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CHAPTER 4 - Cultural and management reform

Cultural reform

Over the past year, Defence continued to implement cultural reform through Pathway to Change: Evolving Defence Culture-both a statement of cultural intent and the strategy for addressing the recommendations from a range of culture reviews into aspects of Defence and ADF culture that were conducted in the preceding year.

Since Pathway to Change was launched in March 2012, substantial progress has been made: 112 of the 175 key actions and recommendations from the six culture reviews had been implemented by 30 June 2013. Key achievements included:

  • completion of final preparations for the establishment of the Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Office (SeMPRO)
  • developing policies and practices as part of an evidence-based ADF alcohol management strategy
  • a significantly improved focus on improving diversity within Defence.

We are fully committed to the cultural reform program, which seeks to substantially complete implementation of the culture reviews within a two-year time frame, followed by a further three years of concentrated effort to embed the changes needed to achieve the desired cultural effect.

Review of the allegations of sexual and other abuse in Defence

On 26 November 2012, the Minister for Defence announced the Government's response to the Review of allegations of sexual and other abuse in Defence (DLA Piper Review). The response included an apology, delivered in the Parliament by the Minister for Defence, to ADF and Defence employees who had suffered sexual or other forms of abuse in the course of their employment; counselling services for complainants; a capped reparation scheme; and the establishment of an independent Defence Abuse Response Taskforce. The Chief of the Defence Force also issued an apology to those who had suffered abuse while serving in the ADF and reiterated his personal undertaking to defend the right of all members of the ADF to serve in an environment free from abusive behaviour of any kind.

Women in the ADF

Ms Elizabeth Broderick Sex Discrimination Commissioner and Commissioner Responsible for Age Discrimination speaking on Gender issues for Defence

The Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Ms Elizabeth Broderick, conducted two substantial reviews into the treatment of women in the ADF in 2011 and 2012. The first of these, the Review into the treatment of women in the Australian Defence Force, Phase One report, which focused on the treatment of women at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA), was tabled in Parliament in November 2011. The scope of the second review was significantly broader, and addressed the treatment of women across the wider ADF. The Review into the treatment of women in the Australian Defence Force, Phase Two report was tabled in Parliament in August 2012. Both reviews contained a series of recommendations designed to help the ADF to build a more inclusive culture where women can reach their full potential within the training context and beyond.

The Phase One report contained 31 initial recommendations, which targeted a range of actions designed to reaffirm and enhance ADFA's status as a premier officer training institution. They specifically targeted underlying cultural issues, with a clear focus on enhancing student welfare and supervision, improving the diversity of the ADFA population, enhancing the education and management of complaints about unacceptable behaviour and reducing the incidence of such complaints. Other areas of focus include staff leadership at ADFA, managing the intake of alcohol by students and implementing data-based means of tracking key indicators of organisational culture.

ADFA responded quickly and decisively to the recommendations of the Phase One report, by establishing a dedicated Reviews Implementation Team to facilitate widespread cultural reform across the academy. The team's progress in implementing the recommendations was affirmed through the audit of the Phase One report, conducted from September 2012 to March 2013 by the Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner. The audit noted the good progress that has been made at ADFA, while also highlighting areas that require continued reform effort. In 2013, the dedicated team has continued to actively progress review and audit recommendations, especially in the development of best-practice education packages addressing healthy relationships and sexual ethics. Outcomes from the team's work at ADFA will be disseminated among the wider ADF learning and education community throughout the remainder of 2013 and 2014.

Work on the recommendations of the Phase Two report formally began in October 2012, after all 21 recommendations from the Broderick review were accepted by Defence's senior leadership committees. A small project team was established within Defence People Group to coordinate and report on Phase Two report activities as part of the broader Pathway to Change program. The ADF has dedicated significant resources to taking forward the Phase Two report recommendations throughout 2013, with substantial progress made across the three Services.

Key areas of focus include tangible leadership commitment to gender inclusion, improved career flexibility, enhanced pathways to promotion and advancement, greater access to flexible employment, and the development of ADF-wide mentoring and support networks. The Services have worked to attract and retain higher numbers of women into non-traditional employment areas, where women's representation is disproportionately low.

The recruitment of women has been addressed by all three Services, with a range of innovative recruiting strategies now in place to attract higher numbers of women to ADF careers. The Services now offer a substantially reduced initial employment commitment, which has proven extremely successful as a 'try before you buy' option for young women. The Army and the Air Force have successfully trialled experiential residential school holiday programs for young women in the senior years of high school, which have resulted in higher numbers of young women recruits.

