The Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS) is one of three departments which comprise the Parliamentary Service, the other two being the Department of the Senate and the Department of the House of Representatives.
The Secretary, reporting to the Presiding Officers of the Parliament (the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives), is responsible for managing DPS and providing advice to the Presiding Officers on matters relating to DPS.
Departmental outcome statement
The Presiding Officers have approved the following outcome statement for DPS:
Occupants of Parliament House are supported by integrated services and facilities, Parliament functions effectively and its work and building are accessible to the public.
The services we provide are broad-ranging, encompassing the management, maintenance and provision of information, security, facilities, visitor services, building maintenance, landscaping, catering, IT network, telecommunications, broadcasting and Hansard services. Details of the many services provided by DPS are contained in the DPS Services Catalogue, available on our website at http://www.aph.gov.au/dps/services.pdf.
DPS has an Executive and seven branches, as illustrated in our departmental structure provided at Figure 2.1.
Figure 2.1—DPS Departmental Structure at 30 June 2011
Staff recognition - Australia Day Achievement Medallions
On Friday 4 February 2011, DPS staff gathered in the Mural Hall to celebrate the Department’s 7th birthday and recognise outstanding staff with Australia Day Awards. Individual and team awards were provided to people who had made significant contributions to their workplace and in their personal lives.
There were eight recipients of individual awards.
Andrew Dale (Information Access Branch)
Andrew was recognised for his very strong commitment to client service over the 11 years he has worked with DPS. Andrew accommodates special requests, juggling timing where needed. He organises rooms so that meetings are comfortable for attendees and suggests practical ways of improving resources to benefit the participants using the rooms.
Sharon de Smet (Content Management Branch)
Sharon was recognised for her contribution to programs such as About the House and Pride of Place, and for her creative work, good nature and professionalism in dealing with clients. A key reason for this award was Sharon’s significant contribution to the broader community as a ‘crisis and respite’ carer for Barnardos. Over the past six years, Sharon has given up much of her free time to take on the care of a number of young children and adolescents in need of special support and ‘TLC’, assisting the children in her care to feel happy and secure.
Daniel Gair (Infrastructure Services Branch)
Daniel was recognised for drawing on his knowledge of the original design and construction of the Speaker’s chair, as well his high level of cabinetmaking skills and experience, to modify the chair and desk as part of the House of Representatives Chamber enhancement project. He carefully dismantled the desk, modified it to suit the addition of required IT infrastructure, and then reconstructed the desk to meticulous quality standards.
Amanda Gildea (Projects Branch)
Amanda was recognised for her work on two complex projects: the PeopleSoft Time and Labour module improvements, and the implementation of the Rostering, Time and Attendance system for the Parliamentary Security Service (PSS). Amanda was able to bring forward novel and practical ideas to enhance project outcomes. The PSS now has a new rostering, time and attendance system that has eliminated the need for at least seven separate spreadsheets and databases. Reliability and confidence in pay accuracy for the PSS has been improved, and the roster process is now much less complex.
Mike Hughes (Projects Branch)
Mike was recognised for his work as Senior Project Manager for two ‘high visibility’ major building projects: the House of Representatives Chamber enhancements project, and the upgrade of Parliament Drive project. Both projects were very demanding and were completed to a high standard. While both projects involved a large number of people, Mike played the crucial project management role, liaising with stakeholders, and coordinating staff and contractors. He worked long hours, sometimes under restrictive conditions, to ensure that project work caused minimal disruption to building occupants
Stephanie Salgado (Building Services Branch)
Stephanie was recognised for her work coordinating the renewal of all Press Gallery and retail licences managed by DPS. Through hard work and commitment, she achieved the outstanding result of negotiating all new Press Gallery licences and most retail licences before she commenced maternity leave in August 2010. This outcome had been identified as a priority in the DPS Strategic Plan, and was a practical way of improving departmental productivity by bringing all licences under similar commercial terms.
