Australian Institute of Criminology

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Accountability and management

External governance

Enabling legislation

The AIC was established under s. 5 of the Criminology Research Act 1971. It establishes the functions of the AIC to include the conduct of research and its dissemination, advice and support to the CRC and the collection of information and statistics.

Minister and portfolio

The Minister for Home Affairs, the Honourable Brendan O'Connor MP, is responsible for the institute. The Honourable Bob Debus MP was the Minister until his resignation from the Ministry on 9 June 2009. The AIC sits within the Attorney-General's portfolio.

There were no judicial decisions or decisions of administrative tribunals affecting the institute during the year. There were no reports by the Auditor-General, any Parliamentary Committee or the Ombudsman on the agency during the year.

Board of Management

The Board of Management's role is to set strategic research priorities within general policy and strategic directions. It also has an oversight role in corporate planning and financial management matters. The Board consists of the Director, three members appointed by the Attorney-General and four members appointed by the CRC.

At 30 June 2009, Acting Director of the AIC, Mr Tony Marks was a member of the Board of Management. Professor Fox is the Chair of the Board of Management.

The Board members appointed by the Attorney-General were:

  • Professor Richard Fox AM, Faculty of Law at Monash University. Mr Laurie Glanfield AM acted as Professor Fox's deputy at one meeting
  • Mr John Lawler APM, Chief Executive Officer, ACC
  • Ms Elizabeth Kelly, First Assistant Secretary, Criminal Justice Division AGD.

Those appointed by the CRC were:

  • Ms Penny Armytage, Secretary, Victorian Department of Justice
  • Ms Ingrid Haythorpe, Executive Director, Police, Planning and Legislation Division, South Australian Attorney-General's Department
  • Mr Norman Reaburn, Director of the Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania.

The Board of Management met on three occasions during the year: 17 July 2008 in Darwin, 21 November 2008 in Canberra and 3 April 2009 in Canberra. There was an 86 percent attendance of Board members at meetings.

Mr Nigel Hadgkiss APM, Dr Dianne Heriot and Ms Renée Leon resigned as Board members during the year.

Audit Committee

The Audit Committee was established in March 1999, in accordance with the provision of s. 32 of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997. The Committee's primary role is to receive internal audit reports on the conduct of institute business, undertake reviews in accordance with the approved audit work plan as approved by the Board of Management and monitor compliance with Committee recommendations and with legislative and other obligations.

The Audit Committee comprised three members of the Board of Management and one independent member—Mr Kevin Patchell FCPA. Meetings were held on 28 August 2008 in Canberra, 21 November 2008 in Canberra and 3 April 2009 in Canberra and are generally coordinated with Board meetings.

The committee considered five internal audit reports: security of information, implementation of the fraud control plan, compliance with current and emerging workplace agreements, financial statements and reporting processes, and risk management.

AIC Ethics Committee

The AIC Ethics Committee has been operating since 1992. It has eight members with backgrounds in law, religion, social work and research as required by the National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines for ethics committees. The Committee's purpose is to advise the Director whether approval to proceed should be granted for proposed projects involving human subjects. It reviews proposed research projects to ensure that appropriate safeguards exist for conduct of the research to be consistent with ethical standards. During this reporting period, the Committee reviewed and approved 15 proposals.

The chair during the year was Professor Nicolas Peterson PhD, FASSA. Other members were:

  • Dr Sandra Lilburn PhD
  • Ms Kiah McGregor BA/BSc, MPopsS
  • Chaplain Gayl Mills
  • Professor Debra Rickwood PhD, MAPS
  • Mr Doug Taylor BA
  • Ms Ruth Treydes BA/LLB
  • Mr Steve Vaughn.

Internal accountability and management

Organisation

The AIC seeks to promote a cooperative and harmonious work environment through:

  • integrity—ethical and honest behaviour
  • professionalism—serving clients and stakeholders in a practical, diligent, thorough and objective manner
  • openness—being accessible and responsive to staff, clients and stakeholders, to build trust and confidence
  • fairness—treating all people equitably and justly, respecting the diversity of ideas, backgrounds and cultures of staff, clients and stakeholders.

