to  fully report on AEC outcomes achieved through the Australian Government’s  employment services. Primarily, data would not be captured when Covenant  jobs  or  placements  occurred  outside  of  the  DEEWR  network.  However,  as  DEEWR anticipated that the majority of Covenant job placements were to be  filled by the most disadvantaged cohort of job seekers, the department also  considered  it  was  likely  that  most  would  access  the  Covenant  through  DEEWR’s employment services network and the overall impact on the quality  of data would be minimised.   

4.11 As  noted  in  Chapter 2,  a  specific  funding  agreement was  developed  between DEEWR and the AEC in July 2009 to support the AEC’s delivery of its  commitments. A key responsibility given to the AEC in this agreement was the  requirement for the AEC to provide six‐monthly reports to DEEWR on: 

 registered  Covenant  job  commitments  with  details  of  employer,  employment conditions and locations;  

 Covenant  project  participants  commencing  employment  into  a  Covenant  job  commitment,  including  the  start  date  and  employer  details; and  

 Covenant  project  participants  who  have  stayed  in  employment  for  26 weeks continuously with Covenant employers.  

4.12 The  reporting  requirements  under  the  funding  agreement  were  primarily designed to serve as a basis for managing outcomes‐based payments  to the AEC. This had the effect of transferring the primary responsibility for  reporting from DEEWR to the AEC. Once the monitoring and tracking role had  been taken on by the AEC, DEEWR placed less priority on the department’s 

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4.9 Collecting  and  analysing  this  data  at  regular  intervals  would  have  provided  DEEWR  with  a  comprehensive  picture  of  Australian  Government  activity  in  relation  to  the  Covenant,  and  position  the  AEC  and  DEEWR  to  make  informed  assessments  about  the  effectiveness  of  the  initiative.  At  the  time  of  the  Covenant’s  commencement,  DEEWR’s  existing  information  systems were not able to capture all of these proposed indicators. In order to  collect the required data, DEEWR planned to make a number of changes to its  information systems to be ready for deployment and use by February 2009.  The changes were designed to capture the central event of the ‘Covenant Job’,  against which other events would be defined. 

4.10 DEEWR  was  able  to  make  these  changes  as  anticipated  by  1 February 2009. However some limitations remained to DEEWR’s ability to  fully report on AEC outcomes achieved through the Australian Government’s  employment services. Primarily, data would not be captured when Covenant  jobs  or  placements  occurred  outside  of  the  DEEWR  network.  However,  as  DEEWR anticipated that the majority of Covenant job placements were to be  filled by the most disadvantaged cohort of job seekers, the department also  considered  it  was  likely  that  most  would  access  the  Covenant  through  DEEWR’s employment services network and the overall impact on the quality  of data would be minimised.   

4.11 As  noted  in  Chapter 2,  a  specific  funding  agreement was  developed  between DEEWR and the AEC in July 2009 to support the AEC’s delivery of its  commitments. A key responsibility given to the AEC in this agreement was the  requirement for the AEC to provide six‐monthly reports to DEEWR on: 

 registered  Covenant  job  commitments  with  details  of  employer,  employment conditions and locations;  

 Covenant  project  participants  commencing  employment  into  a  Covenant  job  commitment,  including  the  start  date  and  employer  details; and  

 Covenant  project  participants  who  have  stayed  in  employment  for  26 weeks continuously with Covenant employers.  

4.12 The  reporting  requirements  under  the  funding  agreement  were  primarily designed to serve as a basis for managing outcomes‐based payments  to the AEC. This had the effect of transferring the primary responsibility for  reporting from DEEWR to the AEC. Once the monitoring and tracking role had  been taken on by the AEC, DEEWR placed less priority on the department’s 

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own collection of relevant and reliable data. This had the effect of reducing the  department’s ability to monitor the Australian Government’s contribution.  

4.13 DEEWR  informed  the  ANAO  that  the  changes  to  its  system  were  unable to capture the full suite of Covenant outcomes without provision of  detailed placement information being provided by the AEC to DEEWR. This  reliance on data from the AEC was not identified by DEEWR as a key risk  during the planning phase following its initial efforts. The department decided  against making further changes to its IT systems because the contract with the  AEC  was  only  for  two  years  and,  as  noted  in  Chapter 2,  the  nature  of  the  longer‐term  commitment  was  not  defined  at  the  time  the  Covenant  was  entered into. Instead, the department opted for using the reporting obligations  required  of  the  AEC  and  IEP  data.  While  DEEWR’s  initial  analysis  and  identification of required information would have placed the department in a  strong  position,  overall,  DEEWR  did  not  ultimately  capture  sufficient  information from its own systems to provide a reflection against its own initial  monitoring commitments.   

4.14 On  a  regular  basis,  there  was  no  formal  framework  for  DEEWR  to  report  its  progress  in  meeting  its  commitments  to  the  AEC  and  the  AEC’s  regular  reporting  was  tied  to  its  funding  arrangements.  This  led  to  limited  visibility around the Australian Government’s progress towards meeting its  commitments.  Further,  the  lack  of  an  overall  reporting  framework  which  applied  to  both  parties’  broader  contributions,  meant  that  there  was  not  a  strong mechanism to support alignment of activities.  

Measurement of the Australian Government’s contribution to the Covenant 4.15 In addition to its public commitment to record and track jobs in relation  to broader Covenant outcomes, monitoring and measuring progress towards  meeting the Australian Government’s own commitments around training and  employment  support  was  also  important.  The  Australian  Government  expected to contribute up to $200 million in funds through the IEP and JSA in  support of these commitments.  

4.16 DEEWR did not identify any business targets to be achieved in relation  to the Australian Government’s commitments under the Covenant. This has  made  it  difficult  for  the  department  to  effectively  track  its  success  in  contributing to the Australian Government’s commitments.   

