Australian Institute of Criminology

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Governance and accountability

External scrutiny and review

In 2011–12, no judicial decisions or decisions of administrative tribunals affected the Institute; nor were there any parliamentary committee reports or Ombudsman reports. No Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) audit reports directly affected or involved the AIC.

The AIC is, however, subject to annual statutory audit of its financial statements performed by the ANAO. In addition, regular internal audit reviews are undertaken by an independent consultant. The outcomes of all audits are presented to the Audit Committee and plans are developed for the implementation of recommendations and the ongoing monitoring of actions for improving processes.

The AIC was reviewed under the Strategic Review of Small and Medium Agencies in the Attorney-General’s Portfolio conducted by the DoFD, which was led by Stephen Skehill. This review was part of an ongoing suite of strategic reviews conducted for a Cabinet assessment of how programs and services are performing against current Australian Government policy.

The Expenditure Review Principles, with their focus on appropriateness, effectiveness, efficiency, integration, performance assessment and strategic alignment, drove the strategic review. Other important drivers were the need to explore the potential of shared services and the need to assess the agencies’ desirable level of independence from executive government—either by establishing and/or maintaining agencies that are separate from their portfolio department or by bestowing powers on independent statutory officeholders.

The review concluded that retention of the AIC as a separate independent agency was justified by reference to the Expenditure Review Principles. The criteria, while not actually requiring it, gave considerable strength to the argument that the AIC remain a separate and independent entity. The review considered the corporate services arrangements to be sound and showed that AIC corporate costs were quite low by comparison with the other agencies reviewed.

Corporate governance

In 2011–12, the AIC operated for its first year under the FMA Act. During transition from the CAC Act, the Institute endeavoured to adopt FMA accountability and governance measures to the highest level of corporate integrity in building the Institute’s research, communications and corporate capacities.

The governance changes this financial year brought a significant increase in administrative and legislative compliance and accountability tasks for the Corporate area of the AIC, including the review and implementation of the majority of the AIC’s policies and audit committee charter.

AIC Director (and Chief Executive)

Dr Adam Tomison was appointed Director of the AIC by the Governor-General in 2009 and also became Chief Executive of the Institute after 1 July 2011 when the FMA changes became law.

Criminology Research Advisory Council

The Advisory Council was created through the legislative amendment to the Criminology Research Act 1971 and commenced on 1 July 2011. The role of the Advisory Council and its members is to advise the Director in relation to:

  • the strategic priorities for research in criminology;
  • the priorities for communicating the results of that research; and
  • applications for research grants made under the CRG program.

The Advisory Council and its members have no legal, management or financial responsibility for the AIC.

The Advisory Council consists of nine members representing the Australian Government and state and territory governments. This composition ensures that areas targeted for research funding reflect both national and state/territory priorities.

In 2011–12, the Advisory Council was chaired by Ms Penny Armytage, the Secretary of the Department of Justice in Victoria.

The Advisory Council met on 1 July 2011, 24 November 2011 and 16 March 2012. All meetings were held at the AIC in Canberra.

Members of the Criminology Research Advisory Council as at 30 June 2012

Victoria

Ms Penny Armytage, Secretary, Department of Justice, Chair.

Western Australia

Ms Cheryl Gwilliam, Director General, Department of the Attorney General, Deputy Chair.

Australian Capital Territory

Ms Kathy Leigh, Director-General, Justice and Community Safety Directorate.

Commonwealth

Mr Iain Anderson, First Assistant Secretary, Criminal Justice Division, AGD.

New South Wales

Mr Laurie Glanfield AM, Director General, Department of Attorney General and Justice.

Northern Territory

Mr Richard Coates, Director, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Department of Justice.

Queensland

Mr Terry Ryan, Deputy Director-General, Justice Services, Department of Justice and Attorney General.

South Australia

Ms Ruth Ambler, Executive Director, Strategic Policy & Organisational Performance, Attorney-General’s Department.