The corporate direction has been effectively communicated to institute staff through meetings to inform and update them on research projects and corporate issues and directions, and through the intranet.

AIC values and code of conduct

The AIC values and code of conduct provide information on the conduct expected of all AIC employees in carrying out their responsibilities. The code forms a part of the compendium of documents providing guidance to employees of the AIC and is available to staff on the intranet.

Corporate accountability

Corporate governance practices in the AIC are designed to ensure compliance with statutory and other external requirements aimed at achieving best practice in administrative and financial management. These include an internal audit plan, Director's instructions and all policies and procedures developed and available to staff on the intranet.

Management committees

Two management committees ensure that all sections are consulted in the operations of the institute. They are:

  • the Executive Management Committee—provides advice to the Director on strategic issues. The committee comprises senior management
  • the ICT Committee—actively monitors the performance of the system and provides advice to the General Manager for Corporate Services on strategic directions and emerging issues. The committee comprises representatives from all areas of the institute.

Internal audits

The Board Audit Committee considered the following internal audit reports during 2008–09:

  • security of information
  • implementation of the fraud control plan
  • compliance with current and emerging workplace agreements
  • financial statements and reporting process
  • risk management.

The institute's internal audit service provider for 2008–09 was PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Risk management

The AIC's risk management framework aims to provide a systematic way to make informed decisions and gain assurance that risks have been recognised and managed. The primary components of our risk management strategy are:

  • risk management policy and framework
  • risk control register
  • business continuity plan
  • Director's instructions, which reflect best practice in finance and administration
  • finance policy and procedures
  • an internal audit program which is reviewed annually
  • annual ComCover risk surveys/assessments— the program measures the AIC's performance in implementing risk management processes and policies against the national benchmark.
Total resources for Outcome 1—to inform government of activities which aim to promote justice and reduce crime ($’000)
2008–09 budgeta 2008–09 actualb Variance
a: 2009–10 portfolio budget statements
b: audited 2008–09 financial statements
Total departmental income
Output 1.1—Policy advice and publications
Revenues from government 6,746 6,746
Revenues from other sources 2,693 2,439 254
Output 1.2—Library, information and reference services to support policy advice and publications
Revenues from government 420 420
Revenues from other sources 31 31
Total departmental income for Outcome 1 9,890 9,636 254
Total departmental expenses
Output 1.1—Policy advice and publications 9,937 9,733 204
Output 1.2—Library, information and reference services to support policy advice and publications 503 503
Total departmental expenses for Outcome 1 10,440 10,227 204
Average staffing level (n) 60 59 1

ICT risk management

  • ICT assets register
  • ICT services strategy
  • ICT threat risk assessment
  • ICT contingency plan
  • ICT change management policy.

Research framework

The AIC has a comprehensive research framework that details the context and method by which all research should be carried out. This serves to maintain a clear focus and goal for research within the AIC's legislated objectives and functions. The guidelines ensure that research conducted:

  • is of sound method and analysis
  • complies with ethical guidelines
  • uses appropriate analysis
  • presents findings in a clear, concise and jargon free manner.

A value/risk assessment is undertaken before any research project begins. This assessment takes into account all issues that could arise from the research, from the integrity of the methodology to compliance with relevant legislation and stakeholder obligations.

Information risk management

Other key policies have been developed in regard to document management and research practices. These cover:

  • copyright ownership and attribution
  • confidentiality of information
  • document/paper classification and disposal
  • outside earnings
  • media liaison
  • outside publishing
  • research conduct.

Fraud control plan

The AIC maintains fraud risk assessments, a fraud control plan and processes for fraud prevention, detection, investigation and reporting in accordance with the requirement of the revised Commonwealth fraud control guidelines of May 2002. The fraud plan is an important strategic document that links with our risk management framework and draws together fraud prevention and detection initiatives into one consolidated document.

