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Management of Human Resources

The department aligns its business and workforce planning strategies to meet current requirements and to plan for the future workforce. Workforce analytics and data inform the department’s workforce profile, trends and future requirements.

At 30 June 2018 the department employed 32 943 people, of whom 30 108 (91.4 per cent) were ongoing, 1069 (3.2 per cent) were non‑ongoing and 1766 (5.4 per cent) were irregular/intermittent. Changes to the department’s workforce size reflect government priorities, budget measures, service delivery demands, ongoing efficiencies and natural attrition.

Appendix A presents statistics on staff by classification, location, employment status, employment type, gender, disability, diverse background, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identity. It also sets out salary ranges and employment arrangements.


Human resources information for managers and employees

Following the commencement of the Department of Human Services Enterprise Agreement 2017–2020, the department has reviewed and refreshed the suite of human resources (HR) policies to create information that is clear, concise and accurate. This process has delivered 30 policies developed in consultation with staff.

As part of this review, the department’s Intranet was updated and the number of links to HR material was reduced by over 80 per cent. The department also introduced the virtual assistant MelissHR so that HR information is now quicker and easier for staff to access. MelissHR has also reduced the number of enquiries to the People Advisory Centre, enabling its staff to spend more time on complex HR issues.


The department seeks cooperative workplace relations by engaging directly with staff and consulting their representatives about workplace change, consistent with good management practice and industrial commitments. In 2017–18, the department established new terms of reference for the National Consultative Committee to engage staff representatives in a higher level overview of changes that will affect the workforce, including those arising from new technologies and systems.

The department helps staff balance work and personal commitments through access to flexible working hours. At 30 June 2018, 8450 staff members (25.7 per cent) worked part‑time (excluding irregular/intermittent staff).

In 2018, 84 per cent of the department’s staff completed the government‑wide APS Employee Census. Results showed that engagement scores in all four indices have improved since the 2017 APS census. Other results indicate significant improvements were made in the areas of innovation and creativity—particularly in job engagement—in the department. Table 64 below shows levels of staff engagement, as measured by the census, since 2014.

Table 64: Levels of staff engagement

Engagement element index score






Job engagement index score






Team engagement index score






Supervisor engagement index score






Agency engagement index score






Note: The engagement index uses a 0–10 point scale, with 10 being the highest level of engagement.

The department also conducted a ‘My SES’ leadership poll of a random sample of staff. The aim was to give each individual SES member de‑identified feedback on their leadership and behaviour. This feedback will allow the department to help SES staff to demonstrate the behaviours and values needed to build a positive workplace culture.


Strategic workforce planning is how the department ensures that its workforce has the capabilities, understanding and support needed to continue to achieve positive outcomes for government and customers. The department undertakes strategic workforce planning, job design, capability identification and staff development to meet day‑to‑day and longer term business delivery needs and support transformation initiatives.

In 2017–18 the department implemented the Australian Public Service Commission’s 2017 APS job family model. The model underpins strategic workforce planning and job design by segmenting the workforce into function‑based groups. This segmentation helps the department understand its workforce, identify demand for critical roles and understand shifts in the labour market. The skills and capabilities identified as workforce priorities include service delivery, leadership, design thinking, digital, data analytics, strategic policy, and program and project management.

During 2017–18 the department implemented an HR account manager model to support business areas with their specific workforce needs. Strategic workforce planning is conducted at the group level to ensure that the department’s workforce strategies align with the enterprise transformation agenda while enabling the department to develop plans that target the specific needs of each business area.


The Department of Human Services Enterprise Agreement 2017–2020 formalises the department’s commitment through the Job Placement Scheme to keep and redeploy staff whose roles may be affected by organisational change. The scheme aims to ensure that the department retains valuable skills and capabilities.

During 2017–18 the department continued to focus on proactive redeployment practices to enable the matching of redeployment candidates with suitable positions as promptly as possible. In 2017–18, 566 people in the Job Placement Scheme were found ongoing positions or left the department.


