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Our performance

The Authority's financial and output performance for the 2019-20 financial year.

Departmental objectives, indicators and outputs

The Authority had one output associated performance measure within the Victorian Budget 2019-20.

The medium-term departmental objectives, associated indicators and linked outputs as set out in the 2019-20 Budget Paper No. 3 Service Delivery are shown below.

  • 2019/20 actual number of workers registered under the Portable Long Service Benefits Scheme: 114,137
  • 2019/20 target number of workers registered under the Portable Long Service Benefits Scheme: 75,000

Business Unit reports

We have built a strong foundation during our start-up phase to ensure that the Authority is operating with key processes and controls in place to administer an effective and successful portable long service benefits scheme.

Both our Governing Board and Audit and Risk Committees have been established with the appropriate supports in place to facilitate effective decision making and we have exceeded our performance targets for number of workers registered.

In addition the Governing Board approved a risk framework including setting the risk appetite for the Authority, an integrity framework guides our work to ensure that we continue to uphold public sector values and we have appointed an internal audit service provider who has executed the first year of an approved a three-year internal audit program.

The establishment of our in-house Legal function has enabled us to provide internal legal advice to support our compliance with the legislation.

We drafted and executed our Authority’s Business Continuity Policy and associated Pandemic Plan ensuring our Continuity Leadership Team could effectively transition our staff to carrying out the operations of the Authority from home.  Our business was able to continue operations as normal, despite having to shift quickly to working completely online.

The experience and achievements of the past twelve months means that the Authority is well positioned to build on its strong foundations and continue to effectively advise on and administer the Scheme as it grows.

Financial Services

This year has seen the successful set up of the Authority’s business systems and bank accounts, achieved on time and without any disruptions. We have completed the Authority’s first financial statements, involving an actuarial review of the portable long service benefits entitlements, and are achieving compliance with the Standing Directions 2018 issued by the Assistant Treasurer under the Financial Management Act 1994.

The development of our investment policy and the setup of the investment portfolio with the Victorian Funds Management Corporation (VFMC) has been a significant achievement that will ensure the fund can continue to grow to support the entitlements of workers.

Another highlight of the year was the introduction of the employer reimbursement process. Through this process, employers can apply to the Authority for a reimbursement of a long service leave payment made directly to a Worker under the Long Service Leave Act 2018 or a fair work instrument. The Authority will reimburse employers for the period of service recorded with the Authority.

COVID-19 has impacted the revenue of businesses and this has resulted in several employers requesting a payment arrangement in line with the Business Support policy, however the impact to employers at this stage has been less than we initially expected.

Client Service and Operations

Over the past year we have seen an increase in awareness of the Scheme across the covered industries. We have found that the majority of employers for the Scheme are small and need assistance to fully understand their portable long service leave obligations.

Our operational procedures for pursuing, assessing and approving registration applications are working effectively, along with procedures for the submission and amendment of quarterly returns and invoice payment. Records management and complaint handling frameworks have also been designed and implemented.

We implemented a successful quality assurance pilot to review quarterly returns to ensure entitlements and levies paid were reported correctly. Accordingly, we have seen an increase in quarterly returns being lodged in a timely manner without adjustments being required.

An external compliance framework has been designed and implemented and we are finding that most employers meet their obligations once the Compliance team makes contact. As a result, only a small number of enforcement activities are progressing towards prosecution for employers who have failed to comply with the Act.

The year has also seen the continual development and improvement of processes and business systems, often through the feedback that we receive from employers and workers.

The impact of COVID-19 presented a number of challenges; however, staff were agile and responsive in adapting to a remote working environment and the impact to employers has so far not been as significant as we initially anticipated – particularly in terms of payment arrangements or businesses entering voluntary administration.

Facilities, Information and Technology

Over the past 12 months, the Authority has refined many of its processes to support and drive ongoing registrations and compliance. This has culminated in many collaborative initiatives throughout the year, such as recording “how-to” videos for our social media channels, supporting processing large returns by bulk uploads and researching and making use of online tools such as EventBrite and Vision6 to support our communications.

Highlights of the 2019-20 financial year have included the implementation of project, change, risk and issues management frameworks. The Business Unit successfully delivered the remaining establishment project deliverables, and implemented the Worker CRM 2.0 release, enabling the Authority to mature its compliance activities and enhance operational efficiency.

