Part 6—Management and accountability

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Part 6—Management and accountability

This Part provides information on the Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS) management and corporate governance practices, and how we meet our accountability obligations. It includes several specific reports required under Commonwealth legislation.

Corporate governance

Introduction

The President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives (The Presiding Officers) have joint powers in relation to DPS similar, but not identical, to those of a Minister administering a department of state. Parliamentary departments are distinct from government departments, in that they serve the Parliament, not the Government, and operate under the Parliamentary Service Act 1999, not the Public Service Act 1999.

The Presiding Officers are assisted by the Joint House Committee, the Joint Standing Committee on the Parliamentary Library, the Security Management Board, the Presiding Officers' Information Technology Advisory Group and the Art Advisory Committee. The role of each of these committees is outlined below.

Committees advising the Presiding Officers

Joint House Committee

The Joint House Committee (JHC) consists of the members of the House Committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Members of those committees are appointed under Senate Standing Order 21 and House of Representatives Standing Order 327 respectively. The two committees meet together as the Joint House Committee.

The JHC advises the Presiding Officers on the provision of services and amenities to Senators, Members and staff located in Parliament House.

Security Management Board

The Security Management Board (SMB) is established pursuant to section 65A of the Parliamentary Service Amendment Act 2005. The function of the SMB is to provide advice to the Presiding Officers on security policy and the management of security measures for Parliament House.

Membership of the SMB is as follows:

  • the Secretary of DPS;
  • the Usher of the Black Rod; and
  • the Serjeant-at-Arms.

In addition, the SMB may invite representatives of organisations involved in the development of security policy and provision of security services to Parliament House to attend meetings. Representatives include officials from the Australian Federal Police, the Attorney-General's Department, the Department of Finance and Deregulation as well as DPS.

Joint Standing Committee on the Parliamentary Library

The Joint Standing Committee on the Parliamentary Library was re-established for the 42nd Parliament by motions of the Senate and the House of Representatives on 12 February 2008.

At the commencement of each Parliament, six Senators and seven Members of the House of Representatives are appointed to the committee.

Information about the role and functions of the Joint Standing Committee on the Parliamentary Library, including its terms of reference, can be found in Part 3 of this report.

Presiding Officers' Information Technology Advisory Group

The Presiding Officers' Information Technology Advisory Group (POITAG) comprises seven Senators and eight Members of the House of Representatives, appointed at the commencement of each Parliament.

POITAG's terms of reference are to:

  1. identify and advise the Presiding Officers on the information and communication technology (ICT) requirements of Senators and Members;
  2. monitor and assess the performance of those areas of the parliamentary administration providing ICT-related services; and
  3. advise and assist the Presiding Officers on issues relating to the efficient and cost-effective use of ICT in the Parliament.
Art Advisory Committee

The purpose of the Art Advisory Committee (AAC) is to assist the Presiding Officers in determining the suitability of artworks for addition to the Rotational Collection within the Parliament House Art Collection (PHAC).

Membership of the AAC includes:

  • the Presiding Officers;
  • the Deputy President;
  • the Deputy Speaker; and
  • the Secretary of DPS.

AAC meetings are attended by an independent art adviser from the staff of the National Gallery of Australia.

The AAC's terms of reference are to:

  1. provide guidance on the Rotational Collection Acquisition Policy, and set short-term priorities for acquisitions;
  2. assess acquisition proposals in accordance with the acquisition policy and priorities; and
  3. provide advice on other matters relating to the display and management of artworks in the Parliament House Art Collection as considered necessary by the Presiding Officers.

DPS committees

Strategy and Finance Committee

The Strategy and Finance Committee (SFC) is an essential part of DPS's corporate governance arrangements, and consists of the Secretary, the Deputy Secretary, the Parliamentary Librarian, the Chief Finance Officer and the Assistant Secretary, Strategy and Business Services Branch[32].

The role of the SFC includes:

  1. deciding the strategies and strategic policies of DPS, and monitoring their implementation;
  2. coordinating DPS input into whole-of-Parliament operational and strategic issues;
  3. formulating DPS policy on all financial matters;
  4. allocating annual budgets, and reallocating funding during the year as required;
  5. monitoring financial performance; and
  6. allocating asset replacement and administered funds to approved projects to be delivered by DPS and monitoring the progress of approved projects for expenditure of asset replacement and administered funds.
Executive Committee

The Secretary is assisted in the management of the department by the Executive Committee (EC), which includes the Deputy Secretary, Parliamentary Librarian and all DPS Branch Managers. The Executive Committee advises the Secretary and the Parliamentary Librarian on policy and operational matters affecting DPS as a whole or affecting significant parts of DPS.

