ARPANSA’s Office for People Strategies and Wellbeing (OPSW) is responsible for delivering contemporary human resource practices and wellbeing strategies.
Our key workforce-related initiatives were focused on developing people management capability, maturing ARPANSA’s strategic workforce planning, and improving data and analytics to support evidence-based decision-making.
ARPANSA's Workforce Plan
ARPANSA’s Workforce Plan 2017–2021 (the Plan) was developed to enable ARPANSA to achieve its objectives through its people. The objectives of the Plan are based around:
- people: a workforce of high-performing professionals
- managers: leaders of engaged and agile teams
- employee experience: a collaborative and innovative culture
- strategic alignment: leading practice services that deliver on ARPANSA’s purpose.
In 2020–21 ARPANSA will perform a review of our Workforce Plan to reset priorities. This will ensure we continue to build our organisational capabilities and invest in initiatives that support our highly skilled and technically proficient workforce to deliver quality outcomes.
Workforce and succession planning
ARPANSA has developed a strategic and future-focused workforce planning and
succession strategy. The strategy systematically assesses succession risks for every position in the organisation and prioritises the development of competencies that are found to be vulnerabilities to the long-term capability of the organisation. ARPANSA undertakes a workforce planning and succession process on an annual basis.
Attraction and recruitment
During the reporting period ARPANSA’s attraction and recruitment program was reviewed and processes put in place to see an increase in quality and volume of applicants. OPSW enhanced the employee value proposition to articulate the benefits of working at ARPANSA, and modified advertisements to attract a wider audience.
During the 2019–2020 reporting period, OPSW ran 17 external recruitment campaigns which attracted 194 applicants and resulted in 11 new starters and 6 internal promotions. This is an 85% increase in applications from the previous financial year, which included 14 external recruitment campaigns resulting in 105 applications and 9 new starters and 3 internal promotions. During the year, our overall workforce increased by 3%, from 130 to 134 employees. The increase remains within ARPANSA’s average staffing level cap.
ARPANSA’s recruitment approach was also adapted in response to COVID-19 to allow more flexibility in the recruitment process, including arrangements for remote interviews. All recruitment activities were undertaken exercising the APS principles of merit, fairness and transparency.
These processes will continue to be developed with a focus on workforce planning. This will ensure the Agency retains, recruits and develops the right people to ensure our workforce evolves to meet our external challenges and contribute to the continued success of ARPANSA.
As at 30 June 2020, ARPANSA employed 134 ongoing and non-ongoing employees, and one statutory office holder. ARPANSA also employs staff on an irregular or intermittent basis to support the delivery of our objectives. All ARPANSA employees are engaged under the Public Service Act 1999.
The ARPANSA Agreement 2017–2020 came into effect on 31 August 2017. The Agreement outlines the terms and conditions of employment for non-senior executive service (SES) staff. The Agreement contains an individual flexibility arrangement term, which enables the agency to vary the operation of specified terms and conditions, provided under the Agreement, for individual non-SES staff where necessary and appropriate. As at 30 June 2020, nine such arrangements were in place. ARPANSA also utilises common law contracts to support employment arrangements. The Agreement will nominally expire on 31 August 2020 and work began on planning the next iteration of the ARPANSA Agreement in the 2019–2020 reporting period.
Under its enterprise agreement and common law contracts, ARPANSA staff are able to seek access to a range of non-salary benefits including:
- flexible working arrangements, including flextime (Australian Public Service (APS) levels 1 to 6 only), job-sharing, and part-time and home-based work
- generous parental/maternity leave provisions
- generous range of paid and unpaid leave options
- study assistance
- salary packaging for cars (novated lease) and superannuation, with fringe benefits tax (FBT) applicable
- employee assistance program.
As a non-corporate Commonwealth entity, ARPANSA has the following category of officials covered by the executive remuneration disclosures:
- Key management personnel—this includes the Chief Executive Officer, Branch and Office Heads who are responsible for making decisions, or having substantial input into decisions, that affect the operations of the agency.
ARPANSA does not have any other officials who are senior executives, or other highly paid staff whose total remuneration exceeds the threshold amount ($225 000) for the reporting period.
