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DFAT Corporate Plan 2016-2020

ISBN: 978-1-74322-345-1

31 August 2016

Secretary’s message

I am pleased to present the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Corporate Plan for 2016–17 to 2019–20.

This corporate plan sets out what we do, how we do it and how we will measure the department’s performance in supporting Ministers to deliver Australia’s foreign, trade and investment, and development policy priorities.

Australia has global interests, with a strong focus on the Indo-Pacific region. Global uncertainty — driven by weak global demand and shifting strategic currents — requires the active pursuit of a multifaceted agenda to advance our interests. As the Indo-Pacific’s economic and strategic weight increases, regional cooperation and a commitment to open economies will be crucial to expanding prosperity and narrowing strategic risk.

The department is committed to using its core assets – its staff and its overseas network of posts – to advance Australia’s interests overseas. More than ever, Australia’s economic prosperity is influenced by regional and international conditions and developments, and by our ability to shape and respond to them. This also demands close engagement in domestic economic policy development particularly on issues relevant to Australia’s trade performance and international competitiveness.

This corporate plan, prepared for the 2016–17 reporting period, outlines how the department will perform its functions for the period 2016–17 to 2019–20, as required under paragraph 35(1)(b) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.

DFAT has an ambitious agenda to deliver and I look forward to a challenging and exciting year ahead.

Frances Adamson
Secretary

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Purpose

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT; the department) works to make Australia stronger, safer and more prosperous by promoting and protecting our interests internationally and contributing to global stability and economic growth, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region.

In partnership with government and non-government organisations, State and Territory partners, business and community groups in Australia and overseas, the department leads the Government’s efforts to shape the regional and international environment, progress Australia’s international security priorities and strengthen global cooperation in ways that advance Australia’s interests.

The department works to open up new markets and generate conditions for increased trade and investment to strengthen Australia’s economy and create jobs. It helps lift living standards and reduce poverty in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond. The department projects a positive and contemporary image of Australia as a destination for business, investment, tourism and study. DFAT also provides high-quality passport and consular services to Australian citizens.

Over the next four years (2016–17 to 2019–20), the department will achieve its purpose through the following priority functions:

  • promoting a stable and prosperous regional and global environment by deepening our engagement with bilateral and regional partners and multilateral institutions;
  • opening markets for Australian exports, promoting productive foreign investment to Australia, advancing Australian commercial interests, strengthening the global trading system, and promoting open markets and economic integration in the Indo-Pacific region;
  • delivering an innovative aid program, centred on the Indo-Pacific region, which contributes to sustainable economic growth, poverty reduction and regional stability;
  • enhancing Australia’s influence and reputation, and broadening understanding in Australia and globally of the Government’s international priorities, policies and programs;
  • strengthening international frameworks and norms that promote human rights, gender equality, democratic principles and the rule of law, international security, and open and transparent global markets;
  • providing a secure, efficient and responsive passport service, timely, effective and courteous consular services to Australian citizens overseas, and quality protocol services to the diplomatic and consular corps accredited to Australia;
  • leading the Government’s response to international crises including humanitarian emergencies in the Indo-Pacific region; and
  • protecting our people, keeping Government information and communications secure, and managing effectively Australia’s global property assets.

The department’s highly skilled and motivated staff and its network of overseas posts and offices in Australia will ensure DFAT continues to make Australia stronger, safer and more prosperous into the future.

Top of page

Operating environment

The international environment for advancing Australia’s interests will remain complex and contested over the life of this corporate plan. The department will play a lead role in protecting and pursuing Australia’s interests in a world in which:

  • multipolarity will be an increasingly defining feature of the international system;
  • states will need to maximise economic opportunity and minimise strategic risk to maintain international stability and prosperity;
  • the Indo-Pacific region will continue to undergo strategic and economic shifts of lasting importance; and
  • a broader range of domestic and international non-state actors will engage in matters of foreign, trade and investment, and development policy.

Globally, we are likely to see further pressures to the institutions, laws, principles and norms of international behaviour that comprise the existing international order. International relations will be more contested. Securing meaningful multilateral outcomes through regional and global institutions will be more demanding.

