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Annual performance statement

Introductory statement

I, as the accountable authority of the Department of the House of Representatives, present the department’s 2018–19 annual performance statement, as required under section 39(1)(a) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act). In my opinion, this annual performance statement accurately reflects the performance of the department, and complies with section 39(2) of the PGPA Act.

Claressa Surtees, Clerk of the House

Purpose

The department’s purpose, as set out in its Corporate Plan 2018–19, is:

  • to support the House of Representatives, and the wider parliament, in the role of a representative and legislative body primarily by providing advice and services, and through engaging with the community and other parliaments.

Data sources

The results and analysis presented in this annual performance statement are based on data from several sources. These include an annual survey of members of the House of Representatives, interviews with retiring members, analytics relating to departmental social media and publications, evaluations from external stakeholders, an annual survey of departmental staff, and internal records and reporting.

With a general election due to be held in 2019 but uncertainty about the exact timing of the dissolution of the House and commencement of the Forty-sixth Parliament, the department chose to seek formal feedback from members earlier in the financial year than might otherwise have been the case. The annual members’ survey and interviews were held between February and April 2019, enabling the department to secure vital performance information for the year.

Members' survey

In February 2019 all members were invited to complete an online questionnaire, with hard copies also available. The survey was open from 8 February to 30 April 2019 and members were advised that their responses would be anonymous.

The survey asked members to indicate whether they were satisfied with each of the following:

  • the quality and timeliness of chamber procedural support and advisory services
  • the quality and availability of procedural and statistical publications, and support to obtain these
  • the quality and timeliness of advice and services to parliamentary committees
  • the standard of report drafting for parliamentary committees
  • support for participation in official international delegations
  • support for their House of Representatives office accommodation
  • support for their salary payments
  • support for transport coordination in Canberra during sitting weeks.

Members were also able to provide comments in response to each question and, at the end of the survey, they were invited to offer additional comments on any aspect of the services provided by the department.

Forty-three members completed the questionnaire (13 online and 30 in hard copy). This represents a response rate of 29 per cent of the 150 available members.

Members’ interviews

To complement the members’ survey, the Clerk wrote to 16 members who had announced their intention not to contest a seat at the conclusion of the Forty-fifth Parliament, inviting them to participate in an in-depth face-to-face interview with a senior member of departmental staff. The members were advised that the department was conducting the interviews to receive feedback on the level and quality of its advice, information and services, and to gain insight into service provision. Aside from general reflections on their time as parliamentarians and suggestions for possible areas of parliamentary reform, areas covered in the interviews were:

  • the quality of the advice and support provided for their work in the Chamber and Federation Chamber
  • the quality, availability and usefulness of procedural publications and resources
  • the quality and usefulness of advice and support received in relation to work on parliamentary committees, including the quality of report drafting
  • support received from the Serjeant-at-Arms’ Office in relation to office accommodation in Parliament House, and services such as transport, stationery, salaries and allowances
  • impressions of the parliament’s interactions with other national parliaments, and satisfaction with arrangements made for any parliamentary delegations overseas, where relevant
  • community perceptions of the parliament and parliamentarians
  • hospitality provided to visiting school groups
  • any other support or services that would assist members in their parliamentary work.

The members were advised that their responses would be compiled into a summary report on satisfaction levels and areas for improvement or new initiatives, and that individual responses would remain confidential.

Interviews were conducted between February and April 2019 with 10 members, a participation rate of 63 per cent of those invited to be involved.

Staff survey

The departmental staff survey for 2018–19 was available online from 3 to 30 June 2019. The purpose of the survey was to understand staff opinions of the department’s working environment, performance, governance and leadership. Staff were advised that results of the survey would be distributed to staff of the department, addressing key trends, and that individual responses would not be identified.

A total of 115 staff responded to the survey, a participation rate of 70 per cent.