Organisational culture continues to be an important priority and a critical enabler of the department’s transformation. In 2017–18 the department established a centralised culture function. The function designs and implements department‑wide strategies to improve workplace culture and climate. Evidence‑based decision‑making underpins the new approach to leading strategic enterprise‑wide cultural initiatives. The department provides ongoing support to staff and business areas to help build an understanding of ‘We’ culture and desired values and behaviours, and how to apply them. The Intranet ‘Culture Hub’ provides tools and information to further embed the culture.


The department remains committed to ensuring that all staff understand and comply with the APS Values and Code of Conduct.

In 2017–18 the department:

  • reviewed its Preventing and Resolving Workplace Bullying Policy
  • developed a new standalone Sexual Harassment Policy
  • provided regular messages and information to staff on workplace behaviour and ethical decision‑making.

In addition to clear staff policies and guidelines, the department has a broad range of training programs and resources to support good workplace behaviour.

For example, staff have access to interactive ethics and respect guides that cover putting ethics and values into practice and maintaining the integrity of relationships at work.

Managers and staff have access to a Workplace Bullying Prevention Kit, which offers practical tools and resources to help minimise the risk of bullying in the workplace and highlights steps that individuals can take to address concerns. The department also has a network of over 400 harassment contact officers trained to provide information and support to staff who have concerns about workplace behaviours including bullying, harassment and discrimination. Harassment contact officers receive a fortnightly allowance for undertaking this role, as specified in the Department of Human Services Enterprise Agreement 2017–2020.


The department has reaffirmed its commitment to being a reconciliation leader in the APS and commenced drafting the next phase of its reconciliation journey—the Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) 2018–22.

The RAP 2018–22 will build on the success of the department’s RAP 2015–17, which saw the department become the first Australian Government department to be awarded Elevate status by Reconciliation Australia—the peak not‑for‑profit organisation driving reconciliation across Australia.

The department’s key achievements through its RAP 2015–17 include:

  • increasing the percentage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander departmental staff from 3.1 per cent to 5.2 per cent
  • recruiting 645 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people into the APS through the Indigenous Apprenticeships Program
  • spending more than $24 million with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses
  • providing access to departmental services in 12 Indigenous languages
  • establishing the APS Indigenous Champions Network.

The RAP 2018–22 outlines the department’s reconciliation vision and its commitments for the next four years. It is being drafted with the assistance of the department’s RAP steering and working groups and the National Indigenous Coalition and in close consultation with Reconciliation Australia.

The RAP 2018–22 will inform the Indigenous Servicing Strategy 2018–22 and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employees Strategy 2018–22. These internal strategies support reconciliation by helping internal decision‑makers ensure the department is an employer of choice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and that services are designed to meet Indigenous service standards.


The department treats possible breaches of the APS Code of Conduct seriously and takes action when breaches occur. Investigations are conducted in line with departmental procedures to ensure fair treatment for all staff. If a breach of the Code of Conduct is found, sanctions may be imposed. In 2017–18 the department completed 235 investigations and found 224 breaches of the Code of Conduct. In 2016–17 there were 320 investigations and 304 findings of breach.

The department expects high standards of conduct by staff. Almost half of the breaches of the Code of Conduct involved staff gaining unauthorised access to information by looking up their own record or information on family members. Almost a quarter related to incorrect reporting of income by staff who were also receiving Centrelink benefits.

Staff are continually reminded of their responsibilities as Centrelink customers and that they are not to access information on family members, neighbours or other people they know. In 2017–18 the department introduced a system enhancement that prevents staff from accessing their own records and reminds them of their obligations.

A number of staff were dismissed, resigned or ceased casual work following a finding that they had breached the Code of Conduct. In less serious cases, a fine or reduction in salary was imposed. No staff members whose employment was terminated were reinstated by the Fair Work Commission.


