Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, 2010
Corporate Outcome - Improving organisational effectiveness (continued)
The department is committed to ensuring its employees understand and maintain the high ethical standards required in the Australian Public Service (APS). Following the commencement of the APS Ethics Advisory Service the department appointed an ethics contact officer and information about the service has been distributed to all employees.
Employees must comply with the standards set out in the Australian Public Service Act 1999. During the year over 30 seminars were held for employees, covering the APS Values, Code of Conduct and Ethics. A workplace investigations unit was established during the year to deal with potential breaches of the Act.
New arrangements were introduced involving online induction for all new employees. They covered all the key corporate messages including the APS Values and Code of Conduct. This ensures that all new employees are educated in these matters, irrespective of their geographic location. New and substantially revised policies were introduced covering outside employment, voluntary activities, drug and alcohol use and social networking.
Ministerial and parliamentary services
The department advised and supported portfolio ministers and the parliamentary secretary through briefings and policy advice, assistance in responding to their correspondence and administrative assistance to organise and transact government business.
Ministerial workflow system
From November 2009 the department, along with six other departments, participated in a review of parliamentary workflow solutions. The review compared alternative parliamentary workflow systems and considered solutions that could be used across the Australian Government, in line with recommendations made in the Gershon Review.2 This coincided with the work of the Common Parliamentary Business Process Steering Committee. The committee is focused on delivering common business processes and a governance framework for parliamentary workflow and management solutions, across government agencies.
The department also reviewed its current ministerial workflow system, with a view to upgrading or replacing the system to ensure it is compatible with the department's ICT network upgrade.
Workflow Statistics for 2009-10
In 2009-10, 26,254 items of correspondence were received by ministers and the parliamentary secretary and registered on the department's database. Following the transfer of renewable and energy efficiency functions to the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency in April, the department continued to process related correspondence for the remainder of the year.
The department prepared over 3,300 briefing submissions for ministers and the parliamentary secretary.
The following chart shows the growth in ministerial correspondence over the past five years.
|Year||Number of correspondence items|
The increase in portfolio programs brought a significant rise in requests for information. In response the department engaged the services of external contact centres to provide additional information services. The details of these services can be found in the reports of the relevant program outcomes.
The department continued to maintain an in-house community information unit that received requests for information and feedback on the department's services. The unit also managed the department's publications shopfront.
In 2009-10 the community information unit responded to 19,633 enquiries from the Australian community; 41 per cent about grant and rebate programs and 59 per cent seeking general information about the department and its programs. The unit distributed 52,989 publications.
* In the 2008-09 Annual Report, this figure was reported as 11,382,861. This has been corrected to 13,882,861 as the previous figure did not include the www.aad.gov.au web site.
** The department changed its web statistical reporting tool at the beginning of July 2009. The methods of measurement and metrics used for reporting have been refined and, as a result, the 2009-10 data should not be compared to that provided in previous years.
The department's service charter for 2009-12 set out the standards of service clients can expect and how to give feedback on performance. The charter is available at www.environment.gov.au/about/publications/charter.html or in hard copy by contacting the community information unit toll free on 1800 803 772.
The client service officer can be contacted at:
Client Service Officer
Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601
Phone: 02 6274 1323
Fax: 02 6274 1322
The department received 63 enquiries through its client service officer in 2009-10. The majority of these were requests for information and assistance, which were forwarded to the appropriate work area for action.
Complaints about service
The department received 36 complaints through its client service officer in 2009-10. The complaints related to issues with the department's policies and water programs.
Feedback on performance of service delivery
The department received 10 responses on its service delivery standards through its client service officer in 2009-10. Of these, five rated the department as providing adequate or excellent service and five rated it as providing inadequate or poor service. Many of the negative responses related to delays in providing information.
Access and equity
During 2009-10 the department provided a progress report to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) on its activities during the previous year in the area of Access and Equity. This information will contribute to the Australian Government's Access and Equity Report 2008-10, which is coordinated by DIAC. A further update covering 2009-10 will be provided before the report is tabled. It reports on progress in implementing the Charter of Public Service in a Culturally Diverse Society.
The department's Workplace Diversity program aimed to create an inclusive work environment that values and uses the contributions of people with different backgrounds, experience, knowledge, skills and perspectives. This commitment was reflected in the department's Disability Action Plan 2009-11. For more information refer to the section on Human Resources in this chapter.
A range of programs administered by the department focused on support for Indigenous arts, culture, heritage, languages and broadcasting. Refer to the Outcome 5 chapter for further information about these programs.
2 Review of the Australian Government's Use of Information and Communication Technology - August 2008.
In this section
- Letter of transmittal
- Executive summary
- Outcome 1 - Conserving our natural assets
- Outcome 2 - Living and working sustainably
- Operation of the Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1989
- Operation of the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989
- Operation of the product stewardship arrangements for oil including the Product Stewardship (Oil) Act 2000
- Operation of the Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000
- Outcome 3 - Protecting Antarctica
- Outcome 4 - Adapting to a future with less water
- Outcome 5 - Protecting and enhancing Australia's culture and heritage
- Corporate Outcome - Improving organisational effectiveness
- Financial statements
- List of requirements