3Performance reporting

Performance against agency directions

This section provides performance reporting on the AEC’s activities against the five agency directions specified in the 2015–19 AEC Corporate Plan.

The Corporate Plan agency directions both draw from and contribute to the AEC performance criteria set out for 2015–16 under ‘AEC Program 1.1 – Deliver electoral events’, available in Budget 2016–17 Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS), Budget Related Paper No. 1.8 (Finance Portfolio), page 83 (available at www.finance.gov.au/publications/portfolio-budget-statements/16-17).

A matrix chart mapping the PBS performance criteria to the Corporate Plan agency directions is shown Table 2.

Table 2: Mapping of PBS Performance Criteria for 2015–16 to Corporate Plan Agency Directions (Purposes) 2015–19

PBS PERFORMANCE CRITERIA AEC CORPORATE PLAN AGENCY DIRECTIONS (PURPOSES)
Deliver a changed model for Electoral events Govern the organisation for quality and assurance Professionalise the workforce Re‑establish the reputation of the AEC Build an agile and responsive organisation

Federal Elections, By-elections and Referendums

  • Federal electoral events are successfully delivered.
  • Maintain ability to conduct a federal electoral event within the timeframe determined by the Electoral Commissioner.
Yes Yes Yes  N/A Yes

Electoral Roll Management

  • High level of confidence in the Electoral Roll.
 N/A Yes  N/A Yes Yes

Support Services for Electoral Redistributions

  • Effective and timely conduct of redistribution activities.
 N/A Yes Yes  N/A  N/A

Party Registrations and Financial Disclosure

  • Party registration processed in accordance with the Electoral Act.
  • Financial disclosures obtained and placed on the public record in accordance with the Electoral Act.
 N/A Yes Yes  N/A  N/A

Industrial and Commercial Elections

  • Industrial elections are delivered in accordance with the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 and each organisation’s rules.
  • Protected Action Ballots are delivered in accordance with the provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 and the orders issued by the Fair Work Commission.
  • Torres Strait Regional Authority elections are delivered in accordance with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Act 2005.
Yes  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A

Public Awareness

  • Electoral education is provided to Australian schools through the operation of the National Electoral Education Centre, conduct of teacher professional development workshops and provision of education resources.
  • Information is timely and accurate, uses appropriate technology and channels, and meets accessibility standards.
  • Provide targeted and culturally appropriate electoral services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through the delivery of the Indigenous Electoral Participation Program.
 N/A  N/A Yes Yes Yes

Statement by the Electoral Commissioner

I, as the accountable authority of the Australian Electoral Commission, present the 2015–16 annual performance statements of the Australian Electoral Commission, as required under paragraph 39(1)(a) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act). In my opinion these annual performance statements are based on properly maintained records, accurately reflect the performance of the entity, and comply with subsection 39(2) of the PGPA Act.

Tom Rogers
Electoral Commissioner
4 October 2016

Our performance against the agency directions is as follows.

AGENCY DIRECTION 1

Deliver a changed model for elections and referendums

Performance criteria Source Result
1.1 Federal electoral events are successfully delivered AEC 2015-19 Corporate Plan, p. 9 Partly met
1.2 Maintain ability to conduct a federal electoral event within the timeframe determined by the Electoral Commissioner AEC 2015-19 Corporate Plan, p. 9 Met
Explanation
Criterion 1.1 was partly met. Assessment of the service plans of the two federal by‑elections, Canning, WA (September 2015) and North Sydney, New South Wales (December 2015) identified minor aspects that were not achieved according to the plans.
Criterion 1.2 was met with the development and refinement of an election readiness framework – specifically the introduction of the 2016 Election Ready Road Map. At the issue of writs, inputs were ready to conduct both the Canning and North Sydney by‑elections, and the 2016 federal election.
What we did

In April 2015, the AEC introduced the Election Ready Road Map (ERRM), a key component of the election readiness framework.

The ERRM sets out the sequence of actions over three phases that need to be completed between the return of writs from the previous election and the issue of the writs for the next election. It also connects the lessons learned from the last electoral event with the actions the AEC needs to take in preparing for, and delivering, the next electoral event. The ERRM influences all layers of the AEC.

The elements (or ‘inputs’) that must be ready before the AEC as a whole can be ‘election ready’ have been categorised on the ERRM under the following headings (summarised by the AEC as ‘POLITE’):

Personnel, Organisation, Legislation, Information, Training, Equipment, support and facilities.

