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Corporate Services

Goal: Excellent, trusted and responsive corporate services enabling the Bureau to increase the value and impact we have for Australia.

The Corporate Services Group is responsible for providing shared enterprise–enabling services so the Bureau can achieve its strategic objectives.

The Group is driven to transform corporate service delivery by modernising its systems and processes, so they are user-friendly while meeting compliance requirements. The Group delivers specialist analysis and authoritative strategic advice to inform organisational decisions. It also provides quality assurance controls through key corporate functions such as financial management, workplace safety and well-being, legal services, workforce planning and capability development and reputation management.

The Corporate Services Group is comprised of five Programs as illustrated below.




Government Relations and Corporate Communication

Organisational Development

Legal and Commercial

Health, Safety and Environment


enterprise-wide financial services

parliamentary and government relations


legal services

safe work practices


public affairs


commercial contracts

staff mental and physical well-being

finance policy

media relations

employee relations

intellectual property

environmental sustainability

facilities management

internal engagement



online advertising

leadership and team development


workforce planning

freedom of information

staff attraction and retention

Throughout 2018–19, the Corporate Services Group focused on the delivery of three outcomes that support the delivery of the Bureau’s Strategy and purpose. The Group’s achievement in delivering each of these outcomes is discussed below.

Weather forecasters with professional competencies172 forecasters with aeronautical meteorological forecasting competencyAverage number of days to register WHS incidentsON AVERAGE 5.7 days to register a work health safety (WHS) incidentMedia enquiries and conferences by monthMORE THAN 16 000 media enquiries answered

Outcome 1 - Trusted partnerships with our customers are based on a comprehensive understanding and anticipation of needs.

Achieving the outcome

Partners in corporate business

Following a successful pilot within the Finance Program in 2017–18, the business partnership model was implemented across the Group to support the delivery of all corporate services. The model has been well received and is now in continual improvement phase.

Enterprise business system requirements were identified, including immediate and longer-term needs and the development of a business case blueprint for future enhancements.

Partnering with Comcare on workplace health and safety

The Bureau partnered with the Australian Government’s health and safety and injury regulator Comcare on delivering proactive workplace activities that support participation and productivity through healthy and safe workplaces and minimise the impact of harm. Comcare worked with the Bureau on undertaking workplace inspections, with site visits including Norfolk Island and the Albany Field Office.

Streamlining information to staff

A primary focus has been on improving the information and resources available on the Bureau’s Breeze internal website. Guiding principles were developed to improve the user experience, and content and navigation were redesigned to facilitate greater access to essential resources. Work has commenced on reviewing and refreshing content to ensure it is relevant, easily searchable and will enable staff to self-serve for routine enquiries.

A full spectrum of activities with the ABC

There may not be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but during 2018–19, plenty of golden content was established under the Bureau’s partnership with the ABC.

One highlight was the Colourful Weather project, a five-part video series aimed at educating viewers on the eye-catching aspects of meteorology. The series covered red dust storms, sunrises and sunsets, rainbows, iridescent clouds, and blue jets, elves and sprites. Hosted by ABC Weather producer Nate Byrne and featuring Bureau experts, the videos leverage the Bureau’s meteorological expertise and the ABC’s resources to create engaging content.

The partnership also saw the continuation of the successful Bureau segments on the Landline program, week-long ‘weather takeovers’ of ABC Radio National’s Life Matters and ABC Sydney’s Focus program during National Science Week. These initiatives reached millions of Australians and helped to further build the Bureau’s reputation among its customers and partners and within the Australian community. By working together, both organisations are improving Australians’ understanding of weather science, particularly to support them in making informed decisions during severe weather.

Bureau meteorologist Grace Legge, in a Colourful Weather video exploring dust storms, explains why dust storms in Australia can have a reddish hue.Bureau meteorologist Grace Legge, in a Colourful Weather video exploring dust storms, explains why dust storms in Australia can have a reddish hue.

Next steps

Key activities to be delivered in 2019–20 to help achieve Outcome 1 include:

  • implementing business system improvements including digitisation of forms, organisational charts and a parliamentary document management system; and
  • developing the business partnership model to drive continual improvement in customer engagement, interpersonal and transformation management skills.

Outcome 2 - Build an excellent corporate services function—that is credible, trusted and respected—through improvements in our systems, processes, frameworks and people.

Achieving the outcome

Improving staff well-being and safety

The Bureau has an ongoing focus on improving staff well-being and safety. During 2018–19:

  • work health safety and environment policies and procedures were updated and consolidated in line with the Bureau’s policy and procedure governance framework;
  • proactive measures associated with mental health were undertaken including mental health training for managers and a seminar series about living and working with mental ill health;
  • a Safety Conversations initiative was rolled out to senior managers;
  • a focus on making conscious safety choices was promoted through a manual handling campaign and rollout of the Take 5 initiative to staff across Australia supported by guest speakers; and
  • health-focused initiatives were provided including the Influenza vaccination program, skin checks, SunSmart campaign and the breast cancer awareness initiative.