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4.17 Participants who entered the Covenant through JSA or the IEP were  recorded in DEEWR’s administrative data, though the data recorded differs for  the two programs. In DEEWR’s system, information on both vacancies and  referral outcomes is recorded for clients participating through JSA, while only  referral outcomes are recorded for Covenant jobs referred from the IEP. The  department expected that its own administrative data would be used as the  primary data source for Covenant participants who are also JSA or IEP clients.  

4.18 Following the initial stages of implementation, DEEWR did attempt to  assess the Covenant in terms of referral outcomes and placement activity using  data recorded in DEEWR’s administrative system. While these measures were  imperfect, in the absence of any better measures, they provided an indication  of  the  levels  of  engagement  of  the  employment  services  network  in  contributing to the Covenant.   

4.19 Once the recording and tracking of AEC outcomes became primarily an  AEC responsibility, DEEWR didn’t formally develop a revised performance  framework  and  placed  less  priority  on  its  own  collection  of  reliable  data  against the Australian Government’s commitments. Instead, DEEWR moved to  an approach where contracts with AEC employers under the IEP were used as  an indication of DEEWR’s involvement with the Covenant.  

4.20 On occasion, DEEWR undertook informal monitoring of activities in  state and territory offices by asking contact officers about the activities that had  been initiated. While this is useful, regular and systematic monitoring against  agreed measures provides a more reliable indication of levels of activity. There  were  no  formal  mechanisms  set  up  to  monitor  progress  from  state  and  territory offices and to consolidate this is in a meaningful way.  

Indigenous Employment Program data to assess Covenant outcomes

4.21 In the Employment Services System (ESS), IEP job seeker participation  is recorded against an IEP Activity (which corresponds to an IEP contract).  Initially,  DEEWR  anticipated  tracking  the  placement  and  retention  of  Indigenous job  seekers into  Covenant  jobs  and  training  by  way  of an  AEC  placement field or ‘AEC flag’. DEEWR added the AEC flag to the IEP activity  details however, this placement field has not been used to draw information  for reporting purposes because it is unreliable.  

4.22 DEEWR  relied  largely  on  IEP  information  in  ESS  to  provide  an  indication of the Australian Government’s contribution to the Covenant. An 

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4.17 Participants who entered the Covenant through JSA or the IEP were  recorded in DEEWR’s administrative data, though the data recorded differs for  the two programs. In DEEWR’s system, information on both vacancies and  referral outcomes is recorded for clients participating through JSA, while only  referral outcomes are recorded for Covenant jobs referred from the IEP. The  department expected that its own administrative data would be used as the  primary data source for Covenant participants who are also JSA or IEP clients.  

4.18 Following the initial stages of implementation, DEEWR did attempt to  assess the Covenant in terms of referral outcomes and placement activity using  data recorded in DEEWR’s administrative system. While these measures were  imperfect, in the absence of any better measures, they provided an indication  of  the  levels  of  engagement  of  the  employment  services  network  in  contributing to the Covenant.   

4.19 Once the recording and tracking of AEC outcomes became primarily an  AEC responsibility, DEEWR didn’t formally develop a revised performance  framework  and  placed  less  priority  on  its  own  collection  of  reliable  data  against the Australian Government’s commitments. Instead, DEEWR moved to  an approach where contracts with AEC employers under the IEP were used as  an indication of DEEWR’s involvement with the Covenant.  

4.20 On occasion, DEEWR undertook informal monitoring of activities in  state and territory offices by asking contact officers about the activities that had  been initiated. While this is useful, regular and systematic monitoring against  agreed measures provides a more reliable indication of levels of activity. There  were  no  formal  mechanisms  set  up  to  monitor  progress  from  state  and  territory offices and to consolidate this is in a meaningful way.  

Indigenous Employment Program data to assess Covenant outcomes

4.21 In the Employment Services System (ESS), IEP job seeker participation  is recorded against an IEP Activity (which corresponds to an IEP contract).  Initially,  DEEWR  anticipated  tracking  the  placement  and  retention  of  Indigenous job  seekers into  Covenant  jobs  and  training  by  way  of an  AEC  placement field or ‘AEC flag’. DEEWR added the AEC flag to the IEP activity  details however, this placement field has not been used to draw information  for reporting purposes because it is unreliable.  

4.22 DEEWR  relied  largely  on  IEP  information  in  ESS  to  provide  an  indication of the Australian Government’s contribution to the Covenant. An 

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IEP‐related  report  was  developed  to  inform  briefings  to  Ministers  and  the  department’s Executive, however, there was no single reporting methodology  used by DEEWR as reporting needs varied according to the purpose of the  briefing.  In  order  to  prepare  the  Covenant  report,  DEEWR  manually  links  Covenant  employers  to  IEP  projects  within  its  system.  As  such,  different  cohorts of employers and projects were chosen to suit the reporting question  with the result that no consistent reporting over time exists.  

4.23 DEEWR  is  not  responsible  for  measuring  the  overall  results  of  the  Covenant, but it is a partner to the agreement and should, at a minimum, have  been  able  to  measure  the  Australian  Government’s  contribution.  DEEWR’s  public reporting on this contribution has a number of limitations. For example,  in  May 2012,  the  Australian  Government  announced  that  since  the  commencement of the Covenant, the Australian Government had assisted 73  employers  with  up  to  $132  million  in  funding.  Some  caution  needs  to  be  applied  when  considering  the  department’s  performance  data  because  of  a  number of errors and inconsistencies, such as:  

 The information publicly announced by DEEWR includes information  going  back  to  projects  approved  as  far  back  as  2007,  including  10  activities  valued  at  $16.9 million  approved  before  the  Covenant  was  announced  on  10  October  2008.  The  department  has  indicated  that  these  projects  were  included  as  some  of  the  expenditure  may  have  occurred after the employer joined the Covenant.  

