The performance results for 2019–20 indicate a year of solid performance in ASADA achieving its Purpose, despite the COVID-19 challenges. ASADA maintained the 13 performance measures from 2018–19 into its final year of operation to enable a consistent appraisal of its anti-doping program. The measures were designed to demonstrate how ASADA would achieve its Purpose. These are set out in the PBS and in the 2019–20 ASADA Corporate Plan.
Achievement in building the collective capability of the anti-doping community.
ASADA engages and contributes its expertise with international stakeholders at forums, through information sharing and Memorandums of Understanding, so Australian athletes can compete on a level playing field wherever that may be.
Contributes expertise at key international anti-doping forums, such as the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Symposium.
Provision of assistance to build capability to ≥2 other counterpart international anti-doping organisations, including to adopt proactive joint approach with Drug Free Sport New Zealand to build the anti-doping capacity in the Oceania region.
Achievement of ASADA legislation and the World Anti-Doping Code awareness amongst sporting organisations, athletes and support personnel.
Percentage of sporting organisations, athletes and support personnel aware of ASADA legislation and the World Anti-Doping Code.
≥80% level of awareness
Achievement of satisfaction with anti-doping education and awareness raising activities in the sporting community.
Percentage of national sporting organisations, athletes and support personnel who are satisfied with anti-doping education and awareness raising programs.
≥80% level of satisfaction
Achievement in anti-doping education and awareness-raising.
Delivery of anti-doping education and awareness-raising resources to athletes and support personnel.
(a) Core education product1 delivered to 20,000 athletes and support personnel.
(b) Tailored online and/or face-to-face anti-doping education products produced for ≥ 3 high risk sports.
(c) ≥3 professional development programs for teachers delivered across Australia that are based on the anti-doping element of the National Health and Physical Education Curriculum.
(d) 10,000 downloads or visits of the ASADA app2
Achievement in compliance with anti-doping requirements.
Percentage of recognised sports assessed under the ASADA Compliance Framework that meet ASADA’s compliance requirements3
Achievement in delivering effective anti-doping intelligence and investigative functions.
Percentage of national sporting organisations, athletes and support personnel who consider ASADA’s intelligence and investigative functions to be effective in deterring athletes and support personnel from doping.
≥80% level of satisfaction
Achievement in the demonstrated sharing of anti-doping intelligence with external stakeholders.
Collecting and providing timely, high-quality intelligence and assessments that inform the picture of doping in Australia and overseas.
80% level of client satisfaction with at least 12 intelligence reports provided to external stakeholders.
Achievement in intelligence-led anti-doping program.
Number of total referrals4to the testing program based on intelligence reports5
600 intelligence reports referred to testing.
Number of intelligence-led operational activities6 on high-risk athletes7.
≥90 intelligence-led operational activities carried out on high-risk athletes.
Investment in intelligence leads to matters referred to investigations.
15 intelligence-led products8 referred to investigations.
Achievement in compliance with investigations standards.
Percentage of investigations conducted by ASADA that are in compliance with the Australian Government Investigations Standards and International Standard for Testing and Investigations.
≥90% of investigations comply with standards.
Achievement of anti-doping rule violation findings in tribunals.
Percentage of investigations conducted by ASADA and referred to the Anti-Doping Rule Violation Panel (ADRVP) that result in a finding of an anti-doping rule violation.
≥80% of ADRVP findings result in an anti-doping rule violation.
Percentage of cases conducted by ASADA in tribunals that result in a finding of an anti-doping rule violation.
≥80% of tribunal findings result in an anti-doping rule violation.
1Core education products include ASADA’s online Level 1 and 2 courses and face-to-face workshops.
2The ASADA app provides athletes with timely anti-doping information and access to online anti-doping education.
3ASADA’s Compliance Framework is based on a sport being compliant with all aspects of the ASADA Act, ASADA Regulations and World Anti-Doping Code, which jointly establish the requirements all recognised sports must comply with.
4Total referrals include both high-risk referrals and low-risk referrals.
5An intelligence report contains information collected, evaluated and disseminated to inform operational decision-making. It may be produced in connection with a tip-off, notification from an external organisation, or be derived from internal sources, such as field staff observations, or the review of analytical results by ASADA’s Science Team. A higher percentage of testing based on intelligence reports is desirable, represents better value for money and is more effective over testing that was simply risk-led, random or based on place-getter strategies.