The POLITE inputs: provide a foundation for adapting to changing circumstances; guide the conduct of the right tasks at the right time; and coordinate work across different (but interconnected) areas of the AEC. This framework was applied in the delivery of the two by-elections.

Recommendations from the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, the Keelty Report and the Australian National Audit Office were considered in planning the delivery of the 2016 federal election.

Areas for further improvement

A revised framework was introduced to assess lessons learned from conducting the Canning and North Sydney by-elections. This framework is a more efficient and effective way of evaluating federal elections, and will be used to assess the 2016 federal election.

AGENCY DIRECTION 2

Govern the organisation for quality and assurance

Performance criteria Source Result
2.1 Assurance framework is implemented AEC 2015-19 Corporate Plan, p. 9 Met
2.2 An enterprise performance and reporting framework is implemented AEC 2015-19 Corporate Plan, p. 9 Met
2.3 High level of confidence in the accuracy of the electoral roll AEC 2015-19 Corporate Plan, p. 9 Met
Explanation
Criterion 2.1 was met with implementation of a documented assurance framework, together with a complementary operational compliance plan, that were endorsed by the Business Assurance Committee at its June 2016 meeting.
Criterion 2.2 was met with the introduction of a performance and reporting framework underpinned by the Accountable Authority Instructions and regular reporting to the AEC Executive.
Criterion 2.3 was met with an increase in roll completeness, with almost one million people added to the roll since the 2013 federal election. There has also been an improvement in the core component of roll integrity through more sophisticated quality controls that give greater confidence in the accuracy of the roll.
What we did

Throughout the year the AEC’s focus has been on electoral integrity through the AEC values of quality, agility and professionalism. The AEC upholds the sanctity of the ballot paper in all its forms and at all times, supported by the ballot paper handling principles and the concept of ‘every task matters’.

A new planning, performance and reporting framework was implemented throughout 2015–16. It supports staff involved in planning, delivering outcomes, and managing resources and finances. This was integral to the structures, processes, controls and behaviours that support sections of the PGPA Act. In addition, an assurance framework was implemented that outlines how the Executive Leadership Team will gain assurance that the agency is operating efficiently and effectively, and meeting agency objectives.

The AEC has also focused on improving the foundations that support the organisation with not only the introduction of the performance and reporting framework, but also enhancements to the project management and risk management frameworks to ensure more accountability, and alignment of the AEC’s Internal Audit Plan with the risk profile.

A range of measures were implemented via the Roll Program, based on the Electoral Integrity Framework, to improve roll completeness and accuracy, and reduce state and federal electoral roll divergence. The measures included streamlining workflows and workloads nationally to assist in updating the roll within required timeframes.

Areas for further improvement

The implementation of the performance, planning and reporting framework, together with the assurance framework, has led to improved Executive decision-making throughout the agency and supports the established continual improvement platform. The implementation of an electronic document and records management system will further enhance availability of the right information to support risk-based decision-making.

AGENCY DIRECTION 3

Professionalise the workforce

Performance criteria Source Result
3.1 An election workforce planning strategy is implemented AEC 2015-19 Corporate Plan, p. 9 Met
3.2 The election workforce is ‘match fit’ before the anticipated 2016 election AEC 2015-19 Corporate Plan, p. 9 Not met
3.3 Management capability of key cohorts addressed in development plans and delivered with 90 per cent participating in courses where appropriate AEC 2015-19 Corporate Plan, p. 9 Partly met
Explanation
Criterion 3.1 was met with the finalisation of the AEC Workforce Plan, in line with the AEC’s Directed Level of Election Readiness. The Workforce Plan informed the staffing model and training requirements for the 2016 federal election.
Criterion 3.2 was not met as the strategy was not operationalised and therefore could not be measured.
Criterion 3.3 was partly met. Due to the election preparations this program was put on hold.
What we did

The AEC developed and began to implement a core skills and capability training program designed to ensure that AEC staff at all levels could do their jobs competently. Further to this, a Coaching Program was piloted with selected staff, and project management and performance management courses were delivered throughout the States and Territories. This was part of a broader program aimed at becoming a learning organisation to support cultural change, and attract, retain and develop a more professional and agile workforce.

New workforce plans covering election-critical ongoing and non-ongoing job roles at divisional and state levels were implemented; these plans were aimed at delivering a ‘match fit’ workforce in accordance with the election readiness framework.