 The report on which the Minister’s May 2012 announcement was based  includes three providers which appear to be listed twice. This indicates  that the number of employers assisted was only 70, or less if projects  approved before the Covenant was announced are also excluded.  

 The dataset includes a duplicate record, reducing the total amount of  funding although not significantly.  

 The  report  includes  a  number  of  school‐based  traineeships  and  apprenticeships  valued  at  $5.7  million,  although  it  was  agreed  that  these were not part of AEC commitments.  

 The  report  includes  at  least  13  IEP  business  projects  valued  at  $1.4 million,  although  it  was  agreed  that  only  employment  projects  were  relevant.  That  is,  the  report  includes  projects  where  a  panel  member has been engaged to, for example, prepare a business plan for  another organisation.  

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4.24 In  some  cases,  Covenant  employers  were  also  employment  service  providers funded by the department, such as JSA or IEP providers. As such,  the  Covenant  commitments  made  by  these  service  providers  could  include  Indigenous employment placements achieved with other employers, as part of  their service provision role. This means that the funding reflected by DEEWR  includes payments to service providers for their existing service delivery role  and does not necessarily link to Indigenous employment outcomes within that  Covenant employer. DEEWR considered that the wording in the Covenant did  not  preclude  this  from  happening,  and  as  such,  incorporated  this  into  the  department’s performance information.   

Job Services Australia data to assess Covenant outcomes

4.25 Data was also intended to be collected from the JSA system, although  similarly  to  IEP  data,  some  gaps  and  issues  with  data  collection  affect  its  useability. Primarily, these gaps related to the use of the AEC flag in the JSA  system.  

4.26 The use of the AEC flag as a data source does not provide a strong basis  for collecting data. DEEWR advised that adding an AEC flag to a vacancy is  optional  and  reliant  on  users  entering  the  information.  As  such,  use  and  knowledge  of  the  AEC  flag  has  varied  considerably  across  the  DEEWR  network.  This  includes  the  AEC  flag  being  applied  to  vacancies  with  employers not signed up with the Covenant. The department is aware that the  AEC flag has not always been applied correctly and that this has affected the  quality of reporting.  

4.27 DEEWR  advised  that  its  AEC  system  flags  and  related  reporting  methodologies  would  not  have  been  reliable  without  significant  additional  investment in training, communication and quality assurance processes. The  department considered this investment disproportionately large relative to the  Covenant’s initially understood two‐year time period, number of employers  and momentum in obtaining Indigenous employment outcomes. Nonetheless,  the  department  adopted  the  flag  system  and  it  remains  an  element  of  DEEWR’s system but it was not used for reporting purposes. 

4.28 Covenant employment outcomes achieved through JSA providers are  listed in Table 4.2. DEEWR reported that approximately 3000 Indigenous job  seekers had been placed in employment with Covenant employers since 2009  with the assistance of JSA. Over the period February to November 2012, 1276 

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4.24 In  some  cases,  Covenant  employers  were  also  employment  service  providers funded by the department, such as JSA or IEP providers. As such,  the  Covenant  commitments  made  by  these  service  providers  could  include  Indigenous employment placements achieved with other employers, as part of  their service provision role. This means that the funding reflected by DEEWR  includes payments to service providers for their existing service delivery role  and does not necessarily link to Indigenous employment outcomes within that  Covenant employer. DEEWR considered that the wording in the Covenant did  not  preclude  this  from  happening,  and  as  such,  incorporated  this  into  the  department’s performance information.   

Job Services Australia data to assess Covenant outcomes

4.25 Data was also intended to be collected from the JSA system, although  similarly  to  IEP  data,  some  gaps  and  issues  with  data  collection  affect  its  useability. Primarily, these gaps related to the use of the AEC flag in the JSA  system.  

4.26 The use of the AEC flag as a data source does not provide a strong basis  for collecting data. DEEWR advised that adding an AEC flag to a vacancy is  optional  and  reliant  on  users  entering  the  information.  As  such,  use  and  knowledge  of  the  AEC  flag  has  varied  considerably  across  the  DEEWR  network.  This  includes  the  AEC  flag  being  applied  to  vacancies  with  employers not signed up with the Covenant. The department is aware that the  AEC flag has not always been applied correctly and that this has affected the  quality of reporting.  

4.27 DEEWR  advised  that  its  AEC  system  flags  and  related  reporting  methodologies  would  not  have  been  reliable  without  significant  additional  investment in training, communication and quality assurance processes. The  department considered this investment disproportionately large relative to the  Covenant’s initially understood two‐year time period, number of employers  and momentum in obtaining Indigenous employment outcomes. Nonetheless,  the  department  adopted  the  flag  system  and  it  remains  an  element  of  DEEWR’s system but it was not used for reporting purposes. 

4.28 Covenant employment outcomes achieved through JSA providers are  listed in Table 4.2. DEEWR reported that approximately 3000 Indigenous job  seekers had been placed in employment with Covenant employers since 2009  with the assistance of JSA. Over the period February to November 2012, 1276 

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Indigenous job seekers were still in their positions after 13 weeks, however, by  26 weeks, this figure had dropped to 820.  

Table 4.1

JSA 13 and 26 week outcomes for Indigenous job seekers placed with a Covenant employer (1 February 2009 to 12 November 2012)

13-week outcomes 26-week outcomes

Job Services Australia provider outcomes

1276 820

Source: JSA data provided by DEEWR based on manually matching job seeker employment placements with Covenant employers.

 

4.29 Similarly  to  IEP  data,  the  preparation  of  these  figures  relies  on  manually  matching  employer  placements  with  Covenant  employer  names.  This process can produce different results across reporting periods and may  result in records being missed. Further, the process does not take into account  when the employer signed the Covenant. 