Paul Sheils (Chief Finance Officer Branch)
Paul was recognised for exemplifying the DPS customer service principles in everything he does. He is customer-focused, reliable, provides a clear point of contact. He always aims for cost-effectiveness when consulted about possible supplier options, or when resolving problems with goods that have been supplied. He is described as ‘a calm and patient teacher’ for the newcomer to the complexities of SAP!
Peter Treloar (Content Management Branch)
Peter was recognised for drawing on his many years experience capturing audio in the field for parliamentary committees to play a pivotal role in the design and implementation of the Broadcasting Asset Replacement (Away Kit) project. For six months, Peter worked closely with the successful contractor to develop a solution that satisfied complex requirements. He also developed a road-case packing system which satisfied health and safety weight limitations.
There were two recipients of team awards.
Mechanical Services Plumbing Team
The team was recognised for the vital role it played in completing work that enabled reactivation of a number of significant water features in the Parliament House landscape using treated, recycled water from the cooling tower. Team members accepted responsibility for the pipe work design, and identified the most appropriate route for pipe installation, as well as accommodating parliamentary sitting requirements to complete the work. The installation was successfully completed to a high standard.
Flag Post Team
The team was recognised for the innovative Library blog FlagPost—a modern, flexible way for Senators and Members to engage more meaningfully with emerging issues. FlagPost provides useful information in an accessible form, and enables material to be presented quickly to anyone who follows the blog.
Our organisational structure is referred to as a Plan/Build/Run model. Work units are grouped according to whether they contribute predominantly to business planning, capability development/capital investment or operational service delivery.
Supporting the business model are our core business principles of continuous improvement, seamless service delivery and accountability. Specifically, the organisational structure is designed to improve management decision-making, increase transparency and accountability, more effectively allocate resources, better interact with clients and customers to meet their needs and enhance our overall performance.
The Secretary is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and the principal officer of the department’s leadership team. Executive officers reporting directly to the Secretary are the Parliamentary Librarian, the Deputy Secretary and the Chief Finance Officer (CFO).
The office of Parliamentary Librarian is a statutory one created by the Parliamentary Service Act 1999 (the Act). The Parliamentary Librarian reports to the Presiding Officers in respect of statutory functions detailed in the Act. However, for the exercise of normal management functions, including as detailed in the Act and the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997, the Parliamentary Librarian reports to the Secretary.
The Parliamentary Librarian is responsible for the Research Branch and the Information Access Branch. Under the Act, the Parliamentary Librarian is required to prepare an annual report to the Presiding Officers. The Parliamentary Librarian’s Annual Report is included in Part 3 of the DPS Annual Report.
The Deputy Secretary is responsible for the activities of four branches: Building Services, Infrastructure Services, Content Management, and Projects (formerly Product and Service Development).
The CFO is responsible for the activities of the Chief Finance Officer Branch.
Each branch within DPS is headed by an Assistant Secretary and is divided into sections. The roles and responsibilities of each branch and their achievements and highlights for the 2010–11 year are described in this part of the report.
The Parliamentary Library provides information, analysis and advice to the Parliament and comprises the Office of the Parliamentary Librarian and two branches, the Research Branch and the Information Access Branch.
More detail on the role, functions and services provided by the Parliamentary Library can be found in Part 3 of this report.
Building Services Branch
Case study—Health, recreation and well-being services
The Parliament House Health and Recreation Centre (HRC) is a facility for Senators, Members and other building occupants. The HRC contains a 25-metre pool, spa, sauna, squash courts and a gymnasium. Derek Scott leads a small team providing training and general assistance and advice.
Exercise classes range from yoga and boot camps to Zumba. The HRC also runs a lunchtime social walking group for those who prefer moderate outdoor exercise. The HRC’s monthly newsletter provides building occupants with healthy eating recipes, advice on injury prevention and treatment, and other healthy living hints.
Chris Glover, a registered nurse, manages other health and wellbeing services through the Nurses Centre, which provides first aid services to all visitors and building occupants. Staff may seek advice on a health concern—that arises in the workplace—thanks to the proximity and availability of the Nurses Centre.