Other data sources

In addition to the members’ survey and interviews, feedback on the services provided by the departmenti ss ought from the Speaker’s Office through interviews with the Speaker’s chief of staff and advisers. Formal feedback is also received through surveys completed by participants in parliamentary delegations, beneficiaries of the department’s inter-parliamentary capacity-building activities and participants in the department’s seminar programs. A further datasource is analytics relating to contact with the department’s social media and publications. Internal chamber support service standards, internal records and exception reporting are also drawn on for reporting on the department’s performance.

Activity information

The department monitors its work output by collecting information on specific activities throughout the year. No targets are set for outputs, as most are dependent on factors outside the direct control of the department, particularly the parliamentary cycle. Comparisons with data from previous years provide a longitudinal perspective and an indication of the extent to which various outputs are affected by the parliamentary cycle.

As is typical of the final year of the parliamentary cycle, this year’s activity was interrupted by a general election, which is reflected in the activity information. Sittings of the House, meetings of the Federation Chamber, and legislative and committee activity all decreased during the latter part of the year. The figures do not reflect the intensity of activity in some areas, such as legislative drafting for private members, and committee activities continuing up until closer to the time of the election than in previous election years.

Commentary

The department’s performance framework continues to mature. The department’s revised purpose statement and performance measures are presented in summary in the department’s Portfolio Budget Statements 2018–19, and in more detail in the department’s Corporate Plan 2018–19.

The department is committed to considering its performance from the perspective of its key client groups. The department’s purpose statement indicates that the department’s support for the House of Representatives as a representative and legislative body is primarily delivered through the provision of advice and services. As recipients of the advice and services, members are the department’s principal clients. Quantitative and qualitative data gathered from members via the members’ survey and via interviews with the selected cohort of members provides crucial performance information. This data is supplemented by information gathered through face-to-face interviews with members, and feedback provided by the Speaker’s Office.

Results and analysis

Activity 1: Chamber and Federation Chamber

Performance measures and targets

Criterion 1

Level of satisfaction among surveyed members with the quality and timeliness of chamber support, procedural, statistical publications, analysis and advisory services.

Target: 90 per cent satisfied.

Source: Corporate Plan 2018–19, page 14; Portfolio Budget Statements 2018–19, page 16.

Result against the performance criterion: Target met.

All respondents to the members’ survey (100 per cent) indicated satisfaction with the quality and timeliness of chamber procedural support and advisory services, and all respondents indicated satisfaction with the quality and availability of procedural and statistical publications, and the support available to obtain these. Comments made about procedural support included, ‘always excellent’, ‘exceptional service and support as always!’ and ‘could not ask for better’.

Feedback from interviewed members was consistent with the survey results. The majority of interviewed members reported a high degree of satisfaction with the quality and timeliness of chamber support. Procedural support was described as ‘always good’, ‘excellent’, ‘helpful and accurate’ and ‘characterised by integrity and competence’. The role of departmental staff was described as ‘very impressive’ and ‘exceptional’, with one member commenting that such staff contribute to the dignity of the parliament. One member commented, ‘There is never a hint of partisanship by the Clerks. No one would ever worry that they might favour one side over another. Their work reflects well on the House and they are always helpful and flexible’. One member reflected positively on the advice and support they had been provided with throughout their parliamentary career, including as a minister, shadow spokesperson and backbencher.

During interviews, one member suggested making more members aware of services that can be provided by the department, particularly in the more technical areas of drafting support and procedural advice. Several other comments were made about the importance of procedural development and ongoing professional development in a range of areas.

With respect to procedural and other publications, interviewed members indicated a high level of satisfaction with the quality and availability of the department’s procedural and statistical publications. The importance of the House of Representatives Standing Orders and House of Representatives Practice was noted, and the Live Minutes was described as ‘a great resource’. While some members indicated that they did not use the publications frequently, many commented on the comprehensive and useful nature of the materials, and on their awareness of the availability of materials.

One member suggested recommencing the daily distribution of the Daily Program in hard copy to all members.

