Online version of the 2012-13 Department of Health and Ageing Annual Report
DoHA National Alignment (DNA) is an overarching banner which encapsulates the Department’s internal change management program. DNA is seeing the Department become a more modern and contemporary, capable and flexible organisation, where staff are better enabled and supported to deliver on the government’s agenda.
Under the DNA the Department is putting into place a range of reforms that will ensure we are in the best position to implement and manage the government’s key priorities and programs.
During 2012-13 the DNA implemented a number of efficiency measures including:
- updating the Department’s office and records management technology;
- streamlining the Department’s financial services and human resources practices;
- improvements to the way the Department allocates its spending on information technology; and
- the adoption of a set of best practice principles for working with the not-for-profit sector.
Departmental Activity Survey
To get a clear and up-to-date view of the Department’s workload and to measure the effectiveness of efficiencies being made through the DNA, the Departmental Activity Survey was introduced. Staff complete the survey on a randomly selected day, with up to 60 staff being surveyed on a particular day. Most staff will complete the survey up to four times a year.
The survey provides a useful and practical whole-of-department picture of the Department’s workload which is used to:
- ensure departmental workloads are sustainable into the future;
- monitor administrative changes to ensure they are increasing the Department’s efficiency; and
- allow the Department to find new ways to be more efficient.
The Department consolidated 159 programs into 18 flexible Funds with effect from 1 July 2011.
The flexible Funds reduce red tape, provide increased flexibility to respond to emerging issues and deliver better value with public money.
The flexible funding pools are being used to progressively streamline grant funding processes for stakeholders, reduce the administrative burden and allow service providers to focus on service delivery.
The Department continues to undertake both open competitive and targeted grant rounds consistent with relevant Fund guidelines.10 Since July 2011 nine open funding rounds and twenty six targeted funding rounds have commenced or concluded. These approaches are advertised on the Tenders and Grants page of the Department’s website.11
The 18 Funds are:
- Chronic Disease Prevention and Service Improvement Fund;
- Communicable Disease Prevention and Service Improvement Grants Fund;
- Substance Misuse Prevention and Service Improvement Grants Fund;
- Substance Misuse Service Delivery Grants Fund;
- Health Social Surveys Fund;
- Aged Care Workforce Fund;
- Aged Care Service Improvement and Healthy Ageing Grants Fund;
- Single Point of Contact for Health Information, Advice and Counselling Fund;
- Regionally Tailored Primary Care Initiatives through Medicare Locals Fund;
- Practice Incentives for General Practices Fund;
- Rural Health Outreach Fund;
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Chronic Disease Fund;
- Health System Capacity Development Fund;
- Health Surveillance Fund;
- Quality Use of Diagnostics, Therapeutics and Pathology Fund;
- Health Workforce Fund;
- Indemnity Insurance Fund; and
- Health Protection Fund.
Following on from the implementation of flexible Funds, the Department has commenced the next stage in improving the management of grants.
The Department will improve how it communicates and works with grant recipients, other government agencies, and internally with a view to further reducing red tape.
In 2012-13 the Department commenced the establishment of a new Grants Services Division. Establishment of the new division will continue in 2013-14. The division will lead the improvement of grants management and reduce red tape and the administrative workload on funded organisation by:
- ensuring funded organisations have a consistent experience when dealing with the Department;
- implementing single-header agreements (for non-government organisations which have multiple agreements with the Department);
- developing a proportional and fit-for-purpose approach to management of grant risk, which includes risk assessment tools, processes and treatments;
- ensuring the timing of grant rounds are consistent with the Department’s principles for grants administration;
- providing procedural, technical, legal and probity advice to areas of the Department;
- ensuring that questions on grants related matters are directed to the most appropriate area of the Department; and
- sharing knowledge and experience within the Department and with grants recipients to support better practice and continuous improvement.
Further information is available on the Department’s Grants Reform homepage.
Single Desk Trial Reducing Red Tape For NGOs
Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) Queensland staff will be able to spend more time delivering their often lifesaving service to rural and remote communities and less on paper work under a new initiative being trialled by the Department.
Patients are set to be the winners from the initiative that streamlines funding from multiple areas within the Department into a single agreement and schedule, ending duplication, cutting red tape and achieving efficiencies for both the Department and the RFDS.
The Department also provided a single relationship manager with the RFDS, replacing the many contract managers the RFDS was previously required to be in contact with.
The Queensland RFDS is a major provider of aero-medical services and primary health care services to many of Queensland’s rural and remote communities, including Indigenous communities in some of the most distant corners of the state.
The Single Desk Trial consolidates all program funding into a single schedule and the design of the contract now comprehensively reflects the consolidated service delivery provided by the Queensland RFDS. Duplication of reporting no longer occurs and the RFDS is now able to provide a complete view of the program funding outcomes that are being achieved.
The Queensland RFDS has already provided details of emerging benefits including the ability to reallocate resources from administration to service delivery. The RFDS (Qld) Chief Executive Officer, Mr Nino Di Marco, recently wrote;
“Through the flexibility of the funding streams, we were able to achieve savings in administration support staff, equivalent to 3 full time employees. Not only has this assisted in bringing greater efficiencies through consistent reporting, and reduced administration time, the savings could be redirected to increase frontline staff, allowing increased clinic time and patient contacts.”
The new arrangements support efficiencies in service delivery and enable the RFDS to be more responsive to regional health service needs. Bringing all the funding into a single schedule has enabled the RFDS to better utilise health service teams. Staff who manage delivering services on the ground are now able to mix and use the skills of health teams in direct response to the immediate needs of the community.
The Single Desk Trial is due for completion by mid-2014 and will be used to inform strategies to reduce red tape for other non-government organisations which have multiple agreements with the Department.