Shared Services Centre

In December 2013 the Department of Employment partnered with the Department of Education to establish a Shared Services Centre to deliver corporate and enabling services to both departments as an innovative and efficient response to the recent machinery-of-government changes.

By setting up the Shared Services Centre the departments were able to share over 600 employees and aim to avoid extra costs in establishing both departments by maintaining existing economies of scale.

The partner departments fund the Shared Services Centre through their annual appropriations, so financial accountability flows through both departments to parliament. As the Shared Services Centre is not a separate legal entity, its activities must be reported through both departments’ annual reports. For 2013–14, it is not possible to separate all partner departments’ activities managed by the Shared Services Centre; this is noted in this section where relevant.

In setting up the Shared Services Centre, the departments aimed to create a robust business model for achieving efficiencies in the delivery of corporate services. During 2013–14 the centre provided a range of services to the partner departments and other agencies in line with arrangements in place for DEEWR.

Governance and structure

The Shared Services Centre’s strategic direction and priorities are overseen by a governance board. The board membership, as at 30 June 2014, is detailed in Table 24.

Table 24 Shared Services Centre governance board members at 30 June 2014

Shared Services Centre governance board members at 30 June 2014
Name Role
Renée Leon PSM (Chair) Secretary of the Department of Employment
Lisa Paul AO PSM Secretary of the Department of Education
Craig Storen PSM Interim Chief Executive Officer of the Shared Services Centre
Stephen Sedgwick AO Australian Public Service Commission representative
Jenet Connell Department of Finance representative
Natalie James (Fair Work Ombudsman) Client agency representative
Julian Barrington-Smith Independent member

Information technology

Delivery of the department’s outcomes is supported by a range of information technology services, including application development and support, business analytics and geospatial reporting, application hosting, infrastructure provisioning and other support services. Responsibility for the department’s information technology is shared between the department, which continues to sustain and develop its major business applications, and the Shared Services Centre, which manages the rest of the information technology services for the department.

During 2013–14, the Shared Services Centre piloted a new set of tools to support mobile computing to enhance employees’ productivity when they are away from the office. The tools include a laptop that acts as a desktop replacement for mobile users, and a smartphone and tablet that enable users to access key business applications anywhere there is a connection to the internet.

The Shared Services Centre piloted the use of cloud computing to source computing and storage services for application development and testing. This work will position the department to take advantage of the flexibility and efficiency offered by cloud computing where privacy and performance constraints allow.

The Shared Services Centre also worked on implementing advanced application performance monitoring to improve its ability to monitor and manage IT services for clients, respond quickly to issues and reduce system downtime.

Environmental performance

The department’s environmental management is administered by the Shared Services Centre as part of its property management function. At 30 June 2014, accommodation and operations of the department were not fully separated from those of the Department of Education. This section therefore provides an aggregated report for both departments.

Environmental management for the departments is focused on reducing impacts from energy consumption, waste, water consumption, vehicle fleet, air travel, paper consumption, and procurement policies and practices. Progress of the departments is summarised in Tables 25–31.

Effect of the departments’ activities on the environment

The departments use an environmental management system to monitor and report on environmental performance, reduce negative environmental impacts and minimise pollution.

Over the past five years, the departments have significantly reduced both total electricity usage and per capita energy intensity (Table 25). The reductions were achieved by rationalising the property portfolio into fewer, more efficient tenancies and rolling out new desktop computers, including single split-screen monitors.

Table 25 Energy usage, 2009–10 to 2013–14

Energy usage, 2009–10 to 2013–14
Year Total kWh used Change (%) Intensity (MJ/FTE) Change (%) Total cost ($) Change (%)
2009–10 15,489,622 9,618 2,492,673
2010-11 12,383,849 -20 8,180 -15 2,182,450 -12
2011-12 10,635,473 -14 7,303 -11 1,951,531 -11
2012–13 7,164,658 -33 6.461 -12 1,575,379 -19
2013–14 ,863,055 -4 6,432 -0.5 1,649,544 +5

kWh = kilowatt hour; MJ/FTE = megajoules per full–time equivalent.