The Nurses Centre works with health organisations to run awareness and promotional activities such as asthma awareness, information about prostate cancer and diabetes. The Nurses Centre coordinates the annual influenza vaccination program.
SportsCare and Physiotherapy, led by Gareth Roantree, is a small commercial practice adjacent to the Nurses Centre. It recently introduced a remedial massage service. Gareth also conducts health and fitness assessments and a ‘healthy back’ program through the HRC.
The Building Services Branch (BSB) delivers a range of services to occupants of, and visitors to, Parliament House. These include security and emergency services, catering, retail services, health and wellbeing services, and guide services.
The Security section contributes to the development of security policy and to the implementation of security and emergency policy, procedures and response protocols for Parliament House.
Parliamentary Security Service (PSS) officers of DPS provide access control and security screening at all entrance points, a mobile and static security presence throughout Parliament House and security services to functions, official visits and other significant activities within Parliament House. The PSS provides an unarmed first response capability to security incidents and duress alarms within the building, and a first aid service.
BSB also has an arrangement with the protection element of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) for the provision of security within the Parliamentary Precincts. The Australian Federal Police-Uniform Protection (AFP-UP) provides external security services within the Parliamentary Precincts and an armed first response capability for Parliament House. The AFP-UP also provides security services for the Prime Minister’s Suite and the Cabinet Suite. The AFP officer-in-charge undertakes the role of Parliament House Protective Security Controller (PHPSC) and contributes to security policies.
The Facilities section of BSB administers the Presiding Officers’ policies on the use of Parliament House facilities by building occupants and members of the public. Facilities section responsibilities include managing the contracts and licences for various commercial activities such as catering, child care, post office, bank and the Press Gallery, providing a range of visitor services (including guided tours for building visitors and school groups), and operating the Parliament Shop. It also manages the Nurses Centre, which provides first aid and a limited range of other health services to building occupants; and the Health and Recreation Centre, with facilities that include a gymnasium, squash courts, tennis courts, a multipurpose netball court, a swimming pool, and external playing fields.
The conduct of numerous functions at Parliament House assists the catering contractor to provide catering services to the Parliament in a cost-effective manner. The conduct of these events is closely managed by DPS and the catering contractor in consultation with the Department of the Senate and the Department of the House of Representatives to ensure parliamentary business is able to proceed unimpeded.
When required, Facilities provides room set-up and pack-down services for official visits and parliamentary functions. Parliamentary functions include guest of Government events as well as those hosted by the International and Community Relations Office and the Parliamentary Education Office.
BSB highlights and achievements
Following the physical security risk review by the Attorney-General’s Department in 2009, the completion of a number of security projects has resulted in security operations transitioning to new and upgraded facilities. These include a purpose built mail screening room, a new operations control room and modifications to internal security points. These upgrades have improved the effectiveness of security operations.
A second security risk review of information security arrangements in Parliament House was completed in 2010–11 and many of the recommendations have been implemented. Further work will be undertaken in 2011–12 to consolidate an overarching security policy framework for Parliament House.
Changes to parking arrangements in the Parliamentary zone led to some overcrowding on Parliament House car parks. Consequently, new car parking arrangements were implemented for the Parliament House visitor car park. These changes have improved the ability for tourist and business visitors to access the Federal Parliament. Other changes were implemented in the passholder car parks in the Senate side and House of Representatives side to improve the availability of car parking for building occupants.
A survey of local and international visitors was conducted to gauge expectations and opinions. As a result, a program of improvements to the visitor services program has been developed and will be implemented in 2011–12.
The Health and Recreation Centre commenced an upgrade of ageing and dated equipment and also introduced a wider variety of fitness classes for members. Health and wellbeing services to building occupants were further supported by a rolling program of health promotions and assessments, often in partnership with national health organisations.
The Capital Hill Early Childhood Centre continued to perform well in its second full year of operation and is reporting at or near capacity bookings. The licence agreement with Anglicare has been extended for a further three years.
