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HUMAN RESOURCES

The NHFB is agile, innovative, responsive and unique. We have a small and specialised workforce of 21 people that are capable, culturally diverse and gender balanced.

Our workforce is supported by a flexible legislative framework under the Public Service Act 1999 with terms and conditions governed by the National Health Funding Body Enterprise Agreement 2016–2019.

Our skilled, engaged and versatile team are critical to the achievement of our objectives.
We aim to cultivate and support our team by:

  • attracting and retaining skilled, adaptable and responsive people;
  • promoting a culture where people work within and across teams to maximise their expertise and produce results that benefit the agency as a whole;
  • supporting and developing the capabilities of our staff; and
  • refining our organisational approaches to reflect the requirements of a dynamic, small–sized organisation capable of responding quickly and flexibly to meet emerging requirements.

Photos of NHFB staff in the Data, Modelling and Analysis, Finance and Policy, Planning and Performance teams

2019-20 highlights

 - We developed a broad range of new HR strategies, including workforce capability, workforce diversity and a learning and development strategy. - Our Pulse survey results indicate that NHFB is a place that promotes and enjoys a respectful, collegiate and honest workplace with a strong sense of strategic direction and innovative team culture. - We implemented a more flexible recruitment approach to source skills that can be utilised across the organisation, including identifying opportunities for mobility between government agencies. - We implemented fully flexible working arrangements in response to the COVID-19 outbreak to protect our people whilst still achieving our objectives.

Workplace Response to COVID-19

While the COVID-19 pandemic presented the NHFB with similar challenges experienced by other government organisations, being a smaller agency helped us to respond and adapt rapidly, with a continued focus on staff health and wellbeing.

Although we already promoted flexible working arrangements (54% of the workforce in December 2019 were using flexible working arrangements), we actively encouraged our people to work from home where possible (with 83% of staff using flexible working arrangements in June 2020).

Our leadership team provided consistent and reliable communication on the pandemic response and staff continue to report high levels of health and wellbeing, with 80% of staff in June 2020 identifying the agency does a good job of promoting health and wellbeing compared to 70% in December 2019.

Capability

In 2019-20, we developed a broad range of new HR strategies, including Workforce Capability; Workforce Diversity; and a Learning and Development Strategy. These strategies complement and reflect the NHFB’s overarching Strategic Direction, Corporate Plan and Section Plans, and these themes are captured in individual Performance Development Agreements, drawing a clear ‘line of sight’ for each employee to understand the purpose of their role.

In 2020-21, we will implement a new Performance Development Framework, which reflects our increased focus on learning and development for our people and our United Leadership behaviours, highlighting the importance of ‘how we do things’ as well as ‘what we deliver’.

WORKFORCE CAPABILITY PLAN

The NHFB Workforce Capability Plan 2020-2024 sets out the strategies to build and strengthen our workforce capability to enable the NHFB to:

  • understand our workforce profile;
  • identify our strengths, weaknesses, areas of risk and opportunities for development;
  • understand and continue planning for future workforce requirements; and
  • align HR strategies to maximise capacity and address critical gaps.

It takes into account internal and external factors, and identifies workforce gaps, priorities and strategies for delivering the best outcomes now and into the future. The following objectives are highlighted over the term of the Workforce Capability Plan:

  • Managing the workforce composition - through continual review of staffing and section structures to optimise service delivery, monitoring turnover trends and indicators of external competition, and attracting and retaining the right people.
  • Building people capability – increasing Learning and Development opportunities, effective performance development, ensuring role clarity for staff and investing in career development and succession.
  • Continued focus on culture and leadership – effective change management processes, active measurement and management of employee engagement, and celebrating success.

WORKFORCE DIVERSITY PLAN

The NHFB Workforce Diversity Plan 2020-2024 acknowledges and appreciates the differences in every employee and encourages diversity in our backgrounds, skills, talents and views to enrich our working environment and the quality of work. The NHFB is committed to reflecting the diversity of the Australian community in its own workforce. Diversity within an organisation has many benefits including increased innovation, improved understanding of - and service to - clients, and attraction of talent from the widest possible pool of potential staff. The NHFB aims to attract and retain the right people for the right jobs, no matter what their gender, race, age, religious beliefs or personal commitments. This will be achieved by embedding diversity and inclusion in all aspects including workplace culture, recruitment, career development, policies and procedures, and stakeholder engagement.

LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT

Through the development of the Learning and Development Strategy 2020-2024, the NHFB reaffirmed its commitment to supporting and developing staff capability by providing a learning environment that is diverse, and helps achieve agency outcomes through building a fully effective and capable workforce.

The NHFB will invest in and support its staff in their development, valuing expertise and experience and respecting diverse learning styles

Employee Census

Following the release of 2019 APSC Census results, we rolled out a body of work across the organisation focused on three areas: where we are doing well; where we could improve; and the results which correlated to our United Leadership behaviours. From this, we developed an implementation plan to support this initiative, and reported on progress against key themes in our monthly Organisational Performance Report;

  • Strategy
  • Achievements
  • United leadership
  • Communication
  • Learning and development
  • Innovation and efficiency

Due to COVID-19, the 2020 APSC Employee Census was delayed from its usual mid-year release, until October 2020. Due to the delay, we conducted our own internal ‘Pulse Check’ survey at the end of the financial year, in addition to one in December 2019.

Our results indicate the NHFB is an organisation that promotes and enjoys a respectful, collegiate and honest workplace with a strong sense of strategic direction and innovative team culture:

  • 83% of our staff are accessing flexible working arrangements (compared to just over 50% in July 2019);
  • 83% of staff are satisfied with the agency’s health and wellbeing policies and practices (compared to 53% in July 2019);
  • 83% of staff are satisfied with recognition they receive for doing a good job (compared to 58% in July 2019);
  • 100% of staff agree that their supervisor treats them with respect (compared to 95% in July 2019);
  • 95% of staff agreed that their supervisor encourages them to try new things even if they don’t always work out (compared to 79% in July 2019);
  • 67% of staff agree that appropriate risk taking is rewarded in the agency (compared to 50% in July 2019); and
  • 89% of staff believe the SES effectively leads and manages change (compared to 79% in July 2019).

Similar to 2019-20, results from these staff surveys will inform the body of work that will emerge to ensure that we:

  • Continue with the activities we are doing well;
  • Have a plan in place to focus on key areas we’d like to improve; and
  • Link the above activities back to our United Leadership behaviours.

Employee Profile

All NHFB employees are based in our Canberra office.

Our Average Staffing Level (ASL) allocation for 2019-20 was 21 employees, however, this number includes the Administrator of the National Health Funding Pool. The Administrator is 0.6 of a full-time equivalent (FTE) and for the purpose of this Annual Report, is included in the following tables.

As at 30 June 2020:

  • We had a staffing headcount of 22
    • Of the 22, two were on long-term leave and one was on secondment to another Commonwealth Agency.
  • The number of full-time equivalent (FTE) employees was 19.6
  • Our ASL rate was 18.9
Headcount, FTE and ASL 2015-16 to 2019-20

Year

ASL Cap

Headcount

FTE

ASL

2019-20

20.4

22

19.6

18.9

2018-19

20.4

22

20.2

18.0

2017-18

20.4

23

19.4

18.3

2016-17

18.4

21

18.5

17.3

2015-16

19

17

10.7

11.6

Headcount by Employment Status and Gender 2015-16 to 2019-20

Employment Status

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

M

F

M

F

M

Ongoing

4

9

6

10

5

Non-ongoing

2

2

2

3

4

TOTAL

6

11

8

13

9

Headcount by classification  2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20.

SENIOR EXECUTIVE – HOLDERS OF PUBLIC OFFICE

Senior Executive

Male

Total

Holder of Public Office - Office of the CEO

1

1

WORKFORCE PLANNING, EMPLOYEE RETENTION AND TURNOVER

We have been operational for eight years and our workforce retention and turnover rates continue to be stable. The average length of service for our employees in 2019-20 is 2.6 years with 39 per cent of staff having been employed with us for more than three years and 18 per cent of staff having been employed with us for less than 12 months.