In the Indo-Pacific, emerging powers’ growing economic weight will be accompanied by their increased capacity to project their influence in ways that interact with our interests. Australia’s security and prosperity will depend on how the region’s major powers manage their relationships and how effectively Australia reacts to, and influences, key political, economic, military, and social developments. Escalating strategic competition in the Indo-Pacific remains a critical risk.

The growing economic weight of the Indo-Pacific region presents opportunities for Australia if we are positioned well. The negotiation, implementation and promotion of free trade agreements will enable us to tap into new and emerging sources of growth. This will support Australia’s economic transition from mining investment-led economic growth to a broader growth base. But there are critical risks. Many of our Asian trading partners face structural economic challenges and, in some cases, difficult reforms will be needed to address those challenges. In Australia and globally, protectionist sentiment is likely to rise. This threatens efforts to revive global trade reform which is central to Australia’s trade and investment interests.

The state of governance and development in the Indo-Pacific will continue to be mixed. While strong economic growth in parts of the region is expected to continue, rising income inequality will challenge the prospects for sustained growth and development outcomes. The Pacific will continue to face challenges associated with distance from markets, large informal economies and high-cost service delivery – including in health and education. A key risk facing the department is how we respond to natural disasters, especially in the Pacific where governments are often constrained in their ability to respond effectively. Our aid investments will need to respond to crises as well as contribute to longer-term goals of sustainable economic growth, poverty reduction and regional stability.

The international community will continue to be vulnerable to terrorist attacks from radical groups such as Da'esh and those they inspire in our neighbourhood and domestically. As more Australians travel overseas, the department will play a key role in supporting their security and welfare through its passport and consular services.

Within a constrained budgetary environment, the department will seek to maximise our diplomatic reach and advance Australia’s interests abroad while engaging in key policy debates at home.

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Performance

This section sets out the priority functions and major operational activities that contribute to the department’s purpose, including indicators of performance over the next four years. This should be read in conjunction with the 2016–17 Portfolio Budget Statements, the 2016–17 Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements (expected to be released late-2016) and the 2015–16 Annual Report (expected to be published in October 2016).

In this plan, we are seeking to measure our performance against the department’s purpose and priority functions. Performance measures are being reviewed and refined iteratively, including to align this Corporate Plan with the Key Performance Indicators in the Portfolio Budget Statements.

Promoting a stable and prosperous regional and global environment

The department cultivates and deepens Australia's engagement with bilateral and regional partners and with multilateral institutions, with a particular focus on the Indo-Pacific region. In doing so, the department helps government actively shape the international environment through development of strong bilateral relationships; coalition-building with other nations with common interests; and an activist approach to using regional and global institutions and forums to create rules and norms that promote stability, peace and prosperity.

The Indo-Pacific is rapidly entrenching its position as the centre of gravity of the global economy and emerging strategic competition. Developments in this region will have the greatest impact on Australia and provide the context in which we pursue both our global and bilateral interests.

Major operational activities

  • Lead whole-of-government development and implementation of a comprehensive strategy to guide Australia’s international engagement and advance Australia’s interests, both globally and regionally.
  • Contribute to the domestic policy agenda, including through using our international networks and expertise to address policy challenges.
  • Use overseas missions to build strong bilateral relationships and for high-quality information-gathering, analysis and advocacy in support of government policies.
  • Develop networks and coalitions of like-minded international partners in pursuit of shared objectives to maximise Australia’s influence.
  • Provide timely, high-quality advice to portfolio ministers on international developments and appropriate policy responses.
  • Create and exploit opportunities to advocate Australian interests internationally through high-quality support for ministerial visits to key partners and international forums.
  • Seek opportunities to introduce more innovative approaches to foreign policy, trade and investment, and development programs, as well as in our service delivery and corporate functions.

Performance measures

Method

Description

Timing

Case studies

The department will use case studies to assess our performance:

  • providing whole-of-government coordination and leadership to advance Australia’s interests internationally;
  • shaping outcomes which reflect Australia’s interests, including through coalition-building with international partners; and
  • providing high-quality and timely advice, briefing and support to Ministers and key stakeholders.

