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Merit Protection (Australian Government Employees) Act - Merit Protection and Review Agency - Report - 1994-95


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m e r i t p r o t e c t i o n a n d r e v i e w a g e n c y

annual report

1994-95

Australian Government Publishing Service

© Commonwealth of Australia 1995 ISSN 0819-8705

This work is copyright. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced by any process without prior written permission from the Australian Government Publishing Service. Requests and inquiries concerning reproduction and rights should be addressed to the Manager, Commonwealth Information Services, Australian Government Publishing Service, GPO Box 84,

Canberra ACT 2601.

Produced by the Australian Government Publishing Service

Qpm e r i t p r o t e c t i o n a n d r e v i e w a g e n c y Sox £ 4 4 0 Queen Victoria Terrace PARKES ACT 2600 Tel: (06) 250 8100 Fax: (06) 257 1923

File no: 95-193

22 September 1995

The Honourable P Keating MP Prime Minister Parliament House

CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Prime Minister

We are pleased to present the Annual Report for the Merit Protection and Review Agency for the financial year ending 30 June 1995, in accordance with the provisions of section 83 of the Merit Protection (Australian Government Employees) Act 1984.

Under arrangements approved by the Joint Committee of Public Accounts, this Annual Report is to be tabled in Parliament by 31 October 1995.

Sub-section 83(2) of the Merit Protection (Australian Government Employees) Act 1984 requires you to cause a copy of the report to be laid before each House of the Parliament within fifteen sitting days after the day on which you receive the report.

For the period covered by this report Ms Ann Forward was the full-time Director of the Agency. Mr Christopher Hunt and Ms Ruth Campbell were part-time members of the Agency for the period. In July 1994, Ms Jennifer Bradley and Professor Bruce Davis retired as part-time members. In September 1994, Dr John Uhr and Ms Jeni Eastwood

were each appointed for 3 year terms as part-time members.

In presenting you with this report on the Agency’s activities throughout 1994-95, the Agency members would like to take this opportunity to express their appreciation to all Agency staff for the contribution they have made towards meeting Agency objectives.

Yours sincerely

V y> V -U a

Ruth Campbell Jeni Eastwood Ann Forward

C lS c A A y d . ^ i

Chris Hunt (y John Uhr

...in support of a fair, accountable, ethical and efficient public sector.

iii

Ann Forward, Director o f the MPRA

iv

Contents

Compliance index vjj

Glossary

Introduction 1

1 Overview 3

- MPRA achievements 1990-95 3

- 1994-95 in review 5

- Social justice and equity 10

- Internal and external scrutiny 10

2 Operations Program 11

- Services by request 12

- Staff selections 14

- Grievance investigations and reviews 23

- Performance management 28

- Mobility 32

3 Inquiries Program 35

4 Corporate and Policy Services Program 37

- Legal services 37

- Policy services 42

- Information services 45

- Corporate services 48

Appendixes 53

1 Corporate Plan 53

2 Review committee and casework statistics 56

3 Equal employment opportunity tables 60

4 Freedom of information and privacy 62

5 MPRA jurisdiction 63

6 Staffing level 65

7 Summary table of resources 67

8 Financial statements 68

9 Addresses of MPRA offices 85

Index 86

C O N T E N T S ( C O N T D )

L i s t o f f i g u r e s

1: M PR A organisation chart 9

2: JSCs completed 1990-91 to 1994-95 15

3: Grievances and RONAPs finalised 1992-93 to 1994-95 25

L i s t o f t a b l e s

1: Fee-for-services activities, Jan.-June 1995 13

2: JSCs—work completed—Commonwealth Public Service 16

3: JSCs—work completed—ACT Government Service 17

4: Major users of JSCs, 1994-95 17

5: Grievances and reviews by gender, 1994-95 24

6: Organisations with a high proportion (>5%) of total grievances/reviews investigated by the MPRA 25

7: Court applications relating to the MPRA, 1994-95 40

X: Applications to the AAT involving the MPRA, 1994-95 41

9: Performance-based pay in the MPRA 51

10: Aggregate performance-based pay by classification 51

11: Performance-based pay received as % of maximum payable for time worked 51

12: Performance-based pay, gender distribution 51

13: External consultants 52

14: MPRA statutory review functions—Workload and work completion (all functions)— 1993-94 and 1994-95 57

15: Timeliness of review hearings and investigations— 1993-94 and 1994-95 " 58-9

16: Representation of EEO groups within salary levels, June 1995 60

17: Representation of EEO groups within occupational groups, June 1995 61

18: MPRA jurisdiction 63

19: Staff levels and locations as at 30 June 1995 65

20: Reconciliation of programs and appropriation elements, 1994-95 67

vi

C O M P L I A N C E I N D E X

This index shows where each of the annual report requirements of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts has been met.

Letter of transmission iii

Aids to access

- Glossary viii

- Contact officer for enquiries 2

Overview 3-10

- Significant developments 3-10

- Organisation chart 9

- Social justice and equity 10

- Internal and external scrutiny 10

Industrial democracy 49

Equal employment opportunity 49, 60-1

Occupational health and safety 50

Freedom of information 10, 62

Advertising and market research 52

Program performance reporting 11-36

Summary table of resources 67

Staffing level 65-6

- Performance pay 50-51

- Training data 51

- Consultancies 52

Financial statements 68-84

vii

G L O S S A R Y

AAT ACS ACTGS ACTU AN AO APS ASO ATO ATSIC CPSU

DAC DAS DEET DSS EEO FOI HIC HRD IDO JSC LEADR

MPRA MPRACC NESB OH&S PA PAC PBP PRO PSC PWD RAC ROCD RONAP RRAC RRC SAC SES SITOC SOG

Administrative Appeals Tribunal Australian Customs Service Australian Capital Territory Government Service Australian Council of Trade Unions Australian National Audit Office Australian Public Service Administrative Service Officer

Australian Taxation Office Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission

Community and Public Sector Union Disciplinary Appeal Committee Department of Administrative Services Department of Employment, Education and Training

Department of Social Security Equal employment opportunity Freedom of information

Health Insurance Commission Human resource development Indigenous Development Officer Joint Selection Committee Lawyers Engaged in Alternative Dispute Resolution Merit Protection and Review Agency Merit Protection and Review Agency Consultative Council Non-English-speaking background Occupational health and safety Performance appraisal Promotion Appeal Committee Performance-based pay Panel Review Officer Public Service Commission People with disabilities

Re-integration Assessment Committee Review of certain decisions Review of non-appellable promotion Redeployment and Retirement Appeal Committee Re-appointment Review Committee Selection Advisory Committee Senior Executive Service Senior Information Technology Officer Grade C Senior Officer Grade

viii

Introduction

Chapter 1 of this report provides a corporate overview with information on the structure and senior management of the Merit Protection and Review Agency (MPRA) and details of major corporate developments including those relating to social justice and equity and internal and external scrutiny.

Chapters 2, 3 and 4 constitute the main body of the report and describe the MPRA's performance, presented under the three broad program headings: Operations Program, Inquiries Program and Corporate and Policy Services Program. These chapters describe performance in accordance with the MPRA’s statutory functions under the Merit

Protection (Australian Government Employees) Act 1984 (the Merit Protection Act).

Other information provided in chapter 4 describes aspects of the MPRA’s broader corporate performance: staffing, equal employment opportunity, industrial democracy, occupational health and safety, performance-based pay, staff development, use of consultants, funding, accommodation, and advertising and market research.

Information on the following topics is, for convenience, presented in appendixes:

• corporate plan

• review committee and casework statistics

• equal employment opportunity tables

• freedom of information and privacy

• MPRA jurisdiction

• staffing level

• summary table of resources

• financial statements

• addresses of MPRA offices

Major documents that would contribute to an understanding of the operation of the MPRA include the Corporate Plan (see appendix 1) and the MPRA occasional papers, Role of the Merit Protection and Review Agency (April 1994) and Flexible Approaches: People Management Services of the Merit Protection and Review Agency

(December 1994).

C O N T A C T O F F I C E R

The contact officer to whom enquiries should be addressed in respect of both information in this report and information to be provided to members of Parliament and senators on request, after annual reports have been tabled, is:

Steve Tomlin Manager, Information Services MPRA 65-67 Constitution Avenue Campbell ACT 2601

or

PO Box E440 Queen Victoria Terrace Parkes ACT 2600

Telephone: (06) 250 8157 Facsimile: (06) 257 1923.

2

1 Overview

The Government decided, in the context of the 1995-96 Budget, to amalgamate the MPRA with the Public Service Commission (PSC). This decision coincides with the completion of the first five-year term of the Director, Ann Forward (who has been

subsequently reappointed for a 3 year term). It is thus timely to review the past 5 years.

When the necessary legislative amendments are approved by the Parliament, the Director’s position will be abolished and retitled Merit Protection Commissioner, with the current powers of Secretary passing to the Public Service Commissioner. Powers in relation to the merit protection, review and problem-solving functions of the MPRA will remain with Agency members, one of whom will be the Merit Protection Commissioner.

The Agency endorses the view of the Minister that in respect of its functions it must remain independent. This independence is vital to the capacity of the MPRA to continue as an effective means of ensuring that public sector managers are accountable for their handling of the people who serve the Government and the community.

The public sector is presently characterised by the devolution of powers to individual organisations, a consequential reduction in central control and a quickening trend towards principle-based, rather than prescriptive, people management. For Parliament, the Government and the community to have confidence in Australia's public

administration, it is essential that the MPRA pursue, and be perceived as pursuing, the object for which it is established (see s. 4 of the Merit Protection (Australian Government Employees) Act 1984), namely:

to ensure that actions taken and decisions made in relation to a Commonwealth

employee in relation to his or her employment as a Commonwealth employee

are fair and equitable and are taken or made in accordance with sound

personnel management practices and with due regard being had to:

(a) the efficiency of the relevant authority; and

(b) the need to ensure good relations between the relevant authority and

its employees.

M P R A C O R P O R A T E D E V E L O P M E N T S 1 9 9 0 - 9 5

Implementation in 1991-92 of the structural efficiency requirements of an earlier wages agreement saw significant changes to the Agency’s staffing structure, most notably the multiskilling of all positions and the devolution to locally based senior officers of all casework, especially grievances. A small central policy and administration unit was established in Canberra which undertook supportive policy development and

coordination with our practitioners to ensure guidelines, submissions and the like reflected real world experience. This work has been considerably enhanced by the

acquisition of formal in-house legal skills.

Staff development and training has been formalised and, along with an internal communications strategy, plays a significant role in establishing and maintaining consistent values and standards to be applied in casework across the country. From having only a few word processors five years ago, we are now highly computerised, to ensure record-keeping and retrieval, performance monitoring, internal communications,

quantitative accountability and corporate services functions are performed as efficiently as possible. All functions are now served by guidelines for the first time.

Consistent with Service-wide changes in emphasis, the MPRA has become, over the last five years, a much more client-focussed organisation. This has meant less emphasis on our 'enforcement' role and more on information and service provision in pursuit of improved personnel management in the public sector, consistent with the object for

which the Agency was established.

In late 1994 the legislation was amended to allow the MPRA to perform virtually any employment-related function at the request of a Commonwealth employer and the relevant union. Accordingly, all senior staff in the MPRA have been trained as mediators, and our problem-solving abilities are increasingly in demand to assist in the resolution of a wide range of difficult issues in workplaces. A large element in this

success is the reputation for integrity and independence we have established and to which all staff are personally very committed.

We have undertaken a publications program which is designed to raise awareness of what we do and provide advice and guidance on a range of our functions such as grievance resolution and the conduct of various appeals. The reasons for decisions taken by independent appeal committees established

under our legislation are now widely disseminated in the interests of improving understanding of the relevant processes, such as discipline appeals.

Senior MPRA staff in each State/Territory office are encouraged to participate in regional networks of senior Commonwealth officers. Our profile at this level is generally high, which assists in ensuring we remain responsive to the changing needs of sound personnel management across the Commonwealth. Our senior people (like all our staff) see themselves as part of a team, the effectiveness of which is enhanced by the free flow of ideas within the team about

solving problems efficiently within the framework of the law. This team is a valuable resource available to the entire Commonwealth workforce and, by formal agreement, the ACT Government Service (ACTGS).

On ending a decade of independent existence, the task confronting the MPRA as

part of an amalgamated Public Service and Merit Protection Commission is indeed challenging.

In late 1994 the

legislation was

amended to allow

the MPRA to

perform virtually

any employment-

related function at

the request of a

Commonwealth

employer and the

relevant union.

1 9 9 4 - 9 5 I N R E V I E W

N e w f u n c t i o n s

The Merit Protection (Australian Government Employees) Amendment Act 1994 which commenced on 8 December 1994 effected the most significant amendments to the functions of the MPRA since it was established in 1985. Through the conferring of additional functions which empower the MPRA to undertake any employment-related

function at the joint request of Commonwealth employers (be they departments or

authorities) and relevant unions, the Parliament has provided a flexible means by which fairness and equity in the management of Commonwealth employees can be ensured. These provisions complement the implementation of other reforms which seek to give public sector managers greater flexibility to achieve results.

The new functions are undertaken by the MPRA on a cost-recovery basis. They allow Commonwealth organisations, whether subject to the Public Service Act or not, to use the MPRA on an ad hoc basis and in a consultancy role to assist them with personnel management issues.

With the new flexibilities now available enabling us to respond relevantly to almost any problem given to us, it is anticipated that our role will become more significant.

O t h e r c h a n g e s a f f e c t i n g f u n c t i o n s

Other decisions, taken in the context of the 1995-96 Budget, were that the Disciplinary Appeal and Redeployment and Retirement Appeal Committees (DACs and RRACs) established by the MPRA will no longer be empowered to review decisions which lead to termination of employment. Likewise, appeals against directions to perform

temporarily the duties of a higher position will be limited to directions relating to periods exceeding 12 months.

It is intended that the rights of Commonwealth employees to contest management decisions to terminate their employment will be limited to those available through the unfair dismissal provisions of the Industrial Relations Act. In respect of many Commonwealth employees, this change in rights will be effected through the Australian

Public Service (APS) Workplace Bargaining Agreement. In respect of other employees, implementation will require amendments to terms of employment through determinations, awards or agreements.

A m a l g a m a t i o n w i t h t h e P S C

On 28 June 1995 the Public Service Legislation Amendment Bill 1995 was introduced in the Parliament. It will give effect to the Government’s decision to amalgamate the MPRA and the PSC. This action is intended to facilitate the development of personnel policies for the APS which, to a greater extent than in the past, reflect the experience

gained from the Agency’s casework and result in budgetary savings.

5

The MPRA will continue to exist and to exercise its functions not only in the APS but also in the broader public sector. It will retain an obligation to report independently to Parliament annually and its capacity to report to Parliament when it considers that personnel management issues coming to its attention warrant such action. The position of Director will be retitled Merit Protection Commissioner and will in future exercise

management powers under delegation from the Public Service Commissioner who will

head the Public Service and Merit Protection Commission.

M e m b e r s h i p o f t h e M P R A

In July 1994 the terms of office (as part-time members) of Professor Bruce Davis and Ms Jennifer Bradley expired. The MPRA is grateful for the valuable contribution both made in the period of their appointment. In September 1994 Ms Jeni Eastwood and

Dr John Uhr were appointed as part-time MPRA members for terms of 3 years.

P u b l i c S e r v i c e A c t R e v i e w

In May 1995 the Government announced that a new Public Service Act was to be drafted. The outcome of the review, when implemented, will have a significant effect on ihc activities of the MPRA in respect of the APS. A less prescriptive Public Service Act, such as is proposed, will emphasise the importance of the MPRA’s role.

C o r p o r a t e m i s s i o n

Throughout 1994-95 the MPRA’s statement of its corporate mission remained:

We protect merit and review personnel management decisions in support of a

fair, accountable, ethical and efficient public sector.

During the year MPRA staff continued to report regularly to the MPRA using the framework of agreed corporate objectives designed to achieve this mission. The highlights of 1994-95 can be set out in this same framework.

O B J E C T I V E 1: P E R F O R M O U R S T A T U T O R Y F U N C T I O N S

E F F I C I E N T L Y A N D E F F E C T I V E L Y

Commonwealth employers have been quick to take advantage of the new functions of the MPRA. In the six months since these functions became available, 46 separate requests from 17 organisations have been received. Almost half of these requests have been for the MPRA to undertake training activities, but the MPRA has also reviewed decisions,

made initial decisions and undertaken mediations pursuant to these provisions. The costs ot this activity recovered by the MPRA have exceeded $100 000.

Joint Selection Committees (JSCs) were used by a greater number of departments and authorities in 1994-95 than in previous years. There is an increasing inclination to use JSCs on smaller selection exercises, which may indicate a recognition of the excellent value for money which agencies obtain by using JSCs and the contribution they make to

maintaining or increasing productivity. 6

Promotion appeal cases declined by over 25% from the 1993-94 level. Various factors could be contributing to this decline, including:

• the changing composition of the Service;

• the introduction of trainee classifications with automatic advancement in some large organisations; and

• changes in public service attitudes, culture and ethos.

The number of grievance investigations and reviews of non-appellable promotions increased when compared to the previous year.

The average time taken to finalise cases increased slightly when compared to 1993-94, but was still considerably shorter than the average times achieved in earlier years.

The arrangement with the ACT Government under which the MPRA, on a cost- recovery basis, undertakes functions for the ACTGS, operated throughout the year and was extended on the same basis until 30 September 1995. Negotiations on the arrangements to apply beyond September were under way at the end of the

reporting period.

Perhaps not surprisingly, during 1994-95 there was considerable recourse by employees to the MPRA arising out of actions taken by departments and authorities seeking to reduce staff numbers.

At the request of the Minister, the MPRA undertook two inquiries during the year.

One related to the entitlements on termination due to the former Comptroller-General of Customs, and the other related to allegations of workplace harassment at the Australian War Memorial. The report of the latter inquiry was provided to the Minister in December 1994 and has been the subject of legal action against the MPRA in the Federal

Court by the former Director and the Deputy Director of the Australian War Memorial.

During the year MPRA staff responded to over 48 000 telephone enquiries. One cause for concern to the MPRA was a number of requests for advice from members of the Senior Executive Service (SES), principally in small agencies, who reported significant management problems involving actions of the heads of the agencies. The MPRA responded to these requests, suggesting avenues which might be explored to resolve the difficulties which had arisen. In none of the cases were formal grievances lodged.

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) heard two matters relating to requests for access to material on MPRA files. In the first of these matters, the AAT upheld the contention of the MPRA that its capacity to perform its statutory functions effectively would be hampered if information obtained in the course of its confidential

investigations was made available under freedom of information (FOI) provisions.

The AAT explicitly recognised that the public interest lies in maintaining an efficient and properly regarded agency for dealing with complaints made by members of the Commonwealth Public Service and that the efficient functioning of the Commonwealth Public Service is a matter of national importance and grievance resolution procedures

are a necessary incidence of that functioning.