6An operational activity can include targeted testing, investigation, targeted education and/or intelligence probe.
7A high-risk athlete is an athlete who is the subject of ASADA’s Target Athlete Monitoring processes, an intelligence probe or an investigation.
8An intelligence-led product is a referral to Investigations concerning a person or other entity ASADA held intelligence on, and where that intelligence was responsible for the decision to refer the matter to investigations, or was primarily responsible for the testing of an athlete, which led to a positive test.
Analysis of overall performance
In 2019–20, ASADA continued working towards providing Australian sports and athletes with a leading anti-doping program, setting global benchmarks in intelligence, science, investigations and education. These activities contributed to ASADA’s achievements of objectives under Outcome 1 and its Purpose. Of the 13 measures, ASADA met 10, partially met 2 and did not meet one.
Anti-doping organisations work in a challenging operating environment – doping is far more than the stereotypical steroid user looking to get stronger. Doping exists in many forms; it is not contained by age, ability or international borders. Doping involves dangerous substances and methods that are a serious threat to the health of athletes. If left unchecked, doping can affect the willingness of Australians to participate in sport and the health of the community.
ASADA’s progress against its Purpose in 2019–20 was achieved in the context of a complex and global operating environment influenced by the following factors:
The Wood Review
In response to the Review of Australia’s Sports Integrity Arrangements (the Wood Review), chaired by the Hon James Wood AO QC, the government announced landmark reforms to safeguard the integrity of Australian sport. To combat present, emerging and future threats relating to doping, match-fixing, illegal betting, organised crime and corruption, the government established a new, single national sport integrity agency, Sport Integrity Australia. The new agency commenced on 1 July 2020 and brought together ASADA, the National Integrity of Sport Unit (NISU) and the national integrity functions of Sport Australia.
In 2019–20, ASADA continued to increase its public profile to educate all Australians that the organisation is more than a testing agency, while further emphasising the importance of engagement with its key stakeholder – athletes, and not just elite-level athletes but from grassroots to masters level athletes.
ASADA leveraged numerous communications channels – from social media to face-to-face education to conference fora – to strengthen engagement, education and sharing of information to the broader sport community.
The COVID-19 pandemic had an unprecedented effect around the world. This extended into Australian sport with the entire community affected. In the latter part of 2019–20 ASADA’s ability to maintain operational activity was affected by COVID-19 related restrictions resulting in a downturn in field testing, engagement and face-to-face education.
To truly understand the doping landscape, ASADA worked in partnership with everyone who holds a piece of the puzzle. In 2019–20, ASADA strengthened engagement and partnerships with stakeholders comprising:
- Athletes – who understand their environment, the pressures of sport and importance of remaining competitive better than anyone.
- Sporting bodies – who understand commercial implications as well as both the physical and mental demands on their athletes.
- Law enforcement and intelligence agencies – to target the facilitators of doping where organised crime is profiting from supplying performance and image enhancing drugs (PIED), both within Australia and internationally.
This engagement is replicated across all stakeholder groups, including the health sector, academic institutions and other National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOs). All of this enables ASADA to better understand the broader picture of doping in Australia.
ASADA Athlete Advisory Group
To follow through on representing the athletes’ voice in organisational governance, in 2018–19 ASADA established the Athlete Advisory Group (AAG). The AAG provides opportunities for the athletes’ voice to contribute meaningfully to the fight against doping. The group consists of current and former high-level athletes, including some who have inadvertently or deliberately engaged in activity contrary to the World Anti-Doping Code.
Over the past year, ASADA welcomed AAG input into ASADA’s strategic direction including to inform education strategies through the provision of insights into the pressures and influences in sport increasing the risk and temptation to dope.
Leadership in Sport conferences
The Leadership in Sport conference, presented by ASADA, the National Integrity of Sport Unit, Sport Australia and the University of Canberra, highlighted the importance of collaboration in the pursuit of success.
Federal Sports Minister Senator Richard Colbeck officially opened the conference, held at the University of Canberra on 28–29 November 2019.
Titled ‘20/20 Vision’, the conference provided a platform for sporting organisations, sports integrity units, private industry and government to learn from each other and identified the benefits of working together to tackle the threats to sports integrity head-on.
Initially conceived as part of the collaborative research partnership between the University of Canberra and ASADA, the Leadership in Sport conference series aims to bring together leaders in sport, research, enforcement, intelligence and integrity to positively influence Australia’s sports integrity partnerships, systems and governance heading into the future.