Annually

Opening markets, promoting foreign investment and advancing commercial interests

We will work to open new markets for Australian exports of goods and services and investment, resolve trade and investment barriers, foster conditions and networks that will attract productive foreign investment, and support Australian business in their overseas commercial endeavours. This includes working with whole-of-government partners to ensure Australia’s foreign investment regime supports much needed inward investment and meets the national interest. We will promote a mutually reinforcing resources/energy and climate agenda internationally and domestically.

We will advance these objectives through the negotiation and implementation of trade and investment agreements at bilateral, regional, multilateral and plurilateral levels. We will pursue and advocate for global and domestic reforms that deliver trade liberalising, pro-growth and market-based policy outcomes. We will support and advance economic integration in the Indo-Pacific region. We will work to achieve a more effective multilateral trading system.

Major operational activities

  • Negotiate, implement and promote priority bilateral and regional free trade agreements.
  • Promote economic reform, open markets and practical collaboration in APEC, the G20 and the OECD.
  • Shape the future negotiating agenda in the WTO with a focus on securing outcomes in areas in which Australia has commercial and policy interests.
  • Promote productive foreign investment to Australia, reflecting the national interest.
  • Advance Australia’s interests through active participation in international dispute settlement mechanisms.
  • Support Australian business engaged in global trade and investment through advice on the ground, action to address barriers and issues, and well-targeted trade finance programs.
  • Provide high-quality economic analysis and contribute to the Government’s major domestic economic reforms.
  • Promote the benefits of international trade and open markets to the Australian community.

Performance measures

Method

Description

Timing

Case studies

The department will use case studies to assess our performance:

  • delivering trade and investment outcomes for Australian business;
  • promoting Australia’s economic interests in bilateral, regional, multilateral and plurilateral outcomes; and
  • satisfying business with our support.

Annually

Delivering an innovative aid program

The aid program promotes Australia’s national interests by contributing to sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction, particularly in the Indo-Pacific. The department is responsible for implementing Australia’s aid program in line with the Government’s development policy, Australian aid: promoting prosperity, reducing poverty, enhancing stability, and its associated performance framework, Making Performance Count: enhancing the accountability and effectiveness of Australian aid.

The aid program operates in a number of countries with challenging security environments and weak governance. By their nature, aid investments contain a high degree of risk which requires careful management. Early identification and management of risks contributes to managing aid effectively. The department will continue to use a range of risk management measures including fraud control, partner assessments, due diligence assessments, and the application of safeguards on environmental protection, resettlement and child protection.

Aid investments managed by the department are directed to six priority areas that support private sector development and human development (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: The Australian aid program’s strategic framework

For each country, the balance of investments will be tailored to country context and reflect Australia's national interest. We will invest in infrastructure, trade facilitation and international competitiveness; agriculture, fisheries and water; Effective governance - policies, institutions and functioning economies; education and health; building resilience - humanitarian assistance, disaster risk reduction and social protection; and gender equality and empowering women and girls. We maximise impact by being innovative and leveraging knowledge and finance, supporting both private sector development and human development (which relate to each other). All this will promote Australia's national interests by contributing to sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction.

Major operational activities

To ensure an effective and innovative aid program, the department will:

  • Continue to tailor aid investments according to individual country contexts with a focus on economic partnerships in growing middle-income countries in Asia and strong development partnerships in the Pacific.
  • Promote strong alignment between Australia’s aid program and the department’s other priorities, particularly trade and climate change initiatives, and with domestic policy agendas.
  • Design and implement aid investments that are informed by rigorous analysis and evidence and represent value for money.
  • Pursue new approaches to aid delivery to improve impact and value for money. Our innovationXchange has a key role in this, engaging creative thinkers globally, across the public and private sectors, to deliver a more innovative aid program.
  • Advance gender equality and women’s empowerment through funding specific initiatives and effectively integrating gender equality into all sectors, and actively support disability inclusion across the aid program.
  • Use the momentum provided by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Australia’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals and Financing for Development agenda.