The department’s performance management process is designed to foster a culture of high performance by providing all staff with a clear link between their work effort and departmental priorities.

All eligible staff develop and negotiate an individual performance agreement with their manager. These agreements:

  • give staff a clear understanding of their role and the performance and behavioural standards expected of them
  • align individual and team work efforts to departmental priorities
  • help staff to identify their learning and career development needs.

In 2017–18, 95.3 per cent of staff negotiated individual performance agreements. Nearly all of those who did not—4.5 per cent—were on long‑term leave or had not yet completed more than eight weeks of duties during the performance cycle.

The department’s performance management initiatives during the year focused on:

  • building management capability
  • implementing a coaching framework
  • streamlining tools and resources
  • simplifying processes.


The department is committed to increasing the representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff through affirmative measures for Indigenous recruitment. In 2017–18 the department placed approximately 40 Indigenous vacancy advertisements in the APS employment gazette.

In 2017–18 the department advertised approximately 658 vacancy notices in the APS employment gazette, generating approximately 28 000 candidate applications. The department undertook recruitment processes for a variety of roles including customer service, social work, compliance and debt management, corporate and entry‑level programs. These recruitment processes ranged from APS2 to SES classifications.

The department needs a flexible workforce to ensure the efficient delivery of services, especially in periods of high demand. To meet these needs, non‑ongoing and irregular/intermittent staff are recruited to supplement the department’s ongoing workforce.

Indigenous graduates

There are three Indigenous graduates participating in the department’s 2017 National Graduate Program.

Indigenous Apprenticeships Programme

The Indigenous Apprenticeships Programme (IAP) is an entry‑level pathway program to attract Indigenous people into the APS. IAP participants can attain a certificate or diploma qualification combined with on‑the‑job training and development to supplement formal study. Participants graduate when they successfully complete both components of the program. The IAP is a whole‑of‑government program run by the department.

In 2017, 306 apprentices commenced within the department and 12 partner agencies. It is expected that the IAP 2018 intake will place about 306 participants across 15 partner agencies.

The IAP continues to be a highly successful initiative, attracting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians to careers in the department and across the APS.

ICT Apprenticeship Program and ICT Cadetship Program

In 2017–18, 19 apprentices started work in the department under the ICT Apprenticeship Program and 20 cadets started under the ICT Cadetship Program. These programs, run by the Digital Transformation Agency, are helping the department to increase its expertise in ICT.

Indigenous Cadetship Program

The department did not have any Indigenous cadets in 2017–18. The Australian Public Service Commission has ended this program. Instead, the department is supporting Indigenous staff through the Indigenous Scholarship Program to complete their final year of full‑time undergraduate studies.

National Graduate Program

The department’s National Graduate Program offers university graduates professional development opportunities, accredited learning, and targeted events and activities. The program offers two pathways: professional and generalist. The professional pathway attracts people with communications, finance, human resources, social work, data analytics and legal qualifications. The generalist pathway is for graduates who do not have a particular professional area that they would like to work in or whose degree does not match the professional pathway discipline. The 2018 intake for the National Graduate Program comprised 47 professional and 43 generalist pathway participants.

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics graduates

The department runs a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) ICT scheme that offers STEM graduates who are interested in ICT work an opportunity to start their career here. This is part of the strategy to increase the department’s ability to design, develop and deliver digital services to customers.

The scheme offers graduates ongoing employment at the APS 5 level. It starts with a six‑month opportunity to develop analytical and creative thinking ability and initiative. At the end of this development period, participants are offered ongoing ICT positions in the department.


Internal awards

The department’s Awards and Honours Program recognises and rewards excellent performance. Its main national award program is for exceptional service delivery, successful innovation, inspiring leadership, and business excellence for individuals and teams.

