FaHCSIA's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Workforce Strategy 2010-12

"Having suitably skilled and committed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to work in FaHCSIA ensuring that the organisation is able to deliver the Government's Agenda"

In December 2007, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to work together to overcome Indigenous disadvantage under the National Indigenous Reform Agreement (NIRA) which draws together a range of National Partnership Agreements (NPAs) and wider COAG work that supports the six COAG targets to Close the Gap in Indigenous disadvantage. Developing cultural awareness and competency on the part of policy makers and people implementing government programs, as well as the ability to recruit, develop and retain suitably skilled and committed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is an important part of the 'Closing the Gap' reforms. As such all Australian Governments are required to ensure the ongoing development of a suitably skilled Indigenous workforce, and engage with Indigenous Australians in meeting the responsibilities under the NIRA and NPAs.

As the lead agency in the effective delivery of these reforms, FaHCSIA is responsible for working with other agencies in the delivery of these outcomes. As such FaHCSIA must demonstrate best practice in the recruitment, career development, engagement and retention of a skilled Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce.

FaHCSIA's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Workforce Strategy seeks to improve the attraction, retention and career development outcomes of suitably skilled, motivated and committed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and will support FaHCSIA in maintaining the highest professional standards and values in serving the Government and working in partnership with others.

FaHCSIA's 2010 – 2012 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Workforce Strategy (the Strategy) will build on the foundations that were established in FaHCSIA's 2006 – 2009 Strategy, however the new Strategy will have a strong focus on the retention and career development opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees.

The Strategy has four key outcomes. These are:

  • An organisation that respects and attracts Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to work in FaHCSIA;
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees have high levels of engagement and feel valued and supported;
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees have the skills they need to do their job and are developing the skills they need to support their careers; and
  • FaHCSIA shows leadership and sets the benchmark for the employment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across the APS.

The Strategic Plan for Implementation provides the actions to support the outcomes in the 2010 – 2012 Strategy. The Strategy will be reviewed annually and updated accordingly.

