Multicultural Access and Equity Policy: Respecting diversity. Improving responsiveness.

Our vision for Multicultural Access and Equity Policy

The Department’s vision is to help Australians communicate. Through our engagement strategies and programs, we will strive to ensure that Australians from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds can access broadcasting, telecommunication and internet services, take-up online opportunities and enjoy the benefits of a fast-developing digital economy.

Our Department

The Department’s goal is to help develop a vibrant sustainable and internationally- competitive broadband, broadcasting and communications sector and through this, promote the digital economy for the benefit of all Australians.

Through the Department’s policies, telecommunications networks support all Australians to communicate and access services. The National Broadband Network (NBN) will be utilised by government departments to enhance service delivery to help more Australian’s gain access to services, with innovative trials already underway specific to Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities. For example under the Government’s Digital Productivity initiatives the Department of Immigration and Citizenship is running NBN-enabled trials in relation to Virtual English Tuition for Migrants.

In addition to the NBN, the Department is enhancing the quality and the diversity of television and radio broadcasting services. Broadcasting remains one of the most powerful ways of promoting cultural diversity and understanding. The Department is responsible for policy advice relating to the Special Broadcasting Service Corporation, Australia’s multicultural and multilingual national public broadcaster; fund the community broadcasting sector, including ethnic broadcasting, and also support effective consumer information and research by providing funding to the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), including for multicultural projects.

The Department’s AMP will reinforce our core business by ensuring the initiatives developed and delivered by the Department continue to meet the needs of a society which is becoming more multiculturally diverse.

Our AMP

  • The Senior Executive Service Officer responsible for the Multicultural Plan is the Deputy Secretary of the Digital Economy Group. AMP coordination responsibility sits with the Governance Branch and is supported by other areas in the Corporate Division as well as the policy and program areas of the Department. Roundtable and individual meetings were held to develop the Plan.
  • The Department’s AMP offers an opportunity to set out in a structured way (to enable performance measurement), existing actions and strategies in place as well as identifying areas that can be enhanced to achieve increased awareness in the Department of multicultural issues and equitable outcomes for CALD communities, in achieving the Department’s goal.
1. Leadership
Strong leadership in embedding multicultural access and equity into the Department’s culture and core business will assist in achieving the actions identified in the Plan, ultimately leading to improvements in maximising the opportunities for multicultural communities to engage in the social, economic and cultural life of Australia.
Minimum obligations
1.1 Executive accountability: Department to assign a Senior Executive Officer to be responsible for implementation of multicultural access and equity obligations.

1.2 Department or agency commitment: Department leadership to ensure that staff understand and are committed to multicultural access and equity implementation.

  Action Responsibility Timeline Target
1.1 Executive accountability
1.1.1 Appoint a Senior Executive Service Governance Complete The Deputy Secretary of the Digital Economy Group has taken an active role in ensuring the Department is committed to the implementation of the AMP.
1.1.2 Appoint Multicultural Access and Equity leaders throughout the Department to support the implementation of the Departmental AMP. Executive Management Group (EMG)/ Governance Branch October 2013 Access and Equity Leaders have been appointed from key policy and program service delivery areas to assist in the development of a robust plan.
1.2 Department commitment
1.2.1 Governance Branch to promote AMP to staff through regular and timely internal communication activities and/or staff meetings. Governance Branch December 2013 Staff understand the AMP and are committed to its implementation. AMP actions are fully implemented by the end of this AMP cycle.
1.2.2 Governance Branch to monitor the implementation of the AMP. Governance Branch December 2013  

1.2.3

Establishment of a team responsible for coordinating the development and implementation of the Departmental AMP. Governance Branch Complete The plan and examples of the policy in action are communicated to staff via multiple platforms – including all-staff emails – intranet news stories and promotion. Team established within the Governance Branch responsible for coordinating the development and implementation of the Departmental AMP.
2. Engagement
The Department recognises that there are a range of strategies for stakeholder engagement and the selection of the appropriate strategy must be informed by an understanding of the target audience. Engagement is part of a longer term relationship building process; it promotes empowerment, builds trust and supports stronger links between government agencies and culturally and linguistically diverse communities (CALD). The Department seeks to engage with stakeholders to promote a two-way conversation and garner important information for the delivery of policies and programs.
Minimum obligations
2.1 Stakeholder engagement: Department or agency to have an engagement strategy to understand culturally and linguistically diverse communities' interactions with department or agency.