At an awards ceremony in Canberra on 19 September 2017, the Acting Secretary announced the winners of the Pinnacle Achievement Awards—the department’s main annual awards program. The award’s categories and criteria align with the department’s strategic direction, culture and leadership priorities. Four individuals and four teams won awards for their exceptional contribution and performance, and 19 nominees were highly commended.

The department’s Australia Day Achievement Awards recognise significant contributions staff have made to the Australian community through their outstanding work for the department. The awards provide an opportunity to engage in Australia Day celebrations. On 26 January 2018, 15 staff were recognised for their commitment and dedication to their work.

As part of the department’s celebration of National Aboriginal and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Week, each year the department presents awards for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employee Achievement, Individual Achievement in Indigenous Servicing, and Team Achievement in Indigenous Servicing. The Secretary announced the results at a ceremony in Canberra on 4 July 2017. Two individuals and two teams won awards for their exceptional achievements, and five individuals were highly commended for their commitment to and excellence in Indigenous servicing.

The Significant Achievement Awards, sponsored by the department’s SES, recognise achievements by individuals and teams in their business areas. The department’s Moment Program provides immediate and informal recognition at a local level.

Service recognition

In 2017–18 the department’s Service Recognition Program acknowledged 3662 staff who reached 10, 20, 25, 30, 40 or 50 years of continuous employment in the APS. The program is an important part of the department’s strategy to build a culture that values the cumulative experience, capability and insight that develops through continuous service.


The department invests substantially in building its capability, guided by its Learning Strategy 2015–19. The strategy includes a range of learning methods and tools to support workforce change and use new technologies. It represents a cultural shift across the department from training to learning. The main aim is to build a workforce with the skills to meet future service delivery challenges, including digital capabilities.

The department’s priority initiatives for learning in 2017–18 were about:

  • dealing with customer aggression
  • family and domestic violence awareness
  • gender guidelines
  • coaching
  • mental health first aid
  • our enterprise agreement
  • our internal review process
  • training in policy initiatives
  • multiculturalism and Indigenous cultural awareness
  • leadership development
  • departmental induction
  • completing the mandatory refresher program
  • supporting budget measures.

The department ran a wide range of technical and service delivery, management and corporate leadership courses in 2017–18. The department’s learning management system recorded 1 083 159 attendances at face‑to‑face and electronic learning sessions. This equates to an overall investment of 879 247 hours of formal learning.

Induction Program

The department’s Induction Program is mandatory for all new staff, including contractors. A refreshed program was introduced on 1 July 2017.

The Induction Program utilises a blend of digital technologies, self‑paced learning, curated resources, learner journals, toolkits and manager‑supported discussions under nine topic areas. The program is easy to access, as all information and resources are available through the Intranet.

Between 1 July 2017 and 1 April 2018 approximately 3600 staff accessed the program.

The induction modules and quizzes are the foundation for the department’s Mandatory Refresher Program, which was deployed from May to September 2017.

Digital learning

Advancing the department’s digital agenda and its workforce’s digital learning is a major priority for the department. A growing proportion of staff are engaging with technology to support the department’s digital transformation. The department has increased awareness of digital technologies for learning by introducing 360‑degree feedback surveys and online resources such as MindTools, which was introduced to the department in 2017–18.

MindTools provides a variety of resources to help build capability. It delivers expert training content online at the staff member’s own pace. Staff can use it to develop personal learning plans to help achieve their learning goals. This content is linked to the department’s Human Services Capability Framework.

The department has begun to deploy significant learning programs that staff can access using virtual meeting technology. This allows the department to take advantage of the diversity of experience across its geographic footprint and gives staff in rural and remote sites greater access to learning opportunities.

Developing service delivery capability

The department’s Service Skills Learning Program is an innovative way to incrementally develop the service and communication skills of service delivery staff and, as a result, improve business outcomes. These skills enable staff to excel in their roles and contribute to reducing the risk of aggressive behaviour.

The department designed the program through a proof of concept with staff from a diverse range of service delivery environments, developing and testing prototypes in partnership with staff.

