Department of Parliamentary Services Annual Report 2012-2013

Part 2 Departmental overview

Departmental overview


Role and functions

The role of the Department of Parliamentary Services is to support the work of the Parliament, maintain Parliament House, and to make the building and parliamentary activity accessible. DPS does this through the provision of broadcasting and Hansard services, information and research services, security, visitor services, building and landscaping maintenance, and ICT systems; and through the contracting of various retail services across Parliament House.

These services are provided to Senators and Members and their staff, and staff of the parliamentary departments. Services are also provided to other building occupants, including the Press Gallery, visitors to the building—including tourists, international delegations, government officials and function attendees—and virtual visitors accessing the online material provided on the APH website. Details on how DPS provides these services are outlined below.

Services provided by DPS

Hansard and Broadcasting services

DPS is responsible for transcribing, publishing, broadcasting and archiving the proceedings in the Senate and the House of Representatives (including the Federation Chamber) and parliamentary committee hearings. Parliamentary proceedings are broadcast internally, webcast via the internet and a feed is provided to the media. DPS also provides audio coverage and transcription services for parliamentary committee hearings held around Australia and public address systems at the venues for these hearings.

Security services

DPS provides and maintains security in Parliament House to support the function of Parliament and protect workers and visitors, while ensuring that the building remains open and accessible to the public. This is achieved through the delivery of a wide range of internal and external security services to occupants of and visitors to Parliament House, including access control at all entrance points, a mobile and static security presence throughout Parliament House, and operates an extensive security system across the Parliamentary Precincts.

Visitor services and other facilities


Building management services

DPS is responsible for the maintenance of the exterior and interior of the building, and the Parliamentary Precincts landscape. The department also manages utility services such as electricity and gas, and provides heating and cooling, and hydraulic services (including plumbing, drainage and water supply).

Information and communication technology services

DPS manages the infrastructure and the delivery of ICT services to all occupants of Parliament House and to all electorate offices across the nation. This includes service design, implementation and support, in the form of a central help desk, training and assistance, the provision of software and hardware, as well as management of the department's relationships with external ICT providers. Our objective is to ensure that ICT services to over 4,800 registered users in both Parliament House and electorate offices remain highly available, secure, scalable and of a very high quality. These operations are underpinned by ICT standards and policies, architectural direction, strategic planning, and aligning ICT capabilities to support the work of the Parliament.

Library and research services

The Parliamentary Library provides information, research and analytical services to Senators and Members and their staff, parliamentary committees and the parliamentary departments. Services are not provided to constituents or for commercial purposes.

The range of services provided includes individually commissioned information, research and advisory services for clients and research publications, including Bills Digests.

The Library manages access to print and electronic resources. These resources include books, serials, information databases, electronic publications developed both within the department and acquired externally, off-air recordings and transcripts. Access to services is also provided through the Parliamentary Library's Central Enquiry Point and the Senators' and Members' Reading Room.

Corporate, administrative and strategic services

DPS's corporate and strategic areas provide advice and services to the DPS Executive and staff on a range of governance, strategic, financial, procurement, human resources and records management matters. This ensures that DPS complies with its responsibilities under the Parliamentary Service Act 1999 (the Act), the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (the FMA Act), and a range of other legislative obligations, including human resources-related legislation. In addition, these areas also provide a range of corporate services to the Parliamentary Budget Office on a fee-for-service basis

Departmental structure

DPS is established as a department under the Act. The Act provides that the department consists of the Secretary of the department, together with the Parliamentary Librarian and Parliamentary Service employees assisting the Secretary. The Secretary is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and is the leader of DPS's senior executive team.

During 2012–13, DPS began to realign its structure to strengthen its accountability and customer focus. The new departmental structure will improve clarity of function and strengthen strategic planning, project delivery and reporting capabilities. During 2012–13, two divisions—ICT and Building Management—were created, and there were changes to branch structures. In addition to the Parliamentary Library, ICT and Building Divisions, the following branches report to the Secretary:

This realignment of the departmental structure will continue in 2013–14 as the remaining senior leadership positions are filled.

