Activities and achievements

Consultancy service

The DEOPE plays a key role in providing information on equity and diversity trends and good practice through a customised consultancy service. In 2011/12 the DEOPE provided advice and assistance to public authorities on the design of workforce strategies to meet diversity outcomes.

The consultancy service provided public authorities assistance in:

  • developing EEO management plans
  • developing guidelines, planning and evaluation tools
  • evaluating plans
  • improving diversity data collection methods
  • meeting compliance requirements.

In the reporting period 2011/12, consultancy services were provided to 126 public sector agencies, 140 local government authorities and four public universities to meet statutory requirements, as well as to develop agency-specific diversity strategies.

Advice and assistance on EEO management plans

Advice and assistance were provided to 33 public sector agencies and authorities, 140 local government authorities and four public universities to develop new EEO management plans. Evaluations were undertaken to determine the effectiveness of the EEO management plans in achieving the objects of Part IX of the EO Act.

Public sector agencies and authorities, local government authorities and public universities maintained 100 per cent compliance with s.145 of the EO Act. The DEOPE was satisfied with the preparation and implementation of EEO management plans in the public sector and did not undertake any investigations under s.147 of the EO Act.

During the reporting period, the DEOPE supported the implementation of the Public Sector Commissioner’s Circular 2011-02: Workforce Planning and Diversity in the Public Sector. This circular encouraged public sector agencies to integrate the requirements of s.145(2) of the EO Act and workforce initiatives into a single integrated workforce and diversity plan. In the 2011/12 reporting period 40 per cent of public sector agencies and authorities developed an integrated workforce and diversity plan.

Workforce and diversity planning tools

In collaboration with the Commission, the DEOPE continued to develop new tools and templates to assist public authorities develop and implement integrated workforce and diversity plans. A key focus was to ensure that information and resources were widely available and accessible to public authorities.

See Appendix 2 - new resources, tools and templates.

Diversity forums

To promote leading practice in equal opportunity in public employment the DEOPE hosted two diversity forums. The diversity forums showcased good practice strategies and personal journeys, focusing on equity and diversity in the public sector. The forums were attended by representatives from public sector agencies and authorities, local government authorities and public universities.

Aboriginal employment

A diversity forum was held in October 2011. It promoted the Commission’s Aboriginal Employment Strategy 2011-2015 for the Western Australian public sector. The DEOPE is a member of the governance group responsible for championing and overseeing the implementation of the strategy. The DEOPE hosted the forum for human resource practitioners to adopt the strategy and related initiatives designed to improve employment outcomes for Aboriginal people across the sector.

The strategy contributes to the Council of Australian Government’s Reform agenda to halve the gap in employment outcomes between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians within one decade. The Western Australian public sector aims to increase Aboriginal employment in the sector to 3.2 per cent by 2015.

The strategy encompasses a range of initiatives for the public sector that focus on:

  • attracting Aboriginal people to work in the public sector
  • being accountable
  • building capability and careers
  • creating culturally inclusive workplaces
  • fostering Aboriginal leaders.

The DEOPE contributes to a number of initiatives linked to the themes from the strategy including:

  • Chief executive officer forum to progress employment opportunities and secondments through the Jawun Indigenous Corporate Partnerships program
  • program for supervisors of Aboriginal trainees and leadership development scholarships for emerging leaders
  • traineeship program for young Aboriginal people
  • workshops on cultural issues to inform the development of cultural awareness guidelines.

Work at optimising opportunities for Indigenous Australians has progressed. The DEOPE will continue to take a lead role in implementing the initiatives in the strategy.

A conversation on women in leadership

In March 2012, the DEOPE hosted the International Women’s Day event Diversity Forum: A Conversation on Women in Leadership.

The forum was facilitated by former Australian Broadcasting Corporation television newsreader Ms Deborah Kennedy, with 130 audience members participating in a panel conversation.

The DEOPE talked about the progress of achieving gender equity in leadership roles, discussing workplace flexibility, part-time arrangements, working from home opportunities and work/life balance.