This committee considers the development and implementation of the DPS governance framework and associated processes, including risk management and business planning. The EC also deals with a range of policy matters in areas such as Occupational Health and Safety, environmental issues, and departmental organisation issues.

Discussion at the Executive Committee informs decisions of the Strategy and Finance Committee.

The committee also acts as a communication tool and venue for discussing major departmental events.

The Assistant Secretaries relay information about the activities of the Executive Committee to their staff. Minutes of meetings are also published on the intranet (DPS Staff Portal).

Audit Committee

The Audit Committee (AC) is an important part of DPS's corporate governance arrangements. Its primary responsibilities are to:

  1. ensure DPS compliance with obligations under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (FMA Act), associated Financial Management and Accountability Act Regulations 1997 (FMA Act Regulations) and the Finance Minister's Orders (FMO);
  2. oversee, on behalf of the Executive, the integrity of DPS financial reporting controls and other procedures or systems for the management of risk and good governance; and
  3. provide a forum of communication between the DPS Secretary, senior DPS managers and DPS internal and external auditors.

The Audit Committee comprises an independent chair, Mr Will Laurie, and between three and five senior DPS managers appointed for two-year terms.

During 2008-09, five DPS members served on the AC—the Deputy Secretary, the Parliamentary Librarian, and the Assistant Secretary of the Strategy and Business Services Branch for the whole year. The Assistant Secretary from the Product and Service Development Branch served until December 2008 and was replaced by the Assistant Secretary of the Content Management Branch (in January 2009).

The Chief Finance Officer, representatives of the Australian National Audit Office and our internal auditors also attend Audit Committee meetings.

During the reporting period, DPS tendered for the provision of internal audit services. The contract with the successful tenderer, WalterTurnbull Pty Ltd, was signed on 30 March 2009.

Although the tendering process led to a slight reduction in the internal audit program, the Audit Committee continued its reviews of financial, procurement and personnel processes for DPS. In addition, the committee reviewed a range of matters relating to information technology systems and projects, and continued reviewing aspects of risk management and fraud control.

Audits conducted during the reporting year made a number of recommendations directed at enhancing efficiency and effectiveness. No serious problems were identified. The AC monitors implementation of the recommendations.

Risk management, fraud control and the certificate of compliance are standing items on the committee's agenda, and were considered progressively throughout the year.

The Audit Committee met five times during 2008-09. Members' attendance at the meetings is set out in the table below.

Figure 54—Audit Committee attendance

Member

Position

Meeting attendance

attended

out of

Mr Will Laurie

Independent Chair

5

5

Mr David Kenny

Deputy Secretary

4

5

Ms Roxanne Missingham

Parliamentary Librarian

4

5

Ms Freda Hanley

Assistant Secretary, Product and Service Development Branch

2

3

Ms Therese Lynch

Assistant Secretary, Content Management Branch

2

2

Mr Terry Crane

Assistant Secretary, Strategy and Business Services Branch

5

5

Other governance matters

Risk management

DPS made substantial progress in the implementation of its revised Risk Management Policy and Framework in 2008-09. New risk assessment documentation and templates were produced and made available to staff. The documentation was used to undertake a DPS fraud risk assessment in November 2008 and a non-fraud risk assessment in February and March 2009.

To assist DPS staff to undertake risk assessments, a series of detailed tip sheets were published on the intranet (DPS Staff Portal). It was regularly updated with new content during 2008-09.

DPS participated in the Comcover 2009 Risk Management Benchmarking Survey. Our score improved from 5.3 in 2008 to 6.9 in 2009, reflecting progress in the implementation of the Risk Management Policy and Framework and further improvements to business continuity planning.

Staff throughout DPS continued to participate in 2008-09 in training provided by Comcover on various aspects of risk management. Recent course topics included risk sharing, risk management fundamentals and business continuity management.

