High-performing DPC — key initiatives

This objective pursues policy, service and administration excellence and reform. It leads the public sector response to significant state issues, policy challenges and projects. It supports the effective administration of government. It supports delivery of policy and projects that enable increased productivity and competitiveness in Victoria.

DPC’s outcomes on the following key initiatives have helped us achieve the High-performing DPC strategic objective.

Developing a portfolio governance framework

In March 2020, the DPC Audit and Risk Management Committee endorsed the Portfolio Entities Risk and Financial Oversight Framework, which details the department’s responsibilities in accordance with the Standing Directions for the monitoring, oversight and reporting of its Portfolio Entities.

This contributes to DPC as a high-performing department by ensuring clear accountability and transparency in relation to risk and resource management practices.

DPC business continuity to respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

The DPC Business Continuity Plan and DPC Pandemic Plan were activated in March 2020 in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. DPC’s business continuity response has continually adapted to respond to the directions of Victoria’s Chief Health Officer and to provide support to both frontline staff and staff working remotely.

DPC’s business continuity has been overseen by the Continuity Leadership Team. This team was expanded in March 2020 to include representatives from across DPC, and continues to meet weekly to provide direction, oversight and support to identify and resolve business continuity issues and progress initiatives.

With most DPC staff working remotely since 24 March, business continuity has focused on remote working initiatives and business system improvements, staff health and wellbeing initiatives, and staff redeployment to ensure
high-priority work and essential regular work can be completed.

DPC’s response has included:

  • adjusting business processes so they can be undertaken virtually
  • providing equipment to staff working remotely to ensure they can work safely
  • deploying technical solutions and applications with guidance and advice to enable secure virtual collaboration and compliance with DPC information management and security standards.

The Continuity Leadership Team and DPC Board of Management continue to monitor and mitigate risks related to the large-scale impact of staff working remotely.

In May 2020, a supplement to the Business Continuity Plan was developed to address the key business continuity challenges DPC faced due to the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19). The supplement identified key issues and actions required to support the continuation of DPC’s three key focus areas:

  • supporting the government in its response to coronavirus (COVID-19) including the work of National Cabinet, the Crisis Council of Cabinet and the Public Sector Administration Committee, and the progress of core missions and enabling programs
  • progressing the core business of government including developing legislation, State Budget preparation, policy advice, statutory reporting requirements, contract management and financial and grants payments
  • supporting staff welfare, ensuring their safety and wellbeing while remaining productive and effective in a changed and challenging work environment.

Delivering an integrated automated briefing and correspondence system

DPC made significant progress in 2019–20 towards delivering an automated briefing and correspondence system to drive consistency and efficiency in managing briefings and correspondence. Extensive user experience discovery research was undertaken including an all-staff survey, interviews, co-design workshops and user testing sessions. A design panel, a design reference group and a technical advisory panel were established, with a prototype also developed and tested. A detailed business case has been prepared and, subject to funding, implementation will occur in 2020–21.

In collaboration with DJPR, DPC established an automated briefing and correspondence Community of Practice with representation from other departments including DoT, DJCS, DHHS, DET and DELWP. The Community of Practice is a collaborative forum, helping to ensure departments’ automated briefing and correspondence systems are standards-based and interoperable, and can be integrated and enhanced as efficiently as possible.

Establishing the internal Program Management Office to drive efficient and effective delivery of technology projects

In 2019–20, DPC created a dedicated Program Management Office (PMO) within corporate services, under the remit of the Chief Information Officer.

The PMO has reviewed baseline project and program standards and templates and established a clear framework to increase maturity over time and continue to drive efficient and effective delivery of technology projects. Initial work has included establishing clear status reporting for all DPC technology projects, enabling DPC to track progress and make data-informed decisions. The PMO has also provided strong support and delivery assurance to project managers and teams across DPC.

Building on this foundation, future work will include establishing an internal ICT governance and investment committee to oversee system prioritisation and funding.

Establishing an internal ICT governance and investment committee to oversee system prioritisation and funding

This initiative, as part of the PMO, will now be delivered in 2020–21 due to other project-related priorities that emerged due to coronavirus (COVID-19) and DPC’s transition to remote working.

Implementing integrated communications technology

During 2019–20, progress in delivering DPC’s integrated communications technology road map continued to be made, building on DPC’s implementation of Microsoft 365 to deliver enhanced security, efficiencies and effectiveness. The rollout of Microsoft Teams from March 2020 was a critical technology enabler for cross-department collaboration and communication during DPC’s remote working transition as part of the coronavirus (COVID-19) response.

Developing leaders and embedding a culture of flexibility and wellbeing


Leadership development opportunities for executive and VPS staff are critical in supporting the vision of DPC to be recognised and respected leaders in whole of government policy and performance. In 2019–20, DPC continued to deliver several leadership development programs including the following:

  • DPC continued with Leading Edge, a leadership development program designed specifically for VPS 6 managers that provides exposure to strategies, frameworks and tools to support the move from manager to leader. There were also opportunities for previous participants to reconnect as a VPS 6 manager cohort through alumni forums.
  • More than 40 DPC VPS 4 and VPS 5 staff attended the Igniting Leadership Program, a leadership development program tailored for emerging DPC leaders to gain the insights, skills and confidence to raise individual and team performance and successfully deliver organisational goals.
  • DPC supported directors, executive directors and deputy secretaries to participate in the Victorian Leadership Academy development programs. These programs provide intensive and collaborative development experiences designed to support new ways of thinking, leading and working.
  • In partnership with DTF and the Essential Services Commission, more than 200 staff participated in a mentoring program established to support staff development, cultivate connections within the VPS and create a culture of developing others.