7

C O R P O R A T E O B J E C T I V E 2: E N H A N C E E F F I C I E N C Y A N D

E F F E C T I V E N E S S I N H U M A N R E S O U R C E M A N A G E M E N T

The MPRA pursued this objective through activities arising out of its statutory duties, the new powers to perform employment-related functions on request, and through pursuit of a defined information strategy. Through its grievance reports, published reasons for decisions of committees and feedback from

committees which do not have an obligation to provide

reasons, the MPRA sought to recommend or suggest changes to personnel practices which would enhance human resource management in departments and authorities. Some agencies, in consultation with relevant

unions, sought from the MPRA specific assistance, such as a review of selection processes, training for selection delegates, and contributions to internal staff

development activities.

The Director and senior MPRA staff presented conference papers on personnel management issues to appropriate public forums. In addition, the MPRA produced various publications during the year. Selected

DAC decisions were published in two annual volumes; a booklet on the flexibilities available to agencies under the

Merit Protection Act was widely distributed; and pamphlets on various functions, including pamphlets specifically for the ACTGS, were printed and distributed.

C O R P O R A T E O B J E C T I V E 3: S T R I V E F O R E X C E L L E N C E

IN T HE I N T E R N A L O P E R A T I O N S A N D M A N A G E M E N T

OF T H E M P R A

In October 1994 Dr Martin Rush was added to the MPRA’s management team as Associate Director responsible for managing MPRA operations in Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia. In December 1994 the sole MPRA employee in Darwin resigned. Having regard to workloads in the Northern Territory and competing

priorities for the allocation of resources, the position has not been filled. Work arising in the Northern Territory has been managed from New South Wales. An organisation chart illustrating the senior management structure of the MPRA is presented in figure 1.

Conferences of all senior officers and of DAC and RRAC convenors were held again during the year. The Senior Officers Conference included four days of training in mediation techniques for all senior officers with a view to providing skills which may be made available to agencies pursuant to the new functions conferred on the MPRA during the year.

The growth in cost-recovery activities resulted in a contribution of over 30% of the finances available to the MPRA during the year. A property resource agreement with the

I ■ -io Members. I to r. Jeni Eastwood, Chris Hunt. Ann Forward, John Uhr and Kuth Campbell

8

F i g u r e 1: M P R A o r g a n i s a t i o n c h a r t

A G E N C Y M E M B E R S

Ruth Campbell Chris Hunt Ann Forward John Uhr Jeni Eastwood

(Director)

OPERATIONS NSW/Qld/NT

Dawn Linklater

(Associate Director)

OPERATIONS CORPORATE AND

Vic./T as./S A/W A POLICY SERVICES

Martin Rush Alan Doolan

(Associate Director) (Associate Director)

• Legal services • Policy development

OPERATIONS • Provision of corporate

ACT information to Parliament,

Charlotte Blesing public sector employees

(Associate Director) and organisations, and the

general public

• Services by request • Liaison with public sector

• Joint Selection Committees organisations at national

• Promotion appeals level

• Grievances • Extension of jurisdiction

• Reviews of non-appellable • Finance

promotions • Personnel management

• Disciplinary appeals • Accommodation

• Redeployment and • Equal employment

retirement appeals opportunity

• Re-appointment reviews • Information technology

• Re-integration assessments services

• Advice and information • Industrial democracy

• Occupational health and safety

INQUIRIES

• Staff development • Access and equity

9

Department of Finance was negotiated during the year resulting in the MPRA assuming full responsibility for its accommodation needs and financing from 1 July 1995.

S O C I A L J U S T I C E A N D E Q U I T Y

The focus of the MPRA’s social justice and equity program is on ensuring that:

• staff employed under the Public Service Act 1922 and staff employed in statutory authorities within MPRA jurisdiction are aware of their rights of appeal and review;

• appeal and review mechanisms are sensitive to the needs of staff who face barriers of

race, culture or language; and • managers are aware of the critical importance to the efficiency of their organisation of the sound management of people, and that appropriate decisions and actions will

minimise the need for staff to use review and appeal mechanisms.

Against this background, the MPRA has continued its program of providing information to staff at all levels in the APS and in statutory authorities through the distribution of brochures and its regular information bulletin, Fair Go, and by participating in training and staff development sessions. In addition, the MPRA has been concerned to ensure that members of appeal committees, review officers and other staff are constantly reminded of the need for them to be aware of, and committed to, removing

barriers in the application of equity principles.

For details of the Agency’s Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Plan, see chapter 4 and appendix 3.

I N T E R N A L A N D E X T E R N A L S C R U T I N Y

An evaluation of the MPRA’s performance—reported upon in detail in chapter 4— was undertaken by staff during 1994-95. This evaluation drew on the results of a 1993 survey of departmental Secretaries, a survey of APS staff and managers, interviews with participants in MPRA processes, other stakeholders such as the CPSU, and with MPRA staff, as well as from a review of specific MPRA files. It established that the overall

picture is of the MPRA as a fair, equitable, independent and professional body with increasing throughput and better timeliness standards.

During 1994-95 the Agency’s Melbourne office was subject to an audit by the Privacy Commissioner under s. 27(l)(h) of the Privacy Act 1988 in relation to information kept on Promotion Appeal Committee (PAC) files. All recommendations arising from this audit have been addressed. A summary of pertinent issues is provided in appendix 4.

I he MPRA received an unqualified audit report for the financial year 1993-94 from the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO). Systems have been implemented to address the recommendations made. For details of FOI requests, see appendix 4.

10

2 Operations Program

For the purposes of this report, the work of the Operations Program is divided as follows:

• Services by request—concerning the performance of specific employment-related functions for departments or authorities under special arrangements; • Staff selections—concerning the provision of convenors for JSCs and the work of committees established to hear appeals against promotion or temporary

performance directions;

• Grievance investigations and reviews—concerning the investigation of grievances and the review of certain decisions, including decisions relating to non-appellable promotions;

• Performance management—concerning the work of committees established to hear appeals against discipline, redeployment or retirement decisions; and • Mobility—concerning the work of committees established to determine the appropriate classification and salary for certain individuals with statutory rights

relating to their return to Public Service Act employment following other public sector employment.

Statistical information relating to the work of the Operations Program is provided in appendix 2.

The MPRA conducts its casework through offices in each State and Territory; these

are grouped into three regions:

• Australian Capital Territory; • New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory; and • Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania.

Each office has a small number of permanent staff and a larger Panel of Review Officers. The latter are recruited, trained and brought on to the staff on a short-term temporary basis to assist with particular projects, such as the convening of JSCs. Other panels—of Disciplinary Appeal and Redeployment and Retirement Appeal Committee convenors—also provide suitably qualified and trained convenors for specific cases as

nominated by the Agency.

Appeals and applications for review are usually lodged in the State or Territory in which the applicant resides, and are processed and reviewed by staff in that office, although resource implications may mean that the review is sometimes conducted elsewhere. For example, the MPRA’s office in the Northern Territory has not been permanently staffed since December 1994. Operations in the Territory have been

conducted from the New South Wales office, using Panel Review Officers (PROs) from

the Territory or New South Wales.

11

I

Because the number of staff in any MPRA office is small, a review may be conducted in another State to better utilise resources or to avoid any actual or apprehended bias if the Review Officers in the applicant’s State of residence have had previous dealings with the applicant which make it inappropriate for them to deal with the matter.

Commonwealth employees have access to a variety of MPRA functions. Actual

appeal and review rights for employees depend upon the particular enabling legislation and awards. While the majority of MPRA clients are in the APS, there are many others in the public sector (including ACTGS employees) who have access to MPRA review

functions (see appendix 5).

During the year, legislative amendments have enabled the MPRA to provide functions in addition to its primary statutory functions under the Act.

S E R V I C E S BY R E Q U E S T

following amendments to the Merit Protection Act in December 1994, various services have been provided on a fee-for-service basis in response to joint requests from agencies and relevant unions. These amendments have increased the MPRA’s flexibility and now provide for services in respect of virtually any employment-related matter concerning Commonwealth employees. To access such ‘services by request’, both the employing agency and the principal relevant staff organisation must request in writing that the

MPRA undertake the particular function. These amendments have significantly broadened the range of operational activities performed by the Agency during the year.

Such services have included the provision of convenors for committees to determine an order of merit for use in establishing who should be retained when staff numbers have to be reduced. Generally, these committees are tripartite in nature, with union and management nominees and a convenor from the MPRA. Typically, these exercises involve the need to reduce the size of the organisation because of changes to technology or to Government policy affecting the operations of that agency.

For example, some of the business units of the Department of Administrative Services (DAS), facing competition in a previously protected market, wished to streamline and change the composition of their workforce to meet the evolving demands for

services faced by these units in their new environment. The MPRA provided convenors and advice to assist in guaranteeing the process was one that ensured the retention of those employees best suited to meeting the needs of the units. In addition, it was important that the process not only be intrinsically fair but also be seen to be fair by those faced with the upheaval of finding their careers in jeopardy.

Anna Le Thanh, Review Officer in the Sydney office

12

As a fee-for-service activity, conciliators and mediators have been provided by the MPRA to help resolve workplace problems. Such mediation and conciliation services help employees reach agreement on how they will work together productively and cooperatively in the future. This has proved to be an efficient way for agencies to deal

with problems quickly, effectively and at minimal cost. Most mediations take only a day and are able to resolve problems that might otherwise proceed through the formal

grievance procedures. Grievances can prove very costly to employers and may not result in an agreement between parties that will improve productivity.

All of the MPRA’s permanent senior staff were trained in alternative dispute resolution techniques by Lawyers Engaged in Alternative Dispute Resolution (LEADR) during the year and some members of the MPRA’s panels also have LEADR

accreditation. This enables the MPRA to provide a wide range of services designed to address workplace problems.

Other fee-for-service activities undertaken during the year include ‘consultancies’ to review selection procedures and deliver training workshops. Because of MPRA knowledge of the Australian public sector, we are able to provide these services at minimal cost. Effective outcomes have led to requests for further work. While the largest

amount of fee-for-service work still comes from the provision of convenors for JSCs, other work (as indicated in table 1) is increasing in scope and quantity. By these means the MPRA is able to assist other agencies in improving their personnel management, efficiency and employee relations.

T a b l e 1: F e e - f o r - s e r v i c e a c t i v i t i e s , J a n . —J u n e 1995

gtate Type of service provided/number

Training Mediation Making an initial decision1

Review of previous decision

Total

ACT 9 2 0 10 21

NSW 13 1 6 1 21

Other 0 3 1 0 4

TOTAL 22 6 7 11 46

* This data does not include JSC work— which is separately reported—but may include normal

Selection Advisory Committee (SAC) work.

13

S T A F F S E L E C T I O N S

This section outlines MPRA performance in relation to the use by client departments and agencies of JSCs and PACs. Such committees are established to ensure the correct application of the merit principle in staff selections within the APS and certain other

public sector organisations.

J o i n t S e l e c t i o n C o m m i t t e e s ( J S C s )

JSCs are independent statutory committees established under s. 50DB (or DA) of the

Public Service Act 1922 and equivalent legislation for some agencies not staffed under the Act As independent committees, JSCs can establish their own procedures, having regard to departmental selection guidelines and other relevant guidelines (for example, PSC's Streamlining Personnel Management No. 5: Staff Selection Guidelines). JSCs have extensive discussions with departmental delegates in relation to each JSC.

B E N E F I T S OF J S C s

The key benefit of JSCs is that they provide a streamlined merit selection process generally without appeal rights at the end, instead of several selection exercises for individual vacancies each with the potential for time-consuming and costly appeals. Subsequent vacancies occurring within 6 months can also be filled from an order of

merit established by a JSC. JSCs provide:

• a streamlined merit-based selection process; • an overall saving of time; • demonstrable cost savings; • improved staff morale; and • higher levels of staff confidence in the selection process.

The JSC process offered by the MPRA provides other enduring benefits for the employer. These include the opportunity for systematic review and improvement of selection documentation, training in selection practices for nominees, and access to special purpose computer and clerical systems which streamline selection activity.

S E R V I C E - W I D E P R O D U C T I V I T Y

In the Service-wide enterprise agreement of December 1992—Improving Productivity, Jobs and Pay in the Australian Public Service 1992-1994—the parties agreed to the extended use of JSCs as a means of improving efficiency of selection exercises. This outcome was restated in the APS Interim Framework Agreement, January 1995.

In 1994— 95, 175 JSCs were finalised, with a completion time averaging 13 weeks from gazettal of vacancies to gazettal of promotions. However, the majority of JSCs are completed much more quickly. Sixty-nine percent of JSC assessments were completed within 5 weeks; 6 JSCs were completed in less than one week. This performance compares very favourably with conventional departmental selection and appeal

processes, and serves to demonstrate how JSCs continue to provide significant productivity benefits for departments, with vacancies filled more quickly and with less disruption than such conventional processes.

J S C A C T I V I T Y F O R 1 9 9 4 - 9 5

There was a significant increase in the level of JSC activity during 1994-95 compared to the previous year, with 175 JSCs completed, compared to 110 in 1993-94 (see tables 2 and 3). This represents the highest annual number completed since JSCs were introduced in 1984. Figure 2 illustrates the growth in JSC activity for the period

1990-91 to 1994-95 and highlights the very rapid growth in activity in the last two financial years.

The key features of JSC activity during 1994-95 were· F i g u r e 2: J S C s c o m p l e t e d 1 9 9 0 - 9 1

t0 J 9 9 4 - 9 5

• 167 JSCs established (compared to 121 in 1993-94);

• 175 JSCs completed, including carryover from 1993-94 (compared to 110 in 1993-94); • 3 475 recommendations made by the 175

JSCs which completed their work (compared to 4 264 in 1993-94); • 2 084 promotions known to have resulted from these recommendations (compared with

1 973 in 1993-94).

(Note; Client departments provide advice to the MPRA on promotions notified following acceptance of JSC recommendations. However, on occasions, departments implement recommendations in stages; the MPRA is generally not provided with information on

any subsequent promotions made after initial promotions have been notified. Thus the MPRA does not necessarily have accurate information on the extent to which all 3 475 recommendations have come into effect.)

15

T a b l e 2: J S C s — w o r k c o m p l e t e d — C o m m o n w e a l t h P u b l i c S e r v i c e

Organisation Completed

in year

Recommendations for appointment, promotion or transfer, 1994-95

Committees still in progress at 30.6.95 1993-94 1994-95

Attorney-General’s Department 1 11

Australian Protective Service 3 16

Australian Securities Commission 11

Department of Defence 2 11 100 1

Defence Intelligence Organisation 1 3

Department of Veterans’ Affairs 25 10 69

Australian War Memorial 1

Department of Employment, Education and Training 37 24 1 130

Department of Administrative Services 1

Australian Government Publishing Service 1 1 5

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade 2 4 179

Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs 5 8 281

Department of Industry, Science and Technology

Australian Customs Service 3 3 88 1

Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission 55 189 2

Aboriginal Hostels Limited 1 1

Department of Social Security 6 11 510

Department of Transport Australian Maritime Safety Authority 1

Treasurer

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2 64

Australian Taxation Office 8 30 710

Total 103 165 3 356 4

16

T a b l e 3: J S C s — w o r k c o m p l e t e d — A C T G o v e r n m e n t S e r v i c e

Organisation Completed

in year

Recommendations for appointment, promotion and transfer, 1994-95

Committees still in progress at 30.6.95 1993-94 1994-95

ACT Ambulance Service 1 2 3

ACT Department of Health 3

ACT Department of Urban Services 5 97

ACT Housing and Community Services Bureau 1 2

ACT Housing Trust 2 17

ACT Fire Brigade 3

Total 7 10 119 0

• The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC), the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), and the Department of Employment, Education and Training (DEBT) were major users of JSCs in the year. These three organisations accounted for 62% of all JSCs completed and 58% of all promotions/

appointments recommended in the year. A brief summary of their JSC activities is provided in table 4.

T a b l e 4: M a j o r u s e r s o f J S C s , 1 9 9 4 - 9 5

Organisation No. of JSCs completed Vacancies Applicants Promotions/appointments/ transfers recommended1

ATSIC 55 95 796 189

ATO 30 604 3 438 710

DEBT 24 857 6 855 1 130

1 Recommendations include an order of merit exceeding the number of known vacancies to allow

for subsequent filling of recurring and identical vacancies.

• The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade continues to use JSCs to fill bulk vacancies across the Department. The Department completed 4 JSCs in the year resulting in 179 recommendations for appointment, promotion or transfer.

• The average workload for a JSC was 89 applicants and 14 initial recommendations. In 1993-94 the average workload was higher (312 applicants and 25 initial recommendations) due to large-scale public press advertising of vacancies in DEBT.

17

• JSC timeliness (the period from Gazette advertisement of vacancy to promotion) improved slightly (from 14 weeks to 13). The total time devoted to actual assessment of applicants by JSCs was on average 6.0 weeks (6.2 weeks in 1993-94).

• Λ further 4 JSCs were in progress and 32 JSCs in the planning stage at 30 June 1995.

In summary, JSCs are now an established part of the selection practices of an

increasing number of APS and ACT Government departments.

F E A T U R E S OF J S C s IN 1 9 9 4 - 9 5

1 G r e a t e r u s e , s m a l l e r s c a l e

While there was an increase in the number of JSCs used compared to 1993-94, the average size of a JSC process decreased (from 27 to 16 vacancies), reflecting changing departmental requirements, and also financial and staffing restrictions in

some departments.

In 1993-94, DEBT, for example, completed 37 selection processes using JSCs involving 32 080 applicants leading to 2 987 recommendations for appointment, promotion or transfer. In 1994-95, DEBT completed 24 selection processes using JSCs involving 6 855 applicants and 1 130 recommendations. The trend is towards a greater number of departments and agencies using JSCs (19 compared with 16 in 1993-94), but towards smaller JSC processes in terms of vacancy and applicant numbers.

2 I m p a c t o f J S C s on p r o m o t i o n a p p e a l p a t t e r n s

When JSCs were introduced, it was expected that there would be a decline in the number of promotion appeals. While there has been a general decline in the number of appeals in the APS in recent years, factors such as the reduction in the number of lower level Administrative Service Officer (ASO) positions, increasing use of automatic progression

between levels based on competencies, and a possible change in Service culture, may have influenced this decline as much as the increased use of JSCs.

The distribution of JSCs across the Service can also affect promotion appeal statistics. The increasing use of JSCs in departments such as DEBT and the Department of Social Security (DSS) has a substantial impact on Service-wide promotion appeal statistics, as these departments historically had a high promotion appeal rate, whereas the large number of ATSIC JSCs has little impact on these statistics because of the relatively low number of appeals generally resulting from selections in that agency.

18

3 J S C r o l e i n r e s t r u c t u r i n g

Agencies undergoing major restructuring exercises are finding JSC processes of major benefit as they enable the filling of positions in the new structures from more streamlined, merit-based selection processes. For example, ATSIC in Queensland implemented a restructure which involved filling 57 vacancies throughout the State,

utilising orders of merit established in a JSC process.

