Equal Employment Opportunity Annual Report – 1992 EEO Activities 1991–1992

EEO activities are described under the Section 6 headings of the Act.

Section 6(a): Informing Employees

The Bank's internal publications were again the main source of EEO-related information for staff:

  • “Staff Matters”, a news sheet distributed to all staff, and the Information Digest, which is circulated to management, both contained information related to EEO issues or activities. In addition, “Currency”, the Bank's monthly staff magazine, contained a number of general interest articles on EEO issues, including profiles of some Bank staff from non-English speaking backgrounds, work and family issues and the Bank's involvement with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Network.
  • A revised Discrimination and Harassment Policy was circulated widely throughout the Bank. A copy of the Policy is included in the induction kit for new employees.
  • In October 1991, the EEO Annual Report was distributed to staff.
  • Presentations to managers and supervisors on flexible work options commenced, and were followed up with sessions involving a wider cross-section of staff.
  • EEO awareness/training sessions were included in the induction, supervision and management courses held during the year for Bank staff. EEO principles were incorporated into newly developed training modules on selection techniques and performance appraisal. EEO sessions were also included in training for Training Officers and for Senior Administrative Officers who are responsible for monitoring the implementation of personnel policies. EEO awareness sessions were developed and conducted for Head Office staff involved in recruitment and selection of staff.
  • Individual discussions on EEO issues with managers and staff in both Head Office and branches continued.
  • Information flows to EEO liaison officers in the Bank's branches were reviewed. Information is now distributed bi-monthly and includes relevant journal articles, information on activities, legislation and developments in each state.
  • An information booklet on school holiday care and activities in NSW was prepared and distributed to Head Office Departments and Sydney Branch.

Section 6(b): Conferring Responsibility

The EEO Policy Committee, whose terms of reference are listed in Appendix 1, oversees the development of policy and monitors the implementation of the Bank's program. During the year the structure of the Committee was reviewed to assess the need for possible changes after six years of operation; it was decided that the current structure remained appropriate, apart from the addition of a co-opted member who has special interest in people with disabilities.

As part of the restructuring process within the Bank, new position descriptions have been approved for all positions and where specific EEO responsibilities are part of the job, an appropriate statement has been included.

Consistent with the move toward decentralisation of day-to-day personnel decisions, responsibility for EEO rests with managers and supervisors throughout the Bank; the EEO Unit's primary role is to provide policy advice and support to the rest of the Bank.

Section 6(c): Consultation with Trade Unions

The EEO Unit continues to liaise with the major staff union on EEO matters. A representative of this union is a member of the EEO Policy Committee.

Consultation during the year included discussion on the entitlements of women returning to the Bank from maternity leave in the context of the restructuring process, and progress in exploring additional flexible work options.

In October, the Industrial Relations Commission approved the Note Printing Australia Award, which provides common terms and conditions for all NPA staff. As part of the Award conditions a Joint Union/Management Consultative Committee has been established. The Committee has equal numbers of management and union representatives and meets regularly to investigate, determine, and make recommendations on a range of business and staff matters, including EEO. A new Staff Handbook to include sections on Employment; Recruitment; Selection and EEO; Staff Training; and Sexual Harassment is currently under discussion with NPA unions. Policies on Rehabilitation and Substance Abuse were finalised and issued during the year.

Section 6(d): Consultation with Employees

Formal and informal consultation with groups and individual staff members continued throughout the year. Of particular note were:

  • Regular meetings of the Women's Discussion Network Group. The Group focussed on a number of issues, particularly related to the need for increased flexible work arrangements; a discussion paper on this issue was distributed to a number of managers throughout the Bank. Sessions on career development issues for women in the Bank were also conducted.
  • Discussions with Aboriginal trainees to identify special needs and to assist, when necessary, with appropriate levels of support.
  • Discussions with some staff with disabilities to determine their needs for equipment and/or other support.
  • Interviews with women before commencement of maternity leave to clarify the options open to them.
  • Visits to a number of branches to discuss flexible work options and other EEO issues.

Section 6(e): Collection of Statistics

The Bank continues to collect EEO data from new entrants; combined with data obtained in earlier years and a special survey of staff in 1987, EEO statistics are now available for 97% of Bank staff (excluding NPA).

