Delivering Internal Services
Corporate Services and Infrastructure Group plays a key role supporting Defence capability and Defence people where they work, train and live. With representatives on almost every Defence site around the country, the Group provides necessary products and services to more than 70,000 personnel every day.
The Group is systematically reforming its structure and business processes to economise on resources, while maintaining effective service to the Group's customers.
A strategic planning capability was established in 2002-03 to deliver strategic planning guidance for the whole Group. This has required a high level of involvement with the higher Defence committee process, ensuring that strategic planning for Group functions occurs against broader Defence capability objectives. The Defence Infrastructure Sub-committee, the Defence Information Environment Committee and the Corporate Services and Infrastructure Group/Service Groups Business Partnering Forum provide key linkages to other Defence Groups, as well as strategic guidance on robust governance processes and assurance mechanisms.
A clear linkage has now been developed between Defence's strategic planning, capital facilities investment and property acquisition and disposal activity.
A key area of process reform in 2002-03 was the capital facilities 'two pass' system planning process. The new process allows more accurate estimates between initial capital facilities project cost estimates, the revised cost estimates, which form the basis of Joint Standing Committee on Public Works approval, and the actual project cost.
Innovations have also been realised through the introduction of business practices to support the funding of new facilities, such as private financing initiatives and the acceleration of the realisation of revenue through the property disposal program.
New governance arrangements were implemented during 2002-03, including the roll-out of a risk management regime across the Infrastructure Division. All activities, including investment, disposal and leasing, are required to have both risk and environmental assessments and management plans.
Project Next Steps
Following the 2001 review of the Corporate Services and Infrastructure Group Business Model, Project Next Steps was created to investigate ways of improving the Group's business processes and organisational arrangements to provide a fully integrated, service delivery organisation focused on the Group's customers.
Through Project Next Steps, the Group has worked towards service integration, with the establishment of twelve regional management positions and single-base management structures. These structures lay the foundations for an integrated 'one-stop shop' service culture at bases, where a significant proportion of the Group's services are delivered.
Products and services
Product lines are grouped into product categories to promote consistent delivery across all regions. This has enhanced best practice and increased efficiency in providing customer services. Products typically delivered at the national level are being delivered at the regional level to ensure alignment with this model. For example, the Defence Publishing Service was regionalised on 1 July 2003.
The Information Systems Division has been restructured, to take effect from 1 July 2003, to emphasise reliability, innovation and to improve customer service. As part of this new restructure developed during 2002-03, the Information Services Branch will deliver all direct information technology services and products, focusing on sustained and reliable service levels. The Development Branch will plan and deliver the future capability, which is operated and managed within the Information Services Branch. The Strategy Branch now incorporates a dedicated customer office, as well as contracting, planning, policy and management cells, which are necessary to ensure sound corporate governance.
The new structure improves integration within the Group, offers a single point of engagement for customers, and ensures a clear delineation between production and development. A strong emphasis on sound business principles ensures cost reductions can be harvested for redeployment to areas of emerging need.
The Group reviewed its activities conducted in support of the Defence outcome and, as a result, produced the Corporate Services and Infrastructure Group Product Compendium. Technical guidance on the delivery of these products and services is provided through business rules. The purpose of these business rules is to ensure transparent and accountable business processes and consistency of delivery. Business rules play a large part in clarifying when delivery staff need to closely follow national guidelines and the direction of national office managers, and when they can exercise discretion and flexibility in delivering products and services.
A review of the Defence Legal Service assessed in-house services provided by the Defence Legal Service. The review produced a broad range of recommendations in 2002-03 that will be implemented in 2003-04. These include the establishment of the Defence Legal Service as a single branch, with a specialist legal cell, General Counsel, to clarify accountabilities and introduce a more comprehensive management framework.
A Defence travel procedures manual was developed in March 2003, followed by subsequent business rules. The manual defines and standardises travel business processes for the whole of Defence, in order to maximise potential benefits and minimise overall costs in the management of Defence's travel contracts.
A further review was completed in June 2003, recommending a number of cost savings initiatives for Defence travel, including the introduction of travel cards and the streamlining of business practices to avoid duplicating some procedures.
The Group is continually reviewing its management of training areas, to ensure they will be able to meet future training requirements and that their natural and cultural environmental value is also conserved.
The Group continued the implementation of the Defence Records Management System project over 2002-03. The system has been delivered to targeted areas for the creation, storage, retrieval, collaboration, communication and management of corporate information. The Defence Records Management System tracks information independently of its media and manages information about physical and electronic records in all compatible formats.
A large proportion of the products and services that Corporate Services and Infrastructure Group provides were delivered by industry, with more than $1.9b under contract in 2002-03. The large contracts and key providers are shown in Table 4.5, with the contracts' approximate value during 2002-03.