Management of human resources

National Archives of Australia and National Archives of Australia Advisory Council Annual Report 2015-16

During 2015–16 human resource management played a key role in enabling the Archives to deliver on its corporate plan and wider business objectives. The 2015 Australian Public Service Employee Census results continue to confirm that the Archives’ workforce is highly engaged and compares well with the general benchmarks in both the wider APS and entities of similar size.

During the reporting period, the Archives released the Strategic Workforce Plan 2016–2020 and the Expertise Development Framework. Both documents are essential in supporting staff to move to a more digital, innovative and user-centric way of doing business.

Negotiations continued regarding a new Enterprise Agreement. A vote, with 80 per cent staff participation, was held in February 2016 with a resulting ‘no’ vote of 70 per cent. Bargaining will continue into the next year within the scope of the Australian Government’s Workplace Bargaining Policy 2015 and Supporting Guidance (the APS Bargaining Framework).

Staffing levels contracted during 2015–16 in line with ongoing financial constraints across the APS, including the Archives. However the appropriate mix of employment type used by the Archives has enabled it to be agile, flexible and responsive regarding how resources are applied to deliver services. A disciplined approach to resource management has meant that to date, reductions in staffing have been met solely through natural attrition.

Instruments of employment

During 2015–16 the National Archives of Australia Enterprise Agreement 2011–14 continued to be the main employment instrument. At 30 June 2016, a total of 424 employees were covered by the agreement and, of these, four Executive Level employees had individual flexibility arrangements, covering remuneration and leave, in place under section 17 of the agreement. Four permanent Senior Executive Service (SES) employees were covered by determinations under subsection 24(1) of the Public Service Act.

Senior Executive Service remuneration

The Archives determines SES remuneration with regard to the annual APS Remuneration Survey. Base salaries are negotiated between the Director-General and individual SES employees under subsection 24(1) determinations. Each SES employee develops an individual work plan with the Director-General and is assessed against a five-scale rating system. No bonuses are payable to SES employees.

A range of non-salary benefits is available to SES employees, subject to the nature of work undertaken and approval arrangements. Benefits may include provision of laptop computers, tablets, mobile devices, airline lounge membership and support for professional development.

Performance pay

No Archives employee received performance pay during 2015–16.

Workforce planning, staff turnover and retention

At 30 June 2016 the Archives’ headcount was 431. This represents a decrease of four from 30 June 2015. The number of the Archives’ employees working full-time increased to 76 per cent over the reporting period. The Archives maintained its commitment to flexible work options, with 20 per cent of employees working part-time. The Archives continued to have a higher representation of female employees at 62 per cent of the total workforce. Ongoing staff comprise 81 per cent of the Archives’ workforce.

The 2015–16 ongoing employee separation rate for the Archives was 12.1 per cent, representing an increase from the 2014–15 rate of 8.4 per cent. This includes all separations, such as terminations, redundancies, resignations, retirements and movements to other Australian Government entities. The majority of separations in 2015–16 were a result of resignation, retirement or permanent transfer to another Australian Government entity. There were no redundancies in 2015–16.

The 2015–16 Portfolio Budget Statements provided an estimated average staffing level of 403 at the beginning of 2015–16. This was adjusted to 395 following the Mid-year Economic and Fiscal Outlook. Owing to the timing of recruitment processes, the actual average staffing level for the Archives in 2015–16 was 391.

Table 9: Classification and gender by salary range, 30 June 2016

Note: As at 30 June 2016 the Director-General was on leave. During his absence, a female SES employee acted in the position of Director-General.

Table 10: Staff distribution by office, 30 June 2016

Learning and development

During 2015–16 the Archives provided a range of activities to build individual and organisational capability. Specific training and development requirements were identified and facilitated through individual work plan discussions. Opportunities were provided by the respective section or by accessing the programs and courses offered at the organisational level.

At the APS level, these programs and courses focus on the desired skills and behaviours outlined in the Archives’ Capability Framework and on supporting the digital transformation agenda. At the Executive Level, the focus shifts to building and developing leadership and management capabilities. A total of 21 programs and courses were offered in 2015–16.

During the reporting period the Archives launched its Expertise Development Framework, which provides a foundation for identifying the expertise required within each of the core business functions. This framework will complement the current Archives Capability Framework.

Approximately 3 per cent of staff were supported during 2015–16 through the Staff Development Program. This ensures financial and/or study leave support for tertiary study relevant to the Archives or the broader APS.