Infrastructure Services Branch
The Infrastructure Services Branch (ISB) looks after the building and provides utility services such as electricity, heating and cooling and hydraulic services, as well as IT services for the Parliament, and telephony and broadcasting equipment.
The Maintenance Services section operates and maintains the electricity, heating and cooling and hydraulic services as well as the exterior and interior of the building and Parliament House’s landscape. The section also maintains engineering drawings and the technical manual library.
The Client Support section services the needs of over 4,800 registered IT users in Parliament House and the electorate offices. These services include IT training and assistance, most commonly through the Client Support 2020 help desk. The section is responsible for second line support of software and hardware, desktop and mobile computing devices, printers, televisions and pagers, as well as information and communications technology (ICT) purchasing and asset management.
The Computing Services section manages the central computer facilities: computer rooms; server and storage hardware; system and data backup and restoration; database, application and website support; software deployment to workstations and notebooks; IT change control; ICT security operations; and computer account management. The Information Technology Security Adviser (ITSA) role assists the Chamber departments with their ITSA functions and manages IT security.
The Communication Networks section provides data and voice communications services to building occupants. This involves managing data network services such as connection from the desktop to the network servers, internet and connections to electorate offices. The section also manages voice communications services including fixed line telephones and mobile phone coverage within Parliament House.
The Broadcasting Infrastructure Support section provides technical and maintenance support for the Parliament’s broadcasting systems: television and radio production facilities; audio and video recording; public address systems for Chambers and committee rooms; the internal multi-channel radio and television system; internet broadcasting; Emergency Warning and Intercommunication System (EWIS); division bells and lights; and portable recording equipment for interstate committees.
Infrastructure Services Branch highlights and achievements
DPS and the Department of Finance and Deregulation (Finance) worked collaboratively through 2010–11 to achieve a smooth transfer of responsibility for electorate office IT services from Finance to DPS, including the transfer of five electorate office support staff to DPS. The full transfer process is expected to be completed in the second half of 2011. This will provide a ‘single point of contact’ for provision of IT services to all users of the parliamentary computing network (PCN).
The wireless network coverage in the building, which was initially limited to the committee rooms and Chamber areas, was expanded in 2010–11 to cover all of the Senate and House of Representatives wings. Wireless access to the PCN, including for iPad and iPhone devices, is now available in most parts of the building.
The internet gateway infrastructure was successfully upgraded in February 2011 as the first stage of a total network refresh. Upgrade of other network components is well advanced. The objectives of the upgrade are high-speed connectivity, high availability and internet protocol version 6 (IPv6) readiness.
Two major core broadcasting systems (the Camera Robotic and Broadcast Cameras systems) were successfully replaced in 2010–11. Significant progress was also made in upgrading the committee rooms audio and sound reinforcement systems, which are expected to be completed by December 2011.
Maintenance Services underwent a restructure with the creation of the Director, Maintenance Strategy and Planning position, responsible for building information and maintenance planning. Mechanical Services, Landscape Services, Electrical Services, Building Fabric Services and Maintenance Contracts sections continue to be under the responsibility of the Director, Maintenance Operations.
With the easing of water restrictions in late 2010, we were able to complete cleaning of the exterior in June 2011. Cleaning of the external facade of the building had not been carried out due to water restrictions since 2006.
Several water features were recommissioned and others had durable timber decking covers installed. The timber cover installation is continuing into 2011–12 and will be completed by August 2011.
A new Mechanical Services Workshop and a new machinery shed for Landscape Services were completed as a part of the new Loading Dock mail screening room project.
IT security issues were a major focus for IT support staff for much of the year, with considerable internal resources devoted to IT security activities. We expect IT security to be a continuing priority.
Several new ICT initiatives were deployed for users of the PCN, including the automation of the user account request and creation process; the integration and deployment of a new system for the creation and publishing of Hansard; and a new system for the management of helpdesk requests.
A pilot was conducted to test the benefits of accessing PCN email, calendar and diary services from personally owned mobile computing devices (iPad and iPhones). As a result of the pilot, a production rollout to Senators and Members commenced in June 2011. The expansion of this service to staff of Senators and Members and other parliamentary staff will continue in 2011–12.