DPS made good progress in the development of business continuity plans. In 2008-09 15 plans were identified as high priority, and by June 2009 13 had been finalised. The other two are in draft form. DPS is now preparing to exercise elements of the plans by simulating various scenarios.

DPS also continued work on developing a Parliament-wide business continuity plan. An alternative venue has been selected and DPS has begun preparing detailed plans to facilitate a sitting of Parliament at the site.

Fraud control

There were three instances of fraud reported in 2008-09 and all were of a minor nature. They were dealt with by the processes contained in the DPS Fraud Control Plan. No cases were found to be sufficiently serious to be referred to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

DPS undertook a fraud risk assessment and produced a new Fraud Control Plan in late 2008 in accordance with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines. The 2009-11 Fraud Control Plan is available to all DPS staff through the intranet (DPS Staff Portal).

A number of fraud-related articles were published in the DPS Dispatch newsletter to maintain fraud awareness amongst staff during 2008. Further fraud awareness articles are planned for later in 2009.

As required by S.2.2 of the Financial Management and Accountability Orders 2008, DPS submitted a report on fraud control activities to the Presiding Officers in 2009.

Appropriate ethical standards

The standards embraced in DPS reflect the Parliamentary Service Values and Code of Conduct contained in the Parliamentary Service Act 1999. These are promoted in DPS corporate documents including the DPS Strategic Plan 2007-2010, DPS Fraud Control Policy and Framework, guidelines on the acceptance of gifts and benefits, procurement procedures, and other financial and human resource documents. Amongst other things, these documents outline the standards that are expected of employees in their day-to-day work and interactions with third parties, including tenderers and contractors.

Strategic plan

The DPS Strategic Plan 2007-10 provides high-level direction to guide branch business planning and priorities, and is intended to ensure that all DPS staff recognise, and share, a set of common goals for the future of the department. The plan is publicly available on the Parliament House web site at http://www.aph.gov.au.

Business planning

The DPS Business Planning Policy and Framework provides for the Strategy and Finance Committee to decide strategic business directions and priorities each year, and integrates information collected from other strategic, risk management and fraud control plans. Each branch develops an annual business plan that includes initiatives designed to deliver strategic, fraud, risk, and ongoing service objectives.

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DPS services catalogue

The DPS Services Catalogue provides a comprehensive overview of all services available to our customers and includes guidance on how to access the services and associated service level expectations.

The catalogue is available to all building occupants in hardcopy, or electronically on the intranet (DPS Staff Portal). It is also available on the Parliament House web site at http://www.aph.gov.au/dps/services.pdf.

People management and strategy

Staffing, salary and classification structures

Remuneration for Senior Executive Service (SES) employees

The remuneration for all SES employees during 2008-09 was prescribed in Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs), and took account of each employee's responsibilities within the department as well as SES pay levels elsewhere in the public sector.

The level of remuneration, and in some cases the conditions attaching to remuneration, vary from employee to employee, but in general terms all salary increases provided to SES employees depend upon a rating of fully effective or higher through the performance management arrangements. Salaries for SES positions range from $133,690 to $213,820.

Toward the end of 2008-09 the department commenced the process of transferring SES officers out of the AWA employment framework into a set of Determinations. The underpinning remuneration and other conditions were not changed in any material sense.

Performance-based salary advancement for non-SES staff

For non-SES staff, salary advancement is based on performance assessment of individuals as required by the certified agreements and performance management arrangements.

The collective agreement for DPS staff—the Department of Parliamentary Services Union Collective Agreement 2008-2011 (the Agreement)—came into operation on 30 October 2008. It replaced the Department of Parliamentary Services Certified Agreement 2005-2008 and the Department of Parliamentary Services (Parliamentary Security Service) Certified Agreement 2006-2008. The Agreement provides for salary advancement within a salary range subject to the achievement of an overall rating of effective or higher through the performance management arrangements.

Salary increases under the collective agreement

An increase in salary and allowances was paid under the Union Collective Agreement 2008-2011.

Overview of classification structures

Figure 55 sets out the non-SES classifications and salary ranges for DPS staff as at 30 June 2009.Staff progress through the salary range in 3.5% increments, based on performance.

