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Purpose 5: Governing well

Summary

PM&C achieved 11 and partially achieved one of the 14 performance measures under this purpose in 2020–21 and is on track to deliver the other 2 over the forward estimates. The detailed performance analyses and case studies below demonstrate PM&C’s performance against each key activity, measure and target to support the purpose of governing well.

Results: Key Activity 5.1

Key activity

Measure

Target

Provide clear and actionable advice on significant legal risks for Government or ensure they are brought to Government’s attention.

The Prime Minister and his office have timely and comprehensive visibility of significant legal risks for government as they emerge, including through collaboration with other areas of the Department, the Attorney-General’s Department, and relevant portfolio agencies.

  • Significant legal risks for Government are identified or work with agencies is undertaken to make sure legal risks are properly drawn to Government’s attention if not otherwise mitigated.

Source

Corporate Plan 2020–24, pp 25–28

Result

Achieved

Methodology

Evaluation through stakeholder survey and ministerial feedback

Analysis

PM&C achieved its target under this key activity by scrutinising new proposals to ensure that any legislative implementation requirements were identified and legal risk associated with implementation was included in advice to Government, and by engaging with relevant departments in providing clear advice to Government on whether proposals were supported by appropriate legal authority. The COVID-19 pandemic did not have a significant impact on PM&C’s engagement on legal risk.

The primary measure of PM&C’s performance in this activity is stakeholder feedback and satisfaction. Those surveyed in the Department’s external stakeholder survey indicated that PM&C’s level of collaboration and whole-of-government perspective in providing clear and actionable advice on significant legal risks for the Government was positive. Informal feedback from the Prime Minister’s Office suggests that PM&C has effectively identified legal risks and supported the Government with timely and helpful advice.

Results: Key Activity 5.2

Key activity

Measure

Target

Deliver high quality improvements and support for the CabNet+ system for the Cabinet and all customer agencies.

The new CabNet+ system supports ministers and departments to collaborate easily and ensures access to timely information.

  • CabNet+ system and support model is operating effectively.

Source

Corporate Plan 2020–24, pp 25–28

Result

On track

Methodology

Evaluation through stakeholder engagement and feedback mechanisms

Analysis

PM&C is on track to achieve its measure and target under this key activity through stakeholder engagement.

One-on-one engagement sessions have commenced (60% complete) with all whole-of-government stakeholders. This has provided useful feedback on current CabNet+ functional and future enhancements, shaping themes for discussion at whole-of-government workshops.

CabNet+ whole-of-government senior user workshops were hosted in June 2021 to gather and prioritise future CabNet+ enhancements. This information will be collated and progressed as future system improvements, including the target of 5 system improvements resulting from this engagement.

PM&C regularly receives additional feedback from users on issues and improvements. These are prioritised and added to the backlog of work for action. This ensures the team is delivering high-quality improvements and support for the CabNet+ system for the Cabinet and all customer agencies. It aligns with our Corporate Plan purpose of governing well.

PM&C continues to manage the impact of external factors that negatively influence the project, specifically resulting from changes in Government priorities, ministerial or senior officials, the COVID-19 pandemic, National Cabinet and other unforeseen circumstances.

Results: Key Activity 5.3

Key activity

Measure

Target

Provide expert advice to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, portfolio ministers, PM&C and other APS agencies on governance matters relating to the operation of the executive branch of Government.

High-quality expert advice is provided to the Prime Minister on governance matters, including changes to the machinery of government and/or Ministry.

Effective collaboration and coordination with relevant APS agencies on governance matters, including changes to the machinery of government.

  • Changes to the machinery of government and/or Ministry are properly supported by sound advice.

Source

Corporate Plan 2020–24, pp 25–28

Result

Achieved

Methodology

Evaluation through case study and stakeholder survey

Analysis

PM&C achieved its target under this key activity by collaborating with the Prime Minister’s Office, Government House, ministers’ offices and multiple relevant government agencies to implement the changes to the ministry.

This reporting period, PM&C supported the first ever virtual swearing-in ceremony.

For each ministry change we developed a brief and accompanying suite of letters, legislative instruments and related advice to the Prime Minister, who in turn, provided further advice to the Governor-General.

PM&C coordinated with Government House to arrange the logistics of the swearing-in ceremonies, which involved determining the preferences of the Governor-General with regard to how ministers would take and sign their Oath of Office in a virtual environment (see the case study below).