Effectiveness of data collection

4.30 Based on the data provided by DEEWR, since 2009, JSAs have achieved  820  26‐week  outcomes  with  Indigenous  job  seekers  placed  with  Covenant  employers.  It  is  more  difficult  to  determine  an  accurate  figure  for  26‐week  outcomes determined through the IEP because of the reporting methodologies  used  and  the  quality  of  the  data.  The  department’s  figures  indicate  that  approximately 5500 26‐week outcomes have been achieved through the IEP.  The  IEP  figures  include  some  errors,  information  that  is  not  relevant  for  Covenant reporting purposes and relate to different timeframes and outcomes  achieved by service providers. DEEWR has generally not reported placement  and  outcome  data  for  the  Covenant  publicly  and  instead focused  on  funds  committed (rather than spent).  

4.31 DEEWR  considers  that  its  reporting  mechanisms  understate  the  Australian  Government’s  contribution  to  the  Covenant.  The  department  advised that there are other programs supporting the Covenant, but, as noted  in Chapter 3, these were not monitored.  

4.32 Given the relatively small number of Covenant employers, there are  advantages  for  DEEWR  in  not  making  full‐scale  changes  to  its  systems  on  account  of the  Covenant.  Manual  intervention  in  reporting,  without  a  clear 

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reporting  framework,  can  produce  vulnerabilities  in  the  quality  and  consistency  of  data.  DEEWR  has  also  regularly  changed  the  parameters  of  what it reports on, to suit particular questions. As such, information that is  publicly reported is based on different parameters, reducing the opportunity  for comparisons over time.  

4.33 When  compared  with  the  Australian  Government’s  initial  commitments  under  the  Covenant,  IEP  expenditure  on  Covenant  employer  projects  does  not  provide  a  clear  reflection  of  the  Australian  Government’s  progress  towards  meeting  its  own  commitments.  While  IEP  expenditure  provides some indication of the Australian Government’s performance, it is  not  sufficient  to  assess  the  performance  of  the  department  against  the  Australian  Government’s  commitments.  Overall,  the  approach  to  reporting  presents  difficulties  in  obtaining  an  accurate  picture  of  the  Australian  Government’s contribution to the Covenant.   

Evaluation 4.34 DEEWR’s original monitoring and evaluation strategy included a plan  to conduct an evaluation of the Covenant initiative. The initial plan was for a  mid‐stage and final evaluation report. 

4.35 An  evaluation  strategy  and  preliminary  evaluation  report  were  finalised in February 2010, twelve months after the Covenant implementation  date.  The  scope  of  the  evaluation  was  the  progress  of  Covenant  implementation,  with  an  assessment  of  the  overall  effectiveness  of  the  Covenant  scheduled  for  June 2011.  The  report  used  data  available  as  at  30 September 2009  consisting  of:  DEEWR  administrative  data;  the  2009  Employment  Service  Provider  Survey;  and  the  September  2009  AEC  Executive’s  Report.  The  preliminary  report  found  that  the  Covenant  implementation  had  been  slower  than  expected  but  this  was  likely  to  have  been  affected  by  the  global  recession.  The  evaluation  also  found  that  the  Covenant was able to provide training and work opportunities for Indigenous  job  seekers  and  that  there  were  opportunities  to  increase  Covenant  activity  nationally. However, the report noted that the results needed to be interpreted  with caution as the results were based on limited data and small participant  numbers.  

4.36 Following the preparation of the  preliminary report, the department  decided that work on the evaluation should cease due to a range of factors  including: 

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reporting  framework,  can  produce  vulnerabilities  in  the  quality  and  consistency  of  data.  DEEWR  has  also  regularly  changed  the  parameters  of  what it reports on, to suit particular questions. As such, information that is  publicly reported is based on different parameters, reducing the opportunity  for comparisons over time.  

4.33 When  compared  with  the  Australian  Government’s  initial  commitments  under  the  Covenant,  IEP  expenditure  on  Covenant  employer  projects  does  not  provide  a  clear  reflection  of  the  Australian  Government’s  progress  towards  meeting  its  own  commitments.  While  IEP  expenditure  provides some indication of the Australian Government’s performance, it is  not  sufficient  to  assess  the  performance  of  the  department  against  the  Australian  Government’s  commitments.  Overall,  the  approach  to  reporting  presents  difficulties  in  obtaining  an  accurate  picture  of  the  Australian  Government’s contribution to the Covenant.   

Evaluation 4.34 DEEWR’s original monitoring and evaluation strategy included a plan  to conduct an evaluation of the Covenant initiative. The initial plan was for a  mid‐stage and final evaluation report. 

4.35 An  evaluation  strategy  and  preliminary  evaluation  report  were  finalised in February 2010, twelve months after the Covenant implementation  date.  The  scope  of  the  evaluation  was  the  progress  of  Covenant  implementation,  with  an  assessment  of  the  overall  effectiveness  of  the  Covenant  scheduled  for  June 2011.  The  report  used  data  available  as  at  30 September 2009  consisting  of:  DEEWR  administrative  data;  the  2009  Employment  Service  Provider  Survey;  and  the  September  2009  AEC  Executive’s  Report.  The  preliminary  report  found  that  the  Covenant  implementation  had  been  slower  than  expected  but  this  was  likely  to  have  been  affected  by  the  global  recession.  The  evaluation  also  found  that  the  Covenant was able to provide training and work opportunities for Indigenous  job  seekers  and  that  there  were  opportunities  to  increase  Covenant  activity  nationally. However, the report noted that the results needed to be interpreted  with caution as the results were based on limited data and small participant  numbers.  

4.36 Following the preparation of the  preliminary report, the department  decided that work on the evaluation should cease due to a range of factors  including: 

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 the investment in continuing would have been disproportionate to the  original timeframe of the initiative;   

 the department did not have control or responsibility for the program;  

 the  department  didn’t  have  access  to  the  information  required  as  it  considered  that  most  activity  occurred  outside  the  department’s  program;  

 resource constraints; and 

 the  low  impact  the  Covenant  was  having  in  terms  of  generating  outcomes for Indigenous job seekers. 