Areas for further improvement

With preparations for the 2016 federal election, the highest importance was placed on ensuring the temporary election workforce were trained and capable of undertaking their electoral roles. Consequently, implementation of the newly developed AEC staff core skills and capability training program was only partly achieved. Implementation will continue after the 2016 federal election.

Further work will continue on an appropriate model to manage staff ‘match fitness’ contingencies and redundancy gaps ahead of future electoral events.

AGENCY DIRECTION 4

Re-establish the reputation of the AEC

Performance criteria Source Result
4.1 Productive relationship is maintained with the Minister, Parliament, key agencies and other stakeholders AEC 2015-19 Corporate Plan, p. 9 Met
4.2 High quality services delivered with effective management of issues in line with relevant legislation and agreements AEC 2015-19 Corporate Plan, p. 9 Partly met
4.3 Information is timely and accurate, uses appropriate technology and channels, and meets accessibility standards AEC 2015-19 Corporate Plan, p. 9 Met
Explanation
Criterion 4.1 was met with the AEC continuing to meet the commitments made to key stakeholders, including the Minister and the Parliament. The Commissioner met regularly with key external stakeholders throughout the year.
Criterion 4.2 was partly met. While the AEC continues to provide high quality services in line with our values of quality, agility and professionalism, there were instances where the conduct of other electoral services, particularly industrial and commercial elections, were not completed in line with complex legislation.
Criterion 4.3 was met with the delivery of engaging and informative education and communication products to the Australian public.
What we did

Throughout 2015–16 the AEC continued to maintain a productive working relationship with the Minister and the Minister’s Office through timely and informative responses to questions, as well as by keeping the Minister appropriately informed.

The AEC contributed to seven Parliamentary inquiries related to electoral matters, through submissions and letters, and appearances. Other high quality services were provided to state Electoral Commissions, political parties and the public through the supply of electoral roll products, party registration and financial disclosure support.

In 2015–16, outside of the federal election period, the AEC received and responded to over 43 000 phone calls, 30 000 emails and 10 000 in-person contacts from the public. In the period 2 May to 30 June 2016, the election contact service centre (in partnership with the Department of Human Services) responded to over 560 000 telephone enquiries, 56 000 email enquiries and 35 000 requests for products. The AEC’s Your official guide to the 2016 federal election was delivered to over 10 million households. A new publication, Voting in Australia, was distributed to over 90 000 students in over 9 500 schools, as well as being made available to schools and the public on the AEC’s website.

Areas for further improvement

In accord with our values of professionalism, quality and agility, the AEC will continue to build on and further improve external-facing services, as well as our international services, funding and disclosure services, and the provision of roll products.

AGENCY DIRECTION 5

Build an agile and responsive organisation

Performance criteria Source Result
5.1 Develop an established and efficient election evaluation model AEC 2015-19 Corporate Plan, p. 9 Met
5.2 Create an environment to encourage innovative practices to support the AEC and the conduct of electoral events AEC 2015-19 Corporate Plan, p. 9 Partly met
Explanation
Criterion 5.1 was met with the implementation of the AEC’s lessons-learned framework approved by the Electoral Commissioner.
Criterion 5.2 was partly met with the AEC developing innovative solutions to enhance the electoral process, which was supported by implementation of a new IT Strategic Plan.
What we did

In the lead-up to the 2016 federal election, programs and systems were either developed or enhanced to support the electoral reform program, as well as election readiness and delivery. These were underpinned by the IT Strategic Plan, which was developed to support key business initiatives and program development. The new or enhanced systems delivered more efficient administration of the AEC that better met the expectations of internal stakeholders.

The introduction of the lessons-learned framework was to ensure that observations made at elections are sufficiently captured and reviewed in order to learn from actions that were implemented. ‘Lessons learned’ is designed to foster innovation within the agency, and enhance the way we operate. This process will be conducted internally by an independent area within the AEC. This will provide sufficient information for timely decision-making and responsiveness in the lead-up to the next electoral event.

The AEC is on a journey to create a new environment that supports innovation and agility. The Senate Reform Program is an example of how the AEC, in a short time frame of 12 weeks, reprioritised and reallocated resources to produce a new system of counting Senate ballot papers using scanning technology.

Areas for further improvement

The AEC, in line with the three phases of the electoral cycle, will continue taking a more strategic approach to developing and delivering better services both externally and internally. A scoping exercise will be undertaken in the coming year to identify appropriate opportunities for this.