Tasmania

Mr Norman Reaburn, Director, Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania.

Audit Committee

The Audit Committee was re-established in July 2011 in accordance with s 46 of the FMA Act. Its objective is to provide independent assurance and assistance to the Director of the AIC about its risk, control and compliance framework, and its external accountability responsibilities. The Audit Committee Charter was reviewed to align with both FMA Act requirements and ANAO better practice guidance.

In 2011–12, the Audit Committee comprised three members, appointed by the Director, two of whom are independent:

  • Mr Norman Reaburn (Chair) (independent member);
  • Mr Kevin Patchell FCPA (independent member); and
  • Dr Rick Brown.

The Institute’s internal audit provider for 2011–12 was PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Meetings were held on 30 August 2011, 23 November 2011, 15 March 2012 and 14 June 2012.

The committee considered three internal audit reports:

  • Knowledge management;
  • FMA conversion post-implementation review; and
  • Financial Statement disclosure review.

The AIC implemented revised Chief Executive’s Instructions (CEIs) during the year in accordance with DoFD’s model CEIs, as well as a new certificate of compliance process, both of which were reviewed by the Audit Committee.

Ethics committee

The AIC Human Research Ethics Committee (the Committee) has been operating since 1992. Its eight members have backgrounds in law, religion, social work and research, as stipulated in the National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines for ethics committees.

The Committee’s role is to advise the Director whether approval to proceed should be granted for proposed research involving human subjects. The Committee regularly reviews proposed projects to ensure that appropriate safeguards exist for the conduct of the research to be consistent with ethical standards.

During the reporting period, the Committee reviewed and approved 14 proposals. The Committee Chair during the year was Professor Nicolas Peterson PhD, Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.

Other members were:

  • Ms Robyn Holder MA (laywoman)
  • Dr Tony Krone PhD (person with knowledge of, and current experience in, research regularly considered by the Human Research Ethics Committee)
  • Ms Barbara Nicholson (Minister of religion or Aboriginal elder)
  • Professor Debra Rickwood PhD, MAPS (person with knowledge of, and current experience in, the care, counselling or treatment of people)
  • Mr Doug Taylor BA (layman)
  • Ms Ruth Treyde BA/LLB (lawyer)
  • Ms Tracy Cussen MSocSc (AIC representative).

Management committees

Senior Executive Committee

The Senior Executive Committee was chaired by Dr Adam Tomison, Director of the AIC. As at 30 June 2012, the other members were Deputy Director (Research), Dr Rick Brown, who started in his position on 1 July 2011 and Mr Brian Russell, Chief Financial Officer (CPO) and acting Corporate Services Manager. The committee considers and provides broad strategic advice on research directions, budget and risk management.

Senior Management Committee

The Senior Management Committee meets monthly to consider and provide advice on research and management priorities and communication and information issues. Its members as at 30 June 2012 were:

  • Dr Adam Tomison Director (Chief Executive) (Chair)
  • Dr Rick Brown Deputy Director Research
  • Brian Russell CFO and Acting Corporate Services Manager
  • Colin Campbell Communications Manager
  • Dr Russell Smith Principal Criminologist and Research Manager, GEEC
  • Professor Peter Homel Principal Criminologist, Crime Prevention
  • Laura Beacroft Research Manager, Crime and Populations
  • Jason Payne Research Manager, VSCM
  • Janine Chandler Library Manager

Other committees

The Information and Communications Technology Committee provided advice to the General Manager Corporate on strategic direction and emerging issues. As at 30 June 2012 members of the ICT Committee were:

  • Dr Adam Tomison Director (Chief Executive)
  • Myles Lambert ICT Manager (Chair)
  • Brian Russell CFO and Deputy Director Corporate
  • Colin Campbell Communications Manager
  • Janine Chandler Library Manager
  • Kate Hogden Web Manager
  • Paul Greenfield Database Administrator
  • Jason Payne Acting Research Manager, VSCM

