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Unacceptable behaviour

Pathway to Change: Evolving Defence Culture 2017–22 reinforces that all Defence personnel are accountable for creating a more positive and inclusive culture. Defence’s cultural change initiatives are focused on encouraging individuals to report unacceptable behaviour and seek support services, ensuring they feel safe to do so.

Defence personnel are encouraged to report any incident of unacceptable behaviour they experience or witness in the workplace. Guidance and support is available to ensure that complaints are managed and resolved appropriately. Defence encourages the use of alternative dispute resolution, and the majority of complaints continue to be resolved at the lowest appropriate level.

All Defence personnel are required to undertake annual Workplace Behaviour training, which includes information about expected behaviours and guidance on making and managing complaints.

In 2018–2019 Defence:

  • issued a revised policy Required Behaviours in Defence to provide greater clarity for all personnel with respect to the behaviours that are expected and those that will not be tolerated
  • made the unacceptable behaviour incident reporting tools more accessible on both the intranet and the internet, encouraging personnel to report incidents of unacceptable behaviour
  • finalised an internal review of complaint management identifying further improvements to unacceptable behaviour policy, training and governance to be made during financial year 2019–20
  • improved the data analytics associated with reports of unacceptable behaviour.

Defence policy requires managers to report complaints of unacceptable behaviour in a central database. Defence’s review of complaint management identified that the majority of complaints of unacceptable behaviour have been recorded in the central database, and initiatives are underway to close the gap. In previous Defence annual reports the data has only been provided from the Complaints Management, Tracking and Reporting System (ComTrack). Defence has now consolidated all reports included in ComTrack, the Army Incident Management System (known as AIMS) and the Defence Policing and Security Management System (known as DPSMS). Duplicate entries have been removed.

Data from the previous five financial years shows that the number of complaints being reported is increasing. The number of incidents actually occurring in the financial year has started to reduce.

Of the total of 1,016 complaints reported during 2018–19, 776 occurred during the financial year, with 240 incidents that were reported occurring in previous financial years. This suggests personnel are more willing to report unacceptable behaviour than in previous years.

Figure 6.3: Unacceptable behaviour complaints reported as received, finalised and having occurred, 2014–15 to 2018–19 Unacceptable behaviour complaints reported as received, finalised and having occurred, 2014–15 to 2018–19

The growing confidence of personnel in calling out and reporting unacceptable behaviour is reflected in the perceptions of the Defence workforce captured through the Defence Enterprise attitudinal surveys.

The YourSay Organisational Climate Survey indicates that the majority of Defence personnel perceive that:

  • incidents of unacceptable behaviour are being managed well
  • Defence has a culture that supports individuals who report unacceptable behaviour.

Note that data is only available for this measure from 2017 and 2018, as the question was not asked before 2017.

Figure 6.4: Incidents of unacceptable behaviour are managed well in my workplace Incidents of unacceptable behaviour are managed well in my workplace

Figure 6.5: Defence has a culture that supports individuals who report fraud, corruption or unethical behaviour Defence has a culture that supports individuals who report fraud, corruption or unethical behaviour