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Performance overview

PM&C achieves its mission of improving the lives of all Australians by delivering high-quality and timely advice to the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, and our Portfolio Ministers and Assistant Ministers. In forming our advice we draw upon the expertise of agencies in the Australian Public Service (APS), Australian jurisdictions and international partners. We seek to shape and add unique value to those perspectives by leveraging our detailed understanding of the Prime Minister’s priorities, our whole-of-government perspective and the diverse skills and expertise of our people.

This annual performance statement gives an assessment of PM&C’s actual performance in achieving each of its purposes and Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS) outcomes for the 2019–20 financial year. The assessment includes an analysis against each purpose and results allocated to our PBS outcome and each activity in our Corporate Plan 2019–2023.

In 2019–20, drought, floods, the Australian bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic led Australians to face extraordinary health, social and economic challenges. As a consequence, PM&C’s operating environment was one of constant change. From late 2019, PM&C was involved in the disaster response to the bushfires and established the National Bushfire Recovery Agency (NBRA). In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, PM&C, along with the broader APS-enterprise, mobilised to deal swiftly with the most pressing issues. For example, it assisted in establishing the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission (NCCC), now the National COVID-19 Commission (NCC) Advisory Board, and supported the Government with the newly established governance committees. In some instances this meant reallocating resources from planned activities in the Corporate Plan to disaster recovery activities. Because of this reallocation, some of our 2019–20 activities were deferred and will recommence at a later date.

The Department’s PBS outcomes align to all of the Corporate Plan purposes; consequently, the performance result allocated to each outcome was informed by the assessments of the Corporate Plan purposes.

Overall, PM&C performed well against our purposes, activities and measures set out in the Corporate Plan 2019–2023. For the reporting period 2019-20, of the 51 performance measures we achieved 41 measures, partially achieved four and are on track to deliver another six over the life of the plan.

A summary of all results is provided below, using the following key.

Results definitions

Results category

Definition

Results

Achieved

In the 2019-20 reporting period, the Department delivered against the performance measure and/or target.

41

On track

The performance measure and/or target is on track to be met over the forward estimates. In some instances the key activity has been deferred due to disaster response activities arising from the COVID-19 pandemic or the Australian bushfires.

6

Partially achieved

In the 2019-20 reporting period, the Department partially achieved against the performance measure and/or target.

In some instances the key activity has been deferred due to disaster response activities arising from the COVID-19 pandemic or the Australian bushfires.

4

Not achieved

In the 2019-20 reporting period, the performance measure and/or target was not met.

In some instances the key activity has been deferred due to disaster response activities arising from the COVID-19 pandemic or the Australian bushfires.

0

Results were assessed using a range of performance measurement methods, including case studies supported by evidence, data sources and a stakeholder survey. Where case studies were used, in most instances, the scope of the case study was predetermined and the data sources were identified in advance, in line with the Department of Finance guidance in Resource Management Guide 131. Additional case studies were included at the end of the reporting period to highlight the Department’s agility in responding to emerging priorities. To support the reporting, PM&C engaged Orima Research to conduct an independent survey of its key stakeholders.

Portfolio Budget Statements outcomes

As outlined in the PBS, PM&C’s role is to provide policy advice and support to the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, Portfolio Ministers and Assistant Ministers on matters that are at the forefront of public and government administration. The PBS listed two outcomes for the Department:

Outcome 1–Provide high quality policy advice and support to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, Portfolio Ministers and Assistant Ministers including through the coordination of government activities, policy development and program delivery.

Program 1.1 – Prime Minister and Cabinet

The objectives of this program are to:

  • provide advice, support and services to the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, Portfolio Ministers and Assistant Ministers, and coordination across Government, on major domestic, international and national security matters.
  • provide support to the Cabinet and its committees, the Federal Executive Council and Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to facilitate informed decision making.

Delivery

This program is delivered through the provision of advice, support and services to the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, Portfolio Ministers, Assistant Ministers and/or the Executive Council and through leadership and coordinated public sector responses to Government decisions and strategic priorities.

Performance information

Year

Performance criteria

Targets

2019–20

Quality and timely policy advice, support and services to the Prime Minister, Portfolio Ministers, the Cabinet and key stakeholders.

Effective public sector leadership, coordination and monitoring of responses to Government decisions, policies and strategic priorities.

Maintain or increase stakeholder satisfaction by 2020.

Purposes

  1. Creating economic growth and jobs
  2. Delivering for regional Australia and the environment
  3. Supporting individuals, families and communities to thrive
  4. Upholding national security and strategic interests
  5. Governing well

Result

Achieved

Analysis

In 2019–20, PM&C supported high-profile and urgent matters by coordinating key Government policy development and implementation, and was on track to deliver on planned activities.

