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People management

DVA supports managers and staff with a full range of people management services to support them in servicing the veteran community.

DVA's workforce capability is critical in ensuring the Department effectively supports veterans and their families.

The management of the Department's human resources is the responsibility of the People Services Branch. The branch supports managers and staff across the Department with the full range of people management services, including employment arrangements, industrial relations, workforce planning, learning and development, entry-level programs and recruitment.

The branch aligns its approach with DVA's three key strategies—client focused, responsive and connected—and prioritises its initiatives through the Towards 2020 Workforce Strategy. It assesses its effectiveness using a variety of measures, including the State of the Service employee census.

The Department's effectiveness in managing and developing employees to achieve those objectives is measured in the annual performance statements.

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Workforce diversity

The Department is committed to reflecting the diversity of the Australian community in its workforce and building an inclusive culture in which the diversity of employee backgrounds, skills and views enriches our working environment and quality of work.

In 2016–17, the Department revised its Diversity Action Plan 2016–20 and released its Gender Equality Action Plan 2017–19. In June 2017, DVA's gender balance was 62 percent females and 38 percent males.

The Department also released its first Reconciliation Action Plan, Galumbany, for 2017–18. The name of the plan is a Ngunnawal word that encompasses the concept of reconciliation, translating as 'me, you, we, together'.

DVA's Indigenous employment staffing level in 2016–17 was disclosed as 29 ongoing staff members and two non-ongoing staff members in a total of 1,938 staff, similar to the 2015–16 level of 32 ongoing staff members in a total of 1,986 staff.

DVA participates in the whole-of-government Indigenous Apprenticeship Program and Indigenous Cadetship Program. In 2016–17, one Indigenous apprentice commenced employment and one cadet successfully completed the Indigenous Cadetship Program.

The Department also participated in a range of events—including Harmony Day, Reconciliation Week, NAIDOC Week and International Day of People with Disability—to promote awareness and understanding of the importance of diversity within the workplace.

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Graduate Program

The Department's Graduate Program is a structured 11-month development program designed to give graduates exposure to the broad range of important work that DVA undertakes, while propelling them into successful careers within the Australian Public Service.

The program is based in Canberra and provides networking opportunities to encourage collaboration and excellence within DVA and across government. These activities are complemented by training and on-the-job development which ensure that graduates acquire practical skills in a supportive and challenging environment.

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Learning and development

In 2016–17, DVA delivered learning and development initiatives focused on client service; leadership and management; core public administration skills; and technical competence in DVA business.

The national client service workshop, It's Why We're Here, enabled DVA staff to hear first-hand accounts of what contemporary veterans experience in deployment and in dealing with the Department. A number of courses focusing on veterans' mental health were undertaken by staff, through e-learning and face to face.

DVA continued to focus on building the leadership and management capability of staff through the Leadership Pathways Program, for Executive Level and Australian Public Service (APS) Level 6 staff, and a new e-learning course, Supervisor Basics, for all staff with people management responsibilities.

Other new courses introduced in 2016–17 include Strategic Innovation and Thinking, Decision-Making, Report Writing, Improving Analytical and Critical Reasoning, and Financial Management.

The Department provided specific client service training, including technical packages aimed at improving the technical and legislative skills and knowledge of staff.

Figure 12 summarises the Department's expenditure on learning and development over the past five years.

Figure 12—Expenditure on learning and development 2012–13 to 2016–17

This image shows expenditure on learning and development 2012–13 to 2016–17, shown in dollar value: comparison over the last 5 financial years

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At 30 June 2017, DVA had a total of 1,938 employees, a decrease compared with 1,986 at 30 June 2016. Non-ongoing employees made up 8.3 percent of DVA's total workforce at 30 June 2017, an increase compared with 7.4 percent at 30 June 2016. Detailed staffing statistics are in Appendix A.

Recruiting and retaining talented people is critical to the effective management of DVA's workforce. In 2016–17, the turnover rate of ongoing employees was 10.5 percent, a decrease compared with 11.3 percent in 2015–16. Table 37 shows the reasons for commencements and cessations among ongoing employees in 2016–17.

Table 37—Number of ongoing and non-ongoing commencements and cessations in 2016–17
  Employee commencements   Employee cessations  
Ongoing Moved within APS: Promoted 8 Moved within APS: Promoted/transferred 37
Moved within APS: Transferred 38 Death 1
Ongoing engagement of non-ongoing 25 Dismissal/ annulment 2
Joined APS: Engaged 54 Redundancy 37
    Left APS: Resigned or retired 117
Total commencements 125 Total cessations 194
Non-ongoing Total commencements 139 Total cessations 121
All employees All commencements 264 All cessations 315

APS = Australian Public Service

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Employment arrangements

All employee remuneration and benefits are provided under the Department's enterprise agreement, individual flexibility agreements, or determinations under section 24(1) of the Public Service Act 1999. DVA does not have any Australian workplace agreements in place.

DVA's Enterprise Agreement 2015–2018 came into effect on 13 January 2016. The nominal date of expiry is three years from the commencement date.

The enterprise agreement contains provisions allowing the Secretary and an employee to make an individual flexibility agreement varying the effect of the terms of the enterprise agreement. At 30 June 2017, DVA had in place 21 individual flexibility agreements providing enhanced individual remuneration or benefits.

DVA also had in place 29 determinations under section 24(1) of the Public Service Act delivering remuneration and conditions for Senior Executive Service (SES) staff.

Information on the salaries available to staff is in Appendix A. Performance pay is not available to DVA employees.

Non-salary benefits provided to SES staff and a small number of high-performing employees may include parking facilities at the workplace, airline lounge memberships, or an executive vehicle allowance that may be salary packaged for a novated vehicle lease.

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