A major computing infrastructure upgrade during the year was the migration from a physical server environment to a virtual server environment. This upgrade has the benefit of reducing space utilisation within the computer room to allow for future growth. It also provides better business continuity options and allows for faster deployment and expansion of ICT services. The project reduced the number of physical servers by 215.
Content Management Branch
The Content Management Branch (CMB) is responsible for broadcasting and archiving the audiovisual record of Chamber and committee proceedings, and for producing the Hansard record. CMB also coordinates the management of DPS records and knowledge.
The Broadcasting Content section produces and distributes live audio and video coverage of all proceedings of the two Chambers and the Main Committee of the House of Representatives. It televises selected parliamentary committee proceedings in Parliament House; provides audio coverage of hearings held in other venues around Australia; and a public address system for these venues; as well as systems for the hearing-impaired in many locations within Parliament House. The proceedings are broadcast internally and also webcast via the internet.
The Hansard section transcribes and prepares for publishing reports of proceedings in both Chambers and the Main Committee of the House of Representatives, as well as all parliamentary committee hearings.
The Knowledge Management section is responsible for the document and records management of DPS, ensuring DPS complies with the Archives Act 1983; with audit recommendations for records management; and with Commonwealth Intellectual Property Principles. It also has responsibility for developing and disseminating policy and guidelines to ensure compliance with web content legislation and best practice.
CMB highlights and achievements
The highlight for CMB this year was the implementation of a new Hansard Production System (HPS). As well as replacing an old system that was becoming difficult to support, the new system includes several exciting innovations.
The new HPS has a data-streaming capability allowing Senators and Members to view draft transcripts as they are being produced, almost in real time. Senators and Members can also elect to receive Hansard transcripts as whole speeches or individual ‘turns’. The new system is more flexible than the previous one and links directly to parliamentary applications such as the Centralised Parliamentarians’ Address List (CPAL), Bills List and ParlInfo Search. CMB expects transcript production to be quicker, more efficient and cost effective.
A notable anniversary for Hansard occurred on 9 May 2011. This was the 110th anniversary of the establishment of the federal government Hansard in Australia. To mark the occasion,
Ms Karen Greening, Acting Assistant Secretary, Content Management Branch, presented the Secretary, Mr Alan Thompson, with the first two volumes of bound Hansards.
In 2010–11, a new ‘away’ kit was developed for Broadcasting staff. The kit facilitates audio recording of committees whenever they meet away from Parliament House. The new kits provide a high-quality, cost-effective broadcast facility that weighs much less than the old ‘away’ kit.
Another significant achievement has been the digitisation of approximately 55,000 hours of broadcast video tapes, which was largely completed in 2010–11. This work is being undertaken as part of the Audio Visual Asset Management and Archiving (AVAMA) Project, which will provide a facility to capture (record), manage, archive and distribute audiovisual and audio-only broadcast content. This content includes parliamentary material from 1991 and includes Chamber and committee proceedings, as well as significant special events.
There were two major focuses for CMB Knowledge Management in 2010–11: the implementation of a DPS-wide Electronic Document and Records Management System (EDRMS), and a ‘file sentencing’ program. The EDRMS provides DPS staff with a tool to manage their work-related electronic information. Old paper-based files have become largely a thing of the past and DPS staff can now keep a record of the work they do on electronic files. Before the EDRMS was fully implemented, about 3,500 hardcopy files were created each year. This number had dropped to around 450 by the end of 2010–11, indicating a significant reduction and saving in paper use. Approximately 96,300 electronic documents were registered in the EDRMS during the financial year, again saving a large amount of paper.
The sentencing program involved disposing of old paper-based files in compliance with the requirements of the Archives Act 1983. The Act provides guidance for DPS on how long records must be retained. The sentencing program involved assessing the retention periods of a large number of paper records and disposing of those that were no longer required. This essential sentencing program ensures that physical storage costs are kept to a minimum. During the year, approximately 2,660 files were sentenced, which equates to a saving of around 89 linear metres of storage space.