4 G r e a t e r f l e x i b i l i t y f o l l o w i n g l e g i s l a t i v e a m e n d m e n t

Sections SODA and 50DB of the Public Service Act 1922 were amended in March 1994 to allow greater flexibility for the filling of recurring and identical vacancies from JSC orders of merit providing that these subsequent vacancies occur within 6 months of the initial promotions. A number of agencies have taken advantage of this change in

legislation and have filled additional vacancies without the need to readvertise and establish another selection process.

As an example, of those JSCs established by ATO, 5 were established to fill an initial 72 vacancies at the AS03 to Senior Officer Grade C levels. In addition to the recommended appointments, promotions and transfers, the delegates were able to use the JSC order of merit as a reserve list for the filling of an additional 141 vacancies which

occurred during the subsequent 6 months.

These changes further highlight the efficiency and effectiveness of the JSC process. There are clear benefits from using a single JSC selection process to fill multiple vacancies when this is compared to the alternative of several selection exercises at different times, some of which may result in resource-intensive appeals.

P r o m o t i o n A p p e a l C o m m i t t e e s ( P A C s )

The merit principle is fundamental to staff selection in the APS. To ensure that the best person is selected, staff below the Senior Officer level in the APS and in some other public sector organisations have access to an independent review panel, the Promotion Appeal Committee (PAC). The only basis for appeal is greater efficiency. The appeal is

determined by assessing the relative efficiency of appellant and promotee. For the purposes of the Public Service Act 1922, efficiency is determined by reference to the:

• abilities; • qualifications; • experience; • standard of work performance; and

• personal qualities

of the officer, relevant to performing the duties of the position.

PACs are tripartite committees comprising a convenor nominated by the Agency and two members, one nominated by the relevant employing authority and one by the

relevant union.

19

A P P E A L W O R K L O A D A N D C O M P L E T I O N T R E N D S

The workload of PACs for both promotion and temporary performance appeals declined in 1994-95, continuing a trend which has been evident now for several years. Details of

PAC workload and timeliness are contained in appendix 2. The key features of the reduction in appeal activity in 1994-95 were:

• a reduced number of cases1 received (341 fewer than in 1993-94—that is, a

reduction of 26%); • a reduction, on average, in the workload related to each case (the number of parties—

promotees and appellants—per case fell by 19% from 4.3 to 3.5 parties per case

in 1994-95); • a decline in the number of promotions appealed (almost 50% fewer than in 1993-94) and a reduction in the total number of active appeals lodged (33% fewer than in 1993-94) led to the total number of parties heard by PACs dropping by 38%; and • an increase in the attrition rate for promotion appeals—proportion of appeals

withdrawn, lapsed etc.—from 39% in 1993-94 to 52% in 1994-95.

O T H E R F E A T U R E S

• ('ases finalised declined by 24% in 1994-95 and fewer cases were carried forward into 1995-96 (down 28% on the PAC cases carried forward into 1994-95). This reduction was related to the overall decline in PAC case workload.

• T imeliness has improved markedly in recent years and has been maintained at or below the target completion time of 6 weeks from the closing date for appeal, both nationally and in all States but one (where it was only slightly above the target rate).

• The bulk of promotion appeal activity occurred in NSW and ACT (59% of the total, compared to 53% in 1993-94), accentuating a pattern which has existed over many years.

The decline in appeal activity may in part be attributable to the increasing use of JSCs to till vacancies. As noted in the preceding section on JSCs, recommendations from JSCs were known to be used in tilling 2 084 positions in 1994— 95, the bulk of which were at appellable classification levels. Where the unanimous recommendations of JSCs are accepted by selection delegates, promotions which are otherwise appellable become non-appellable.

In this context, a PAC ‘case’ may be defined as the appeal or group of appeals heard by a particular PAC, reviewing the work of a single SAC.

20

There is also some evidence to suggest that the Agency’s education and information activities are achieving their objectives in improving departmental selection practices and discouraging parties from appealing who do not have a genuine case. However, the overall decline in appeal activity is greater than can be accounted for by these

factors alone.

Factors that may account for the declining use of PACs include:

• the changing composition of the Service;

• the introduction of trainee classifications with automatic advancement in some large organisations; and • changes in public service attitudes, culture and ethos.

C O M P L E T I O N T I M E A N D E F F I C I E N C Y

The Agency’s target time for finalising promotion appeals is 6 weeks. It is not possible to reduce this much further due to the need to allow departments and parties sufficient time to submit their statements, to allow parties reasonable access

time, and to provide reasonable notice for hearings. Given these constraints, the Agency’s performance over the year has been very pleasing, with the average time taken to finalise appeals being 5.6 weeks in 1994-95; that is, only

slightly above the 1993-94 rate of 5.3 weeks.

The Agency’s timeliness goal for the future—now that its average completion time is consistently below target—is to achieve a higher proportion of cases completed within target.

R E C E N T D E V E L O P M E N T S

Promotion appeals allowed, expressed as a percentage of all appeals determined (that is, heard by a PAG), has increased by several percentage points. It is also noteworthy that temporary performance appeals are allowed at a significantly higher rate than promotion

appeals (15% compared to 7%). However, the number of temporary performance appeals constitutes only 6% of all appeals lodged and 11% of all appeals allowed.

While it is difficult to pinpoint precisely why the increase in the percentage of appeals allowed is occurring, PAG convenors have suggested that MPRA information sessions, visits, video and other educational material are having some impact. These activities are making parties more aware of the need to substantiate their case for greater efficiency.

Parties without strong claims are tending not to appeal, or withdraw, and those with strong claims are coming to hearings better prepared.

DFAT Joint Selection Committee members, l to r, Lynne Bentley, DFAT nominee, Mark Lynch, CPSU nominee, and Penny Jennings, MPRA convenor.

21

Some convenors have also noted that the devolution of staff selection to operational levels in departments has sometimes resulted in inexperienced delegates not requiring SACs to be sufficiently rigorous in their processes, decision-making and supporting documentation, with the result that poor decisions are made. This has resulted in more

the devolution of

staff selection to

operational levels in

departments has

sometimes resulted

In Inexperienced

delegates not

requiring SACs to be

sufficiently rigorous

In their processes

F E E D B A C K T O O T H E R A G E N C I E S

PACs frequently provided feedback to departments and agencies about the quality of their selections. This occurs informally through the departmental nominee on the committee or, where the problems experienced warrant a more formal approach, through convenors writing to agencies. Matters dealt with in this way included:

• the role of the SAC member, where this person was also a referee for an applicant; • over-reliance on one element of the selection process (usually the interview) to the detriment or exclusion of other methods of assessment; • inadequate post-selection feedback, or lack of access to documentation to help

applicants understand why they were unsuccessful (in this respect, the MPRA encourages agencies to be as open as possible with unsuccessful applicants, in the interests of sound personnel management and to avoid unnecessary and expensive appeals); and • the appropriateness and/or adequacy of selection criteria and their relationship with

s. 50 of the Public Service Act which identifies relative efficiency.

appellants having stronger claims.

Particular problems have been experienced when the results of large- scale selection exercises were not gazetted all at once, but rather over two or more Gazettes. This causes complex and extensive appeals to be lodged and results in confusion amongst both parties and departments, resulting in

inefficiencies that departments could easily eliminate.

PAG convenors have reported a general improvement in the quality of parties’ statements, and attribute this partly to the Agency’s efforts in information/education, and also to the increasing awareness that PACs are not compelled to conduct oral hearings, but may decide cases on the papers. This has brought home the need for parties to fully and effectively

substantiate their claims in writing.

22

The public sector’s effectiveness and productivity can be disrupted when employees are aggrieved about the effect on their employment of their employer’s actions or decisions. The MPRA’s work in this area may be categorised into three activities: grievance investigations, reviews of certain decisions, and reviews of non-appellable promotions.

While the new legislative amendments allow the MPRA to assist with early resolution of these grievances through mediation or conciliation prior to the employee exercising formal grievance rights, the MPRA’s greatest involvement in grievance matters during the year was through the formal grievance processes. By investigating employee grievances, the MPRA not only helps to resolve workplace problems and

provide fairness in employment practices, but also supports efficiency and accountability in the workplace.

Staff employed under the Public Service Act can lodge grievances about actions or decisions affecting their employment or seek review of certain decisions. Provisions exist in other legislation or awards that confer similar rights of review on many public sector employees outside Public Service Act employment (see appendix 5).

The enabling legislation makes it clear that in the first instance grievances should be investigated by the employing agency. Officers not satisfied with the findings and action following the department’s investigation may request that the MPRA review the matter.

Although the best opportunities for resolving complaints are often close to the work situation, there are however occasions where an independent investigation is preferable to an investigation by the employing agency. Section 50 of the Merit Protection Act provides

for direct application to the MPRA where the employee is being harassed because of having lodged another grievance, or where the seriousness or sensitivity of the matter (for example, when the departmental Secretary is involved) makes it inappropriate for the

employer to investigate the complaint. The MPRA has the discretion to refuse such applications, and frequently does so.

During the year, 42 grievances were lodged under s. 50 of the Merit Protection Act. In the same period only 9 were accepted by the MPRA. The remainder were referred back to the applicant, usually with the suggestion that the grievance be lodged with the appropriate department for investigation, perhaps by an officer in another State/office.

In addition to broad grievance rights, staff employed under the Public Service Act may apply to the MPRA for the Review of Certain Decisions (ROCDs). Similar provisions may exist under other enactments. Particular decisions may relate to such matters as refusing approval for an employee to undertake a scheme of study or refusal to grant leave, or other matters specified in regulations.

G R I E V A N C E I N V E S T I G A T I O N S A N D R E V I E W S

By investigating employee

grievances, the MPRA not

only helps to resolve

workplace problems and

provide fairness in

employment practices, but

also supports efficiency

and accountability in

the workplace.

23

The Public Service Regulations specifically exclude from the grievance provisions such matters as rates of pay, classification, or actions in respect of which other appeal or

review rights exist.

As there are no appeal rights against the merits of decisions to promote to positions at Senior Officer level, relevant applicants for such promotions may, under certain circumstances, request that the MPRA undertake a review of this non-appellable promotion (RONAP). Such reviews of non-appellable promotions consider only whether

there was evidence of a serious defect in the selection process or the promotion evidenced a breach in the provisions prohibiting patronage, favouritism and unjustified discrimination. The MPRA's review may lead to affirmation of the promotion or a

recommendation that the employing agency cancel the promotion.

Table 5 below provides details of the percentage of grievances and other reviews, by gender, whilst table 6 provides details of those organisations providing more than 5% of the total grievances/reviews investigated by the MPRA.

Further details of the numbers of cases and timeliness can be found in appendix 2.

T a b l e 5: G r i e v a n c e s a n d r e v i e w s by g e n d e r , 1 9 9 4 - 9 5

Gender Grievances1

(%)

Review of certain decisions (%) Reviews of non-appellable promotions (%)

All staff in APS2 (%)

Male 78 62 74 54

Female 22 38 26 47

Includes applications for review after investigation by the employer (regulation 84) and those

investigated by the MPRA without previous employer investigation (s. 50).

See Australian Public Service Statistical Bulletin 1993-94, Dept of Finance.

G r i e v a n c e s : F e a t u r e s

Fvery month MPRA staff deal with nearly 500 telephone calls that are specifically about grievances. Each one of these enquirers is likely to be angry and hurt about a perceived unfairness in the way he or she has been treated at work. MPRA staff often act as an escape valve to allow some of these feelings to dissipate. In other cases, enquirers may

receive advice about using informal means to resolve workplace disputes, about seeking mediation services, or on how to exercise their rights to obtain consideration of their grievances.

Relatively tew enquiries end up as matters which are formally investigated or reviewed by the MPRA. However, statistical data provided in appendix 2 show a marked rise in grievance matters dealt with, compared to the workload in 1993-94. Figure 3 shows the growth in the number of grievance investigations and reviews of non- appellable promotions (RONAPs) finalised in the period 1992-93 to 1994-95.

24

T a b l e 6: O r g a n i s a t i o n s w i t h a h i g h p r o p o r t i o n (> 5%) o f t o t a l

g r i e v a n c e s ’/ r e v i e w s i n v e s t i g a t e d by t h e MP R A

Organisation Grievances1 Review of Staff as

investigated non- a % of

by MPRA appellable APS2

(% of total) promotions (% of total) total)

Australian Customs Service 5 3

Australian Securities Commission 6 I

Dept of Administrative Services 23 6

Dept of Defence 7 9 14

Dept of Employment, Education and 8 11

Training

Dept of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs 9 3

Dept of Social Security 14 15

Australian Taxation Office 62 12

1 Includes applications for review after investigation by the employer (regulation 84) and those

investigated by the MPRA without previous employer investigation (s. 50).

^ See Australian Public Sendee Statistical Bulletin 1993-94, Dept, of Finance.

About 40% of all grievances lodged with the MPRA were not accepted for investigation, either because they were not within jurisdiction or because the MPRA did not consider it appropriate for reasons covered by the

enabling legislation.

A few interesting features of the grievance case load are illustrated in tables 5 and 6. Table 5, for example, illustrates how males are significantly more likely than females to lodge applications for grievance investigation

or review. This has been noted in previous reports with respect to grievances; the percentage of grievances lodged by females appears to be falling over the years (from 32% in 1991-92 to 22% in 1994-95).

The relatively high frequency of grievances in DAS shown in table 6 was due to the perception that some of the Department's exercises to reduce the numbers of employees had been unfair. The MPRA sustained many

F i g u r e 3: G r i e v a n c e s a n d

R O N A P s f i n a l i s e d 1 9 9 2 - 9 3

to 1 9 9 4 - 9 5

350 τ

300 ·â– 

250 ·â– 

Grievances

2 00 ·:.

150 «·

100 · ·

RONAPS

50 · *

1994-95 1993-94 1992-93

25

of these grievances leading to the Department undertaking a reassessment of employees using a merit-based process; the MPRA was involved in this through the provision of assessment committee convenors. Employees were reassessed—according to usual selection procedures in the APS—on their relative ability to meet criteria defined by the

Department in terms of future needs in the competitive business environment. The Department was then able to make merit-based decisions about which of the employees

should he retained in the new business units.

The largest number of grievances (43% of all grievances finalised) were about employment arrangements, such as those arising from restructuring, relocation, redeployment, rotation, retirement or transfer. Nearly 31% of grievances were about employment relationships, including allegations of harassment, discrimination,

performance feedback or appraisal or the management style of supervisors. Approximately 17% of grievances were about conditions of service, such as payment i if increments, higher duties and other allowances, and 10% of grievances were related to selection practices.

['here has been a consistent decline in the percentage of grievances that are related to selection procedures over the last few years from 30% in 1992-93; the decline may reflect the increased use of JSCs, which elicit fewer grievances and less reported unhappiness with selection processes.

( i r i c x a n c e s : O u t c o m e s

Nearly 42% of the grievances determined by the MPRA were not sustained; the remainder were almost equally divided between those that were fully sustained and those that were partly sustained. The MPRA succeeded in nearly 18% of cases in securing a complete resolution of the problems, ensuring the individuals

involved returned to full productivity. This is a satisfying outcome given that the employing departments had not been able to achieve such a resolution in these cases during the internal grievance process required before the case was referred to the

MPRA. The MPRA's success in resolving the issues of concern in these cases attest to the usefulness of having an independent third party involved in the resolution process.

The new provisions allowing for early intervention by the MPRA (prior to formal internal investigation) will enhance the resolution of grievances as well as obviate the need for time-consuming internal and external formal grievance investigations.

When the MPRA did not achieve resolution, recommendations were made which, in nearly all cases, the employing agencies accepted. When departments do not accept the

recommendations, the Agency may, under s. 52 of its Act, make a report to the Prime Minister and Parliament if there is no action by the departments which the Agency considers is adequate and appropriate to the circumstances of the case.

The new provisions allowing

lor early Intervention by the

MPRA (prior to formal internal

Investigation) will enhance the

resolution ol grievances as well

as obviate the need for time­

consuming internal and external

formal grievance Investigations.

26

There were no reports to the Prime Minister concerning refusal of departments to implement the MPRA’s recommendations arising from grievances during 1994-95. The alternative actions proposed by the departments concerned were generally considered appropriate to the circumstances (for example, some grievants had transferred to other

areas or departments so that the Agency’s original recommendations were no longer feasible). However, where departmental responses were not considered appropriate, the Agency was of the view that the issues at the heart of these grievances were not sufficiently significant to warrant reports to the Prime Minister or Parliament.

G r i e v a n c e s : T i m e l i n e s s

The Agency has a target of completing grievance investigations within 6 weeks of receipt. This target was achieved in 20% of cases (compared with 15% in 1993-94 and 1992-93). The average time was 15.8 weeks (compared with 13.9 in 1993-94 and 16.9 in 1992-93). Factors increasing the time taken to complete grievance cases, in addition

to the competing pressures upon the Agency’s Review Officers, include the unavailability of parties for interview or to provide comment on other parties’ statements affecting them, and delay in departments providing relevant documents requested by the MPRA.

R e v i e w o f c e r t a i n d e c i s i o n s :

F e a t u r e s a n d t i m e l i n e s s

Only a small number of applications are received each year for review of specific decisions for which review rights are provided in the Public Service Regulations. As in past years, the majority of such ROOD applications concerned study arrangements (for example, approval as a student, study leave and fees reimbursement). The Agency’s

target for case completion of 6 weeks was achieved in 50% of the 8 reviews (average time of 6.6 weeks, compared to 8.2 last year and 10 in the previous year).

R e v i e w o f n o n - a p p e l l a b l e p r o m o t i o n s :

F e a t u r e s a n d t i m e l i n e s s

With regard to reviews of non-appellable promotions (RONAPs), 10 cases were on hand at the beginning of the year. The number of reviews requested during the year rose to 50 from 45 last year, with an average of 3.3 promotions per case.

While reviews highlighted that there were often minor defects in the selection processes used by departments to promote staff to Senior Officer levels, these were usually found not to be sufficiently serious to compromise the merit principle.

The MPRA affirmed the promotions in 46 of the 47 cases determined and was awaiting the relevant department's response on the recommendation that a promotion be cancelled in the remaining case. This differs significantly from performance last year where it was recommended that the promotions be cancelled in 11 of the 38

cases reviewed.

27

The Agency’s target of 6 weeks to complete a review of a non-appellable promotion was achieved in 13% of cases compared to 32% of cases last year. There are a number of reasons w hy such reviews may be delayed: it is often not possible to locate the necessary parties for interview; for example, they may be on leave, causing delays to the progress

,.f the review. In addition, although not directly affecting the MPRA’s timeliness measure (from the date the Department supplies the relevant papers), departments do not always comply with the requirement to provide all documents and comments to the MPRA within 14 days of being advised that an application for review has been lodged.

I able 6 above provides details of those organisations providing more than 5% of review s of non-appellable promotions. The majority of cases (62%) came from the ATO.

P E R F O R M A N C E M A N A G E M E N T

The objective of performance management is to improve productivity and effectiveness in achieving corporate goals by maximising and maintaining individual and team petiortnance. The key principles underpinning staff management and supervision are equity. efficiency, effectiveness, ethical conduct, natural justice and accountability.