4.37 It  is  reasonable  that  DEEWR  did  not  have  the  data  to  conduct  an  examination of the Covenant initiative, although this may have been possible  in conjunction with the AEC. However, the evaluation also highlighted that  DEEWR had limited data and information within its own system to effectively  assess the department’s contribution to the initiative. Further, a more effective  use  of  DEEWR’s  evaluation  effort  might  have  been  applied  to  its  own  administration or contribution to the partnership. The decision not to continue  with the evaluation was a missed opportunity to both address data deficiencies  and  identify  potential  issues  within  DEEWR’s  approach.  More  broadly,  an  evaluation would have identified lessons learned and provided analysis that  may have informed future partnerships of this nature.  

Conclusions 4.38 DEEWR  is  not  responsible  for  measuring  the  overall  results  of  the  Covenant, but it is a partner to the agreement and should, at a minimum, have  been  able  to  measure  the  Australian  Government’s  contribution.  DEEWR’s  public reporting on this contribution has a number of limitations. For example,  in  May 2012,  the  Australian  Government  announced  that  since  the  commencement of the Covenant, the Australian Government had assisted 73  employers  with  up  to  $132  million  in  funding.  Some  caution  needs  to  be  applied when considering the department’s performance data as the figures  include funding committed to employers (not actual expenditure on training  and  support),  the  figures  include  a  number  of  errors,  projects  entered  into  before the Covenant was announced and funding to some service providers  (who were also Covenant employers). Data from the department’s system also  indicates that approximately 6000 26‐week outcomes have been achieved with 

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Covenant employers. Similarly, a more accurate figure cannot be determined  due to the limitations in the department’s systems.  

4.39 DEEWR did not establish a formal or regular monitoring mechanism in  relation to each of its four roles under the Covenant and did not set business  targets  to  be  achieved  in  each  area.  Without  detailed  operational  targets  against  the  Australian  Government’s  commitments,  it  was  difficult  for  the  department  to  specifically  measure  its  progress  and  achievements.  In  the  absence of a well developed performance framework, DEEWR was unable to  regularly assess its own overall performance, or readily identify the extent to  which it was meeting commitments made by the Australian Government.  

4.40 DEEWR initially made a number of changes to its employment services  systems  to  enable  the  department  to  track  information  and  expenditure  in  relation to Covenant placements and employers. In 2009, DEEWR identified  concerns with quality of data collected through its own systems. However, the  department decided against further investment in its systems. Similarly, after  undertaking initial evaluation work, the department decided not to complete a  final  evaluation.  The  lack  of  performance  information  and  evaluation  represents a missed opportunity for the department to assess the value of the  Covenant model, and importantly, to inform future partnerships of this nature. 

Recommendation No.1 4.41 In  order  to  sustain  the  focus  on  shared  objectives,  DEEWR,  in  consultation with the AEC, prepares advice for the Australian Government on  options for the department’s ongoing involvement, including clarifying roles  and  responsibilities  under  the  Covenant,  and  strengthening  measures  to  monitor the delivery of the Australian Government’s commitments under the  Covenant. 

DEEWR’s response:

4.42 DEEWR agrees with qualification, in particular, with the need for clarity in  roles, responsibilities and appropriate monitoring of activities in future partnership  arrangements. 

4.43 DEEWR  does  not  consider  that  further  investment  in  strengthening  monitoring processes specific to the Covenant is warranted; rather the department will  ensure that appropriate monitoring arrangements are in place to support the next stage  of work with GenerationOne.  

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Covenant employers. Similarly, a more accurate figure cannot be determined  due to the limitations in the department’s systems.  

4.39 DEEWR did not establish a formal or regular monitoring mechanism in  relation to each of its four roles under the Covenant and did not set business  targets  to  be  achieved  in  each  area.  Without  detailed  operational  targets  against  the  Australian  Government’s  commitments,  it  was  difficult  for  the  department  to  specifically  measure  its  progress  and  achievements.  In  the  absence of a well developed performance framework, DEEWR was unable to  regularly assess its own overall performance, or readily identify the extent to  which it was meeting commitments made by the Australian Government.  

4.40 DEEWR initially made a number of changes to its employment services  systems  to  enable  the  department  to  track  information  and  expenditure  in  relation to Covenant placements and employers. In 2009, DEEWR identified 

concerns with quality of data collected through its own systems. However, the  department decided against further investment in its systems. Similarly, after  undertaking initial evaluation work, the department decided not to complete a  final  evaluation.  The  lack  of  performance  information  and  evaluation  represents a missed opportunity for the department to assess the value of the  Covenant model, and importantly, to inform future partnerships of this nature. 

Recommendation No.1 4.41 In  order  to  sustain  the  focus  on  shared  objectives,  DEEWR,  in  consultation with the AEC, prepares advice for the Australian Government on  options for the department’s ongoing involvement, including clarifying roles  and  responsibilities  under  the  Covenant,  and  strengthening  measures  to  monitor the delivery of the Australian Government’s commitments under the  Covenant. 

DEEWR’s response:

4.42 DEEWR agrees with qualification, in particular, with the need for clarity in  roles, responsibilities and appropriate monitoring of activities in future partnership  arrangements. 

4.43 DEEWR  does  not  consider  that  further  investment  in  strengthening  monitoring processes specific to the Covenant is warranted; rather the department will  ensure that appropriate monitoring arrangements are in place to support the next stage  of work with GenerationOne.  

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4.44 The department notes that the nature and focus of the partnership has changed  now that the AEC has become part of GenerationOne. The department has developed a  good working relationship with GenerationOne and is looking to the future to ensure  that the lessons learnt so far about how the partnership should operate, are successfully  applied.  DEEWR  will  prepare  advice  for  the  Government  on  options  for  the  departmentʹs future involvement, including specifying roles and responsibilities in the  context of the department’s work with GenerationOne. The department will consult  with GenerationOne in the process of preparing this advice for the Government. 