The Projects Branch is responsible for the management and delivery of most capital works projects within DPS. The branch also manages the Parliament House Art Collection (PHAC).
The Project Management Office (PMO) works with senior managers in Parliament House to develop the annual and multi-year capital works program. It monitors and reports against the program to ensure objectives are achieved. The PMO is also responsible for ensuring all projects are managed using a controlled project management methodology called Prince2 (Projects in Controlled Environments).
The Building and Security Projects section manages the delivery of building, engineering and security projects relating to the refurbishment, modification, upgrade, replacement or new works in Parliament House and in the Parliamentary Precincts.
The Technology Projects section manages projects relating to the installation and implementation of IT, broadcasting, communication and security technology.
The Art Services section manages the PHAC, including artworks acquisitions, collection conservation and managing access to artworks for display in Parliament House. The PHAC comprises a number of stand-alone collections including the Rotational Collection, Architectural Commissions, Historic Memorials Collection (HMC), Gift Collection, Constitutional Documents and the Archive.
Projects highlights and achievements
The branch continued to deliver against the current capital works program of necessary replacement and improvement works, as well as upgrades to physical security. A strong emphasis was placed on planning and stakeholder engagement to ensure work was carried out with no disruption to Parliamentary proceedings.
The building is approaching a period of ‘block obsolescence’ with the concurrent ageing of a block of building components. This has necessitated a major program of infrastructure renewals and replacement, particularly around the building’s mechanical and electrical systems, and the ICT and broadcasting infrastructure.
The $60 million capital works, or asset investment program, for 2010–11 was developed following a rigorous planning, prioritisation and review process. The process ensured consideration was given to compliance and regulatory requirements in areas such as safety, disability and building standards that have changed since Parliament House was built. The program was discussed with key internal and external stakeholders, including the principal design architect, Mr Giurgola, to ensure consideration of design intent and architectural alignment were considered throughout the life of the program. The program also provided opportunities to consider new solutions that would improve the building’s overall environmental performance and reduce utility costs.
The 2010–11 capital works program was delivered by qualified and experienced project managers to ensure time, cost and customer expectations were met.
Specifically, Building and Security Projects section expended $20 million in administered capital funds over the year. Projects included replacement of three of the building’s original chillers that provide chilled water to cool the building. The new chillers will improve reliability of the airconditioning system and provide substantial efficiency gains, thereby reducing energy consumption and green house gas emissions.
External and underground car park lights were replaced to improve road and pedestrian safety and upgrade existing electrical components that were worn and, in some places, unsafe. More than 2,200 car park lights and associated wiring had deteriorated over time due to heat damage, presenting a serious safety hazard to our maintenance staff. The replacement program provided an opportunity to introduce new long-life energy-efficient fittings with up to 40% reduction in energy consumption and 60% savings in maintenance costs.
A pilot of solar photovoltaic cells was installed on the gardeners compound and Senate wing roof to help us understand the impact of integrating alternative energy solutions within Parliament House. The pilot provides 43kW of power. It is a good sized test bed, but quite small when compared to the building’s base electricity demand of 2000kW and peak of 7000kW on a hot day. All energy generated is used by the building, thereby providing modest reductions in electricity costs and greenhouse gas emissions. Savings in the electricity bill will cover the cost of the solar technology in around 10 years, though what we learn from the project will also enable us to make more informed and considered assessments of future options.
New office accommodation was developed behind the Staff Dining Room to accommodate up to 65 staff. The new accomodation has allowed us to re-accomodate DPS staff who had been displaced by the new Parliament House Briefing Room and staff who had been working in basement offices. A little-used staff recreation area, along with a partially excavated area functioning as an air plenum and crawl space, have been transformed into light and modern above-ground accommodation that meets Commonwealth accommodation guidelines. We have also taken the opportunity to consolidate most of the Projects Branch in the new space and relocate various other business units, mostly along the first floor of the Senate wing.