The Staff Consultative Committee was established formally as part of the negotiation of the Agency Agreement 2009–11 as an acknowledgment that change in the workplace is constant and to identify, implement and encourage better practice, efficiency and productivity. As of 30 June 2012 committee members were:

  • Michael Jeremenko (Director’s representative)
  • Samantha Lyneham
  • Kate Hogden
  • Katie Willis

Risk management

The AIC’s risk management framework provides the mechanism to prevent, or at least minimise, the impact of adverse events on the ability of the Institute to achieve its outcome. The framework aims to provide a systematic way to make informed decisions and gain assurance that risks have been recognised and managed.

The risk management policy and framework is well established and is scheduled for review in early 2012–13. The primary components of the AIC’s risk management strategy are:

  • risk management policy and framework;
  • risk control register;
  • business continuity plan;
  • CEIs;
  • finance policy and procedures;
  • research project management framework; and
  • an internal audit program which is reviewed annually.

The AIC also participates in the annual Comcover risk survey, which seeks to benchmark agencies’ risk management frameworks, programs and systems against those of all participating agencies and peer group agencies. The Institute has recorded above average ratings in the three years it participated in this survey.

Fraud control

No fraud was identified in 2011–12.

As required by the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines, the Director certified that he is confident that:

  • fraud risk assessments and fraud control plans have been prepared that comply with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines;
  • appropriate fraud prevention, detection, investigation and reporting procedures and processes are in place; and
  • annual fraud data that comply with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines have been collected and reported.

Corporate and statutory reporting

Human resources

The AIC’s human resources management framework is designed to maintain a workforce that has the skill set, flexibility and diversity to meet the Institute’s current and future research needs. The framework incorporates access to learning and development opportunities and notes the importance of effective communication and sharing of information. It is reinforced by effective performance development and staff management and relevant workplace health and safety practices.

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 in order to build trust and confidence; and
  • fairness—treating all people equitably and justly and respecting the diversity of ideas, backgrounds and cultures of staff, clients and stakeholders.

Corporate direction was effectively communicated to staff throughout the reporting year at meetings and via the intranet, email and internal blogs informing and updating staff on research projects and on corporate issues and directions.

The AIC and APS values and code of conduct set out the behaviour expected of all AIC employees as they carry out their responsibilities. The code is part of the compendium of documents providing guidance to employees and is discussed with new staff during their induction to the AIC.

The AIC continued to outsource its payroll functions.

Workforce planning

The AIC’s executive management team continually reviews workforce requirements. 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 is essential for meeting research outputs through a collaborative approach and suitable appointments. This includes engaging leading national and international research organisations and individuals.

The Institute aims to be an organisation that values fairness, equity and diversity and is therefore committed to preventing and eliminating discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, sex, gender, sexual preference, age, physical or mental disability, marital status, family responsibilities, pregnancy, religion, political opinion, cultural background and socioeconomic status.

Table 17: Staffing summary at 30 June 2012
Staffing summary at 30 June 2012
Classification and Position Gender Type Tenure Basis Total
Male Female ECA Contract Ongoing Non ongoing Full time Part time
APS1 Trainee
APS2 Admin Assistant 1 1 1 1 1
APS3 Research Officer I/ Admin Officer I 3 4 7 7 7 7
APS4 Research Officer II/ Admin Officer II 3 6 9 1 8 8 1 9
APS5 Research Analyst/ Senior Admin Officer 1 10 11 7 4 10 1 11
APS6 Senior Research Analyst/Senior Admin Officer II 6 6 4 2 6 6
EL1 Principal Research Analyst/Admin Specialist 3 6 9 8 1 7 2 9
EL2 Research Manager/ Admin Executive 6 1 7 4 3 7 7
SES SES Band 1 1 1 1 1 1
Totals 17 34 50 1 24 27 47 4 51
Table 18: Salary ranges at 30 June 2012
Classification and position Salary range
APS1 Trainee $37,600–$42,960
APS2 Admin Assistant $46,150–$50,090
APS3 Research Officer I/Admin Officer I $51,090–$55,620
APS4 Research Officer II/Admin Officer II $56,650–$62,830
APS5 Research Analyst/Senior Admin Officer $64,380–$71,070
APS6 Senior Research Analyst/Senior Admin Officer II $72,100–$82,400
EL1 Principal Research Analyst/Admin Specialist $84,980–$99,190
EL2 Research Manager/Admin Executive $101,870–$128,750
SES SES Band 1 $135,000-