Other innovative strategies such as 'recruit to area' have encouraged the entry of women who seek to remain in their local community while still enjoying an ADF career. Recent Defence Force Recruiting marketing initiatives have sought to ensure improved visual representation of women in all advertising materials for the three Services, including special campaigns that are dedicated specifically to women's recruitment. The Army's 'Recruit When Ready' initiative gives women a greater choice about time frames for joining the Army. The Air Force's Women in Non-Traditional Employment Roles (WINTER) project seeks to attract women into technical or aircrew roles through specialised entry pathways.

These programs have shown some early success, with all three Services reporting the increased recruitment of women throughout 2013. The Services have all set targets for women's representation to ensure sustained efforts to improve the recruitment and retention of women in the Permanent Force over the next decade. Navy and Air Force have set a target of 25 per cent by 2023, which means an increase from 18.4 per cent in the Navy and 17.5 per cent in the Air Force. The Army aims to increase the representation of women from 11 per cent to 12 per cent by mid-2014, and to 15 per cent by 2025.

In other measures, many of the barriers that have previously impeded women's retention and progression in the ADF have been removed or mitigated. For example, the provision of greater support to personnel when they are posted to new locations has addressed improved retention of women in the ADF. The ADF has ensured an improved ability for all members to directly negotiate their careers with their personnel management agencies. Pleasingly, a number of women who have previously left the ADF have rejoined, primarily due to the improvements made to personnel management constructs and conditions of Service. Improved access to, and support for, flexible working arrangements and associated policy initiatives are likely to result in the improved retention of all personnel-men and women-into the future.

Each Service has invested considerable effort into communicating the organisational and operational benefits associated with the improved representation of women in the ADF. The Chief of the Defence Force and Service Chiefs have personally and actively promoted gender inclusion across the ADF and within their respective Services. This has been achieved through widespread internal and external communication forums, including social media, speeches, internal communiqués and leadership directives to ADF personnel. Defence leadership's strong and passionate commitment to gender inclusion in the ADF has been a defining feature of the past 12 months of cultural reform. Their efforts to progress gender inclusion have resulted in substantial progress against all 21 recommendations of the Broderick review as at 30 June 2013.

Recommendation three of the Phase Two report was the publication of an annual 'Women in the ADF' report. The full report has been included as an online supplement to this annual report. This report provides a strong baseline for future reporting regarding women's participation and experience in the ADF. This baseline will enable Defence to accurately track trends regarding women's employment and experience, identify areas of concern and highlight successful initiatives across the three Services. This process will ensure that the current momentum towards cultural reform is maintained into the future.

In developing the report, Defence used the YourSay survey to gain a better understanding of women's attitudes and perceptions about their ADF experience. Although men and women scored equally in agreeing that their job gave them a 'feeling of personal accomplishment', women scored more highly than men in agreeing that they received recognition for their performance and in being provided access to learning and development opportunities.

Salaries in the ADF are based on rank, skill and seniority. Accordingly, men and women in the same trade, and of the same rank and seniority, are paid the same amount. The report shows that women are still under-represented in senior ADF ranks; however Defence has put measures in place that are likely to substantially increase women's representation in future years.

Overall, a lower proportion of women than men left Defence during 2012-13 and a higher proportion of women than men chose to stay with the ADF after taking paid maternity or parental leave. The report shows that access to flexible work arrangements is an important issue for women, with family reasons scoring in two of the top three reasons as to why women left the ADF. According to the ADF exit survey, the primary reason for women's departure from the ADF was to improve control over their life, while for men, the main reason was to make a career change while they were still young enough. Overall many of the top ten reasons for exiting are the same for men and women.

This attitudinal data will be used to inform the continued development of human resource interventions to improve the retention of all ADF personnel.

Planned activities for 2013-14 and beyond include further development of work begun in 2012-13, both within ADFA and across the wider ADF. World-class training in sexual ethics and how to achieve healthy relationships will be delivered across the ADF, and will be included in all initial training and induction programs and leadership training courses. The ADF will soon deliver a performance framework for gender inclusion, which contextualises required behaviours to support gender inclusion for leaders at all levels of the organisation. An ADF-wide networking program will be delivered in all locations where ADF and APS women are working. This program will create greater opportunities for forming mentoring and support relationships.

All personnel will have improved access to flexible employment, which will be supported by ADF targets to increase personnel's ability to uptake flexible work practices. All promotion boards for ADF positions will have at least one woman member, as well as a member who is 'external to service', to ensure a range of perspectives inform decision-making processes. ADF women will continue to be given fair and equitable access to the training and career opportunities that will enable them to compete for promotion in meritorious competition with their peers. These are just some of the initiatives in place or currently under development within the ADF.