Ian McPhee 

Auditor‐General 

Canberra ACT 

26 June 2013 

 

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Appendices

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Appendix 1: Agency response to proposed report

 

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Appendix 1: Agency response to proposed report

 

Appendix 1: Agency response to proposed report

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Appendix 2: Australian Employment Covenant’s response to proposed report

The AEC organisation was not audited by the ANAO, however due to its role  in the Covenant initiative the AEC was provided with relevant extracts of the  proposed report. 

 

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Index

Arrangements to support collaboration, 34,  36, 40, 44, 45, 56  Australian Employment Covenant  organisation, 28, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 

38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 48, 50,  51, 52, 53, 54, 59, 60, 61, 62, 64, 65, 66,  67, 68, 69, 70, 72, 74, 79  the Covenant, 26, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 

35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45,  46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56,  58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68,  69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 79  Australian Government commitments, 28, 

30, 31, 32, 34, 41, 42, 44, 46, 47, 49, 54, 55,  61, 62, 63, 64, 67, 68, 71, 73, 74  Australian Government commitments  (measurement of), 67  Australian Government Coordinator, 36, 

37, 40, 45  Australian National Audit Office, 32, 33, 34,  39, 40, 44, 47, 48, 54, 59, 60, 63, 66, 79 

Closing the Gap, 26, 28, 35, 64  Council of Australian Governments  (COAG), 26  Covenant Action Plan, 53, 54  Covenant employer, 32, 33, 39, 44, 48, 51, 

52, 53, 54, 57, 59, 60, 61, 62, 66, 68, 69, 70,  71, 73 

Data (issues, quality and limitations), 33,  36, 38, 40, 42, 43, 44, 50, 53, 54, 56, 59, 60,  61, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73  Department of Education, Employment 

and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), 27,  29, 30, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41,  42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53,  54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65,  66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74 

Difficulties and challenges, 34, 39, 40, 46,  53, 54, 55, 60, 67, 71, 73 

Employment service providers, 27, 29, 31,  32, 33, 37, 50, 51, 56, 58, 59, 60, 61, 64, 66,  67, 68, 69, 70, 71  Employment service providers (extent of 

engagement), 30, 58, 59, 60, 62  Employment Services System, 68 

Implementation model, 28, 42, 47, 48, 51, 52,  54, 60, 62, 74  Implementation Plans, 33, 41, 42, 43, 48  Indigenous Economic Development 

Strategy, 27  Indigenous Employment Program, 27, 29,  31, 32, 37, 51, 56, 58, 60, 61, 64, 66, 67, 68,  69, 70, 71  Indigenous job seekers (engagement with), 

28, 29, 30, 31, 35, 39, 41, 44, 47, 48, 49, 50,  51, 52, 53, 57, 58, 64, 68, 70, 71, 72 

Job Services Australia, 27, 29, 31, 33, 50, 51,  56, 58, 59, 60, 61, 64, 67, 69, 70  Job Services Australia (outcomes), 70 

Key findings, 45, 61, 73 

Language, Literacy and Numeracy  Program, 57 

M  Management arrangements, 34, 38, 41, 42,  44, 45 

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National Indigenous Reform Agreement  (NIRA), 28, 29 

Performance, 33, 40, 42, 52, 63, 65, 68, 69, 71,  73, 74 

Registered Training Organisation, 42, 58  Risk management, 34, 36, 42, 43, 49, 60, 66 

Service delivery, 38, 46, 54, 60, 62, 69  Service delivery model, 62 

Structured Training and Employment  Projects, 65 

Technical and Further Education (TAFE),  42, 51, 58  Training, 27, 29, 31, 32, 47, 51, 52, 53, 55, 58,  60, 61, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71 

Vocational Education and Training, 58 

W  Workplace English, Literacy and Language,  57 

 

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National Indigenous Reform Agreement  (NIRA), 28, 29 

Performance, 33, 40, 42, 52, 63, 65, 68, 69, 71,  73, 74 

Registered Training Organisation, 42, 58  Risk management, 34, 36, 42, 43, 49, 60, 66 

Service delivery, 38, 46, 54, 60, 62, 69  Service delivery model, 62 

Structured Training and Employment  Projects, 65 

Technical and Further Education (TAFE),  42, 51, 58  Training, 27, 29, 31, 32, 47, 51, 52, 53, 55, 58,  60, 61, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71 

Vocational Education and Training, 58 

W  Workplace English, Literacy and Language,  57 

 

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Series Titles

ANAO Audit Report No.1 2012-13  Administration of the Renewable Energy Demonstration Program  Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism 

ANAO Audit Report No.2 2012-13  Administration of the Regional Backbone Blackspots Program  Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy 

ANAO Audit Report No.3 2012-13  The Design and Conduct of the First Application Round for the Regional Development  Australia Fund  Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport 

ANAO Audit Report No.4 2012-13  Confidentiality in Government Contracts: Senate Order for Departmental and Agency  Contracts (Calendar Year 2011 Compliance)  Across Agencies 

ANAO Audit Report No.5 2012-13  Management of Australia’s Air Combat Capability—F/A‐18 Hornet and Super  Hornet Fleet Upgrades and Sustainment  Department of Defence  Defence Materiel Organisation 

ANAO Audit Report No.6 2012-13  Management of Australia’s Air Combat Capability—F‐35A Joint Strike Fighter  Acquisition   Department of Defence  Defence Materiel Organisation 

ANAO Audit Report No.7 2012-13  Improving Access to Child Care—the Community Support Program  Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations 

ANAO Audit Report No.8 2012-13  Australian Government Coordination Arrangements for Indigenous Programs  Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 