Employment framework and the New Agency Agreement

On 1 July 2011, the AIC became subject to the Public Service Act 1999. While the Institute retains the ability to employ staff under the Criminology Research Act 1971, in August 2011 an s 72 determination was made by the Public Service Commissioner applying to all Institute staff, with the exception of the Director and SES-equivalent employees.

Staff are employed under the terms and conditions of the AIC Agency Agreement 2011–14, approved by Fair Work Australia on 21 December 2011. The Agreement came into effect on 28 December 2011.

As part of enterprise bargaining agreement negotiations held during the year, the AIC reviewed its work level standards and salaries to ensure parity with similar agencies and the broader public service. As a result, some position designations underwent restructuring.

The restructure resulted in salary increases—in addition to real wage increases—for the more junior positions in order to reduce the gap in some salaries between AIC and comparable bodies, which also offered more rapid promotion in some instances. It also provided a more defined structure for research staff, dividing the existing Research Analyst level into two levels—Research Analyst and Senior Research Analyst (separated by a soft barrier)—to create a better career pathway for mid-level staff, should vacancies arise. Senior Research Analysts were reclassified as Principal Research Analysts. In the Research program, the levels of appointment are now:

  • Research Officer Grade 1;
  • Research Officer Grade 2;
  • Research Analyst;
  • Senior Research Analyst (upper half of the former Research Analyst band);
  • Principal Research Analyst (formerly Senior Research Analyst); and
  • Research Manager.

Performance development scheme

Under the Public Service Act 1999 (Cth), APS values require agencies to focus on achieving results and managing performance. Central to effective performance management is credibility. The AIC’s performance and development scheme requires clearly defined performance goals, fairness and transparency in rewarding good performance, and prompt and appropriate management of underperformance.

The AIC supports these principles and is committed to fostering a performance improvement culture within an organisation that values its most important resource—its people.

The scheme emphasises continuous assessment and improvement with a strong focus on improvements in productivity. The scheme promotes fairness by clearly defining expectations that align with corporate goals. It includes:

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

Performance pay

Employees may qualify for a performance bonus in accordance with the AIC’s performance development scheme where they have achieved a performance rating of ‘superior’ or above. Eligible Executive Level 2 and SES employees may qualify for a performance bonus of between two and 10 percent, based on their performance. Eighteen employees received a performance bonus during 2010–11. The total amount of performance bonus paid was $45,774 at an average of $2,543.

Learning and development

The Institute is continuing to develop its induction and training program. The program gives new and existing staff an opportunity to gain knowledge and an understanding of the Institute’s governance, administration, research methodologies and publication processes.

The AIC is also committed to the professional development of its employees. Employees are encouraged to identify activities that have a clear connection with the Institute’s work and can assist their career development. Opportunities are limited by available resources.

In 2011–12, learning and development activities included opportunities to produce authored publications and present internal seminars and/or papers at national and international conferences, and support of formal study. As part of the support of formal study, the Institute supported six staff undertaking postgraduate degrees in 2011–12, including four staff members undertaking a PhD.

The Institute also takes advantage of training days and briefing sessions offered by other government departments and agencies, such as DoFD, Comcover, the National Archives of Australia and the Australian Government Solicitor. Corporate staff have undertaken a number of these programs in order to meet the additional level of compliance and administration associated with the recent transition to the FMA Act and Public Service Act 1999 (Cth).

