2.1 Allocation of functions

2.1.1 In determining the allocation of functions, the workinggroup first identified all discrete joint functions of the fiveparliamentary departments. It then grouped together those whichhad a logical or synergistic relationship with each other. Theworking group considered it would be contrary to the spirit ofthe Presiding Officers' intentions to divide any joint function(eg Hansard) which was already operating effectively as a singlejoint program.

2.1.2 On this basis the recommended allocationof functions is as follows:

Note: Amounts identified are indicative only and include anamount for corporate management.

  1. Note: Amounts identified are indicative only and include an amount for corporate management.
    (paragraph 2.1.2)
  2. The established principle that funds and staff follow functioninto the host department be followed (paragraph 2.2.1).
  3. Services delivered by each joint function be the subject ofa service level agreement (SLA) agreed between the Clerks of theHouses (paragraph 2.2.3).
  4. For joint functions, a Parliamentary Joint Services Board ofManagement be established, comprising the President of the Senate,the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and both Clerks (paragraph 2.2.4).
  5. Procedures be established so that any officer of a joint programwill, if so requested, appear before a parliamentary committeeexamining the funding or affairs of that program (paragraph 2.2.7).
  6. Implementation be staged over a period of time and an interimstructure in the corporate management areas of the two chamberdepartments be maintained for a transitional period (paragraph 2.4.2).
  7. The top structures of both departments be designed to providethe appropriate level of support to the two Clerks (paragraph 2.4.4).
  8. The building management function be retained in its presentform (paragraph 2.5.1).
  9. The Clerks agree, when considering joint functions, that bothdepartments be represented on each departmental audit committee(paragraph 3.1.3).
  10. The 1997-98 Budget cover for the chamber departments new policyproposals be moved from the Joint House Department to the chamberdepartments (paragraph 3.3.4).
  11. Future Portfolio Budget Statement coverage of joint functionslocated administratively within a chamber department be tabledin both Houses and be available for examination during any estimatesprocess (paragraph 3.3.5).
  12. All permanent recruitment into the parliamentary departments'corporate management areas, and to positions to which suitablecorporate management staff could be transferred, be temporarilyfrozen (paragraph 3.4.2).
  13. The Presiding Officers give a formal undertaking that, asfar as is practicable, any staff reductions be by redeployment,natural attrition or voluntary redundancy (paragraph 3.4.4).
  14. In the event that potentially surplus officers remain afterseparations because of natural attrition or voluntary redundancy,there should be a spill of positions at the levels/classificationsof the affected officers (paragraph 3.4.4).
  15. Consultation with staff and staff associations should continueon an ongoing basis during implementation (paragraph 3.5.4).
  16. Each chamber department retain a separate but strengthenedcorporate management area (paragraph 3.6.3).
  17. The role of the Steering Committee should continue until implementationis complete (paragraph 1.2.

2.2 Management roles and consultative mechanisms

2.2.1 In relation to the funding and staffingof joint functions, the working group recognised that it is anestablished principle that funds and staff should follow functioninto the host department.

2.2.2 Various alternatives were examined, including the jointfunding of joint functions and their joint administration by thetwo Clerks. Such a practice would be contrary to the letter andthe spirit of current and imminent financial and public servicelegislation. For such an approach to be accommodated legislationwould be needed to take the parliamentary service outside theprovisions of the Public Service Act and the proposed FinancialManagement and Accountability Act. This is not a preferred optionbecause the interests of the legislature in attracting qualitystaff, and of the staff themselves, are best served by coverageunder public service legislation.

2.2.3 The group recommends that theservices delivered by each joint function be the subject of aservice level agreement (SLA) agreed between the Clerks of theHouses. Each SLA, prepared in consultation with the relevant programmanager, should set out the performance standards to be achievedby the joint program in delivering services. The standards inthe SLA should be reviewed on a regular basis (see paragraph 2.3.4).

2.2.4 The responsibility for the day-to-daymanagement of each formerly joint function, including the fundsand staff associated with it, will rest with the Clerk of theparticular department to which the function is assigned. It isrecommended that a Parliamentary Joint Services Board of Managementbe established comprising the President of the Senate, the Speakerof the House of Representatives and both Clerks.