Figure 55—Classification and salary ranges as at 30 June 2009

Classification

Salary range

Parliamentary Service Level 1

$39,865 - $46,430

Parliamentary Service Level 2

$47,359 - $50,842

Parliamentary Service Level 3

$51,973 - $54,311

Parliamentary Service Level 4

$55,397 - $60,195

Parliamentary Service Level 5

$61,399 - $65,871

Parliamentary Service Level 6

$67,188 - $75,514

Parliamentary Executive Level 1

$81,762 - $93,352

Parliamentary Executive Level 2

$95,219 - $112,905

Figure 56 sets out actual staff (a headcount), by classification (including the broad-banded and apprenticeship levels separately), as at 30 June 2009. It includes inoperative staff and staff acting at a higher level, for any period, as at 30 June 2009 (ie these staff are listed against their higher classification).

Figure 56—Staff numbers as at 30 June 2009

Classification

Ongoing F/T

Ongoing P/T

Non-ongoing F/T

Non-ongoing P/T

Casuals

Total

 

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

Total

Apprentice 1/2

0

0

0

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

1

1

2

Apprentice 2/3

0

0

0

0

4

0

0

0

0

0

4

0

4

PSL 1/2 DPS

84

6

29

3

0

0

0

0

13

1

126

10

136

PSL 2/3 DPS

29

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

29

0

29

PSL 4/5 DPS

3

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

3

2

5

PSL 5/6 DPS

14

23

6

19

0

0

0

0

0

0

20

42

62

PSL 1 DPS

9

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

5

9

14

9

23

PSL 2 DPS

14

15

8

21

2

1

0

0

2

0

26

37

63

PSL 3 DPS

36

22

0

5

0

0

0

0

0

0

36

27

63

PSL 4 DPS

58

33

2

5

1

0

0

1

6

5

67

44

111

PSL 5 DPS

32

19

0

10

0

0

0

1

1

10

33

40

73

PSL 6 DPS

80

27

0

7

4

2

0

0

1

2

85

38

123

PEL 1 DPS

76

46

6

15

2

0

0

0

0

0

84

61

145

PEL 2 DPS

30

22

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

31

22

53

Senior Executive Service 1

3

6

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

3

6

9

Parliamentary Librarian

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

Senior Executive Service 3

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

Secretary

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

Total

470

222

51

85

14

4

0

2

29

27

564

340

904

Management of human resources

Introduction

In the reporting year, the HR Services Section (HRS) continued to implement the DPS People Strategy 2007-2010. The strategy aims to build and improve DPS's organisational capability through integrated people management practices. Priorities were allocated to implementing the DPS learning and development framework, employee induction and staff selection processes.

HRS continued to work on developing a range of policies and guidelines on personnel and workplace relations issues. The other substantial activity undertaken by the section was implementing a new Union Collective Agreement to replace the previous two certified agreements.

Workforce planning, staff retention and turnover

Figure 57 provides information on staff retention and turnover for DPS during 2008-09 compared to the previous year.

Figure 57—Staff retention and turnover statistics

Staff retention and turnover statistics

2007-08

2008-09

Change

Staff Number

929

904

-25

Staff Separations (total)

141

114

-27

Turnover

15.2%

12.7%

-2.5%

Separations by type

transfers/promotions

24

17

-7

resignations

42

33

-9

age retirements

10

7

-3

invalidity retirements

1

0

-1

voluntary retirements

30

14

-16

terminations

2

4

2

death

1

1

0

end of temporary
contract

31

33

2

end of temporary
transfer

0

5

5

Exit Interviews

Interviews held

41

34

-17%

Participation rate

29%

30%

1%

During the year, staff turnover fell from 15.2% in 2007-08 to 12.7% in 2008-09.

The increase in the number of end of temporary contracts from 31 to 33 continues to reflect the use of nonongoing employee arrangements to manage short-term increases in workloads and project activity.

Staff development and training

The DPS Training Calendar was launched in August 2008 to deliver a range of in-house corporate training courses and workshops. Training services are provided through the DPS Training Services Panel. During 2008-09 all panel members were invited to quote for the delivery of services.

During 2008-09, a total of 457 staff attended training provided through the DPS Training Calendar. Corporate training focused on developing skills in the areas of public sector writing, effective reading, performance management, giving and receiving feedback, personal wellbeing, staff recruitment and selection, job application writing and interview skills, occupational health and safety awareness, and record keeping.

