Department of Parliamentary Services Annual Report 2011-2012

Part 3 Report on performance



Program 4—Parliamentary records services

Introduction

Program 4 of the DPS Outcome and Programs Framework is the provision of access to the work of the Parliament through audio-visual and Hansard records of proceedings of Parliament. Two subprograms—broadcasting services and Hansard services—contribute to Program 4.

Broadcasting services—subprogram 4.1

Broadcasting services provided by DPS involve the production and archiving of audio-visual records of parliamentary proceedings in the chambers—the Senate, House of Representatives and Federation Chamber—and committees, when committee hearings are held in venues at Parliament House that have audio-visual facilities.

DPS broadcasting services provides feeds to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) which has an obligation in accordance with the Parliamentary Proceedings Broadcasting Act 1946 to transmit, via radio, the proceedings of the Senate and House of Representatives Chambers.

Table 3.16 shows the level of customer satisfaction with Broadcasting services.

Customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction about Broadcasting services remains at a very high level, with one customer complaint in each of the last three years. The 2012 Customer Survey indicates a high level of satisfaction with Broadcasting services, with 88% of respondents indicating they are satisfied or very satisfied with the services provided.

Table 3.17 shows the number of hours of audio-visual material created, and the number of broadcast services provided during 2011–12.

Broadcasting services

Chambers

During 2011–12, DPS Broadcasting services supported an increased number of sitting hours (488 more than for 2010–11). This was achieved by improvements made to the way Broadcasting utilised its staff, including:

Table 3.16—Broadcasting services—subprogram 4.1—quality indicator

Quality indicator

Measure

Performance

2009–10

2010–11

2011–12

Customer satisfaction

High level of customer satisfaction

N/A7

88%

 

Number of customer complaints

1

1

1

Table 3.17—Broadcasting services—subprogram 4.1—quantity indicator

Quantity indicator

Measure

Performance

2009–10

2010–11

2011–12

Broadcasting services

Hours of material captured on audiovisual record, by category:

 

a) chambers

1,341

1,138

1,626

 

b) committees
(ACT hearings)

1,235

1,396

2,0028

 

c) committees
(interstate hearings)

956

565

9589

 

Number of other productions

909

742

636

 

Number of audiovisual services

1,352

1,190

1,212

 

Number of master control services

1,582

1,878

2,109

 

Number of requests for extracts of parliamentary broadcast material

1,162

1,462

2,351

Committees

Committee activity achieved historically high levels in 2011–12 due to increased sitting hours. DPS staff provided audio-only or audio-visual support to hearings within the ACT and audio-only support to hearings across Australia, including capital cities and many regional areas.

Other productions

In addition to supporting the sittings of the Parliament and its committees, DPS provides media production services for other events held in Parliament House. In 2011–12, this included acting as host broadcaster for the visit of the President of the United States to Parliament House, and the parliamentary reception for Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh.

Audio-visual services

The audio-visual services include sound reinforcement and recording of functions, meetings, seminars and special events. This service includes providing audio-visual equipment to clients in Parliament House. DPS provided 1,212 services in 2011–12, a slight increase from the 1,190 of the previous year.

Master control services

DPS also provides master control services to external media organisations to broadcast selected parliamentary proceedings and other special events. The number of these services increased from 1,878 in 2010–11 to 2,109 in 2011–12.

Requests for extracts of parliamentary broadcast material

DPS provides multimedia files of parliamentary proceedings to Senators and Members, the media and the public, on request. The number of requests has increased significantly from 1,245 in 2008–09 to 2,351 in 2011–12.

Table 3.18 shows the price indicators for Broadcasting services.

Broadcasting services—cost

There was a 43% increase in audio-visual recording for the Senate and the House of Representatives for 2011–12 compared to 2010–11. The decreased cost per hour of audio-visual recording for 2011–12 is due to fixed costs being spread over increased activity.

In 2011–12, the cost of other productions decreased by 22% to $379,448. This was due to a decrease in demand for these services.

Cost recovery from other productions

DPS recovered $320,085 through charging for services provided to clients for non-parliamentary business. The revenue decreased by approximately 10%, primarily due to increased parliamentary business activities.

Table 3.18—Broadcasting services—subprogram 4.1—price indicators

Price Indicator

Measure

Performance

2009–10

2010–11

2011–12

Broadcasting services

Cost per hour of material captured on audiovisual record, by category:

 

a) Chambers

$718

$834

$657

 

b) committees (ACT hearings)

$841

$759

$501

 

c) committees (interstate hearings)

$838

$1,282

$871

 

Cost of other productions

$369,003

$488,156

$379,448

 

Cost recovery from other productions

$350,812

$355,981

$320,085

 

Total cost of subprogram 4.1

$6.440m

$6.787m

$6.408

Hansard services—program 4.2

Hansard services comprise transcribing and publishing reports of proceedings in the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Federation

Chamber (second chamber of the House of Representatives) and parliamentary committees as well as preparing transcripts of some ministerial and Parliament-related conferences. Hansard has a number of contractors to whom it outsources some committee transcription work during peak periods in order to provide a timely service to its clients. Table 3.19 shows the level of quality of the Hansard services in terms of customer satisfaction and accuracy and timeliness of the Hansard product (transcription).