Criterion 2

Chamber support service standards met for sittings of the House and meetings of the Federation Chamber and processing of bills, votes, messages, and other chamber documents with a high degree of accuracy and within timeframes.

Target: 100 per cent.

Source: Corporate Plan 2018–19, page 14; Portfolio Budget Statements 2018–19, page 16.

Result against the performance criterion: Target met.

Chamber support service standards were met. Processing of proposed legislation and other business was completed within agreed timeframes and no significant errors were identified.

Activity information

Target: No target set.

Source: Corporate Plan 2018–19, page 14.

2015–16

2016–17a

2017–18

2018–19a

Number of sittings of the House

60

64

60

42

Number of meetings of the Federation Chamber

41

59

59

41

Number of bills introduced

162

248

222

155

a. Election year

Analysis

In 2018–19 the department continued to perform strongly in the activity of the Chamber and Federation Chamber.

All members surveyed and interviewed were satisfied with the quality and timeliness of chamber support, procedural, statistical publications, analysis and advisory services, exceeding the target set of 90 per cent of members satisfied. During the reporting period, the department has continued to invest heavily in procedural training and development opportunities for staff. This has included a new lunchtime seminar program, an intensive ‘House main course’ tutorial program, and a range of new procedural resources including video material and guidance for Clerks-at-the-Table. The department also published the seventh edition of its flagship publication, House of Representatives Practice. This investment in procedural advice and capability will contribute to ensuring that the department continues to be able to deliver high levels of service to support the functioning of the Chamber and Federation Chamber.

During the reporting period, all chamber support service standards were met for sittings of the House and meetings of the Federation Chamber. Further progress on the House Division Recording System project during the next year will enable enhanced support and services for proceedings in the Chamber.

As is typical for the final year of a parliamentary cycle, the activity information reflects a lower than average number of sittings of the House, meetings of the Federation Chamber, and legislative workload. In recent years, the number of Federation Chamber meetings as a proportion of the number of House sittings has been relatively high, and this has continued during the current reporting period. The House’s reliance on its second chamber has resulted in an ongoing need to have support staff available to facilitate an increasing number of meetings of the Federation Chamber. The procedural training and development activities discussed earlier make an important contribution in this respect. Although traditionally enjoying relative stability in personnel in key roles, the Table Office has made good use of shadowing arrangements to mitigate the risks associated with potential changes in staffing in future. This will ensure the department can continue to deliver high standards of support and service in this activity area.

Activity 2: Committee support

Performance measures and targets

Criterion 1

Level of satisfaction among surveyed committee members with the thoroughness, accuracy and timeliness of advice, standard of committee reports and other committee support services provided.

Target: 90 per cent satisfied.

Source: Corporate Plan 2018–19, page 15; Portfolio Budget Statements 2018–19, page 16.

Result against the performance criterion: Target met.

All respondents to the members’ survey (100 per cent) indicated satisfaction with the quality and timeliness of advice and services to their committees, and all respondents indicated satisfaction with the standard of report drafting for their committees. Most comments made by members reinforced their satisfaction with the quality of committee-related support and services. Three members commented on their experiences with particular committee secretariats, and one member suggested that hard copies of committee reports be more readily available to committee members.

During interviews, members described the quality and usefulness of committee advice, support and report writing as generally good, and one member commented, ‘great committee secretariats with very professional staff’. One member raised concerns about the quality of committee report drafting over the past 12 months, although acknowledged secretariats are under workload pressures. One member suggested dedicating sitting Mondays to committee meetings to avoid committees meeting at other times the House is sitting.

Activity information

Target: No target set.

Source: Corporate Plan 2018–19, page 15.

2015–16

2016–17a

2017–18

2018–19a

Number of committee meetingsb

555

541

693

511

Hours of meetingsb,c

912

845

1,285

988

Number of committee reportsb

72

46

73

85

a. Election year.

b. Excludes internal committees.

c. To the nearest hour.

