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Performance statement – agency direction six

Build an agile and responsive organisation

To effectively deliver the agency purpose the AEC must continue to build its agility and responsiveness as an organisation, flexing up and down as required through the three-year electoral cycle. This requires balancing election readiness with the ongoing delivery of electoral services to the public and our stakeholders. We also need to be ready to plan and operationalise changes to legislation, systems and processes, sometimes within limited timeframes.

Intended result and
performance criteria in AEC corporate plan*

Link to purpose


Explanation of result

6.1 Maintain an appropriate level of readiness to conduct a federal election event

Directed Level of Election Readiness (DLER) determined by the Electoral Commissioner is met.

Assessment of progress against the Election Ready Road Map.

Efficient delivery of polling services



During 2018–19 the AEC moved through the ‘implement change’ and ‘mobilisation’ phases of the election readiness framework.

The AEC met the Directed Level of Election Readiness and was able to mobilise and deliver the 2019 federal election within 37 days of the Issue of Writs.

The level of readiness was assessed by:

  • monthly monitoring of progress against the Election Ready Road Map (ERRM)
  • conducting two election readiness checks – one at DLER minus 100 days and one just before the issue of election writs

The AEC maintained ongoing planning efforts for the federal election while delivering six federal by-elections in 2018.

6.2 Invest in and deliver strategies that increase organisational capability

Ability to effectively implement change in the electoral cycle to make improvements to the AEC’s organisational capability.


On track to be met

The AEC completed an organisational design review of its national and state offices in early 2018. Preliminary structures detailing the additional resources and capabilities required during in election periods were also finalised in late 2018.

At the federal election, the AEC delivered a number of major initiatives to increase organisational capability. These included:

  • supply chain management
  • polling place metrics
  • increased use of Electronic Certified Lists (ECLs)
  • Counting the Senate

With the exception of Counting the Senate—which cannot be trialled at a by-election—these major initiatives were also implemented and tested during federal by-elections.

Lessons following implementation of these major initiatives are currently being assessed.

*Source: AEC Corporate Plan 2018–2022, p. 14.

What we did

In 2018–19 the AEC:

  • completed work on its organisational design structure which allows the agency to scale up and down during election and non-election periods in national and state offices. The organisational structure of the Indigenous Electoral Participation Program (IEPP) was reviewed and commenced implementation. Future models for divisional offices are yet to be determined and implementation will not occur until after the delivery of 2019 federal election. A functional review of the ICE program is in progress
  • monitored and assessed the state of election readiness using the Election Readiness Assessment Framework and the Election Ready Road Map. Key assurance activities were undertaken to confirm and validate readiness, critical election processes rehearsed, and election readiness messages were communicated through the National Election Manager and the Electoral Commissioner
  • took a proactive approach to potential legislative changes in the lead-up to the federal election. Preliminary work included introducing an optional candidate qualifications checklist (available at by-elections in 2018), and streamlining electoral processes. The Electoral Legislation Amendment (Modernisation and Other Measures) Act 2019 received Royal Assent on 1 March 2019, and the AEC was well prepared to implement changes before the federal election
  • implemented four major initiatives using technology and data to increase organisational capability. These were:
    • Counting the Senate—an ongoing model for scanning and counting Senate ballot papers and embedding this work within the AEC for multi-election use
    • supply chain management—a centrally-led and coordinated supply chain model to supply, distribute and return election materials and equipment to multiple areas of the AEC network during electoral events. This initiative was implemented nationally at the 2019 federal election
    • increased use of ECLs, which allow polling officials to search the list of eligible electors and record electronically that the elector has been handed a ballot paper. Over 4,500 ECLs were deployed for the 2019 federal election (up from 1,500 in 2016). To test the effectiveness of increasing their use before the federal election, ECLs were used in all polling stations at by-elections between July and October 2018
    • polling place metrics, which are designed to improve polling place processes and positioning of staff and materials through computer-based modelling. These metrics guided polling place management at the 2019 federal election, including increased staffing in polling places and adjustments to the way tasks were carried out. Data captured in 2019 will inform and refine polling place models and support evidence-based decision making

In 2019–20 we are:

  • maintaining robust processes embedded in the election readiness framework to monitor and determine election readiness
  • transitioning from the ‘evaluate and learn’ phase of the election readiness framework to ‘implement change’
  • continuing to evolve the AEC’s organisational design, structure and governance to allow increased agility in response to changes in risk and the environment