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Chapter 5 - Our performance

 

Our performance

This part covers our performance in areas for which activity is measured across the Department. This includes:

  • The Attorney-General’s Department resource statement for 2010–11 showing available resources to the Department reconciled with actual payments made (Table 1)
  • services provided to ministers and Parliament, and
  • small airline usage.

Chapters 6 to 10 provide detailed performance reports based on the outcome and programs framework and performance information set out in the 2010–11 Portfolio Budget Statements and any Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements.

The Department has one outcome against which it reports in the 2010–11 Annual Report:

  • Outcome 1 – A just and secure society through the maintenance and improvement of Australia’s law and justice framework and its national security and emergency management system.

Responsibility for Outcome 2 – Good governance in the Australian Territories through the maintenance and improvement of the overarching legislative framework for self-governing territories, and laws and services for non-self-governing territories – was transferred to the Department of Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government under machinery of government arrangements effective from 1 October 2010. This Annual Report includes the financial statements for Outcome 2 for the period 1 July 2010 to 30 September 2010.

Performance reports are structured to demonstrate a clear relationship between the performance standards for each outcome and program, as set out in the Portfolio Budget Statements and Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements, and the actual results achieved for the Department in 2010–11.

Chapter 7 and Chapter 8 address, respectively, the departmental and administered programs for the Civil Justice and Legal Services Group. Chapter 9 and Chapter 10 address the departmental and administered programs for the National Security and Criminal Justice Group.

Each chapter provides:

  • a summary of performance and key achievements contributing to the programs
  • results of evaluations or reviews
  • purchaser/provider arrangements, where relevant
  • outlook for the following financial year, and
  • reporting against the key performance indicators for the program and related administered items.

The report includes a selection of case studies that provide an insight into the people behind some of the Department’s key achievements.

2010–11 resource statement

Table 1: Attorney-General’s Department resource statement, 2010–11

Actual available appropriations 2010–11 Actual expenses 2010–11 ($’000) Balance remaining ($’000)
ORDINARY ANNUAL SERVICES1      
Departmental appropriation      
Prior year departmental appropriation 95,665 30,800  
Departmental appropriation 236,488 224,749  
Section 31 relevant agency receipts 26,770 29,097  
Total departmental appropriation 358,923 284,646 75,657
Administered expenses      
Outcome 1 567,832 517,786 50,046
Outcome 2 18,005 28,332 –10,327
Payments to CAC Act bodies 10,127 10,127
Total administered expenses 595,964 556,245 39,719
Total ordinary annual services 954,887 840,891 115,376
OTHER SERVICES2      
Administered expenses      
Specific payments to states, ACT, NT and local government       
Outcome 1 6,899 6,781 118
Total 6,899 6,781 118
Departmental non-operating      
Equity injections 8,773 5,853 2,920
Total departmental non-operating 8,773 5,853 2,920
Administered non-operating      
Administered assets and liabilities 18,369 18,192 177
Total administered non-operating 18,369 18,192 177
Total other services 34,041 30,826 3,215
Total available annual appropriations and payments 988,928 871,717 118,591
SPECIAL APPROPRIATIONS      
Special appropriations limited by criteria/entitlement      
National Firearms Program Implementation Act 1996 75 14 61
Social Security (Administration) Act 910,981 829,123 81,858
Total special appropriations 911,056 829,137 81,919
Total appropriations excluding special accounts 1,899,984 1,700,854 200,510
SPECIAL ACCOUNTS      
Opening balance 15,828   15,828
Appropriation receipts  
Appropriation receipts – other agencies  
Non-appropriation receipts to special accounts 99,961   99,961
Payments made 85,879 85,879
Total special accounts 115,789 85,879 29,910
Total resourcing and payments 2,015,773 1,786,733 230,420
Less payments to CAC Act bodies through annual appropriations –10,127 –10,127
Total net resourcing for agency 2,005,646 1,776,606 230,420

CAC Act = Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997

All figures are GST exclusive

Notes:

1 Appropriation Bill (No 1) 2010–11 and Appropriation Bill (No 3) 2010–11.

2 Appropriation Bill (No 2) 2010–11 and Appropriation Bill (No 4) 2010–11.

 

Resource summaries

Table 2: Resource summary, Outcome 1 – A just and secure society through the maintenance and improvement of Australia’s law and justice framework and its national security and emergency management system