We have also successfully developed and tested disaster recovery of the Worker CRM platform and migrated staff from personal OneDrive storage accounts to centralised SharePoint storage which reduces risk and increases compliance and data retention practices.

COVID-19 has been a significant challenge for many businesses; however, the Authority is well-positioned with its modern architecture to continue operations with minimal interruption. By adapting systems and processes to support remote working and call centre operations, our staff and systems have remained operational throughout the pandemic.

As the Authority grows as an organisation, it is paramount that we continue investing in technology to enable effective collaboration, workflow management, case management, compliance activity, automation, and business intelligence, and continuously improve our processes to adapt to the ever-evolving needs of covered employers and eligible workers.

Flexible work practices will likely continue in some form post-COVID-19 and our systems and processes that support this will need to continue to evolve and ensure the Authority can continue to provide a high level of service.

Communications and Engagement

In the first 12 months of operation, the Authority needed to establish processes to communicate and engage with employers and eligible workers across the covered industries to ensure that employers understood their obligations and workers knew their rights under the Scheme.

One of the first initiatives was to establish an Authority site on the Victorian

Government’s Single Digital Presence (vic.gov.au). Over the year, the website attracted 71,900 unique visitors seeking information about the Scheme. We continue to work with DPC’s Single Digital Presence team to improve search engine optimisation for the Authority’s website content.

In the lead up to the first quarterly return being due in October 2019, Authority staff delivered more than 34 pop-up information sessions for stakeholders across Victoria.

Throughout the year, communications and engagement activities have sought to remain responsive to the needs of our stakeholders. This has included the development and distribution of a Guidance Note for the application of the predominance test in community services, the launch of “how-to” videos to guide employers through registration and submission of quarterly returns, and the delivery of a series of online training sessions for employers during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

To ensure that Authority staff can communicate adequately with employers and workers within the Scheme, we partnered with Language Loop to provide translation and interpreter services for phone calls. Calls originating in the customer service centre can now be transferred with ease to a qualified interpreter who assists our staff with their communications and enquiries.

Throughout the year, we have distributed registration certificates to all registered employers and information packs to more than 100,000 workers registered with the Scheme, as well as sending out a fortnightly eNews to more than 3,000 subscribers.

We continue to develop our relationships with unions, peak bodies, and other key stakeholders to share messages and support communications activities.

People and Culture

During the past year, the People and Culture Business Unit has overseen the establishment of an employee reward and recognition program, led the recruitment process for several new roles and been the liaison point for other government agencies and the union for the public sector.

Other highlights have included representing the Authority through the development and consultation surrounding the Victorian Public Service’s new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement and the establishment of the Occupational Health and Safety Group.

The unit has also been responsible for coordinating the organisation’s learning and development needs.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the way that our organisation operates, and the way that we view employee wellbeing. With the unprecedented disruption in both our working and personal lives, the People and Culture Business Unit has been key in delivering services to strengthen our organisation and support our people during this time. This has included more than 80 one-on-one check-in consultations with staff.

Despite the challenges faced, the past 12 months has helped our organisation build a work culture that is collegiate, effective and values-based and will serve us well into the future.

Delivering on our objectives

The Authority’s Corporate Plan 2019-20 set out the organisation’s goals, objectives and activities for its first twelve months of operations. Below is an overview of the activities contributing towards these objectives.

Fulfil our legislative obligations by effectively administering and supporting compliance with the Long Service Portability Act 2018.

2019-20 activities:

  • maunched the Worker Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system
  • monitoring and enforcing compliance
  • negotiated data sharing arrangements with state and federal regulatory agencies
  • implemented employer reimbursement
  • business Support policy in place
  • recruited an independent Audit and Risk Committee member
  • implemented online Board papers solution
  • approved an external compliance policy

Numbers:

  • 2,179 applications for registration processed (1914 employers being registered)
  • 1,363 community services employers registered
  • 347 cleaning employers registered
  • 204 security employers registered
  • 114,137 workers registered
  • 4,576 quarterly returns issued and processed (96% submission rate)
  • 8,437 calls answered
  • 12,777 outbound calls
  • 10,115 email enquiries received and responded to
  • 393 applications for prior service granted

Implement effective responsible budget and investment strategies that grow levy funds and deliver long-term sustainability.