2.2.5 It is expected that the Board will function as far as possibleon a consensual basis. It should meet monthly and its meetingsbe minuted. It would monitor the performance of the relevant jointprograms and the extent to which each joint service is being deliveredin accordance with the terms of the relevant SLA. Officers maybe invited to prepare papers for or attend on the Board. The Boardwould consider the strategic direction and performance standardsfor the joint functions. It would also consider as appropriatemajor policy proposals and management initiatives by the responsibleClerk. In such matters the two Clerks should meet before the boardmeeting to achieve agreement for the purposes of the responsibleClerk making suitable recommendations to the Board.

2.2.6 The Presiding Officers, on the advice of the Board, woulddetermine how to deal on a continuing basis with the funding ofthe joint services. The working group recognised that fundingfor chamber and committee functions was the province of the relevantPresiding Officer.

2.2.7 Notwithstanding the role of theBoard and subject to this paragraph, it is recommended that anyofficer of a joint program will, if so requested, appear beforea parliamentary committee examining the funding or affairs ofthat program. However, it is not expected that the joint functionareas will be examined by the Senate Appropriations and StaffingCommittee, or by any similar House committee but could be consideredby a joint committee if such a committee were to be established.

2.2.8 It is envisaged that the joint Library Committee (with thelibrary head as secretary) and the House Committee(s) would continueto perform an advisory role. The Presiding Officers may wish toconsider suggesting or continuing other consultative advisorymechanisms.

2.3 Delivery of joint services

2.3.1 For the effective delivery of joint services, SLAs willbe crucial. In this regard, better practice in the private sectorand in Commonwealth and State Public Services in recent timesin delivering services has been along the lines of a purchaser/providermodel, whereby the services required by a particular functioncan be "purchased" from another function under agreedterms and conditions. In simple terms:

the purchaser who decides what will be produced;and

the provider who delivers the agreed outputsor outcomes.

2.3.2 There is no intention to introduce a charging regime inthe Parliament. However the purchaser/provider concept can beapplied to enhance a range of situations by, say:

Purchaser/provider arrangements are being used increasingly withinpublic sector organisations.

2.3.3 Supporting this concept, the working party considers thatthe SLAs referred to above need to be established. A service levelagreement is the tool which ensures delivery of consistent, appropriateand timely service of high quality to meet the needs of the "purchaser".

2.3.4 The SLA is a powerful risk managementtool. SLAs clarify exactly what level of performance is expectedof the "provider" and the respective responsibilitiesof the two parties. SLAs should be reviewed formally on a regularbasis, and amended as necessary, by agreement between the twoparties.

2.3.5 Apart from their value as a practical management tool, SLAspromote customer orientation, are useful marketing tools and enablefar easier and more reliable benchmarking against world's bestpractice. Overall, SLAs minimise the need for interventionistmanagement overview.

2.4 Proposed management structures

2.4.1 It is a matter for the Clerk of each House to put in placemanagement structures to ensure the effective and efficient deliveryof services to senators and/or members. Management structureswhich impact on the delivery of joint services should be the subjectof consultation between the Clerks.

2.4.2 The working group has recognisedthat the task of integrating five parliamentary departments intotwo, in particular the merging of the five corporate areas, isa task of considerable scale and complexity. The working grouprecommends that implementation needs to be staged over a periodof time. By this, the group means that an interim structure inthe corporate management areas of the two chamber departmentswill be required for a transitional period. As the implementationprogresses, the interim structure and arrangements will need tobe revisited with a view to arriving at an appropriate final structurefor each department.

2.4.3 Added to the practical integration problems that will occurare the workloads imposed by the imminent significant legislative,systems and operational changes that are being introduced in allCommonwealth agencies, not the least of which is the new industriallegislation together with the proposed new Public Service andFinancial Management and Accountability Acts.

2.4.4 The variety, complexity and sizeof the service delivery organisations that comprise the threeexisting joint departments will mean that the strategic and operationalmanagement demands on the two Clerks will increase very significantly.To ensure that these fundamental management issues are properlyaddressed, it is important that the top structures of both departmentsbe designed to provide the appropriate level of support to thetwo Clerks.

2.4.5 Bearing these considerations in mind, the working groupsets out in Attachment 4 a proposed functional management structure.In essence, the working party has attempted to ensure that thejoint services functions at program level essentially remain unchangedat the time of transfer.

2.5 Parliament House design integrity

2.5.1 The Presiding Officers have askedthat the special importance of Parliament House as a buildingof national significance be considered, including the need tobalance design integrity with building preservation and maintenance.The working group has done this. It also had particular regardto the infrastructure assets and functional systems of the building,and recommends the retention of the building management functionin its present form by including provision for a "buildingmanager" function.

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