More than 120 guests attended the two-day conference.
Education is one of ASADA’s 3 key pillars and operated as a part of the agency’s holistic anti-doping program.
More than a tick-the-box exercise, ASADA strived to ensure all education interactions were engaging, interesting and targeted to the audience. Noting the value of face-to-face education in engaging athletes, in 2019–20, ASADA increased its face-to-face education program by 57% on the previous year (from 110 to 173 sessions). ASADA increased the number of face-to-face sessions delivered at the sub-elite level by 138%, (from 29 to 69 sessions) in response to intelligence reports guiding resources to be deployed when and where it mattered most.
In addition, ASADA released 2 new targeted online courses to cater for the full spectrum of Australian athletes. The first was built specifically for elite athletes on the Registered Testing Pool and the other targeted young athletes at the beginning of their sporting careers. To complement this work, ASADA also developed several new education resources focused on the health effects of doping. This included a world first augmented reality app developed in partnership with Drug Free Sport New Zealand and a series of videos developed in partnership with the United States Anti-Doping Agency. For the first time, ASADA also developed a video featuring a sanctioned athlete telling their story of testing positive to a supplement, for use in education sessions with athletes at all levels.
ASADA was also able to complete an upgrade to the popular Clean Sport app, which now includes a Therapeutic Use Exemption Checker and provides strict warnings for athletes who search for supplements ASADA is aware list banned ingredients on the label. The number of app downloads also increased by more than 16,000 this year, an increase of 28% on the previous year.
Notably, in recognition of their innovative and engaging approach to Education, ASADA won the 2019 Australian Public Service Innovation Award in the category of Citizen Centred Innovation, for the development of the Clean Sport app and Virtual Reality doping control experience.
In 2019–20, ASADA’s social media strategy was designed to directly connect the agency to sports and their audiences through online engagement. This was done through promoting awareness of our brand, building and expanding our network and educating sports and sporting fan bases through social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. ASADA posted 1092 posts across all platforms with an increase in followers on Facebook (13.83%), Twitter (4.5%) and Instagram (193.7%) compared to the previous year.
Figure 2: Breakdown of ASADA social media posts in 2019–20 by platform
As doping practices become more sophisticated and complex, ASADA took proactive steps to keep pace by building its capabilities through the investment in technology and re-modelling the workforce to be more efficient and effective.
Digital business strategy
The ASADA Information and Communication Technology (ICT) environment underwent significant changes over the past 2 years to improve the organisation's security posture against a background of increasingly active threats and to transform the business into a modern, paperless and cloud-first capability.
In 2019–20, ASADA continued to invest significantly in the development of its digital foundation program aligned to the Australian Government's cloud agenda. As at 30 June 2020, ASADA’s modern, integrated digital office space has carried over into Sport Integrity Australia with a wide range of advanced, secure cloud services that are integrated into a seamless user service.
ASADA leveraged the platforms built through this investment to automate workflows, improve supportability of operations and utilise modern approaches to work practices around collaboration. The benefits of the investments made over the past 2 years were highlighted during the bushfires over the Christmas period and the COVID-19 response, where the agency moved to a work from home situation for all staff with no ICT changes and minimal impact on business operations.
The skill of its workforce is crucial to ASADA’s ability to respond effectively to the challenges posed by an increasingly sophisticated doping environment. In 2019–20, ASADA continued specialist recruitment to enhance intelligence, science, investigations, testing and legal capabilities.
ASADA has actively encouraged secondments and resource-sharing arrangements with relevant law enforcement and other regulatory agencies to maintain its expertise at the forefront of global anti-doping efforts.
ASADA field operations model
ASADA delivered on its commitment to field operations by recruiting key personnel to enhance the coordination, training and accreditation of the Doping Control Officers (DCO) and Chaperones. The recruitment of State Managers saw increased engagement between ASADA, Sports and venue managers, which was crucial given the challenges the COVID–19 pandemic brought to the anti-doping testing environment. The implementation of State Manager positions strengthened the ‘in field’ accreditation process supported by the work of the National Training Coordinator.
These changes, initially recommended in a 2018 review by an independent consultant, have and will continue to yield greater engagement, a more comprehensive training regime and quality assurance framework thereby supporting ASADA’s (and now Sport Integrity Australia’s) strategic direction.