Average length of service 2015-16 to 2019-20

Year

Average length of service

2019-20

2.6

2018-19

2.8

2017-18

2.3

2016-17

2.0

2015-16

1.5

Turnover rate 2015-16 to 2019-20

Year

Rate

2019-20

32.1

2018-19

30.1

2017-18

40.6

2016-17

14.0

2015-16

24.7

WORKFORCE DIVERSITY

We are committed to the recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce, as reflected in our new Workplace Diversity Plan 2020–2024. In 2019-20:

  • 40% of senior management positions were held by women;
  • our gender demographic was 53% female and 47% male;
  • 13% of NHFB employees identified as having English as a second language;
  • 67% have a formal education qualification; and
  • our age profile spans between 25–58 years.

REMUNERATION FRAMEWORK

Following a successful consultation period with all staff, the CEO NHFB signed the Public Service (Subsection24(1) – National Health Funding Body Non-SES Employees Determination 2019) on 9 September 2019.

This provided our staff with general remuneration increases (2% per annum) while maintaining the existing employment conditions under the National Health Funding Body Enterprise Agreement 2016–2019 over the next three years (to October 2021).

Our only SES-level appointment is the position of CEO, who is appointed as a Holder of Public Office. The employment conditions and remuneration for the CEO are set by the Commonwealth Remuneration Tribunal.

Salary ranges for the 21 non-SES employees are at Table 6. Four non-SES employees were covered by the Enterprise Agreement and an Individual Flexibility Arrangement. Zero employees received performance pay in 2019–20.

Salary Range by Classification

Classification

Salary Range $

EL2

122,294 – 144,791

EL1

102,502 – 116,905

APS6

83,412 – 94,101

APS5

74,511 – 80,580

2020-21 DEFERRAL OF SALARY INCREASES DUE TO COVID-19

In April 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian Government placed a six-month pause on wage increases for non-SES Commonwealth public sector employees. However staff remain eligible for salary increment increases relating to their Performance Development Agreement.

NON-SALARY BENEFITS

The NHFB provides for a range of non-salary benefits that are incorporated into our HR policies. Any changes to policies are reviewed by our internal Workplace Consultative Committee and cleared by the CEO. HR policies that include non-salary benefits are:

  • Allowances;
  • Domestic Violence;
  • Home Based Work;
  • Studybank;
  • Travel; and
  • Workplace Health, Safety and Wellbeing.

These policies cover a number of artefacts that are not included in our EA and provide for:

  • flexible working locations and home-based work;
  • business tools such as mobile phones and mobile computing devices;
  • influenza vaccinations;
  • blood donation leave;
  • financial assistance to access financial advice for staff 54 years and older; and
  • leave for Australian Defence Force reserve and continuous full-time service.

LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT

We actively provide learning and development opportunities for employees to support them in their work and enhance their skill sets. We will further embed these practises during 2020-21 and beyond, through the implementation of our new Learning and Development Strategy.
In 2019-20, NHFB staff expanded their knowledge and skill sets through a variety of channels including:

  • formal learning and development (e.g. University courses);
  • participation in Commonwealth and State and Territory technical and advisory committees;
  • APS, and private sector conferences;
  • Communities of Practice forums; and
  • leadership forums.

In 2019–20, employees received tailored training (classroom or online) for:

  • risk management;
  • fraud control;
  • internal audit;
  • human resources;
  • security; and
  • records management.

Employees are eligible to apply for our Study Assistance Scheme, which offers financial assistance, time off for study purposes or a combination of both.

Employee Qualifications

Qualification

Number of employees

Professional Industry Qualification (e.g. CPA)

6

Post Graduate Qualification

9

Undergraduate Qualification

8

TOTAL

23

Performance Management

In 2019-20, we placed a greater emphasis on an individual’s professional development, including increased opportunities for learning. We remained focussed on maintaining the strong link between individual performance, our five strategic objectives and our United Leadership behaviours. In 2020-21, we will focus on implementing our new HR policies that focus on 'how we do things’ just as much as ‘what we deliver’.

During 2019-20, there were zero instances of employees needing to be managed for underperformance.

UNSCHEDULED ABSENCES

We experienced a significant decrease in our unscheduled absences in 2019–20, and for the last three reporting years, we have remained well below the APS average.