Human resources

Human resources includes personnel liaison services, staff development, recruitment, industrial relations, OH&S and equal employment opportunity.

The AIC has continued its outsourcing of payroll functions. Staffing levels and numbers are listed in the table below. Some of the current AIC staff are highlighted in Box 9.

Workforce planning

The executive management of the institute continually reviews its workforce requirements. Staff are employed according to the output requirements arising from requests for research and support activities. The AIC also takes account of outsourcing opportunities in the university research and corporate sectors. Flexibility in staffing arrangements is essential to the institute so that research outputs can be met through a collaborative approach and suitable appointments; this includes the engaging of leading research organisations and individuals on a national and international basis.

AIC staff performance was recognised in a number of ways, including regular requests to present and update their research findings. In 2009, three staff members' achievements were recognised with Australia Day medallions (see Box 10) and Dr Kim-Kwang (Raymond) Choo was awarded a Fulbright scholarship (see Box 11).

Workplace diversity

The institute values fairness, equity and diversity. Consistent with that aim, the institute is committed to preventing and eliminating discrimination on the basis of race, colour, gender, sexual preference, age, physical or mental disability, marital status, family responsibilities, pregnancy, religion, political opinion, national extraction or social origin.

Employment framework

With the exception of the Director, staff at the institute are covered by the Employee Collective Agreement 2006–2009, an Australian Workplace Agreement or Common Law Agreement. During the year, negotiations commenced with staff and the Community and Public Sector Union under the government's agency bargaining principles for a new collective agreement to replace the current agreement which expires on 18 August 2009.

Performance development scheme

The AIC's performance and development scheme assists managers and employees to make strategic links between business goals and key result areas when identifying opportunities for development. The scheme ensures greater transparency and consistency in application of performance reviews and rewards for all staff. The scheme emphasises continuous assessment and improvement with a strong focus on improvements in productivity.

The scheme promotes fairness through clearly defining expectations aligned with corporate goals. It includes:

  • transparent appraisal outcomes for all staff
  • individual training and development plans
  • use of review processes at six monthly cycles
  • use of structured underperformance provisions and strategies.
Staffing summary at 30 June 2009
GenderTypeTenureBasis
Classification and salary rangeMaleFemaleTotal staffECAAWAContractOngoingNon-ongoingFull-timePart-time
Research assistant/Administrative officer $40,000–59,000 6 17 23 13 6 4 3 20 22 1
Research analyst/ Senior administrative officer $59,001–92,400 9 22 31 3 17 11 8 23 27 4
Senior research analyst/Executive officer $92,401–125,000 6 2 8 4 4 5 3 8
Senior executive officer >$125,000a 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 2
Total 22 42 64 16 28 20 17 47 59 5
a: includes Director: statutory appointment (Remuneration Tribunal)

Box 9: Staff highlights

The AIC relies on the abilities of a dedicated team of professional staff in coordinating, conducting and disseminating its criminological research. Recently, important roles have been played by:

 Dr Judy Putt

Dr Judy Putt, who after an early period at the institute, returned in late 2003 as a senior research analyst. Since early 2004, she has been General Manager, Research, with responsibility for supervising all research projects of the institute. In 2008–09, Dr Putt worked as General Editor of the AIC's publications and took a strong role in the development and running of the AIC's conferences and other academic events.

 Russell Smith

Dr Russell Smith, first appointed in 1996 and as Principal Criminologist in 2004, is the manager of the Global, Economic and Electronic Crime Program. He has a formidable record of criminal justice publications, presentations and media interviews, particularly in emerging areas of crime.

 Peter Homel

Peter Homel joined the institute in October 2002 as manager of the Crime Reduction and Review team. Over the past seven years, he has built a strong presence with stakeholders in crime prevention capacity building, program evaluation and performance measurement.

 Janet Smith

Janet Smith, who has managed the AIC's JV Barry Library since her appointment in 2003, developed a style guide for the institute's publications and a tracking system for their progress and has overseen the library's contributions to the AIC website. This year, Janet's service was recognised when she received the ALIES Sector Outstanding Service Award.

