Australian Institute of Criminology

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Accountability and management

External governance

Enabling legislation

The AIC was established under section 5 of the Criminology Research Act 1971. It establishes the functions of the AIC to include the conduct of research and its dissemination, advice and support to the CRC and the collection of information and statistics.

Minister and portfolio

The Minister for Home Affairs, the Honourable Bob Debus MP, is responsible for the Institute. Prior to the change of government, the Minister was Senator the Honourable David Johnston, Minister for Justice and Customs. The AIC sits within the Attorney-General's portfolio.

The Minister for Justice and Customs issued a statement of expectations to the AIC at the start of the 2007-08 financial year. Included in this statement are expectations that the AIC would:

  • undertake impartial and policy relevant research of the highest standards on crime and criminal justice
  • work cooperatively with the AGD and portfolio agencies in its role as the Australian government's national research centre on crime and justice
  • maintain and produce research information of value to key stakeholders from its ongoing monitoring programs and other research activity
  • actively disseminate research findings to policy makers, practitioners and the general public around Australia and internationally in a timely manner.

The AIC formally committed to meet these expectations through the implementation of key performance indicators. The new Minister endorsed these expectations and, at the end of the financial year, agreed that they had been met.

Board of Management

The Board of Management consists of the Director, three members appointed by the Attorney-General and four members appointed by the CRC.

At 30 June 2007 the Board members appointed by the Attorney-General were:

  • Professor Richard Fox AM, of the Faculty of Law at Monash University
  • Mr Nigel Hadgkiss APM, Deputy Commissioner of the Australian Building and Construction Commission
  • Dr Dianne Heriot, Assistant Secretary of the Strategic Policy Coordination Branch, Australian Government Attorney-General's Department.

Those appointed by the Criminology Research Council were:

  • Mr Richard Coates, Director of the Northern Territory Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Mr Allan van Zyl acted as Mr Coates' deputy on two occasions.
  • Mr Terrence Ryan, Acting Assistant Director-General of Policy, Legislation and Executive Services in the Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney-General
  • Ms Renée Leon, Chief Executive of the Australian Capital Territory Department of Justice and Community Safety
  • Mr Norman Reaburn, Director of the Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania.

The Director of the AIC is also a member of the Board of Management. Dr Toni Makkai was the AIC representative until her resignation on 2 May 2008. Tony Marks was appointed as Acting Director and became the AIC representative from 3 May 2008.

Professor Fox is the Chair of the Board of Management.

The Board of Management met on three occasions during the year: 31 August 2007 in Brisbane, 29 November 2007 in Canberra, and 11 April 2008 in Canberra.

The Board's role is to set strategic research priorities within general policy and strategic directions. It also has an oversight role in corporate planning and financial management matters.

Audit Committee

The Audit Committee was established in March 1999, in accordance with the provision of section 32 of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997. The Committee's primary role is to receive internal audit reports on the conduct of Institute business, undertake reviews in accordance with the approved audit work plan as approved by the Board of Management, and monitor compliance with Committee recommendations and with legislative and other obligations.

The Audit Committee was restructured during the year as a separate committee of the Board of Management. A charter for the committee was also agreed. At 30 June 2008, the AIC Board members of the Audit Committee were Mr Nigel Hadgkiss APM, Ms Renée Leon and Mr Terrence Ryan. The independent member was Mr Kevin Patchell FCPA. The Audit Committee met on three occasions during the year: 31 August 2007, 29 November 2007 and 11 April 2008.

The committee considered five internal audit reports: the transition to the new payroll services provider; financial statements and review processes; strategic ICT management; website management and security; and project financial management.

AIC Ethics Committee

The AIC Ethics Committee has been operating since 1992. It has seven members with backgrounds in law, religion, social work, and research, as required by the National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines for ethics committees. The chair during the year was Dr Deborah Mitchell. The Committee's purpose is to advise the Director whether approval to proceed should be granted for proposed projects involving human subjects. It reviews proposed research projects to ensure that appropriate safeguards exist for conduct of the research to be consistent with ethical standards. During this reporting period the Committee reviewed and approved 14 proposals.

