Professional public administration — key initiatives

This objective fosters and promotes a high-performing public service. It ensures effective whole of government performance and outcomes. It protects the values of good public governance in support of public trust.

DPC’s outcomes on the following key initiatives have helped us achieve the ‘Professional public administration’ strategic objective.

Advice and support to the Governor

Support the Governor to carry out the role for the benefit of Victoria

In addition to constitutional and ceremonial duties, the Governor, the Hon Linda Dessau AC, took part in a wide range of community and international engagement events in 2021–22. The Governor and her spouse, Mr Anthony Howard AM QC, hosted a variety of events at Government House, with a particular focus on supporting the State’s pandemic recovery. Events included the Australia Day Flag Raising Ceremony, a celebration of Victorian farmers, a reception for the F1 Grand Prix and the inaugural Governor of Victoria Startup Awards. When COVID-19 restrictions were in place, the Governor conducted her program through a range of online events across the state.

In 2021–22 the Governor continued international engagement on behalf of the state at the request of the government, both locally and overseas. This included visiting the World Expo in Dubai and leading the delegation to Birmingham for Victoria’s successful 2026 Commonwealth Games bid.

Chief Parliamentary Counsel Services

In 2021–22 the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel (OCPC) drafted a variety of legislation to implement major government policy initiatives and reforms across a wide range of law.

OCPC drafted 74 Bills in the reporting period, of which 56 became Acts during that period. Bills of note include the major rewriting of a new Mental Health and Wellbeing Bill 2022, the Summary Offences Amendment (Nazi Symbol Prohibition) Act 2002, the Treaty Authority and Other Treaty Elements Bill 2022 and the Sex Work Decriminalisation Act 2002.

In 2021–22, 152 statutory rules were made.

Throughout 2021–22 OCPC continued providing drafting services to parliament to facilitate the passage of Victorian legislation, the preparation of House amendments and the introduction of Private Members’ Bills.

The demand from opposition and independent Members of Parliament for drafting services for House Amendments and Private Members’ Bills continues to require resources.

Develop and implement a new work management system to deliver efficiencies and enhanced services to stakeholders and the public

OCPC received funding in 2021–22 over 2 years to develop and implement a new replacement work management and legislative database system. Assisted by an external consultant, the office undertook a comprehensive review of its business operations, which included scoping and developing detailed requirements for the replacement system.

The new system will deliver efficiencies and enhanced services to government, parliament, industry and the public and will completely replace the office’s current systems for managing legal projects. OCPC has worked closely with Digital Victoria to refine the requirements package, explore delivery platform options and identify potential solutions. The office is on track to start the tender process in early 2022–23, with the expectation that the new system will be delivered in 2024–25.

Management of Victoria’s public records

Improve government recordkeeping through standards, guidance and compliance monitoring

In 2021–22 the Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) concluded the review and redevelopment of the mandatory recordkeeping standards and specifications issued by the Keeper of Public Records for government. These contain principles and requirements for records created and held by public offices in all formats and in all systems and storage environments. PROV also released an Approvals Processes Policy and a Value and Risk Policy. These products were developed in consultation with public offices and will be periodically reviewed to maintain their currency.

As a member of the Council of Australasian Archives and Records Authorities, PROV led development of ‘Functional Requirements for Managing Records in Microsoft 365 (M365)’. PROV has provided advice and assistance to public offices across government as they transition to M365 and associated systems.

The organisational self-assessment tools and recordkeeping e-learning module offered by PROV continue to be well used. PROV is developing a new e-learning module on digital recordkeeping that will be released in 2022–23. Two successful online Records Management Network forums were held in 2021–22, with almost 200 attendees at each.

Increase the usage of the state’s archives through digitisation, provision of innovative online access and promotion of the collection

Digitisation activities during 2021–22 saw the introduction of a new online system to streamline the ordering process for the public. PROV staff also responded to requests for digitised records from government agencies and the wider community during periods of COVID-19 lockdowns. Significant improvements to the PROV website were also introduced, enabling users to download an increased number of high-quality images of digitised records including a major collection from the Department of Education and Training.

A successful public consultation on community expectations about the online availability of digitised records was undertaken through the Engage Victoria platform. The 568 submissions informed an updated policy position. PROV partnered with the Australian Centre for the Moving Image to fully appraise its audio-visual collection and subsequently began a program of digitising at-risk audio-visual material, which will be made available online over time.

