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Other services provided

COMCAR

COMCAR provides a VIP car-with-driver service to a wide range of clients including parliamentarians, eligible members of the judiciary, holders of high public office and official guests of the Australian Government.

While there is often a high and variable level of demand to be met for its services, October 2003 was a particularly busy period by past standards, with COMCAR providing services for the following major events:

  • the visits to Australia by the Presidents of the United States of America and China, which involved COMCAR providing assistance with transport services for both visiting parties;
  • the High Court of Australia's Centenary which included activities in Melbourne and Canberra that required transportation for 600 people using the car-with-driver services provided by COMCAR; and
  • the Bali memorial service held in Canberra, which involved transportation for 600 people being provided by COMCAR.

Two COMCAR state offices were relocated to more efficient and better-positioned sites nearer to the main city airports – the Brisbane office was relocated to Newstead in December 2003, and the Melbourne office to Airport West in April 2004. Plans are also well underway for the Sydney COMCAR office to relocate to Alexandria in late 2004.

The ACT depot, which is home to some 75 COMCAR vehicles, has been enhanced by the addition of a semi-automated car wash that uses recycled water. The facility has reduced wash times to approximately four minutes per vehicle. The car wash also provides for a spot free rinse by channeling the recycled water through a reverse osmosis process. Phase II of the project, which was to install a 45,000 litre water tank to capture rainfall runoff from the roofs of the carports that house the COMCAR vehicles, was completed on 25 June 2004. This water is used to top up the car wash recycling tanks, increasing the volume of recycled water used by the carwash to approximately 95 per cent of the total.

Workplace relations training was provided between 17 May and 15 June 2004 for all COMCAR employees. This is the second round of training provided and it aims to build a strong understanding of the Finance Valued Behaviours and the Australian Public Service Values and Standards.

Since December 2003, COMCAR has progressively implemented a range of additional protective security measures in all its offices throughout Australia, following a security review conducted by ASIO T4 Protective Security. Heightened security awareness has been and will continue to be addressed by COMCAR through a range of measures including recruitment, training and in day-to-day work practices throughout Australia.

COMCAR received 53,592 reservations for individual services throughout the year (excluding the Parliament House shuttle services). It provided transport to 18 guests of government, and 35 other visiting overseas dignitaries or delegations sponsored by the Parliamentary Relations Office or Australian Government departments. It also provided vehicles to the parliamentary shuttle, which is a service provided to senators and members from Parliament House and to or from their desired destination within Canberra.

This year, COMCAR's client satisfaction levels were measured at 99.4 per cent – 1.4 per cent above the target of 98 per cent. COMCAR helped ensure client satisfaction by setting a response target of answering reservation calls within 15 seconds and measuring the percentage of client complaints against reservations completed. Eighty-three per cent of calls for COMCAR reservations were answered within 15 seconds. While this is below the level set at 85 per cent, it represents an improvement over last year's result of 79 per cent. COMCAR also met the overall targeted turnaround time of one week for responding to customer correspondence.

Australian Political Exchange Council

Finance provides secretariat support to the Australian Political Exchange Council (Council), which provides opportunities for young Australians involved in politics to visit other countries to study their political systems. The Council also coordinates the visits of incoming delegations that allow young people from participating exchange countries to gain a deep insight into the Australian political system.

Figure 7 Australian Political Exchange Council Incoming and Outgoing Delegations for Financial Year 2003–04
Australia to Vietnam July 2003
Australia to New Zealand July 2003
USA to Australia August 2003
Australia to China August 2003
China to Australia November 2003
Australia to Germany December 2003
Australia to Japan February 2004
New Zealand to Australia March 2004
Australia to China April 2004
Australia to Vietnam April 2004
Vietnam to Australia May 2004
China to Australia June 2004

The Council also sponsored one individual study tour to the United States of America during 2003–04.

Further information on the Council's activities can be found in its annual report, or at its website: www.polexchange.org.au.

Travel Services

To obtain better value for money, Finance approached three major airline services – Qantas Airway Limited (Qantas), Virgin Blue Airlines Pty Ltd and Regional Express between April 2003 and April 2004 to secure discounted airfares for parliamentary travellers. Finance has secured discounted airfares for parliamentary travel from Qantas. The other carriers have not agreed to specific discounted fares for parliamentary travellers, although parliamentary travellers are able to access discounted fares made available to all Australian Government agencies.

Staff Payments Team

During the 2003–04 period, the Staff Payments Team processed:

  • fortnightly pay for approximately 1,500 employees employed under the MOP(S) Act.
  • 95,362 pay transaction records;
  • 4,720 MOP(S) Act employee commencements;
  • 4,406 MOP(S) Act employee cessations; and
  • 131 security clearances. (This figure does not include security clearances commenced and not finalised or where the clearance process was stopped for any reason).

Table 7 Performance Information for Outcome 3

Effectiveness – Overall Achievement of Outcome 3
Provision of infrastructure and professional support services to parliamentarians and their employees. M&PS provided a range of services and advice to 226 senators and members and approximately 1,500 MOP(S) Act employees, including management of 235 electorate office leases and 321 vehicle leases, and provision of over 1,400 mobile and fixed telephone numbers. A record high 28,240 client inquiries and issues were successfully resolved in an average time of 0.7 days.
Continuous improvement of the parliamentary entitlements framework based on the principles of flexibility, accountability, cost effectiveness, transparency and simplicity (FACTS).

Indicators of Contributions of Outputs to Outcome
Target Result
Feedback from clients.
Successful implementation of entitlements framework improvements agreed by the government. Qualitative research was undertaken to determine MOP(S) Act employees satisfaction with M&PS' services. Feedback was generally positive, with 74 per cent of participants being satisfied to very satisfied with M&PS' services.

