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Enabling services

Facilitate the delivery of services to business lines through innovative, seamless, efficient and effective use of resources to support organisational capability.

Performance criteria and results

No. Performance criteria Target 2016–17
✓ Achieved           — Partially achieved           ✗ Not achieved
Performance criteria source: PBS = DVA Portfolio Budget Statements 2017–18, CP = DVA Corporate Plan 2017–2021
ESO = ex-service organisation, NCF = National Consultation Framework
Enabling 4.1: Provide a professional, engaged and flexible workforce CP p. 35
4.1.1 APS workforce is affordable and within budget Achieved Partially achieved Achieved
4.1.2 Workforce strategy is in place and reviewed regularly to meet operational requirements Achieved Achieved Achieved
4.1.3 Workforce is engaged and actively participates with attendance rates consistent with like APS agencies Achieved Partially achieved Partially achieved
4.1.4 Workforce actively participates in Performance Agreements under the Performance Feedback Scheme >90% 94% 90.0%
Enabling 4.2: Deliver sound financial management CP p. 35
4.2.1 The Strategic Financial Plan is in place, and it is reviewed and updated regularly Achieved Achieved Achieved
4.2.2 Unqualified financial statements Achieved Achieved Achieved
4.2.3 Continue to monitor the financial performance of the Department to ensure sustainability Achieved Achieved Achieved
Enabling 4.3: Provide reliable, responsive, accessible and cost effective digital services CP p. 36

ICT platform availability

  • Application
  • Network
  • Telephone








Enabling 4.4: Partner with other Commonwealth agencies including Defence, Health and Human Services CP p. 36
4.4.1 Governance arrangements are established and reviewed in accordance with respective agency agreements Achieved Achieved Achieved
Enabling 4.5: Engage with stakeholders including ex-service organisations and Defence CP p. 36
4.5.1 Consultative fora are established with ESOs and Defence communities and reviewed in accordance with the NCF Achieved Achieved Achieved
Enabling 4.6: Undertake a program of strategic research CP p. 36
4.6.1 Research has been undertaken in accordance with the Applied Research Program (ARP) Achieved Achieved Achieved

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Analysis of performance against purposes 1 to 3

Workforce management

DVA has achieved performance criterion 4.1.1 by maintaining an affordable workforce.

DVA achieved performance criteria 4.1.2 as the Workforce Strategy underwent a significant review in 2017–18 to ensure that it will continue to adapt as the Department continues its transformation program. The new Workforce Strategy will be updated biannually to reflect the fact that the Department is continually working towards attracting, retaining and developing a workforce capable of delivering high-quality and connected services to veterans and their families.

DVA partially achieved performance criteria 4.1.3. The 2017 Australian Public Service (APS) State of the Service employee census recorded a very high employee engagement index of 80 per cent for DVA, compared to the average for large operational agencies of 70 per cent. In the 2018 APS employee census results, the DVA employee engagement index fell to 74 per cent, due to the addition of new questions. However, DVA retained an employee engagement advantage when compared to the APS average (70 per cent) and the average for large operational agencies (69 per cent). The DVA unscheduled absence rate improved in 2017–18 to an average of 14 days, compared with an average of 14.6 days in the previous year. While DVA scored very well in relation to employee engagement, its unscheduled absence results only surpassed two of the three similar agencies (Department of Human Services, Department of Health and Department of Defence), so an overall performance rating of partially achieved for criteria 4.1.3 is appropriate.

DVA achieved performance criteria 4.1.4. This result reflects participation in performance agreements under the Performance Feedback Scheme as at 30 May 2018. Results are normally taken from reports produced in July; however, DVA changed its human resource management system in May 2018 and the new system does not currently have the facility to record participation in performance agreements. The facility will be implemented by 1 September 2018.

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Financial management

The Strategic Financial Plan (SFP) was reviewed and updated in 2017–18. The plan outlines financial strategies to assist the Department in meeting the objectives identified in the DVA Corporate Plan 2018–2022. The SFP will also assist in meeting the Government’s commitment to maintain a separate and appropriately funded agency.

The audit of DVA’s 2017–18 financial statements by the Australian National Audit Office resulted in an unqualified audit report.

A financial summary (snapshot) was prepared and reviewed on monthly basis to help the Executive Management Board to monitor the financial performance of the Department. In addition, a biannual review of DVA’s five-year model was conducted. DVA has updated the model to articulate how the Department remains sustainable.

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Digital services

Levels of stability were high across all of the Department’s digital platforms in 2017–18; in several months there was 100 per cent availability for all platforms.

The year-on-year totals show an increase in the overall stability of services, particularly for the application and telephone platforms.

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Partnering with other agencies

As part of its transformation and its business-as-usual activities, DVA interacts with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Defence, the Department of Human Services (DHS), the Department of Health, the Department of Social Services (DSS), the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA), the Australian Government Actuary and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). DVA’s collaboration with other agencies is set to increase over the short to medium term.