Internal accountability and management

Organisation

The AIC seeks to promote a cooperative and harmonious work environment through:

  • integrity - ethical and honest behaviour
  • professionalism - serving clients and stakeholders in a practical, diligent, thorough and objective manner
  • openness - being accessible and responsive to staff, clients and stakeholders, to build trust and confidence
  • fairness - treating all people equitably and justly, respecting the diversity of ideas, backgrounds and cultures of staff, clients and stakeholders.

The corporate direction has been effectively communicated to Institute staff through meetings to inform and update them on research projects and corporate issues and directions, and through the intranet.

Corporate accountability

Corporate governance practices in the AIC are designed to ensure compliance with statutory and other external requirements aimed at achieving best practice in administrative and financial management. These include an internal audit plan, Director's instructions and all policies and procedures developed and available to staff on the intranet.

Management committees

Two management committees ensure that all sections are consulted in the operations of the Institute. They are:

  • The Executive Management Committee - provides advice to the Director on strategic issues. The committee comprises senior management.
  • The Information and Communications Technology Committee - actively monitors the performance of the system and provides advice to the General Manager for Corporate Services on strategic directions and emerging issues. The committee is comprised of representatives from all areas of the Institute.

Board Audit Committee

The Board Audit Committee considered the following internal audit reports during 2007-08:

  • financial statements and reporting processes review (June 2007)
  • strategic IT management (August 2007)
  • website management and security (September 2007)
  • project financial management review (February 2008)
  • financial statements and reporting processes review (April 2008)

The Institute's internal audit service provider for 2007-08 is PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Total resources for Outcome 1 ($'000)
2007-08 budget forecasta2007-08 actualb2008-09 budget estimatec
a: 2008-09 Portfolio Budget Statements
b: Audited 2007-08 financial statements
c: 2008-09 Portfolio Budget Statements
Revenue from Government
Outcome 1-To inform government of activities which aim to promote justice and reduce crime
Output 1.1-Policy advice and publications7,2667,2666,698
Output 1.2- Library, information and reference services to support policy advice and publications451451468
Total revenue from Government contributing to price of departmental outputs7,7177,7177,166
Revenue from other sources
Outcome 1-To inform government of activities which aim to promote justice and reduce crime
Output 1.1-Policy advice and publications2,4322,2841,884
Output 1.2- Library, information and reference services to support policy advice and publications303827
Total revenue from other sources2,4622,3221,911
Total revenue from departmental outputs7,7177,7177,166
(Total revenues from government and from other sources)10,17910,0399,077
Price of departmental outputs
Outcome 1-To inform government of activities which aim to promote justice and reduce crime
Output 1.1-Policy advice and publications9,8089,8858,590
Output 1.2- Library, information and reference services to support policy advice and publications481495485
Total price of departmental outputs10,28910,3809,075
Total estimated resourcing for Outcome 1 (Total price of outputs and administered appropriations)10,28910,3809,075
Average staffing level (number)566058

Risk management

The AIC's risk management framework aims to provide a systematic way to make informed decisions and gain assurance that risks have been recognised and managed. The primary components of our risk management strategy are:

  • risk control register
  • risk management policy and framework
  • risk management plan
  • Director's instructions, which reflect best practice in finance and administration
  • finance policy and procedures
  • an internal audit program which is reviewed every three years and updated annually
  • annual ComCover risk surveys/assessments - the program measures the AIC's performance in implementing risk management processes and policies against the national benchmark

ICT risk management

  • ICT facilities code of conduct
  • ICT assets register
  • ICT services strategy
  • ICT threat risk assessment
  • risk treatment plan
  • ICT contingency plan
  • ICT change management policy.

Research framework

The AIC has a comprehensive research framework, which details the context and method by which all research should be carried out. This serves to maintain a clear focus and goal for research within the AIC's legislated objectives and functions. The guidelines ensure that research conducted:

  • is of sound method and analysis
  • complies with ethical guidelines
  • uses appropriate analysis
  • presents findings in a clear, concise and jargon-free manner.

A value/risk assessment is undertaken before any research project begins. This assessment takes into account all issues that could arise from the research, from the integrity of the methodology to compliance with relevant legislation and stakeholder obligations.

Information risk management

Other key policies have been developed in regard to document management and research practices. These cover:

  • copyright ownership and attribution
  • confidentiality of information
  • document/paper classification and disposal
  • outside earnings
  • media liaison
  • outside publishing
  • research conduct.

