ACCC & AER annual report 2016-17

Supporting our people

Developing the skills and abilities of our workforce

We are committed to investing in the development of our people, running an extensive program of learning and development, both formal and on the job. This includes discipline-specific knowledge, such as the continuous learning and education program for legal professionals, and more general skills through leadership programs, personal and professional development programs, rotational programs and more. We also provide studies assistance for employees to support higher learning.

Leadership activities

The ACCC and AER continued to support the development of leaders across the organisation through in-house leadership programs aimed at the APS and executive levels. These programs are continually reviewed to ensure that the content presented reflects the evolving needs and culture of the ACCC and AER. Employees were also presented with opportunities to attend leadership programs conducted by external providers such as the Australian Public Service Commission and the Australia and New Zealand School of Government.

Negotiation and stakeholder engagement

Following the inaugural self-assessment against the Australian Government’s Regulator Performance Framework, the ACCC and AER identified a need for further training in the area of negotiation and stakeholder engagement. A tender process was undertaken to explore what training was available in this area and ensure that ACCC employees were receiving high-quality, cost-effective training to equip them with practical skills and strategies for enhanced engagement with external stakeholders.

E-learning catalogue

The Learning and Development Unit continued to enhance the e-learning offerings available to employees. All internal seminars are now recorded and turned into e-learning programs to allow greater opportunity for employees to access information on demand. We continue to develop induction programs for new employees, and new products that support record keeping and governance have been added to the induction experience.

Employment law

To assist managers in understanding their employment law obligations, the ACCC partnered with the Australian Government Solicitor to deliver sessions to managers covering managing complex health issues, managing unsatisfactory performance and obligations under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013.

Unconscious bias

Unconscious bias training was an initiative identified in our ‘Building inclusion: advancing gender balanced leadership’ strategy. In 2017, workshops have been delivered to Executive Level 2 (EL2) and SES staff across the agency.

This training supports the building of a diverse and agile workforce and inclusive culture necessary to leverage the knowledge, skills and attributes of our people. The workshops have raised awareness of where bias comes from, how it influences us, and how it impacts the decisions we make and the culture we create.

Indigenous cultural awareness training

Indigenous cultural awareness training was a commitment of our Reconciliation Action Plan. Throughout 2016–17 training sessions have been delivered to APS, EL and SES staff across the agency. The sessions were designed to raise awareness and provide for a greater understanding of the challenges Indigenous Australians have faced in the past and present, including the consumer issues dealt with by the ACCC.

Learning and development summary

Training and development costs in 2016–17 were $1 352 561.

Approximately 40 per cent of the budget was held centrally to support organisation-wide development programs. The remaining 60 per cent was devolved for divisions to address specific needs relating to technical skills.

A key element of our learning program is our Studies Assistance Scheme. The scheme provides assistance for employees undertaking postgraduate studies. The key areas of study are economics, law and business. Study assistance for employees can include leave and full or partial reimbursement of tuition fees for approved courses.

During the year 65 employees were supported to study. We reimbursed $199 752 in fees for employees to attend lectures and tutorials.

Table 4.4: Attendance at courses, seminars and learning activities— 2014–15, 2015–16 and 2016–17

Type

Number of attendees

 

2014–15

2015–16

2016–17

Operating skills and knowledge

918

2055

2393

Legal skills and knowledge

675

607

716

Applying the Act

60

139

299

Economics and regulatory

243

110

199

Leadership, supervision and management

589

335

487