Highlight 9 Australia Day Achievement Award Medallions 2012

Mike Lau joined the Institute in 2011 as Accounts Officer. His efficiency and professionalism gave him the capacity to provide extra support to the CFO in the refinement of accounts processes, especially in light of the significant changes in the AIC’s legislation and governance arrangements in moving from the CAC Act to FMA Act.

Dylan Jones played a key role in the publications process and substantially expanded the role of publications officer with the development of the electronic publications format in 2011–12, while maintaining his key tasks of in-house design and typesetting of AIC publications. His added expertise as a still and video camera operator captures a range of AIC events and enables presentations to be edited and uploaded to the AIC’s CriminologyTV site.

Seven years ago, new graduate Jessica Anderson joined the AIC as a Research Assistant. Over the years she developed expertise across a number of topics and received promotion to Research Analyst, giving her the opportunity to work on more difficult and challenging projects. In 2011, Jess was selected for part-time secondment to the ACC, which required sound research skills and an ability to engage with the ACC staff to find ways to meet their research needs and inform their strategic thinking and analysis functions. Australia day award winners

Australia Day Award recipients from left: Jessica Anderson, Dylan Jones and Mike Lau

Workplace support

Non-salary benefits provided to staff in 2011–12 reinforce the AIC’s standing as an employer of choice. They included:

  • flexible working arrangements, which exclude the notion of core hours;
  • influenza immunisation;
  • employee assistance services, including counselling;
  • workplace health and safety training in first aid, bullying and harassment, and fire warden training;
  • the opportunity to author (or co-author) research publications;
  • the opportunity for staff to present their work at internal lunchtime seminars and/or external conferences and events; and
  • an in-house program of training in research methods, statistics and criminological theory.

2012 Internship program— January 2012

Applications were invited for the annual four week research internships from undergraduate and postgraduate students entering their final year in 2011 or from students who had completed their studies in 2010. Students in criminology or criminal justice at an Australian university were eligible, as were students in law or social science areas whose subjects included criminological themes. One of the internships was designated as an Indigenous placement and operated in the same way as all other internships. The internships attracted over 70 applications; the AIC granted four internships in 2011.

Each of the interns was assigned to one of AIC’s four research teams and given the experience of working on AIC research projects. Alana Hewitt-Rau worked with the Violent and Serious Crime Monitoring team, co-authoring a report on deaths in motor vehicle pursuits, due to be published later this year.

Kelly Hine worked with the Crime Reduction and Review team on developing material for the CP ASSIST website. Angela Robinson worked with the Crime and Populations team on the development of a literature review and conceptual analysis paper to support the evaluation of the Australian Classification Education program. She also worked on a literature review to support the Indigenous Justice Programs Evaluation project. Elizabeth Rowe worked with the Global Economic and Electronic Crime team. She co-authored a paper on corruption in the public sector, which will be published later this year.

2012 Interns
Alana Hewitt-Rau 2011 Master of Social Science (Criminology) Bachelor of Social Science (Criminal Justice) at Charles Sturt University
Kelly Hine 2012 Bachelor of Psychological Science/Bachelor of Criminology & Criminal Justice (Honours) at Griffith University
Angela Robinson 2011 Bachelor of Arts—majoring in Criminology at University of Tasmania.
Note—completed by distance while maintaining full-time employment as Constable in the Tasmanian Police Force
Elizabeth Rowe 2012 Bachelor of Justice (Honours) at Queensland University of Technology

From left: Alana Hewitt-Rau, Kelly Hine, Angela Robinson and Elizabeth Rowe

Staff communication

The AIC blog continued to provide an online information-sharing facility providing a faster, easier and more efficient method of internal communication than did the bi-monthly staff newsletter. It enables news posts from the Director, or any of the work areas, to be made at any time to all staff.