Following swearing-in, PM&C arranged further necessary paperwork to operationalise the changes with relevant impacted agencies. As part of this, it communicated departmental liaison officer allocations and member of parliament staff allocation, arranged distribution of probity letters and ministerial standards, updated the Ministry List hosted on the PM&C website, and ensured these changes were reflected on the Australian Parliament House website.

External stakeholders rated PM&Cs collaboration and quality of advice on machinery of government changes, ministry changes and other governance matters as ‘very positive’. Ministerial feedback on the quality and timeliness of PM&C’s advice on governance matters relating to the operation of the executive branch of government was also very positive.

Case study: Virtual swearing-in of the new ministry

On 22 December 2020, PM&C successfully supported the first ever virtual swearing-in ceremony of a new ministry. The ceremony was hosted by Government House in Canberra.

PM&C has well-established processes for ensuring high-quality and timely advice is provided to the Prime Minister of the day to support their decisions on ministry changes. This advice ensures that ministers are sworn in correctly and have the appropriate authority to exercise their powers – a necessary requirement for the proper functioning of the executive branch of government. The swearing-in ceremony itself is also a highly symbolic and significant occasion for the Government and the Australian people, calling for attention to detail at every stage to ensure its success.

Immediately following the Prime Minister’s announcement, we mapped the changes and their impact on the existing ministry arrangements. This informed the preparation of the instruments of revocation and appointment; and oaths and affirmations to be signed by the Prime Minister and the Governor-General.

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak in New South Wales at the time, we worked quickly with our Government House colleagues to ensure the necessary IT facilities were available to support a virtual ceremony. A short technical rehearsal was scheduled before the official ceremony to ensure prospective ministers could dial in from locations all around Australia.

The ceremony also called for us to develop new protocol advice, outlining how ministers should take and sign their oath or affirmation in a virtual setting to the satisfaction of the Governor-General. These small but important details required frequent and ongoing liaison with the Prime Minister’s Office, the Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General and ministers’ offices in the lead-up to the official event.

On the day of the ceremony, for the first time in Australia’s history 15 new members of the ministry were successfully sworn in by the Governor-General via a videoconference call. Through effective collaboration and sound advice, PM&C delivered a positive outcome within the time frame required by the Prime Minister and set an important precedent for the viability of virtual swearing-in ceremonies for the ministry.

Results: Key Activity 5.4

Key activity

Measure

Target

Advance Australia’s interests through well-executed programs, including appropriate and effective use of technology, for the Prime Minister’s overseas engagements, virtual summits, visits by Heads of State and Government and state occasions.

PM&C coordinates and delivers high-quality operational support for the Prime Minister’s official overseas engagements, virtual summits, for Guests of Government visits and state occasions.

  • The operational arrangements, including virtual meetings during the pandemic, for the Prime Minister’s international outgoing visit program are delivered to a high standard.
  • The Guest of Government program for incoming visits is delivered to the satisfaction of our guests, the Prime Minister and the Governor-General.
  • Media management of official visits is delivered effectively, to the satisfaction of the Prime Minister and other key stakeholders.

Source

Corporate Plan 2020–24, pp 25–28

Result

Achieved

Methodology

Evaluation through case study and informal stakeholder feedback

Analysis

PM&C achieved the measure under this key activity to a high standard and within the agreed time frames as advised by the Prime Minister’s Office.

In 2020–21, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the closing of international borders, the amount of international travel and the number of face-to-face Guest of Government visits decreased. This meant that PM&C needed to expand the virtual engagements platform to support 22 international engagements. This is a significant increase in comparison to the 2019–20 year, in which only 6 virtual engagements were held.

PM&C demonstrated high-quality operational support and service delivery in the planning, coordination and delivery of the Prime Minister’s visits, virtual engagements and state occasions. We coordinated and managed the delivery of complex logistical arrangements while complying with quarantine and COVID-safe practices, enabling successful policy outcomes and visits.

PM&C has received messages of thanks from key stakeholders for the funerals, virtual engagements, events and visits we organised. This is an indication of a high degree of satisfaction with our performance in delivering these activities.

Case study: Official visits and events

In 2020–21, the Prime Minister undertook a number of important overseas visits to participate in multilateral forums and to further enhance Australia’s bilateral relationships. There was a strong focus on virtual engagements given that the COVID-19 pandemic closed international borders and paused international travel and Guest of Government visits.

PM&C delivered high-quality operational support in the planning, coordination and delivery of the Prime Minister’s visits, virtual engagements and state occasions, within a complex COVID-19 environment. To accomplish this, risk assessments, COVID-safe practices, comprehensive procedures and multifaceted quarantine arrangements were created, implemented and managed. This enabled the program to be delivered efficiently and demonstrated logistical proficiency.