()i ganisations must ensure that staff are aware of expected standards of performance, commitment and behaviour which contribute to the achievement of corporate goals.

Performance problems may result from illness, inefficiency, poor discipline and inadequate supervision. When performance problems appear, they should be addressed w uh informal counselling, followed, if necessary, by more formal procedures, including assessment of fitness for duty, efficiency, disciplinary action and, finally, retirement, redeployment or dismissal.

D i s c i p l i n a r y A p p e a l C o m m i t t e e s

I he MPRA is required by the Merit Protection Act to establish such Disciplinary Appeal Committees (DACs) as are required to hear appeals lodged by persons who have been subjected to disciplinary actions under either the Public Service Act or the conditions of service of relevant statutory authorities.

DACs are tripartite committees comprising a convenor nominated by the Agency and tw o members, one nominated by each of the relevant employing authority and the relevant union. The Merit Protection Act requires that the convenor be a magistrate or a legal practitioner whose name has been on the roll of a superior court for a minimum of five years.

I he MPRA has established a panel of 13 people from which it draws, as necessary, to act as convenors of DACs. Three senior MPRA staff are members of the panel; the lemainder are legal practitioners based in Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth, one ot w hom is a Queen's Counsel and one a retired judge.

Members of a DAC are not subject to direction by any person, body or authority other than a court in relation to the performance of the function of the committee. A DAC may confirm, vary or set aside the decision against which the appeal is made.

DACs are required to examine afresh the conduct leading to the disciplinary action taken by an employer. Hearings are generally open to the public and advocates frequently appear for the employer and the appellant.

The primary aim of the Public Service disciplinary provisions is to ensure that a satisfactory standard of behaviour is maintained and that the reputation of the Public Service is not adversely affected by the actions of individual public servants.

The MPRA considers it in the public interest to have discipline actions publicised, so the community can have confidence that proper standards are being maintained in the Public Service. DAC and RRAC decisions are therefore provided to the media.

Disciplinary action may be taken where an organisation believes that an employee has failed to fulfil his or her duty for such reasons as negligence, improper conduct, or failure to obey a direction, or when he or she is found guilty of a criminal offence.

In its Budget on 9 May 1995, the Government announced that the jurisdiction of DACs will in future be limited to matters not involving dismissal (in respect of staff employed under the Public Service Act).

C A S E S D E T E R M I N E D

A total of 68 appeals against disciplinary action were lodged during the year. Ten cases were on hand at the start of the year. During the year, 51 appeals were determined (the same number as in 1993-94), 15 were withdrawn or lapsed, one was invalid, and

there were 1 1 on hand at the end of the year. Forty-one percent of DAC cases concerned appeals against dismissal. The majority of DAC appellants were in the ASOl to AS04 range.

The appeals came from officers of 19 different departments and agencies. Of these, four organisations each had five or more appeals: DSS (24 appeals), ATO (14 appeals), DEBT (5 appeals) and the Australian Customs Service (ACS) (5 appeals).

Eight of the 51 cases determined involved criminal charges which included breaches of confidentiality, drug possession and use, and fraud. In seven of these cases the DAC confirmed the direction to dismiss, and in the other case the DAC varied the penalty from reduction in classification to transfer to a different locality. All the other cases

involved charges of failure to fulfil one’s duty as an officer, within the terms of the

relevant provisions. Forty-three cases involved charges under s. 56(d), which relates to improper conduct as an officer. Examples of such conduct are failure to follow official guidelines, striking colleagues, making offensive remarks, and sexual harassment.

Sixteen cases involved ‘browsing’ the official records of a department. Any unauthorised access to personal information, or use of personal information for other than its authorised purpose, is referred to as ‘browsing’. The cases involved officers of DSS (8 cases) and ATO (8 cases) accessing records of family members, their own

records or those of people with whom they had had dealings. The direction of the Department, which ranged from dismissal to reduction in salary, was confirmed in 7 cases, the penalty was reduced in 7 cases, and the direction set aside in 2. 29

A number of DACs made comment to the effect that the breach of trust involved in "browsing' personal information is a very serious matter, and the need to maintain public confidence in the APS demands the highest standards of behaviour from APS officers.

Of the 27 other cases (which included 10 cases of abusive or offensive behaviour and

4 cases of absence from duty) one notice of dismissal was confirmed and one was reduced to a lesser penalty. Where a department directed a penalty other than dismissal, the DAC confirmed the direction

in 4 cases, varied it in 14 cases and set aside the direction in 7 cases. Some determinations involved considerable financial

losses for the officer involved.

Five matters involving decisions in DAC cases came before the Federal Court (see ‘Legal services’ section in chapter 4).

An ongoing problem in DACs is the tendency of departments and their representatives to attempt to elevate the proceedings above their administrative nature, by employing high levels of legal representation, formalising proceedings and arguing legal technicalities. DACs will continue to conduct proceedings as informally as is appropriate to the nature of the case, and as efficiently as possible. In this regard, it should be noted tha! the Government has accepted recommendation 87 of the Report of the Public Service Act Review Group that:

chairpersons of committees established to consider disciplinary appeals—to be

known as misconduct appeals under the proposed new conduct framework—

need not have legal qualifications, and parties to an appeal should not be able

to have legal representation but will be entitled to have an advocate present to

assist in the presentation of their case.

A number of DACs made

comment to the effect that the

breach of trust involved in

browsing' personal information

Is a very serious matter, and the

need to maintain public

confidence In the APS demands

the highest standards of

behaviour from APS officers.

T I M E L I N E S S

The average time for determining discipline appeals during the year was 14.3 weeks (compared with 13.6 weeks in 1993-94). Twenty-seven percent of appeals were finalised within the 8 weeks set by the Agency as the target time for disciplinary appeals,

48% were finalised within 16 weeks, and 25% took more than 16 weeks to finalise.

R e d e p l o y m e n t a n d R e t i r e m e n t A p p e a l C o m m i t t e e s

The MPRA is required by the Merit Protection Act to establish Redeployment and Retirement Appeal Committees (RRACs) for the purpose of hearing appeals against decisions of Commonwealth employers under the Public Service Act, or other relevant conditions of service, to redeploy to lower classified positions or retire members of their

stall. Such decisions may be based on an officer being excess to requirements, no longer medically tit to work, no longer qualified to perform his or her duties, or judged inefficient.

30

RRACs are tripartite committees comprising a convenor nominated by the MPRA and a member nominated by each of the relevant employing authority and the relevant union. Members ot an RRAC are not subject to direction by any person, body or authority other than a court in relation to the performance of the function of the committee.

The MPRA has established a panel of 10 people from which it draws, as necessary, to act as convenors of RRACs. The group comprises the seven most senior MPRA staff (classified at SES Band 1 and Senior Officer Grade A levels), a senior officer of another Commonwealth agency, one academic and one person employed in the private sector.

RRACs are required to determine whether, in all the circumstances of the case, the decision to retire or reduce an officer’s classification is unreasonable. Hearings are generally open to the public and advocates frequently appear for the employer and the appellant. An RRAC may only confirm or set aside the decision against which the appeal is made.

In its Budget on 9 May 1995, the Government announced that the jurisdiction of RRACs will in future be limited to matters not involving involuntary retirement (in respect of staff employed under the Public Service Act).

C A S E S D E T E R M I N E D

In 1994— 95, 26 appeals against redeployment or retirement actions were lodged (compared with 20 in 1993-94). There were two appeals on hand at the beginning of the year. Two appeals were lodged by staff of the ACTGS under the Public Sector Management Act 1994. The remainder were lodged by persons employed under the Public Service Act. Of the 21 appeals

finalised in the period, 18 were determined by RRACs. The remaining 3 appeals were withdrawn or invalid. There were 7 cases outstanding at the end of the year. Eight (or 44%) of

appellants in determined cases were ASOl officers.

The appeals came from officers of 9 different departments and agencies. Only two departments—DSS (7 appeals) and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (4 appeals)—had more

than one case. Of the 18 appeals determined by RRACs during the year, 11 related to inefficiency actions. All appellants had been issued with notices of retirement. In 10 cases the RRAC confirmed the

notice and, in one case, revoked the notice. There were 4 appeals which related to invalidity (3 involving action to retire and one reduction in classification). Two notices of retirement were confirmed, one was revoked, and the reduction in classification was revoked. Three

appeals related to officers being excess to requirements, all of which involved retirement

action. All 3 notices of retirement were confirmed.

Dawn Linklater, Associate Director (Ops), NSW. Qld, NT

31

In a number of cases, RRACs made comment in the reasons for decision that officers employed in the public sector must take responsibility for their behaviour in the workplace. They should make every effort to respond to lawful and reasonable direction and work standards and to work harmoniously with other officers. Some appellants

subject to inefficiency action held quite distorted views about their right to special attention, support and forbearance in the workplace. RRACs do not look at the appellant's performance in isolation, but take into consideration the efficiency and effectiveness of the workplace as a whole when deciding whether it is reasonable for an appellant to be dismissed or redeployed.

It is pleasing to note that RRAC convenors have reported that most agencies are now preparing their cases more thoroughly and are following

the new streamlined inefficiency procedures well.

The PSC conducted a review of the streamlined 1992 inefficiency procedures and reported in July 1995 that agencies have found them simpler, more results-focussed and time-saving. One finding was that more education about the procedures is required by managers. It is important that all managers

understand how the procedures work so that they can efficiently and effectively address inefficiency problems in the workplace.

T I M E L I N E S S

The average time for the determination of appeals in 1994-95 (that is, the period between receipt of the appeal and the handing down of the determination by the RRAC) w as 12.4 weeks, compared with 6.6 weeks in 1993-94. This increase resulted from the

considerable length of time required to complete a small number of cases. Due to the unusual circumstances of these cases, 3 appeals took more than 25 weeks to complete.

M O B I L I T Y

Mobility, through the return to the APS of officers who have been working in a statutory authority or with a Minister or member of the Federal Parliament, contributes to the efficiency and effectiveness of the Service by developing individual flexibility through the broadening of experience and skills.

R e - a p p o i n t m e n t R e v i e w C o m m i t t e e s

The Agency is required by the Merit Protection Act to establish Re-appointment Review Committees (RRCs) for the purpose of considering applications by former officers for re appointment to the Service following a period of employment which is subject to the mobility provisions of Part IV of the Public Service Act. These provisions apply, for example, to officers who have left the Public Service to accept employment in a statutory

authority, or whose functions were transferred to an authority which did not employ under the Public Service Act.

Some appellants

subject to

Inefficiency action

held quite distorted

views about their

right to special

attention, support

and forbearance in

the workplace.

32

RRCs consist of a convenor nominated by the MPRA, a person nominated by the Public Service Commissioner and a person nominated by the appropriate union. The members of an RRC are not subject to direction by any person, body or authority while performing their functions as committee members, and may determine their own procedures.

The Public Service Act requires an RRC to inquire into an application and, if certain prescribed conditions are met, determine whether the officer is eligible for re-appointment to the Service, the appropriate classification and salary of the officer,

and whether the officer is to be re-appointed on probation. If the prescribed conditions are not met, the RRC is required to determine that the applicant is not eligible for re-appointment to the Service.

A P P L I C A T I O N S D E T E R M I N E D

Fourteen applications for re-appointment were received in 1994-95 (compared with 4 in 1993-94). Ten were determined, one application was withdrawn and 3 were on hand at the end of the year. One applicant was determined eligible for re-appointment at the level he held when he left; the remainder were re-appointed at a higher level. Two of the applications involved re­

appointment to the ACTGS.

T I M E L I N E S S

The average time for determining applications was 4 weeks (the Agency’s target), as it

was in 1993-94.

R e - i n t e g r a t i o n A s s e s s m e n t C o m m i t t e e s

The Agency is also required by the Merit Protection Act to establish Re-integration Assessment Committees (RACs) to deal with applications from officers of the APS who wish to return to the Service after spending time working for a Minister or member of the Federal Parliament under the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984 in a capacity other than that of a Ministerial Consultant, and from certain officers of the Public

Service who have worked for Ministers or members of the Legislative Assembly of the ACT Government under the Legislative Assembly (Members Staffing) Act 1989.

RACs consist of a convenor nominated by the MPRA, a person nominated by the Public Service Commissioner (or ACT Commissioner for Public Administration in the case of an ACTGS employee) and a person nominated by the appropriate union. The members of the RAC are not subject to direction by any person, body or authority (other than a court) while performing their functions as committee members, and may

determine their own procedures.

33

The RAC is required to determine the classification that an officer shall have as an unattached officer of the Public Service and the salary payable to the officer. The officer

usually returns to his or her former employing department.

The Committee is required to have regard to the office held by the officer before being employed on the staff of a member of Parliament, the duration of that employment, the nature of the duties performed by the officer while so employed, and such other matters as the Committee considers relevant. The Committee is required to assess the competence of the officer against work level standards and to determine a level of re­

integration which ensures that the officer has not been unfairly advantaged or

disadvantaged in his or her career as a result of working for a member of Parliament or Minister.

A P P L I C A T I O N S D E T E R M I N E D

Sixteen applications were received during 1994-95 (the same number as in 1993-94). Thirteen applications were determined during the year. Fourteen of the applications received were from officers based in Canberra. The other two applications came from New South Wales and Queensland. One application was invalid, one lapsed and there

was one on hand at the end of the year.

Determinations in respect of 8 of these applications provided for the applicant to return to the Public Service at a level higher than the substantive level of the position occupied when ceasing Public Service employment prior to employment under the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984. Four of the applications related to the ACT legislative Assembly (Members Staffing) Act 1989.

T I M E L I N E S S

The Agency has a target time for determining RAC applications of 4 weeks. The average time taken to determine applications in 1994— 95 was 6 weeks, compared with 6.9 weeks in 1993-94.

34

3 Inquiries Program

The Minister or the Public Service Commissioner may, under section 56 of the Merit Protection (Australian Government Employees) Act 1984, request in writing that the Agency conduct an inquiry into decisions or actions in relation to a Commonwealth employee, or a class of Commonwealth employees, in relation to their

Commonwealth employment.

The legislation requires that the Agency conduct inquiries in private and use such procedures as it thinks fit. The Agency has available to it considerable powers to obtain information and documents, to examine witnesses and enter premises.

The Agency is required to provide the Minister or Public Service Commissioner, as the case may be, with a report in writing setting out the results of such inquiries. The report may address whether the actions and decisions investigated were fair and equitable, in accordance with sound personnel management practices, had due regard to

the efficiency of the organisation and the need for good relations between the organisation and its employees. If an inquiry relates to actions and decisions in relation to a particular employee, the Agency is required to forward a copy of its report to that employee.

The use of the inquiry power has been very limited. There has been no judicial comment on its operation. The view that the Agency has taken is that this function results in a reporting obligation. The Agency believes that the contention recently raised in the media and Parliament that the inquiry power results in a ‘prosecutorial’ role has

no basis in the legislation. This is further supported by the fact that the Agency approaches such inquiries in an impartial manner.

The findings of an inquiry do not have a binding effect. An inquiry conducted on behalf of the Minister or the Commissioner by the MPRA is an information-gathering exercise with provision to make recommendations. An inquiry may or may not lead to action being undertaken by other agencies. In a case where another agency decides to

take further action, the aggrieved person has the opportunity to have the relevant issues

considered afresh in the appropriate forum.

Two requests for such inquiries were received during 1994-95.

In July 1994 the Minister requested that the Agency conduct an inquiry into whether, having regard to considerations of fairness, equity and sound personnel management, an ex gratia payment should be made to the former Comptroller-General of Customs.

A report was provided to the Minister in September 1994 recommending that such a

payment be made.

35

In August 1994 the Minister requested that the Agency conduct an inquiry into, and rcjxirt to him upon, workplace harassment at the Australian War Memorial. The request was the result of allegations made by staff at the Australian War Memorial of various t> |v s .if workplace harassment over a considerable period of time. An inquiry was ,. inducted by the Agency and a report was provided to the Minister in December 1994.

\ . further action in relation to this inquiry has taken place as matters relating to the

conduct of the inquiry are before the Federal Court.

The Federal Court proceedings involve a challenge to the scope of the inquiry and the manner in which it was conducted, specifically in relation to whether two senior managers at the Australian War Memorial were accorded natural justice. In terms of the ss 11pc of the inquiry, this will be the first opportunity for the Court to comment on the p iwcr to conduct such inquiries and the meaning of workplace harassment and therefore the Agency looks forward to the decision.

Die Agency has argued to the Federal Court that, in the context of the nature of inquiries of this kind, that is, an administrative inquiry with no determinative powers, it discharged any obligation to accord natural justice by giving the relevant persons an * ppmlunity to comment on the substance of any adverse allegations. The Agency aw aits with interest the Court's decision on this issue which will be relevant to the conduct of future inquiries.

I he inquiry arose because of expressions of concern by staff, and those concerns weie iciteiatcd during the inquiry itself. An unfortunate but unavoidable consequence of the delay caused by the Court proceedings is that those staff may perceive that the system has not operated in a way that recognises and responds to their interests.

Such perceptions of staff are likely, in the Agency’s view, to have been reinforced h> media coverage of the inquiry, which has focussed almost exclusively on the issues now before the Court, and then generally from only one perspective. The \ enc> is aware of unsuccessful attempts by staff and their union to have their views presented in the media.

36

4 Corporate and Policy Services Program

1 he Corporate and Policy Services Program exists to provide the administrative and policy support necessary to ensure that the MPRA can perform its functions in the most efficient and effective manner. Staff involved directly in the program are located in Canberra. They are organised on a functional basis to provide to the statutory office­

holders who constitute the Agency and to operational staff:

• legal services;

• policy services (including the development of internal guidelines and submissions to external agencies); • information services (including information technology development and support, statistical reporting, publications and records); and • corporate services (including personnel, accounting and financial management,

and accommodation).

L E GA L S E R V I C E S

L e g i s l a t i o n

The MPRA was established by, and its functions and powers are defined in, the Merit Protection Act.

During 1994-95, the Act was amended by the Merit Protection (Australian Government Employees) Amendment Act 1994 (Act No. 143 of 1994) which received Royal Assent on 8 December 1994. It amended the Merit Protection Act by:

• determining that, on request of a Commonwealth department or authority and the appropriate staff organisation, the MPRA or a Committee established for that purpose by the MPRA may perform functions specified in the request in relation to matters affecting the employment of Commonwealth employees by the department or authority and relating to the administration of the department or authority. This

includes functions such as mediating in a dispute, selecting staff for transfer or, where there is a ‘spill' of positions, establishing the order of merit; • allowing an appeal against a promotion to be deemed to be an application for review and vice versa where the appeal or application was lodged in error;

• granting the MPRA power to issue guidelines to JSCs; • providing that members of JSCs are not subject to direction by any other person, body

or authority other than a court; • providing that neither the MPRA nor a member of the MPRA while acting as such is subject to direction by any other person, body or authority other than a court;

37

. amending and increasing the penalties for offences under the Act and conferring the power to make regulations relating to penalties for failure to attend, answer questions before, or produce documents to a Redeployment and Retirement Committee; and • amending the secrecy provision in the Act in the following manner:

- to include members of Joint Selection Committees and Review Committees within the class of persons bound by the secrecy provision; - to amend and increase the penalty for failure to comply with the provision to

6 months imprisonment; and to provide that persons bound by the secrecy provision are not competent and may not be required to disclose information disclosed or obtained under the Act to a court or person authorised by law, or by consent of parties, to hear, receive

or examine evidence.