Because the energy efficiency of the departments’ property portfolio and ICT infrastructure were relatively unchanged in 2013–14, performance was maintained but the rate of improvement has slowed. As a result of ongoing price rises, total electricity costs rose by 5 per cent in 2013–14–the first increase in four years.

Office and building

In 2013–14, the departments achieved a small reduction in light and energy use to 6326 megajoules per person per year. This is well below the Energy Efficiency in Government Operations Policy target of 7500 megajoules.

The largest tenancy, 50 Marcus Clarke Street in Canberra, maintained excellent results in the most comprehensive range of formal environmental ratings gained by any building in Australia:

  • 6 Star Green Star As Built (whole of building)
  • 5 Star Green Star Office Interiors
  • 5.5 Star National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) Energy (for both base building and tenancy)
  • 5 Star NABERS Water
  • 5 Star NABERS Indoor Environment
  • 4 Star NABERS Waste.

The other main Canberra tenancy, at 10 and 12 Mort Street in Canberra, received a NABERS Energy rating of 5.5 stars—an outstanding result for a refurbished property.

Table 26 Summary of office and building energy use, 2012–13 and 2013–14

Summary of office and building energy use, 2012–13 and 2013–14
Indicator 2012–13 2013–14 Change (%)
Total office tenant light and power electricity consumption (kWh) 7,164,658 6,863,055 -4.21
Total office tenant light and power energy consumption (MJ) 25,792,768 24,706,998 -4.21
Office tenant light and power energy use per full-time equivalent (MJ/FTE) 6,461.11 6,432.44 -0.44
Office tenant light and power energy use per square metre (MJ/m2) 239.95 222.68 -7.20
Greenhouse emissions attributed to office tenant light and power energy use (tonnes/CO2-e) 6,362.23 6,087.30 -4.31
Green power purchased (kWh) 605,587 418,287 -30.93

CO2-e = carbon dioxide equivalent; kWh = kilowatt hour; MJ = megajoule; MJ/FTE = megajoules per full-time equivalent.

Table 27 Summary of greenhouse emissions, 2012–13 and 2013–14

Summary of greenhouse emissions, 2012–13 and 2013–14
Indicator 2012–13 2013–14 Change (%)
Total greenhouse emissions (tonnes CO2-e) 6,675.70 6,228.92 -5.79
Total greenhouse emissions per FTE (tonnes CO2-e/FTE) 1.67 1.64 -1.80

CO2-e = carbon dioxide equivalent; FTE = full-time equivalent.

Information and communications technology

The departments have reduced the running costs, resource consumption and environmental impacts of ICT operations through initiatives such as the use of energy-efficient monitors, virtual servers and print-on-demand for multifunction devices that default to duplex and black-and-white printing.

The combination of an increased proportion of efficient desktops, an increase in the number of desktops going to sleep over night, and a reduction in the wait time before a computer goes to sleep (from 30 minutes to 15 minutes) has lowered yearly desktop energy use per end user by 12.5 per cent from 264 kilowatt hours in 2012–13 to 231 kilowatt hours in 2013–14.

Table 28 Summary of ICT sustainability, 2012–13 and 2013–14

Summary of ICT sustainability, 2012–13 and 2013–14
Indicator 2012–13 2013–14 Change (%)
Desktop devices per end user (including laptops) 1.54 1.84 +19.5
Desktop computers to printer ratio 14:1 13:1 -7.1
Percentage of desktop computers off (or sleeping) after hours 88 93 +5.7
Desktop energy per end user (kWh per annum, averaged across agency) 264 231 -12.5

kWh = kilowatt hour.

Vehicle fleet and air travel

The average Green Vehicle Guide rating of the vehicle fleet improved by 3.9 per cent to a rating of 13.3. This, together with a reduction in fuel consumption, demonstrates the departments’ continued commitment to minimising the fleet’s environmental impact.

Total air kilometres travelled decreased by 30.08 per cent from 14,338,871 kilometres in 2012–13 to 10,026,378 kilometres in 2013–14. This outcome reflects the departments’ diligent approach to pursuing alternatives to air travel and increased use of ICT, such as videoconferencing.