The program blends different forms of learning solutions, including self‑driven, self‑paced learning; social learning through online forums; and virtual and face‑to‑face workshops to practise skills. Practice models and on‑the‑job activities are provided to support the application of skills in service delivery.

Developing Indigenous leadership and management

The department has a number of programs and initiatives to support the leadership development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff, including:

  • The Australian Graduate School of Management Emerging Indigenous Executive Leaders Program. This program develops future Indigenous leaders in the public and private sectors. Five of the department’s staff successfully participated in the pilot program in 2017. The department is supporting another four Indigenous staff in the 2018 program.
  • The Certificate IV in Indigenous Leadership, delivered through the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre. This program builds on participants’ existing leadership skills and further develops their skills and knowledge. From July 2017 to October 2017, four of the department’s Indigenous staff completed the program. The department will support another ten staff members to do so in 2018–19.
  • Support for an Indigenous Scholar to complete their final year of undergraduate studies at university through the department’s Indigenous Scholarship Program. The department’s Indigenous Scholar from February 2017 to November 2017 started as an Indigenous apprentice and also successfully applied for a position in the National Graduate Program. The department will support a further two Indigenous Scholars in 2018–19.
  • Support for five Indigenous staff members to participate in the 2018 Public Sector Management Program. This is a postgraduate course delivered by the Queensland University of Technology. The program is specifically designed for the public sector to develop management skills in the business of government. Participants qualify with a Graduate Certificate in Business (Public Sector Management).


Workplace giving

The department has a workplace giving program that allows staff to make one‑off or regular donations to charities under pre‑tax arrangements directly from their pay. In 2017–18 staff donated a total of more than $98 965, distributed among 64 charities. The main beneficiaries were Australian Cancer Research ($6776), Hartley Lifecare ($6454), RSPCA ($4188), The Smith Family ($4078), Cancer Council of Australia ($4058), Fred Hollows Foundation ($3794), World Vision ($3108) and Australian Red Cross ($3060).


The department is committed to supporting charitable organisations and community groups.

With input from staff, the department developed a national charity calendar outlining which charities it would support throughout 2017 and 2018.

In 2017–18 the department supported Orange Sky Laundry, Red Dust Role Models, Vision Australia, Diabetes Australia, Youngcare, Make‑A‑Wish Australia and beyondblue. A range of internal communication activities were used to fundraise and increase awareness of the work each charity does.

The total amount the department raised for official national charities was $232 305.61.

The department also supported a number of charities at the local level, including Donate Life, the Tara Costigan Foundation, Legacy, and Hartley Lifecare.


The department is committed to creating workplaces that are accessible and inclusive for all staff. During 2017–18 the department continued to deliver on key commitments outlined in the Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2016–19, which recognises the value a diverse and inclusive workforce brings to its services. The strategy includes five staff plans:

  • Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (Multicultural) Employee Plan 2016–19
  • Workplace Accessibility Plan 2016–19
  • Mature Age Employee Plan 2016–19
  • Gender Equality Plan 2016–19
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Inclusion Plan 2016–19.

The statistics in this section apply to the department’s APS staff, who are by far the largest proportion of the workforce.

Cultural and linguistic diversity

There is significant diversity across the department’s workforce. At 30 June 2018, 25.4 per cent of staff identified as having a culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) background. The diversity of the department’s staff helps it to better understand the needs of multicultural customers and enables it to provide culturally appropriate services to the Australian community.

The department’s Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (Multicultural) Employee Plan 2016–19 demonstrates commitment to increasing and supporting a diverse workforce.

During 2017–18 the department continued its membership of the government’s National Anti‑Racism Partnership, which is helping to implement the National Anti‑Racism Strategy. The department provides multicultural awareness training to staff, celebrates events of significance such as Harmony Day and Refugee Week, and participates in the national ‘Racism. It Stops with Me’ campaign.

