07 March 2012

MINDEF releases reviews in the Australian Defence Force culture

Today Minister for Defence Stephen Smith, Secretary of the Department of Defence Mr Duncan Lewis and Chief of the Defence Force ("CDF") General David Hurley released the Reviews into Defence Culture and the Defence response to the Reviews: “Pathway to Change: Evolving Defence Culture”.

In April 2011, the Minister for Defence announced a range of Reviews into aspects of the culture both within the Australian Defence Force Academy ("ADFA") and the Australian Defence Force ("ADF") to address ongoing areas of concern in relation to promoting appropriate conduct.

These Reviews were initiated by the then CDF and the then Secretary.

In summary, the Reviews found that while progress has been made, there are still areas of weakness and more work is required to be done to ensure Defence culture is commensurate with the nation’s modern day expectations.

In total, the reviews made 109 recommendations. Of these, 85 have been accepted fully by Defence. The remaining 24 have been accepted in-principle.

Immediate and specific initiatives include:
  • The preparation of an evidence-based alcohol management strategy for implementation within Defence;
  • Defence to ensure that the pricing of alcohol available at Defence establishments is consistent with the alcohol management strategy;
  • Developing an approach to collecting and responding to alcohol related data to enhance its value in terms of managing individuals and strategic planning; this will include alcohol screening of individuals at recruitment and across important career transition points, particularly post-deployment, and a whole of ADF Alcohol Incident Reporting System;
  • Commanders to assess situations in which alcohol is proposed to be used informally or formally and where specific approval would then be required for the use and access to alcohol within ADF work location; and
  • Defence to form alliances and partnerships with other organisations and individual experts on alcohol outside Defence to provide their input into alcohol policy and program development and implementation.
The review of personal conduct of ADF personnel

Each member of the ADF, from the most junior cadet to the most senior officer, is a representative of Defence and our nation. The Defence leadership and the Australian community have a right to expect the highest standard of behaviour and professionalism.

Major General Craig Orme led this review with a focus on assessing the effectiveness and current policies governing ADF conduct, and identifying areas of strength and weakness.

The ADF Personal Conduct Review recommends a culture that is just and inclusive.

The Australian Defence Force will more explicitly state values and behaviours on enlistment, and reinforce them through education and practice.

The Navy, Army and Air Force will continue to improve avenues of communication for members to report concerns about personal conduct through the formal chain of command and through confidential methods of reporting.

The review of the use of social media in Defence

The impact of social media – online technologies enabling people to communicate and share information and resources via the internet – has created new challenges for the ADF and the Defence organisation.

Mr Rob Hudson, from the external consulting company George Patterson Y & R, led a team to examine the impact of the use of social media in Defence, with the aim of developing measures to ensure that the use of new technologies is consistent with ADF and Defence values.

Immediate and specific initiatives include:
  • All policies relating to the use of social media, the internet or cyber activities to be reviewed, including guidelines being reviewed to ensure they are consistent with the overall social media policy and engagement principles;
  • Defence should consider reviewing social media training and the way it is prioritised and delivered in order to ensure consistency, including relevant resources, guidelines and support mechanisms; and
  • Resources will be provided to support the understanding and management of social media in Defence.
The review of Defence Australian Public Service women’s leadership pathways

The review into Defence as an employer of women was led by the former Deputy Public Service Commissioner, Ms Carmel McGregor, who examined the effectiveness of current strategies and proposed recommendations across a range of issues regarding employment pathways for Defence APS women.

Ms McGregor has subsequently been appointed to the position of Deputy Secretary People Strategies and Policy in Defence.

Immediate and specific initiatives include:
  • The Secretary to issue an explicit statement to senior leaders and staff to reinforce the importance of gender diversity to build a sustainable workforce;
  • The establishment of a rotation program for senior women at Senior Executive Service Band 2/3 with the broader APS;
  • Ensure female membership in senior decision-making bodies;
  • Implement a development program for Executive Level women that includes job rotation, as well as over-representing women in existing development programs;
  • Embed a focus on identifying and developing women for leadership roles, including a facilitated shadowing and coaching component, in the new talent management system;
  • Establish a central maternity leave pool for central management of the full-time equivalent liability associated with maternity leave.
The review of the management of incidents and complaints

The Inspector General ADF, Mr Geoff Earley, conducted a review of the management of incidents and complaints in Defence, with specific reference to the treatment of victims, transparency of processes and the jurisdictional interface between military and civil law.

Immediate and specific initiatives in response to the review include:
  • Funding to be provided as a matter of priority to contract out the task of reducing the current grievance backlog of cases to suitably qualified legal firms;
  • Training and information to be provided to ADF member in relation to the management of incidents and complaints will be simplified and improved;
  • Defence’s administrative policies to be amended to provide for administrative suspension from duty, including the circumstances in which a Commander may suspend an ADF member and the conditions which may be imposed on the suspended member; and
  • An improved process to manage grievances in Defence will also be developed.
The Recommendations of this review will be further considered in the context of other reforms to aspects of the military justice system and Part Three of the HMAS Success Commission of Inquiry Report. I tabled a redacted version of Part Three in the Parliament on 9 February.

Implementation of the recommendations of the reviews has commenced. Regular progress reports on implementation will be provided to the Minister for Defence.

The Report of the Review of allegations of sexual and other abuse in Defence can be found here.

1 comment:

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