PM&C successfully supported a total of 3 prime ministerial overseas visits to 5 nations over the course of 13 days. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these visits involved complex quarantine coordination arrangements. The Prime Minister visited:

  • Japan (16–18 November 2020) (see the case study for Key Activity 4.1)
  • New Zealand (30–31 May 2021)
  • Singapore (10 June 2021)
  • United Kingdom (G7) (11–15 June 2021)
  • France (15­–17 June 2021).

PM&C also successfully delivered the incoming Guests of Government program. We managed a visit to Australia by the Governor-General of New Zealand.

This year PM&C effectively managed 22 bilateral or multilateral virtual engagements, including with Heads of Government and Heads of State. This was a significant increase on last year’s figures. The engagements were:

  • Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Smart COVID-19 Management Leaders’ Meetings
  • Australia–Japan Leaders’ Virtual Meeting
  • Australia­–Papua New Guinea Leaders’ Virtual Summit and Signing Ceremony
  • Virtual Summit on International Assistance and Support to Beirut and the Lebanese People
  • Australia–Thailand Virtual Meeting and Signing
  • ASEAN and East Asia Virtual Summit
  • 2020 APEC Economic Leaders’ Virtual Meeting hosted by Malaysia
  • G20 Virtual Leaders’ Summit
  • Prime Minister’s Virtual Acceptance of the Inaugural Grotius Prize, Keynote Address and Q&A
  • European Union – Australia Leaders’ Meeting
  • Australia­–Netherlands Virtual Leaders' Talks
  • Pacific Islands Forum High Level Roundtable on Urgent Climate Change Action
  • Australia–Vietnam Annual Leaders’ Meeting
  • First Australia–Malaysia Annual Leaders’ Virtual Meeting
  • Pacific Islands Forum Special Leaders’ Retreat
  • Australia–Norway Leaders’ Virtual Meeting
  • Virtual Quad Leaders’ Meeting
  • Leaders’ Summit on Climate.

The virtual engagements achieved their aim of deepening cooperation between Australia and other nations.

The Prime Minister is meeting virtually with the leaders of India, the United States and Japan to participate in the Virtual Quad Leaders Meeting. He is sitting in front of a backdrop of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Marise Payne, is also pictured, seated in the meeting room in front of the national flags of Australia, the United States and India.
The Prime Minister, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, participating in the historic meeting with India, the United States, Japan and Australia from the Cabinet Room at the Commonwealth Parliament Offices in Sydney – the first ever Virtual Quad Leaders Meeting, 13 March 2021. Photo credit: Adam Taylor

PM&C successfully delivered a range of events in support of the Prime Minister, including:

  • collaboration across governments in the establishment of the National Federation Reform Council meetings and related events in Canberra
  • a reception for the national finalists for the Australian of the Year Awards.

Adhering to COVID-safe practices, PM&C also coordinated state memorial and state funeral services for:

  • the Right Honourable Doug Anthony AC CH (in Tweed Heads, NSW)
  • Major General the Honourable Philip Michael Jeffery AC AO (Mil) CVO MC (Retd) (at Duntroon, ACT)
  • the Honourable Susan Ryan AO (in Sydney, NSW).

PM&C led the high-quality operational and logistics delivery of these events, all of which ran smoothly and were the subject of significant media coverage. Key stakeholders provided positive feedback on the quality of service that PM&C delivered in managing these visits, events and virtual engagements.

Results: Key Activity 5.5

Key activity

Measure

Target

Ensure the department as an organisation is fit-for-purpose and ready to perform our functions in line with relevant standards and best practice to support the Prime Minister, Portfolio Ministers, their offices and the executive.

Timely registration and actioning of ministerial correspondence.

Ministerial correspondence is:

  • registered within 5 working days
  • then actioned with the standard timeframes – VIP priority within 5 working days; VIP and organisations within 10 working days; general representation within 20 working days.

Draft speeches are prepared to the satisfaction of the Prime Minister and his office, and the offices of Portfolio Ministers.

Websites are compliant with security, accessibility and user experience standards.

Source

Corporate Plan 2020–24, pp 25–28

Result

Partially achieved

Methodology

Evaluation through case study, data analysis and informal stakeholder feedback

Analysis

PM&C partially achieved the measure under this key activity.

Ministerial correspondence

In 2020–21, similar to 2019–20, PM&C experienced a sustained surge in the quantity of incoming ministerial correspondence. From 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021, PM&C received 151,004 pieces of correspondence.