The 2019–2020 bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally altered our operating environment during the reporting period and affected the way we responded in delivering our program of work against each of the PBS outcomes. On 13 March 2020, the Prime Minister announced the establishment of the National Cabinet. This became the prime decision-making body to manage the COVID-19 pandemic response. In a further development, on 29 May 2020, the Prime Minister announced that COAG would cease and be replaced by the National Cabinet. These initiatives provide a new architectural landscape for the governance of the Australian federation.

Against a rapidly evolving operating environment in 2019–20, PM&C continued to support the Prime Minister, Portfolio Ministers, Assistant Ministers, key stakeholders, the Cabinet and its committees, Federal Executive Council and the National Cabinet with quality policy advice and services. In some instances, this required redirection of resources to emerging priorities.

The National COVID-19 Coordination Commission and National Bushfire Recovery Agency were formed under the PM&C portfolio this year to enable the APS-enterprise to provide agile and responsive support to the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and the Australian community.

In addition, a survey of key stakeholders found that PM&C had effectively led and coordinated the APS in the bushfire and COVID-19 pandemic responses in 2019–20, with an overall positive response.

Achievement is demonstrated by analyses against each of the Corporate Plan purposes.

Outcome 2–Improve results for Indigenous Australians including in relation to school attendance, employment and community safety, through delivering services and programmes, and through measures that recognise the special place that Indigenous people hold in this Nation.

On 1 July 2019, the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) was established to assist the Australian Government to achieve its objectives in improving the lives of Indigenous Australians. The reporting responsibilities against this outcome have since moved from PM&C to NIAA.


PM&C continues to support the NIAA to deliver, coordinate and convene policy and programs.

National COVID-19 Coordination Commission

The NCCC was set up within PM&C to support the Government to minimise the immediate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and bring a business perspective to the longer term economic recovery.

The NCCC solved problems with supply and employment issues, helped industry and businesses to develop COVIDSafe plans and provided a strategic advisory role to Government on longer term economic recovery.

In the initial phase of the crisis NCCC used our networks and experience to help:

  • address shortages in personal protective equipment
  • unblock supply chains and move food supplies to regional and remote areas
  • navigate freight and transport challenges
  • connect laid-off staff with other work, such as redeploying airline staff into the health sector.

NCCC next helped business be COVIDSafe by:

  • contributing to COVIDSafe principles approved by the National Cabinet
  • developing a Business Planning Tool and checklist.

NCCC engaged with more than 1,000 businesses and not-for-profit groups to support our strategic advisory role, providing advice to the Government on economic recovery.

NCCC’s wide range of expertise, experience and networks allowed us to connect business to business and business to government and to mobilise efforts across public, private and jurisdictional lines.

We helped businesses develop and promote COVIDSafe workplace plans, increasing consumer and business confidence and contributing to economic recovery.

We supported business to reconfigure their operations and develop COVIDSafe plans through our business planning tool, which has been downloaded more than 26,000 times.

In the economic recovery phase, we continued to consult widely with business and not-for-profit groups to provide advice to Government to improve the longer term prosperity, productivity and resilience of the Australian economy.

Areas of focus included advanced manufacturing, energy, infrastructure, the not-for-profit sector, enhancing digital capability for small business, deregulation, tourism, and housing and construction.

The NCCC achieved a range of practical outcomes to help mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on lives and livelihoods and provided strategic advice from a business perspective to support the Government’s initiatives for the fastest possible economic recovery.

Driving reform across the Australian Public Service

The APS-enterprise provides essential services to Australians and is critical to Australia’s security and prosperity. With this in mind, in May 2018, the Government commissioned the Independent Review of the APS (Thodey Review) to ensure the APS was ready to deliver in a rapidly changing world.

PM&C supported the review panel to undertake and complete its work—for example, by helping it to undertake extensive public consultations with over 11,000 people within and outside the APS-enterprise. The panel delivered its report to the Government in September 2019. PM&C supported the Government to develop its December 2019 APS-enterprise reform agenda, ‘Delivering for Australians’, which included the Government’s response to the review.

The Government accepted the majority of the review’s recommendations and commissioned the Secretaries Board to plan implementation of the Government’s reform agenda. In early 2020, PM&C established a new team, the APS Reform Office, to support the Secretaries Board in delivering the reforms.

In April 2020, the Secretaries Board agreed to pause its implementation planning to focus on meeting the immediate demands on the APS-enterprise at the front line of the Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the Secretary of PM&C and the APS Commissioner noted, however, the APS-enterprise’s rapid, collaborative and innovative response to the crisis represented ‘reform in practice’, consistent with the objectives and ethos of Government’s APS-enterprise reform agenda.

The Secretaries Board is now spearheading delivery of reform initiatives that best equip the APS-enterprise to respond to the continuing crisis and support Australia’s recovery, while building longer term APS-enterprise capability. This includes critical priorities to help deliver the Government’s recovery agenda, accelerate APS-enterprise digital transformation and build APS-enterprise workforce capability and planning. Through the APS Reform Office, PM&C is continuing to support implementation of the reform agenda.