Annual Report 2006-2007

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1. Overviews2. Performance3. Corporate4. Appendixes5. Financials6. Glossaries and Compliance Index

Your location: Performance > Outcome 1 > Output 1.2 > Quality and quantity information

OUTPUT 1.2: Secure government communications and security of overseas missions

Output 1.2 Quality and quantity information

Quality indicators

Quantity indicators

Client satisfaction—secure communications network and telecommunications infrastructure

In September 2006, the department restructured its Information and Communications Technology (ICT) branches and created the ICT Client Services Section (CSS) to strengthen its focus on high-quality client relations. The section is responsible for managing the provision of ICT services to all divisions, Ministers’ offices, posts, state offices and partner agencies; and managing the ICT service desks—the Global Support Centre and Voice Operations Unit. The CSS’s primary tasks are to be the first point of contact for assistance with ICT faults and requests; manage the ICT memorandums of understanding with 30 commonwealth agencies; deliver existing services, including the Secure Australian Telecommunications Information Network (SATIN); deliver new services, such as videoconferencing and BlackBerry devices; and manage the allocation of ICT equipment, including laptops and mobile and satellite phones.

The growth of SATIN High

The number of staff from other government agencies using the SATIN High secure network continues to grow. Users in Australia and overseas have increased by 20 per cent each year since 2002. In Australia, there are now 26 partner agencies that access SATIN High on 340 terminals at 33 destinations. At overseas missions, there are 512 non-DFAT users connected to SATIN High. The connectivity of SATIN High is expected to increase further when a new gateway to other secure networks is brought online.

External feedback

Ministers and ministerial offices’ staff expressed their appreciation of our responsiveness in dealing with ICT problems and the development of innovative solutions for remote access communications.

Regular meetings with clients from other agencies provided constructive feedback on the department’s level of service. A systems health check report, delivered in June 2007, found that partner agencies were very positive about our level of service.

Internal feedback

Departmental committees, such as the Information and Communications Technology Strategy Committee, the Technical Advisers’ Group and the Consultative Committee on Information Management (CCIM), together with client surveys were effective mechanisms for internal feedback. This feedback showed that ICT services effectively supported staff in carrying out their duties in meeting the department’s objectives. It also showed that user-friendliness had improved and the systems had facilitated more efficient work practices. CCIM has been an effective forum for providing updates and user feedback on the upgrade of the Min-Net program, used to provide ministerial submissions and meeting briefs to Ministers and Cabinet.

Regional management and heads of mission meetings, post liaison visits, and divisional and post evaluation processes all provided opportunities for staff at posts to provide feedback on ICT systems and training.

The department’s ICT Global Support Centre help desk provides 24-hour first-level telephone user support on issues related to the secure and non-secure ICT systems in Australia and overseas. During the year, it provided services to 6600 departmental and other Australian government agency users in Australia and overseas and in Ministers’ parliamentary and electoral offices. It received approximately 65 000 inquiries, mostly relating to minor faults in hardware or software. Sixty-five per cent of inquiries were resolved to the client’s satisfaction without the need for higher-level support. The remaining inquiries were referred to second or third-level support teams for resolution. The majority of problems reported to the help desk were resolved within 72 hours.

Availability and reliability of communications

The department began rolling out four major asset refresh projects during the year which involve a substantial redesign of elements of SATIN to meet the department’s evolving business needs and to simplify and improve network operations in Australia and at posts. The projects include the router and switch replacement project, the server consolidation project, the voice systems replacement project and SATIN post refresh. In addition to completing the design of the projects, we replaced routers (which give posts access to the department’s global network), switches (which connect desktops to the SATIN network) and telephone systems (PABX, Voicemail and handsets) at nine posts; improved backup communications at eleven posts; and rolled out a new SATIN Low operating system (Windows XP) in Australia and at 38 posts. The department also developed a program of capital funding for the next three financial years for the global rollout of the major asset replacement projects.

Client satisfaction—security of overseas missions

Our services to posts included the provision of rapid advice on evolving security situations, special security assessments and inspection advisory visits at short notice, and enhancements to physical security. We ensured strict consistency between the advice we gave to posts and to the Australian public through consular travel advisories. We kept partner agencies informed of key developing security situations and our response to them. Agencies expressed support for our consultative approach and implementation of measures to mitigate security threats, including enhanced training.

Quantity information for output 1.2
Number of posts and Australian Government entities with access to the secure communications network and secure telecommunications infrastructure
Number of clients1
Types of services:
Number of cables2
187 690
173 092
cables to posts
76 242
73 505
cables from posts
111 448
99 587
Cable pages printed
549 909
839 879
Number of overseas missions for which security services are provided, including security review services3
Number of security clearances and reviews processed
  1. This figure reflects the number of agencies and other external work units, including ministerial and parliamentary offices that receive paper or electronic copies of cables.
  2. This figure reflects the total number of cables sent via the messaging system, ODIN, which automatically analyses and distributes cables electronically to clients.
  3. This figure includes our overseas posts and other permanent overseas locations—see Appendix 13: Summary of the overseas network.

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