Strengthening costing and pricing, and procurement

The Finance Program established a Charging Unit in September to support various costing and pricing activities across the Bureau, and released a revised charging and costing procedure. A framework for activity-based costing was established and an enterprise activity-based costing tool is being developed for completion in November 2019.

To enhance the Bureau’s procure-to-pay functions, a framework for procurement contract management is being developed and procure-to-pay processes are being re-engineered. A health check of the Bureau’s business systems identified a number of upgrade and enhancements needed in order to progress key business solutions in coming years.

Building workforce capability

Significant developments in organisational development included the delivery of an overarching enterprise workforce plan and capability development plan; establishment of an overarching consultative body, the National Consultative Forum; and development of an employee value proposition and refreshed careers website.

Providing better incident reporting

In September, the Bureau launched its new health, safety and environment incident reporting system, which has streamlined and enhanced hazard and incident reporting, investigation and corrective action management. The streamlined functions reduce the administrative burden and increase speed of reporting, allowing for an easier user experience.

Busting red tape on corporate functions

To reduce red tape and ensure its business systems align to current and future business needs, 29 red tape impediments were removed through actions that included:

  • implementing a new travel and expense management system to simplify and digitise the management of travel requests and credit card reconciliations;
  • enhancing the Bureau’s business system portal to enable greater self-service by staff and automation of manual processes;
  • re-engineering finance and organisational development processes to reduce the use of paper-based forms; and
  • digitising hardcopy employee files in line with the Government’s Digital Continuity 2020 Policy, with an electronic personnel record implemented for each employee using the Bureau’s records management system.

Next steps

Key activities to be delivered in 2019–20 to help achieve Outcome 2 include:

  • ongoing development of the Bureau’s health, safety and wellbeing culture;
  • uplift of the organisation’s internal engagement capability; and
  • work to re-engineer the accounts payable function to provide improvements in low-level expenditure and remove paper forms.

Outcome 3 - Provide authoritative advice and leadership to enable governance and to drive ongoing sustainability of the Bureau.

Achieving the outcome

Managing our property footprint

The Bureau has a significant property footprint with facilities including meteorological observing sites, offices and staff residences in regional and remote locations. New office accommodation standards are being implemented as building leases fall due and refits are being undertaken to better support collaborative work practices. Work to decrease the environmental impact of the Bureau’s operations has continued with a solar panel pilot at Laverton in Victoria.

Providing leadership on issues and media management

To enhance the Bureau’s media capability, a training campaign was undertaken by the Government Relations and Corporate Communication team, giving staff confidence to communicate clearly through the media. The Bureau’s media partnership with the ABC grew in strength during the year with a number of successful initiatives undertaken.

Creating media savvy scientists

The Bureau’s work is important to the Australian community, but to achieve maximum impact, it is vital that Bureau specialists are able to communicate effectively through the media so that people understand any potential threats and act accordingly.

The Bureau implemented an integrated media, communication and social media training program with 231 Bureau staff undertaking the course. The one-day training was provided for anyone who may have to face the media at some stage in their careers—from tsunami experts to volcanic ash experts, meteorologists, hydrologists, managers and climatologists.

This training will in turn help the Australian public keep informed of weather, climate and even space weather issues through TV, radio, online and newspaper channels. The better our scientists can communicate, the more likely they will have a voice in these mediums—providing value to our customers.

In the spotlight—Space Weather Senior Forecaster, Richard Marshall preparing for a mock television interview with Melody Horrill.In the spotlight—Space Weather Senior Forecaster, Richard Marshall preparing for a mock television interview with Melody Horrill.

Implementing a new approach to delegations

A new delegations and authorisations instrument was developed and implemented ahead of it coming into effect on 1 July 2019. The delegations combine financial, human resources and freedom of information delegations in one document, and devolve delegations to the lowest practical level.

Establishing better corporate reporting

To support effective evidence-based decision-making, the Group has enhanced its reporting through:

  • strengthening enterprise financial management reports to include broader program outcomes, identification of issues and financial tracking against the Bureau’s ten-year financial plan;
  • tailoring financial reporting and forecasting to improve Group understanding of financial information; and
  • enhancing internal environmental reporting with the addition of a carbon account, an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions, and a state of the environment report based on Global Reporting Initiative standards.

Next steps

Key activities to be delivered in 2019–20 to help achieve Outcome 3 include:

  • strengthening intellectual property management;
  • monitoring the Bureau’s compliance with delegations and authorisations; and
  • further developing the corporate reporting suite.