In examining existing data, and collecting new data, particular attention has been paid to:

  • Parental leave statistics, including numbers returning to part-time work, numbers returning to full-time work and numbers of resignations.
  • Analysis of the Bank's salaried classification and age profiles by gender before and at the completion of the restructure.
  • Analysis of Early Retirement and Voluntary Redundancy Offer data.
  • Analysis of the 4,300 applications for 950 internally advertised jobs which occurred as part of the Bank's restructuring process.
  • The collection and analysis of data on graduate recruitment.
  • Analysis of information on the application rate for traineeships from people with disabilities and Aboriginal people.
  • Collection and analysis of exit interview data from staff, including those who resigned after maternity leave or part-time work.

Statistics have also been collected from external sources on Aboriginal demographics, Australian population demographics and labour force participation rates.

Graph Showing Age Distribution of Staff

Section 6(f): Consideration of Policies and Examination of Practices

The main areas under examination over the past twelve months include:

Selection Procedures: As indicated in last year's Report, new procedures for staff selection have been introduced to enhance fairness, merit and openness in the appointment and promotion of Bank staff. Changes included the introduction of written applications for advertised positions and interviews by a selection panel. Changes to the definition of efficiency and to promotion appeals procedures were also made.

Promotion appeals procedures are currently being codified and updated. Once completed, information on the changes will be distributed to staff.

At NPA, a Recruitment Selection and Equal Opportunity Policy applicable to all staff has been introduced. The Policy covers all aspects of the recruitment and selection process, including the application, interview and final selection decision.

Grievances: The Bank's Grievance Authority met on ten occasions in 1991/92 in response to grievances lodged by eight staff members: five of these were related to promotion/selection issues arising from the restructure, two to difficulties with inter-branch transfers and one to termination of service. The separate Grievance Authority established by NPA in 1991, was not required to meet during the past year.

Further research and discussions with managers on the appointment and role of grievance officers has continued. Draft guide-lines and recommendations are currently being prepared to clarify the grievance officer role and to determine an appropriate selection process.

Performance Assessment and Skills Review: A new Performance Assessment and Skills Review system was introduced for staff in August 1991. It provides for regular discussion between supervisors and employees and the setting of goals based on the job objectives; these in turn provide the basis for determining annual salary increments that are dependent upon satisfactory levels of performance. Monitoring of the new arrangements is underway to ensure equitable treatment of staff.

In September 1991. NPA introduced a new Performance Review System, which identifies training and development needs and establishes performance targets and goals for the future. The system is based mainly on self assessment.

Position Descriptions: As part of the restructuring process all position descriptions have been rewritten. Where relevant, specific EEO responsibilities have been included. All supervisory positions have been given explicit responsibility for the development of subordinate staff.

Women on Maternity Leave: During the year responsibility for placement on return and on-going liaison with officers on maternity leave was transferred from Personnel Department to functional areas throughout the Bank. Draft guidelines have been developed which provide for jobs to be held open for up to twelve months to enable women on maternity leave (and other staff on unpaid leave) to return to their substantive positions.

Graph Showing Return of Women from Maternity Leave

Training: Prior to the introduction of the new Performance Assessment and Skills Review arrangements, an extensive program of training was implemented for managers, supervisors and other staff. Supervisors in particular received additional training on their responsibilities, including EEO awareness in relation to women and people in designated groups, on goal setting and feedback sessions. A widespread training program also occurred to assist staff participating in selection panels; job applicants were given training on the new selection procedures. A Guide to Selection Panels was issued to staff, together with notes on preparing job applications and for job interviews.

A questionnaire has been developed for distribution to women at supervisory and management levels to gather information on the relevance of the range of training available and to help identify any barriers to training experienced by this group. The possibility of scheduling residential training courses during school holidays is also being canvassed. A non-residential supervision course has been developed and will be offered later in the year.

A total of 241 staff received study assistance from the Bank in 1991/92; 37% of these were women, similar to last year's figures.

Several departments and all branches have undertaken strategic planning sessions during the past year to clarify and redefine their roles, and to develop and encourage improved teamwork.

