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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.

Wellbeing support during COVID-19

In response to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, DPC’s agile work environment enabled a rapid deployment of employees to work from home safely, and this has continued throughout 2020–21. DPC has continued to ensure employees are appropriately equipped to safely work in a hybrid environment to support a return to DPC offices.

DPC continues to provide resources and tools including the Flexible Work Policy and occupational health and safety assessments adapted for the home environment.

Significant work was undertaken to implement DPC’s COVIDSafe Plan including the introduction of QR codes at all workstations, a desk booking management system, hygiene guidelines and the introduction of individual IT equipment. DPC continued to refine preventative action plans to reduce the likelihood of exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace and to ensure appropriate response plans were in line with the directives of Victoria’s Chief Health Officer. Transition of staff back into the office was supported by the COVIDSafe module, an e-learning initiative developed to ensure staff were aware of COVIDSafe practices upon their return to the office.

The dedicated intranet COVIDSafe hub is available to DPC staff, providing information on managing a COVIDSafe workplace and promoting a range of wellbeing support resources including activities to:

  • maintain physical health
  • promote psychological wellbeing and connection with teams and colleagues
  • balance work and life commitments
  • manage stress
  • lead through challenging times.

Enhancing mental health and wellbeing

Health, safety and wellbeing support services for DPC and its agencies for 2020–21 have continued to focus on providing personal, approachable and responsive services for the department. Physical and mental health wellbeing initiatives have carried on throughout 2020–21 to support the public health challenges facing all Victorians. DPC is committed to providing a psychologically safe work environment for all staff through a holistic and inclusive approach to support mental health and wellbeing at work. This is achieved through implementing effective mental health wellbeing supports and training aligned with the VPS Mental Health and Wellbeing Charter.

Initiatives in line with the charter have included:

  • ensuring DPC’s peer support volunteers are trained in mental health first aid to provide an additional avenue of support for employees
  • continued promotion of positive wellbeing events and activities, Health and Safety Month, Mental Health Week and the promotion and delivery of mandatory mental health and wellbeing training for executives, managers and staff — this program aims to create cultural change and provide an environment for all staff to feel comfortable talking about mental health and wellbeing challenges
  • partnering with business leaders to provide timely and expert support to ensure employee wellbeing during periods of organisational change.

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

Developing leaders and embedding a culture of flexibility and wellbeing

Leadership

Leadership development opportunities for executive and VPS staff are critical in supporting the vision of DPC to be recognised and respected leaders in WoVG policy and performance. In 2020–21:

  • More than 150 DPC leaders attended the Foundations of People Management series, a series of learning and skill building experiences designed to enhance people management capabilities and support managers as they transition from individual contributor to leading teams.
  • DPC supported executives to participate in a range of programs focused on executive wellbeing, leadership and coaching, providing intensive and collaborative development experiences designed to support leading through change and uncertainty and new ways of thinking, leading and working.
  • In partnership with DTF and the Essential Services Commission, more than 200 staff took part 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 2020–21 DPC staff took up more than 1,900 places at development programs, events, workshops and digital offerings across a range of topics including mental health, people management, diversity/inclusion and leadership development. All offerings were run virtually to support a COVIDSafe environment, and many were recorded so staff could access them at a time that suited them.

Flexibility

During 2020–21 workplaces continued to face the challenge of adapting how we work and where we work. Victoria’s COVID-19 experience showed more of us how flexible arrangements can work in practice.

DPC implemented the VPS Flexible Work Policy, which supports the government’s default position for the VPS allowing every role to have some form of flexibility. This includes supporting a three-day-a-week default for office-based staff.

In the latter half of 2020–21 workplaces transitioned for a time from home back to offices, and DPC successfully shifted to hybrid working. Hybrid working has allowed us to rethink work and flexibility and to explore new and improved ways of creating and delivering.

Senior leaders modelling flexible and hybrid working, technology improvements and a range of support programs have helped DPC to pivot to hybrid working.

DPC employees have been accessing the newly completed Suburban Hubs as part of the government’s longer term flexible working arrangements to enable employees to work from a combination of home, suburban hubs and a primary workplace. The first hub, located in Footscray, opened to staff on 1 February 2021, and two further hubs located in Mulgrave and Williams Landing opened on 28 June 2021.