Analysis

Feedback gathered through the members’ survey and interviews indicates that members are highly satisfied with committee support services, including advice and report drafting. The department prides itself on providing high-quality services to the House and joint committees supported by it. The department is continuing to provide training and development opportunities to committee support staff, which will help to ensure that parliamentary committees continue to be well served by secretariats staffed by the department.

The department is reviewing its policies in relation to the availability of printed committee reports for members. The department will continue to provide training to Committee Office staff in relation to report drafting to strengthen capacity in this regard. The department will closely monitor secretariat workloads and the resources available to various committees.

The department acknowledges one member’s suggestion to devote sitting Mondays to committee work, and notes that the House’s order of business is a matter for the House itself.

Activity information shows a decline in the number of committee meetings, which is consistent with expectations of an election year. While the hours of meetings also declined compared to last year, the 995 hours of meetings this year was higher than experienced during the last election year. Moreover, the number of committee reports presented (85) exceeded the result for the non−election year in 2017–18 (73 reports) as well as the last election year (46 reports). This somewhat contradictory activity information reflects the fact that, during the Forty-fifth Parliament, the high tempo of committee activities continued late into the final year of the parliamentary cycle before a general election, when in the past committees have typically completed inquiries and become less active at such a stage.

Activity 3: Inter-parliamentary relations and capacity-building

Performance measures and targets

Criterion 1

Level of satisfaction of Presiding Officers and delegates with arrangements for incoming and outgoing delegations.

Target: 90 per cent satisfied.

Source: Corporate Plan 2018–19, page 16; Portfolio Budget Statements 2018–19, page 16.

Result against the performance criterion: Target met.

Positive feedback was received from the Presiding Officers and their staff on arrangements for incoming and outgoing delegations during the year, including for the Presiding Officers’ own travel. Positive comments were also received on improvements that had been made in arrangements for functions for incoming delegations, and more thorough engagement by the International and Parliamentary Relations Office (IPRO) with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Delegates’ satisfaction with arrangements for delegations is gauged through an online survey available to all members of incoming and outgoing delegations supported by IPRO.

During 2018–19, 26 per cent of all delegates completed the survey. Based on responses to the online survey, 100 per cent of delegates were either very satisfied or satisfied with arrangements.

Nearly all respondents to the members’ survey (97 per cent) indicated satisfaction with support for their participation in official outgoing parliamentary delegations. Four additional comments were made, three of which commended the support and services provided by the department. One comment related to the limited opportunities available in this area.

During interviews, members described the parliament’s international work as ‘great’, ‘wonderful’ and ‘really important’. One member described their experience as a delegation member as ‘very valuable’, and noted their appreciation for the support they received during the visit. Arrangements made by the department were described as ‘fabulous’ and ‘excellent’, and one member commented that ‘whatever IPRO organises is really good’.

During members’ interviews, several suggestions were made, some of which related to minor administrative changes IPRO could consider in relation to its processes. One member also suggested that continuity in the membership of delegations to the Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly could improve the effectiveness of the Australian Parliament’s participation. Another member suggested a greater focus on region-to-region connections for parliamentary friendship groups.

Criterion 2

Level of satisfaction among parliaments with capacity-building activities.

Target: 90 per cent satisfied.

Source: Corporate Plan 2018–19, page 16; Portfolio Budget Statements 2018–19, page 16.

Result against the performance criterion: Target met.

Formal feedback processes indicate that all respondents (100 per cent) were satisfied with the training and support provided.

These activities included Inter-Parliamentary Study Programs conducted for Speakers of Pacific parliaments and for staff of other parliaments, attachments in Fiji, Samoa and Tonga facilitated as part of parliamentary support programs, and study visit programs conducted for parliamentarians and officials from the parliament of Malaysia.

Activity information

Target: No target set.

Source: Corporate Plan 2018–19, page 16.