Learning and development

DPC is committed to providing learning and development opportunities for its staff. Based on the Experience, Exposure, Education model of learning, DPC offers programs and resources to support individuals and teams to drive their own learning and development.

In 2019–20, DPC staff took up more than 1,800 places at development programs, events, workshops and digital offerings across a range of topics including strategic planning, diversity and inclusion, policy development, mental health, leadership and management development.

In August 2019, DPC again delivered the highly successful Empowering Women summit. For the third year in a row, this full-day event provided professional development opportunities to staff across DPC and the wider Victorian public sector. In 2019, the summit was designed to allow attendees to create their own personalised development program from 40 workshops and a rich plenary session with three keynote speakers that achieved a 98 per cent satisfaction rate. Nearly 1,400 Victorian public servants attended, with almost 200 DPC staff participating.


DPC recognises that flexibility is an essential part of a diverse, adaptive and high-performing workforce. DPC provides a range of flexible working arrangements and continues to support and empower all staff to successfully manage work and life commitments. Since 24 March, in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, DPC has pivoted to remote working. This has seen the organisation adapt to new technologies and ways of communicating, collaborating and managing teams. Support for staff and managers through this transition has included delivering a series of workshops and webinars on successfully managing flexible working arrangements.

Enhancing mental health and wellbeing

The continued implementation of the VPS Mental Health and Wellbeing Charter has been a key focus for 2019–20. Initiatives in line with the charter have included:

  • introducing a second cohort of volunteers to DPC’s Peer Support Program in November 2019, as an additional avenue of support for employees
  • continued promotion of positive wellbeing events and activities, Health and Safety Month, Mental Health Week and establishing an Executive Champion for Wellbeing
  • the promotion and delivery of mandatory mental health and wellbeing training for executives, managers and staff. This program supports a culture where staff can feel confident and comfortable talking about mental health and wellbeing, to support a proactive approach to mental health. As at 30 June 2020, 95 per cent of staff had completed training.

For more information, refer to Appendix 4 under ‘Occupational health and safety management’.

Wellbeing support during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

In response to the evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, DPC initially focused on supporting staff to safely transition to working from home arrangements. DPC developed and communicated a Remote Work Policy and Operating Guideline, including an occupational health and safety assessment adapted for the home environment. Appropriate equipment and ergonomics-at-home sessions have been provided to ensure staff are able to work safely from home over an extended period.

DPC also developed preventative action plans to reduce the likelihood of exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19) in the workplace and to ensure appropriate response plans in line with the directives of Victoria’s Chief Health Officer.

A weekly mental health and wellbeing newsletter and dedicated intranet micro-site for staff was established to promote a range of wellbeing support resources, including activities to: maintain physical health, psychological wellbeing and connection with teams and colleagues; balance work and life commitments; manage stress; and lead through challenging times.

Delivering the DPC Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and action plans

DPC is committed to promoting and embedding a diverse, inclusive and equitable workforce. In 2019–20, DPC continued to implement the Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2019–2021 to ensure our culture and day-to-day practices are as inclusive as possible for all staff. The strategy includes a suite of diversity action plans that focus on Aboriginal employment; cultural, linguistic and religious diversity; people with disability; gender equity; and the LGBTIQ community. DPC is in its second year of supporting the VPS Enablers Network for people with disability. The network has grown to more than 500 members and held a key event in December 2019 with senior executives across the VPS to celebrate International Day of People with Disability.

Embedding a positive and productive workplace culture

In May 2019, DPC achieved an 80 per cent response rate for the People Matter Survey. The response rate shows significant employee interest in sharing views and experiences and continuing to evolve DPC’s culture and performance. A departmental ‘pulse’ survey was also run in December 2019 to supplement the 2019 People Matter results and to monitor key focus areas.

Priority areas of focus are psychological safety; communication of vision, direction and change; management across the department; the elimination of negative or inappropriate behaviours; and building a culture of respect.

During 2019–20, DPC has implemented departmental, group and branch-level initiatives to help address key issues identified in the survey while also maintaining positive results in other areas.

Implementing strategies to attract, develop and retain talented and diverse people

DPC is an equal opportunity employer committed to a fair and merit-based approach to recruitment and selection while actively fostering and promoting diversity and inclusion. We welcome and encourage applicants from all backgrounds, ensuring all recruitment processes are accessible and, where required, reasonable adjustments are made.

DPC has implemented several reforms to strengthen and enhance our recruitment processes including using online selection forms, introducing pre-employment misconduct screening for all potential VPS employees, role-based risk assessments and enhancements to our conflict of interest policies and associated recruitment panel requirements. DPC leverages the Jobs and Skills Exchange as a key recruitment avenue.

Modernising and strengthening HR systems and processes

In 2019–20, DPC implemented the first stage of the new Human Capital Management System to transform HR systems and processes. Named ‘PeopleCentral’, the platform helps manage the performance development process and includes a new learning management system.

PeopleCentral is easy to use and offers staff a range of features such as:

  • a central location to view and enrol in training, complete e-learning modules, create and share learning resources, and record learning activities
  • the ability for employees and managers to regularly capture performance and development progress with real-time performance development status updates.

A new DPC induction program, housed in the learning management system, includes four refreshed e-learning modules developed to help staff understand the operating context and expectations of working within DPC.