 Sylvia MacKellar

Sylvia MacKellar, who commenced at the institute in 1987 as secretary to the Assistant Director of Training, has diligently served as executive assistant to all Directors and the Board of Management since 1996. Sylvia has developed substantial experience and corporate knowledge that has been appreciated by all of the Directors she has supported.

 

Learning and development

The institute continues to refine and develop its induction program and emphasise the importance of supporting and displaying the AIC's values. The induction training program provides new staff with an understanding of the institute's governance, research methodologies and publication processes.

The AIC is committed to the training and development of its employees. All employees h ve the chance to take part in relevant training and development activities that have a clear connection with institute work and will assist their ongoing career development. This support may also include on and off the job training, work placements, staff presentations at national and international conferences, formal study and the reimbursement or payment for these activities. Some of the external courses attended in 2008–09 include:

  • qualitative research techniques
  • applied multiple regression analysis
  • data analysis using STATA.

The institute also takes advantage of training days and briefing sessions offered by other government departments and agencies such as ComCover, National Archives and the Australian Government Solicitor.

Staff are also trained internally by senior staff on a range of applications, processes and methodologies, and statistics courses.

In addition to the above, the institute has arranged the mentoring of some staff by leading academics or key business personnel. Six staff members are completing their PhDs with the ongoing support of the institute.

The institute recognises that staff involvement in these types of activities will contribute to the achievement of institute goals.

Box 10: Australia Day achievement medallions

Three members of staff were awarded Australia Day medallions in 2009 in recognition of their contribution to the institute's achievements.

Katalina Bradley, Finance Officer

Katalina consistently applies herself to tasks, always meets deadlines, is accurate, responsive and completes her 'back office' work in support of the institute's goals with a smile. Katalina has done this consistently in Corporate Services through a period of substantial financial management change and staff turnover in the past couple of years. Katalina exemplifies AIC values in the professional approach she demonstrates to staff, the Board and corporate customers. AIC internal audit results indicate her attention to detail and application of institute policies in the acquittal of her functions is very good. She is a team player and has a great customer service ethic, providing assistance often at short notice and always in a friendly manner.

2009 Australia day achievement medallion recipients Katalina Bradley, Janine Chandler and Jacqui Joudo Larsen.2009 Australia day achievement medallion recipients Katalina Bradley, Janine Chandler and Jacqui Joudo Larsen.
Janine Chandler, Client Service Librarian

Researchers often remark that Janine has made it possible for them to complete their work, by finding material they've been advised to consult but have spent fruitless hours searching for, and recommending and knowing resources that they would not have dreamed of. She combines a good understanding of the topics they are researching with an excellent knowledge of the information domain to provide targeted, timely and accurate services. Janine's knowledge and helpful disposition are particularly valued by all staff, who can confidently refer media and stakeholders to her for background information. These qualities also make her the ideal person to be the public face of the institute in dealing with the bulk of public inquiries, whether from research and policy colleagues in other agencies, members of the public, or students. Janine exemplifies the client-focused, collaborative, informed approach the AIC seeks to convey as the national knowledge centre on crime and justice.

Jacqui Joudo Larsen, Research Analyst

Since Jacqui has been at the AIC, she has shown a strong commitment to corporate values and enhancing social inclusiveness within the AIC. Jacqui has been a key member of the AIC Social Committee for several years and has been active in raising money for the committee so that it can fund social activities and events for AIC staff. Jacqui is also the organiser of the lunchtime seminar series, a sometimes thankless task when there are slots to fill and volunteers are lacking. Jacqui's endless optimism and enthusiasm in relation to the lunchtime seminars has been inspiring. She is always the first to put up her hand to supervise an intern each year.

Jacqui has taken on the role of convenor for the AIC's trafficking research program. This has been a large research program, with a number of different sub-projects and researchers involved. Jacqui managed all of these components, as well as travelling to conduct stakeholder interviews and organise international workshops with a range of international speakers. On top of this, Jacqui has maintained oversight of the Deaths in Custody Program and monitoring report.