2015–16

2016–17a

2017–18

2018–19a

Number of delegations managed

47

46

59

56

Number and nature of parliamentary capacity- building activities

29

19

24

28

» Occasions equipment supplied to Pacific parliaments

7

1

3

4

» Staff attachments and study visits

18

13

12

20

» Conferences, seminars and workshops

4

5

9

4

a. Election year

Analysis

Feedback from Presiding Officers and their staff, members of incoming and outgoing delegations, and participants in capacity-building activities all indicate that the department continues to perform strongly in supporting the parliament with its inter-parliamentary and capacity-building work.

As is typical in the final year of the parliamentary cycle, activity information reflects a slight reduction in the number of delegations during the reporting period (56 delegations, compared with 59 delegations in 2017–18). Notably, more delegations were supported during the reporting period than during the previous election year (56 delegations, compared with 46 delegations in 2016–17). Moreover, despite it being an election year, the number of parliamentary capacity-building activities increased in 2018–19.

The department engages constructively with the feedback provided by members of incoming and outgoing delegations, and seeks to continually refine its processes in response to the changing needs of its clients. IPRO and the Parliamentary Skills Centre (PSC) are considering suggestions made by members, including circulating briefing materials as they become available, where practical to do so.

Activity 4: Community awareness

Performance measures and targets

Criterion 1

Community is aware of, and engages with, published information about legislative and other parliamentary processes.

Target: Interaction with the work of the House increasing over time (percentage change on prior year).

Source: Corporate Plan 2018–19, page 17; Portfolio Budget Statements 2018–19, page 16.

Result against the performance criterion: Target partially met.

Using subscription data and publication circulation data as the data sources, the number of engagements on the department’s social media platforms was found to be as follows:

  • Facebook: 7,105 followers (increase of 10 per cent)
  • Twitter: 44,843 followers (increase of five per cent)
  • About the House newsletter: 2,102 subscribers (increase of 14 per cent)
  • YouTube: 6,648 subscribers (increase of 40 per cent)
  • Posts to the department’s Twitter page received a total of over 4.6 million impressions (increase of approximately 41 per cent), and videos published by the department were viewed over 200,000 times (decrease of approximately 14 per cent).

During interviews, although several members noted the public’s lack of trust in the institution of parliament, none offered ready answers on addressing this concern. It was also suggested by some members that addressing this phenomenon was primarily a matter for parliamentarians rather than the parliamentary administration.

One interviewed member was not aware of the department’s community awareness activities, but thought that sending out a positive message is a ‘good thing’. Another member spoke in favour of more community education highlighting the important work of the parliament within Australia’s framework of government. One member commented that the standard of parliamentary debate had changed over time and the broader issue of behaviour during parliamentary debate needed to be addressed, possibly with the assistance of some changes to the standing orders.

Criterion 2

Clients are satisfied with seminars.

Target: 90 per cent of seminar participants are satisfied.

Source: Corporate Plan 2018–19, page 17; Portfolio Budget Statements 2018–19, page 16.

Result against the performance criterion: Target met.

During the reporting period, the department held 11 seminars, which were attended by a total of 356 participants. Surveys were distributed to all attendees, and 124 were returned (a response rate of 35 per cent). Surveys gauged participants’ satisfaction with five aspects of seminars: seminar content, level of detail, presenter, audio-visual information and handouts. Based on seminar feedback forms, over 96 per cent of responses indicated satisfaction (ratings of ‘good’, ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’) across the five areas assessed, and 93 per cent reported that the seminars met their objectives.

Activity information

Target: No target set.

Source: Corporate Plan 2018–19, page 17.

2015–16

2016–17a

2017–18

2018–19a

Community contacts with the department’s publications

» @AboutTheHouse Twitter account impressions

No data available

No data available

Over

3.2 million

Over

4.6 million

» Website hitsb

No data available

No data available

331,870

482,804

Number of seminar programs conducted

8

9

10

11

a. Election year.

b. Defined as unique page views on the Chamber Documents page (including subpages) and the Powers, Practice and Procedure page (including subpages, with access to formal procedural publications including House of Representatives Practice, Guide to Procedures, House of Representatives Standing Orders, and Infosheet series, as well as Live Minutes providing draft minutes of House and Federation Chamber proceedings in real time).