Of the 151,004 items of ministerial correspondence received, 140,434 (93%) were registered within the target of 5 working days.

Draft speeches

In 2020–21, PM&C’s speechwriters achieved their target by delivering timely and high-quality speechwriting support. There was an increase in the number of speech requests on the previous year – particularly video scripts – while the number of written messages remained steady. Feedback from stakeholders was strongly positive (see the case study below).

Websites

In 2020–21, PM&C achieved its target of securing all websites within specified time frames:

  • 100% of websites requiring security patching were actioned in the specified time frames throughout the year when updates were issued
  • achieving this measure ensured the Department’s websites maintain the highest possible security settings so our communications platforms are fit for purpose and performing optimally.

PM&C aims to meet WCAG 2.0 accessibility standards where possible across the entire website. The author of content, rather than the Ministerial Support Division (MSD), is responsible for meeting accessibility standards. MSD performs an advisory role and assists with making recommendations and changes to the highest standard possible.

Accessibility checking was undertaken on all reports and documents loaded to the PM&C website. Accessibility modifications were undertaken to an acceptable standard and when time allowed. The addition of a third website developer has ensured our time frames are met consistently. Specific data-driven requirements of policy areas and quick launch time frames have impacted the Department’s ability to meet accessibility standards on all published communications.

Case study: Speechwriting during a pandemic

Like many other teams in PM&C, the speechwriting team’s work changed significantly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Prime Minister and other portfolio ministers gave more speeches for virtual engagements and on video than ever before – requests for these products more than doubled in 2020–21. As a result, the speechwriting team adapted by adjusting the length, tone, structure and style of the speeches they drafted to suit virtual and video formats.

The speeches were delivered in a wide variety of forums, from international leaders’ meetings and national conferences to local, community-based online gatherings. While the geography of the speech program contracted, the scope and volume of speeches delivered by the Prime Minister and portfolio ministers during this pandemic year expanded.

There was also a new narrative arc that encompassed almost every speech the Prime Minister gave – whatever the audience or topic, the context was COVID-19.

The team supported the Prime Minister and portfolio ministers to deliver critical information to Australians. Consistent positive feedback was received from key stakeholders on the quality and timeliness of the team’s work.

Results: Key Activity 5.6

Key activity

Measure

Target

Establish an effective public data sharing framework through the work of the Office of the National Data Commissioner.

The Office of the National Data Commissioner leads reforms to improve data sharing and use across the APS.

  • Reforms are delivered within agreed timelines informed by the views of stakeholders and the data sharing framework is adopted by stakeholders.

Source

Corporate Plan 2020–24, pp 25–28

Result

On track

Methodology

Evaluation through stakeholder survey, data analysis and case study

Analysis

PM&C is on track to meet its measure and target under this key activity by working to establish data sharing reforms.

In 2020–21, the Office of the National Data Commissioner (ONDC) made substantial progress on the Data Availability and Transparency Bill 2020 and measures related to the Bill’s implementation. Once passed, the Bill will create a safe, accountable and transparent framework for government agencies to share public sector data.

In 2020–21, the ONDC publicly consulted on an exposure draft of the Bill, including swiftly pivoting to digital tools to engage with stakeholders on important policy changes underpinning the Bill.

The then Minister for Government Services, the Hon Stuart Robert MP, introduced the Bill to Parliament on 9 December 2020, consistent with his preferred timelines.

After the introduction of the Bill, the ONDC supported Minister Robert in responding to issues raised by, and in submissions made to, parliamentary committees considering the Bill (including a public inquiry by the Senate Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee).

The ONDC undertook user research on the needs of stakeholders as part of the discovery process to inform its digital services platform known as Dataplace. The ONDC also undertook stakeholder research to inform a redevelopment of its website to better support and inform agencies, organisations and the public about data sharing under the Bill.

The ONDC also convened 3 virtual meetings of the National Data Advisory Council during the reporting period to advise the interim National Data Commissioner on community expectations, technical best practice and industry developments on data use.

PM&C’s annual stakeholder survey showed that both internal and external stakeholders consider that the ONDC has been effective in undertaking its key activities.

Case study: Consultation on the Data Availability and Transparency Bill 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic

The Australian Government is committed to ensuring that the reforms to the availability of and access to public sector data remains fully informed by stakeholder views despite disruption to traditional consultation methods during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meeting the expectations of stakeholders will ensure reforms to public sector data are trusted.