HRS revised and launched the DPS Induction Program that includes the presentation of workshops to new employees. A parliamentary service specific Induction e-learning module for new employees was also developed by HRS, in partnership with the Departments of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

DPS also sent a representative to the Australian Public Service Commission's Career Development Assessment Centre.

Individual development plans (IDPs) completed as part of the performance management scheme, are a key avenue for identifying development needs. In May 2009, IDPs were the source of a corporate skills development needs analysis. The results have been used to develop a training calendar that addresses high demand training needs for 2009-10.

DPS provided support for external study to 41 staff members. Support includes time to attend study activities and financial assistance towards compulsory costs in some cases.

Workplace relations

The focus of activity in the first quarter of the year was to finalise the negotiation of the new collective agreement. Both certified agreements had a nominal expiry date of 30 June 2008. The rest of the year involved the implementation of the Union Collective Agreement 2008-2011, which became operational on 30 October 2008 to replace the two existing certified agreements.

Other activity included the continuing administration of the two previous agreements and the new agreement. This was done through:

  1. the provision of secretariat support to the DPS Consultative Forum;
  2. membership on the Workplace Consultative Committee convened by Building Services Branch for the Parliamentary Security Service;
  3. the review and development of supporting policy documents; and
  4. the provision of advice to management and employees.
Occupational health and safety (OHS)

The DPS Occupational Health and Safety Committee met four times during the year. The work of the committee has primarily been directed at reviewing OHS policies and procedures. The DPS Contractors' OHS Sub-committee also met four times. This forum provides a valuable mechanism to address OHS issues involving the work performed by the large number of contractors at Parliament House.

As a result of revised Health and Safety Management arrangements within DPS, branches hold Branch OHS Committee meetings on a quarterly basis to address, as far as possible, OHS issues at the local level.

A range of OHS-related training was provided to staff throughout the year, including generic induction and OHS awareness sessions. Occupation-specific OHS training was also provided including: first aid, working in confined spaces, working at heights, manual handling and back care, chainsaw safety, basic bushfire fighting, defensive tactics, chemical safety and ultraviolet awareness.

All DPS staff are entitled to access the Parliament House Health and Recreation Centre as a condition of their employment. In addition, a number of health-related activities were supported during the year including the National Ride to Work Day, a 10,000 Steps Challenge and construction of a multi-purpose sports court in the Parliamentary Precincts. Staff also made a significant number of blood donations to the Red Cross Blood Bank during the year.

During the 2008-09 year, eight incidents were notified to Comcare in accordance with section 68 of the Occupational Health and Safety (Commonwealth Employment) Act 1991 (the OHS Act). Each incident was also examined by DPS and remedial work was undertaken where required.

Comcare did not conduct any formal investigations in relation to any of the reported incidents.

There were no Provisional Improvement Notices issued under section 29 of the OHS Act and no directions or notices given under section 45, 46 or 47 of the OHS Act.

Workplace diversity

A new DPS Workplace Diversity program for the period 2008-11 was developed and implemented during the reporting year. An annual diversity action plan was also developed to support the rollout of diversity program initiatives. In 2008-09, all of the diversity action plan activities were completed. Some of the key achievements included the:

  1. development of a cultural diversity calendar for employees and the promotion of events through employee newsletters and information portal;
  2. implementation of an APH disability services directory for DPS employees;
  3. promotion of events and activities supporting diversity awareness (eg NAIDOC Week and Families Week);
  4. participation in the Department of Immigration and Citizenship 2006-2008 Access and Equity survey; and
  5. attainment of breastfeeding family friendly accreditation for Parliament House, in partnership with the other parliamentary departments.
Commonwealth Disability Strategy

DPS has three roles under the Commonwealth Disability Strategy (CDS)—provider, employer and purchaser.

Provider

DPS is the principal support agency for the operations of Parliament. In providing services for the occupants of and visitors to Parliament House, DPS maintained its compliance with the CDS.

During 2008-09, DPS engaged CRS Australia to conduct a functional access assessment of Parliament House, for the purposes of identifying work to improve access for disabled persons. The OHS & Injury Management Unit of HRS developed an action plan to address the recommendations arising from this report. Some of the recommendations will be addressed through planned maintenance, while others will require physical changes to the building that will be managed by the Building and Security Projects section.