Output 3.1.1 Services to Senators, Members and their Staff
QUALITY
Target Result
Successfully managed contracts producing service delivery of property, travel services, information technology, postage and security clearance services that are in accordance with service level agreements.

Achieved.

Property Management Services – The performance of the contractor, United KFPW, is reviewed on a quarterly basis against the key performance indicators specified in the contract. A new fault reporting service through the United KFPW National Call Centre was introduced to centralise information for improved efficiency. An extension of the contract with United KFPW, until 22 November 2005, was negotiated.

Management of the Communication Allowance (Postage) – The performance of the contractor, Integrated Process Solutions (IPS), was reviewed on a quarterly basis and IPS met the performance measures. The contract was extended until 2 July 2004 under "transition out" measures. The Communications Allowance will be managed in-house by M&PS from 2 July 2004.

Travel Management Services – The performance of the contractor, SYNERGI Travel Australia, is reviewed on a quarterly basis against the key performance indicators specified in the contract. Internal Audit reviewed the management of the contract in 2003–04 and found that the control mechanisms are appropriate.

The Supply of Flags under the Constituents Request Programme – A tender for the supply of flags was released in 2003–04. Carroll and Richardson Flags was selected as the preferred tenderer and a five-year contract was negotiated. The Special Minister of State signed the contract on 9 June 2004.

Security Vetting Services – The performance of the service provider, Australian Protective Service is reviewed on a quarterly basis. A procurement strategy for replacement service arrangements is under development.

Ninety per cent of personnel/pay variations received prior to cut-off processed in that pay. Achieved. Ninety-nine per cent of personnel/pay variations received prior to cut-off were processed in that pay.
Ninety-five per cent of customer enquiries successfully responded to within one working day. Not achieved. Eighty-three per cent of customer inquiries were responded to within one working day, reflecting a high percentage of complex queries. The average response time for all inquires was 0.7 days.
Professional development programme for MOP(S) Act employees that is targeted at key skills needs and is well received by participants and meets the needs of M&PS' clients. Achieved. Ten sessions were held for MOP(S) employees with over 130 people attending. The evaluation of the sessions and follow up phone calls were positive.
Monthly reporting to senators and members on entitlement usage that is accurate and timely. Achieved. All 12 reports were delivered in a timely manner.
Six-monthly report to parliament on parliamentarians' and former parliamentarians' paid travel expenditure that is accurate and timely. Achieved. Both reports were tabled on time.
Ninety per cent of travel allowance claims processed within five working days. Achieved. Ninety-four per cent of travel allowance claims processed within target.
Provision of on-line services to senators and members. Achieved. The M&PS Business Improvement Programme has piloted an On-Line Domestic Travel Booking Tool with a representative set of senators and members. M&PS has also been regularly maintaining the MOP(S) Act employees' intranet site, updating it with circulars, forms and certified agreement information. Achieved. Streamlined publishing processes have resulted in a more up-to-date and accurate website providing information, forms, guidelines and procedures to all clients with access to the Australian Parliament House information technology (IT) network.
Ninety-five per cent of charter and car transport claims processed within 10 working days from the date certification is received. Achieved. One hundred per cent of charter and car transport claims processed within 10 working days from the date certification is received.
Minister's satisfaction with briefings and advice. Ninety-seven per cent of briefing documents that were rated, were rated as average or above.

QUANTITY
Target Result
The following quantitative indicators are demand driven and will be reported on an annual basis. These transactions are based on historical data and are estimated at:
275,000 personnel and entitlement transactions for senators, members and their employees. Achieved. 356,749 personnel and entitlement transactions for senators, members and their employees.
30,000 flight reservations processed. Achieved. 31,139 flight reservations processed.
26,000 parliamentarians' travel allowance nights paid. Not achieved. 24,415 nights paid.

Output 3.1.2 – VIP Hire Car Services
QUALITY
Target Result
Satisfaction with COMCAR services in 98 per cent of all reservations. Achieved. Rated 99.4 per cent satisfaction.
Eighty-five per cent of calls for COMCAR reservations to be answered within 15 seconds. Not achieved. Eighy-three per cent were answered within 15 seconds. This result has improved from last year's result of 79 per cent.
Minister's satisfaction with briefings and advice. Achieved. One hundred per cent of briefs that were rated, were rated as average or above.

QUANTITY
Target Result
The following quantitative indicator is demand driven and will be reported on an annual basis. These transactions are based on historical data and are estimated at:
52,000 Comcar vehicle reservations provided (excluding Parliament House shuttle service). Achieved. 53,592 reservations made, excluding Parliament House shuttle service.

Table 8 Resources for Outcome 3
  Budget* 2003–04 $'000 Actual 2003–04 $'000 Variation $'000 Budget** 2004–05 $'000
Administered Expenses
(including third party outputs)
259,753 240,798 (18,955) 273,264
Total Administered Expenses 259,753 240,798 (18,955) 273,264
Price of Departmental Outputs
Output Group 3.1: Ministerial and Parliamentary Services
Output 3.1.1: Services to Senators, Members and their Employees 33,808 33,572 (236) 33,224
Output 3.1.2: VIP Hire Car Services 17,576 17,511 (65) 18,252
Subtotal Output Group 3.1 51,384 51,083 (301) 51,476
Revenue from Government (Appropriation) for Departmental Outputs 47,501 47,303 (198) 47,609
Revenue from Other Sources 3,883 3,780 (104) 3,867
Total Price of Outputs 51,384 51,083 (301) 51,476
TOTAL FOR OUTCOME 3
(Total Price of Outputs and Administered Expenses) 311,137 291,881 (19,257) 324,740
Average Staffing Level 345.1 359.5 14.4 346.7
  1. * Full year budget including additional estimates.
  2. ** Budget prior to additional estimates.

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