Equity & Diversity Annual Report – 2001 Initiatives Undertaken & Review of Policies and Practices

EEO initiatives undertaken by the Bank during the year are described below. They are grouped as follows: departmental EEO plans; staff selection; career development & staff training; conditions of employment; and collection of statistics. Progress on the Bank's Disability Action Plan is also described.

Review EEO Plan Reports

All departments submitted their progress reports under the 2000–2001 EEO Plan. Initiatives taken over the past year included: an increase in the number of flexible work arrangements being approved; i.e., approval for part-time and other flexible work options and approval of leave without pay options. One department introduced a weekly EEO reminder of specific strategies for supervisors and incorporated regular EEO requirements into their management diary system. Another department utilised flexible leave options for staff to complete their university studies.

Difficulties encountered during implementation of the plan included: reduced recruitment opportunities; increased specialisation in the workplace; and the tendency to still treat EEO as a ‘once-a-year’ task. The Bank's new Diversity Plan 2001–2004 will seek to address these particular issues.

Staff Selection

General Recruitment

As a smaller organisation, the Bank is able to source the major part of its annual recruitment needs from its traineeship, cadetship and graduate employment programs. This was again the case in 2001.

Throughout the year other specialist recruitment needs were filled as they arose either through press advertisements, recruitment agencies, internet job boards and/or the Bank's internet site.


The Traineeship study component was modified and trained on-site by a registered training organisation.

Since 1986 the Bank has supported the Commonwealth Government's Traineeship Program, now known as the New Apprenticeship Scheme, which provides an opportunity to combine on-the-job skills development and the attainment of a post-secondary qualification over a twelve-month period. There is no guarantee of permanent employment with the Bank at the completion of the traineeship though over the last 15 years 38% of trainees have successfully obtained a permanent placement. Permanent employment is dependent on vacancies available at the time the traineeship ends.

The Bank's Traineeship Program 2001 included 13 Business Administration trainees in various departments across Head Office, two specialist trainee positions in Information Technology (IT) and one Print Design trainee. One of the Business Administration trainees successfully transferred into one of the IT trainee positions. Female representation increased this year, with 8 female trainees and 7 males. The structure of this year's traineeship program also differed from last year. The study component previously involved one day per week off-site at a business college. From the commencement of the Traineeship in March 2001, training was conducted on-site by a registered training organisation (RTO). The RTO has considerable experience in traineeships and worked closely with supervisors and Personnel Department towards each trainee's successful completion of a Business Administration Certificate Level III. The Print Design trainee undertook her studies at an industry-recognised TAFE facility. The IT trainees were involved in comprehensive on-the-job training with a specialist information technology RTO providing the competency assessments.

In order to broaden the pool of candidates for the traineeship various sources were used, including relevant recruitment agencies, TAFE colleges, the internet and employment agencies targeting people with disabilities and Indigenous Australians.


The design of the Cadetship Scheme was revised to strengthen it as an avenue for attracting good graduates.

The gender mix for cadetship award applications was similar to graduate applications. In December 2000, 15 cadets (7 women) commenced an eight-week work experience component of the 2000–2001 Cadetship Scheme. The work experience occurs each year during the summer vacation in Economic, Financial Markets and Financial System divisions in Sydney. The cadets spend most of their time on one or two assigned projects, culminating in the writing and presentation of a seminar paper. They also participate in a range of discussion sessions run by senior economists and managers. These sessions are designed to provide the cadet with a greater understanding of the work graduates do in the Bank as well as a broad understanding of macroeconomic policy and related finance issues.

The Cadetship Scheme currently includes salary during the period of work experience, a fortnightly allowance when the cadet returns to study, and assistance with incidentals and university administrative charges (not HECS). Return airfares are included for interstate cadets.

In the past the Bank has not guaranteed a graduate position to the cadet on completion of the cadetship award, notwithstanding that most of the cadets did return as graduates. During 2001, the design of the Cadetship Scheme was revised to strengthen it as an avenue for attracting good graduates and will commence in its new form from January 2002. From this time, firm offers of graduate employment will be made at the completion of the period of work experience and the study allowance component will be directly linked to that offer.