In relation to physical changes to the building, all work is carried out in accordance with the Building Code of Australia (BCA). The BCA requires that Australian Standard 1428 (disabled access requirements) are met in any new works. During 2008-09, the following projects specifically relating to disabled access were undertaken:

  1. an audit of hearing loops within Parliament House;
  2. modifications to the doorways in the Senate car park; and
  3. upgrades to public toilets, including disabled toilets, within Parliament House.
Employer

As required under section 18 of the Parliamentary Service Act 1999, DPS has a workplace diversity program. The DPS Workplace Diversity Program 2006-2008 was revised during 2008-2009 and another three year program established following consultation with DPS staff. The 2008-11 program is supported by an annual action plan. Both the program and the action plan include provisions to ensure that the department's employment policies and procedures support equitable working conditions for employees, including those with disabilities.

All press and gazette advertising includes a reference to a TTY (Telephone Typewriter) number for potential applicants with hearing or speech disabilities. The reasonable adjustments principles are followed during the recruitment of new employees and for the management of departmental staff.

Purchaser

The department's tender documentation includes a provision that requires contractors to comply with their legislative obligations regarding the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

Purchasing

Overview

The purchasing of assets and services by DPS during 2008-09 was conducted with the aim of realising core business objectives, while achieving operational effectiveness and value-for-money outcomes. Purchasing was managed in accordance with the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines (CPGs), and DPS Chief Executive's Instructions and supporting procedures.

DPS's primary purchasing objectives were:

  1. to ensure the principle of value for money was consistently observed through:
  2. encouraging competition;
  3. promoting efficiency, effectiveness and ethical use of resources; and
  4. conducting our business in an environment of accountability and transparency;

b) to support the business requirements of each branch within the department through a focus on better-practice procurement; and

c) to involve small to medium enterprises wherever practicable.

DPS has a specialist procurement unit to facilitate and monitor contracting and tendering activity across the department. The procurement unit ensures that established guidelines and procedures are observed and statutory reporting responsibilities are met.

Consultants

During 2008-09, 44 consultancies were entered into involving total actual expenditure of $754,127 (GST inclusive). In addition, 57 ongoing consultancy arrangements continued from previous years, involving total actual expenditure of $414,223 (GST inclusive) during the reporting year.

DPS used a combination of in-house resources and external consultants to deliver services according to the nature of each requirement. Private sector specialists were engaged under panel or discrete contract arrangements to provide the skills and expertise necessary to assist with the achievement of DPS objectives.

It is the policy of DPS to engage external consultants where they will add value to the operational effectiveness of the department. Each proposal to engage a consultant is carefully scrutinised and considered on its individual merits, and justifying reasons include:

  1. need for independent research or assessment;
  2. a need for specialised or professional skills; and
  3. skills currently unavailable within the agency.

The method of procurement for consultants is determined by the complexity, nature and value of each specific requirement. The methods used include open tendering, select tendering, or a direct sourcing arrangement. The method chosen is that which will achieve the best value-for-money outcome in each circumstance, and the Mandatory Procurement Procedures within the CPGs are applied where appropriate.

DPS currently has in place standing offer panel arrangements for the following consultancy services:

  • legal;
  • architectural;
  • engineering;
  • information technology;
  • audit; and
  • building management.

Particulars of consultancy contracts awarded with a value of $10,000 or more during 2008-09 are shown at Appendix A.

Information about expenditure on contracts and consultancies is also available on the AusTender web site (http://www.tenders.gov.au).

Competitive tendering and contracting

During 2008-09, DPS did not allow any provisions in contracts prohibiting the Auditor-General's access. DPS did not conduct any competitive tendering and contracting processes that involved contracting out the delivery of government activities, previously performed by this agency, to another organisation.

Exempt contracts

During 2008-09, no DPS contracts or standing offers were exempted by the Chief Executive from being published via AusTender on the basis that they would disclose exempt matters under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

Asset management

The Parliament House building has a current replacement cost of $2.05 billion[33] and an expected remaining life of some 185[34] years. The building represents a public investment, is a national and international tourist attraction and is an eminent work of architecture. The building is expected to adapt to the changing functional requirements of Parliament.