Table 3.19—Hansard services—subprogram 4.2—quality indicators

Quality indicator

Measure

Performance

2009–10

2010–11

2011–12

Customer satisfaction

High level of customer satisfaction

N/A10

86%

 

Number of customer complaints

2

4

2

Accuracy of transcription

Error rate as notified by customers
(target: maximum of 5 errors per 100 pages transcribed):

 

a) Chambers

2.6 errors

3.9 errors

2.9 errors

 

b) committees

1.3 errors

6.2 errors

11.0 errors

Timeliness of transcription

Percentage of transcripts delivered for Chambers within service standards (target: 95%):

 

a) individual draft speeches
(2 hours after speech finishes)

96.2%

83.2%

86.0%

 

b) electronic proof Hansard reports (within 3 hours after House rises)

94.2%

71.9%

82.8%

 

c) hard-copy proof Hansard reports (available in Parliament House by 8:30 am the following sitting day)

100.0%

98.8%

98.4%

 

d) electronic official Hansard (15 non-sitting working days following the last sitting day in the week)

100.0%

72.6%

100%

 

e) hard-copy of official Hansard (delivered to publisher within 15 non-sitting working days following the last sitting day in the week)

100.0%

70.3%

96.4%

Timeliness of transcription

Percentage of transcripts delivered for committees within the following standards (target: 95%). Transcripts for priority committees [a) and b) below] are negotiated with the Clerk Assistant, Committees:

 

a) within 24 hours

100.0%

76.2%

93.8%

 

b) 1–3 days

99.0%

63.8%

96.0%

 

c) 3–5 days

100.0%

68.9%

88.6%

 

d) over 5 days

100.0%

100%

N/A

Customer satisfaction

The 2012 customer survey showed that 86% of respondents are satisfied or very satisfied with the services provided by Hansard.

Hansard received two customer complaints in 2011–12, a reduction of two from the four received in 2010–11. The complaints related to a correction of grammar, and service level.

Accuracy of transcription

Hansard error rates are based on the number of corrections to draft chamber speeches returned by Senators and Members or corrections to committee transcripts made by witnesses and accepted as Hansard errors. Hansard’s standard is five errors per 100 pages of transcript. The error rate for the chambers has improved over 2011–12; however there has been an increase in the transcript error rate for committees. This is mainly due to shortcomings in the audibility of some interstate hearing recordings using 3G technology. Another reason for the increase in error rates is attributed to the new HPS that was implemented in May 2011 and, during 2011–12, a number of teething problems with the HPS affected the quality and timeliness of Hansard transcripts.

Timeliness of transcription

Chambers

During the first six months of the new HPS, there were a number of system issues that led to a decline in timeliness. As these issues were addressed, delivery times for transcripts improved. Further improvements to the system were identified and a project to address the issues has commenced. It is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2012–13.

Committees

Despite the increase in committee transcription error rates referred to above, the use of 3G technology to stream sound from almost all interstate hearings back to Canberra has enabled Hansard to produce transcripts of hearings within tight timeframes. Until this technology was introduced, transcripts could generally not be commenced until a recording of the hearing was returned to Parliament House.

Table 3.20—Hansard services—subprogram 4.2—quantity indicators

Quantity Indicator

Measure

Performance

 

 

2009–10

2010–11

2011–12

Transcription services

Number of hours transcribed, by category:

 

a) Chambers

1,341

1,138

1,626

 

b) committees (ACT hearings)

1,235

1,396

2,002

 

c) committees (interstate hearings)

956

565

958

Questions on Notice

Number of pages of answers to Questions on Notice or Questions in Writing in proof Hansard

1,675

966

1,234

Table 3.20 shows the number of hours of transcript by chamber and committee categories, and the number of pages of answers to Questions on Notice (Senate) and Questions in Writing (House of Representatives).

Transcription services

Chambers

DPS provides transcription services to the chambers. Chamber sitting hours have increased from 2010–11; however, DPS has successfully met this increased demand while maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction by:

Committees

DPS is responsible for transcribing all parliamentary committees, many of which sit interstate. Committee transcripts make up more than 60 per cent of Hansard’s workload. Sitting hours of parliamentary committees increased from 1,961 in 2010–11 to 2,960 this year. Despite the increase in sitting hours, Hansard maintained a high level of service to committees and also improved performance against accuracy and timeliness indicators.

Questions on Notice

Hansard prepares Questions on Notice (Senate) and Questions in Writing (House of Representatives) for publishing. As was the case for other Hansard transcription services, there was an increase in the number of Questions on Notice and Questions in Writing for the year 2011–12.

Table 3.21—Hansard services—subprogram 4.2—price indicators

Price Indicator

Measure

Performance

2009–10

2010–11

2011–12

Hansard services

Cost per hour transcribed, by category:

 

a) Chambers

$2,360

$3,587

$1,937

 

b) committees (ACT hearings)

$1,830

$2,669

$1,342

 

c) committees (interstate hearings)

$1,958

$2,769

$1,524

 

Total cost of subprogram 4.2

$10.862m

$10.503m
(-3.3%)

$10.737m
(+2.2%)

Table 3.21 provides information on the cost of Hansard services.

Hansard services—price

There was a 43% increase in the number of chamber hours, and a 51% increase in the number of committee hours for 2011–12 compared to 2010–11. The decreased cost per hour of Hansard transcribing for 2011–12 is due to fixed costs being spread over increased activity.


7. DPS conducts a customer satisfaction survey once for each Parliament and, as such, figures for 2009–10 or 2010–11 were not reported. 
8. Not all ACT committee hearing records are audio-visual records. Some are audio only, used to prepare the Hansard transcript and kept for a short period.
9. Records for interstate committee hearings are audio only, used to prepare Hansard transcripts and kept for a short period. 
10. DPS conducts a customer satisfaction survey once for each Parliament and, as such, figures for 2009–10 or 2010–11 were not reported.



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