Analysis

Ensuring that the wider community has access to information on the work of the House and its committees is an important activity for the department.

Contacts with the department’s publications can vary depending on public interest in the parliament in a given period, as well as sittings-dependent output produced by the department in a given period. This reporting period has seen steady growth across most of the department’s community outreach products with increased subscriptions across all digital platforms. A decrease in the number of views of videos published by the department is due to a reduction in the number of videos published during the election period. Overall, content across the House’s Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and email newsletter content received over eight million impressions during the reporting period.

The Chamber Documents and the Powers, Practice and Procedure pages on the website also continue to be popular. Data also indicates continuing strong demand for seminars offered by the department, and high levels of satisfaction from seminar participants.

Members’ comments about community perceptions of the parliament highlight the importance of the department’s continuing community awareness work.

The department continues to refine its publications and products for members of the public, and uses all available feedback processes to continually improve its offerings.

Activity 5: Members’ and corporate support

Performance measures and targets

Criterion 1

Level of satisfaction of the Speaker with the overall quality of support services provided, including accommodation, office support, transport coordination, salary processing and other members’ support services.

Target: Very satisfied.

Source: Corporate Plan 2018–19, page 18; Portfolio Budget Statements 2018–19, page 16.

Result against the performance criterion: Target met.

The data source is direct feedback from the Speaker’s Office on the overall quality of non-chamber support services provided to the Speaker, the Speaker’s Office and other members.

The Speaker’s Office indicated that it was very satisfied with the support services provided by the department to the Speaker, the Speaker’s Office and members. The Speaker’s Office indicated that services and advice from the Serjeant-at-Arms’ Office are timely and of good quality, and indicated satisfaction with the services and advice provided. The Speaker had not received any complaints from members with respect to these services.

Criterion 2

Level of satisfaction among members with the overall quality of support services provided, including accommodation, office support, transport coordination, salary processing and other members’ support services.

Target: 90 per cent satisfied.

Source: Corporate Plan 2018–19, page 18; Portfolio Budget Statements 2018–19, page 16.

Result against the performance criterion: Target met.

Of the respondents to the members’ survey, 98 per cent were satisfied with support and services for their Parliament House office accommodation, 98 per cent were satisfied with salary payment services, and 100 per cent were satisfied with transport coordination support during sitting weeks in Canberra. Members provided comments reinforcing their satisfaction with office accommodation services, such as, ‘The offices are well-tended. The mail services are prompt. The attendants are always extremely helpful and great company’. Several positive comments were made about transport services, two of which described the department’s transport staff as ‘excellent’, and one member commented, ‘I have had no difficulty changing or cancelling bookings. Everyone is always cheerful and helpful’. One member suggested that the COMCAR shuttle run later on Thursday evenings and on Friday mornings in sitting weeks.

Feedback from interviewed members was broadly consistent with the survey results, with the majority of members interviewed expressing satisfaction with their office accommodation and office support services. One member expressed concerns about arrangements for visitor access to various parts of the Chamber. Suggestions for improvement related to the provision of additional equipment in members’ Parliament House offices, including dishwashing machines and more crockery and cutlery.

Criterion 3

Level of satisfaction among staff with the quality of corporate advice and services provided by the department.

Target: 90 per cent satisfied.

Source: Corporate Plan 2018–19, page 18; Portfolio Budget Statements 2018–19, page 16.

Result against the performance criterion: Target met.

The relevant data source is the annual staff survey. Staff were asked to respond either ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to the following statement: ‘Based on the last 12 months, I am satisfied with the quality of advice and services provided by the corporate areas of the department’. A total of 92 per cent of respondents to the survey answered ‘Yes’ to this question.