From September 2020 to November 2020, the Office of the National Data Commissioner (ONDC) in PM&C undertook public consultation on an exposure draft of the Data Availability and Transparency Bill 2020. It received 88 submissions from government agencies, the research sector, private enterprise and civil society. Consultation occurred through a webinar, numerous discussions with stakeholder groups, speaking engagements, a series of workshops on accreditation, paid digital advertising and other digital content.

Feedback received through the exposure draft process was incorporated into the Bill introduced to the Parliament in December 2020.

This consultative approach to Bill development has helped maintain public trust in the data reforms, including the ability to institute a national regulator to oversee the scheme when passed. A trusted data sharing scheme will embed safe practices that could lead to better informed government policy and programs, improved government service delivery, and innovative research and development activities.

The consultation process was rated highly by participants and allowed the ONDC to confidently respond to the concerns and queries raised in relation to the exposure draft of the Data Availability and Transparency Bill ahead of parliamentary consideration. The ONDC continues to use feedback to inform the development of supporting materials to implement the data sharing scheme under the Bill.

The consultation process enabled the Minister to introduce effective data sharing legislation that meets the needs and expectations of a number of stakeholder groups. This will enable the new public sector data sharing scheme to support the delivery of outcomes that improve the lives of all Australians.

Results: Key Activity 5.7

Key activity

Measure

Target

Ensure Australia’s honours system appropriately recognises worthy Australians.

Timely advice on the administration of Australia’s honours system is provided to the Prime Minister, with a focus on:

  • the implementation of new awards proposed by the Prime Minister.
  • ensuring the integrity of the system through appropriate administration of awards.

  • Maintain the reputation and integrity of Australia’s honours system.

Source

Corporate Plan 2020–24, pp 25–28

Result

Achieved

Methodology

Evaluation through case study

Analysis

PM&C achieved the measure and target under this key activity by providing expert advice and collaboration with the Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General and with the Department of Defence to ensure Australia’s honours system has integrity and is responsive to the needs of the Australian community.

During this period PM&C provided advice to the Government on the establishment of a new Australian Sports Medal; a National Emergency Medal to recognise responders to the 2019–2020 bushfires; and an honour roll to specially recognise honours recipients who made significant contribution to the nation’s COVID-19 response and recovery (see the case study below).

A communication campaign raised public awareness on how to nominate someone for an honour for exceptional work in Australia’s COVID-19 response. In the Queen’s Birthday 2021 Honours List, 63 recipients were recognised for their service responding to COVID-19.

PM&C successfully provided secretariat support to the Australian Government Public Service Medal Committee. In 2020–21, 30 Public Service Medals were awarded to Australian Government public servants; and 13 of those were women. PM&C also supported the Government and Commonwealth members of the Order of Australia Council, the National Emergency Medal Committee and the Australian Bravery Decorations Council.

Case study: Honouring significant COVID-19 related contributions

On 24 January 2021, the Prime Minister announced a dedicated COVID-19 honour roll to recognise those who contribute outstanding achievement and service to the nation’s pandemic response and recovery.

The Government wanted an appropriate mechanism to acknowledge Australians who make exceptional contributions to the COVID-19 response and recovery.

On recommendation by PM&C, the Governor-General and the Prime Minister created an ongoing digital honour roll for COVID-19 recognition, hosted on the Governor-General’s website. The Governor-General recorded a message encouraging nominations, and PM&C coordinated a social media campaign to highlight the call for nominations and inform the public about application and eligibility requirements. COVID-19 honours recognition details are published on both the Governor-General’s and the Prime Minister’s websites, as well as on the PM&C website and PM&C’s LinkedIn and Twitter channels.

Already, more than 60 people have been named in the COVID-19 honour roll for their contribution to Australia’s pandemic response and recovery.

The COVID-19 honour roll gathers stories of the contributions made by inspirational Australians during the pandemic so that they can be shared and celebrated across the country. The Australia Day and Queens Birthday 2021 Honours Lists are the first lists to recognise recipients for their support for Australia’s response to and recovery from the global COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 honour roll ensures lasting recognition for the exceptional service that has kept the country going through this tough and unprecedented period.

Establishing the COVID-19 honour roll supports PM&C’s purpose by demonstrating the relevance and utility of the Australian honours system to enable the country to acknowledge significant service to countering the COVID-19 pandemic and enabling Australia’s economic recovery.

Results: Key Activity 5.8

Key activity

Measure

Target

Support reforms to accelerate APS digital transformation; and drive APS capability development and planning.