The Parliamentary Librarian is the holder of a statutory office established by authority of the Act. The Parliamentary Librarian reports directly to the Presiding Officers and to the Joint Standing Committee in respect of her statutory functions. However, for the exercise of normal management functions, including as detailed in the Act and the FMA Act, the Parliamentary Librarian reports to the Secretary.

The Department's structure is provided at Figure 1.

Figure 1—DPS Organisational Structure at 30 June 2013

DPS Organisational Structure

DPS Organisational Structure text description

Carol Mills
Carol Mills commenced her term as Secretary, DPS on 28 May 2012. Prior to commencing with DPS, Ms Mills held a number of senior positions in the NSW public service including that of Director-General of the NSW Department of the Arts, Sport and Recreation, and of Communities NSW. Ms Mills was also Deputy Director-General for the NSW Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care, and the Department of Housing. Ms Mills has significant experience as a member of numerous boards and committees including Sydney Festival, National Arts School, NSW Institute of Sport and the Sydney Film Festival. Ms Mills holds qualifications in public policy, economics and business management.

Dianne Heriot
Dr Dianne Heriot was appointed as Parliamentary Librarian in May 2012, having acted in that position since February 2012. Prior to that, she was Assistant Secretary of the Research Branch of the Parliamentary Library. Dr Heriot has many years' experience in senior management positions in the public service including in the Attorney-General's Department and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. She has a Bachelor of Arts (Hons), Master of Arts (Medieval Studies) and Doctor of Philosophy in Literature.

Eija Seittenranta
Eija Seittenranta commenced as the Chief Information Officer in DPS in October 2012. Prior to joining DPS, Ms Seittenranta held a number of senior positions in ICT in the Australian Public Service. Ms Seittenranta's Public Service career was broken by a two-year stint working overseas for Standard Chartered Bank in an ICT Executive role and a year to complete her MBA. On re-joining the APS, Ms Seittenranta took up a senior ICT position with Centrelink, followed by senior IT positions in the Department of Health and Ageing, Centrelink and the Department of Human Services.

Outcome and Program Structure

The published DPS outcome is:

Occupants of Parliament House are supported by integrated services and facilities, Parliament functions effectively and its work and building are accessible to the public.

In 2012–13, the Outcome and Program Framework consisted of two programs: one operational program—including four sub-programs—and an administered works program. The framework is summarised in Figure 2.

Performance indicators for each program are stated in the Department of Parliamentary Services Portfolio Budget Statements 2012–13 (the PBS). The indicators cover the quality, quantity and price aspects of DPS's services. Performance results are provided at Appendix C.

Figure 2—Relationship between Outcome and Programs

Relationship between Outcome and Programs

Relationship between Outcome and Programs text description

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the opening of Parliament House

The year 2013 marked the 25th anniversary of the opening of Parliament House. Designed by architect firm Mitchell, Giurgola & Thorp, the building was opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 9 May 1988 as part of the nation's bicentennial celebrations.

During the first half of 2013, DPS organised and facilitated a range of events to mark the 25th anniversary, starting with the publication by the Parliamentary Library of an online chronology of Parliament House.

The chronology's main focus is the history of the building as the home of the Federal Parliament since 1988 and the symbolic heart of our democracy. It sets out the milestones in the life of the Parliament over the last 25 years. It also illustrates the role of Parliament House as a place of national commemoration, celebration and protest, as a keeping-place of historic documents and artworks of significance to the nation, and as a workplace that accommodates more than 5,000 people during parliamentary sittings.

The chronology was officially launched on 15 March 2013—amid a week of celebrations of Canberra's centenary—by the Joint Chairs of the Joint Standing Committee on the Parliamentary Library, the Hon. Dick Adams MP and Senator Gary Humphries. Guests at the launch were delighted when the principal architect, Mr Romaldo Giurgola, gave a speech in reply, sharing his thoughts about the philosophy and vision embodied in the design of the building.