Actual available
appropriations
2010–11
$’000
(a)
Actual
expenses
2010–11
$’000
(b)
Variation
$’000
(a)-(b)
Program 1.1: Attorney-General’s Department operating expenses – Civil Justice and Legal Services      
Departmental expenses      
Ordinary annual services (Appropriation Bill No. 1) 97,021 95,385 1,636
Revenues from independent sources (Section 31) 9,173 9,717 –544
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the Budget year 8,114 7,958 156
Total for Program 1.1 114,308 113,060 1,248
Program 1.2: Attorney-General’s Department operating expenses – National Security and Criminal Justice      
Departmental expenses      
Ordinary annual services (Appropriation Bill No. 1) 119,313 120,317 –104
Revenues from independent sources (Section 31) 17,597 19,288 –1,691
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the Budget year 9,432 10,154 –722
Total for Program 1.2 146,342 149,759 –3,417
Program 1.3: Justice services      
Administered expenses      
Ordinary annual services (Appropriation Bill No. 1) 96,791 85,133 11,658
Special appropriations 450 450
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the Budget year   15 –15
Total for Program 1.3 97,241 85,148 12,093
Program 1.4: Family relationships      
Administered expenses      
Ordinary annual services (Appropriation Bill No. 1) 167,291 161,166 6,125
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the Budget year   22 –22
Total for Program 1.4 167,291 161,188 6,103
Program 1.5: Indigenous law and justice      
Administered expenses      
Ordinary annual services (Appropriation Bill No. 1) 123,650 126,096 –2,446
Total for Program 1.5 123,650 126,096 –2,446
Program 1.6: National Security and Criminal Justice      
Administered expenses      
Ordinary annual services (Appropriation Bill No. 1) 177,810 145,392 32,418
Other services (Appropriation Bill No. 2) 6,899 6,781 118
Special appropriations 911,056 829,137 81,919
Special accounts 115,789 85,633 30,156
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the Budget year 14,391 10,136 4,255
Total for Program 1.6 1,225,945 1,077,079 148,866
Outcomes 1 totals by appropriation type      
Administered expenses      
Ordinary annual services (Appropriation Bill No. 1) 565,542 517,786 47,756
Other services (Appropriation Bill No. 2) 6,899 6,781 118
Special appropriations 911,506 829,137 82,369
Special accounts 115,789 85,633 30,156
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the Budget year 14,391 10,123 4,218
Departmental expenses      
Ordinary annual services (Appropriation Bill No. 1) 216,334 215,702 632
Revenues from independent sources (Section 31) 26,770 29,005 –2,235
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the Budget year 17,546 18,112 –566
Total expenses for Outcome 1 1,874,777 1,712,329 162,448
Average staffing level (number) 1,420 1,468  

 

Table 3: Resource summary, Outcome 2 – Good governance in the Australian Territories through the maintenance and improvement of the overarching legislative framework for self-governing territories, and laws and services for non-self-governing territories

 

 
Actual available
appropriations
2010–11
$’000
(a)
Actual
expenses
2010–11
$’000
(b)
Variation
$’000
(a)-(b)
Program 2.1: Attorney-General’s Department operating expenses – territories      
Departmental expenses      
Ordinary annual services (Appropriation Bill No. 1) 3,119 2,875 244
Revenues from independent sources (Section 31)   92 –92
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the Budget year 33 243 –210
Total for Program 2.1 3,152 3,210 –58
Program 2.2: Services to territories      
Administered expenses      
Ordinary annual services (Appropriation Bill No. 1) 10,424 28,332 –17,909
Special accounts 333 333
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the Budget year 7,164 7,254 –90
Total for Program 2.2 17,921 35,585 –17,664
Total expenses for Outcome 2 21,073 38,796 –17,723
Average staffing level (number) 14 14  

Note: Responsibility for Outcome 2 transferred to the Department of Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government from 1 October 2010.

 


Our people

Risk management and business continuity

Ensuring the continuity of service delivery

Strong risk management and business continuity arrangements are crucial to the effective operation of any business. For the Attorney-General’s Department, they ensure the continuity of service delivery to the Australian Government, stakeholders and the community.

This year, the Department redeveloped its risk management framework, which was endorsed by the Secretary in January. ‘Good risk management has huge potential to benefit organisations, yet many do it badly,’ explains Andrew Donaldson, an Assistant Director in the Strategic Planning and Governance section. ‘Through the framework we have developed a set of simple and easy to use tools that have the rigour to really benefit managers throughout the Department.’

While effective risk management strategies can help to avoid the likelihood of business disruptions, robust business continuity arrangements minimise the impact of disruptions when they do occur.

‘A disruptive event can happen at any time, so it’s important to be as resilient as possible to ensure our service delivery continues,’ says Carolyne Cook, Business Continuity Coordinator within the Strategic Planning and Governance section.

‘To strengthen internal relationships, we developed the Business Continuity Register, a tool that tracks the progress of divisional business continuity activities. Over the last 12 months, take-up of the business continuity process has vastly increased.’

During this time Carolyne and Andrew have been encouraged by the contributions of divisions throughout the Department.