Remuneration policies and practises
ARPANSA’s CEO is responsible for determining the remuneration policy and the remuneration structure for senior executives. In practice the CEO is supported by ARPANSA’s Executive Group to make remuneration recommendations.
Remuneration governance arrangements
ARPANSA’s framework for determining remuneration is set out in the ARPANSA Enterprise Agreement 2017–2020 and the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973. The employment instruments for determining remuneration for the different categories of ARPANSA officials include:
- The CEO is remunerated under the Remuneration Tribunal (Remuneration and Allowances for Holders of Full-time Public Office) Determination 2019
- Senior executives and Branch and Office Heads are remunerated through a common law contract of employment, or under Annex 1 of the ARPANSA Enterprise Agreement where Clause 32 is applied to provide additional remuneration benefits under an individual flexibility arrangement.
ARPANSA’s remuneration policy and practices are linked to the achievement of the agency’s objectives and performance. Officials’ salaries only increase, generally, on an annual basis as part of a performance review process.
Executive remuneration information
Table 3: Executive remuneration information for the 2019–2020 reporting period
Other long‑term benefits
Other benefits and allowances
Long service leave
Other long‑term benefits
Chief Executive Officer
Chief Radiation Health Scientist
Chief Medical Radiation Scientist
Chief Regulatory Officer
Office Head and Chief of Staff
Office Head and Chief Financial Officer
Office Head and Director for People Strategies and Wellbeing
Head of Corporate Office (Acting)
During the reporting period, a review of both ARPANSA’s capability frameworks and our Learning Strategy 2017–2021 commenced in order to analyse current skills and competencies required, and develop plans to enhance training program and reporting.
The objectives of the Learning Strategy are to:
- enable the capability, productivity and performance required to achieve ARPANSA’s strategic objectives
- enable high quality, purposeful and application-ready learning and knowledge sharing experiences
- leverage a wide range of leading practice learning and knowledge sharing methodologies.
In response to the findings from the 2018 Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), work began on developing a capability framework to determine the essential knowledge, skills and abilities needed to perform our regulatory functions. OPSW also worked with the Regulatory Services Branch to identify learning and development needs to enhance the inspector annual training modules for staff in the Branch.
LearnHub is ARPANSA’s online learning space that allows staff to build their capabilities, and access development and knowledge sharing experiences that are high quality, purposeful and application-ready. LearnHub provides access to IAEA Learning, LinkedIn Learning (previously known as Lynda), and Gartner. LearnHub 2.0 was successfully launched during the reporting period providing a more user-friendly environment and additional resources to assist staff with their learning and development experience.
Diversity and inclusion
ARPANSA recognises that diversity and inclusion plans and programs create a workplace where people feel supported to achieve their potential. Over the past year ARPANSA has continued to implement the agency Diversity and Inclusion Plan which sets out initiatives across six key areas. These focus areas are:
- Inclusion – to create a culture where individuals feel they belong, thrive and want to stay
- Gender equity – to create a workplace where all employees can access and enjoy the same rewards, resources and career opportunities irrespective of gender
- Flexibility and work life balance – to encourage the use of flexible work arrangements among all employees
- LGBTIQ+ – to create an environment where sexual diversity is not only accepted, but also affirmed and celebrated
- People with disability – to develop recruitment practices that attract and support people with disability and to make reasonable adjustments necessary to successfully on-board talent into our work environment
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples – to raise awareness on the values of Indigenous culture, and develop recruitment practices that attract and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander candidates.
In order to drive action on the Diversity and Inclusion Plan six branch and office heads were identified as champions for the focus areas.
Under the leadership these champions, a range of programs and celebrations took place at ARPANSA during the reporting period. These include National Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week; Harmony Week; International Day of Women and Girls in Science; Women’s Health Week; Mental Health Month; Flexible working Day; International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia; Intersex Awareness Day and International Day of People with a Disability.
Disability reporting mechanisms
Since 1994, non-corporate Commonwealth entities have reported on their performance as policy adviser, purchaser, employer, regulator and provider under the Commonwealth Disability Strategy. In 2007–08, reporting on the employer role was transferred to the Australian Public Service Commission’s State of the Service reports and the APS Statistical Bulletin. These reports are available at apsc.gov.au. From 2010–11, entities have no longer been required to report on these functions.
