In 2017–18, the department successfully achieved its purpose of facilitating all meetings required under decisions of the Senate and its committees. In doing so, the department provided comprehensive, timely and high-quality support to senators, the Senate and committees, as well as prompt and accurate procedural advice and legislative support.
The department also:
- provided induction programs for the 12 new senators who took their seats during the year, so that they could perform their constitutional roles
- supported the incoming President, elected on 13 November 2017
- published a range of materials on the role and work of the Senate and the Parliament, and delivered effective education and information programs
- managed its staff in accordance with its enterprise agreement and provided learning and development opportunities to maintain the department’s capabilities, and
- delivered its services in a cost-effective manner and in accordance with accountability requirements.
The department continued to work with the other parliamentary departments to deliver its services, to improve support for the Parliament and the work of its members and to enhance the strategic direction of the parliamentary service. The four parliamentary departments continued to cooperate across various fronts to advance a seamless model of support for the Parliament and parliamentarians, particularly in the areas of security, information communication technology, and the integration of the business systems that support the work of the Houses and their committees.
The department’s financial result for the year was a deficit of $0.7m. This nearly break-even result reflects the ongoing increase in departmental appropriation of $3.7m per annum, which supports continuing elevated levels of committee and legislative activity. The department’s financial statements commence at page 73.
These annual performance statements record the department’s results against the planned performance table in figure 2 (above), which is derived from its Corporate Plan 2017–18 and its PBS for 2017–18. The subsequent parts of this chapter report on the activities and performance of each office against the criteria contained in the departmental workplans.
These annual performance statements are based on records of services provided by the department, feedback kept by departmental staff, surveys conducted by particular work areas and comments made by relevant groups and committees. As the department’s performance framework has matured, the department’s internal auditors were once again engaged to provide a health check of the department’s performance reporting. This audit assessed the evidence to support the department’s performance results and found that the stated objectives and outcomes had been achieved.
In summary, this data shows both a high level of demand for the department’s services and advice, and satisfaction with what is provided. The Senate’s requirements in the middle year of the electoral cycle are traditionally high and the election of a new President and the appointment of an unprecedented number of new senators influenced this demand.