‘Staff now have greater awareness of the risk of disruptive events and have enhanced their capability to provide critical services under those circumstances,’ Carolyne says.

Adds Andrew, ‘our divisions are regularly discussing risks at senior levels and are using risk management methodology to assess opportunities to streamline management processes. This represents a really positive outcome.’


Services to ministers and Parliament

Ministerial correspondence

During the reporting period, the Department processed 20,703 items of correspondence addressed to the Attorney-General or the Minister for Home Affairs and Justice – an average of about 79 items a day. This reflects a decrease of approximately 37 per cent from the previous financial year. The Department implemented a new Parliamentary Workflow Management System and internal processes to help process ministerial correspondence more efficiently and effectively.

The implementation of ExecCorro has not only improved the quality of output documents, but has enabled the Department to reduce processing times for responses and significantly reduce the number of overdue responses.

Common topics and issues arising in ministerial correspondence included same sex marriage, Indigenous deaths in custody, Sharia law, plain packaging of tobacco products, live animal exports, Wikileaks, incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, copyright, classification, the Family Court and family law.

Parliamentary questions on notice

The statistics in Table 4 are provided for Outcomes 1 and 2. They do not include briefs or questions on notice assigned to, and responses prepared by, corporate areas and portfolio agencies.

Table 4: Services to ministers and Parliament, 2010–11

Outcome Submissions to ministers Cabinet submissions lodged Responses provided to ministerial correspondence
Responses
to questions on notice
Briefs* Speeches
Outcome 1 – A just and secure society through the maintenance and improvement of Australia’ law and justice framework and its national security and emergency management system. 1,849 15^ 5,180 36 790 124
Outcome 2 – Good governance in the Australian Territories through the maintenance and improvement of the overarching legislative framework for
self-governing territories, and laws and services for
non-self-governing territories
(up to 30 September)**
12 0 4 0 2 0
Attorney-General’s Department total 1,861 15 5,184 36 792 124

* Approximate number of meeting briefs, possible Parliamentary question and ministers’ office briefs (does not include updated briefs or briefs provided by portfolio agencies).

** On 1 October 2010, responsibility for governance of the territories transferred to the Department of Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government.

^ The Attorney-General’s Portfolio Budget Submission covers both Outcomes but is counted once under Outcome 1.

 

Small airline usage

Australian Government departments aim to use smaller airlines on the Canberra-Sydney route for 25 per cent of trips. In 2010–11, the Attorney-General’s Department reached an average of 5.16 per cent. Factors influencing the choice of airline included the lowest practical fare policy, which may result in a larger airline providing the cheapest fare option (including available flight options at suitable times). Departmental employees flew with Qantas more often than Virgin during 2010–11 (Figure 4). The Department will continue to develop initiatives to encourage the use of smaller airlines between Canberra and Sydney.

Figure 4: Small airline usage between Canberra and Sydney, 2010–11

Figure 4: Small airline usage between Canberra and Sydney, 2010–11

 

Freedom of information requests

During 2010–11, the Department received 260 requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (in addition to the 16 already on hand at 1 July 2010). Of those 260 requests, seven were withdrawn, 31 were transferred to other agencies, 206 were processed and 32 remained on hand at 30 June 2011.

Table 5: Freedom of information: number of requests 2010–11

  2010–11 2009–10
Number of requests carried over from previous financial year 16 2
Number of requests received 260 67
Number of requests withdrawn 7 4
Number of requests transferred to another agency 31 3
Number of requests finalised 206 46
Number of requests outstanding at year end 32 16

 


Our people

ComLaw 2.0 goes live in 2011

Free access to the law

ComLaw is the most complete and up-to-date collection of Commonwealth legislation available, and the only database of Commonwealth law that is authoritative for legal purposes. Content is sourced from more than 70 separate government agencies, making the system one of the largest of its kind in the world.

A small team of IT professionals from the Office of Legislative Drafting and Publishing began work on ComLaw 2.0 in 2007 after ever-increasing size and website usage raised issues with the technologies used to build the early system. Since the release of version 2.0, ComLaw has attracted nearly 70,000 visits to the public site each week.

Client Business Analyst, Wendy Purba, says she has found it important to have a good working knowledge of the work area, and legislative processes and structures, to help develop business requirements. ‘Working on ComLaw 2.0 has helped me appreciate how much is involved behind the scenes to progress such a massive project,’ she says.

Andrew McLeod, Director ComLaw and Publishing, says ComLaw plays an important role in ensuring free access to the law for all Australians, including professional, government and private users.

‘We are constantly receiving feedback and suggestions for the system from diverse users who can be quite passionate,’ he says.

‘Feedback we’ve received confirms we have improved the system significantly with the 2.0 release. The challenge will be to continue that improvement in the future.’