Table 29 Summary of vehicle fleet use, 2012–13 and 2013–14

Summary of vehicle fleet use, 2012–13 and 2013–14
Indicator 2012–13 2013–14 Change (%)
Total number of fleet vehicles 148 140 -5.41
Average green vehicle rating of fleet 12.8 13.3 +3.90
Total fuel purchased (kilolitres) 133.47 86.73 -35.02
Total distance travelled (kilometres) 1,366,707 900,520 -34.11
Average fuel consumption of vehicle fleet (litres/100 km) 9.77 9.63 -1.43
Total direct greenhouse emissions of fleet (tonnes CO2-e) 308.92 201.62 -34.73

CO2-e = carbon dioxide equivalent.

Table 30 Summary of air travel, 2012–13 and 2013–14

Summary of air travel, 2012–13 and 2013–14
Indicator 2012–13 2013–14 Change (%)
Total number of flights 15,822 12,746 -19.44
Total distance of flights (km) 14,338,871 10,026,378 -30.08

Resource efficiency and waste

Paper use rose from 7.3 to 7.9 reams per person per annum in 2013–14. Despite the increase, paper use remains below the Australian Government ICT Sustainability Plan 2010-2015 target of 9 reams per person per annum by July 2015.

The departments purchased 100 per cent post-consumer recycled stock for all standard A4 and A3 paper.

The waste management system in Canberra diverted an impressive 25 tonnes of organic material from landfill to professional vermiculture, reducing emissions and producing beneficial worm castings and compost.

In 2013–14 the departments worked in close partnership with their cleaning contractors to:

  • support the outstanding NABERS Indoor Environment rating by ensuring that only the lowest-impact cleaning products—in both environmental and health terms—are used
  • maintain the highest workplace health and safety standards in storage and handling of cleaning products
  • train all cleaning employees to ensure they are able to maintain the highest environmental and health and safety standards
  • source and supply paper products with the highest recycled content available
  • ensure that waste streams that have been separated by employees are correctly handled to the point of removal from buildings for recycling
  • monitor and streamline the base-building waste removal arrangements, achieving a 25 per cent cost saving.

Table 31 Summary of resource efficiency and waste, 2012–13 and 2013–14

Summary of resource efficiency and waste, 2012–13 and 2013–14
Indicator 2012–13 2013–14 Change (%)
Office paper purchased by FTE (A4 reams/FTE) 7.3 7.9 +8.22
Percentage of paper purchased with recycled content 98.67 97.90 -0.78
Office paper recycled (tonnes) 168.08 122.12 -27.34
Total waste produced (tonnes) 139.93 115.00 -17.82
Total waste produced per FTE (kg/FTE) 45.50 29.94 -34.20
Percentage of waste diverted from landfill 90.25 88.50 -1.94

Note: Waste and recycling data is only available for tenancies across Canberra.

Looking ahead

The department will be focusing on delivering the priorities established in our People and Capability Strategy to ensure that we have an inspired and engaged workforce with the capability to meet our current and future organisational objectives.

The department will continue to be forward-thinking and innovative in communication solutions to ensure that the government’s policies and programmes are understood by and accessible to the public.

As well as continuing the business of providing services to customers, the Shared Services Centre is focusing on a range of separate projects to develop and define how it works. Key priorities and challenges for

2014–15 include:

  • exploring the full capability of the SAS Visual Analytics tool to improve policy advice by transforming the way the partner departments deal with high volumes of information
  • implementing a major data centre migration strategy, including modernising infrastructure to take advantage of higher quality data centre facilities available under the whole-of-government panel
  • following up the success of the cloud computing and mobile computing pilots with full implementations
  • continuing to advance systems security to meet emerging cybersecurity threats and challenges
  • maturing the Shared Service Centre’s relationships with the partner departments and customers to ensure the continued delivery of innovative, cost-effective and high-quality services matched to their needs
  • exploring the use of social media and web collaboration software to transform the way employees interact with each other and with external stakeholders
  • increasing the Shared Services Centre’s environmental efforts by improving signage, systems and employee training to ensure the Department of Employment is achieving the maximum possible results from its sophisticated waste-management system.