PM&C enables whole-of-government collaboration to facilitate good policy development including by coordinating and influencing data activities across agencies and data sharing activities.

  • Data is shared across Commonwealth and state government agencies to support policy development and service delivery.
  • The data capability of Australian Government agencies matures through coordinated and influential action.
  • APS employees participate in behavioural insights capability programs.

Source

Corporate Plan 2020–24, pp 25–28

Result

Achieved

Methodology

Evaluation through case study and data analysis

Analysis

PM&C achieved its targets under this this key activity.

Data sharing to support policy development and service delivery

In 2020–21, PM&C collaborated with Commonwealth and state and territory government agencies to improve data sharing and use across jurisdictions.

PM&C supported 5 meetings of Data and Digital Ministers to progress 7 national priority projects. Projects include a national all-hazards service project for fires, floods and cyclones, and a life event project to enable easier access to health and other services following the birth of a child.

The sharing of Commonwealth employment-related data with states and territories supports jurisdictions to deliver targeted employment programs. In 2020–21, PM&C facilitated multijurisdictional access to linked JobKeeper, JobSeeker, Single Touch Payroll and social services payments data, resolving data gaps and ensuring consistent analysis.

A data sharing intergovernmental agreement between the Commonwealth and states and territories was signed by all leaders at National Cabinet on 9 July 2021. The agreement embeds national data sharing reforms and develops a culture of facilitating data sharing.

Data capability of Australian Government agencies matures through coordinated and influential action

PM&C coordinates whole-of-government data activities, overseen by the Deputy Secretaries Data Group, the Data Champions Executive (SES officers in leading data roles from 8 agencies), and the broader Data Champions Network (typically SES officers from approximately 50 agencies).

In 2020–21, PM&C supported these agencies to deliver on whole-of-government projects including on the open data agenda, Indigenous data, using data to respond to national crises, data literacy and communication, collaboration in metadata management, and SES accountabilities for data.

APS employees participate in behavioural insight capability programs

In 2020­–21, more than 2,600 APS employees participated in the Behavioural Economic Team of the Australian Government (BETA) behavioural insights capability programs.

APS employees developed behavioural insight capability by completing training courses, attending presentations, participating in workshops, completing an e-learning course and behaviour discovery tool, and liaising through their peer networks.

BETA ran a competitive process for emerging APS leaders to join the Behavioural Insights Champions’ Network (BICN). The BICN is designed to increase behavioural insights capability across the APS enterprise. It is running from 2020 ­to 2022 with around 100 staff from 38 APS agencies. BETA also leads the Behavioural Insights Practitioners’ Network, which is designed to develop capability within APS behavioural insights teams.

Case study: Cross-jurisdictional data sharing to support policy development and service delivery

Throughout 2020–21, the Commonwealth worked closely with state and territory governments to significantly increase the volume and value of cross-jurisdictional data sharing to support the COVID-19 response and economic recovery.

PM&C sought to deliver high-value cross-jurisdictional data sharing while improving data sharing capability and practices. This work supports PM&C’s commitment to:

  • share data to deliver vital programs and services to Australians
  • develop productive relationships between state, territory and Commonwealth governments
  • coordinate and shape policy across the Australian Government.

PM&C supported jurisdictions and data custodians to unlock valuable data across a range of priority areas such as employment, education, social services and health.

PM&C negotiated for mutually beneficial outcomes and reciprocal data access between jurisdictions, initially focusing on emergency data needs. PM&C then identified and took action to resolve longstanding data sharing barriers, building relationships between custodians to improve trust across the data-sharing system.

PM&C helped jurisdictions access 15 priority datasets to support COVID-19 response and recovery. The data shared between jurisdictions provided decision makers with a more complete national picture of the COVID-19 crisis and impacts of government interventions. Shared data also allowed governments to better target economic support where it was needed.

PM&C’s approach of unlocking data with all jurisdictions where possible has ensured benefits can be realised widely.

PM&C built strong partnerships and networks with data practitioners across all governments, which fostered a transition toward data sharing across jurisdictions by default rather than by exception.

The profile of data sharing has increased nationally, and PM&C is driving the next phase of intergovernmental data sharing.

The success and impact of increased data sharing resulted in national support for a broader intergovernmental agreement to share data by default where it can be done safely, securely and lawfully.

Results: Key Activity 5.9

Key activity

Measure

Target

Draw on structured policy analysis, agile project management methods and behavioural insights to deliver policy projects.

Contribute to the delivery of the Government’s key priorities through the application of behavioural economics and rigorous evaluation.