PROV continued to support the Old Treasury Building’s exhibition program by loaning key items from the State collection for public display. A project to publish the fully digitised public record collection of Beechworth’s Burke Museum on the PROV website began and will be completed in early 2022–23.

In addition to the online public programs series delivered throughout 2021 and 2022, PROV now has an ongoing podcast channel called ‘Look History in the Eye’ available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. This channel offers a platform for storytellers and historical researchers to share their discoveries and to tell under-represented histories uncovered from public records.

Build the collection by identifying records of state significance and ensuring they are securely cared for

During 2021–22 PROV appraised records across a diverse range of government functions resulting in new Retention and Disposal Authorities for the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel, Service Victoria, Energy Safety, the Legal Aid Commission, Small Owner Operators (exempt sex workers) and the Electricity Generation function. Highlights included appraising records associated with the oversight of voluntary assisted dying and records generated by the unique functions administered by Service Victoria.

PROV’s new digital archive was deployed in late 2021, enabling the preservation of more complex digital records and providing faster ingest capacity. The permanent digital records of the Royal Commission into the Management of Police Informants and the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System were transferred from DPC to PROV in line with the Inquiries Act. All departments can now transfer digital Cabinet in Confidence records and participate in the annual Cabinet in Confidence records transfer program.

PROV also completed several large-scale physical records transfer projects, including one commissioned by Ports Victoria to document and transfer the historic maps, plans and hydrographic records of the former Melbourne and Geelong Harbor Trusts stored at the Queenscliffe Maritime Museum. The records, dating from the mid-19th century to the year 2000, document Victoria’s bays, tides and coastal infrastructure. Plans of subdivision from Land Use Victoria and historic records of the former Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital and Royal Melbourne Hospital were also transferred to PROV.

Enhance public sector integrity and governance capability, including through shadowing the Victorian Public Sector Commission, to ensure that the public sector operates in accordance with the highest expectations of trust

Governance branch unifies DPC’s efforts to promote good governance and public administration, high-quality decision and policymaking, government integrity and accountability, and trust in public institutions.

Key priorities and deliverables for the branch include:

  • advising departments and public sector boards on the Appointment and Remuneration Guidelines and monitoring and reporting on compliance
  • advising on best practice entity creation by updating and providing fact sheets, templates and guidance promoting best practice to stakeholders
  • providing advice to support effective public administration and good governance (e.g. by supporting the administration of the Public Administration Act 2004)
  • supporting public sector employers to apply the government’s employment policies consistent with the Public Administration Act and the Public Entities Executive Remuneration Policy.

Governance branch also manages DPC’s relationship with the Victorian Public Sector Commission (VPSC) and provides advice to the Minister for Government Services on the VPSC’s performance against its annual plan. DPC works closely with the VPSC to support a trusted public sector that delivers exceptional outcomes for the Victorian community.

Provide guidance and advice on the caretaker conventions to support the operation of government during the caretaker period

DPC is responsible for providing guidance and advice to the VPS on the operation of the conventions that apply during the caretaker period prior to a State Election. In April 2022 the Secretary for DPC issued the Guidelines on the Caretaker Conventions 2022 to guide the public sector in handling ongoing government business and administration before and during the 2022 State Election caretaker period. In the lead up to the November 2022 election, DPC will support agencies across the public sector by providing training and presentations on the caretaker conventions.

Support the Victorian Independent Remuneration Tribunal to promote transparency and accountability in remuneration arrangements for Members of Parliament, public sector executives and local government elected officials

DPC provides secretariat support to the Victorian Independent Remuneration Tribunal to make determinations and provide advice about remuneration for Members of Parliament, public sector executives and local government elected officials.

During 2021–22 the secretariat supported the tribunal to:

  • make the first comprehensive Determination setting the values of allowances for mayors, deputy mayors and councillors
  • make an annual adjustment Determination to the values of salaries and allowances for Members of Parliament
  • make annual adjustment Determinations to the values of remuneration bands for executives employed in the VPS and in prescribed public entities
  • provide advice to the Minister for Government Services about base remuneration arrangements for specialist investment executive roles in the Victorian Funds Management Corporation and the Treasury Corporation of Victoria.

The secretariat also supports the compliance officer function that is attached to the tribunal to independently hear and determine appeals from Members of Parliament in relation to claims for work-related parliamentary allowances and the separation payment. The compliance officer heard 2 appeals in 2021–22.