Delivering the DPC Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and action plans

DPC continues to work towards creating a workforce that is genuinely inclusive and better reflects the diversity of the communities it serves. Remote working has supported diversity, inclusion and a more equitable workplace, all of which create both social and economic improvements not only for the VPS but also for Victoria.

In 2020–21 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’s obligations under the Gender Equality Act began on 31 March 2021 and requires DPC to take positive action towards promoting workplace gender equality. DPC will be developing and implementing a four-year Gender Equality Action Plan inclusive of a gender impact assessment of all new policies, programs and services that affect the public, as well as those up for review.

DPC is in its third year of supporting the VPS Enablers Network for people with disability. The network has grown to more than 800 members and has served as a valuable employee resource group during the COVID‑19 pandemic.

Embedding a positive and productive workplace culture

In October 2020 DPC participated in the VPS People Matter Survey Wellbeing Check, which focused on employee wellbeing given the challenges of COVID-19. WoVG pulse surveys have also been run periodically throughout 2020–21, which have supplemented the 2020 People Matter Survey Wellbeing Check results and provided data with which to monitor key focus areas.

Priority areas of focus are wellbeing, managing workload and supporting flexible and hybrid ways of working to enable a positive high-performing workplace.

DPC leaders have been provided with support to be able to adapt to the changing working environment and lead and support their people during an extremely challenging time. This has included a range of leadership development opportunities, targeted webinars, workshops and coaching on how to strengthen their capability in managing and supporting their teams in a new hybrid way of working to maximise productivity and engagement.

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.

DPC develops and implements best practice contemporary recruitment practices that allow us to attract the widest pool of people from diverse backgrounds. DPC manages a range of employment programs including the Youth Employment Program and the Barring Djinang internship program.

All recruitment processes are accessible and, where required, reasonable adjustments are made. Additional tools have been created during 2020–21 to support virtual interviewing and onboarding.

DPC continues to leverage the VPS Jobs and Skills Exchange as a key recruitment avenue by using the JSE platform for all advertised roles. DPC has also participated in and accessed a WoVG mobility pool to support placement into surge roles created because of COVID-19.

Modernising and strengthening HR systems and processes

DPC has continued to use PeopleCentral, the Human Capital Management System to manage key people tasks. PeopleCentral is easy to use and offers staff a range of features:

  • a learning management system that allows staff to view and enrol in training, complete e-learning modules, create and share learning resources and record learning activities
  • employees and managers can regularly capture performance and development progress with real-time performance development status updates.

DPC continues to take part in the WoVG Common Corporate Platforms program to improve VPS productivity, effectiveness, visibility and mobility. The program will deliver modern, cloud-based platforms across WoVG functions for human resources, procurement and finance. Implementation for the human resources platform within DPC is expected in 2021–22.

Delivering an integrated automated briefing and correspondence system

The DPC Board of Management approved the Automated and Briefing Correspondence (ABC) Project business case in September 2020. DPC appointed a vendor in December 2020, and the core features of the solution were developed and due for completion in July 2021. The testing phase is now underway, together with planning to set up the support model for the project, and to prepare the organisation to deploy the solution.

The ABC Community of Practice, with representation from other departments, has led to interest from several departments to adopt DPC’s scalable WoVG-worthy ABC solution.

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

In 2019–20 DPC created a dedicated program management function under the remit of the chief information officer. Initial work included establishing clear status reporting for DPC technology projects, enabling DPC to track progress and make data-informed decisions. The program management function has also provided strong support and delivery assurance to DPC project managers and teams.

Project funding in 2020–21 enabled the program team to grow from one to seven people. This further enabled a review of the project and program standards and templates. A new Digital Solutions team developed a clear framework to support multi-methodology project delivery to continue to drive efficient and effective delivery of technology projects.

Building on this foundation, future work will look at establishing a Portfolio Management Office and, following consultation across DPC, an internal ICT governance and investment committee to oversee system prioritisation and funding.

Implementing integrated communications technology

From March 2020 the rollout of Microsoft Teams to DPC staff was a critical technology enabler for cross-department collaboration and communication during DPC’s remote working transition due to COVID-19.

Further building on DPC’s implementation of Microsoft 365 to deliver enhanced security, efficiency and effectiveness, a Unified Communications project will be implemented. This will use a Telstra cloud calling service, replacing ageing and costly legacy telephony infrastructure, to further enhance flexibility, remote working and collaboration across DPC.

Reviewed 29 October 2021

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