17 October 2000

Foreign and Trade Ministry Best Practice Review

The Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Dr Ashton Calvert, announced today results of a Foreign and Trade Ministry Best Practice Review which measured the efficiency with which DFAT delivers services to the government and the public.

The review, which was undertaken from April to August this year, benchmarked DFAT's corporate management performance against that of the foreign and trade ministries in Canada, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Speaking to DFAT staff, Dr Calvert identified the following key conclusions:

Dr Calvert explained that the review used a range of indicators to compare DFAT's performance and that the results needed to be qualified by the methodological challenges encountered.

The most significant challenge was ensuring that the review compared "like with like". Participating ministries were not always able to provide statistical data in the form or detail sought. As a result, in some areas, the lack of precise comparable data meant that analysis had to be limited to fairly broad assessments.

That said, the review is a very useful benchmarking exercise for the department.

The full report of the Best Practice Review has not been released publicly because some of the participating ministries requested that their information not be conveyed beyond the Australian Government. The report has been shared with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Finance and Administration.

Media inquiries: Paul Robilliard (02) 6261 1555