The 2014–16 Reconciliation Action Plan aims to build and strengthen the Archives’ capacity to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and to raise awareness of the place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the nation’s history in a respectful and appropriate manner. During 2015–16 the Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group actively engaged in the promotion and implementation of the plan’s targets, including organising staff events, contributing to talks and gallery tours in NAIDOC Week and National Reconciliation Week, and developing a staff signature block that acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their culture.

The Archives participates in the Jawun Indigenous Community APS Secondment Program. Through this program, APS Executive Level employees participate in secondments to Indigenous organisations. During 2015–16 an Archives employee was seconded to the Kimberly Land Council where he developed a suite of business planning templates to assist Indigenous entities in developing a cultural-based economy.

Workplace Diversity Program

The Workplace Diversity Program promotes diversity in the Archives’ workforce, culture and service delivery. It also promotes the opportunities for external clients from diverse backgrounds to access the Archives’ collection.

Under the Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy each Australian Government entity has been allocated a target for Indigenous employee representation by 2018. The Archives’ target is 2.5 per cent. At 30 June 2016 Indigenous employee representation at the Archives was 0.89 per cent. To continue to promote representation the Archives will implement strategies to provide employment pathways for Indigenous people ˗ by participating in the Australian Public Service Commission’s Indigenous Graduate Pathways Programme and use of the special measures available under the Public Service Act ˗ support retention and promote cultural awareness within the organisation.

Over the past three years the number of Archives employees identifying as a person with a disability has slightly increased and the number of employees from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds has increased.

All Archives employment policies, procedures and practices comply with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

Table 11: Employees by diversity grouping, 2014–16

Diversity grouping 30 June 2014 30 June 2015 30 June 2016
Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander 4 4 4
Person with a disability 8 11 12
Culturally and linguistically diverse 71 73 84
Total 83 88 100

Changes to disability reporting in annual reports

Since 1994 Commonwealth non-corporate entities have reported on their performance as policy adviser, purchaser, employer, regulator and provider under the Commonwealth Disability Strategy. In 2007–08, reporting on the employer role was transferred to the Australian Public Service Commission’s State of the Service Report and the APS Statistical Bulletin. These reports are available at From 2010–11 entities have no longer been required to report on these functions.

The Commonwealth Disability Strategy has been overtaken by the National Disability Strategy 2010–2020 which sets out a 10 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 disability are faring. The first of these reports was made available in late 2014, and can be found at

Workplace Relations Committee

Consultation regarding decisions that affect employees takes place through the Workplace Relations Committee. During the reporting period the committee focused on the following issues:

  • work health and safety
  • workplace harassment and diversity
  • preservation and storage construction projects
  • consolidation of corporate back-office functions
  • status on work progress emanating from the Enterprise Agreement.

At 30 June 2016 the committee membership comprised four employee-elected representatives (two based in Canberra and two in state offices), two management-appointed representatives and a representative from the Community and Public Sector Union.

The committee met three times during 2015–16.

Work health and safety

During 2015–16 the Archives continued to update policies and procedures in accordance with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and applicable codes of practice including the Work Health and Safety Management Arrangements and the Rehabilitation Management System.

The Workplace Relations Committee continued to function as the National Health and Safety Committee as outlined in the Health and Safety Management Arrangements.

The Archives continued to promote a supportive work environment by providing staff access to the Employee Assistance Program. It also demonstrated its commitment to the mental health of employees through a number of initiatives, including training to increase awareness of, and ways to support, employees with mental health issues.

The Archives actively manages workers’ compensation claims, supporting injured employees back into the workplace. During 2015–16 one new workers’ compensation claim was accepted and eight were closed.

External rehabilitation case management and implementation of early intervention strategies such as return-to-work plans were provided to employees for compensable and non-compensable cases to assist injured employees returning to work.

Table 12: Work health and safety performance, 2013–14 to 2015–16

Item 2013–14 2014–15 2015–16
Investigations conducted that relate to businesses or undertakings by the Archives, including any notices received under part 10 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 0 0 0
Incidents reported to Comcare under part 3, section 35 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 2 1 1
Investigations carried out, or notices given, under part 10 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 0 0 0
Work-related incidents notifiable as per the Archives’ work health and safety incident reporting and hazard management policy 21 12 7
Number of staff who received the influenza vaccination 203 230 196
Number of accepted compensation claims 5 1 1