Ifie drafting of regulations to give effect to some of the above amendments commenced

in 1994-95.

The Public Service Legislation Amendment Bill 1995 was introduced into Parliament .■n 28 June 1995 to give effect to the Budget announcement that the MPRA is to be statutorily and administratively amalgamated with the Public Service Commission. The Bill proposes the replacement of the office of Director of the MPRA with the office of

Merit Protection Commissioner. The Merit Protection Commissioner would not hold the powers of a Secretary of a Commonwealth Department and the staff of the MPRA would become staff of a Public Service and Merit Protection Commission. The Public Service ( nnmissioner will have the powers of a Secretary in relation to this amalgamated body.

The Bill also provides that the Merit Protection Commissioner be the only full-time member of the MPRA. Appointment of members of the MPRA and the Merit Protection Commissioner would occur after consultation by the Minister with the Public Service Commissioner and the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), a provision which

has in the past simply required the ACTU to be consulted about the nomination of a full­ time member of the MPRA.

I n - h o u s e l e g a l a d v i c e

In 1994-95. legal advice was provided in relation to a range of matters, by internal and external advisers. Legal advice was provided either orally or in writing to review otticers, convenors of Review Committees and the management of the MPRA. The increased number of court and tribunal applications involving the MPRA resulted in an

increased need for legal advice. The MPRA also utilised the services of the Attorney- (lenerafs Department and private law firms in obtaining legal advice in relation to matters before courts and tribunals.

I he services ot a private law firm were sought in relation to a particular litigation matter after the Attorney-General’s Department declined to act for the MPRA. The Attorney-General's Department advised that it had a conflict of interest due to having

38

piovided advice to the parties applying for review in the Federal Court. Their advice was subsequently used in support of a Federal Court action against the MPRA.

C o u r t s a n d t r i b u n a l s

During 1994-95, there were 5 Federal Court cases involving applications for review of decisions by Review Committees (for example, DACs, RRACs or PACs) established by the MPRA under the Merit Protection Act. There was also a Federal Court case involving an application for review of a report prepared by the MPRA in relation to an

inquiry conducted pursuant to s. 56 of the Merit Protection Act.

Two applications were made to the AAT for review of decisions to refuse access to documents made pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

Table 7 sets out the court applications relating to the MPRA in 1994-95.

As indicated, two Federal Court matters were decided in 1994-95: Forge v. McCarthy and Turner v. Linkenbagh.

In Forge v. McCarthy, the appellant to the DAC was compulsorily retired pursuant to s. 76W of the Public Service Act on the grounds of invalidity. On appeal to an RRAC, the Notice of Retirement was confirmed. The decision of the RRAC was the subject of an application to the Federal Court. The main points from the decision of Jenkinson J in this case were as follows:

• The role of the RRAC when considering a retirement on the ground of invalidity is to determine whether, at the time the RRAC makes its decision, the retirement would be unreasonable.

• The RRAC must address the issue of the likelihood of an ability to work in the future as well as the issue of present ability to work.

• The RRAC is not required to have regard to guidelines issued by the Public Service Commissioner in relation to ‘Fitness for Duty’.

• The RRAC may revoke a Notice of Retirement if it reaches the conclusion on the material before it that the retirement would be unreasonable; it does not have a general power to consider whether or not in the circumstances the officer should

be retired.

In Turner v. Linkenbagh, the applicant was dismissed from the Public Service due to convictions for criminal offences. On appeal, a DAC varied the dismissal direction to counselling. The applicant sought review of the DAC decision by the Federal Court on the grounds that it contained an error of law. The main points from the decision of

Neaves J were as follows:

• the task of the DAC is to determine whether the direction appealed against was unduly severe, not (in the first instance) to determine which of the alternative courses of action prescribed by subsection 63(1) of the Public Service Act 1922 should be

taken against the appellant;

39

T a b l e 7: C o u r t a p p l i c a t i o n s r e l a t i n g to t he MP R A , 1 9 9 4 - 9 5

Parties Main issues Status

Ansell v. Brewster; Hickey; Dismissal on grounds of Appeal to the Full and Linkenbagh, Byrne misconduct—Neaves J Federal Court—No and Rowling (DAC); and dismissed application on progress in 1994-95 Secretary, Department of 29 April 1993—alleged

employment. Education errors of law by Neaves J

and Training, Federal Court (ACT)

Forge v. McCarthy, Barlow and Boschma (RRAC); and Department of Veterans’ Affairs,

Federal Court (Vic.)

Kelson and McKernan v. Forward, Federal Court (ACT)

McGihbon v. Linkenbagh, Robertson and Kinley (DAC): and ACT Department of Public Administration,

Federal Court (ACT)

Panagopoulos v. Hetherington, Bailey and Tsoukalidis (RRAC); and Department of Veterans ’ Affairs,

Federal Court (NSW)

Turner v. Linkenbagh, Bateson and Krueger (DAC) and Howden, Federal Court (ACT)

Invalidity retirement— alleged errors of law by RRAC

Report by MPRA after s. 56 inquiry into allegations of workplace harassment at the Australian War Memorial— claims of denial of natural justice and scope of

inquiry/report beyond power

Misconduct—reduction in classification—DAC varied direction to dismissal— alleged denial of natural justice, improper exercise

of power

Inefficiency—alleged that decision to retire not made within reasonable time— alleged breaches of natural justice and errors of law

Criminal conviction—

dismissal set aside by DAC—alleged improper exercise of power

Application dismissed on 17 March 1995

Application filed 23 December 1994— listed for hearing

8 and 9 August 1995

Fleard on 29 June 1995—decision reserved

Hearing listed for 21-23 August 1995

Application dismissed on 17 October 1994

40

• The tact that the appellant was employed after the relevant Department was aware of his criminal record and continued to work after the disciplinary process commenced was an irrelevant consideration in the context of the DAC’s consideration of the matter.

• There is no onus on the Department to demonstrate that its interests could only be served by the appellant being dismissed.

• Given that the appellant was no longer employed pursuant to the Public Sei vice Act (due to his transition to the ACTGS), no purpose would be served by setting aside the DAC decision and remitting the matter for determination by a new DAC as any direction made could not be carried into effect.

Table 8 sets out the applications to the AAT involving the MPRA in 1994-95.

The claims of exemption in Sherrington and. MPRA were upheld on two grounds. The first ground was that the release of the information would result in the unreasonable disclosure of personal information. The second ground was that release of the information collected during a grievance investigation would have a substantial adverse effect on the management or assessment of personnel by the Commonwealth and on the proper and efficient conduct of the operations of the MPRA. In the course of the reasons given by the AAT for its decision, it was noted that:

‘[T]he public

interest lies in

maintaining an

efficient and

properly regarded

agency for dealing

with complaints

made by members of the

Commonwealth

Public Service...’

[T]he public interest lies in maintaining an efficient and properly regarded

agency for dealing with complaints made by members of the Commonwealth

Public Service as to perceived grievances in the manner in which they have

been treated. The efficient functioning of the Commonwealth Public Service is

a matter of national importance and grievance resolution procedures are a

necessary incidence of that functioning.

T a b l e 8: A p p l i c a t i o n s t o A A T i n v o l v i n g t h e M P R A , 1 9 9 4 - 9 5

Parties Main issues Status

Sherrington and Whether documents are Claims of exemption upheld MPRA, NSW, AAT ‘exempt documents’ under the FOI Act on 8 March 1995

Wallace and MPRA, Whether documents are Claims of exemption upheld ACT, AAT ‘exempt documents’ under the

FOI Act

in pail on 13 July 1995

The claims of exemption upheld in Wallace and MPRA were on the basis that certain documents (notes of interviews conducted during a review by the MPRA of a non- appellable promotion) contained information the disclosure of which would found an action for breach of confidence. Another document (a draft report of the review) was

41

found to be exempt on the basis that it contained information relating to deliberative processes involved in the functions of the MPRA and that it would be contrary to the

public interest to disclose such information.

Handwritten notes made by the MPRA investigating officer recording his

deliberations in the course of the inquiry were found, with limited exemptions, to be

not exempt.

P OL I CY S E R V I C E S

K v a l u a t i o n o f t h e M P R A

One of the more significant tasks in 1994-95 was the coordination of an evaluation of the MPRA. The evaluation was conducted by MPRA staff and represented an opportunity to test the efficiency and effectiveness of the MPRA's new structure which came into effect in 1992 following a consultant’s report. The exercise sought to be as objective as possible and there is no evidence that responses were influenced by the fact that they were provided directly to the MPRA.

The terms of reference of the evaluation were:

• to undertake a review of the Agency consistent with the evaluation purpose and scope; • to examine, assess and report on the results achieved by the Agency’s Operations and Corporate and Policy Services Programs; and • to recommend any changes likely to result in cost-effective improvements.

The purpose of the evaluation was to conduct an examination to establish more

specifically:

• the Agency's standing in the spectrum of administrative review bodies and central agencies of government; • the effectiveness of the Agency in undertaking its statutory functions and corporate management and in achieving the corporate objectives—the

quality of the Agency’s client service in terms of impact and outcomes; and • the efficiency of the Agency’s Operations and Corporate and Policy Services Programs, processes and resources used in achieving the corporate objectives—the current achievements against performance measures and

appropriate benchmarks.

Information was gathered from a variety of sources, including a survey of a random sample of APS staff and managers, interviews with participants in MPRA processes, other stakeholders such as the CPSU, and with MPRA staff, as well as from a review of specific MPRA files. The evaluation also drew on the results of a survey of departmental Secretaries conducted in 1993.

The overall picture is of the MPRA as a fair, equitable, independent and professional body with increasing throughput and better timeliness standards. The restructuring appears to have enhanced MPRA performance and allowed the MPRA to carry out its

statutory and corporate services functions more efficiently and effectively.

The overall picture

I· ol the MPRA as

a fair, equitable.

Independent and

professional body

with Increasing

throughput and

better timeliness

standards.

42

The greatest user satisfaction is from the MPRA’s primary PAC and JSC functions, with less user satisfaction with the more contentious DAC processes, grievance processes and reviews of non-appellable promotions. Within all these categories, not surprisingly, successful clients and/or agencies are happier with the MPRA and its

processes than unsuccessful clients and agencies.

Other findings in the report finalised in March 1995 were as follows:

• All 13 departmental Secretaries who responded to the 1993 survey agreed that the MPRA assists in ensuring fairness and equity in personnel management processes and that the MPRA is beneficial.

• The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) and most APS staff strongly supported the MPRA.

• The MPRA has developed a higher public profile in recent years in a range of forums and has a sound standing in the administrative review community.

• Timeliness for almost all functions has improved significantly despite an overall increase in workload in most functions and a reduction in the MPRA’s staffing, particularly in the operations area.

• Timeliness for finalisation of promotion appeals has improved over the last three years from 10 weeks to 5.3 weeks with the highest level of satisfaction of all the MPRA’s functions.

• The number of JSCs established each year has more than doubled in each of the last two years, whilst increasing efficiency now means that an average JSC can fill 30 vacancies from 167 applicants in 5 weeks, with average MPRA costs to the client agency of $11 436.

• The use of JSCs to fill vacancies is substantially more efficient than the traditional selection advisory committee and appeal process; this efficiency is not to the detriment of the perceived fairness and professionalism of the process.

• Dissatisfaction with DACs stems largely from the perceived overly legalistic nature

of the process.

• The number of grievances has increased by 50% over the last four years while

timeliness has improved by 40%.

• Timeliness for review of non-appellable promotions has improved by 60% over the

last five years.

• In 1994 the MPRA received over 48 000 telephone or counter enquiries.

• It was difficult to benchmark the MPRA's performance with similar agencies because most had not developed the mechanisms to measure performance and test it against

realistic and useful targets.

43

While the overall thrust of the report was positive and acknowledged the MPRA's improved efficiency and effectiveness, the report noted a range of areas for further improvement particularly with respect to the performance of the MPRA’s statutory functions. The Agency will be acting to implement as many of the recommendations of the evaluation as are possible, subject of course to changes brought about by other decisions, such as those relating to the review of the Public Service Act.

P a r l i a m e n t a r y c o m m i t t e e s a n d i n q u i r i e s

The Agency prepared a submission to the Review Group on the Public Service Act and provided further papers and statistical information for the review. A submission was also prepared for the Inquiry by the Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee into Service Delivery by the APS. The MPRA also provided comment on draft Government responses to reports of Parliamentary committees and on draft Cabinet Submissions.

P o l i c y a d v i c e

Policy advice was provided to review officers and review committees on issues in relation to the performance of their functions either proactively or in response to specific requests for information and assistance. Policy Services also coordinated Agency responses and developed an Agency position on issues arising out of its casework for the

purpose of making submissions to other central agencies such as the PSC and the Department of Industrial Relations or in response to requests for comment and advice from those agencies. Some examples were the MPRA’s contribution to the PSC’s review of the merit principle and the review of inefficiency procedures.

The MPRA held regular liaison meetings with the ACTGS and with the PSC on matters of mutual interest.

A g e n c y m e e t i n g s

During the year the Agency met on a regular basis and discussed such issues as the MPRA’s operational performance, the guidelines for the performance of the Agency's functions, the Agency’s submissions to the Public Service Act Review Group, and the appointment to panels of convenors for the MPRA’s tripartite committees.

The Agency also considered specific cases including matters which were the subject ot inquiries under s. 56 of the Act and matters which may have warranted a report to the Prime Minister under s. 52(1) of the Act or to Parliament under s. 53 of the Act.

C o n f e r e n c e s

Two major conferences were held by the MPRA during 1994-95: for Senior Officers of the MPRA and for convenors of DACs and RRACs. These conferences are important forums tor developing consistency of approach in the performance of the functions of

the MPRA and of the tripartite committees established by the MPRA.

O p e r a t i o n s m a n u a l

During the year the MPRA continued the important task of developing and maintaining an integrated set of guidelines for use by review staff and convenors. Revised guidelines were produced and endorsed by the Agency concerning RRCs. Indexes of legal advisings and court decisions were also produced.

I N F O R M A T I O N S E R V I C E S

J u r i s d i c t i o n

The MPRA acquires jurisdiction to provide review services by virtue of provisions in enactments other than its own legislation. The bulk of its jurisdiction, in terms of employee coverage, arises under provisions contained in the Commonwealth Public Service Act and Regulations. However, a number of Commonwealth bodies employing

staff other than under these provisions have conferred jurisdiction on the MPRA in relation to the review of personnel management decisions and selection processes.

Organisations which have conferred jurisdiction on the MPRA other than under the Commonwealth Public Service Act and Regulations are listed in appendix 5.

The MPRA is not always kept informed by public sector organisations employing staff outside the Public Service Act of changes in their provisions which may give staff access to MPRA services. As a result, the MPRA is not always fully aware of the extent

of its jurisdiction in relation to some organisations and may only become aware that jurisdiction exists (or has been withdrawn) in relation to a particular authority when an appeal is lodged, necessitating enquiries to ascertain the current situation. The

information contained in appendix 5 reflects the latest advice from the listed organisations regarding jurisdiction conferred on the MPRA.

Following the establishment of self-government in the ACT and, more recently, the establishment of a separate ACT Government Service (ACTGS), arrangements have been made for most ACT public sector employees to have access to the functions of the MPRA. Services are provided to the ACTGS under a

fee-for-service arrangement.

Apart from the MPRA" s jurisdiction in relation to the ACTGS arising from the Public Sector Management Act 1994 (ACT) (instead of under the Commonwealth Public Service Act, under transitional arrangements, as previously), few changes have occurred from the situation reported last year. However, the Health Insurance

Commission (HIC) advised in July 1994, arising out of an enterprise bargaining agreement, that the terms and conditions of employment of HIC staff were being amended to withdraw the MPRA’s jurisdiction in relation to disciplinary appeals. The HIC indicated that this jurisdiction would, in future, be administered by Boards of

Reference under the Industrial Relations Commission. The MPRA’s remaining jurisdiction with the HIC remains intact.

arrangements have been made for most ACT

public sector employees

to have access to the

functions of the MPRA.

Services are provided to

the ACTGS under a fee-

for-service arrangement.

45

Other enterprise bargaining agreements (for example, agreements covering the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and ACT Public Sector Nurses) modified the MPRA's jurisdiction during the year, but none (apart from the HIC) had the effect of

withdrawing jurisdiction in relation to any function previously covered.

Apart from these minor changes, the MPRA has not been advised of any other changes in jurisdiction by Commonwealth organisations employing staff other than

under the Public Service Act.

However, the Government announced, in May 1995, that the Public Service Act would be amended to limit the right of public servants regarding:

• appeal against directions to perform higher duties; and • review of dismissal/termination of employment decisions by DACs/RRACs. It foreshadowed removing provisions relating to these appeals from the Public Service Act, leaving the way for these matters to be dealt with by the Industrial Relations

Court under the unfair dismissal provisions of the Industrial Relations Act.

The first of these proposals is to be implemented by amendments to the Public Service Regulations. The second proposal is to be negotiated as part of the APS Framework Agreement. These changes have the potential to significantly reduce the workload of appeal committees established by the MPRA. In 1994-95, 41% of DAC activity related to dismissals and 89% of RRAC activity related to management-initiated retirement actions.

In May 1995 the Government announced its intention to introduce a new Public Service Act. Proposed changes will effect the MPRA’s grievance and JSCs functions in relation to staff employed under that Act. Public sector employees employed other than under the Public Service Act will continue to have access to the MPRA in relation to the

above matters where relevant rights are conferred by other enactments.

Also in May 1995, amendments to the Public Service Act were introduced to give staff of the Parliamentary departments access to the review of non-appellable promotions provisions and to provisions relating to the establishment of JSCs. Although covered by the Public Service Act, staff of Parliamentary departments have not had access to these provisions. The proposed amendments will enable MPRA recommendations in relation to the review of non-appellable promotions to be acted upon in relation to staff of

Parliamentary departments and will enable MPRA convenors to be provided for JSCs established by these departments.

I he MPRA has, for some time, undertaken fee-for-service work on an ad hoc basis, when requested by departments. The Merit Protection Act was amended on K December 1994 to formally clarify the MPRA’s role in this area. The new provisions enable any Commonwealth body to use the MPRA to provide services, irrespective of

whether formal statutoiy links exist in relation to the required function. Details in relation to the provision of these new services—services by request—are provided in chapter 2.

46

P u b l i c a t i o n s

During 1994 95, the MPRA continued the implementation of its information strategy for the dissemination of information externally to public sector employers and their staff.

The MPRA has continued to broaden its range of publications and information products to ensure that lessons learnt from appeal and review processes can be applied in primary decision-making.