Performance measures

Method

Description

Timing

Performance of Australian Aid report

Detailed reporting against the performance framework, including individual program and investment performance, will be published annually in the Performance of Australian Aid report.

The report:

  • assesses the performance and results of the Australian aid program;
  • reviews progress with the implementation of the Government’s policy and performance framework for the aid program;
  • provides an update on progress towards the aid program’s strategic targets;
  • summarises the performance and results of country, regional and global aid programs; and
  • examines performance across the six priority investment areas outlined in Australia's aid program policy.

The performance assessments in the report are quality assured by DFAT’s Office of Development Effectiveness and overseen by the department's Independent Evaluation Committee.

Annually

Case studies

The department will use case studies to assess our performance:

  • shaping development outcomes to advance Australia’s interests.

Annually

Enhancing Australia’s influence

To enhance Australia’s influence and reputation internationally, the department will advance targeted public diplomacy initiatives which promote our economic, creative and cultural, sporting, innovation and science, and education assets in line with our Public Diplomacy Strategy.

The department’s strategic communications effort will support key foreign, trade and investment, and development policy initiatives. We will actively engage with media – domestically and overseas – to broaden understanding within the Australian community and globally of the Government’s international policies and programs, including the management of humanitarian and consular crises. Our use of social media will continue to expand through more accounts, in more countries, on more platforms to engage directly with stakeholders. We will enhance our online and multimedia presence to deliver high-quality information to the public through our Australian and overseas mission websites. The department will also use its experience in international affairs to contribute to domestic debates and policies, including through the work of our state and territory offices.

Falling behind in the soft-power race represents a key risk to Australia’s influence as the digital components of engagement, attraction, and persuasion take on greater prominence. The risk of multiple brands promoting Australia’s interests internationally could also limit our ability to attract international customers, investors, students and visitors. We will endeavour to use new public diplomacy tools in every aspect of our operations, and we will consider the value of a strong, single national brand.

Major operational activities

  • Support programs that promote Australia’s economic, creative and cultural, sporting, innovation and science, and education assets to key international audiences.
  • Build deeper and broader people-to-people and institutional links through the New Colombo Plan, Australia Awards, Australian Volunteers for International Development, the Australian NGO Cooperation Program, the department’s Foundations, Councils and Institutes, and the Australia Global Alumni Engagement Strategy.
  • Manage the department’s public communications and media affairs, including domestic and international media queries, coverage of Government responses to international crises, media arrangements for ministerial visits overseas, and public statements and media releases.
  • Deepen our digital presence and capabilities by implementing the department’s first Digital Media Strategy, including revamped websites for overseas missions and increased social media presence to reach and engage with different audiences.

Performance measures

Method

Description

Timing

Case studies

The department will use case studies to assess our performance:

  • building links, through public diplomacy initiatives, that increase Australia’s influence and further Australia’s interests; and
  • informing and influencing media reporting on Australia.
  • Annually

Review

The department will review:

  • public diplomacy activities in line with our Public Diplomacy Strategy;
  • stakeholder engagement, including through departmental and embassy websites and social media platforms, in line with our Digital Media Strategy; and
  • the management of domestic and international media enquiries, including departmental responses.
  • Annually

Evaluation

The department will evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of:

  • our Public Diplomacy Strategy 2014–16;
  • the New Colombo Plan, noting that by 2018 the department aims to support at least 10,000 Australian undergraduates per year to study in the Indo-Pacific region;
  • our Digital Media Strategy 2016–2018; and
  • the Australia Global Alumni Engagement Strategy 2016–2020.

 

  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019
  • 2021

Strengthening international frameworks and norms

A key objective of the department’s work is to strengthen international frameworks, norms and the rule of law in areas as diverse as human rights, gender equality, peace and security, the environment, anti-corruption, banking and criminal justice. We prosecute our interests in a variety of multilateral and regional forums, including through the United Nations (UN) and international financial and legal institutions. Our multilateral work also reinforces regional and bilateral relationships.

