4.2 Security Services
In 1997-98, the objectives of sub-program 4.2 were to:
The Diplomatic Security and Countermeasures Branch of the Passports, Services and Security Division administers the sub-program. All Australian overseas posts contribute to the sub-program.
The sub-program pursues strategies designed to help achieve two of the Departments corporate goals: to enhance Australias security; and to provide clients with highly professional, efficient and effective services. These strategies include protecting Australias diplomatic and consular posts and their overseas staff, and protecting classified and sensitive information the Department handles both in Australia and abroad.
In 1997-98, the Department indicated that it would evaluate its performance using:
The Department responded effectively to all identified threats to its security and continued to strengthen security measures both in Australia and at overseas posts. It gave priority to preventing and detecting unauthorised disclosure of information, and by seconding an Australian Federal Police agent, it improved its investigation methods. The Departments security works and inspections schedules were completed within budget, and efficient operation of the security systems in the RG Casey Building resulted in two prosecutions for theft of government property.
An external review of departmental security affirmed the Departments risk-based approach to security management and recommended greater staff participation in the risk management process. The Department now is considering ways to do this. The Department also applied risk management methods to achieve major cost savings for overseas office projects, including for the construction of a new chancery in Apia.
The Department provided security awareness training for all staff prior to overseas postings, holding nine courses for over 180 departmental officers; this successfully heightened staff awareness of security and provided practical advice on dealing with specific overseas situations.
The Department through its Crisis Centre facilitated the services-assisted evacuation of Australians and others during the Cambodia crisis in July. The centre also assisted posts to take appropriate action against possible chemical and biological attack in the Persian Gulf in early 1998 and managed the facilitated departure by charter of Australians and Australian permanent residents from Indonesia in May.
With reduced numbers of officers authorised to carry out personnel security clearances and fewer permanent staff being recruited to the Department, the number of new staff security cleared fell from 353 in 1996-97 to 294 in 1997-98. The need for vetting officers to concentrate on security clearances for newly-engaged contractors and local staff overseas resulted in the Department undertaking 230 fewer periodic security clearance reviews. In June, the Department outsourced the security clearance processing of contractors to the Australian Security Vetting Service, a business arm of the Attorney-Generals Department.
The Department, through its Information Management Strategic Planning Project (see also subprogram 4.1), is currently considering its information technology security policy. This review process should be concluded during the coming financial year.
This page last modified: Tuesday, 16-Sep-2003 13:09:23 EST
Local Date: Thursday, 02-Oct-2014 08:18:12 EST