The security review conducted by the Attorney-General’s Department in 2009 has led to a program of works that is being carried out over two financial years. Work completed in 2010–11 included construction of a new mail screening facility, new doors leading from the Marble Foyer to the private areas of the building, and enhancements to security in the car parks, including a refurbishment of the entry point leading from the public car park.
The Technology Projects section invested over $40 million in ‘departmental’ capital investments in 2010–11. A major undertaking has been the replacement of the building’s IT network. The project spans two financial years and includes the installation of around 400 kilometres of cabling to support future increased network traffic throughout the building. The project has also delivered a new gateway, which will strengthen the security of internet services into the building.
The wireless network project was also completed. In 2010–11 this project expanded wireless IT access to all suites in the Senate and House of Representatives wings. This has provided building occupants with access to information while they are on the move within the building and at ‘point-of-need’, including from laptops and iPads.
A new Hansard Production System (HPS) has replaced the 10-year-old system, which was becoming increasingly unreliable. The new HPS has been designed for ease of use and faster delivery of Hansard transcripts to Senators, Members and the Australian public through the Parliament’s website.
A number of projects focused on the improvement of broadcasting and digital media services across Parliament House, including replacement of the old broadcast cameras and robotic control systems used in the production of Chamber, committee and special events television coverage.
A project to digitise the entire collection of parliamentary broadcast records is nearing completion. The records were previously held on 18,000 ageing videotapes and covered about 55,000 hours of footage. When completed, the content will not only be preserved, but also searchable and accessible to Senators, Members and the Australian public through the Parliament’s website.
The new art collection management system, implemented in 2010–11, has provided improved functionality and searchability for Art Services staff, along with better arrangements for ongoing support and maintenance.
The Art Services section was also busy with the changeover of a substantial number of artworks from Members’ suites arising from the 2010 federal election.
Six temporary exhibitions were mounted in the Presiding Officers’ Exhibition Area, including: Devotion, Daring and Sense of Destiny: Surveyors of the Early Commonwealth and Lines That Speak: Architectural Drawings of Romaldo Giurgola.
A number of the permanent displays within public areas of Parliament House were upgraded during the year. The display of HMC portraits in Members’ Hall was expanded to accommodate more portraits of former Prime Ministers, and the display of ‘parliamentary firsts’ was relocated and enlarged to include portrait busts of Edmund Barton, the first Prime Minister, and Lord Hopetoun, the first Governor-General.
Additionally, there were 125 artworks from the PHAC on external loan at 30 June 2011.
Chief Finance Officer Branch
The Chief Finance Officer Branch (CFOB) provides advice to the Executive, Assistant Secretaries and other DPS managers on a range of corporate issues including compliance with statutory requirements and is the ‘engine room’ for all financial transactions. CFOB comprises three sections.
The Finance section provides financial information supporting internal management decision-making. Key services include compiling monthly and annual financial statements, monthly management reports; internal and external budgeting; performing a treasury function; and providing asset and taxation management. The section is also responsible for accounts payable and receivable; developing and maintaining the Chief Executive’s Instructions (CEIs); Chief Executive’s Procedures (CEPs); and procedural guides, and maintaining the financial delegations. The Finance section includes the Logistics subsection, which receipts, tracks and delivers mail and other goods into Parliament House; records all outgoing consignments; and manages a waste service.
The Procurement and Contract Management (PCM) section provides advice on a range of procurement issues and manages the general services contracts. It develops and issues procurement and contract management policies to ensure legislative, regulatory and procedural obligations are observed. It also provides specialised procurement, contract development and tendering advice and services to ensure that value for money is being achieved in our various contracts.
The Governance and Business Management (GBM) section is responsible for risk and fraud management, internal audit functions, insurance, legal liaison, performance reporting and external statutory reporting, including portfolio budget statements and annual reports. The section provides secretariat support for the DPS Audit Committee and Joint House Committee. It also includes the role of the Parliamentary Service Liaison Officer (PSLO), a position funded jointly by the three parliamentary departments. The PSLO provides advice to the parliamentary departments on service-wide issues and matters related to the Parliamentary Service Act 1999.