Graduate Recruitment

Graduate recruitment has always been a part of the overall strategy to attract and retain the very best staff. However, in 2001 because of an increasingly competitive graduate recruitment market, the Bank embraced a comprehensive marketing campaign. Internet advertising and on-line applications via the Bank's website complemented traditional media advertising and direct mail campaigns through Australian universities.

As part of the graduate recruitment drive the Bank re-established a physical presence at some university campuses. The Bank had stands at Careers Fairs at the University of Melbourne and a combined campus function in Canberra. The Bank's Regional Office representatives also attended university functions in order to promote the Bank's graduate program. This approach yielded a larger response than hitherto with increased numbers of students applying for graduate positions at the Bank. These graduates will commence employment during the next reporting period.

To assist in the retention of talented staff, managers and supervisors of new graduates attended a staff retention workshop.

The approach to graduate development was also revisited with the proposal to introduce in 2002 a Graduate Development Program to be run over two years with more scope for accelerated progression, structured training and rotation through the policy divisions. This should provide opportunities for graduates across all groups to receive exposure to the diverse types of work carried out in various parts of the Bank, and for departments to observe the skills of a larger number of graduates.

With a view to assisting in the retention of talented staff, some thirty managers and supervisors of new graduates attended a staff retention workshop. The two-day workshop, conducted by an external specialist in the field, took participants through a range of material including that derived from the Bank's exit interviews, industry trends more generally, and the role of leadership in relation to the retention of talented staff.

During the reporting period the Bank also introduced a specific recruitment drive for IT graduates. In recent years, the Bank's contact with IT students has been limited to taking on one or two each year who are embarking on their industrial training year. In order to attract a larger number of candidates, representatives from Personnel and Systems & Technology Departments attended the Careers Fair held at the University of Technology, Sydney. Presence at this fair proved to be an effective way of reaching students and raising the profile of the Bank as an IT employer. The IT graduates will commence employment during the next reporting period.

Career Development & Staff Training

It is important that staff are aware of, and have equal access to appropriate training and development opportunities. Supervisors are encouraged to assess employees' training and development needs throughout the year but particularly during the performance appraisal process and to agree on appropriate action. In 2001, both the number and range of training and development programs offered to staff increased.

The impact of ‘e-learning’ has given staff greater flexibility to gain skills at their convenience whilst maintaining a workplace presence.

Comprehensive in-house training and information was available to all staff via a number of avenues: the classroom; one-on-one; the Self Paced Learning Centre (SPLC); and the Bank's intranet. The directory of Bank provided training courses, course information, training resources and manuals are easily accessible to all staff on the intranet via the PC network. Work continued during the year on improving intranet access to the training directory and making it more user-friendly.

Over 85% of staff are currently connected to on-line training. All staff can access a wide range of development courses on their own PC or in the SPLC. Courses include beginner to advanced training for all the Microsoft Office applications and an extensive range of specialised software applications training for technical staff. The mode of delivery for IT training has changed significantly over the past five years so staff can now learn PC skills at their desk. On-line orientation training is currently being investigated for implementation during 2002. The impact of ‘e-learning’ has given staff greater flexibility to gain skills at their convenience whilst maintaining a workplace presence.

Classroom sessions are provided for upgrade training, new software applications and specialist topics. Classroom sessions are also provided for orientation, performance appraisal, panel selection, document/records management, supervisory and management skills, grievance contact officer training, business writing, presentation skills and leadership. During the year the format and timing of the Bank's in-house management development program was extensively reviewed to ensure that it remains appropriate to the needs of staff and the Bank.

The range of materials available in the Bank's SPLC was broadened again this year to extend the specialist financial resources for new graduates in policy areas. The flexibility of self-paced learning has provided all staff with a range of options for development, which can be organised around work or home commitments. This has proven to be of particular assistance to new recruits and people returning to the workforce following extended leave, such as women returning from parental leave.

Disability Awareness Workshops were conducted in support of the Bank's Disability Action Plan.