2019-20 activities:

  • set inaugural levy rates
  • developed the Authority’s first responsible budget and reforecast
  • investment strategy developed and implemented
  • implemented operational procedures to minimise investment risk in a volatile market caused by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • appointed an Actuarial Advisor as required under the Act
  • total expenditure under budget for the year

Numbers:

  • $38.8m invoiced with only $1.193 million outstanding at 30 June 2020
  • $26.2 million invested with VFMC in the Balanced Portfolio

Be clear, consistent, transparent and responsive in our stakeholder communications which encourages registration, levy payments and ensures that workers and employers are aware of their rights and obligations.

2019-20 activities:

  • developed and implemented a 2019-20 strategic communications plan
  • ran first advertising campaign in September 2019
  • detailed guidance note published to guide employer registrations
  • developed and embedded communications processes and procedures
  • developed social media channels Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube
  • developed relationships with key stakeholders
  • launched fortnightly eNews publication
  • online employer reporting training
  • procedure for crisis communications implemented in response to COVID-19
  • partnered with Language Loop to provide translation and interpreter services for phone calls
  • increased search engine optimisation for Authority website content
  • worked with the Department of Premier and Cabinet’s Behavioural Insights team on strategies to encourage compliance with the Scheme through our messaging and communications
  • represented the Authority at events such as the ISSA Cleaning and Hygiene Expo and the regular ASIAL Stakeholder Breakfast

Numbers:

  • 573 radio advertisements
  • 105 non-English language radio spots.
  • 11,602 emails to potential employers
  • 71,938 visits to the Authority’s website (197 visits per day)
  • 3,512 eNews subscribers
  • 29 eNews editions
  • 28 meetings with employers
  • 16 meetings with peak bodies
  • 34 pop-up information sessions across Victoria

Maintain a healthy and safe workplace with a culture that encourages engaged, resilient and solution-focused staff.

2019-20 activities:

  • established a Melbourne office
  • established a Continuity Leadership Team to plan and implement the Authority’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • established an OHS Committee and a Peer Support program
  • appointed First Aiders and Floor Wardens and provided required training
  • set up an Employee Assistance Program
  • received positive results from Employee Wellbeing and Remote Work survey
  • built collegiate, effective and values-based work culture
  • implemented an employee reward and recognition program
  • implemented a new recruitment system
  • completed a comprehensive performance development planning process for all staff

Numbers:

  • 100% PDPs completed
  • 1 fixed term higher duties assignment
  • 3 internal promotions (merit based)
  • 1 external secondment
  • 30 staff as at 30 June 2020
  • 84 one-on-one check is with staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Implement an innovative, secure, resilient and integrated information technology environment that supports effective operations now and in the future.

2019-20 activities:

  • executed a Business Continuity Policy and a Pandemic Plan
  • implemented a cyber security awareness program that tests our resilience and provides ongoing education for staff
  • undertook Amazon Web Services (AWS) Performance Monitoring of the Worker CRM to ensure vendor contract compliance
  • developed a specification with our Worker CRM vendor to remove double handling of customer information, streamline tasks and provide consistency
  • developed modern access and security practices to protect the Worker CRM and enable remote access

Numbers:

  • 151 incidents lodged and closed with Cenitex
  • 1 project managed with Cenitex

Protect the long-term interests of the Authority through effective regulation using procedure governance, strategic risk management and clear policies and procedures.

2019-20 activities:

  • developed and implemented the Corporate Plan 2019-20
  • set our vision, purpose and values
  • established a risk framework, including a risk policy, procedures and appetite
  • insurance program in place to cover insurable risks
  • developed key corporate policies and a policy framework
  • established an integrity framework
  • recruited and appointed internal auditors and established a 3-year internal audit program
  • implemented project, change, risk and issues management frameworks, and successfully delivered remaining establishment project deliverables
  • tested business continuity planning and disaster recovery processes
  • designed and established a compliance framework

Numbers:

  • 50% compliance files closed before enforcement action commenced
  • 15 eligible employers registered within two months through compliance outreach
  • 4 show cause notices issued
  • 7 Board meetings held

Financial performance

Five-year financial summary

The Authority commenced operations on 18 March 2019, therefore only one year of comparative information is available.