Not all countries agree with Australia and its policies all the time, which can reduce our ability to shape institutions and norms to reflect our interests. We will lead the Government’s efforts to shape the international environment through an activist approach to using regional and global institutions and forums to create rules and norms that promote stability, peace and prosperity.

Major operational activities

  • Promote the peaceful resolution of international disputes and adherence to international law.
  • Advance Australia’s commitment to human rights through the Human Rights Council, the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly. 
  • Cooperate with international and regional partners to support durable responses to large movements of refugees and displaced populations, including supporting refugee resettlement and combatting human trafficking and people smuggling.
  • Strengthen international regimes covering counter-terrorism, transnational crime, peacekeeping, peacebuilding, non-proliferation, disarmament and sanctions, and promote norms of responsible behaviour for outer space and cyberspace.
  • Strengthen global development norms and support sustainable development, including the reduction of poverty.
  • Work with countries and humanitarian partners to implement the commitments made at the World Humanitarian Summit and ensure the international humanitarian system is fit for purpose.
  • Integrate climate considerations into our development, trade and foreign policy priorities and advocate for strong international carbon market standards as part of our implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change.
  • Integrate gender equality across all aspects of our work in bilateral, regional and multilateral forums.
  • Step up our efforts to implement the Indigenous Peoples Strategy and ensure that multilateral institutions such as the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples are as effective as possible.

Performance measures

Method

Description

Timing

Case studies

The department will use case studies to assess our performance:

  • shaping multilateral outcomes, institutions and norms to advance Australia’s interests; and
  • providing whole-of-government leadership and coordination on multilateral issues and in multilateral forums.

Annually

Providing passport, consular and protocol services

Passport services

With demand forecast to remain strong over the next four years, the department will continue providing a secure, efficient and responsive passport service to Australian citizens.

Major operational activities

  • Further develop the technology and business processes that underpin the Australian passport system, making best use of innovations in biometrics, electronic transactions, document security, data validation and fraud detection and prevention.
  • Continue to pursue our national and international security goals, and work closely with relevant Australian agencies, partner governments and the International Civil Aviation Organization to curb misuse of passports by criminals and terrorists.
  • Continue working with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to develop the concept of a digital passport – an electronic travel identity that Australians could use instead of a physical passport when leaving Australia.

Performance measures

Method

Description

Timing

Case studies

The department will use case studies to assess our performance in providing:

  • high-quality delivery of passport services to clients; and
  • high standards and interoperability of Australian passports and services.

Annually

Review

The department will review our performance in:

  • providing efficient processing of regular and urgent passport applications, including the number and accuracy of passports issued, and the time taken to process applications; and
  • preventing, detecting and prosecuting passport fraud.

Ongoing

Consular services

The department will continue to provide Australians with high-quality consular services and responsive travel advice. With more Australians travelling overseas than ever before, the department will need to be ready to meet the growing demand for consular advice and assistance.

Major operational activities

  • Make the department’s consular services available 24/7 through the Government’s network of overseas posts and our staff in Australia, and provide clear, timely and accurate information to assist Australians to make decisions about their travel overseas.
  • Develop a second Consular Strategy to guide consular policy and practice for the period 2017–19, and publish an annual ‘State of Play on Consular Services’ to help Australians better understand the department’s consular role so that they are more able to look after themselves overseas.
  • Continue our cooperation and dialogue with private sector groups and NGOs to expand our messaging and build better partnerships, and work with the Consular Consultative Group to support effective stakeholder outreach on consular matters.
  • Further develop our processes for obtaining regular direct feedback from those we assist, and use the information gathered to drive continuous improvement.

Performance measures

Method

Description

Timing

Case studies

The department will use case studies to assess our performance in providing:

  • timely and effective delivery of consular services to Australians overseas, including during crises.

Annually

Review

The department will review:

  • the timeliness and accuracy of information provided to the public, including on responding to incidents and updates to travel advice.

Annually

Protocol services

The department will continue to engage with the diplomatic and consular corps in Australia to promote bilateral relations and facilitate consular services to their citizens, consistent with our obligations under the Vienna conventions on diplomatic and consular relations. As the first point of contact for consular and diplomatic officials serving in Australia, the department will provide quality protocol services and support, contributing to positive impressions of Australia.