Activity information

Target: No target set.

Source: Corporate Plan 2018–19, page 18.

2015–16

2016–17a

2017–18

2018–19a

Number of Parliament House accommodation and office support servicesb

361

617

718

473

Number of transport coordination services provided to members

13,129

14,892

13,086

12,449

a. Election year.

b. Before 2017–18 this figure was for accommodation services only. From 2017–18 office support is also included in the figure

Analysis

All performance targets in this area have been met. Feedback from the Speaker’s Office and results of the members’ survey indicate very high levels of satisfaction with support services provided by this activity area, including accommodation, office support, transport coordination, salary processing and other members’ support services. Responses to the annual staff survey also indicate that other departmental staff are highly satisfied with support and advice received from the corporate parts of the department.

Some respondents to the members’ survey commented on cleaning and plumbing matters, which the department has forwarded to the Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS), as the responsible agency, for its information and action. The department continues to work closely with members to assist them to have any matters promptly resolved.

Additional suggestions, including the provision of certain equipment in members’ Parliament House offices, will be considered. Future communications will assist members to understand the range of equipment and facilities available to them in their Parliament House offices, and seek to provide further clarity on the House’s practices and procedures relating to visitor access to various parts of the Chamber and Federation Chamber.

Activity 6: Schools hospitality

Performance measures and targets

Criterion 1

Percentage of visiting school groups provided hospitality in accordance with booking.

Target: 100 per cent.

Source: Corporate Plan 2018–19, page 19; Portfolio Budget Statements 2018–19, page 16.

Result against the performance criterion: Target met.

The data source is exception reporting from DPS and school groups. A total of 124,831 students toured Parliament House during the reporting period. Of those students, 93,225 participated in a Parliamentary Education Office (PEO) program and 94,380 requested and received hospitality. In 2018–19, there were no reports of hospitality not being provided to a school group that had requested it.

Activity information

Target: No target set.

Source: Corporate Plan 2018–19, page 19.

2015–16

2016–17a

2017–18

2018–19a

Number of visiting school students booked

115,774

117,654

119,088

124,831

a. Election year

Analysis

The delivery of hospitality to schools at their request is a combined effort between the parliamentary departments. The department provides a booking service for school groups, and liaises with the Department of the Senate (which administers the PEO) and with DPS (which provides tours for school groups as well as hospitality where this has been requested). Data about hospitality provision relies on exception reporting from DPS or school groups. In 2018–19 there were no reports of schools not receiving the hospitality they had requested.

Summary of performance against purpose

The department’s purpose is to support the House of Representatives, and the wider parliament, in the role of a representative and legislative body primarily by providing advice and services, and through engaging with the community and other parliaments.

To achieve this purpose, the department is committed to the delivery of high standards of advice, service and support to the House, members, parliamentary committees, other parliaments, and the broader community. Performance information from a range of data sources indicates that the department has successfully delivered to high standards.

Thedepartmenthassubstantiallymetallperformancetargetsoutlinedinitscorporateplan and Portfolio Budget Statements. Feedback from the Speaker, members, delegates and recipients of services has been overwhelmingly positive. Quantitative measures and data relating to service standards have also indicated the department is performing well against its purpose.

Activity information indicates the reduction in various outputs, as is typical in an election year. The statistics do not adequately reveal the intensity of the work undertaken by departmental staff, particularly during times of uncertainty. Staff have responded well to changes in the operational environment, and have demonstrated professionalism and considerable flexibility in continuing to deliver support services of a high calibre.

The department’s feedback processes have also identified a range of suggestions for improvements or additional services. The department has a strong culture of continually refining its service offering, and will consider this feedback when planning its future work program and priorities.

Overall, the department assesses itself as having fulfilled its purpose of providing advice and services and effectively facilitating engagement activities, in order to support the House and the wider parliament in the role of a representative and legislative body.