B R O C H U R E S

During 1994-95, the MPRA published and distributed three new brochures:

• Reviews o f non-appellable promotions; • Joint Selection Committees', and • Services by request.

The last Services by request— provides details of MPRA hrochures for ACT Govt Service how, in difficult employment-related situations, the MPRA has the flexibility to develop a solution tailored to meet the needs of the organisation (for example, mediating or conciliating early where difficulties arise between employees and supervisors). These services can be provided when requested by

a department or authority together with the principal relevant staff organisation.

The new brochures continue the Agency’s strategy of providing clearer and more accurate information to assist individuals and organisations in their dealings with the MPRA. They also provide considerably more advice than previous brochures, thus helping individuals understand what is required and what might be expected in any of

these processes.

Advice provided in these brochures is presented such that it is relevant to the APS and to statutory authorities not staffed under the Public Service Act but with their own terms and conditions of employment. Such terms and conditions may allow staff to bring certain matters to the MPRA for independent review.

During 1994-95, the MPRA also published and distributed three special brochures prepared for staff of the ACTGS (see ‘Jurisdiction’ section above). These brochures reflect the provisions of the Public Sector Management Act 1994 and concern:

• Appeals against promotion and temporary performance directions',

• Grievances', and • Reviews o f non-appellable promotions.

F L E X I B L E A P P R O A C H E S

In December 1994__and in part to reflect important amendments to the Merit Protection Act__the MPRA published and distributed to senior public sector managers the booklet Flexible Approaches: People management services of the Merit Protection and

Review Agency.

f lexible Approaches explains how—in addition to its primary functions under the

Act. and following amendments to this Act—the MPRA may perform virtually any other employment-related function. Examples might include mediating or conciliating early in a dispute between employees, or providing the convenor for a selection committee selecting staff for transfer or where there is a ‘spill’ of positions, or where an order of

merit is being established. It also explains how, for statutory authorities not staffed under the Public Service Act, the MPRA can provide flexible approaches to staff selections, grievance and conflict resolution, and performance management, in accordance with

terms and conditions established through particular enterprise bargaining processes.

D E C I S I O N S OF D I S C I P L I N A R Y A P P E A L C O M M I T T E E S

During 1994-95, the MPRA commenced a program of publishing annual volumes of DAC decisions. This represents the first time that DAC decisions have been available in a published format in full. The first—Decisions of Disciplinary Appeal Committees IWT- provides a selection of 34 important decisions relating to 14 departments or

authorities, whilst the second—Decisions o f Disciplinary Appeal Committees 1994— provides 26 decisions from 11 departments or authorities.

The publication of these annual volumes was prompted by increasing interest in the t ipcration of the discipline appeal process and in the nature of DAC decisions. Such publications contribute to the Agency’s strategy of improving feedback to organisations and their staff on standards of conduct, performance and MPRA review committee procedures.

FAI R GO I N F O R M A T I O N B U L L E T I N

In past years the Agency’s information bulletin Fair Go was published on an irregular basis. During 1994-95, the Agency established a regular program of publishing Fair Go in V ivember and May each year. Fair Go is distributed widely to employees of relevant public sector organisations and provides useful feedback on recent cases, advice on serv ices, and information on legislative and administrative developments relating to the Agency’s work.

C O R P O R A T E S E R V I C E S

H u m a n r e s o u r c e s

S T A F F

1 he Agency's permanent officer staffing level during the year has fallen by 16% (from 56 to 47 otticers), whilst the total staffing level has fallen by 24% (from 74 to 56 "•livers). These falls are due to a number of factors, including the operation of the efficiency dividend, and a reluctance to fill positions in the light of the Government’s decision to amalgamate the MPRA and PSC. Details of the current staffing level are provided in appendix 6.

48

Whilst the corporate support for the Agency’s operational staff is provided by a small gioup located in Canberra, the State and Territory offices consist of support staff and Review Officers who undertake the Agency’s case work. In addition, each State and Territory maintains a panel of suitably qualified and trained Review Officers from both

within and outside the Commonwealth public sector. These Panel Review Officers (PROs) are engaged on temporary transfer (in the case of Commonwealth employees) or temporary employment contracts (in the case of non-public servants) to meet workload demands.

Unlike in the case of Commonwealth public sector employees where time is required to negotiate release from normal duties, the use of non-public sector employees enables the Agency to meet the increasing need for Review Officers with minimum delay in the provision of services.

E QUAL E M P L O Y M E N T O P P O R T U N I T Y

During 1994-95, the PSC endorsed the MPRA’s EEO Plan for 1994-97. In addition to the finalisation of this Plan, during the year the MPRA continued to show high levels of achievement in three of the four EEO categories. The achievements are highlighted in the PSC publication Implementation of Equal Employment Opportunity in the Australian

Public Service: Trends and Strategies. Relevant EEO statistics are provided in appendix 3.

Amongst other specific EEO issues, the EEO Plan addressed the need to develop a recruitment and career development strategy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders within the Agency. To this end, the MPRA administered on behalf of itself, six other agencies and DEBT, a project to develop an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

Recruitment and Career Development Strategy. A requirement of this Strategy was the creation and filling of an Indigenous Development Officer (IDO) position.

The IDO position was created to assist the agencies involved in addressing their particular issues and concerns, whilst bringing about positive changes to the number of Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders employed within them. As a result of the amalgamation with the PSC, the administration of this project has been transferred to

one of the other six agencies involved. It is expected that the IDO position will be filled

for a three-year term commencing in early 1995-96.

I N D U S T R I A L D E MO C R A C Y

Representatives of MPRA management and the CPSU form the Merit Protection and Review Agency Consultative Council (MPRACC), the central body which facilitates the formal consultative process within the MPRA. MPRACC endeavours to meet twice a year. However, as a result of the proposed statutory and administrative amalgamation of

the PSC and MPRA, the June MPRACC meeting was cancelled.

Management is committed to industrial democracy practices and encourages regular staff meetings for the purpose of consultation, contribution and staff comment on

internal priorities, policies and activities.

49

O C C U P A T I O N A L H E A L T H A N D S A F E T Y

Due to the dispersal of the Agency’s offices, the Agency has a single designated work group in the ACT with the single occupational health and safety (OH&S) representative being accessible to all MPRA staff and empowered to call on OH&S representatives from other organisations to inspect

MPRA workplaces across Australia.

OH&S issues are usually discussed at the MPRACC meetings and, during 1994-95, specific OH&S issues concerning accommodation were addressed because of the

conclusion of three State office leases. This involved the purchase of ergonomic furniture and equipment and the ■ adoption of appropriate security measures to address the safety

■ of Agency staff.

P E R F O R M A N C E - B A S E D PAY

As in previous years, funds for performance-based pay (PBP) were made available from the MPRA’s s. 35 account to meet obligations to eligible PROs. V am Pillai. from the Sydney office

Funds available were:

Senior Executive Service (SES) $15 000

Senior Officer Grade (SOG) A and B and equivalent $57 200 SOG C and equivalent $15 000

PROs (from s. 35) $ 9 990

Total $97 190

While this amount of money represents the permissible amount payable on account of 34 officers at SES, SOG A, SOG B, SOG C and equivalent levels, in fact 46 officers received payment. Only 20 of these officers worked a full-time year with MPRA.

Owing to personnel changes producing variations in standards, some minor moderation of performance appraisal (PA) scores was required. The available money for each classification group of staff was allocated according to the formula:

PBP = individual PA score X days x available dollars

sum eligible PA scores 261

Tables 9-12 provide details concerning the allocation of performance-based pay. In Table 12 information for officers at the SES, SOG A and equivalent levels have been combined to maintain confidentiality, as raw numbers are very small.

50

T a b l e 9: P e r f o r m a n c e -

b a s e d p a y in t he M P R A

Officer type Number Aggregate payment ($)

Staff 30 87 197.81

Panel Review Officers 16 9 990.00

Total 46 97 187.81

T a b l e 10: A g g r e g a t e

p e r f o r m a n c e - b a s e d p a y

by c l a s s i f i c a t i o n

Level of Number of Performance-officer officers based pay ($)

SES 3 15 000.00

SOG A 4 16 000.00

SOGB 13 41 197.81

SOG C 10 15 000.00

PRO 16 9 900.00

Total 46 97 187.81

T a b l e 11: P e r f o r m a n c e -

b a s e d p a y r e c e i v e d as %

o f max i mum, p a y a b l e f o r

t i me w o r k e d

Distribution range

(%)

No. of officers

00-45 2

46-50 20

51-55 15

56-60 7

61-65 1

66-70 1

71-75 0

76-80 0

81-100 0

Total 46

T a b l e 12: P e r f o r m a n c e -

b a s e d p a y , g e n d e r

d i s t r i b u t i o n

Officer level Women as % PBP to of officers in women year (%)

SES & SOG A 42.9 43.4

SOGB 69.2 71.4

SOG C 65.4 74.0

S T A F F D E V E L O P M E N T

Individual development plans are renewed annually by staff in consultation with their supervisors. All staff attended some form of training during the year.

All Senior Officers, SES officers and two Agency members attended a 4-day mediation course which was conducted in Canberra. The course was facilitated by external consultants from LEADR. DAC/RRAC convenors attended a 3-day conference conducted specifically to allow discussion of issues of procedure and to enhance the consistency of approach in matters coming before DACs and RRACs.

51

E X T E R N A L C O N S U L T A N T S

Listed below arc the consultants who undertook work on behalf of the MPRA during 1994-95.

T a b l e 13: E x t e r n a l c o n s u l t a n t s

Name Purpose of consultancy Cost ($) Reason consultant

was used

Stanton Partners To check working papers of 1 875 Required expertise the financial statements on was not available in

an accrual basis the MPRA

LEADR Mediation training for 18 157 Required expertise

senior officers, SES and two was not available in Agency members the MPRA

F i n a n c i a l r e s o u r c e s

F U N D I N G

I ■ e MPRA operated on a running cost appropriation of $4 344 000 and income received through the s. 35 account of $1 665 493 during 1994-95. The s. 35 account is set up for the receipt of all fee-for-service charges which are set on a cost-recovery basis. Most income during the year was as a result of the Agency’s JSC activities, although by June

I w 5 income from the performance of the new employment-related functions was significant and growing.

A C C O M M O D A T I O N

( unpletcd property resource agreement negotiations with the Department of Finance have resulted in a reduction of space for the Agency nationally. During the year three new State office leases were signed (in Tasmania, Victoria and Queensland) and lease negotiations commenced for a further three offices (South Australia, Western Australia and the ACT). Addresses of MPRA offices are provided in appendix 9.

A D V E R T I S I N G A N D M A R K E T R E S E A R C H

Λ total of $7 355.71 was paid to the central agency for advertisements in the press for \S < ). Senior Officer, SES, Legal, and Panel Review Officer positions in various States

and Territories. No market research was undertaken by the MPRA in 1994-95.

52

appendix i Corporate Plan

C O R P O R A T E M I S S I O N

We protect merit and review personnel management decisions in support of a fair, accountable, ethical and efficient public sector.

C o r p o r a t e o b j e c t i v e ( 1 )

Perform our statutory functions efficiently and effectively.

C O R P O R A T E S T R A T E G I E S

Strategies to meet objective (1) include:

• providing a level of service which produces appropriate and useful outcomes for employees and their employers within appropriate timeframes; • providing guidelines and policy advice which enable MPRA staff and nominated convenors to meet the MPRA’s statutory responsibilities effectively; and

• developing and implementing internal information systems to facilitate strategic planning, accountability and responsiveness.

P E R F O R M A N C E I N D I C A T O R S

The performance indicators for objective (1) are:

• time taken to finalise cases; • cost versus benefit of providing a particular service; • outcome effectiveness; • unsolicited feedback from parties;

• achievement of consistency in the application of guidelines for review work and feedback from committees and MPRA staff on the usefulness of MPRA-endorsed

guidelines; • timeliness and thoroughness of policy and procedural advice provided to

committees and staff; • results of client surveys which test the degree of satisfaction with the way the MPRA administers and conducts its appeal and review functions; and • appropriateness of policy and guidelines as reflected in decisions of the

Federal Court.

53

C o r p o r a t e o b j e c t i v e ( 2 )

Enhance efficiency and effectiveness in Human Resource Management.

C O R P O R A T E S T R A T E G I E S

Strategies to meet objective (2) include:

• providing feedback and advice to relevant agencies and policy-makers on the MPRA’s experience in relation to personnel management practices; • informing people about what the MPRA does and the values it stands for; • influencing decision-makers to implement changes for improved personnel

management as identified through the MPRA's review functions and other activities; • stimulating discussion and debate in the public sector on issues relating to sound

personnel management practices; • contributing to information sessions of other agencies; and • consistent with our role as an administrative review body, seeking to be responsive to

the needs of our stakeholders.

P E R F O R M A N C E I N D I C A T O R S

The performance indicators for objective (2) are:

• acceptance of the MPRA's recommendations and feedback from agencies through surveys to test the quality, timeliness and usefulness of the MPRA’s advice; • effectiveness of information systems in the management, planning, evaluation and reporting cycle;

• publication of MPRA views and decisions on significant issues raised by matters dealt with by the MPRA; and • number and nature of requests from agencies for advice and information.

C o r p o r a t e o b j e c t i v e ( 3 )

Strive for excellence in the internal operations and management of the MPRA.

C O R P O R A T E S T R A T E G I E S

Strategies to meet objective (3) include:

• promoting a culture of continuous improvement in all aspects of the MPRA’s internal operations and management; • improving internal communication by consultative and participative work practices

and through two-way performance appraisal processes at all levels; • modelling good management practices including equal employment opportunity and occupational health and safety;

• providing staff development and training opportunities for all staff; and • developing efficient and effective finance and information technology systems.

54

P E R F O R M A N C E I N D I C A T O R S

The performance indicators for objective (3) are:

• level of staff satisfaction ascertained through staff surveys; • training and staff development activity conducted in accordance with human resource development (HRD) and EEO strategies; • promotion and career transfers achieved by staff;

• appraisal programs conducted in a timely manner; • achievement of performance targets; • efficient management of the MPRA’s budget; and • appropriateness of accommodation and facilities for the performance of the

MPRA’s functions.

55

appendix 2 Review committee and casework statistics

C O N T E NT S

Table 14: MPRA statutory review functions—workload and work

completion (all functions)— 1993-94 and 1994— 95 57

Table 15: Timeliness of review hearings and investigations— 1993-94 and 1994-95 58-59

56

CASES REVIEW COMMITTEES

PACs DACs RRACs RRCs RACs

1993-94....1994I 95 1993-94... 1994-95 1993-94 1994-95 1993-94 1994 95 1993-94 1994 95

T a b l e 14: M P R A s t a t u t o r y r e v i e w f u n c t i o n s — W o r k l o a d a n d w o r k c o m p l e t i o n ( a l l f u n c t i o n s ) —

1 9 9 3 - 9 4 a n d 1 9 9 4 - 9 5

On hand at start 138 113 11

Receivcd/slarled (JSC) during year 1338 997 71

Total workload 1476 1110 82

Determined/rcsolved/completed 1000 739 51

lnvalid/not acceptcd/wrongly lodged 0 1

Lapsed/withdrawn/inoperative (PAC) 363 290 20

Finalised during year (total) 1363 1029 72

On hand at end 113 81 10

10 3

68 20

78 23

51 14

1 0

15 7

67 21

11 2

2 0 0 9 0

26 28 18

4 4 3

14 16

14 25

10 21

16 16 13

1 0 0 1 1

2 1 1 3 1

21 4 11 25 15

7 0 3 0 1

CASES GRIEVANCES AND REVIEWS OTHER

Progress requests* Grievances ROCD RONAPs JSCs

1993-94 1994-95 1993-94 1994-95 1993 94 1994-95 1993 94 1994 95 1993 94 1994 95

On hand/started (JSC) at start 1 1 26 59 0 4 4 10 10 20

Received/started (JSC) during year 64 86 263 282 18 10 45 50 121 167

Total workload 65 87 289 341 18 14 49 60 131 187

Determined/rcsolved/completed 63 81 102 157 12 8 28 47 110 175

Invalid/not acceptcd/wrongly lodged 1 3 100 119 2 4 7 6 0

Lapscd/withdrawn/abortcd (JSC) 0 0 28 15 0 1 4 4 1 6

Total finalised during year 64 84 230 291 14 13 39 57 111 181

On hand/in progress (JSC) at end I 3 59 50 4 1 10 3 20 4

Requests for progress reporls/expedilion of investigation in relation to R83 and R77 investigations.

T a b l e 15: T i m e l i n e s s o f r e v i e w h e a r i n g s a n d i n v e s t i g a t i o n s — I 9 9 3 - 9 4 a n d 1 9 9 4 - 9 5

RKVIKVV COMMITTEES

PACs DACs RRACs

93-94 1994-95 1993-94 1994-95 1993-94 1994-95

6.0 6.0 8.01 8.01 8.01·2 8.01'2

5.3 5.6 13.6 14.3 6.6 12.4

744 515 13 14 10 9

74 70 25 27 71 50

239 207 25 24 4 5

24 28 : 49 ::: ; : 47 ; 29 28

17 17 13 13 0 4

2 : 2 25 : ·Î½: 25 0 22

1000 739 51 51 14 18

113 81 10 11 2 7

3.5 3.1 23.1 26.7 20.5 8.1

2 9 6 5 1 3

: 2 11 60 45 50 43

RRCs

1993-94 1994-95

RACs

1993-94 1994-95

Target completion time (weeks)

Average completion time for determined cases (weeks)

Completed within target time (number)

Completed within target time (percentage)

Exceeded target by 0 100% (number)

Exceeded target by 0-1 ()0% (percentage)

Exceeded target by >100% (number)

Exceeded target by >100% (percentage)

Total determined/resolved (number)

Carryover at end of period (number)

Average age of carryover cases (weeks)

Cases carried over exceeding target time (number)

Cases carried over exceeding target time (percentage)

4.0

4.0

4.0

4.0

« 1

1 4

o 0

14 13

10

3

3.3

ϋ , 2

;______

4.0

6.9

0

4.0

6.0

0

0 0 33 0

I I

21

0

0

13

1

2.1

' I 111!

From receipt to formal issue of the decision. Including inefficiency cases, which have a target completion time of 4 weeks.