The ADF has achieved substantial progress against the review's recommendations within a very short period of time. The recommendations have been situated within the wider cultural reform programs within each Service, with clear links to broader Pathway to Change outcomes. Phase Two audit activity is continuing throughout the latter half of 2013, with an audit report due to be tabled in March 2014.

The Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner undertook a separate audit of training establishments, beginning in March 2013, to track the progress of ADFA reforms across ADF initial training programs.

The ADF views the audit outcomes as an opportunity to further progress initiatives that will enhance the ADF's reputation as a progressive and inclusive employer of choice for all Australians.

The first annual 'Women in the ADF' report is available here.

Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Office

Preparations to establish the Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Office (SeMPRO) began in October 2012 as a result of the recommendations in the Broderick review. From November 2012 to June 2013, the underpinning policy, processes, procedures and a case management system were developed to facilitate the initial operating capability of the office.

The office is responsible for providing support, advice and guidance to ADF members who have been affected by sexual misconduct. Defence APS employees and Defence contractors are also permitted to access these services. The office also provides advice and guidance to commanders and managers of persons affected by sexual misconduct to assist them in appropriately managing the reported incident.

The office offers a new confidential disclosure option to encourage Defence personnel who do not wish to report incidents of sexual misconduct to seek the care and support they need to recover and return to their full work potential. This new option aims to remove the fear of victimisation from peers and supervisors and the fear of potential career impacts so that Defence's people do not suffer in silence. The office's services are available to men and women 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The office commenced a visit program to key establishments and is developing guidelines for introducing a local SeMPRO Support Officer Network in Defence. Sexual ethics and bystander programs are being developed as an important part of Defence's prevention and education strategy and the office is now the single point of contact for the collection of data on sexual misconduct to analyse prevalence and trends in Defence.

SeMPRO is a key deliverable under Pathway to Change.

Removal of gender restrictions on ADF combat role employment categories

On 27 September 2011, the Minister for Defence announced that the Government had formally agreed to the removal of gender restrictions from ADF combat roles. Subsequently, the Department developed a phased five-year implementation plan, which was endorsed by the Government in June 2012. Table 4.1 shows progress in implementing the plan.

Table 4.1 - Removal of gender restrictions: progress in implementation

Table 4.1 - Removal of gender restrictions: progress in implementation
Key milestone Status Further information
Pathway to Change Partially met Pathway to Change has made some progress.
Physical Employment Standards Review Substantially met Physical Employment Standards have been completed for all combat trades with the exception of Special Forces.
In-service transfers in all Services Substantially met All combat roles have been opened to current serving female members with the exception of Special Forces, which will be available once the Physical Employment Standards are established in 2014.
Relevant documentation, programs and guidance reviewed or developed Substantially met Work is close to completion following a final review, which will incorporate all necessary new information into existing documentation. Completion of this milestone is anticipated by September 2013.
Media strategy developed met The media strategy is designed to communicate changes both internally and to the public, using commanders and policy officers to engage with the media.
Release of Chief of Navy update signal met Completed.
Culture change program Substantially met Continuing. This milestone is due for completion by December 2015.
In-service female entry open to Clearance Diver category by Transfer Of Category met Completed.
Develop schedule of facility changes Met Schedule has been developed and all facility upgrades are complete.
Release of Chief of Army Directive Met Released on 23 July 2012.
Implementing cultural change programs Substantially met The milestone is due for completion by December 2015.
Amend policy/procedures and training documents Substantially met Continuing, with final implementation of changes in relation to Physical Employment Standards due by July 2015.
Schedule of equipment changes Met Schedule developed and followed.
In-service transfers Substantially met All Army combat roles opened to current serving female members with the exception of Special Forces, which will be available once the Physical Employment Standards are established in 2014.
Implementation of Physical trade transfers Employment Standards Substantially met Continuing. All mechanisms are in place to allow successful trade transfer within the Army. The Physical Employment Standards will be fully implemented into the Army in 2014.
Air Force
Culture change program Substantially met Continuing activity. The completion of this milestone is due by December 2015.
Chief of Air Force Directive released Met Completed.
In-service transition path begins Met In accordance with the implementation plan, all Air Force combat roles are open to currently serving women should they wish to apply.

Management reform

(Left to right) Capitan Michele Miller, Brigadier Simone Wilkie and Air Commodore Kathryn Dunn sharing their military experiences at the Gender in Defence and Security Leadership conference in Canberra.