Fraud control plan

The AIC maintains fraud risk assessments, a fraud control plan and processes for fraud prevention, detection, investigation and reporting, in accordance with the requirement of the revised Commonwealth fraud control guidelines of May 2002. The fraud plan is an important strategic document that links with our risk management framework and draws together fraud prevention and detection initiatives into one consolidated document.

Freedom of information (FOI)

This statement is provided in accordance with section 8 of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act). The structure of the AIC is covered earlier in this report. Here is information on the categories of documents the AIC holds and on how access can be made.

Categories of documents

  • general - internal papers and records, including statistical records, copies of facsimiles, interagency and general correspondence and papers, policy documents (including recommendations and decisions) and work plans
  • executive - briefing papers and submissions prepared for the then Minister for Justice and Customs and the current Minister for Home Affairs, ministerial correspondence and replies to parliamentary questions
  • research - research, development and evaluation papers, statistical data holdings, conference proceedings and publications
  • administration - finance, establishment, personnel, recruitment, staff development, office services and tender files.

FOI requests can be made in writing to the General Manager, Corporate Services, Australian Institute of Criminology, GPO Box 2944, Canberra, ACT 2601.

FOI requests during 2007-08

There was one FOI request made to the AIC in 2007-08 which was dealt with in accordance with the Act.

Ombudsman

There was one review undertaken by the Ombudsman, in relation to an FOI matter. The Ombudsman found that the Institute acted appropriately.

Ecologically sustainable development

Under section 516A(3) of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC), the Directors of the AIC must ensure a report prepared under the provisions of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 complies with the reporting provisions (subsection 6) of the EPBC Act.

The AIC has continued its commitment during the past year to improving its energy efficiencies in order to fulfil its obligations under the EPBC Act.

Measures include:

  • active recycling of paper, plastic and bottles, and computer toner
  • use of recycled paper in all multi-function devices
  • organisation of participation in the 60 day carbon challenge program which seeks to assist businesses in reducing their environmental impact
  • installation of equipment that incorporates energy-saving devices such as desktop computers, photocopiers, water saving showerheads, dishwashers and printers
  • use of sensor lighting and airconditioning management systems
  • water conservation - toilets with half-flush systems
  • reductions in consumable supplies through reduced printing of material available on the internet, and in electronic databases, email and document management systems, leading to lower consumption of paper, toners and energy.

The Institute is committed to practices that assist ecologically sustainable development and improve environmental performance. The Institute does not administer any legislation nor have any appropriations directly related to these issues.

Human resources

Human resources includes personnel liaison services, staff development, recruitment, industrial relations, occupational health and safety and equal employment opportunity.

The AIC has continued its outsourcing of payroll functions to Ross HD.

Staffing levels and numbers are listed in the table on page 50.

Workforce planning

The executive management of the Institute continually reviews its workforce requirements. Our staff are employed according to the output requirements arising from requests for research and support activities. The AIC also takes account of outsourcing opportunities in the university research and corporate sectors. Flexibility in staffing arrangements are essential to the Institute so that research outputs can be met through a collaborative approach and suitable appointments; this includes the engaging of leading research organisations and individuals on a national and international basis.

Workplace diversity

The Institute values fairness, equity and diversity. Consistent with that aim, the Institute is committed to preventing and eliminating discrimination on the basis of race, colour, gender, sexual preference, age, physical or mental disability, marital status, family responsibilities, pregnancy, religion, political opinion, national extraction or social origin.

Employment framework

With the exception of the Director, staff at the Institute are either covered by the Employee Collective Agreement 2006-2009, an Australian Workplace Agreement or Common Law Agreement.