The Public Sector Commissioner, Mr Mal Wauchope, shared his perspective on the leadership and management qualities he looks for in chief executive officers, including the criteria for the Senior Executive Service. Commissioner Wauchope also spoke about the development of the public sector landscape over the past two decades.

Ms Susan Hunt, Chief Executive Officer, Zoological Parks Authority, spoke about being the CEO of an agency with a high representation of women in leadership roles.

Ms Joanne Abbiss, Chief Executive Officer, Serpentine-Jarrahdale Shire, shared her journey to becoming a CEO in local government. Ms Abbiss discussed managing a professional career and family responsibilities.

From left: Ms Joanne Abbiss, Chief Executive Officer, Serpentine-Jarrahdale Shire, Ms Susan Hunt,  Chief Executive Officer, Zoological Parks Authority,  Mr Mal Wauchope, Public Sector CommissionerFrom left: Ms Joanne Abbiss, Chief Executive Officer, Serpentine-Jarrahdale Shire, Ms Susan Hunt, Chief Executive Officer, Zoological Parks Authority, Mr Mal Wauchope, Public Sector Commissioner


The DEOPE delivered a range of presentations throughout 2011/12, which included:

  • ‘Public sector women in management’, Department of Mines and Petroleum, July 2011
  • ‘Graduate future leaders program, module one: Raising your diversity’, March 2012
  • ‘Foundations of government human resources, module two: Diversity in the public sector’, April 2012.

Diversity networks

The DEOPE participated in a number of activities in order to stay informed about developments taking place in the diversity arena. For example; the DEOPE attended:

  • Skills Australia and Industry Skills Councils joint conference: Putting skills at the heart of the economy
  • Informa: The 8th Indigenous Recruitment and Training Summit
  • The Australian Network on Disability conference: Raising the Bar 2012
  • Department of Indigenous Affairs: Indigenous Workforce Development and Employment Forum 2012-Leading Practice in the Public Sector.


The DEOPE reports on the progress of public authorities towards the achievement of a diverse workforce under s.143 of the EO Act. The Commission supports the DEOPE through the collection, management and evaluation of diversity data. The data is used in planning, reporting and improvement of equity and diversity programs across the public sector.

Workforce analysis and comparative application data

The DEOPE in collaboration with the Commission, continued to work with public sector agencies and authorities to ensure appropriate diversity data was collected, maintained and reported through the Workforce Analysis and Comparative Application (WACA) system. The DEOPE worked with the Department of Education, Department of Health and other large agencies to improve individual agency response rates to a voluntary diversity questionnaire. Data collected in July 2012 provided a fifth year of directly comparable data since the WACA was introduced.

Employee perception survey

The Employee perception survey forms part of an annual survey program conducted by the Commission. A range of diversity-related questions are included. Survey results enable the DEOPE to evaluate the effectiveness of EEO management plans under s.143 of the EO Act, as well as determine the level of discrimination in the workplace under s.146. The survey results help agencies to identify areas of good practice and areas for improvement.

In 2011/12, 19 938 online employee surveys were distributed to 11 public authorities. The response rate was 24 per cent, as 4 784 surveys were returned. Refer to Appendix 3 - participating public authorities in the Employee perception survey 2011/12 for a list of public authorities that participated. Feedback was provided to the CEO of each participating public authority. Results from the 2011/12 survey appear in the Employee perception survey results section on p. 55.

Annual agency survey

The DEOPE included a selection of questions in the Commission Annual agency survey 2012. Full survey results are captured in Commission’s State of the Sector Report 2011/12, to be released in November 2012 to monitor how agencies ensure equity and diversity initiatives are included in bullying and harassment policies.

How does your agency compare?

The DEOPE provided the How does your agency compare? reports to public sector agencies and authorities with more than 100 employees. How does your university compare? was a similar report prepared and distributed to the four public universities.

The reports contain diversity data provided by public authorities to the DEOPE as per s.146 of the EO Act. The reports describe current workforce diversity profiles, diversity progress achieved in the past year and cross-sector comparisons with other public authorities.

The reports help public authorities with EEO management and workforce planning.

Page last updated 11 September 2014