Commencing in July 2011, a new Corporate Services Branch has been established which comprises the three sections of the previous CFO Branch, as well as HR Services.
CFOB highlights and achievements
During the reporting period, Finance staff completed unqualified financial statements for 2009–10. This excellent financial reporting result has helped DPS receive a ‘low risk’ accreditation by the Australian National Audit Office.
The Finance section has been working closely with the Department of Finance and Deregulation (Finance) to finalise the transfer of the Electorate Office information technology (EOIT) function from Finance to DPS.
During the year, the Logistics subsection moved from the Procurement and Contract Management (PCM) section to the Finance section. This move assisted in streamlining DPS’s internal procurement and goods receipting processes.
PCM staff delivered procurement services to support the Projects Branch achievement of a significant project program on the Capital Works Plan.
PCM continued to enhance effective, efficient, economical and ethical procurement activity within DPS, through a strong procurement governance framework and by reviewing procurement policy and procedure.
GBM further streamlined the business planning framework to improve operational reporting against objectives.
DPS increased its score in the Comcover risk management benchmarking survey to 7.0, an increase from the previous year’s score of 5.9. This above-average score reflects the strength of the existing policy and framework, and the improvements in DPS’s risk management processes, particularly in the areas of training and business continuity planning.
DPS’s business continuity plans were exercised for the first time in 2010–11.
Corporate sections reporting to Secretary and Parliamentary Librarian
Strategy and Communication
The Strategy and Communication section develops and oversees high-level strategy and policy development for DPS. The section began in 2009–10 with a range of both operational and strategic responsibilities and has progressively refocused to undertake environmental scanning and analysis; develop strategy and
high-level policies; and facilitate effective internal communication for DPS.
This strategic focus led to the transfer of further operational tasks to other sections and positions in 2010–11. This included the transfer of the Parliamentary Service Liaison Officer, to the Governance and Business Management section in the CFO Branch.
Heritage management has been a priority for the section, including an assessment of existing design integrity and heritage management activities. This has led to the role of Heritage Manager being re-titled as Assistant Director Strategy and focussing on overall strategy. The first major initiative for this role was the development of the draft Heritage Management Framework, which describes and assesses the heritage values of Parliament House, and will guide the development of strategies and plans that protect and raise awareness of those heritage values.
The section has also incorporated a new role to facilitate communication internally and externally. This role is responsible for conducting client and staff surveys, both of which will occur in 2011–12. Based on these surveys, an overall communication plan will be finalised.
Achievements of the Strategy and Communication section for 2010–11 included:
- working with the Executive Committee to ensure the implementation of the DPS Strategic Plan 2010–2013 first year initiatives;
- working with stakeholders to develop the draft Heritage Management Framework;
- managing the project to consolidate DPS staff accommodation—this initiative included the relocation of staff from an off-site location back into Parliament House and the relocation of 31 staff from the basement to above-ground accommodation;
- providing input into the installation of trial solar panels on Parliament House;
- reviewing the DPS Services Catalogue in consultation with the other parliamentary departments; and
- working with the Executive Office to consult with DPS staff on matters relating to communication, environmental improvements and strategic planning ideas for the next 10 years. Many initiatives suggested by staff have already been implemented.
Human Resource Services
HR Services provides a range of human resource services for DPS including policy development, recruitment, training, health and safety, management of ill and injured employees and HR records management.
HR Services also manages a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of the House of Representatives for the provision of a payroll service to DPS. 2010–11 has been the first full year of this service and has provided an opportunity for DPS to realise some savings.
The highlights and achievements for 2010–11 included:
- effective management of compensation cases, resulting in a significant decrease in the Comcare premium;
- support for BSB and ISB on people matters as a consequence of restructuring within those branches;
- a move to digital record keeping for all HR records using TRIM; and
- the commencement and significant progress towards a new employment agreement for DPS.
Commencing in July 2011 HR Services became part of the new Corporate Services Branch.