Department of Parliamentary Services Annual Report 2011-2012

Part 4 Parliamentary Library

Strategic and Workforce Planning 

Roxanne Missingham left the Parliamentary Library on 13 February 2012 after six years as Parliamentary Librarian to take up an appointment as Chief Scholarly Information and University Librarian at the Australian National University. She was the ninth Parliamentary Librarian since 1901, and the first Parliamentary Librarian appointed after the Department of the Parliamentary Library, the Joint House Department and Department of the Parliamentary Reporting Staff were merged into the Department of Parliamentary Services.

Dr Dianne Heriot was appointed the new Parliamentary Librarian on 10 May 2012.

Twenty-seven ongoing staff left in 2011–12, a separation rate of 20%. This is higher than separation rate of ongoing Library staff for the previous year (12.5%).

Staff turnover occurs for a range of reasons including retirement. The average age of the Library’s workforce is 48 years (for ongoing employees). As at 30 June 2012, 36% of ongoing employees were eligible to retire (55+ years). A further 29% will become eligible over the next 10 years. This is not a new issue. In fact the Library’s ageing workforce rate has slowed over recent years. In 2012, the total ongoing workforce at risk of retirement in the next 5 years is 50%—in 2006 the figure was 56%.

The main reasons for separation from the Library during 2011–12 were: age retirement (10 staff, 37% of separations), voluntary retirements (6 staff, 22% of separations), transfer/promotion (6 staff, 22% of separations), resignation (4 staff, 15% of separations), and invalidity retirement (1 staff member, 4% of separations).

Resignations included staff retiring shortly before their 55th birthday (so called 54/11 resignations) taking up a superannuation advantage from the Commonwealth superannuation scheme (CSS).

The Library’s workforce planning includes wherever possible succession planning through mentoring and development of in-house expertise to replace retiring staff.

Another factor in staff separation was career development with the promotion or transfer of staff to other agencies including other parliamentary departments. For the newer research assistant, category mobility is anticipated as a highly likely consequence of the skills and knowledge gained in the parliamentary environment.

Budgetary pressure was a key driver of staff separations in the latter part of 2011–12. The major pressures on the Library’s budget are:

In its Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook 2011–12, the Government announced

Staff numbers were reduced in 2011–12 to ensure that the Library started 2012–13 with 127 Full Time Equivalent staff compared to a 2011–12 level of 131 FTE. This was necessary to enable the Library to manage within the resources available in 2012–13.

We achieved this by reviewing vacant positions, not filling some and reclassifying others. As well, seven staff members accepted voluntary redundancies (six of which took effect in the 2011–12 financial year, one falling in the 2012–13 financial year).

A review of collection development expenditure was undertaken by Information Access Branch in consultation with Research Branch. The review identified potential titles that will need to be cancelled in order to meet anticipated reductions in operating expenses and capital in 2012–13.