T a b l e 15 ( c o n t d ) : T i m e l i n e s s o f r e v i e w h e a r i n g s a n d i n v e s t i g a t i o n s — 1 9 9 3 - 9 4 a n d 1 9 9 4 - 9 5

CASES GRIEVANCES AND REVIEWS

Progress requests Grievances 1993-94 1994-95 1993-94 1994-95

Target completion time (weeks) 2 2 6 6

Average completion lime for determined cases (weeks) 2.8 1.5 13.9 15.8

Completed within target time (number) 41 65 15 32

Completed within target time (percentage) 65 80 15 20

Exceeded target by 0-100% (number) 14 9 34 45

Exceeded target by 0-100% (percentage) i n 11 33 29

Exceeded target by >100% (number) 8 7 53 80

Exceeded target by >100% (percentage) Π 9 52 51

Total determined/rcsolvcd (number) 63 81 102 157

Carryover at end of period (number) 1 3 59 50

Average age of carryover cases (weeks) 18.3 9.7 11.0 9.8

Cases carried over exceeding target lime (number) 1 ... 2... 28 28

Cases carried over exceeding target time (percentage) 100 67 47 56

ROCD

1993 94 1994-95

RONAPs

1993-94 1994-95

6 6

8.2 6.6

6 4

63 4 63

9.7 12.1

9 6

sn so

3 3

-

10 18

o

3 1 9 23

25 13 32 49

12 8

4 1

6.0 0.0

3 1

28 47

10 3

1.6 4.6

1 0

3 From the date of receipt of selection papers from promoting department. 4 Imputed target time based on time scale for equivalent phase of normal selection exercise outlined in PSC Selection Guidelines.

appendix 3 Equal employment opportunity tables

l ,il·!,· 16 R e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f EEO g r o u p s wi t h i n s a l a r y l e v e l s , J u n e 1995

Salary Total

staff

Women NESB1 NESB2 ATSI PWD Staff with

EEO data

S24 XI>4-27 506 3 3 1 3

tmcl A S 02) 100% 33.3% 100%

$2X 252-30 492 5 5 3

fin d A S 03) 100% 60.0%

$ t | 4XX-34 1X9 3 2 1 2

unci A S 04) 66.7% 50.0% 66.7%

$35 122-37 241 8 7 7

unci A S 05) 87.5% 87.5%

$37 932-43 573 1 1 1

unci A S 06) 100% 100%

$44 X'JX—IX 770 11 8 1 2 7

unci SCXl C l 72.7% 14.3% 28.6% 63.6%

s r r o c )

$49 X32-57 1X4 12 8 2 2 10

(mcl SOC B) 66.7% 20.0% 20.0% 83.3%

$V> 2bX (incl. 3 1 1 3

s(x ; A) 33.3% 33.3% 100%

$5X 172-60 915 1 1 0

(incl. Legal 2) 100% 0%

Above $63 305 4 2 1 4

unci. SES) 50.0% 25.0% 100.%

Total 51 38 2 3 6 40

74.5% 5.0% 7.5% 15.0% 78.4%

s -Kl' Department ot Prime Minister and Cabinet NOMAD Personnel System)

60

Key to tables 16 and 17:

NESB1 - Non-English-speaking background, first generation NESB2 - Non-English-speaking background, second generation ATS I - Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander

PWD - People with a disability

Note: Percentages for women based on total staff; percentages for other groups based on staff for whom EEO data was available.

T a b l e 17: R e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f EE O g r o u p s wi t h i n o c c u p a t i o n a l g r o u p s ,

J u n e 1 9 9 5

Occupational Group

Total number of staff

Women NESB1 NESB2 ATSI PWD Staff with

EEO data

SES/equivalent 4 2 1 4

50.0% 25.0% 100%

Senior Officer/ 27 18 2 2 4 20

equivalent 66.7% 10.0% 10.0% 20.0% 74.1%

ASO-related 20 18 1 1 16

90.0% 6.3% 6.3% 80.0%

TOTAL 51 38 2 3 6 40

74.5% 5.0% 7.5% 15.0% 78.4%

(Source: Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet NOMAD Personnel System)

61

appendix 4 Freedom of information and privacy

FREEDOM OF I N FO RM A TI ON

The following summary of activities is provided as required by section 8 of the Freedom of Information Act 1982. A full statement and information regarding access to documents can be obtained (free of charge) from the FOI Coordinator at the Agency’s

Canberra office.

A c t i v i t i e s 1 9 9 4 - 9 5

Enquiries 7 Fees collected $90.00

Requests 3 Charges $00.00

Action Decision notified

Granted in full 2 Within 30 days 2

Access denied 1 Within 30 days 1

This represents a slight decrease in activity over the 1993-94 financial year.

Note that 2 FOI decisions were appealed to the AAT during 1994-95 (see "Legal services’ section).

P R I V A C Y

During 1994-95 the Agency’s Melbourne office was subject to an audit by the Privacy Commissioner under s. 27(l)(h) of the Privacy Act 1988 in relation to information kept on PAC files.

In general the report was positive and noted that:

The collection of personal information by MPRA appears to be relevant and

authorised by the legislation administered by MPRA. There appeared to be no

disclosure of personal information other than that required by the appeal

ρπχ-ess (parties to the appeal and the appeal committee).

The report's recommendations related to:

• effective processes to ensure the MPRA files do not contain information relating to third parties;

• ensuring that adequate secrecy provisions apply to all members of PACs; • amendment of relevant forms to ensure compliance with IPP2, and finalisation and distribution of MPRA training material.

Fach ot these recommendations has been addressed.

62

appendix 5 MPRA jurisdiction

Statutory authorities which have conferred jurisdiction on the MPRA by an enactment other than the Public Service Act 19221 and review mechanisms conferred, as at 30 June 1995.

T a b l e 18: MP R A j u r i s d i c t i o n

Commonwealth Jurisdiction Review Committee

Appeals

Grievances and Reviews JSC

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commercial Development Corporation R5

Albury-Wodonga Development Corp. R D G

Australia Council P T R D G F N

Aust. Electoral Commission (SES)2 D G C

Aust. Federal Police (inc. Aust. Bureau of Criminal Intelligence3) P R N J

Aust. Film Commission R

Aust. Film, Television and Radio School R D G I

Aust. Fisheries Management Authority P T R D G c N J

Aust. Horticultural Corp.4 (inc. Aust. Dried Fruits Board and the Aust. Honey Board) R3

Aust. Institute of Criminology R5

Aust. Institute of Family Studies R5

Aust. Institute of Marine Science R5

Aust. Nuclear Science and Technology Orgn P R5 D G F

Aust. Sports Commission P T R D G F N

Aust. Sports Drug Agency G

Aust. Tobacco Marketing Advisory Comm. R5

Aust. Tourist Commission R5

Aust. Trade Commission P T R5 D G F N

Aust. Trade Union Training Authority R5

Health Insurance Commission P T R G F N

Housing Loans Insurance Corporation R5

Law Reform Commission R5

National Capital Planning Authority R5

National Standards Commission R3 D G F

Nuclear Safety Bureau P R5 D G C

Pipeline Authority R5

Special Broadcasting Service P T R D G C N J

63

A (T Government jurisdiction Review Committee

Appeals

Grievances and reviews JSC

\( "I ( io\eminent Service (ACTGS) P T R D G C N J

At T instrumentalities which have adopted ACTGS terms and conditions6 P T R D G C N J

A C T F ire B rig a d e

l egal Aid Commission (ACT)7

Total Care Industries (some employees only)8

P

R5

P T R D

G

G C N

K e y lo l y p e o f j u r i s d i c t i o n

Rctivvt committee appeals I* Piomotion and transfer appeals I Temporary performance appeals K Redeployment and retirement appeals I) Disciplinary appeals

Grievance and review applications

G General grievances C Review of certain decisions F Forfeiture of office I Income maintenance (redeployment and retirement)

N Review of non-appellable promotions

N o t e s

i I hr Λ ,:rnv\' s jurisdiction in respect of Commonwealth statutory authorities is not limited to the organisations in

this lot The Agency has coverage of many other statutory authorities by virtue of their employment of staff under

i’S Act terms and conditions. A list of these authorities is included each year in the annual report of the

Department of Industrial Relations

·’ The hulk, ot the staff employed by these bodies are employed under Commonwealth Public Service Act terms and

i tvlitions this jurisdiction relates to staff of these bodies not employed under PS Act terms and conditions.

1 < 1 'verage docs not extend to seconded officers of the Bureau from State police forces. They are employed under

terms and conditions of State police forces.

•I I ' >nncr employees of the abolished Aust. Apple and Pear Corporation only.

' Jurisdiction s.interred by the Aust. Government Statutory Authority Redeployment and Retirement (Redundancy)

Award

' " I At I 1 erntory instrumentalies have adopted ACTGS terms and conditions, except the ACT Legal Aid

t oinmission. the ACT Fire Brigade. Total Care Industries (ACT TAB covered from 1 January 1995)

' Jurisdictions arising from amendment of Merit Protection Act, effective from 15 March 1994. This amendment

htoailcned the definition of ‘enactment’ to include Aust. Capital Territory (ACT) laws and instruments made

unslei At I laws, thus re-activating (and in one case activating) previously existing but ineffective jurisdictions,

t II. W ing the establishment of the ACT as a self- governing Territory in 1988.

' 1 ,nP l'Λ ecs who arc former Commonwealth public servants retain Public Service terms and conditions.

64

appendix 6 Staffing level

Table 19: Staf f levels and locations as at 30 June 1995

ACT NSW Vic. Qld. SA WA Tas. NT

Officer level M F M F M F M F M F M F M F M F

Permanent

Director 1

SES Band 1 1 1 1

Legal 2 1

SOG A 1 1 1

SOG B 3 2 2 1 1 1 1

SOG C 1 2 1 1 1

SITOC 1

AS06

AS05 2 1 1 1 1

AS04 1 1 1

AS03 2 1 1

AS02 2 1

Perm, part-time

SOG B 1 1

SOG C AS05 AS02

Temporary

SOG B AS05 AS03

PROs

1

1

1

1

1

1

SOG C 1 1 0 1 1 1 1

State total 8 15 2 9 3 7 nil 4 1 2 1 1 nil 2 1 nil

Total 23 11 10 4 3

65

All officers were employed under the Public Service Act 1922 with the exception of the Director who is appointed under the Merit Protection (Australian Government Employees) Act 1984.

During 1994-95, the SES position in the Victorian office was permanently filled.

a p p en d ix 7 Summary table of resources

Table 20: Reconci l iat i on of programs and appropriation elements,

1994-95

A+ B+ C+

($’000)

D= E F G

Program number Approp. Bills

Nos 1 and 3

Approp. Bills Nos 2 and 4

Special approps.

Annotated approps.

Program approps.

Adjustments Program outlays

7.3 4 467 0 0 1 665 6 132 1 665 4 467

Total 4 467 0 0 1 665 6 132 1 665 4 467

67

appendix s Financial statements

CO NT E NT S

Audit Report 69-70

Statement by the Director of the Agency and officer responsible for the preparation of the financial statements 71

Operating statement 72

Statement of assets and liabilities 73

Statement of cash flows 74

Statement of transaction by fund 75

Notes to and forming part of the financial statement 76-84

68

AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL AUDIT OFFICE

Address &U maM to:

GPO Box 707 CANBERRA ACT 2601

Ref:

MERIT PROTECTION AND REVIEW AGENCY INDEPENDENT AUDIT REPORT

Scope

I have audited the financial statements of the Merit Protection and Review Agency for the year ended 30 June 1995.

The statements comprise:

• Statement by the Director and Associate Director

• Operating Statement

• Statement of Assets and Liabilities

• Statement of Cash Flows

• Statement of Transactions by Fund, and

• Notes to and forming part of the Financial Statements.

The Director and Associate Director are responsible for the preparation and presentation of the financial statements and the information contained therein. I have conducted an independent audit of these financial statements in order to express an opinion on them.

The audit has been conducted in accordance with the Australian National Audit Office Auditing Standards, which incorporate the Australian Auditing Standards, to provide reasonable assurance as to whether the financial statements are free of material

misstatement. Audit procedures included examination, on a test basis, of evidence supporting the amounts and other disclosures in the financial statements, and the evaluation of accounting policies and significant accounting estimates. These procedures have been undertaken to form an opinion whether, in all material respects, the financial statements are presented fairly in accordance with Australian Accounting Concepts and Standards, other mandatory professional reporting requirements and statutory requirements so as to present a view of the Agency which is consistent with my understanding of its financial position, its operations and its cash flows.

The audit opinion expressed in this report has been formed on the above basis.

Centenary House. 19 National Circuit. Barton, ACT 2600 Telephone (06) 203 7300 Facsimile (06) 203 7777

69

Audit Opinion

In accordance with sub-section 51(1) of the Audit Act 1901, I now report that in my opinion, the financial statements:

• are in agreement with the accounts and records kept in accordance with section 40 of the Act,

• are in accordance with the Guidelines for Financial Statements of Departments, and

• present fairly in accordance with Statements of Accounting Concepts, applicable Accounting Standards and other mandatory professional reporting requirements the information required by the Guidelines including the Agency's departmental and administered operations and its cash flows for the year ended 30 June 1995 and departmental assets and liabilities as at that date.

Australian National Audit Office

Trcvor Burgess F.xecutive Director

For the Auditor-General

Canberra

25 September 1995

70

me r i t p r o t e c t i o n and re vi e w age nc y

S t a t e m e n t by t h e D i r e c t o r o f t h e A g e n c y

and o f f i c e r r e s p o n s i b l e f o r t he p r e p a r a t i o n o f t he

F i n a n c i a l S t a t e m e n t s

CERTI FI CATI ON

Wc certify that the attached financial statements for the year ended 30 June 1995 are in agreement with the Merit Protection and Review Agency’s accounts and records.

In our opinion, these financial statements present fairly the information required by

the F in w icial S ta te m e n ts o f D ep a rtm en ts G uidelines issued by the Minister for Finance in March 1995.

Signed

Dated Dated

Ann Forward Director

Alan Doolan Associate Director

71

m e r i t p r o t e c t i o n a n d r e v i e w a g e n c y

O p e r a t i n g s t a t e m e n t

f o r t h e y e a r e n d e d 3 0 J u n e 1 9 9 5

Notes 1994-95 1993-94

NET COST OF SERVICES $ $

Expenses 2

Employee Expenses 3 417 310 3 967 740

Other administrative expenses 2 399 106 2 104 816

Totul expenses 5 816 416 6 072 556

Revenues from independent sources 2

User charges 1 519 595 1 238 940

Other revenue from independent sources 293 638 22 636

Total revenues from independent sources 1 813 233 1 261 576

Net cost of services 4 003 183 4 810 980

REVENUES FROM GOVERNMENT Appropriations treated as revenues 3 617 684 4 515 041

Liabilities assumed by other departments 345 859 436 405

Resources received free of charge from other departments 2 54 541 26 512

Total revenues from government 4 018 084 4 977 958

Excess of revenues from government over net cost of services 14 901 166 978

Accumulated expenses less revenues at beginning of reporting period (16 318) (183 296)

Accumulated revenues less expenses at end of reporting period (1 417) (16 318)

ADMINISTERED REVENUES

Revenue from the ACT Government §§§:: H c : 118 200

Miscellaneous receipts 1830 4 910

Total administered revenues 1 830 123110

72

S t a t e m e n t o f a s s e t s a n d l i a b i l i t i e s

a s a t 3 0 J u n e 1 9 9 5

Notes 1994-95 1993-94

M E R I T P R O T E C T I O N A N D R E V I E W A G E N C Y

$ $

CURRENT ASSETS Cash 3 1930 87 682

Receivables 4 399 496 238 506

Other 5 300 101 203 000

Total current assets 701 527 529 188

NON-CURRENT ASSETS Property, plant and equipment 6 742 517 802.283

Total non-current assets 742 517 802 283

Total assets 1 444 044 1 331 471

CURRENT LIABILITIES Creditors 7 245 499 235 965

Provisions 8 241 892 413 609

Other 9 12 950 -

Total current liabilities 500 341 649 574

NON-CURRENT LIABILITIES

Provisions 10 828 570 698 215

Other 11 116 550 -

Total non-current liabilities 945 120 698 215

Total liabilities 1 445 461 1 347 789

NET ASSETS (1 417) (16318)

73

S t a t e m e n t o f c a s h f l o w s

f o r t h e y e a r e n d e d 3 0 J u n e 1 9 9 5

M E R I T P R O T E C T I O N A N D R E V I E W A G E N C Y

Notes 1994-95 1993-94

$ $

( ASH HOW S FROM OPERATING ACTIVITIES

Inflows:

Section 35 receipts 1 664 668 1 071712

Appropriation Act No. 1 3 617 684 4 515 041

Outflows:

Employee expenses (3 116 269) (3 347 704)

Other administrative expenses (2 183 838) (1 988 470)

Net cash used in operating activities 14 (17 755) 250 579

CASH FLOWS FROM INVESTING ACTIVITIES Inflows:

Section 35 receipts (asset sales) 825 3 901

Outflows:

Payments for property, plant & equipment (68 822) (206 304)

Net cash used in investing activities (67 997) (202 133)

Net decrease in cash (85 752) 48 446

Cash at beginning of reporting period 87 682 39 236

Cash at end of reporting period 1 930 87 682

CASH FI OWS FROM ADMINISTERED TRANSACTIONS Inflows:

Revenue from the ACT Government ; i.io - 234 200

Miscellaneous receipts 1 830 4910

Outflows: ': I 7 : " j

Return of cash to CRF 1830 (239 110)

Net cash inflows/toutflows) from administered : —

tninsactions

74

S t a t e m e n t o f t r a n s a c t i o n s by f u n d

f o r t h e y e a r e n d e d 3 0 J u n e 1 9 9 5

M E R I T P R O T E C T I O N A N D R E V I E W A G E N C Y

Consolidated Revenue Fund

Notes 1994-95 Budget

$

1994-95 Actual

$

1993-94 Actual

$

RECEIPTS Section 35 receipts Miscellaneous Receipts

1 015 000 1 665 493 1830 1 001 634 239 110

Total Receipts 1 015 000 1 667 323 1 240 744

EXPENDITURE Expenditure from annual appropriations Appropriation Act No. 1 4 467 000 5 283 177 5 501 753

Total Expenditure 15 4 467 000 5 283 177 5 501 753

No transactions were entered into by the Agency in respect of the Loan Fund or the Trust Fund.

75

M E R I T P R O T E C T I O N A N D R E V I E W A G E N C Y

N o t e s t o a n d f o r m i n g p a r t o f t h e

F i n a n c i a l S t a t e m e n t s

3 0 J u n e 1 9 9 5

The Merit Protection and Review Agency’s corporate mission is to protect merit and review personnel management decisions in support of a fair, accountable, ethical and efficient public sector. Corporate objectives to achieve this mission are:

• Perform our statutory functions efficiently and effectively.

• Enhance efficiency and effectiveness in Human Resource Management.

• Strive for excellence in the internal operations and management of the MPRA.

1 S U M M A R Y O F S I G N I F I C A N T A C C O U N T I N G P O L I C I E S

I I B a s i s o f a c c o u n t i n g

The financial statements have been prepared in accordance with Financial Statements of Departments issued by the Minister for Finance in March 1995. These Guidelines require compliance with Statements of Accounting Concepts and relevant Australian Accounting Standards.

The financial statements have been prepared on an accrual basis and in accordance with historical cost principles. Except where stated, they have not been adjusted to take account of either changes in the general purchasing power of the dollar or changes in the values of specific assets.

In accordance with the budget handed down by the Treasurer in May 1995 the Merit Protection and Review Agency is to be amalgamated with the Public Service Commission to form the (yet to be established) Public Service and Merit Protection Commission. At the date of signing this report the necessary legislation had still not been

passed by Parliament.

