Procurement and purchasing
Purchasing within the ALRC is guided by its Procurement and Purchasing Policy, which is consistent with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPRs). As an agency spending public money, the ALRC must be accountable for its resources and expenditure. The Government requires the ALRC to promote the proper use of resources within the framework of policies that the Government has set for itself and its agencies. These rules aim to achieve efficient, effective and ethical procurement outcomes with a focus on value for money and provide guidelines as to how these outcomes may be realised when undertaking procurement.
The ALRC’s Procurement and Purchasing Policy sets ‘value for money’ as the core principle in procurement decisions and also ensures that the ALRC encourages competition, and ensures the proper use of resources, accountability and transparency. ‘Value for money’ in a procurement process requires a comparative analysis of all relevant costs and benefits of each proposal throughout the whole procurement cycle (whole-of-life costing) and making decisions in an accountable and transparent manner. The ALRC recognises that ‘value for money’ also involves adopting processes that reflect the scale and risk profile of a particular procurement and that simple procurements should be undertaken using simple processes.
Risk management is built into the ALRC’s procurement processes and the extent of risk management required will vary from following routine procurement processes to a significant undertaking involving the highest level of planning, analysis and documentation.
Where the Government establishes a coordinated Whole-of-Government procurement contract for particular goods or services, the ALRC will use the government contract established for those goods or services, unless an exemption has been provided. The ALRC currently uses a coordinated procurement contract for travel, purchasing major office machines, office supplies, desktop computers and Microsoft software.
The ALRC publishes an Annual Procurement Plan on the AusTender website and on its website. During 2012–13, the ALRC did not undertake any reportable procurement.
From time to time, the ALRC may engage a consultant where it lacks specialist expertise. Prior to engaging consultants, the ALRC takes into account the skills and resources required for the task, the skills available internally, and the cost-effectiveness of engaging external expertise. The decision to engage a consultant is made in accordance with the FMA Act and related regulations including the Commonwealth Procurement Rules.
The ALRC did not employ any consultants during 2012–13.
Advertising and market research
As required under s 311A of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (Cth), the ALRC reports that, during 2012–13, it did not undertake any advertising campaigns nor conduct any market research with advertising agencies, market research organisations, polling organisations, direct mail organisations, or media advertising organisations.
The ALRC’s objective is to develop and maintain efficient and effective environmental office practices that comply with relevant government policy and environmental legislation and will ensure continuous improvement of the ALRC’s environmental performance. The ALRC’s Environment Management Policy is available on the ALRC website and, in accordance with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (the EPBC Act), it commits the ALRC to minimise the ecological footprint of its activities by:
incorporating environmental management considerations into core business and management practices including the organisation of the ALRC’s core program—conducting inquiries;
considering environmental impacts of all purchases made and ensuring that, wherever possible, options chosen include recyclable products, minimum packaging and minimum toxic chemicals;
creating a culture where sustainable environmental management is considered an integral element of all ALRC activities and providing information to staff about the recycling system and to maximising energy efficiency;
setting measurable environmental targets as part of a continual improvement process;
regularly monitoring environmental performance and providing reports to Government, as required; and
reviewing this policy at least every two years to ensure it is relevant and delivering desired outcomes. The next revision is due in June 2014.
In line with the principals of ecologically sustainable development, and in line with Section 516A of the EPBC Act, the ALRC makes the following report for 2012–13:
Automated lighting controls are used in the ALRC’s office that switch off office lighting when people are out of office, and non-essential lighting outside of work hours. Employees are reminded to turn off computers, printers and photocopiers over weekends to minimise the ALRC’s energy use. During 2012–13, the ALRC used a total of 32,230 kWh, representing a decrease of 4% from 2011–12.
The MLC Centre achieved 5 star NABERS Energy Base Building. This building uses 1.9% GreenPower
Without GreenPower the rating would be 4.5 stars.
Waste and Recycling
The ALRC supports recycling programs including for paper and comingled recycling as part of our office tenancy. ALRC employees are encouraged to sort waste appropriately in order to maximise recycling and minimise the ALRC’s disposal of waste to landfill.
The ALRC’s office is located at the MLC Centre in 19 Martin Place. While it is not possible to rate the ALRC’s water usage separately, this building achieved a 3.5 star NABERS Water rating.
ALRC employees are encouraged to undertake air travel only where there is a demonstrated business need and other communication methods, such as teleconferencing and videoconferencing, are not available or not appropriate in the circumstance. The ALRC’s air travel is most commonly to undertake consultations for inquiry purposes and to ensure that people from around Australia are able to meet with the ALRC about the areas of law that are under review.
The ALRC does not have a vehicle fleet. When ALRC Executives are provided with vehicles as part of their remuneration they must conform to the ALRC’s Executive Vehicle Policy in which they are asked to treat fuel efficiency and carbon emissions as significant factors when choosing a vehicle. ALRC employees use public transport and share vehicles as far as possible.
The ALRC has committed to reducing the amount of print copies of documents it produces. Consultation papers, including Issues Papers and Discussion Papers, are now only published online, unless there are special circumstances that require a hard copy be produced. This not only reduces the paper used by the ALRC, but also encourages our stakeholders to use e-pubs and online versions.
