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Performance measure 5.2: Support for the overarching and ongoing purpose of royal commissions

Activities that support the overarching and ongoing purpose of royal commissions are managed effectively, including by coordinating Commonwealth engagement with royal commissions and maintaining and protecting official records.

This performance measure was partly achieved.

Performance targets

Result

5.2.1 Stakeholder and client satisfaction greater than 80% in relation to:

  • effectiveness of coordination of Commonwealth engagement with royal commissions (expertise and quality of relationship)
  • efficiency (timeliness and responsiveness)

ACHIEVED

5.2.2 Timeliness and appropriateness of responses to requests for official records

PARTLY ACHIEVED

Source

  • Portfolio Budget Statements 2020–21, Outcome 1, Program 1.1, page 30
  • Corporate Plan 2020–24, page 44

5.2.1 In response to questions related to this target in the department’s stakeholder survey, 85% of respondents rated our effectiveness positively and 83% rated our efficiency positively. A detailed explanation of the stakeholder survey methodology and results is at Appendix 2: Methodologies.

We facilitated requests for information and coordinated appearances of witnesses from government agencies required by the royal commissions. While royal commissioners are independent of government in their decision-making, this support provides royal commissions with the necessary information to effectively and efficiently fulfil terms of reference while ensuring that the government’s interests are effectively represented from agency-specific and whole-of-government perspectives.

5.2.2 Requests for access to royal commission records consist of administrative requests made under the Royal Commissions Regulations 2019, applications made under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) and documents subject to a court subpoena or other compulsory process. To measure timeliness and appropriateness of responses to these requests, applications are considered by category, recorded in a database and monitored against the relevant timeframes. Monitoring involved tracking correspondence and recording additional information requested and the final outcome of each application, including the nature of the response. Responses were then provided to applicants through the appropriate mechanism, depending on the nature of the request, for example, pursuant to the FOI Act for applications made under that Act.

We use the timeliness of responses to requests as a proxy measure for efficiency. Responses to applications made under the FOI Act were made in accordance with statutory timeframes and responses to court subpoenas were made in accordance with the production date as specified in the subpoena or as otherwise agreed between the parties.

Timeframes with respect to administrative requests were established at the start of the performance cycle, with all requests to be acknowledged by email within 2 weeks of receipt and decisions on requests to be provided to the applicant within 6 weeks of receipt, or if further time was required, the applicant was advised within this initial 6-week period. These timeframes were not met in some cases, for example, if applications were incomplete and information was required from the applicant or from a third party. As a result, this target was partly achieved.