Unscheduled absences (days) 2015-16 to 2019-20

Year

NHFB

APS

2019-20

8.9

11.2

2018-19

9.8

11.4

2017-18

9.5

11.4

2016-17

10.8

11.4

2015-16

19.7

11.5

CODE OF CONDUCT

As an agency governed by the Public Service Act 1999, our employees are bound by the APS Values and Code of Conduct. The APS Values and Code of Conduct are reinforced through day-to-day behaviour by all employees within the agency.

We had zero Code of Conduct investigations during 2019–20 and zero claims of bullying and harassment during the reporting period.

PRODUCTIVITY GAINS

We worked on progressing a range of productivity initiatives throughout the year, including monitoring and reviewing pricing structures for our outsourced shared services (via the Commonwealth Department of Health). We have implemented a new Services Agreement, which will see increased collaboration and identification of opportunities to gain maximum benefit from our joint arrangements, increasing our efficiency through appropriate outsourcing. This has enabled our workforce to focus on our core functions and longer-term strategic work.

Through a number of internal reviews of policies and processes, we were able to commence streamlining a number of our internal documents (from 23 to 12) that will improve collective and individual productivity in 2020-21.

Work, Health and Safety

We are committed to safeguarding the health and safety of our employees, workers and visitors by providing and maintaining a safe working environment.

We aim to eliminate all preventable work related injuries and illnesses through active management. Additionally, we are committed to supporting and promoting the health and wellbeing of our employees.

The NHFB Workplace Consultative Committee (WCC) is an internal committee which provides a forum to facilitate communication and consultation with employees in line with Part J Consultation and Communication of our Enterprise Agreement.

The WCC reports to the CEO on matters including:

  • Workplace conditions (e.g Enterprise Agreement, HR policies and change management); and
  • Workplace Health and Safety (e.g. policies and procedures and hazard identification

The WCC also serves as a forum to ensure the NHFB meets the requirements of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) and the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (the WHS Regulation).

We provide an ongoing commitment to maintain a safe and healthy workplace, and to meet our obligations under the WHS Act 2011 and the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988. In 2019–20, no directions or notices were issued under the WHS Act 2011.

We have a rehabilitation management system as required under Comcare’s Guidelines for Rehabilitation Authorities 2012. These Guidelines provide a framework for our health and safety management arrangements.

Online Work Health and Safety training is mandatory for all employees which assists us in meeting our obligations, and creates a safety-aware workplace.

First Aid Officers and First Aid Kits are located on-site to ensure assistance is available when needed. Workplace Health and Safety training was arranged for new health and safety representatives.

We promote health and wellbeing awareness among employees by supporting an annual program focused on health and lifestyle, which is developed in consultation with employees through the WCC.

In 2019–20, our employees had access to:

  • workplace assessments and ergonomic equipment;
  • rest-break guidance;
  • access to the Employee Assistance Program;
  • use of taxis after hours to provide safe transport to and from work;
  • eye sight testing; and
  • family care assistance.

COVID-19 WHS RESPONSE

As a result of the pandemic, the NHFB implemented a number of changes to our WHS policies and procedures to ensure the continued safety and wellbeing of our staff. From March 2020, staff were encouraged to work from home where possible and we conducted a working from home survey to ensure staff were provided with appropriate support while working remotely. Cleaning and hygiene measures around the office were increased and staff maintained social distancing guidelines, staying home if they were unwell. No instances of COVID-19 occurred within NHFB during 2019-20.

HEALTH AND SAFETY OUTCOMES

In 2019–20, there were no workers compensation claims submitted to Comcare. As there were zero workers compensation claims during the reporting year, our premium has continued to decrease.

Comcare premium rates

Year

Premium ($)

2019-20

19,920

2018-19

26,710

2017-18

35,976

2016-17

44,447

2015-16

37,108

DISABILITY REPORTING

The National Disability Strategy 2010-2020 sets out a ten-year national policy framework to improve the lives of people with disability, promote participation, and create a more inclusive society. A high-level, two-yearly report will track progress against each of the six outcome areas of the strategy and present a picture of how people with a disability are faring. These progress reports can be found at www.dss.gov.au