Also during March, DPS participated in Enlighten 2013. Parliament House was open until late, showcasing its stunning art collection of significant heritage value. Visitors sipped cocktails on the Queen's Terrace, taking in the magnificent views of Canberra's city landscape.

During April, DPS ran a number of 'Living Heritage Tours'. These tours provided an opportunity for visitors to see behind the scenes at Parliament House and discover how this iconic building is being cared for as part of our living heritage. The tours were presented by DPS staff, who described how the gardens, art collection, furniture and fabric are maintained and conserved.

Staff from three parliamentary departments worked with the Royal Australian Mint to produce commemorative 20 cent and 5 dollar coins. The 5 dollar fine silver proof coin is the first ever Australian triangular coin and is made of 99.9 per cent silver. Designed by Ian Rank-Broadley, one side of the coin is a view of the flag mast from one of the landscaped courtyards, while the other side shows an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II. The 20 cent uncirculated coin displays a view of both Parliament House and Old Parliament House on one side, and the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II on the other.

On 9 May 2013, DPS hosted more than 140 members of the building's original construction team. The day was organised by the former Parliament House Construction Director, David Chandler OAM, who led the building work from 1984 until completion. The day consisted of a breakfast, various building and landscape tours and an evening cocktail party in the Mural Hall. According to Mr Chandler, the day was much like the very first day the building opened:

It was a brilliant sparkling day and, when I went for a walk around the site at 6.30am, it looked as pristine and well kept as the day it was handed over. It was a tremendous occasion. I am extremely grateful to DPS and commend the staff for their first class hospitality.

The Constructors' Cocktail Party also provided a perfect opportunity for DPS staff to collect oral histories from a number of the attendees.

As part of the events on 9 May 2013, DPS conducted a landscape tour for some of the people who had worked on the original landscape design team and others representing companies that were involved in the construction of Parliament House.

No anniversary celebration is complete without a cake, and there was no shortage of amazing and creative cakes to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Parliament House at the inter-departmental bake-off afternoon tea on 9 May. The competition was hotly contested, with entries from all four parliamentary departments.

Some of the other events celebrating the 25th anniversary included a free performance by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra's Fellowship Quartet in the Great Hall, performances of the modern ballet Monument, a showing of the National Film and Sound Archive's digitally restored version of Naming the Federal Capital of Australia, and a book featuring the commissioned art and craft created for the building.

Monument is an Australian Ballet production about the design of Parliament House and was performed as part of the Symmetries program at the Canberra Theatre Centre. Costumes and original design sketches from Monument were on display in the Marble Foyer at Parliament House in May–June 2013.

The launch of the book Interwoven. The Commissioned Art and Craft for Parliament House provided another opportunity for a large group of talented artists, craftspeople and designers to gather once more in the building they helped to create. The book tells the story of the major program undertaken to commission the art and craft integrated into the design of the building.

The Parliament House Art Collection is a national collection of unique heritage value. During June, DPS displayed in the Presiding Officers' Exhibition Area some of the new acquisitions from emerging and established artists around Australia.

Later in June, the celebrations continued when past and present Parliament House staff were acknowledged at an anniversary morning tea held in the Great Hall. About 700 current and former staff attended the morning tea along with the Prime Minister the Hon. Julia Gillard MP, the President of the Senate, Senator the Hon. John Hogg, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ms Anna Burke MP, and the Leader of the Opposition, the Hon. Tony Abbott MP.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard with the Presiding Officers and attendees of the 25th Anniversary morning tea in the Great Hall, Parliament House

Prime Minister Julia Gillard (centre) with the Presiding Officers and attendees of the
25th Anniversary morning tea, held in the Great Hall, Parliament House, on 24 June 2013.