All employees are encouraged to consider ways to minimise printing and are encouraged to print double-sided for documents that are for internal purposes. The general-use office copy paper is carbon neutral and FSC rated.
The ALRC is committed to the inclusion of, and participation by, people with disability in its Inquiry work. The ALRC encourages consultation with people with disability presenting our publications in a range of different formats and at the end of our inquiries, providing community information sheets that outline the key recommendations made in its reports that may impact on people with disability. Information sheets targeted at people with disability were produced for the Age Barriers to Work and the Family Violence and Commonwealth Laws Inquiries. The ALRC also produces podcasts that provide an overview of Inquiries and the key issues being discussed.
To improve access to web content for all users, the ALRC commissioned Vision Australia to conduct an accessibility audit of the ALRC website. In 2012–13, the ALRC undertook substantial accessibility works to remedy issues revealed in the audit, and in August 2012 Vision Australia provided a Statement of Accessibility confirming that the ALRC website satisfies all Level AA criteria of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0.
The ALRC has a Reasonable Adjustment Policy that allows for people with disability to compete for vacancies and pursue careers at the ALRC as effectively as people who do not have a disability. Reasonable adjustment is the modification of some feature of the workplace or work situation to fit the individual needs of a person with disability. The principles of reasonable adjustment are to be applied in relation to all areas of ALRC employment including recruitment and selection, promotion, training, career development, and performance management. Reasonable adjustment aims to remove physical and organisational barriers which prevent the employment, limit the performance or curtail advancement of people with disability. Reasonable adjustments might include one or more of the following:
adjustments to the workplace, equipment or facilities, including provision of additional equipment or facilities;
adjustments to work-related communications or information provision, including the format in which information is available;
adjustments to work methods;
provision of interpreters, readers, attendants or other work-related assistance;
job redesign, with re-allocation of some duties not suitable for a person with a disability and inclusion of other duties previously the responsibility of another employee; and
providing training to co-workers or supervisors.
Freedom of information
Agencies subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth)(FOI Act) are required to publish information to the public as part of the Information Publication Scheme (IPS). This requirement is in Part II of the FOI Act and has replaced the former requirement to publish a section 8 statement in an Annual Report. The ALRC’s Information Publication Plan (IPP) is updated annually and contains details about the information held within the ALRC, and how it handles this information. It is published on the ALRC website at https://www.alrc.gov.au/ips-agency-plan.
During 2012–13, the ALRC received no FOI requests.
Under s 11C of the FOI Act, the ALRC is required to publish a Disclosure Log of information contained in documents which it has released under the Act, subject to limitations to protect personal and business information or other information that the Australian Information Commissioner may determine is unreasonable to publish. This Disclosure log is at https://www.alrc.gov.au/about/foi-disclosure-log.
During 2012–13, the ALRC developed its Protective Security Policy and Security Plan in response to the Government’s Protective Security Policy Framework (PSPF). This Policy assists the ARLC to identify its responsibilities to:
manage the risks to its people, information and assets;
provide assurance to the Government and the public that official resources and information is safeguarded; and
incorporate protective security into the culture of the ALRC.
The ALRC’s Protective Security Policy complies with the Government’s mandatory requirements and covers governance, personnel security, information security, and physical security. In developing the Policy the ALRC has used a risk management approach, and has taken into consideration the ALRC’s functions, operations and the likelihood of a security threat. The Policy takes into account any risks created by the ALRC for others, as well as the risks inherited from external partners or stakeholders with whom the ALRC communicates.
The ALRC will review this Policy annually, and ensure that the organisation is complying with mandatory requirements. Training in Fraud Control, Business Continuity and in Protective Security occurs bi-annually and is also part of the ALRC’s induction process for new employees to ensure all ALRC employees fully understand their security responsibilities. The ALRC also has a commitment in this Policy to investigate security incidents promptly.
Personnel security: The ALRC ensures the people it employs are suitable and meet high standards of integrity, honesty and tolerance. The ALRC does not require employees to be security cleared as it does not handle any security classified information.
Information security: The ALRC safeguards official information to ensure its confidentiality, integrity, and availability by applying safeguards so that:
information is only accessed by people authorised to access it;
information is only used for its official purpose and satisfies the ALRC’s operational requirements; and
information is classified and labelled correctly as per the ALRC’s Information Classification Policy.
Physical security: The ALRC provides and maintains a safe working environment for employees and the public, and a secure physical environment for their official resources.
The ALRC is not responsible for collecting or processing official information for which there are legislative security requirements. The ALRC reports annually to the Attorney-General, to the Secretary, Attorney-General’s Department, and to the Auditor-General, on the level of the ALRC’s compliance with the Protective Security Policy Framework, as is required.
The ALRC has undertaken an annual security assessment against the mandatory requirements detailed within the PSPF. Based on the ALRC’s internal control mechanisms, including its Protective Security Policy and the advice of the ALRC Audit Committee, the ALRC has complied with all the mandatory requirements of the PSPF during 2012–13.