About the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

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Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade - Annual Report 2000-2001
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Departmental overview

Role and functions Click to view related information - opens in new window

The department is responsible for the protection and advancement of Australia’s international interests through: contributing to international security, national economic and trade performance, and global cooperation; maintaining consular and passport services to Australian citizens; projecting a positive and accurate image of Australia internationally; and enhancing public understanding of Australia’s foreign and trade policy.

The department’s staff in Canberra, in our State and Territory offices, and around the world work towards the achievement of the department’s three outcomes:

To achieve these outcomes, the department’s resource management practices and corporate services have been developed to support a highly motivated, adaptable and flexible workforce through appropriate recruitment processes, skills recognition and training and development in an environment that encourages an appropriate balance between professional and personal commitments.

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Organisational structure Click to view related information - opens in new window

The department’s Senior Executive Click to view related information - opens in new window, pictured below, consists of the Secretary, Dr Ashton Calvert, and four deputy secretaries. Supported by the department’s Senior Executive Service, the Senior Executive provides leadership through decision-making on foreign and trade policy and corporate issues, and in shaping the values and culture of the department to maintain the highest professional standards of service to the Government and to Australia, and to ensure an open, fair and professionally rewarding working environment for all staff.

The department’s staff are based in Canberra, State and Territory offices, and overseas posts. During the 2000–01 financial year, Public Diplomacy Division and Consular and Passports Division were amalgamated to create the Public Diplomacy, Consular and Passports Division. Protocol Branch was separated from the former Public Diplomacy Division and now reports directly to the Secretary. These changes were designed to link the work of public diplomacy more appropriately with our consular and passports services to the community, and to demonstrate the importance attached to the department’s role in providing professional protocol support to the diplomatic and consular corps in Australia. In Canberra, the department is made up of 11 divisions, as well as the Executive, Planning and Evaluation Branch, the Protocol Branch, the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office and the East Asia Analytical Unit.

Photograph of Senior Executive of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade - Click to view a larger version

Senior Executive of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (as at 30 June 2001) (Clockwise from front right) Dr Ashton Calvert, Secretary, and Deputy Secretaries Mr John Dauth, Dr Alan Thomas, Ms Pamela Fayle and Mr David Spencer. Photo by Michael Jensen.

The department’s State and Territory offices are located in all Australian capital cities. These offices provide an invaluable link to the department for Australian citizens through the provision of consular and passports services and liaison services to Australian business. The department also maintains a Passports Office in Newcastle and a liaison office on Thursday Island in the Torres Strait. Contact details of our offices in Australia are on the inside back cover of this report.

Figure 1. Location of staff (as at 30 June 2001)

Click for a larger version. This information is available as an image only - a paper copy is available by phoning (02) 6261 3114 or from Ausinfo bookshops or by visiting www.ausaid.gov.au/publications

Source: Compiled by DFAT from departmental data

The above chart details the proportion of the department’s staff who are serving in Australia, at our State and Territory Offices or in Canberra, those posted to our network of 83 embassies, high commissions, consulates and multilateral missions, and those who are employed locally at our overseas posts. Details of Australia’s posts overseas can be found at Appendix 14.

Some of those engaged locally overseas are Honorary Consuls. Honorary Consuls provide consular assistance on behalf of the department to Australian travellers in locations where the Australian Government does not have other representation. Combined with our consular sharing agreements with Canada, our Honorary Consuls provide an invaluable service for Australian citizens travelling overseas (see Appendix 14).

Figure 2: Senior executive structure (as at 30 June 2001)

Organisational chart showing the senior executive structure - Click to view a larger version
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Structure of the portfolio

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Trade are supported by seven agencies in the Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio:

These agencies develop and promote domestic and international understanding of Australia’s foreign and trade policy; support Australian business through market access and export advice and assistance; promote trade and investment; provide consular and passports services to Australians, both in Australia and overseas; and provide sustainable development and relief assistance to the world’s developing and least-developed countries.

The structure of portfolio outcomes and each agency’s responsibilities as a portfolio partner are detailed in the following chart.

Figure 3. Structure of portfolio outcomes—Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio

Organisational chart showing the structure of portfolio outcomes DFAT portfolio - Click to view a larger version
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Figure 4. Outcomes and outputs framework 2000–01

Organisational chart showing the outcomes and outputs framework - Click to view a larger version
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The implementation of accrual budgeting

In the second year of the current Corporate Plan and the second year of reporting under the full accrual budgeting framework, we have taken an approach consistent in most respects with that in our 1999–2000 annual report. Most indicators are still those against which we reported for 1999–2000. No changes have been made to the effectiveness and quality indicators that appeared in the 2000–01 Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS). Several of last year’s quantity indicators have been revised; and because trend information is a basic objective of reporting under an accrual budgeting framework, we have used footnotes with the quantity information to indicate changes of collection methodology or in the definitions of items being counted. Some further, minor changes to the wording of a few indicators, compared to the way they appeared in the 2000–01 PBS, are to allow for discrepancies between the way information is collected in the department and the way it is reported. A continuing project has been the tightening of definitions to reduce the variations among work units and posts in quantity reporting. In addition, a continuing emphasis in departmental management over recent years has been on ‘working smarter’—including dispensing with activities the contribution of which to the fulfilment of government objectives is not evident or efficient. Our intention in further refining our performance indicators will be to exclude those that measure activity rather than the achievement of outcomes.

In the PBS submitted in May 2001, the department published a significantly revised Performance Information Framework for financial year 2001–02. The new framework uses more of the language of the department’s Corporate Plan and follows guidance from the Department of Finance and Administration. The most important changes are: the combining of the first two outputs (1.1 and 1.2), to reflect the inseparability for reporting purposes of the department’s advocacy and policy advice; and a reduction in the number of effectiveness indicators from over a hundred, often highly specific, to eight more timeless and generic indicators. The revised framework will be the basis for the 2001–02 annual report.

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