Box 11: Fulbright scholarDr Kim-Kwang (Raymond) Choo and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd

Dr Kim-Kwang (Raymond) Choo is among 23 recipients of the 2009 Fulbright scholarship and received a personal letter of congratulation and encouragement from the Prime Minister. Raymond will spend three months during 2009 at Rutgers University's School of Criminal Justice and the Palo Alto Research Center to undertake research into the future cybercrime threat environment.

Raymond's work at the institute has been central in building expertise in the emerging area of cybercrime. He has written several reports and summary papers helping to identify and respond to criminal activity in the rapidly growing ICT environment. Raymond was awarded an Australia Day achievement medallion in 2008 in recognition of his contribution.

Raymond's US studies will complement his research at the institute in identifying cybercrime risks and the development of responses for law enforcement agencies and policymakers in neutralising those risks and preventing harm to the community. His visit will also help to strengthen ties and develop cooperative arrangements between Australia and its international criminological research partners.

Workplace support

Non-salary benefits provided to staff in 2008–09 reinforce the AIC's position as an employer of choice and include:

  • influenza immunisation for staff on Australian Workplace Agreements
  • employee assistance services including counselling
  • AICrimetimes newsletter for staff
  • lunchtime seminars presented by staff.

Intranet

The intranet is the AIC's main knowledge sharing and development vehicle. It links to information in the public domain in the library catalogue and the external databases to which the library subscribes and encourages researchers to build on previous AIC research by providing access to research projects, datasets and presentations.

The AIC acquires or creates datasets for many of its research projects. These are all captured and made available to AIC staff through the intranet, using the library database as an interface. The data collected can be leveraged to deliver other client data services where appropriate and will be used for further analysis in future research projects. Five new datasets were added to the database during the year.

A new intranet-based tracking system for publications in process was finalised during the year. It enables all staff to lodge new publications and see where publications have reached in the publications process. It is associated with the email system to automatically send and record messages. Performance monitoring is also possible using the tracking software. The software used is the library management system.

Occupational health and safety

The institute has an OH&S policy, established in accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety (Commonwealth Employment) Act 1991.

The institute has a nominated health and safety representative. There were no major OH&S issues during the year.

The AIC continues to provide access to professional counselling services for its staff and their families through the Employee Assistance Program. This service is offered to assist staff with any personal or work-related problems.

Indemnity and insurance premiums for officers

During 2008–09, the AIC again took part in the ComCover Benchmarking Survey for insurance purposes. As a result of the institute's effective risk management program, Comcover granted a 6.5 percent discount on the insurance premium for the year.

Financial operations

Financial performance

The overall result for 2008–09 was an operating deficit of $599,607. The AIC budgeted for, and received, Finance Minister approval to run an operating loss of $550,000 (funded from prior year cash reserves) to undertake research on topical areas including environmental crime, alcohol and community corrections as approved by the Board of Management. The operating deficit was $49,607 more than the approved operating loss as a result of changes to the long term bond rate increasing long service leave expenditure by approximately $64,000.

Operating revenues for 2008–09 totalled $9,636,322. This included revenue from government ($7,166,000), goods and services ($2,201,836), interest ($224,011) and other revenue ($44,475).

Total revenue decreased by $402,913; a four percent decrease from 2007–08. Major contributors towards the decrease were:

  • a reduction in revenue from government ($551,000):
  • a one-off appropriation of $500,000 in 2007–08 to fund research on domestic violence-related homicides and inform interventions to protect women and children from violence
  • the impact of the government's one-off, two percent efficiency dividend which had only a part-year impact on 2007-08 and a full year impact on 2008-09.
  • a decrease in interest income ($74,832) resulting from lower interest rates
  • royalties revenue was down ($41,955).

This was offset to some extent by an increase in income from goods and services, up $265,570 largely due to the three major conferences held during 2008–09.

Operating expenditures for 2008–09 were $10,235,929. Total expenditure decreased by $144,020 which represents a one percent decrease from 2007–08. The increase in employee costs ($394,234) was more than offset by the one-off costs associated with the building refurbishment in 2007–08 ($548,956).