Staff at 30 June 2008 by salary, gender and tenure
Classification and salary rangeGenderTenureBasis
MaleFemaleTotal staffOngoingNon-ongoingFull timePart timeCasual
a: Includes Director (Acting) - statutory appointment (Remuneration Tribunal)
Research assistant/Administrative officer
$35,000 - $55,000
%718297212170
n411174131340
Research analyst/Senior administrative officer
$55,001 - $90,000
%23335211425022
n1420317253011
Research Manager/Administrative Manager
$90,001 - $115,000
%87155101302
n54936801
Senior executive officer
>$116,000a
%22440400
n11220200
Row %406010027738893
Row n (no. of staff)24366016445352

Performance development scheme

The AIC's performance and development scheme assists managers and employees to make strategic links between business goals and key result areas when identifying opportunities for development. The scheme ensures greater transparency and consistency in application of performance reviews and rewards for all staff. The scheme emphasises continuous assessment and improvement with a strong focus on improvements in productivity.

The scheme promotes fairness through clearly defining expectations aligned with corporate goals. It includes:

  • transparent appraisal outcomes for all staff
  • individual training and development plans
  • use of review processes at six monthly cycles
  • use of structured underperformance provisions and strategies.

AIC values and code of conduct

The AIC Values and Code of Conduct provide information on the conduct expected of all AIC employees in carrying out their responsibilities. The code forms a part of the compendium of documents providing guidance to employees of the AIC and is available to staff on the intranet.

Learning and development

The Institute continues to refine and develop its induction program and emphasise the importance of supporting and displaying the AIC's values. A new induction training program was introduced in January 2008, and has been designed as a rolling program over six months to ensure new staff gain a thorough understanding of the Institute's governance, research methodologies and publication processes.

The AIC is committed to the training and development of its employees. All employees have the chance to take part in relevant training and development activities which have a clear connection with Institute work and will assist their ongoing career development. This support may also include on and off the job training, work placements, staff presenting at national and international conferences, formal study and the reimbursement or payment for these activities. Some of the external courses attended in 2007-08 include:

  • qualitative research techniques
  • applied multiple regression analysis
  • data analysis using STATA

The Institute also takes advantage of training days and briefing sessions offered by other government departments and agencies, such as ComCover, The National Library, National Archives and Australian Government Solicitor.

Staff are also trained internally by senior staff on a range of applications, processes and methodologies, and a introduction to statistics and non-parametric methods.

In addition to the above, the Institute has arranged the mentoring of some staff by leading academics or key business personnel. Six staff members are completing their PhDs with the ongoing support of the Institute.

The Institute recognises that staff involvement in these types of activities will contribute to the achievement of Institute goals.

Workplace support

Non-salary benefits provided to staff in 2007-08 reinforce the AIC's position as an employer of choice and include:

  • influenza immunisation for staff on Australian Workplace Agreements
  • employee assistance services including counselling
  • AIcrimetimes newsletter for staff
  • lunchtime seminars presented by staff.

As well as improving work spaces and fittings, the new building facilities provide an enhanced environment for staff use, from work-related meetings to informal, staff-organised fitness and recreation activities.

Australia Day Achievement Medallions

There were two Australia Day Achievement Medallion recipients in 2008:

Ms Penny Smyth, Executive Assistant to General Manager Corporate Services and Dr Raymond Choo, Research Analyst Global Economic & Electronic Crime Program. They were presented with Australia Day Achievement Medallions in recognition of their dedication and contribution to the Institute, and through it to the public service of the nation.

Occupational health and safety

The Institute has an occupational health and safety (OH&S) policy, established in accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety (Commonwealth Employment) Act 1991.

The Institute has a nominated health and safety representative. Two workspace assessments were organised for staff during the transitioning phase of the building refurbishment and access to personal workspace advice from a qualified OH&S consultant was provided throughout the year. There were no major OH&S issues during the year.

The AIC continues to provide access to professional counselling services for its staff and their families through the Employee Assistance Program. This service is offered to assist staff with any personal or work related problems.

Indemnity and insurance premiums for officers

During 2007-08 the AIC again took part in the ComCover Benchmarking Survey for insurance purposes. As a result of the Institute's effective risk management program, Comcover granted a 4.5 per cent discount on the insurance premium for the year.

Financial operations

Financial performance

Operating revenues for 2007-08 totalled $10,039,235. This included revenue from Government ($7,717,000), goods and services ($1,936,266), interest ($298,843) and other revenue ($87,126).