The department also continued to pay a Community Language Allowance (see ‘Language services’ on page 117) in line with the Department of Human Services Enterprise Agreement 2017–2020.

ICT support for accessibility

In 2017–18 the department provided support, training and advice to around 500 staff with disability who use assistive technology software and to 200 staff with disability who use accessible telecommunication products. The department implemented innovative assistive technology solutions to enable staff who are deaf or have hearing loss to actively participate in the workplace.

The department continued to provide accessibility support shared services to the NDIA and began providing accessibility support to the Australian Taxation Office and Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA). These services include support and training for assistive technology software and accessible telecommunication products for both staff with disability and their managers.

Employing people with disability

The department’s Workplace Accessibility Plan 2016–19 outlines recruitment and retention strategies for attracting, supporting and retaining people with disability. At 30 June 2018, 5.3 per cent of staff in the department identified as having disability.

In 2017–18 the department continued to:

  • apply the APS RecruitAbility scheme, which advances applicants with disability to a further stage in the selection process and helps to build confidence and capability when applying for positions
  • provide workplace adjustment advice and support to staff with disability and their managers via a centralised National Disability Access Coordinator
  • deliver an immersive experience program to senior leaders to build broader awareness and understanding of the recruitment, career progression and work experiences of people with disability
  • deliver online and face‑to‑face disability awareness and confidence training programs to managers and staff
  • support the Employee Network on Disability, comprising around 700 staff, which is consulted on proposed disability employment initiatives.

The department was also pleased to implement and pilot new programs and initiatives, including:

  • the Workplace Adjustment Passport, which gives staff with disability the option to describe the barriers they may experience in the workplace and the impacts of those barriers
  • the Australian Public Service Commission’s GradAccess program, under which the department recruited four university graduates with disability
  • the Australian Network on Disability’s Stepping Into program, which provides work experience opportunities for university students with disability.

The department is committed to recruiting graduates with disability through the National Graduate Program and has established a specific affirmative measures disability recruitment process for the 2019 graduate intake.

Training for people on the autism spectrum

To help establish careers for people on the autism spectrum, the department has a unique partnership with DXC Technology to deliver the Dandelion Program. This initiative builds valuable information technology skills, life skills and executive functional skills. In 2017–18, the program had 29 participants across the Adelaide, Brisbane and Canberra ICT hubs.

The trainees are working in areas such as software testing, programming, systems analytics, data analytics and information analytics.

The Dandelion Program has seen a 96 per cent retention rate—far above what is typical for people on the autism spectrum.

Milestone year for the Dandelion Program

The Dandelion Program offers three‑year IT traineeships to job seekers who are on the autism spectrum. The department works in partnership with DXC Technology to deliver the program.

Our first Dandelion cohort completed their third and final year of the program in January 2018. The program has been life‑changing for participants.

The Dandelion Program was offered in the department’s three Chief Information Officer Group hubs—Canberra, Brisbane and Adelaide. Across the three hubs, the Dandelion group made great progress both technically and socially: 30 participants gained certifications from the International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB) and 14 gained further certifications in proprietary software, open source software and Agile, or undertook study for further advanced qualifications.

Two candidates left the program to join the department through the STEM ICT recruitment scheme. Another left the program after finding employment in the private sector and another was successful in obtaining a full‑time position with the department via an external recruitment process. Several candidates achieved critical life milestones, such as purchasing their own home and becoming parents.

The department is proud to continue this important initiative into 2018–19.

Other diversity initiatives

Other diversity initiatives that promoted workplace diversity and inclusion in the department in 2017–18 included:

  • participating in the 2017 Australian Workplace Equality Index, where the department achieved Bronze Employer status
  • implementing workplace support resources to support gender affirmation for staff and managers
  • actively supporting LGBTI staff and their allies during the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey in specific events and campaigns
  • implementing a gender equality ‘panel pledge’ to highlight and actively discourage the under‑representation of women at public and professional forums
  • hosting five staff diversity networks to share information and to support Indigenous staff, staff with disability, mature age staff, staff with CALD backgrounds and LGBTI staff.
Employing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

The department is committed to the recruitment, development and retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff. In November 2017 the department reached the 5 per cent Indigenous representation target of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employees Plan 2016–17. At 30 June 2018, the department had 5.2 per cent representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff.