  • 15 advisory and evaluation projects completed.

Source

Corporate Plan 2020–24, pp 25–28

Result

Achieved

Methodology

Evaluation through case study and data analysis

Analysis

PM&C achieved its target under this key activity. In 2020–21, the Behavioural Economic Team of the Australian Government (BETA) and the Policy Projects and Taskforce Office (PPTO) continued to make contributions to the Government’s key priorities through the application of behavioural insights (BETA), agile project methodology and structured policy advice (PPTO).

To safeguard Australia from COVID-19, BETA contributed to the development of a 2-part practical guide for returning travellers who are entering Australia’s hotel quarantine program (see the case study below).

In line with Recommendation 32 of the Independent Review of the Australian Public Service, the Chief Operating Officers Committee commissioned the PPTO to consult and build a suite of best-practice guidance for setting up, running and closing down taskforces across the APS enterprise. Using agile project methodologies, the PPTO led consultations and developed a toolkit with user-centred advice, templates and resources for taskforces which launched on the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) website in February 2021.

PM&C exceeded its target for advisory and evaluation projects set under this key activity. Projects included the design, delivery and rigorous evaluation of behavioural insights in government policy and the use of structured policy analysis and agile project management methods to deliver expert policy advice on a range of Government priorities.

Case study: Hotel quarantine preparedness guide

Australia’s hotel quarantine program plays an important role in keeping Australia safe from COVID-19. The success of the program relies on achieving and maintaining best-practice standards.

The Halton National Review of Hotel Quarantine identified that some travellers are not psychologically prepared for hotel quarantine and that more could be done by the Australian Government to support people’s wellbeing by better preparing them for the experience.

In response to this, the Behavioural Economic Team of the Australian Government (BETA) developed a 2-part practical guide for returning travellers entering hotel quarantine. The information supports the wellbeing of returning travellers and psychologically prepares them for hotel quarantine with practical guidance. BETA developed the guide in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders, including hotel quarantine facility managers, psychologists, relevant state and territory and Australian Government agencies and the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission. BETA user-tested the products with travellers who had recently undergone quarantine.

The guide was made available to the public on the Australian Government Department of Health website. It was promoted via Smartraveller and the Department of Home Affairs website, and in emails from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to registered Australians interested in returning to Australia.

Since publication in November 2020, the guide has been downloaded over 55,500 times and has received positive feedback. Travellers have made positive comments on social media, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has supported efforts to customise the materials for incoming seasonal workers undergoing hotel quarantine.

Results: Key Activity 5.10

Key activity

Measure

Target

Provide high quality support and advice to the National Cabinet and the National Federation Reform Council.

High quality support provided to the National Cabinet and the National Federation Reform Council.

  • Operational support model is defined and supporting processes and systems are in place.

Operational and support services to support meetings of Cabinet and committees are managed and delivered to a consistently high standard.

  • Clear decision making and management processes and effective implementation of decisions.
  • Stable technology to support virtual meetings, with greater than 95 per cent of meetings successful.

Source

Corporate Plan 2020–24, pp 25–28

Result

Measure 1: Achieved

Measure 2: Achieved

Methodology

Evaluation through data analysis

Analysis

PM&C achieved its targets under this key activity by providing high-quality support to the National Cabinet and the National Federation Reform Council.

For example, in 2020–21 we:

  • clearly defined an operational support model for the National Cabinet, and put in place supporting processes and systems
  • ensured clear decision-making and management processes and effective implementation of decisions.

Since the National Cabinet was established in April 2020, PM&C has provided high-quality support for 43 National Cabinet meetings, as well as the inaugural National Federation Reform Council meeting on 11 December 2020 comprising all First Ministers and Treasurers and the President of the Local Government Association.

PM&C successfully supported the establishment of 6 National Cabinet Reform Committees (NCRCs), including development of operating protocols and regular reporting mechanisms.

We drafted standard operating procedures based on collective experience from the NCRC meetings. We successfully provided external guidance to secretariats and we regularly organised bilateral meetings between PM&C and secretariats.

During 2020–21, PM&C delivered consistent, high-quality technology support to the National Cabinet and the National Federation Reform Council. Providing stable technology to support these virtual meetings is critical to ensure timeliness and avoid disruptions. We successfully supported all meetings to achieve this target.

Results: Key Activity 5.11

Key activity

Measure

Target

Monitor and report on the implementation of Government priorities.

High quality quantitative and qualitative data provided to the Prime Minister on the status of priorities.

