Significant Issues

Enhancing workforce diversity

Finance has implemented several initiatives to create diversity within the organisation to better represent and serve the members of our community. Whilst some targets have been achieved, we recognise that additional focus and works needs to be applied.

Aboriginal employment

Finance’s Corporate Executive is committed to improving the employment outcomes specifically for persons with a disability and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

In 2017, Finance initiated the Diversity in Finance Employment Plan 2017-22 which outlines targets and steps for improving employment outcomes and creating diversity in the Department.

However, despite these initiatives, Finance is tracking at 0.6 per cent against the 3 per cent target.

As a result we will review our employment and management practices and continue to deliver Cultural Awareness training to create a more inclusive work environment.

Women in management

Following the Government’s Service Priority review, which noted the under-representation of women in the senior echelons of the public sector, Finance commissioned an evidence-based review on the nature and cause of the under-representation of women in management positions.

This review identified barriers to women’s progression and developed a suite of recommendations to achieve a target of 50 per cent of women in management roles (Public Service and Government Officers General Agreement Level 6 equivalent and above).

The Gender Equity Action Plan was implemented throughout the year and included:

  • flexible working arrangements for management roles (including part-time arrangements);
  • improved recruitment practices and unconscious bias training for decision-makers; and
  • more rigorous and frequent reporting on gender metrics.

Recent reviews have highlighted that despite these initiatives, Finance has to change its culture in order to effect change.

The proportion of women in management positions remains at around 45 per cent as more work is required to progress towards the target.

The Corporate Executive has renewed its commitment to the Gender Equity Charter and will:

  • focus on installing an inclusive culture including demonstrating inclusive leadership practices;
  • respectfully call out behaviours and decisions that are not consistent with the gender equity charter;
  • investigate gender equity issues specific to each business unit; and
  • continue with the whole-of-department initiatives included in the Gender Equity Action Plan.

A Gender Equity Champions Group was established in January 2019 and has discussed targeted actions to deliver an inclusive workplace culture that achieves gender balance in management.

Contract Negotiations

The State continues its discussions with John Holland regarding a range of contractual matters for the Perth Children’s Hospital. These include the State's and John Holland’s claims relating to the delivery of the hospital.

Finance, which delivered the project, is in close consultation with the State’s Solicitor’s Office on the matter.

Combatting corruption in procurement

In August 2018, the Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC) released a report into bribery and corruption within the North Metropolitan Health Service, which highlighted serious misconduct by several former public servants and numerous contractors engaged.

Given the serious nature of the findings, government announced an independent review of all existing contractual arrangements with the companies highlighted in the CCC report.

The findings confirmed that the State’s exposure was limited, identifying a total of 15 existing contracts across 129 agencies. As a result, 11 of the 15 contracts were terminated, two were in contractual notice period for termination and the remaining two were essentially inactive as they related to projects which had reached practical completion and were in the defects liability period.

This review coupled with the CCC report has highlighted the need for government agencies and suppliers who do business with government to observe higher standards of ethical conduct.

Finance is responding to this issue through its Enhance Public Sector Procurement reform initiative as part of the Public Sector Reform Program. In addition, a Responsible Supplier Pact has been drafted, which incorporates ethical procurement principles and a supplier code of conduct, encourages industry to:

  • deliver fair work conditions;
  • provide safe and healthy workplaces;
  • operate in an environmentally sustainable manner;
  • act inclusively; and
  • refrain from corrupt, fraudulent and illegal behaviour.

The draft Pact has been launched for public consultation following significant stakeholder input.