In 2017–18 the department developed a new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employees Strategy 2018–22. This will continue to guide its commitment to positioning the department as an employer of choice, building on previous success. The strategy will encourage strong working partnerships between Indigenous staff and leadership teams. All business areas will share accountability for delivering the strategy.

Supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

The department’s programs to support and develop Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff include:

  • the Indigenous Mentoring Program, which assigns trained Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff members to help new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander recruits to ‘navigate’ their way around the department and the APS and balance their community and work obligations
  • the Indigenous Buddy Program, which also helps new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff to adjust to the new workplace
  • the Indigenous Cultural Capability Framework, which aims to increase knowledge and awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures across the department
  • Indigenous cultural awareness eLearning training, which 6492 staff members accessed in 2017–18, and face‑to‑face training, in which 2083 participated
  • secondments of six staff members to Indigenous communities as part of the Jawun APS Secondment Program, and of one staff member to Reconciliation Australia
  • local Indigenous Employment Networks, which provide learning and development opportunities that reflect community‑based support mechanisms
  • regional presence forums run by the APS‑wide Indigenous Champions Network, which the department leads. These forums are an opportunity for Indigenous staff to discuss their career aspirations, hear from inspiring leaders and build networks in their region. Following a successful pilot program, there were six regional presence forums across the country between February 2018 and June 2018, including forums facilitated in Darwin and Townsville.


Enterprise agreements

The Department of Human Services Enterprise Agreement 2017–2020 came into effect on 2 November 2017, following 72 per cent support from staff at a ballot in September 2017 and approval by the Fair Work Commission in October 2017. The agreement gave staff a 3 per cent pay increase on 2 November 2017 and a further 3 per cent increase over the following 18 months; and retained family‑friendly flexible working arrangements.

The department bargained in good faith over three years to finalise the new agreement and consulted widely with staff and their representatives. During that time the department continued its commitment to reaching a fair and affordable agreement consistent with service delivery requirements and the Australian Government Workplace Bargaining Policy.

The new agreement nominally expires on 2 November 2020. It covers all staff of the department, except SES staff, who have individual contracts; and medical officers, who are covered by the Department of Human Services Medical Officers Agreement 2013–2014.

Individual flexibility arrangements

The department makes individual flexibility arrangements with staff to provide additional conditions of service in exceptional circumstances that are not in the enterprise agreements. For example, the department has used individual flexibility arrangements to attract and retain staff in remote and isolated places.

In 2017–18 the department had 81 individual flexibility arrangements.

Workforce availability

The business and workforce planning strategies are aligned to meet the department’s current requirements and to plan for the future workforce. Workforce analytics and data inform the workforce profile, trends and future requirements.

At 30 June 2018 the department employed 32 943 people, of whom 30 108 (91.4 per cent) were ongoing, 1069 (3.2 per cent) were non‑ongoing and 1766 (5.4 per cent) were irregular/intermittent. Changes to the department’s workforce size reflect government priorities, budget measures, service delivery demands, ongoing efficiencies and natural attrition. To flexibly meet these changes as a large and diverse service delivery organisation, the department uses full‑time, part‑time, ongoing and non‑ongoing staffing arrangements.

The department helps staff balance work and personal commitments through access to flexible working hours. At 30 June 2018, 8450 (25.7 per cent) of staff worked part time (excluding irregular/intermittent staff).

Appendix A presents staffing statistics by classification, location, employment status, employment type, gender, disability, diverse background and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent. It also sets out staff salary ranges and employment arrangements.