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Principal Outcome: Having suitably skilled and committed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to work in FaHCSIA ensuring the organisation is able to deliver the Government's Agenda
  Attract Retain Develop Leadership
Specific Outcomes An organisation that respects and attracts Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to work in FaHCSIA by providing good quality jobs, development and support. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees have high levels of engagement and feel valued and supported. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees have the skills they need to do their job and are developing the skills they need to support their careers. FaHCSIA shows leadership and sets the benchmark for the employment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across the APS.
What will success look like
  • FaHCSIA has a reputation for:
    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples being well supported in recruitment and selection;
    • having a culturally appreciative workplace;
    • providing employment and development opportunities that, help to grow people's careers; and
    • effective entry pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are satisfied they are treated equally and in a culturally appropriate way in relation to all FaHCSIA processes including:
    • fairness of recruitment and selection processes; and
    • access to development opportunities.
  • FaHCSIA has a culturally appreciative workplace.
  • FaHCSIA has a strong Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community that contributes to the governance of FaHCSIA's workforce.
  • FaHCSIA provides targeted and appropriate development opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees are satisfied with:
    • the development offered to them;
    • career support provided to them; and
    • quality and meaningful feedback from managers.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff stay and develop their careers within FaHCSIA.
  • FaHCSIA has a reputation for providing development opportunities that supports career development.
  • FaHCSIA demonstrates APS best practice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander recruitment, career development and retention.
  • FaHCSIA leads the Commonwealth Public Sector for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment.
  • FaHCSIA Managers are committed to delivering the strategy.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce strategies have a positive effect on the delivery of FaHCSIA business.
  • FaHCSIA leads its portfolio agencies to meet Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment targets.
Key Actions
  • FaHCSIA will meet or exceed the employment targets outlined by DEEWR under the National Partnership Agreement on Indigenous Economic Participation.
  • Review, redesign and implement revised entry pathways including new traineeship options and promotion at career events.
  • Review, redesign and implement recruitment documentation to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment, with particular focus given to business areas that have responsibility for Indigenous outcomes.
  • Develop and implement Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander selection processes including:
    • pre-selection information and post selection feedback;
    • selection committee training; and
    • representation on selection panels.
  • Develop and promote guidelines for Identified and Special Measures positions.
  • Undertake market research to understand what would influence Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to work in FaHCSIA.
  • Effectively communicate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment strategies to managers throughout FaHCSIA.
  • Utilise APSC and other government Indigenous recruitment processes.
  • Develop and promote the FaHCSIA brand in response to the results in market research.
  • Refine the mentor program including:
    • a review of the program;
    • providing a structured mentoring arrangement focused on capability and career development; and
    • increasing the numbers of SES mentors.
  • Strengthen FaHCSIA's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Network including:
    • inclusion of senior managers in events; and
    • review of governance arrangements.
  • Develop and deliver the next phase of the Cultural Appreciation Program including:
    • developing and promoting a program schedule;
    • targeting staff audiences including the mandatory participation of staff who are responsible for Indigenous service delivery;
    • focusing on SES and EL2 participation; and
    • increasing participation in the CAP program by staff from across the Department.
  • FaHCSIA Managers will encourage, and support, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff to actively participate in the development, facilitation and representative opportunities that assist the Department meet core business outcomes.
  • Quarterly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce data is sent to EMG through the People Committee. This data will contain longitudinal and comparative analysis of staff trends.
  • Support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees with career development through:
    • the development of a training needs analysis tool to assess capability requirements;
    • the development of a mobility register that will provide managers with a resource of experienced and knowledgeable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees;
    • the use of IPMS agreements to engage in career development opportunities;
    • increased use of 'Special Measures' under the Identified Positions and Special Measures Policy to provide on-the-job development opportunities and practical experience; and
    • the provision of development and support under the Talent Management Program to prepare them for leadership roles within FaHCSIA and the APS.
  • Develop career planning tools.
  • Develop, design and pilot an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employee Skills Development Program.
  • Ensure that providers of learning and development opportunities do so in a culturally appropriate way.
  • Development and implementation of a Communication Plan to support the strategy including:
    • branding of the Strategy internally and externally;
    • effective Internet/intranet representation;
    • production of supporting publications;
    • jobs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in FaHCSIA; and
    • a brochure for the Strategy.
  • Monitor and evaluate the impact of the Strategy; and
  • All FaHCSIA managers will report against the recruitment, retention and development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff as a deliverable under their IPMS agreement.
  • Have an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander champion appointed at the Executive Management Group (EMG) level to provide critical linkages with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff Network in the delivery of employment and service outcomes.
  • Develop and implement a stakeholder engagement plan in regional and remote locations, that includes sourcing local employment opportunities, and encouraging local Indigenous participation.
Measures
  • Increased number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants.
  • Increased number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants selected.
  • Use of FaHCSIA staff survey to obtain specific feedback from Aboriginal and Torres Strait
  • Islander employees regarding satisfaction with the Department.
  • Retention rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees who came in through particular initiatives.
  • Increased number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff across the organisation measured at National Office and State levels (longitudinal and comparative assessment).
  • Increased number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff being represented through all classifications.
  • Ongoing improvements in the satisfaction levels of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff, measured through the FaHCSIA Staff Survey.
  • Improved outcomes noted by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees in their staff survey responses (compared with the responses across the Department).
  • Tracking of career development for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mentees during and after completing program.
  • Complaints to the Work Life Diversity Team in People Branch are reported quarterly.
  • Higher levels of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment than other government agencies.
  • Number of hits on the internet pages detailing FaHCSIA's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Workforce Strategy.
  • Participation in external forums.
  • Successful completion of measures under the 2009 – 2011 Reconciliation Action Plan and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Workforce Strategy.
  • FaHCSIA increases the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff by 10% (from 9.5% to 10.4%) in line with the 20% increase by 2015 agreed by Portfolio Secretaries.
  • FaHCSIA's work with its portfolio agencies to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment in line with agreed targets.
Communication
  • Information sessions on the delivery of the Strategy with Branches and Groups responsible for service provision to a broad cohort, and those specific to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
  • Supporting documentation provided for the implementation of the Identified Positions and Special Measures Policy.
  • Use of intranet to promote events and processes.
  • All FaHCSIA Managers are aware of and implement recruitment strategies.
  • Information sessions on the delivery of the Strategy with Branches and Groups responsible for service provision to a broad cohort, and those specific to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
  • Using Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff Network to link with State and Group Managers to drive communication about issues and the strategy.
  • Information sessions provided on the COAG responsibilities and linkages to the Cultural Appreciation Program.
  • Use of intranet to promote events and processes.
  • All FaHCSIA Managers are aware of and implement retention strategies.
  • Information sessions on the delivery of the Strategy with Branches and Groups responsible for service provision to a broad cohort, and those specific to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
  • Information and promotion of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mentoring Framework.
  • Use of intranet to promote events and processes.
  • All FaHCSIA Managers are aware of and implement retention strategies.
  • Communicate the delivery of the Strategy with senior managers responsible for driving organisational leadership.
  • Communicate with external stakeholders sharing best practice and comparative assessment of strategies.
  • Annual reporting to FaHCSIA's leaders on the delivery of the Strategy, demonstrating Indigenous staff trends and performance benchmarks.
  • FaHCSIA communicates with portfolio agencies on the implementation of Human Resources management processes that support the achievement of employment targets.
Ongoing Work
  • Maintaining relationships with external agencies to support entry level programs including APSC & DEEWR;
  • Providing advice to managers regarding recruitment and selection processes;
  • Continued promotion of recruitment strategies;
  • Monitor and support new employees;
  • Revision, development and implementation of guidelines for entry level programs; and
  • Maintain internal relationships with stakeholders.
  • Maintaining Mentors Networks;
  • Continue support for mentor / mentee matching;
  • Cultural Appreciation Program continues to be delivered through;
    • advertising programs;
    • managing class lists;
    • facilitating sessions;
    • organising facilitators;
    • monitoring resources; and
    • producing the newsletter.
  • Secretariat support to Staff Network(s);
    • maintaining Sharepoint sites;
    • maintaining distribution lists; and
    • supporting network events.
  • Ongoing analysis and update workforce data; and
  • Management of contracts and payment of accounts.
  • Provide advice and support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees with workforce related issues including:
    • Individual Performance Management System;
    • Selection and Recruitment support;
    • Career Development; and
    • Coaching support.
  • Provide advice and support to managers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees.
  • Maintenance of intranet and internet pages;
  • Maintenance of Sharepoint sites; and
  • Act as an information exchange agent between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees and various internal and external stakeholders.