Table 2: Two-year financial summary

Summary 2019-20 ($’000) 2018-19 ($’000)
Total income from transactions 62,419 1,820
Total expenses from transactions 53,146 301
Net result for the period 9,273 1,519
Net cash flow from operating activities 40,387 -
Total assets 59,740 2,351
Total liabilities 48,948 832
Net assets 10,792 1,519

Current-year financial performance

The 2019-20 financial year is the Authority’s first full year of operations, having only commenced on 18 March 2019.

The Authority administers three schemes which provide portability of long service benefits for registered workers in the Community Services, Contract Cleaning and Security Industries in Victoria.

The Authority levy’s registered employers for workers in the covered industries in accordance with the Long Service Benefits Portability Act 2018 and makes payments for benefits taken.

In the 2019-20 financial year, the Authority achieved a net result for the year of a $9.3 million surplus.

Income from levy contributions from employers and contractors commenced during the year based on levy rates set by the Governing Board following an actuarial review. This was achieved through 114,137 registered workers with 1,914 registered employers completing three quarterly returns during the financial year.

The Authority commenced investing with the Victoria Funds Management Corporation (VFMC) Balanced Fund in February 2020 and transferred a total of $26.2 million during the year. Investment income totalled $0.6 million; however, this was offset by a net loss on financial instruments of $0.4 million.

A total of $6.2 million in government grants was received during the financial year to help establish the Authority.

The first long service valuation totalled $47.7 million for portable long service benefits expense.

Administration expenses totalled $5.2 million with $3.7 million relating to employee benefits expense and $1.4 million for information technology costs, office expenses, professional services, and internal and external audit fees.

Financial position balance sheet

The Authority ended the financial year with net assets of $10.8 million and a solvency ratio of 122.1%.

Cash at bank totalled $13.9 million, which included scheme funds collected and not transferred to VFMC investments and the remaining Government grants received but not spent.

The Authority has $25.7 million invested with VFMC and accrued $17.2 million for the fourth quarter employer levy contribution payable by 31 July 2020.

The Authority’s actuary calculated the first long service leave valuation which totalled

$47.7 million for portable long service benefits expense. This valuation is based on 118,345 workers at 30 June 2020 which includes the current 114,137 workers adjusted for an additional 4,208 new workers that are estimated to be included in the fourth quarter return by employers.

Operating cash flows

Net cash flow from operating activities was positive for the year totalling $40.4 million, which included $37.7 million of receipts from employers for their worker levy contributions and $6.2 million from Government to continue the establishment of the Authority.

The Authority transferred $26.2 million to the VFMC Balance Fund and purchased $0.1 million of plant and equipment, which finalised the office fit-out and IT equipment purchases.

Investment performance

The Governing Board approved the Authority’s investment strategy following workshops facilitated by VFMC based on an analysis of desired investment returns against investment risk appetite. Investment manager performance is actively monitored by management of the Authority.

The investment objectives of the Authority at 30 June 2020 are:

  • Return: To achieve an average return objective of at least CPI + 3.0% p.a. with greater than 60% probability over a rolling 10‑year period; and
  • Risk: To limit the likelihood of a negative annual return to no more than one year in every five years and when negative returns occur, for this not to exceed a 10% loss of capital on average.

Current-year investment performance

Under the Long Service Benefits Portability Act 2018, the Authority is permitted to invest Scheme assets for the benefit of the Schemes.

For the 12 months from 1 July 2019 – 30 June 2020, total unrealised investment losses for the Authority was $0.4 million against total scheme funds of $33.9 million at 30 June 2020.  The $0.4 million investment losses were offset by $0.5 million of investment income received during the year.  As a result, the net investment gain for the financial year was $0.1 million (or 0.5% return for the financial year).  This compares with a benchmark 7.6% investment loss for Australian Equities, 4.7% investment gain for international equities and a 4.2% investment gain for Australian Bonds for the financial year.

Previous-year investment performance

The Authority did not invest any funds during the 2018-19 financial year.

Outlook

The Authority is working with its advisers to adjust portfolio positioning in response to market movements and changes to economic conditions and policy outlook of governments, which may affect key investment asset classes.

 

Reviewed 25 November 2020

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