Reserve Bank of Australia Annual Report – 1986 The Bank's Staff

The Bank has continued to face considerable challenges within the rapidly changing financial system. The sharp changes in monetary conditions and relevant policies over the past year have called for great vigilance and resource. Standards of efficiency in the Bank's operations generally continue to rise. The Board records its warm appreciation of the high standards set and achieved by the staff of the Bank in all areas.

Staff numbers increased slightly in 1985/86 after falling in each of the previous two years (see table on page 46). More efficient procedures, in some cases allied to new technology, have resulted in lower staff numbers in the note printing and cash processing areas.

In some other areas, staff requirements have increased. The Supervision Unit has expanded to cope with the increased number of banks and the broadening of its responsibilities; since June 1984, the number of staff involved in supervision has increased from 15 to 51. The Bank has also devoted additional staff to upgrading financial services to its customers and to improving its own accounting and financial management operations. As a natural by-product of the wider use of computer technology, there has been an increase in numbers of staff engaged on systems design and maintenance, and on computer programming.

In response to the demands of a changing financial environment and rapid technical innovation the Bank has stepped up its training and development programmes for staff in all areas. There has also been an increase in direct recruitment of personnel with particular qualifications or experience, especially in the fields of economics, accounting, law and computing.

The Bank's training programmes involve, depending upon particular circumstances, on-the-job development, in-house courses and seminars, participation in external courses ranging from short seminars to graduate and post-graduate studies, and temporary secondments to areas of Government, to private corporations or overseas to other central banks and international institutions. During 1985/86 5 officers were seconded for varying periods to commercial enterprises in the financial or industrial sectors; 3 were seconded to overseas central banks; and 1 took part in the Australian Public Service Interchange Scheme.

The need for accelerated training and experience has been accentuated by an increase in the loss of staff. Provision for the occasional loss of quality officers to private industry, and sometimes to Government service, has always been an element in the Bank's personnel management. In a sense, it has been seen as a contribution to development of the financial system more generally. In recent years, however, the rapid growth of the financial sector has greatly increased demand for people with the type of training and experience gained in central banking. While central banking as a career continues to hold interest, the Bank cannot in many cases match the emoluments offered by others. Consequently, the numbers choosing to change their careers have increased significantly.

The Bank is an equal opportunity employer. General co-ordination of this function is the responsibility of a Policy Committee with wide representation from within the Bank. The Bank has also engaged a professional EEO co-ordinator.

During the year, the Bank gave special attention to the problem of repetitive strain injury, particularly among keyboard operators. User groups were formed to enable staff to take part in decisions about improved equipment and work practices.

It is Government policy that employees of statutory authorities should have access to acceptable disciplinary appeal procedures. These may be in-house procedures; alternatively, the authority may be brought within the jurisdiction of the Merit Protection and Review Agency, established under the Merit Protection (Australian Government Employees) Act, 1984. The Bank has not previously found it necessary to install formal procedures for handling personal grievances. A set of procedures is being developed in consultation with representatives of the staff which, it is hoped, may be effective and equitable without being unduly formal or legalistic.

Mr A.S. Holmes, OBE, formerly an Adviser on economic matters, died on 15 July 1986. He had retired from the Bank in March. Mr Holmes served with distinction in the Bank in the areas of economic analysis, research and determination of monetary policy. He also undertook special assignments for government, including several years with the Priorities Review Staff and as consultant economist to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Mr J.A. Kirkwood, Adviser, who worked in many policy-making areas of the Bank and most recently has been associated with preparation of the Bank's history, retired in July.

Several branch managers also retired during the past twelve months. Mr David Davidson, Manager for the Northern Territory, retired in November 1985, Mr E.V. Fleming, Manager for New South Wales and Mr F.G. Waite, Manager for Queensland, in February and Mr John Beach, Manager for Victoria, in July.

The Bank's organisational structure is shown on page 64 and a list of senior staff on page 66.

Staff Numbers
Staff classified by: 1984 At 30 June 1985 1986
Services to customers
— banking 1,673 1,607 1,612
— inscribed stock registries 298 306 284
Note printing 625 585 565
Administration of monetary and banking policy 309 321 349
Personnel, Accounting and other supporting functions 803 780 808
Note Printing Branch 625 585 565
Other branches 1,906 1,845 1,834
Head Office 1,177 1,169 1,219
Total 3,708 3,599 3,618