The Strategic Reform Program was introduced in 2009 to improve, comprehensively and fundamentally, the management of Defence by making the organisation more efficient and effective, while delivering savings of around $20b over the decade to reinvest in Defence capability. The reform program has been expanded to include the areas of individual and institutional accountability, budget processes, procurement and capability, and Defence conduct and culture to reflect the broader context in which reform now operates. It is important to note the efforts of Defence personnel to incorporate reform and cost-efficient thinking into their working habits and that this will be a continuing theme in any future Defence operating environment.

On 10 October 2012, the minister agreed that Defence would evolve the Strategic Reform Program to account for strategic and fiscal developments since 2009. This will enable Defence to reflect the broader context in which it now operates, respond to increasing cost pressures, and to implement the lessons learned from managing the reform program to date. Most importantly, it will help develop a comprehensive and coordinated reform agenda to integrate the significant and wideranging reforms initiated since 2009 into an evolved program of reform in Defence.

The focus will be on delivering reforms that support Defence's objective of maximising outcomes within the allocated budget. A benefits framework will be developed to extend reform monitoring from just fiscal outcomes to improvement in capabilities, productivity and risk management.

The overall intent of the evolution is to create the flexibility in managing the implementation of strategic reform that will position Defence to respond better to current and future challenges. Defence will continue to expand the culture of innovation and greater cost consciousness to deliver efficiencies. Reform will be embedded into corporate processes to ensure issues are considered holistically in setting priorities and allocating resources.

Following the release of the Review of the Defence Accountability Framework by Associate Professor Rufus Black (the Black Review), Defence made significant progress in strengthening accountability, planning and risk management. The introduction of a new Defence Corporate Plan 2012-17 and the supporting Defence Annual Plan, with a quarterly enterprise performance and risk report, provided more rigorous enterprise planning and performance management arrangements. The Defence Committee actively monitored performance throughout the year. The committee identified seven enterprise risks: the joint force in being, Defence investment, Defence workforce, cost management, Defence reform, non-compliance with legislative requirements and the Australian Government Security Vetting Agency. The improvements will be progressively included in the corporate and annual plans.

A Reformed Accountability Model Pilot resulted in the development of an accountability training course focusing on behaviour and skills, which embedded SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound) metrics into the curriculum of Defence's senior leadership courses; and individual performance agreements linked to corporate outcomes.

Key achievements

Leading Aircraftwoman (LACW) Melanie Schenk prepares the fire hose to extinguish a simulated fire emergency. LACW Schenk is the only female Firefighter within No. 381 Expeditionary Combat Support Squadron.

2012-13 saw the continuation of key reform activities in Defence in other areas.

The Defence Logistics Transformation Program, which aims to significantly improve the Defence logistics network, remained on track to deliver its intent. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works approved $752m in new logistics facilities. Four of the eight sites at West Wattle Grove, Amberley, Townsville and Darwin have commenced construction. In May 2013, a significant milestone was achieved with the signing of the Land Material Maintenance contract with Transfield Services (Australia). The contract is a landmark agreement for logistics reform and sees consolidation of the delivery of equipment maintenance services from three separate contacts into one.

This milestone was the result of three year's work from inception to contract signature. It demonstrated the program's commitment to delivering a flexible and responsive logistics system to support the ADF through enhancement of existing systems, processes and technology to align with contemporary commercial practices.

The Smart Sustainment Stream continued to achieve noteworthy sustainable reforms, through the combined efforts of capability managers, DMO and industry, to contribute to a lower cost baseline for sustained delivery of agreed capability without compromise to safety. The stream remains focused on increasing efficiency and effectiveness in the maintenance of military equipment and inventory and supply chain management, through more cost-effective sustainment arrangements and changes to capability demand. These specific reforms are being complemented by systemic reforms, such as the use of weapons simulation technology in the Army to support training needs, which is reducing the cost and availability constraints of using live ammunition. The stream is exploring the utility of business decision simulation to better model and understand the cost drivers of capability demand.

Project Suakin, a workforce reform activity originating from the Reserve Reform Stream, will deliver a flexible employment offer that allows for greater inclusion to offer a range of full-time, part-time, and casual service options that will better enable ADF members to continue to serve as their circumstances change throughout their working life. Implementation of Suakin will leave Defence less vulnerable to future workforce uncertainty and significantly change the manner in which Defence manages its people in the future. Progress has been made towards establishing the legal, policy and ICT architecture required to develop a total force employment model.

Human Resource Shared Services and Finance Shared Services undertook significant structural reform through the consolidation (where this was in scope) of Defence-wide human resource and finance services within the Defence People Group and the Chief Finance Officer Group respectively. New service delivery models were implemented to provide centralised advice and support, together with an improved intranet site, in place of previously embedded personnel. Finance services within Defence continue to be provided either corporately, as a pooled service, or through finance staff who are embedded within a particular group or Service.