Disability Awareness workshops were conducted during the year in support of the Bank's Disability Action Plan. These initially focused on raising the awareness of the needs of members of the public with disabilities who may contact the Bank for information. However the workshops generated broader interest, with over 35 staff participating. As a result the program's focus was widened to include the objective of fostering among staff an understanding of the nature of disability and its impact on people and work. In 2001, trainees and their supervisors were included in the program for the first time.

All the Bank's courses are available to staff on a non-residential basis, if required, to accommodate those with dependant care or other after-hours responsibilities.

The Bank regularly sends participants to a range of external courses in Australia and overseas. Information on Springboard, a professional development course for non-managerial women, was sent to department heads to encourage participation where appropriate; this year 16 women attended the course (last year 13 participants).

Study Assistance & Postgraduate Study Awards

The Bank provides encouragement and support to staff wishing to acquire further qualifications relevant to the work speciality. Study assistance is provided for part-time certificate/diploma courses, undergraduate or postgraduate degrees. Assistance includes reimbursement of university fees/HECS, an incidentals allowance as well as study and exam leave.

The Bank's Postgraduate Study Award Scheme (PGSA) assists a small number of exceptional graduates with around two years' sound job performance to undertake postgraduate studies on a full-time basis. Awards are for study in prominent universities in Australia or overseas and provide financial assistance for up to two years of study. The number of Awards each year is strictly limited to ensure the highest standards are maintained. Over the last five years 15 awards have been issued; of these 5 to female applicants. Some of these applicants have received funding for an overseas masters program and have used this to complete a PhD (if they so wish by spreading the two year funding allowance over a four year period). In 2001, for the first time a female staff member has received funding to undertake a PhD at an overseas university. The PGSA program is currently under review to ensure it remains a valid development tool for graduates and is of continuing benefit to the Bank.

Conditions of Employment

The Bank's EEO Plan has the objective of ensuring that personnel practices and policies are fair and equitable and assists in the retention of valued staff. A number of policies were reviewed over the year, including during the development of an efficiency enhancements agenda for incorporation in an Enterprise Agreement for 2001 and 2002 with workplace unions.

Part-Time Work Arrangements

Current part-time work arrangements will be reviewed with the aim of developing a single set of arrangements which recognise both employee and Bank needs.

Current flexible work arrangements in the Bank have separate rules for permanent part-time work, temporary part-time work, part-time work contiguous with parental leave and job sharing. There is scope to streamline these arrangements in order to enhance flexibility, encourage the establishment of more part-time work opportunities, and enable staff to better understand the options and conditions applicable to part-time work. Accordingly, over 2001 and 2002, current part-time work arrangements will be reviewed with the aim of developing, if practicable, a single set of arrangements, which recognise both employee and Bank needs.

Permanent Part-time Positions

Until now, where a permanent part-time position was created, the Bank has required that it be advertised to staff and filled by merit selection. In future, Assistant Governors/Heads of Function will have the option to transfer staff within and between functional areas to newly created permanent part-time positions (as currently applies for full-time positions) without the need to advertise and fill them by merit selection. This change is aimed at enhancing flexibility for the Bank and facilitating development opportunities for part-time employees.

Work Away from Normal Workplace

The Bank continues to monitor the practices of comparable employers relating to work performed from home or other location. If it appears that the needs of particular employees and the Bank could be satisfied by such arrangements, it is intended that a limited trial would be implemented.

Enhancements to Merit Selection Procedures

Enhancements to merit selection procedures are to be applied from July 2001 – all internal and external applicants will be considered concurrently and short-term contract employees will be allowed to apply for vacant positions on the same footing as other Bank employees.

Two enhancements to merit selection procedures are to be applied from July 2001. All internal and external applicants for vacant positions will be considered concurrently; the Bank considers this will enhance the merit selection process and provide greater efficiencies for workplace selection.

Previously, where a vacant position was advertised both inside the Bank and to the public, practice was to consider the merits of external applicants only if the selection process deemed that a Bank applicant could not fulfil the work requirements of the vacant position to an acceptable standard.

Secondly, to maximise the pool of applicants and enhance the merit selection process, short-term contract employees will be allowed to apply on the same footing as other Bank employees for vacant positions; that is, following completion of six months' satisfactory service. Until now, short-term contract employees have only been eligible to apply for vacant positions advertised to staff provided, inter alia, they have completed 18 months' satisfactory service with the Bank.