At NPA, a new and comprehensive Staff Training Policy has been introduced with the aim of giving all staff access to internal and external training and so assist staff to acquire the necessary skills to progress through the organisational structure. These training activities are being developed in conjunction with educational institutions and are expected to lead to recognised qualifications.

Graph Showing Study Assistance

Aboriginal Employment: Considerable effort was made during the year to increase the number of Aboriginal applicants for traineeship positions, and two further traineeships were offered for 1992/93. Of the trainees who commenced traineeships with the Bank in 1991, one resigned to complete high school education and the other was offered full-time employment with the Bank.

An awareness session was conducted for Head Office and Sydney branch staff involved in the recruitment and placement of Aboriginal trainees. The Bank has continued to participate actively in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Network.

People with Disabilities: Specific efforts were made during the year to recruit a trainee with a disability, including discussions with agencies which specialise in the training, testing and placement of people with disabilities in open employment. One traineeship was offered.

In addition, a range of equipment for people with disabilities has been investigated. For hearing impaired staff, two telephone typewriter (TTY) telephones have been purchased. Most external advertisements for staff and other material available to the general public will now list the Bank's TTY number.

Staff on Parental Leave: To help determine demand for part-time work or other flexible work arrangements, additional information has been collected on the return rate of women from parental leave.

A pilot workshop was conducted and evaluated for women who had returned recently to work.

Flexible Work Arrangements: Staff with family care responsibilities were advised that they could request a ½ hour lunch break to enable them to start later or finish earlier to help meet their family commitments. Discussions with Head Office departments and branches about options for flexible work arrangements were commenced. All areas were invited to comment and provide feedback on options most suited to their area, so that a package suitable for the Bank's needs and its staff can be prepared for detailed consideration.


The Bank's third two-year EEO plan formally expired at end June 1992.

In summary, the major objectives of this plan were to increase career opportunities for women and target group members, to ensure a non-discriminatory work environment and personnel practices, and to inform staff of EEO policies and progress. An evaluation of these broad objectives and of the many specific initiatives taken under the plan is currently in train, and will help form a basis for finalising details of the next plan, including a revised set of objectives for the period through to mid 1994 and beyond.

Work has continued in developing indicators to assist in monitoring progress in achieving EEO objectives. In the past year, the series of indicators developed earlier on average incomes, recruitment, promotion and resignation of women and other designated groups, representation within occupational groups, by age and job classifications and training opportunities have been updated. To this has been added improved information about staff on maternity leave and those recently returning. A major upgrade of the Bank's current personnel information system commenced during the year, and steps are being taken to ensure that the new system preserves existing EEO-related information and has the capacity to produce additional EEO indicator statistics.

Section 6(h): Monitoring and Evaluation

As stated earlier, a major restructure of the Bank, which commenced in 1990, continued throughout the year under review. By 30 June 1992, most jobs in the new structure had been filled. Over 950 appointments were made, nearly one-third of these as promotions. At the same time, about 240 staff left the Bank under early retirement or voluntary redundancy offers associated with the restructure. This process has produced some changes to the staff profile of the Bank – and complicated the analysis and interpretation of longer-term trends in EEO statistics. In many respects, however, completion of the restructure will enable a better baseline to be established against which future changes can be measured.

Against this background, and bearing in mind the limitations of longer term analysis, some of the changes suggested by the statistics in Appendices 2 and 3 are:

  • the restructure produced little immediate change in the overall ratio of women to men on the Bank's staff (48:52);
  • there was nevertheless an increase in the proportion of women in supervisory and middle management positions, and a very small increase in the percentage of women in senior management;
  • women received 47% of the 298 promotions during the year, a higher share than in recent past years;
  • although women still occupy the majority of clerical support positions, the total number of these positions has been reduced. Some clerical support positions – particularly in the keyboard and records area – have been redesigned to broaden their scope and improve career opportunities;
  • recruitment of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders, people with disabilities and those with parents from non-English speaking backgrounds increased slightly over the year;
  • the average income of all designated groups rose over the past year; the average income of women rose more than the average income of men.

Although it is not possible to point to a direct causal link between the Bank's EEO plan and these outcomes, the direction of change is certainly consistent with the objectives of the program. Most positively, EEO principles of fairness and equity have become an accepted part of day-to-day people management in the Bank.