DPS provides asset management services to Parliament House. The department has implemented sophisticated asset management systems to ensure that the building fulfils its role as a functional parliamentary building, an office for the executive government and a publicly accessible place of significant community interest.

Asset management approaches used by DPS include building management and maintenance management systems, condition monitoring, asset management plans, performance standards and benchmarking. Supported by planners, trade staff and contractors, these complementary management tools combine to ensure appropriate levels of condition and serviceability are maintained in a cost-effective manner.

We use a series of performance indices to measure asset management performance, including:

  1. the Building Condition Index (BCI), which measures the current condition of the building fabric of Parliament House. A discussion on BCI performance and outcomes can be found in Part 4 of this report (see page 68);
  2. the Engineering Systems Condition Index (ESCI), which measures the current operation and condition of the engineering systems in Parliament House. A discussion on ESCI performance and outcomes can be found in Part 4 of this report (see page 69); and
  3. the Landscape Condition Index (LCI), which measures the current condition of the landscape surrounding Parliament House. A discussion on LCI performance and outcomes can be found in Part 4 of this report (see page 69).

Other major assets of DPS include information technology, telecommunications, broadcasting and security equipment and systems, and the Parliament House Art Collection. A plant and equipment stocktake is conducted annually, including for information technology and office equipment, and the details recorded in the DPS asset register are confirmed or amended.

Accountability

External scrutiny

ANAO audits

During 2008-09, DPS was the subject of an external compliance audit by the ANAO in relation to its financial statements for the period ending 30 June 2008 and, an interim audit in preparation for the 2008-09 financial statement audit. The audit on the 2007-08 financial statements was unqualified.

There were no other ANAO reports during 2008-09 that directly involved DPS.

Senate committees

DPS appeared before the Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee on three occasions during 2008-09—20 October 2008 (Supplementary Budget Estimates hearings), 23 February 2009 (Additional Estimates hearings) and 25 May 2009 (Budget Estimates hearings).

Other scrutiny

DPS was not subject to any significant judicial decisions or decisions of administrative tribunals, nor did the Ombudsman report on the activities of DPS in 2008-09.

Freedom of information

While DPS is not subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the FOI Act), DPS generally tries to respond to requests for information in accordance with the spirit of that Act.

DPS maintains documentation on its daily operations, the Parliamentary Library catalogue, the Hansard record, a large number of systems manuals, the as-constructed drawings of Parliament House, and the Central Reference Document (a document that describes the principles underpinning the design of Parliament House).

When inquiries for information under the FOI Act are made, such requests are referred to the Director, Governance and Business Management.

In 2008-09, one request for information was received.

Discretionary grants

DPS does not administer any discretionary grant programs.

Advertising costs

All Commonwealth departments and agencies are required, under section 311A of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, to provide a statement setting out particulars of amounts paid to:

  1. advertising agencies;
  2. market research organisations;
  3. polling organisations;
  4. direct mail organisations; and
  5. media advertising organisations.

Figure 58 sets out amounts over $10,000 paid by DPS during the reporting year. No money was paid to any organisation covered in paragraph (b), (c) or (d).

Figure 58—Advertising costs

Supplier

Item

Amount
(GST inclusive)

Zoo Communications Pty Ltd

Parliament House promotional materials

$13,372

HMA Blaze

Recruitment advertisements

$101,086

Total

$114,458

Legal services expenditure

The Legal Services Directions 2005 (paragraph 11.1(ba)) require FMA Act agencies to make publicly available their expenditure on legal services. Figure 59 shows the amount DPS spent on legal services during 2008-09.

Figure 59—Legal services expenditure

Services

Amount
(GST inclusive)

External expenditure on professional fees

$276,208.64

External expenditure on counsel *

$8,427.20

Administrative disbursements on external legal services

$852.34

Total (legal services expenditure—all external)

$285,488.18

* Male counsel briefed

2

$5,426.40

* Female counsel briefed

1

$3,000.80


[32]. DPS changed its organisational structure in July 2009. As a result of this change the Strategy and Business Services Branch no longer exists. The sections within SBS have been allocated to other branches within DPS.

[33]. The building is re-valued every three years, and was last re-valued in 2009.

[34]. Revaluations of the building assess how maintenance activities may prolong its useful life beyond the starting point of 200 years in 1988. DPS maintenance activities have currently prolonged the life by an additional 6 years.


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