Performance Pay

Performance pay outcomes in 2000 were monitored in relation to functional areas, classification levels and EEO groups. The results indicated that the overall performance pay outcome was equitable, in terms of the Bank's guidelines. These results were circulated to staff.

Half-Day Leave

In 1999–2000 the Bank adopted half-day carer's leave on a permanent basis and held a trial of half-day leave for annual leave, sick leave and rostered days. Previously, these leave types could only be taken in minimum periods of one working day. Following review of the outcome of the trial, the Bank agreed to maintain half-day annual leave, sick leave and rostered days as a permanent option for staff.

Training & Development

Training and development opportunities are available to staff at all classification levels in all functional areas of the Bank. During the life of the new Enterprise Agreement, the Bank has committed to conduct a periodic review of the range of training and development programs it utilises and, if appropriate, change the ‘mix’ of courses and arrangements to better utilise the available funds. The review will take into consideration input from managers, supervisors and other employees.

Handling Grievances

Refresher training for all Grievance Contact Officers was conducted to ensure that their skills and knowledge remain up-to-date.

A network of Grievance Contact Officers (GCOs) has been in place for the past five years to assist with the resolution of workplace grievances. A number of new GCOs were appointed during the year and refresher training for all GCOs was conducted to ensure that their skills and knowledge remain up-to-date. GCOs provide advice for staff as to available options regarding grievance issues; they are not involved in the investigation of grievances, which remains the responsibility of managers.

If workplace resolution is unsuccessful, staff can take the grievance to the Bank's Grievance Authority, which is an internal Bank body with an independent chairperson. The Authority does not have jurisdiction to consider grievances arising from the following matters: performance pay outcomes, appraisal rating decisions and promotion decisions (other than investigation of procedural aspects); decisions by the Bank in respect of banking arrangements or Health Society claims; superannuation issues for which the OSF Board of Trustees is responsible; determinations of workers' compensation claims; and matters of a more general nature, such as those related to conditions of employment common to all employees or to a section of employees.

From July 2001, the Grievance Authority no longer has the jurisdiction to review decisions about Bank-initiated terminations. This is consistent with Commonwealth Government policy that employees should only have one avenue of appeal against employer-initiated termination.

The appropriate external appeal avenue for the majority of Bank staff is the Australian Industrial Relations Commission.

After 12 years in the position of Chairperson of the Bank's Grievance Authority, Dr Ian Smith retired during the year. A new chairperson, Mr John Broome, has been appointed. No matters were lodged with the Grievance Authority during the year.

Child Care Review

An investigation was commenced into the practicalities of providing some limited childcare opportunities for staff via salary sacrifice.

During the reporting period an investigation was commenced into the practicalities of providing some limited childcare opportunities for staff via salary sacrifice. Focus groups were conducted with Bank staff to ascertain possible demand and, along with another financial institution as a joint venture partner, childcare centre site visits within the CBD were scheduled and a draft tax ruling sought. There have been a number of legal difficulties encountered to date, in particular the tax treatment of employer-sponsored childcare. The Bank, in conjunction with the joint venture partner, is continuing to evaluate the matter.

Collection of Statistics

The initial comprehensive staff survey for EEO purposes was conducted in 1987. The two main objectives of the survey were to give the Bank an accurate staff profile to assist in developing the Bank's EEO program and to provide a statistical ‘starting point’ for monitoring subsequent changes. Since then the EEO profile has been kept up-to-date by the voluntary completion of an EEO form upon entry to the Bank. During this reporting period staff had the opportunity to update their personal details held by the Bank, including educational qualifications.

Disability Action Plan

The Bank developed its first Disability Action Plan in 1999. The plan aims to identify potential and existing discriminatory practices and enables the Bank to set a schedule of steps for the removal of barriers to people with disabilities. The plan covers the areas of service delivery, accessibility of buildings, communication, employment practices and education and training.

Major initiatives achieved under the plan include: ongoing training sessions on communicating effectively with people with disabilities; facility-related disability action plans have been developed, and disability action plan considerations have been incorporated into the Head Office consolidation project. A second plan will be developed during the coming year.