Consultancy services

During 2008–09, the institute had two ongoing consultancies with contract values of more than $10,000 at a total cost of $140,329. This expenditure was in relation to internal and external audits.

Purchasing

The AIC has developed internal policies and procedures for purchasing goods and services. These are included in the Director's instructions and are in accordance with the Commonwealth procurement guidelines and Ministerial approvals required under the institute's enabling legislation.

Advertising and market research

The institute did not engage any vendors for advertising or market research in 2008–09.

ICT services

ICT services comprise local and wide area networks, desktop PCs and office automation services such as telephone and security monitoring systems, electronic mail, intranet and access to internet services. The institute has continued its shared model to increase service levels and reduce risk.

A continuing partnership with a small external provider, and internal growth with the appointment of a database administrator, has allowed the AIC to maintain a high level of services to its users. Database administration and data conversion support was provided for the upgraded interactive data analysis tool on the AIC website mentioned earlier in this report.

The AIC successfully implemented a new records management system (TRIM) during 2008–09. The system replaces the former document management system and provides better security and records-management capability. TRIM was chosen for its compliance with all government standards and its integration capabilities to facilitate an enterprise knowledge management system.

ICT services has migrated all systems to a virtual server environment built on new server hardware. The virtual server environment has considerably enhanced all aspects of server management including backups and disaster recovery, and aided the provision of a full test environment. A considerable cost-saving has been accomplished, with several new software installations now virtual.

A new modern disk and tape backup system has been implemented. This system provides improved backup capability and disaster recovery. Data is readily available for restoration if required and is synchronised regularly.

The AIC's website has been migrated to a new content management system, providing improved management and simpler update facilitation. The website has also been moved to the AIC's virtual server setup, giving better security controls and cost savings.

Microsoft Vista has been implemented as the standard operating system for all workstations. This change has improved the efficiency and effectiveness of the network.

Freedom of information

This statement is provided in accordance with s. 8 of the Freedom of Information Act 1982. The structure of the AIC is covered earlier in this report. Below is information on the categories of documents the AIC holds and on how access can be made.

Categories of documents

General—internal papers and records, including statistical records, copies of facsimiles, interagency and general correspondence and papers, policy documents (including recommendations and decisions) and work plans.

Executive—briefing papers and submissions prepared for the Minister for Home Affairs, ministerial correspondence and replies to parliamentary questions.

Research—research, development and evaluation papers, statistical data holdings, conference proceedings and publications.

Administration—finance, establishment, personnel, recruitment, staff development, office services and tender files.

Freedom of information (FOI) requests can be made in writing to the General Manager, Corporate Services, Australian Institute of Criminology, GPO Box 2944, Canberra, ACT 2601.

Freedom of information requests during 2008–09

There were no FOI requests made to the AIC in 2008–09.

Ombudsman

There were no reviews undertaken by the Ombudsman.

Ecologically sustainable development

Under s. 516A(3) of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), the Directors of the AIC must ensure a report prepared under the provisions of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 complies with the reporting provisions (ss. 6) of the EPBC Act.

The AIC has continued its commitment during the past year to improving its energy efficiencies in order to fulfil its obligations under the EPBC Act.

Measures include:

  • active recycling of paper, plastic and bottles, and computer toner
  • use of recycled paper in all multifunction devices
  • organisation of participation in the 60 day carbon challenge program which seeks to assist businesses in reducing their environmental impact
  • installation of equipment that incorporates energy-saving devices such as desktop computers, photocopiers, water-saving showerheads, dishwashers and printers
  • use of sensor lighting and air conditioning management systems
  • water conservation—toilets with half-flush systems
  • reductions in consumable supplies through reduced printing of material available on the internet and in electronic databases, email and document management systems, leading to lower consumption of paper, toners and energy.

The institute is committed to practices that assist ecologically sustainable development and improve environmental performance. The institute does not administer any legislation nor has any appropriations directly related to these issues.