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ANAO Audit Report No.9 2012-13  Delivery of Bereavement and Family Support Services through the Defence  Community Organisation  Department of Defence  Department of Veterans’ Affairs 

ANAO Audit Report No.10 2012-13  Managing Aged Care Complaints  Department of Health and Ageing 

ANAO Audit Report No.11 2012-13  Establishment, Implementation and Administration of the Quarantined Heritage  Component of the Local Jobs Stream of the Jobs Fund  Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and  Communities 

ANAO Audit Report No.12 2012-13  Administration of Commonwealth Responsibilities under the National Partnership  Agreement on Preventive Health  Australian National Preventive Health Agency  Department of Health and Ageing 

ANAO Audit Report No.13 2012-13  The Provision of Policing Services to the Australian Capital Territory  Australian Federal Police 

ANAO Audit Report No.14 2012-13  Delivery of Workplace Relations Services by the Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman  Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations  Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman 

ANAO Audit Report No.15 2012-13  2011-12 Major Projects Report   Defence Materiel Organisation 

ANAO Audit Report No.16 2012-13  Audits of the Financial Statements of Australian Government Entities for the Period  Ended 30 June 2011  Across Agencies 

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ANAO Audit Report No.9 2012-13  Delivery of Bereavement and Family Support Services through the Defence  Community Organisation  Department of Defence  Department of Veterans’ Affairs 

ANAO Audit Report No.10 2012-13  Managing Aged Care Complaints  Department of Health and Ageing 

ANAO Audit Report No.11 2012-13  Establishment, Implementation and Administration of the Quarantined Heritage  Component of the Local Jobs Stream of the Jobs Fund  Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and  Communities 

ANAO Audit Report No.12 2012-13  Administration of Commonwealth Responsibilities under the National Partnership  Agreement on Preventive Health  Australian National Preventive Health Agency  Department of Health and Ageing 

ANAO Audit Report No.13 2012-13  The Provision of Policing Services to the Australian Capital Territory  Australian Federal Police 

ANAO Audit Report No.14 2012-13  Delivery of Workplace Relations Services by the Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman  Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations  Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman 

ANAO Audit Report No.15 2012-13  2011-12 Major Projects Report   Defence Materiel Organisation 

ANAO Audit Report No.16 2012-13  Audits of the Financial Statements of Australian Government Entities for the Period  Ended 30 June 2011  Across Agencies 

Series Titles

ANAO Audit Report No.55 2012-13

Indigenous Employment: The Australian Government's Contribution to the Australian Employment Covenant

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ANAO Audit Report No.17 2012-13  Design and Implementation of the Energy Efficiency Information Grants Program  Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency 

ANAO Audit Report No.18 2012-13  Family Support Program: Communities for Children  Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 

ANAO Audit Report No.19 2012-13  Administration of New Income Management in the Northern Territory  Department of Human Services 

ANAO Audit Report No.20 2012-13  Administration of the Domestic Fishing Compliance Program  Australian Fisheries Management Authority 

ANAO Audit Report No.21 2012-13  Individual Management Services Provided to People in Immigration Detention  Department of Immigration and Citizenship 

ANAO Audit Report No.22 2012-13  Administration of the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Contractors Voluntary  Exit Grants Program  Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry 

ANAO Audit Report No.23 2012-13  The Australian Government Reconstruction Inspectorate’s Conduct of Value for  Money Reviews of Flood Reconstruction Projects in Victoria  Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport 

ANAO Audit Report No.24 2012-13  The Preparation and Delivery of the Natural Disaster Recovery Work Plans for  Queensland and Victoria  Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport 

ANAO Audit Report No.25 2012-13  Defence’s Implementation of Audit Recommendations  Department of Defence 

   

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ANAO Audit Report No.26 2012-13  Remediation of the Lightweight Torpedo Replacement Project  Department of Defence; Defence Material Organisation 

ANAO Audit Report No.27 2012-13  Administration of the Research Block Grants Program  Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and  Tertiary Education 

ANAO Report No.28 2012-13  The Australian Government Performance Measurement and Reporting Framework:  Pilot Project to Audit Key Performance Indicators  Across Agencies 

ANAO Audit Report No.29 2012-13  Administration of the Veterans’ Children Education Schemes  Department of Veterans’ Affairs 

ANAO Audit Report No.30 2012-13  Management of Detained Goods  Australian Customs and Border Protection Service 

ANAO Audit Report No.31 2012-13  Implementation of the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness  Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 

ANAO Audit Report No.32 2012-13  Grants for the Construction of the Adelaide Desalination Plant  Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and  Communities  Department of Finance and Deregulation  Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet 

ANAO Audit Report No.33 2012-13  The Regulation of Tax Practitioners by the Tax Practitioners Board  Tax Practitioners Board  Australian Taxation Office 

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ANAO Audit Report No.26 2012-13  Remediation of the Lightweight Torpedo Replacement Project  Department of Defence; Defence Material Organisation 

ANAO Audit Report No.27 2012-13  Administration of the Research Block Grants Program  Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and  Tertiary Education 

ANAO Report No.28 2012-13  The Australian Government Performance Measurement and Reporting Framework:  Pilot Project to Audit Key Performance Indicators  Across Agencies 

ANAO Audit Report No.29 2012-13  Administration of the Veterans’ Children Education Schemes  Department of Veterans’ Affairs 

ANAO Audit Report No.30 2012-13  Management of Detained Goods  Australian Customs and Border Protection Service 

ANAO Audit Report No.31 2012-13  Implementation of the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness  Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 

ANAO Audit Report No.32 2012-13  Grants for the Construction of the Adelaide Desalination Plant  Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and  Communities  Department of Finance and Deregulation  Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet 

ANAO Audit Report No.33 2012-13  The Regulation of Tax Practitioners by the Tax Practitioners Board  Tax Practitioners Board  Australian Taxation Office 