  • Quarterly and biannual report to the Prime Minister.

Source

Corporate Plan 2020–24, pp 25–28

Result

Achieved

Methodology

Evaluation through milestone delivery and data analysis

Analysis

PM&C achieved its target under this key activity.

In October 2020, PM&C became responsible for supporting the newly established Policy Implementation Committee (PIC) of Cabinet. The PIC provides regular strategic oversight of implementation of Government initiatives and deep dives into selected policies to pinpoint implementation blockages or risks. PM&C supports PIC by working closely with line agencies to ensure the materials considered by PIC provide a frank assessment and facilitate informed discussion of the key implementation risks of an initiative.

PM&C also delivered quarterly reporting on the delivery of all election commitments and measures announced in budget updates (for example the Budget and MYEFO). These reports were delivered within the time frame expected by the Prime Minister’s Office. They cover commitments across all portfolios, with high-level descriptions for each commitment. The timing of biannual reporting to the Prime Minister has shifted to better align with implementation of the Budget.

PM&C has completed projects to foster solutions both internal to the public service and for broader public consumption. During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, PM&C’s Cabinet Division teamed up with the Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Branch to develop repeatable analysis and charts that gave the Prime Minister up-to-the-minute information about the domestic and global impact of COVID-19. Twice-daily COVID-19 briefings were critical in supporting the fast decision making required during the pandemic.

Results: Key Activity 5.12

Key activity

Measure

Target

Drive development and delivery of practical reform actions that support the APS to respond to the ongoing crisis and Australia’s recovery from COVID-19, including the implementation of reforms within agencies.

Reforms agreed by the Secretaries Board are implemented and improve APS capability.

  • Greater than 80% of initiatives delivered or on track with regular monitoring and reporting of impact measurement to the Secretaries Board.

Source

Corporate Plan 2020–24, pp 25–28

Result

Achieved

Methodology

Evaluation through data analysis

Analysis

PM&C achieved its measure and target under this key activity.

The APS Reform Office (ARO) works with partners across the APS enterprise to deliver initiatives identified in the Government’s APS reform agenda, Delivering for Australians, and in response to the COVID-19 crisis to support recovery.

The ARO reports that in 2020–21, 44 of 50 initiatives (88%) contained in the Government’s reform agenda were achieved (the initiative has transitioned to a business-as-usual function or reached a concluding point) or on track (stakeholder engagement, design and implementation of actions are underway). Six remaining initiatives are under exploration to ensure viability and relevance given the changing environment. For the purposes of reporting, the scope of APS reform has been limited to the 50 initiatives identified in the Government’s APS reform agenda.

In 2020, key examples of APS reform initiatives included the establishment of the APS enterprise surge reserve; embedding the HR, data and digital professions; standing up the Chief Operating Officer Committee; Secretaries Board scenario planning; and architecture to track policy implementation.

Over 2021, PM&C has undertaken work to ensure effective prioritisation and continued implementation of enterprise reforms that support immediate and medium-term responses while we continue to build the longer term capability of the APS enterprise. The ARO is contributing to the development of impact measurement for the Secretaries Board by developing metrics to measure the impact of the Secretaries Digital Committee, the approach to program delivery and the Australian Public Service Commission workforce strategy outcomes.

Tracking of APS reform actions will continue throughout 2021 to ensure impact remains tangible and actions taken are responsive to need.

Results: Key Activity 5.13

Key activity

Measure

Target

Ensure the Department has the capacity and capability to respond to a rapidly changing operating context through the development of an agency-wide workforce strategy including reference to APS Reform and talent and succession planning.

The workforce strategy is developed and implemented.

  • The strategy is delivered by 29 January 2021.

Source

Corporate Plan 2020–24, pp 25–28

Result

Achieved

Methodology

Evaluation through milestone delivery

Analysis

PM&C achieved its measure and target under this key activity.

Following robust consultation and research, the PM&C Workforce Strategy was developed and endorsed by the Chief Operating Officer on 29 January 2021. The PM&C Workforce Strategy identifies 3 objectives to ensure the PM&C workforce is strongly positioned for the future, ensuring the right people are in the right roles at the right time.

Ready – we are nimble and prepared.

Together – we work in partnership.

Enriched – we build capability through experience and targeted development.

Implementation of Phase One of the PM&C Workforce Strategy Action Plan commenced in February 2021. Phase One actions addressed career pathways and targeted capability development, resourcing readiness and improved workforce planning. These actions were prioritised based on their predicted impact and alignment to our identified future workforce objectives.