Major operational activities

  • Ensure the security and protect the dignity of the diplomatic and consular corps serving in Australia by delivering a quality service and upholding Australia’s obligations under the Vienna Conventions.
  • Develop a proactive engagement program for the diplomatic corps with portfolio Ministers, the Governor General and the Secretary of the department.

Performance measures

Method

Description

Timing

Review

The department will review:

  • the satisfaction of the diplomatic and consular corps accredited to Australia with the level of service provided, including meeting Australia’s obligations under the Vienna Conventions.

Annually

Leading the Government’s response to international crises and humanitarian emergencies

Australia is committed to responding to international crises that affect our interests, whether consular, humanitarian or political in nature. The department will continue to lead the Government’s crisis response to ensure a coordinated whole-of-government approach which helps affected Australians and supports impacted countries, especially in the Indo-Pacific region. We will deliver comprehensive and clear advice to Government, as well as immediate consular assistance to affected Australians and their families. Our international crisis response will address the differentiated needs of affected people and build communities’ disaster resilience.

The department will ensure effective contingency planning is in place to prepare for, respond to, and recover from international crises and humanitarian emergencies. This will be done in close cooperation with our consular, bilateral and development partners.

Major operational activities

  • Provide whole-of-government leadership on international crises, including through coordination with partner agencies.
  • Monitor and respond to crises using departmental mechanisms including: establishment of the Global Watch Office; activation of the Crisis Centre; deployment of government officials, experts and technical capabilities; funding through key Australian and international humanitarian partners; and providing emergency relief supplies and logistics support.
  • As outlined in our Humanitarian Strategy and Consular Strategy 2014–16, work with trusted partners who can provide effective assistance and access to affected communities and individuals.
  • Develop effective contingency plans to help Australian missions overseas respond to crises.
  • With a focus on the Indo-Pacific region, build the capacity of national governments, regional organisations, and civil society to manage crises themselves.
  • Learn from each response and facilitate information sharing and innovation to improve our operational responses.

Performance measures

Method

Description

Timing

Case studies

The department will use case studies to assess:

  • our leadership and coordination of government’s response to international crises;
  • our humanitarian leadership within the Indo-Pacific region and the international humanitarian system; and
  • the effectiveness of our disaster risk-reduction and recovery programs.

Annually

Review

The department will review the effectiveness of:

  • our crisis management mechanisms in delivering a coordinated whole-of-government response to international crises; and
  • our life-saving assistance to vulnerable people in crisis situations.

After each major crisis

Protecting staff, information and property

The security and safety of Australian Government personnel and their dependants overseas, together with the security of its missions, remains a high priority for the department in an unpredictable and challenging security environment, including an increasing risk to secure government communications.

We will continue to deliver measures that contribute to the safety and security of our people, protect information and communications systems, and manage effectively and securely the Commonwealth’s global property assets.

Major operational activities

  • Manage security awareness through vetting, training and outreach activities.
  • Implement appropriate physical, operational and technical security at overseas posts and Australian offices.
  • Produce threat and security risk assessments and apply mitigation management strategies commensurate with a fluid international and domestic security environment.
  • Deliver an accessible, reliable and secure International Communications Network (ICN).
  • Manage the design, construction, operation, maintenance and disposal of overseas property.

Performance measures

Method

Description

Timing

Case studies

Case studies will be used to assess:

  • the department’s strong security culture;
  • the quality of advice, the effectiveness of mitigation strategies and the timeliness of responses to international security incidents based on considered threat and risk assessments; and
  • the construction and refurbishment of departmental overseas property completed within agreed timeframes and budgets.

Annually

Review

The department will review:

  • the accessibility and reliability of the secure cable network;
  • whether asset management plans are in place for all owned properties in the overseas estate; and
  • whether the majority of tenants rate the performance of the service provider and the Overseas Property Office as good or better.