Series Titles

ANAO Audit Report No.55 2012-13

Indigenous Employment: The Australian Government's Contribution to the Australian Employment Covenant

89

ANAO Audit Report No.34 2012-13  Preparation of the Tax Expenditures Statement  Department of the Treasury  Australian Taxation Office 

ANAO Audit Report No.35 2012-13  Control of Credit Card Use  Australian Trade Commission  Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet  Geoscience Australia 

ANAO Audit Report No.36 2012-13  Commonwealth Environmental Water Activities  Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and  Communities 

ANAO Audit Report No.37 2012-13  Administration of Grants from the Education Investment Fund  Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and  Tertiary Education 

ANAO Audit Report No.38 2012-13  Indigenous Early Childhood Development: Children and Family Centres  Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations 

ANAO Audit Report No.39 2012-13  AusAID’s Management of Infrastructure Aid to Indonesia  Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) 

ANAO Audit Report No. 40 2012-13  Recovery of Centrelink Payment Debts by External Collection Agencies  Department of Human Services 

ANAO Audit Report No.41 2012-13  The Award of Grants Under the Supported Accommodation Innovation Fund  Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 

ANAO Audit Report No.42 2012-13  Co‐location of the Department of Human Services’ Shopfronts  Department of Human Services 

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ANAO Audit Report No.43 2012-13  Establishment, Implementation and Administration of the General Component of the  Local Jobs Stream of the Jobs Fund  Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations 

ANAO Audit Report No. 44 2012-13  Management and Reporting of Goods and Services Tax and Fringe Benefits Tax  Information  Australian Taxation Office 

ANAO Audit Report No. 45 2012-13  Cross‐Agency Coordination of Employment Programs  Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations  Department of Human Services 

ANAO Audit Report No. 46 2012-13  Compensating F‐111 Fuel Tank Workers  Department of Veterans’ Affairs  Department of Defence 

ANAO Audit Report No. 47 2012-13  AUSTRAC’s Administration of its Financial Intelligence Function  Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre 

ANAO Audit Report No.48 2012-13  Management of the Targeted Community Care (Mental Health) Program  Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 

ANAO Audit Report No.49 2012-13  Interim Phase of the Audits of the Financial Statements of Major General Government  Sector Agencies for the year ending 30 June 2013  Across Agencies 

ANAO Audit Report No.50 2012-13  Administration of the GP Super Clinics Program  Department of Health and Ageing 

ANAO Audit Report No.51 2012-13  Management of the Australian Taxation Office’s Property Portfolio  Australian Taxation Office 

ANAO Audit Report No.55 2012-13 Indigenous Employment: The Australian Government's Contribution to the Australian Employment Covenant

90

ANAO Audit Report No.43 2012-13  Establishment, Implementation and Administration of the General Component of the  Local Jobs Stream of the Jobs Fund  Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations 

ANAO Audit Report No. 44 2012-13  Management and Reporting of Goods and Services Tax and Fringe Benefits Tax  Information  Australian Taxation Office 

ANAO Audit Report No. 45 2012-13  Cross‐Agency Coordination of Employment Programs  Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations  Department of Human Services 

ANAO Audit Report No. 46 2012-13  Compensating F‐111 Fuel Tank Workers  Department of Veterans’ Affairs  Department of Defence 

ANAO Audit Report No. 47 2012-13  AUSTRAC’s Administration of its Financial Intelligence Function  Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre 

ANAO Audit Report No.48 2012-13  Management of the Targeted Community Care (Mental Health) Program  Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 

ANAO Audit Report No.49 2012-13  Interim Phase of the Audits of the Financial Statements of Major General Government  Sector Agencies for the year ending 30 June 2013  Across Agencies 

ANAO Audit Report No.50 2012-13  Administration of the GP Super Clinics Program  Department of Health and Ageing 

ANAO Audit Report No.51 2012-13  Management of the Australian Taxation Office’s Property Portfolio  Australian Taxation Office 

Series Titles

ANAO Audit Report No.55 2012-13

Indigenous Employment: The Australian Government's Contribution to the Australian Employment Covenant

91

ANAO Audit Report No.52 2012-13  Management of Debt Relief Arrangements  Australian Taxation Office 

ANAO Audit Report No.53 2012-13  Agencies’ Implementation of Performance Audit Recommendations  Across Agencies 

ANAO Audit Report No.54 2012-13  Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: August 2011 to  March 2013  Across Agencies 

 

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Current Better Practice Guides

The following Better Practice Guides are available on the ANAO website.   

Preparation of Financial Statements by Public Sector Entities  Jun 2013 

Human  Resource  Management  Information  Systems  -  Risks  and Controls  Jun 2013 

Public Sector Internal Audit  Sept 2012 

Public Sector Environmental Management  Apr 2012 

Developing  and  Managing  Contracts  -  Getting  the  right  outcome, achieving value for money  Feb 2012 

Public Sector Audit Committees  Aug 2011 

Fraud Control in Australian Government Entities  Mar 2011 

Strategic  and  Operational  Management  of  Assets  by  Public  Sector  Entities  -  Delivering  agreed  outcomes  through  an  efficient and optimal asset base 

Sept 2010 

Implementing Better Practice Grants Administration  Jun 2010 

Planning and Approving Projects - an Executive Perspective  Jun 2010 

Innovation in the Public Sector - Enabling Better Performance,  Driving New Directions  Dec 2009 

SAP ECC 6.0 - Security and Control  Jun 2009 

Business Continuity Management - Building resilience in public  sector entities  Jun 2009 

Developing and Managing Internal Budgets  Jun 2008 

Agency Management of Parliamentary Workflow  May 2008 

Fairness and Transparency in Purchasing Decisions - Probity in  Australian Government Procurement  Aug 2007 

Administering Regulation  Mar 2007 

Implementation  of  Program  and  Policy  Initiatives  -  Making  implementation matter  Oct 2006