Goal: Excellent, trusted and proactive corporate services enabling the Bureau to increase the value for our customers 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.
For 2019–20, the Group consisted of six Programs with the following responsibilities:
Enterprise-wide financial services
Government Relations and Corporate Communication
Parliamentary and government relations
Media relations and public affairs
Employee relations and payroll
Training, leadership and team development
Workforce planning, diversity and inclusion
Recruitment and staff retention
Legal and Commercial
Commercial contracts and intellectual property
Privacy and freedom of information
Health, Safety and Environment
Safe work practices
Staff mental and physical well-being
Compensation, rehabilitation and return to work
Customer skills and engagement capabilities
Customer relationship management system
Product management capability
Throughout 2019–20, 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.
Outcome 1: We created trusted partnership with our customers and stakeholders to design systems and services to meet the Bureau's needs.
Achieving the outcome
Partnering with Comcare on workplace health and safety
The Bureau partnered with the Australian Government’s health and safety and injury regulator Comcare to proactively support participation and productivity through healthy and safe workplaces and minimise the impact of harm. Comcare worked with the Bureau to undertake workplace inspections including the remote space weather network site on Cocos (Keeling) Islands.
Building and managing customer relationships
Two critical capabilities were developed that are essential for effective customer service. The first was detailed process mapping for the customer engagement process, from initial market research through to opportunity management. The second was a foundation and intermediate staff training course on customer engagement, based on role requirements. The Bureau also progressed development of its Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system which will collect, analyse and manage customer interactions in a systematic way.
Building a finance strategy to support future investment
The Bureau developed a long-term financial strategy to align with the Bureau’s strategic objectives and future investment. The Bureau also enhanced its budgeting framework and financial forecasting tools and developed an activity-based costing model in line with the Australian Government's charging framework.
Creating efficiencies through Business Systems Transformation
The Bureau continued work on its two-year program to uplift and streamline finance and human resource systems and processes as it implements new business systems and transitions to whole-of-Australian-Government–shared services arrangements. Work modules to transform travel and expense management, activity-based costing and organisational charting were completed, with modules on recruitment, staff rostering and resource planning still in progress.
In addition, new delegations and authorisations were implemented, combining financial, organisational development and freedom of information delegations into one instrument to streamline decision-making and improve consistency.
Key activities to be delivered in 2020–21 to help achieve Outcome 1 include:
uplifting intellectual property management and strategic contract management; and
implementing the Bureau's purchasing card and new travel procedure.
Outcome 2: Build excellent services, frameworks and skills and capabilities that enable the Bureau Way.
Achieving the outcome
Training up the next generation of Bureau meteorologists
The Bureau had seven staff complete the Graduate Diploma in Meteorology Course in October. Four of the graduate meteorologists will work in the Bureau's Brisbane office and three in Melbourne. The course also included participants from the Royal Australian Navy and from Fiji, Hong Kong and Singapore. The Graduate Diploma, which is delivered through the Bureau of Meteorology Training Centre, is a nationally accredited qualification which takes eight months to complete.
Building and maintaining a well-equipped workforce
A sustainable workforce plan and workforce planning toolkit were developed during the year to facilitate effective workforce profiling and analysis as the first step of the Bureau's workforce planning cycle. This plan and toolkit are assisting work areas to better understand their workforce supply and capabilities in the context of organisational objectives, and to prepare to respond to emerging challenges quickly and more strategically.
Over 400 staff participated in the Management Fundamentals learning program, to improve capability in leading virtual teams and finance fundamentals. An additional 700 staff used the 'Just In Time' self-learning library to enhance skills in topics such as customer service, project management and well-being. A Managing Underperformance toolkit was also drafted to provide step-by-step guidance to managers working to address performance concerns.
Diversity in action
The Bureau undertook a wide range of initiatives to help build a workplace where all staff feel included and empowered. The Bureau participated in the Australian Network on Disability Access and Inclusion Index and launched its Multicultural Access and Equity Plan 2019–22 in July and its Accessibility Action Plan 2019–22 in November. Events held throughout the year to raise awareness, recognise and celebrate diversity included:
NAIDOC Week and the launch of the Masig and Ngoorabul season calendars on the Bureau's Indigenous Weather Knowledge website in July;
the Indigenous Australian Government Development Program graduation ceremony in November; and
International Women's Day in March.
The Bureau's support for the whole-of-enterprise diversity and inclusion enabled the Public Safety Program to take on an intern through the Australian Network on Disability. The internship provides opportunities for talented university students and helps cultivate an inclusive and diverse workplace culture. The intern supported the Bureau's development of automated warning capability for fast-responding rivers and has become a full-time Bureau employee and operational flood forecaster.
Building frameworks to support internal and external engagement
The Bureau developed a framework for parliamentary engagement that will be implemented in 2020–21. The framework focuses on mechanisms to proactively identify and action opportunities in relation to parliamentary inquiries, events and outreach mechanisms. Steps were taken to implement the Parliamentary Document Management System within the Bureau, as part of a workflow and process improvement initiative.
Work to develop a National Media Framework commenced with a view to reaching the Australian community and industry sectors through proactive media relations and strategic national media partnerships.
A framework for internal engagement was developed and implemented, to better guide and support engagement activity across the Bureau. The framework focuses on four key programs of work including: delivering priority enterprise-wide communications; supporting transformation and change management; fostering enterprise-wide improvement; and improving the way the team works. A review of the Internal Communications operating model also commenced. Steps were taken to uplift the Bureau Leader’s Communication portal, to help support our Senior Leadership Team with delivery of key messages and the rollout of initiatives across the organisation.
Key activities to be delivered in 2020–21 to help achieve Outcome 2 include:
integrating enabling functions as the new Enterprise Services Group is formed; and
implementing an enterprise-wide workforce capability framework.
Outcome 3: Build an excellent corporate services function to enable sound stewardship of our organisation.
Achieving the outcome
Ensuring strong and effective legal compliance
The Legal Services Team assisted the organisation with over 350 distinct matters, including complex employment matters, collaboration arrangements, research agreements, procurement and corporate real estate. The team also provided support for the Bureau's participation in a range of inquiries related to the 2019–20 bushfire season.
Providing high-quality oversight of meteorology for aviation
During the height of the summer bushfires, the Meteorological Authority Office reviewed and adapted its procedures to support operations at aerodromes affected by smoke. The office also contributed to Australian civil and defence aviation safety initiatives, continued to support development initiatives for aviation meteorological services in the Pacific, and achieved recertification of compliance with the ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Standard.
Maintaining a strong safety culture
The Bureau's work health safety and environment policies and procedures were updated and consolidated in line with the Bureau’s policy and procedure governance framework. Significant reviews were made to the overseas travel and contractor management policies in response to the Bureau's Safety Risk Profile assessment.
A mental health uplift program was provided to 400 Bureau managers to improve recognition and understanding of mental health challenges. Manager-led safety team talks were developed focusing on sharing lessons learned from manual handling, electrical safety, emergency response, bicycle commuting, bushfires and first aid.
Taking care of our people while delivering for Australia
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the Bureau's priorities was to look after the health and safety of its people, while continuing to provide our essential services and products to our customers. This was achieved by:
supporting flexible work arrangements and providing staff with equipment to work from home safely;
uplifting ICT connectivity and security to ensure resilient operations; and
actively promoting an active staff health and well-being monitoring program.
Key activities to be delivered in 2020–21 to help achieve Outcome 3 include:
strengthening multi-year financial planning and investment decision processes;
implementing frameworks, guidance, tools and templates for Customer Engagement and Product Management; and