Annually

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Capability

Enhancing our organisational capability is a departmental priority and supports our Values Statement and Leadership Charter. The department continues to implement reform initiatives to improve our capability and enable us to be a more resilient, flexible, innovative and efficient organisation, responsive to new challenges and to the requirements of the Government and the community.

The department’s capability work streams cover:

  • organisational strategy, planning and performance
  • leadership and organisational culture
  • risk and innovation
  • workforce development
  • collaboration and engagement
  • knowledge and information management
  • communications (internal and external).

Workforce Planning1

The department is a large and geographically dispersed organisation. With around 6,200 staff working in over 100 locations, our workforce is diverse and delivers across a broad and highly-integrated foreign affairs, trade and investment, and development agenda.

Workforce snapshot2

Pie chart shows 61% of staff are A-based. Bar chart shows about 50% in Australia, 25% in Asia, less than 10% in the Pacific, less than 10% in Middle East and Africa, less than 10% in Europe, less than 10% in the Americas and less than 5% in Multilateral posts.

Over the next 12 months, the department’s workforce size will stabilise and the department will continue to focus on building expertise. Key areas of activity include:

  • deepening the department’s expertise in policy development, program delivery and enabling services through training and placements; and
  • promoting female representation, particularly at the SES level, through the Women in Leadership Strategy and integrating gender equality into our corporate and human resource policies and practices.
  • 1 Locally engaged staff (LES) are staff directly employed by overseas missions and are not members of the Australian Public Service (APS). Australia-based (A-based) staff are directly employed by the department and are members of the APS.
  • 2 Headcount data as at 30 June 2016.

Capital Investment Strategy

  • The department has a significant capital budget which reflects its diverse functions. Strategic capital planning will be focused on what capability needs to be replaced and when, as well as the enhancements required to meet evolving strategic priorities. The department’s regular monitoring of capital expenditure will provide oversight, manage risks and help maintain momentum of investment in three primary areas of ICT equipment, physical security and property. Enhancing DFAT’s shared services capabilities will be a significant area of investment over the period.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

The department will prioritise resources and effort on ICT-related activities that offer the highest strategic value to the department and our partner agencies. The department’s ICT Strategy will focus on the following themes:

  • Improve the reliability, resilience and security of the department’s ICT systems and ensure that there are appropriate resources in place to support and maintain them;
  • Improve the quality of ICT service delivery to support the department’s strategic objectives; and
  • Develop a greater level of flexibility and agility to quickly realign ICT resources to changes in departmental priorities.

The department supplies essential ICT services to almost 50 partner agencies. It will look to improve and expand the services it offers, as well as increase the number of agencies that receive the service.

With a focus on building more responsive, agile and flexible ICT solutions, the department will work collaboratively with industry and our whole-of-government partners to ensure the delivery of high-quality ICT and information services domestically and overseas.

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Risk oversight and management

Operating in a complex and dynamic international environment, DFAT has to engage with risk to achieve its objectives. The department’s approach to risk management is outlined in the DFAT Guide to Better Risk Management. The guide articulates the principles that govern risk management, explains roles and responsibilities of staff and provides step-by-step instructions on how to assess and manage risk. It encourages officers to engage with risk in a positive and transparent way to facilitate innovation and improve policy development and service delivery.

All divisions, posts and state and territory offices maintain risk registers and record key risks in their individual business plans. In 2016–17, risk registers and business plans will be reviewed by the executive as part of the Division/Post/Office Business Review process. We also use the risk registers, along with input from the department’s Enterprise Risk Group, to generate a Critical Risk List for consideration by the executive.

The executive oversees the department’s highest level risks and ensures appropriate controls are in place. Key risk areas, including human resources, work health and safety, IT, finance, security, and aid management, report regularly to the executive. There are several committees of the executive which provide additional oversight, including on security, IT, and aid and development. The department’s Audit and Risk Committee reviews the appropriateness of DFAT’s risk management framework.

There are also several specialist risk areas within DFAT, including in aid management, IT, passports, work health and safety, and security. Each of these areas has tailored systems for managing risk.

Last Updated: 31 August 2016

Category: Corporate

 

DFAT Secretary Frances Adamson