DVA’s partnership with Defence remains strong, with pilots underway to better position both organisations to improve the veteran experience — the Special Operations Forces Pilot is a key example. The Transition Taskforce and its work to improve the transition experience for members leaving the Australian Defence Force (ADF) is also a clear example. Mechanisms to evaluate pilot activity are also underway and will complement higher order arrangements under the established memorandum of understanding (MOU) in place between our agencies. Three formal committees sit under the MOU to govern and implement the strategic direction: the Defence DVA Executive Committee, the Defence Links Steering Committee and the Information Management Working Group.

The partnership with DHS is central to the success of DVA’s transformation. While the focus has been on building the foundation to transform DVA systems, there has been tangible success in leveraging digitisation to reduce processing times for key claims via the online service, MyService. DVA is trialling avenues to expand its service footprint not only through technological advancement but also by leveraging the physical reach of DHS. This work is informing the development of a service delivery strategy to meet the needs of all veteran cohorts into the future.

DVA and DHS signed a statement of intent in October 2017. The two departments are committed to strengthening collaboration, encouraging innovation and refining governance arrangements to meet the contemporary needs of both organisations. The DVA – DHS Partnership Committee and the Transformation Program Board are senior governance committees that facilitate the development and implementation of business transformation and the ongoing management of service schedules.

DVA is an active player in the broader reform agenda across the APS, and is involved in the Digital Transformation Agenda, the Shared and Common Services Programme, the Welfare Payment Infrastructure Transformation Programme and Streamlined Grants Administration. A senior DHS officer was seconded to DVA to drive the operating model for ICT services following the full transition of DVA’s ICT arrangements in 2017–18.

In addition to its core partnerships with Defence and DHS, DVA works with a range of other Commonwealth entities. DVA’s business needs are typically measured through discrete cross-agency groups, MOUs and local management arrangements:

  • DVA is working with the Department of Health to develop an integrated DVA – Health dataset and a partnership on analytics work. Building our analytics capability to drive DVA policy and program delivery is a key transformation priority as we move to a more proactive approach to service delivery. DVA engages with Health through formal and informal channels, from senior executive participation in interdepartmental committees to officer-level interaction on specific issues. DVA executives attend several interdepartmental committees led by Health.
  • DVA and Health have also established a statement of intent to outline the commitment between the two departments to ensure the provision of high-quality aged care and hearing services. The governance arrangement with Health for aged care services will be reviewed and refreshed in 2018–19.
  • In July 2016, DVA entered into a partnership agreement with DSS regarding the Community Grants Hub. A whole-of-government initiative under the DTA, the Community Grants Hub is intended to deliver a simpler and more consistent approach to the administration of grants across government. It aims to provide a better user experience for grant applicants and recipients, while enabling the Government to deliver grants programs more efficiently and effectively, at a lower cost. On 20 February 2018, the first of DVA’s grant programs to transition to the hub was opened for online applications.
  • The DTA acts as an advisory and assurance agency for the implementation of Digital Transformation Agenda government policy. This generates engagement with DVA on a number of levels. DVA engages with the DTA to seek advice on service design and Digital Service Standard assessments, processes and reports.
  • On 1 July 2017, DVA entered into a three-year strategic partnership with the AIHW, in the form of a schedule to an existing MOU. The partnership builds on the successful relationship between DVA and the AIHW to develop a comprehensive profile of the health and welfare of Australia’s veteran population. It takes a coordinated, whole-of-population approach to monitoring and reporting on the current status and future needs of veterans and their families, in support of DVA’s strategic research and data needs.
  • DVA has an MOU with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to provide services through the Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government (BETA). DVA is working with BETA to evaluate behavioural approaches to provide veterans with earlier access to services better targeted to meet their needs.

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Stakeholder engagement

The Department’s National Consultation Framework (NCF) facilitates communication between the veteran community, the Repatriation Commission, the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission and DVA on issues that are significant to the veteran community.

The NCF is composed of five forums: the Ex-service Organisation Round Table, Operational Working Party, Younger Veterans — Contemporary Needs Forum, National Aged and Community Care Forum, and Female Veterans and Veterans’ Families Policy Forum. Each forum has a different focus, such as strategic issues for the Department and veterans and their families; systemic issues and ways to maintain policy improvements; the needs of younger veterans and their families, with a focus on mental health support; ways to assist veterans to access aged care services; and the unique needs of female veterans.

The NCF is reviewed every three years to ensure its ongoing effectiveness and relevance. The next review will take place in 2019.

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The Applied Research Program (ARP) is the central mechanism of the DVA Strategic Research Model, which is designed to develop and manage best practice research into the health and wellbeing needs of Australia’s veterans and their families. Under the model, DVA business areas commission research projects that contribute to departmental outcomes; some of those projects are funded through the ARP. All ARP-funded research proposals approved by the Research Board were funded in accordance with the ARP requirements and governance.

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DVA achieved or partially achieved all its enabling services targets in 2017–18. The Department delivers client services programs and achieves its purposes with the support of its professional and engaged workforce, sound financial management functions and reliable digital services platform. DVA’s partnerships with key Commonwealth and stakeholder organisations have been productive and beneficial. The Department continues to have a strong focus on research and analytics that enables the evolution of better client support and services.

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