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Stakeholder Ownership

  • FaHCSIA as the lead agency driving the delivery of employment and service outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people under the Council of Australian Government (COAG) National Indigenous Reform Agenda;
  • Executive Management Group who has responsibility for the delivery of outcomes across the organisation and are responsible for the organisation's outcomes to COAG;
  • People Branch is responsible for providing the tools enabling FaHCSIA managers to deliver the Strategy, and overseeing its delivery including the provision of performance information;
  • FaHCSIA Managers in Indigenous service delivery areas are responsible for ensuring the delivery of outcomes given their specific service field, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff recruitment, retention and development trends;
  • FaCHSIA Managers broadly are responsible for the delivery of the strategy in their role as supervisors to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and given the broad implications of FaHCSIA business across the Indigenous cohort;
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff have a responsibility to work within the Strategy to drive career development opportunities, and support the organisation achieve outcomes in the recruitment, retention, and development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people;
  • FaHCSIA Staff have a responsibility to support the delivery of the strategy; and
  • Portfolio Agencies have a responsibility to work with FaHCSIA to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment across the Commonwealth Public Sector in line with targets agreed by the Portfolio Secretary.

Risks to the Strategy

  • Insufficient number of suitable candidates for entry level pathway programs;
  • Communication strategies not effectively targeted delivered, or accessed by FaHCSIA business areas;
  • Managers do not support the implementation of strategies that will drive Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander recruitment or career development;
  • Training opportunities not being identified or supported through IPMS;
  • Insufficient career development opportunities available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff;
  • Insufficient funding to support initiatives;
  • Initiatives not accepted as part of 'normal business' by Managers;
  • Managers do not support their employees to participate in capability and capacity building activities;
  • Managers do not use the recruitment strategies, including the Identified Positions Policy, to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment or to ensure that people with suitable skills and cultural understanding are being recruited to key service areas;
  • Lack of resources to support the strategic outcomes;
  • Employees do not support or participate in activities of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff Network;
  • Managers do not release Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees to participate in FaHCSIA and broader APS activities; and
  • Portfolio Agencies do not work to implement key recruitment actions and are unable to meet employment targets.

Risks to the Department of not implementing the Strategy

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff are not engaged throughout the organisation impacting on the effective development of policy and delivery of programs to Indigenous people;
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff continue to leave the Department;
  • FaHCSIA is unable to develop policy that is meaningful and relevant to Indigenous communities;
  • FaHCSIA is unable to achieve COAG outcomes or meet key principles under the agreements that it leads the delivery of;
  • FaHCSIA is unable to meet the commitments made across the Portfolio Secretaries regarding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment ;
  • FaHCSIA is no longer seen as the leader or demonstrating best practice in the delivery of Indigenous Affairs or the COAG National Indigenous Reform Agreement 'Closing the Gap'.

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Content Updated: 17 July 2013