The Commonwealth Disability Strategy has been overtaken by the National Disability Strategy
2010–2020, which sets out a 10-year national policy framework to improve the lives of people with disability, promote participation and create a more inclusive society. A high-level, two-yearly report will track progress against each of the six outcome areas of the strategy and present a picture of how people with disability are faring. The first of these progress reports was published in 2014, and can be found at dss.gov.au.
ARPANSA’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategy outlines objectives to review recruitment processes and remove barriers to hiring candidates with disability. In 2019–2020, ARPANSA has supported people to apply for jobs through the development of an inclusive recruitment statement and use of the RecruitAbility scheme.
Health and wellbeing
Throughout the year, ARPANSA undertook a range of activities to support the wellbeing of its staff. These activities covered aspects of psychosocial health, relationships, finance and physical protection and included on-site and remote Employee Assistance Program sessions. Promotion of activities in support of key awareness campaigns were an important part of the wellbeing program, which in this reporting period included World Mental Health Day, Mindful in May, Men’s Health Week, Women’s Health Week, World Blood Donor Day, Skin Cancer Action Week and R U OK? Day.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ARPANSA has provided several WHS and wellbeing resources to staff. The first of these was developed in late February/early March when the potential impact of the pandemic was recognised, resulting in a direction to all staff to work from home from 24 March. In order to best support staff with this transition, guideline documents were developed which included WHS considerations for working from home (detailing advice on ergonomics, correct work-space set-up, stretches), manager responsibilities to staff, and employee responsibilities during work from home.
As the pandemic developed, further guidance materials were provided covering on-site working arrangements to ensure a COVID-safe workplace. To ensure staff safety, guidelines about undertaking essential domestic duty travel and a COVID-19 reporting framework were also provided to staff. The COVID-19 reporting framework was implemented to help guide staff decisions about what needed to be reported to the agency in instances where they themselves, household members or close-contacts became unwell with COVID-like symptoms.
A number of COVID-19 hazard identification and risk assessment activities were also undertaken, incorporating the risks to staff engaging in on-site working and essential domestic duty travel as required during the pandemic.
Additional wellbeing resources included a series of Coronacare webinars and an isolation support phone service, and a series of scheduled confidential one-to-one telephone calls from an EAP consultant to check-in on impacted staff.
The ARPANSA Social Club
The objective of the ARPANSA Social Club is to create a healthy and supportive workplace by providing a range of opportunities for staff to be involved in social functions.
Throughout the year, the Social Club hosted events including morning teas, lunches and fundraising activities. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Social Club held online events to lift staff morale and encourage cross-agency engagement, while maintaining social distancing. Social Club team members have also continued to maintain on-site amenities, including tea and coffee services. Social Club events are an opportunity for staff from different sections to engage and socialise in a less formal environment. None of the events would occur without the hard work of staff members who volunteer their time and effort to participate in the Social Club Committee for the benefit of all staff.
The APS employee census is an annual employee perception survey of the APS workforce, with over 130 000 employees invited to participate. At ARPANSA, 83% of employee’s participated in the 2019 survey. The results demonstrate the agency’s continued improvement in employee engagement, with ARPANSA having achieved positive outcomes above the APS average on all three indices measured: employee engagement, wellbeing, and innovation. These results demonstrate that ARPANSA is committed to driving improved performance, productivity and work outcomes through innovation, and is focused on enabling the practical and cultural elements that allow for a sustainable and healthy working environment.
Following on from the APS Employee Census in 2019, results were shared with staff and a series of interactive planning sessions were facilitated by Workplace Research Associates with a final report and recommendations circulated to the Executive Group and staff. ARPANSA has summarised these recommendations and developed an APS Census action plan which includes short- and long-term programs of work aimed to deliver improved change management, communication and workforce planning capability. This plan has been shared for discussion with the Staff Consultative Forum and work will commence in 2020–2021 on developing strategies to address the identified issues.
Delivery of the 2020 Employee Census was delayed by the APSC due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The questionnaire has also been streamlined and reshaped to focus on wellbeing, changing ways of working and continuing to deliver outcomes. It is anticipated the Census will commence in October closing mid-November 2020. Results are expected to be made available in early January 2021.