Total revenue increased by $1,448,865, a 17 percent increase from 2006-07. Major contributors towards the increase were an increase in:

  • revenue from the Government ($2,388,000) for the following measures:
  • - implementation of the AML/CTF reforms
  • - continuation and extension of the whole of government strategy to combat trafficking in persons
  • - investigation of future interventions to protect women and children from violence, particularly domestic violence-related homicide
  • - continuation of the two new DUMA sites, in Footscray and Darwin
  • royalties ($33,528).

Operating expenditures for 2007-08 were $10,379,949. Total expenditure increased by $1,822,954, which represents a 21 percent increase from 2006-07. The major contributor was an increase in employee costs ($744,182) due to the additional resource requirements in order to meet the increased volume and work associated with research contracts. The increase was also affected by an increase in supplier costs ($1,148,311), largely due to the building refurbishment.

The overall result was an operating deficit of $341,714, which was less than the operating loss of $700,000 approved for the AIC building refurbishment project.

Box 3: Building refurbishment

A thorough market test at the expiry of the Institute's building lease in 2006 indicated that a complete refurbishment of the building was the best solution to accommodation requirements. The aim of the refurbishment was to provide improved physical and electronic security and better conference facilities to conduct seminars, roundtable discussions and meetings, and to increase the workload capacity and outputs of the Institute with increased staff accommodation. A positive outcome of the refurbishment was an improvement in environmental impact through initiatives including use of sensor lighting and air conditioning systems, and installation of energy efficient equipment, and water saving showerheads and dual flush toilets.

Budget and financial position

The market test prior to the refurbishment showed that the Institute would save at least $200,000 a year by proceeding with the works. The financial analysis of the proposition to remain in the current building and undertake the refurbishment works providing upgraded lighting, air conditioning, workspaces and toilet facilities was clearly advantageous. Base building works were at the expense of the landlord and included refitting kitchens and bathrooms, and ceiling and air conditioning work.

Management of the process

A committee with staff representatives provided input into the planning by the architects and project manager with respect to individual workstation and furniture needs, staging arrangements, and communicating plans with staff. Communication clearly articulated the reasons for the building refit and noted the benefits of greatly enhanced conference and meeting facilities, modern and enhanced kitchen and bathroom facilities, natural light, increased capacity for recruitment, and location of all researchers on the first floor. Staff were kept abreast of progress and issues by email and intranet bulletins.

During the refurbishment, research staff were relocated to serviced offices in nearby Fyshwick with the ability to access the Institute's ICT network via a virtual private network. With most noisy work and water, electrical or air conditioning stoppages conducted out of hours, productivity of corporate, library and executive staff who remained onsite was not measurably affected.

The refurbished building

The official handover from the builders occurred on 22 February 2007. The first floor now accommodates 40 research staff, the Executive unit, and desks for auditors, contract staff, visiting researchers or interns. Other features include a meeting room, waiting area and break-out area

The ground floor accommodates a boardroom as part of the conference and meeting facilities, with breakout rooms, an expanded foyer and a formal reception area. The boardroom and conference facilities include large LCD screens. A new boardroom table has been crafted using a selection of Australian timbers. Both floors have improved bathroom and kitchen facilities.

Internal and external seminars, roundtables and meetings have been held in the new facilities, with positive feedback on the amenities.

Consultancy services

During 2007-08, the Institute engaged 17 consultancies with contract values more than $10,000 at a total cost of $469,597. The majority of this expenditure was in relation to ICT services, the building refurbishment and internal and external audit.

Purchasing

The AIC has developed internal policies and procedures for purchasing goods and services. These are included in the Director's instructions and are in accordance with the Commonwealth procurement guidelines and Ministerial approvals required under the Institute's founding legislation.

Advertising and market research

The Institute did not engage any vendors for advertising or market research in 2007-08.

ICT services

ICT services comprise the local and wide area networks, desktop PCs and office automation services such as telephone and security monitoring systems, electronic mail, intranet and access to internet services. The Institute has continued its shared model to increase service levels and reduce risk.

A continuing partnership with 4D and internal growth with the appointment of a database administrator have allowed the AIC to maintain a high level of services to its users.

A new knowledge management system has been chosen by the AIC following the release of a recent request for quote. The new system will be TRIM, which is designed to integrate document management, records management, library cataloguing and web content management into one system. This integration allows for improved performance for IT systems and gives users additional functionality and control over the AIC's primary product: data.

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