ACCC & AER annual report 2016-17

Enhanced business systems

In August 2016, we implemented a workflow and case management solution for our product safety and recalls areas to complete their core triage, assessment, and recalls business processes from the receipt of a matter through to resolution. This coincided with the launch of a new and improved Product Safety Australia website. The new site combines the old and websites into a single entry point to national, state and territory product safety and recalls information. Other features of the website include:

  • it is organised by product category so users can quickly find the safety information, recalls, bans and standards for the products they are interested in
  • it explains to users what they should do if they have a recalled product. Consumers can contact the regulator responsible for the recall directly from the new site
  • users can report an unsafe product to the ACCC by completing a simple web form
  • users can sign up for email alerts on the latest recalled products, including the ability to choose the products they want alerts for (such as a specific make of car)
  • suppliers can provide required reports to the ACCC and other regulators directly from the site.

Throughout the year the work on our workflow and case management solution has focused on our merger and authorisation business area. Initially this will provide the capability to assess and manage applications for authorisation and notifications, and administer the ACCC’s functions in assessing certification trade marks and export agreements. Also in progress is work to update the ACCC’s and AER’s public registers available on the ACCC web site.

Workplace flexibility

In 2016–17 we prepared for the September 2017 move of our Melbourne office. As well as meeting our whole-of-government requirements, the new premises will be a more collaborative and flexible work space tailored specifically for the ACCC and AER. It will also be flexible and adaptable over the lease period and will be supported by mobile technology such as laptop devices, better collaboration tools and document management capability, to support a more mobile workforce both in the office and away from the office. The work done in designing our new Melbourne office will form a template as our other office leases come up for renewal.

Knowledge management

The ACCC continues to implement its knowledge management strategy as an important step towards more effectively using and growing the expertise of the organisation. In 2016–17 a number of communities of practice were established. These communities are centred on high-interest knowledge topics and provide a ready means for staff to share and grow their expertise. For the coming year, with the organisation taking on new areas of responsibility, the primary focus of knowledge management will be on staff development initiatives. These initiatives will improve the induction of new staff, and capture existing knowledge as staff move to different roles within the organisation.

An important foundation of knowledge management is the documents and records that store much of our knowledge. In 2016–17 the ACCC commenced a comprehensive analysis of its document and records management system. We undertook a market assessment to arrive at a shortlist of prospective solutions and are now working with that shortlist to arrive at our preferred solution. It is anticipated this will be in place towards the end of 2017–18.