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Our purpose

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The Attorney-General’s Department corporate plan for 2015–16 states that the purpose of the department is to support government in achieving a just and secure society, through a range of strategic priorities.

The strategic priorities align with the objectives of the 2015 Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS). This performance statement reports against the strategic priorities, and outlines results from a range of key activities in the corporate plan.

Corporate plan strategic priorities mapped against PBS objectives

STRATEGIC
PRIORITY
1
Support the Attorney- General as First Law Officer, including by providing high-quality legal advice to the Commonwealth PBS Objectives:
Programme 1.1 Civil Justice and Legal Services
Programme 1.2 National Security and Criminal Justice
Programme 1.3 Australian Government Solicitor
Programme 1.9 Royal Commissions

 

STRATEGIC
PRIORITY
2
Protect Australia by delivering effective national security policies, legislation and programmes PBS Objectives:
Programmes
1.2 and 1.7
National Security and Criminal Justice

 

STRATEGIC
PRIORITY
3
Maintain an efficient and effective Commonwealth justice system PBS Objectives:
Programme 1.1 Civil Justice and Legal Services
Programme 1.4 Justice Services
Programme 1.6 Indigenous Legal and Native Title Assistance
Programme 1.9 Royal Commissions

 

STRATEGIC
PRIORITY
4
Pursue national responses to serious and organised crime, and improve community safety PBS Objectives:
Programmes
1.2 and 1.7
National Security and Criminal Justice

 

STRATEGIC
PRIORITY
5
Enable a free society with balanced rights, freedoms and responsibilities PBS Objectives:
Programme 1.1 Civil Justice and Legal Services
Programme 1.4 Justice Services
Programme 1.5 Family Relationships
Programme 1.6 Indigenous Legal and Native Title Assistance

 

STRATEGIC
PRIORITY
6
Provide national leadership in emergency management PBS Objectives:
Programme 1.7 National Security and Criminal Justice
Programme 1.8 Australian Government Disaster Financial Support Payments

 

STRATEGIC
PRIORITY
8
Collaborate to achieve significant whole-of-Government objectives PBS Objectives:
Programme 1.1 Civil Justice and Legal Services
Programme 1.2 National Security and Criminal Justice

 

Please note: Strategic Priority 7 and PBS Programme 2.1, related to the Ministry for the Arts, are to be reported on by the Department of Communications and the Arts, following the machinery-of-government change in September 2015.

Measuring our performance

In line with new requirements for annual reports resulting from the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013, the department developed a suite of performance measures, outlined in the 2015–16 corporate plan. We regard our performance framework as an evolving process from which we can learn and improve continuously over the course of the four- year planning cycle to ensure measures provide meaningful information for planning for annual activities.

Our stakeholder survey

Many results for our KPIs were drawn from a stakeholder survey conducted with our external stakeholders in May–June 2016. These included other federal agencies, state and territory agencies, professional and representative bodies and community-based organisations.

The survey sought stakeholders’ views on:

  • overall performance – effectiveness and efficiency in achieving government objectives, and the professionalism, skills and commitment of departmental staff
  • effectiveness – timeliness, quality and consistency of information and advice, focus on the priority issues for government and commitment to problem-solving
  • relationship with the organisation – how well the department understands, collaborates with, listens to and supports stakeholder organisations
  • staffing – the level of skill and expertise of departmental staff and their accessibility
  • leadership – the quality of the department’s leadership and vision, and clarity of purpose
  • results  and delivery – whether the department is results-oriented, committed to continuous improvement, makes evidence-based decisions, is an active contributor to whole-of-government initiatives, achieves outcomes and manages risk appropriately.

The survey indicated very high satisfaction levels amongst stakeholders.

Other measures

For other results we referred to external sources, such as the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index, which measures the rule of law based on the experiences and perceptions of the general public and in-country experts worldwide. We note that some of these methods might not directly measure all aspects of the department’s activities and their community impact. However they are considered meaningful as over time they will be indicators of the broad health of Australia’s justice and security systems (which will be influenced by the activities of the department, albeit only in part), and the matters that the community regards as important. We also used internal sources, primarily for quantitative measures. To provide context, the internal quantitative data is included in the analysis sections of the performance statement.

Where a measure proved to be unsuitable for reporting on an annual basis (ie had a more long-term focus) or where relevant information was not available, we have stated that it is not measured this year. These measures will be further assessed as part of the ongoing process to improve our performance framework.

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