The intranet is the AIC’s main vehicle for sharing and developing knowledge. It links to information in the public domain in the library catalogue and to the external databases to which the library subscribes. By providing access to research projects, datasets and presentations, the intranet encourages researchers to build on and extend previous AIC research.

New governance arrangements

The Criminology Research Act 1971, the Institute’s enabling legislation, was amended by the Financial Framework Legislation Amendment Act 2010 with effect from 1 July 2011. The amendments merged the AIC and the Criminology Research Council—two CAC Act agencies—into a single FMA agency. The merged entity continues under the name ‘Australian Institute of Criminology’. The change in legislation also made the AIC subject to the Public Service Act 1999 (Cth).

The Corporate Services team spent considerable time during 2011–12 in the management and implementation of the governance, reporting and accountability changes which resulted from the transition to the FMA Act and Public Service Act 1999 (Cth). These changes required some Corporate staff to attend various training and information sessions, along with seeking external advice on a number of matters. The transition was successfully embedded into the Institute’s business and will undergo continued review over the 2012–13 year.

Purchasing

The AIC has developed internal policies and procedures for purchasing goods and services. These are included in the CEIs and are in accordance with the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines and the Institute’s enabling legislation.

Australian National Audit Office access clauses

The AIC’s contract templates contain standard clauses to provide for the Auditor-General to have access to the contractor’s premises. All contracts let during the reporting period contained these standard clauses.

Exempt contracts

The AIC has not entered into any contracts or standing offers that have been exempted from being published in AusTender.

Consultancy services

Consultants are generally engaged when particular specialist expertise is necessary, sufficiently skilled expertise is not immediately available in-house, or independent advice on an issue is required. The services provided by new and continuing consultants in the reporting period included internal audit services, legal advice on the Institute’s change in governance arrangements, contractual and human resource matters.

During 2011–12, seven new consultancy contracts were entered into (including those to a value of less than $10,000), involving total actual expenditure of $64,834 (including GST). In addition, one ongoing consultancy was active during the year, involving a total actual expenditure of $16,367 (including GST). Expenditure for the year totalled $81,201 (including GST) (2010–11: $154,293).

Information on the value of contracts and consultancies is available on the AusTender website, www.tenders.gov.au. Contracts above the value of $100,000 are detailed on the AIC website, www.aic.gov.au.

Information and communications technology services

Strategic plan

The Institute continues the implementation of its ICT Strategic Plan which was reviewed by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) in 2010–11. The first phase of improving IT performance and reliability has been successfully implemented during 2011–12, with a number of benefits being achieved through the increased performance and stability of the IT platform.

Work is now progressing on the second phase of the ICT Strategic plan, improving management of information, with phase three work also to commence during 2012–13.

Network and infrastructure

The AIC implemented server clustering during 2011–12 as part of the implementation of phase one of the IT Strategic plan. This also included enhancements to the communications infrastructure. These changes have resulted in a more reliable and faster service to staff and stakeholders. Ongoing monitoring and review continues to be undertaken to further enhance the system.

The ‘in-sourcing’ of Fedlink (Federal government secure network), which was undertaken in 2010–11, continues to perform well and has been stable since this occurred.

Web services

Work has continued to progress in improving the Institute’s web content management system and the Google search functionality, which operates on the AIC’s main website and ancillary websites is continuing to perform well.

The AIC continues to provide webhosting services to Crimestoppers Australia and Crimestoppers International, with additional sites relocated to the Institute servers during the year. There remain a number of other sites which are expected to be relocated during 2012–13.

The AIC also continues to provide webhosting and web administration services for NDLERF and webhosting services for the Indigenous Justice Clearinghouse.

Government Gateway Reduction Program

The AIC was an active participant in the Government Gateway Reduction Program and continued working with Customs and Border Protection to meet the gateway requirements. The program has the potential to minimise gateway costs to the AIC.