/ · 2 P r o p e r t y , p l a n t a n d e q u i p m e n t

E xcept where stated, all property, plant and equipment is valued at historical cost. The capitalisation threshold is $2 000. Assets with a cost or value less than the capitalisation threshold, except information technology items, are expensed in the year of acquisition.

Items or components which form an integral part of an asset are recognised as a single asset (functional asset). The capitalisation threshold has been applied to the aggregate cost of each functional asset.

76

M E R I T P R O T E C T I O N A N D R E V I E W A G E N C Y

N o t e s t o a n d f o r m i n g p a r t o f t h e

F i n a n c i a l S t a t e m e n t s

3 0 J u n e 1 9 9 5 ( c o n t d )

1 S U M M A R Y O F S I G N I F I C A N T A C C O U N T I N G P O L I C I E S

( C O N T D )

1 . 3 D e p r e c i a t i o n

Depreciation on plant and equipment is calculated on a straight line basis, so as to write ott the cost of each item less its estimated residual value, progressively over its estimated useful life.

The cost of leasehold improvements is amortised over the estimated useful life of the improvement or the unexpired period of the lease, whichever is shorter.

During 1994— 95, the useful life of items in the computers, plant and equipment category was reassessed and, as a result, depreciation rates were increased.

The net financial effect of the change in depreciation rates is an increase of $101 534 in depreciation expense.

1 . 4 R e s o u r c e s r e c e i v e d f r e e o f c h a r g e

Resources received free of charge which can be reliably measured are recognised as appropriate.

1 . 5 E m p l o y e e e n t i t l e m e n t s

Provision for recreation leave is calculated by multiplying the leave entitlements of employees as at 30 June 1995 by their current pay rates. Long service leave has been calculated in accordance with Guidance Release 7—Employee Entitlements (other than Superannuation) re-issued by the Department of Finance in June 1995. Provisions for performance-based pay are based on the actual amount paid in respect of the previous

appraisal period. The liability for superannuation payments (other than the productivity contribution) is assumed by the Commonwealth. As a result, the Agency has not recognised a liability for unfunded superannuation in respect of its employees. The Agency has, however, recognised both an expense and a corresponding revenue item (‘Liabilities assumed by

other departments’) in respect of the notional amount of the employer’s superannuation contribution for the year. The amount has been calculated as 19.1% of the total salary and allowances for superannuation purposes of all CSS and PSS members employed by

the Agency, less the productivity contributions.

77

M E R I T P R O T E C T I O N A N D R E V I E W A G E N C Y

N o t e s t o a n d f o r m i n g p a r t o f t h e

F i n a n c i a l S t a t e m e n t s

3 0 J u n e 1 9 9 5 ( c o n t d )

1 S U M M A R Y OF S I G N I F I C A N T A C C O U N T I N G P O L I C I E S

( CONT D)

1 . 6 P r o g r a m s t a t e m e n t

The Agency is not required to prepare a Program Statement for the year ended 30 June 1995, as it administers only one sub-program of a portfolio (sub-program 7.3 of the Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio) and this sub-program has no designated

components.

1 . 7 T a x a t i o n

The Agency's activities are exempt from all forms of taxation except Fringe Benefits Tax.

1. H R o u n d i n g

Figures in the financial statements are rounded to the nearest dollar.

1.9 C a s h

For the purposes of the Statement of Cash Flows, cash includes cash on hand and at bank.

1 1 0 A d m i n i s t e r e d i t e m s

Administered items are those controlled by the Government and managed by the Agency in a fiduciary capacity. Revenues from the ACT Government in respect of appeals and grievances were reported as administered revenues in the previous year. During 1994-95 revenues from the ACT Government ($136 170) have been included in ‘Revenues from

independent sources’ in accordance with a revised section 35 agreement between the Agency and the Department of Finance.

78

N o t e s t o a n d f o r m i n g p a r t o f t h e f i n a n c i a l

s t a t e m e n t s f o r t h e y e a r e n d e d 3 0 J u n e 1 9 9 5 ( c o n t d )

2 ITEMS OF E X P E N S E S AND REVENUES

1994-95 1993-94 $ $

The amounts and particulars of the following classes of expenses and revenues were included in the aggregate amounts shown in the Operating Statement:

In relation to expenses:

M E R I T P R O T E C T I O N A N D R E V I E W A G E N C Y

Depreciation—computers, plant and equipment 171 693 61 964

Amortisation —leasehold improvements 100 367 140 871

Employee entitlements (41 362) 153 830

Loss on disposal of non-current assets 29 574 47 517

In relation to revenues:

Appropriations carried over from preceeding year 131 244 205 000

Profits from sale of non-current asset 400 -

Resources received free of charge:

Services provided by the Auditor-General 18 930 14 820

Panel review officers seconded from other Departments 33 959 -

Department of Finance systems 1 652 1 728

Conference rooms and storage space by the Department of - 2 417

Administrative Services to the Tasmania office SES officer provided to the Victorian office by the Australian National Audit Office 22 367

3 CURRENT A S S E T S — CASH

Cash on hand 1916

87 682

Cash at bank

14 -

1930 87 682

79

N o t e s t o a n d f o r m i n g p a r t o f t h e f i n a n c i a l

s t a t e m e n t s f o r t h e y e a r e n d e d 30 J u n e 1 9 9 5 ( c o n t d )

M E R I T P R O T E C T I O N A N D R E V I E W A G E N C Y

4 C U R R E N T A S S E T S — R E C E I V A B L E S

1994-95 1993-94

$ $

Trade debtors 386 240 238 500

Other debtors 13 256 6

I j s \ : Provision for doubtful debts - -

Total 399 496 238 506

Reveivables are made up of the following categories:

Other departments 395 065 238 500

h ’\ \: Provision for doubtful debts - -

395 065 238 500

Other entities 4 431 6

/w \ Provision for doubtful debts - -

4 431 6

Total 399 496 238 506

Receivables as at 30 June, were due as follows: In respect of other departments:

Not overdue 353 640 53 500

Overdue: Less than 30 days 22 010 39 500

30 to 60 days 1390 -

More than 60 days 18 025 145 500

Total 395 065 238 500

In respect of other entities:

Not overdue 1 150 6

Overdue: Less than 30 days 631 -

30 to 60 days 50 -

More than 60 days 2 600 -

Total 4 431 6

80

N o t e s t o a n d f o r m i n g p a r t o f t h e f i n a n c i a l

s t a t e m e n t s f o r t h e y e a r e n d e d 3 0 J u n e 1 9 9 5 ( c o n t d )

M E R I T P R O T E C T I O N A N D R E V I E W A G E N C Y

5 C U R R E N T A S S E T S — O T H E R

Prepayments

6 N O N - C U R R E N T A S S E T S —

P R O P E R T Y , PLANT AND E Q U I P ME N T Leasehold improvements—at cost Less: Accumulated amortisation

Net book value

Computers, plant and equipment at cost Less: Accumulated depreciation

Net book value

Total—at cost Less: Accumulated depreciation and amortisation

Total net book value

7 C U R R E N T LI ABI LI TI ES — C R E D I T O R S

Trade creditors Other creditors

Total

8 C U R R E N T LI ABI LI TI ES — P R O V I S I O N S

Employee entitlements

9 C U R R E N T LI ABI LI TI ES — OT HE R

Lease incentive

1994-95 1993-94

$ $

300 101 203 000

1 268 937 (935 444) 1 147 237 (855 077)

333 493 510 123

704 924 (295 900)

698 256 (188 133)

409 024 292 160

1 973 861 (1 231 344) 1 845 493 (1 043 210

742 517 802 283

131 982 113 517

70 426 165 539

245 499 235 965

241 892 413 609

12 950 —

81

M E R I T P R O T E C T I O N A N D R E V I E W A G E N C Y

N o t e s t o a n d f o r m i n g p a r t o f t h e f i n a n c i a l

s t a t e m e n t s f o r t h e y e a r e n d e d 3 0 J u n e 1 9 9 5 ( c o n t d )

10 N O N - C U R R E N T LI A B I L I T I E S — P R Ο V I SI Ο N S 1994-95 1993-94

$ $

Employee entitlements 828 570 603 886

11 N O N - C U R R E N T L I A B I L I T I E S — O T H E R

Lease incentive 116 550 -

12 A G R E E M E N T S E QUA L L Y P R O P O R T I O N A T E L Y U N P E R F O R M E D 1 t.il expenditure contracted for at balance date but not provided for in the financial statements, was payable as follows:

In respect of purchase orders in the:

- first year 5 482

- second and subsequent years - -

5 482 -

In respect of non-cancellable operating leases in the: - first year 387 018 590 987

- second year 322 725 219 942

- third to fifth year 1 002 334 392 192

- sixth and subsequent years 1 499 785 376 598

3 211 862 1 579 519

Total 3 217 344 1 579 519

' 3 R E M U N E R A T I O N O F E X E C U T I V E S

The number of these executive officers whose total fixed remuneration tell within the following band was as follows:

Number Number

$120 001-130 000 1 1

Hie aggregate amount of the fixed remuneration received, or due and

:iv c i\ able, and the aggregate amount of performance pay received,

: due and receivable, during the financial year by executive officers

of the Agency was as follows: $ $

Fixed remuneration 120 324 361 540

82

N o t e s t o a n d f o r m i n g p a r t o f t h e f i n a n c i a l

s t a t e m e n t s f o r t h e y e a r e n d e d 3 0 J u n e 1 9 9 5 ( c o n t d )

M E R I T P R O T E C T I O N A N D R E V I E W A G E N C Y

14 R E C O N C I L I A T I O N O F N E T C O S T O F S E R V I C E S T O N E T

C A S H U S E D IN O P E R A T I N G A C T I V I T I E S

1994-95 1993-94

$ $

Net cost of services (4 003 183) (4 810 980)

Revenues from Government 4 018 084 4 977 958

Excess of revenues from Government over net cost of services 14 901 166 978 Depreciation and amortisation 272 060 202 835

Gain from stocktake adjustment of assets (44 371) -

Loss on disposal of non-current assets 29 574 42 517

Change in op e ra tin g assets and lia b ilitie s

Increase in trade debtors (147 740) (189 950)

Increase in other debtors (13 250) -

Decrease in other debtors - 86

Increase in other assets (97 101) (99 730)

Decrease in creditors - (25 987)

Increase in creditors 9 534 -

Decrease in provisions (41 362) -

Increase in provisions - 153 830

Net cash used in operating activities (17 755) 250 579

15 D E T A I L S O F E X P E N D I T U R E F R O M A N N U A L

A P P R O P R I A T I O N S

1994-95 1994-95 1993-94

A p p ro p . Expend. Expend.

$ $ $

O rd in a ry annual services

Appropriation Act 1 Division 504— Administrative 1 Running Costs (annotated appropriation) 5 812 000 5 283 177 5 501 753

16 A C T O F G R A C E P A Y M E N T S

No act of grace payemts were made during 1994-95 pursuant to authorisations given

under section 34 A of the Audit Act 1901 (1993— 94. $nil).

83

M E R I T P R O T E C T I O N A N D R E V I E W A G E N C Y

N o t e s t o a n d f o r m i n g p a r t o f t h e f i n a n c i a l

s t a t e m e n t s f o r t h e y e a r e n d e d 3 0 J u n e 1 9 9 5 ( c o n t d )

17 W A I V E R O F R I G H T S T O P A Y M E N T O F M O N E Y S

N payments were waived during 1994-95 under subsection 70C(2) of the Audit Act

/90/ (1993-94: $nil).

1 Θ A M O U N T S W R I T T E N O F F

I he !, Mowing amounts were written off in accordance with section 70C(1) of the Audit

A n IVOI.

19 L O S S E S A N D D E F I C I E N C I E S E T C . IN

P U B L I C M O N E Y A N D O T H E R P R O P E R T Y

N property losses were recorded during 1994-95 in relation to which action was taken under Part XII of the Audit Act 1901 (1993-94: $nil).

2 0 A U D I T O R ' S R E M U N E R A T I O N

Die value of the services provided by the Auditor-General in connection with the audit of the 1994-95 financial statements was $18 930 (1993-94: $14 820). The service was pi ■ v ided free of charge for the 1994-95 year. No other services were provided to the Agency during the financial year.

? i A P P R O P R I A T I O N S M A D E F O R F U T U R E

R E P O R T I N G P E R I O D S

1994-95

$

Appropriation Act No. 1 Total appropriation 6 562 000

Less section 35 receipts 1 977 000

Total outlays for 1995-96 4 585 000

Northern Territory Office fit-out Stocktake adjustment I . vses or deficiencies in public monies

1994-95 1993-94

$ $

- 24 948

30 399 -

- 2 403

30 399 27 351

84

appendix 9 Addresses ofMPRA offices

A U S T R A L I A N C A P I T A L T E R R I T O R Y

Level 3, 65-67 Constitution Avenue, CAMPBELL ACT 2601 Tel: (06) 250 8100 Fax: (06) 250 8160

N E W S O U T H W A L E S

Level 16, 447 Kent Street, SYDNEY NSW 2000 Tel: (02) 286 2400 Fax: (02) 264 8379

V I C T O R I A

12th Floor, 257 Collins Street, MELBOURNE VIC 3000 Tel: (03) 650 7500 Fax: (03) 650 7494

Q U E E N S L A N D

300 Ann Street, BRISBANE QLD 4000 Tel: (07) 3236 4877 Fax: (07) 3221 0806

S O U T H A U S T R A L I A

9th Floor (East), 55 Currie Street, ADELAIDE SA 5000 Tel: (08) 213 2350 Fax: (08)213 2357

W E S T E R N A U S T R A L I A

190 St George’s Terrace, PERTH WA 6000 Tel: (09) 481 1994 Fax: (09)321 1903

T A S M A N I A

188 Collins Street, HOBART TAS 7000 Tel: (002) 204 297 Tel: (002) 343 487

N O R T H E R N T E R R I T O R Y

1st Floor, TCG Centre, 80 Mitchell Street, DARWIN NT 0800 Tel: (089) 817 978 Fax: (089) 412 641

85

Index

Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC), 17,18 accommodation, 52 ACT Government Service (ACTGS), 4,

7, 8, 17, 31, 33 addresses of offices, 84

advertising, 52 Agency meetings, 44 amalgamation with Public Service Commission, 3, 5

Attorney-General's Department, 16, 38 audit, 10 Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), 38

Australian Customs Service, 25, 29 Australian National Audit Office, 10 Australian Securities Commission, 25

Australian Taxation Office, 17, 19, 25, 28, 29

Australian War Memorial, 7, 35-6, 40

brcx'hures, 47 "browsing", 29-30

Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), 42, 43, 49

Comptroller-General of Customs, 7, 35 conciliation, 13 conferences, 8, 44 consultants, 52

contact officer, 2

Corporate and Policy Services (CAPS) program, 37-52

corporate objectives, 6-8,53-5 corporate plan, 53-5 Court cases, 7, 39-41

Decisions o f Disciplinary Appeal Committees 1993 and 1994, 48 Department of Administrative Services

(DAS), 12, 16, 25 Department of Defence, 16, 25 Department of Employment, Education

and Training (DEBT), 16, 17, 18,

25, 29, 49 Department of Finance (DoF), 10, 52 Department of Foreign Affairs and

Trade (DFAT), 16, 17 Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, 16, 25 Department of Industry, Science and

Technology, 16 Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, 16 Department of Social Security (DSS),

16, 18, 25, 29,31 Department of Transport, 16 Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA), 31 Disciplinary Appeal Committees

(DACs), 28, 39-41, 43, 46, 48, 52,

57, 58,

equal employment opportunity (EEO), 10, 49, 60-1 evaluation, 10,42-4

Fair Go information bulletin, 48

Federal Court, 7, 30, 39-40 fee-for-service, 12-3, 45, 46, 52 financial statements, 68-83 flexibility, 47

Flexible Approaches, 47-8

86

Forge v. McCarthy, 39

freedom of information (FOI), 41, 62 funding, 52

grievance investigations and reviews, 3-4, 7-8, 23-8, 57, 59 guidelines, 37, 44, 45

Health Insurance Commission (HIC), 45

Improving Productivity Jobs and Pay in the Australian Public Service 1992-1994, 14 industrial democracy, 49 Industrial Relations Act, 46

inquiries program, 7, 35-6, 39, 40, 44 inefficiency, 30-2 Interim Framework Agreement, 14

Joint Committee of Public Accounts, requirements, vii Joint Selection Committees (JSCs), 6, 14, 43,46, 52, 57 jurisdiction, 29, 45-6, 63-4

legal services, 4, 37-42 legislation, amendments to, 3, 5, 37, 38, 46, 47, 48 Legislative Assembly (Members

Staffing) Act, 33, 34

management, 8-9 market research, 52 mediation, 13, 51-2 members of Agency, 6, 38 Members of Parliament (Staff) Act, 33,

34

Merit Protection and Review Agency Consultative Council (MPRACC),

49

Merit Protection (Australian Government Employees) Act (Merit Protection Act), 37, 39, 46, 47

Merit Protection (Australian Government Employees) Amendment Act, 5,37 Merit Protection Commissioner, 3, 38

Minister, 3, 7, 38 mission, 6 mobility, 32-4

Northern Territory, 8

occupational health and safety (OH&S), 50 operational regions, 11 operations manual, 45 operations program, 11-34 organisation chart, 9

panels, 11, 44, 49 Parliamentary committees, 44 Parliamentary departments, 46 Parliamentary inquiries, 44 performance management, 28-32 performance-based pay, 50-1

policy services, 42-5 privacy, 10, 62 Privacy Commissioner, 10, 62 progress requests, 57, 59

Promotion Appeal Committees (PACs), 10, 19-22, 57, 58 property resource agreement, 8, 52 Public Sector Management Act, 45

Public Service Act, 5, 6, 10, 11, 39, 41,

44-8

Public Service Commission, 3, 44, 48 Public Service Commissioner, 3, 6, 33

87

Public Service Legislation Amendment

Bill, 38 publications, 47-8

Re appointment Review Committees

(RRCs), 32, 57, 58 Redeployment and Retirement Appeal Committees (RRACs), 5, 30-2, 57,

58

regional networks, 4 Re-integration Assessment Committees

(RACs), 33-4, 57,58 Report of the Public Service Act Review Group, 30 resources, 48-52, 67 review of certain decisions (ROCD),

27, 57. 59 review of non-appellable promotions (RONAP), 24, 27-8,57, 59 review of Public Service Act, 6 review officers, 44, 49

Selection Advisory Committees

(SACs), 22 Senior Executive Service (SES), 7,

50-2

services by request, 12-3, 46-7

Sherrington and MPRA, 41 social justice and equity, 10 staff development, 51 staff of Agency, 48-9, 65-6 staff selections, 14-22

statistics, 56-9

timeliness, 18, 21, 27, 28, 30, 32, 33, 34, 58-9 Treasurer, 16 Turner v. Linkenbagh, 39-41

unfair dismissal, 46

Wallace and MPRA, 41-2

fib ra

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

PARLIAMENTARY PAPER No 335 of 1995 ORDERED TO BE PRINTED

ISSN 0727-4181

88