Equal employment opportunity management plans
Under Part IX of the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (EO Act) public authorities are required to prepare, implement and provide the DEOPE an Equal employment opportunity (EEO) management plan. This management plan may be in the form of a stand-alone plan or an integrated workforce and diversity plan.
For a range of reasons employees belonging to diversity groups may experience inequitable access to public employment. The preparation and implementation of EEO management plans by public authorities under Section 145(1) of the EO Act is the mechanism to address inequitable access.
As required by the EO Act, plans must include:
- a process for developing EEO policies and programs by which the objects of Part IX of the EO Act are to be achieved
- strategies to communicate EEO policies and programs
- strategies to evaluate EEO policies and programs
- methods for the collection and recording of workforce diversity data
- processes for the review of personnel practices to identify possible discriminatory practices
- goals or targets to determine the success of the EEO management plan
- a process to review and amend the EEO management plan
- the delegation of implementation, monitoring and review responsibilities.
Copies of EEO plans, and any amendments, are provided to the DEOPE in accordance with Section 145(6) of the EO Act.
Planning in times of change
Over the reporting year, the DEOPE has continued to consult with public authorities to provide advice and assistance on the development and implementation of EEO management plans.
As at 30 June 2017, 56 public sector agencies and 113 non-public sector authorities held current EEO management plans. This represents a 66.8 per cent currency rate of the 253 plans held by the DEOPE’s office. This is a drop from 82.8 per cent in 2016.
This lower currency rate is due in part to significant reform across the public sector training and health sectors which led to the establishment of five new TAFE colleges and six health service providers during this reporting period.
As public sector authorities merge and adapt to the recent Machinery of government changes, many agencies will be required to integrate their EEO management plans. An early priority of the DEOPE in the next reporting period will be to assist the authorities affected.
A breakdown of the EEO management plans held by the DEOPE
|Full plan / Integrated||Checklist||Total|
Strategies at work
Public authorities are implementing a variety of strategies to eliminate discrimination and promote equality among employees.
This year, part 3 of the Public sector entity survey (PSES) was amended to ask diversity and inclusion questions that align with the EEO survey. Aligning the PSES and EEO survey for the first time allowed the DEOPE to report and respond to trends across all public authorities.
In 2017, the number of employees self-disclosing their diversity status has increased across all public authorities, leading to a more accurate picture of our sectors’ diversity. This is reflected by data which shows 75 per cent of all public authorities have strategies to encourage Aboriginal employees to disclose their diversity status.
A further 83 per cent of all public authorities have strategies to encourage employees with disability to disclose their diversity status.
Barriers at play
Across the state, 40 per cent of public authorities stated that a key barrier to achieving diversity targets was that they did not advertise any vacancies in the last 12 months. In addition, 31 per cent of public authorities advised that they received few or no job applications from people from diverse backgrounds.
Aside from broadening job vacancy distribution to include diversity employment services, organisations should regularly review recruitment processes to identify possible discriminatory practices. Transparency in the recruitment process is a key to attracting diversity candidates.
While the majority of public authorities have strategies to review selection criteria, job description forms and other recruitment documentation to eliminate bias, more needs to be done to attract employees with disability.
Successful recruitment initiatives include developing reasonable adjustment policy and procedures, promoted through the job advertisement.
One regional local government, committed to increasing the representation of employees with disability in their workforce, has taken the step to fast-track the recruitment of employees with a disability in accordance with their Disability Access and Inclusion Plan. Candidates who have a declared disability and meet the minimum essential requirements for a position are guaranteed an interview.
Reduce discriminatory practices
The delegation of responsibilities to implement, monitor and review EEO plans is important to ensure goals or targets are met and the current plan is relevant. To promote the importance of diversity and inclusion, one public sector agency has established self-nominated diversity sub-committees to review, evaluate and report on progress to the senior executive.
To further reduce discriminatory practices for diversity employees, public authorities are implementing retention practices to identify, develop and retain staff from all diversity groups. These include flexible work practices to meet cultural needs, partnering with diversity employment services, and offering mentoring programs or other formal support networks.
Into the future, public authorities will need to focus their efforts towards strategies that provide leadership, development and advancement opportunities for employees from all diversity groups. Initiatives could include capturing and managing aspirations and development opportunities through the professional development cycle and incorporating opportunities to participate in ‘stretch’ activities.
Page last updated 14 September 2017