2.2 Language and communication: Department or agency to have a language and communication plan for culturally and linguistically diverse communities, including on the use of languages other than English and incorporating the use of interpreters and translators.

 

  Action Responsibility Timeline Target
2.1 Stakeholder engagement
2.1.1 Develop a Stakeholder engagement strategy, to outline the key issues to consider when engaging with CALD communities.

The strategy will promote the effective communication of the Department’s programs and policies to all Australians.

Communication Branch December 2013 Multicultural issues embedded into mainstream engagement strategy tools, including the use of relevant links.
2.1.2 The Department will update existing communication strategy templates, to provide program/policy areas with advice and possible considerations when engaging with CALD communities. The updated document will be made available to all staff on the intranet, along with other documentation which will assist in the development of engagement strategies with CALD audiences. Communication Branch December 2013 CALD considerations embedded into the existing Departmental communication strategy.
2.2 Language and communication
2.2.1 Drawing on the Multicultural Language Service Whole of Government Guidelines to develop a high-level departmental language and communication plan for culturally and linguistically diverse communities, including information on the use of languages other than English and the use of interpreters and translators. This will be promulgated through the communication toolbox on the intranet. Communication Branch June 2014 Plan developed and promoted to staff, including a link from/to the above Engagement Strategy.
3. Performance
Performance measurement and target setting are important to the growth process of any organisation. By seeking feedback and measuring our performance, we will identify areas for improvement and determine how we need to enhance multicultural access and equity performance in our Department.
Minimum obligations
Performance indicators and reporting: Department or agency to develop a set of KPIs relating to engagement with, or outcomes of services to, culturally and linguistically diverse clients.

Feedback: Department or agency to have arrangements in place to ensure affected culturally and linguistically diverse communities are able to provide feedback on department or agency multicultural access and equity performance.

  Action Responsibility Timeline Target
3.1 Performance indicators and reporting
3.1.1 In line with existing, or future whole-of-government performance management and evaluation frameworks, the Department will develop a strategy for selecting suitable Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) against AMP targets. Governance and Reporting Section March 2015 Undertake key discussions with the Governance and Reporting Team regarding the development of suitable KPIs
3.2 Feedback
3.2.1 The Department will promote the use of the Translating and Interpreting Services (TIS) into the Departmental feedback mechanisms. Web Team/Client Engagement and FOI/Policy Line Areas June 2014 Information relating to the TIS promoted and incorporated into feedback mechanisms.
3.2.2 Undertake an evaluation of the Departmental complaints processes. Client Engagement & FOI Section September 2014 Complaints mechanisms are reviewed and amended as necessary.
4. Capability
It is essential that the Department invests in cultural capability; this will encourage the robust development of engagement strategies to ensure we are culturally competent to effectively engage with culturally and linguistically diverse stakeholders. Encouraging staff to consider the cultural contexts of their respective working environments will assist in overcoming the barriers relating to the equitable access to information and programs offered by the Department.
  Action Responsibility Timeline Target
4.1 Cultural competency
4.1.1 Promote opportunities for staff to access cultural competency training across the APS People Branch July 2014 90% of all helpline/call centre staff working on helplines, program delivery and engagement strategies undertake the training.
4.1.2 Explore options for the implementation of the APSC access and equity/cultural competency training packages. People Branch December 2013 APSC access and equity/cultural competency training package available to staff by 31 December 2013.
4.2 Research and data
4.2.1 Utilise data from other sources to foster a greater understanding of the needs of our CALD clients in or policies and programs.

Note: cross over with Openness, 6.2.1

All Line Areas July 2014 If available, relevant CALD data from the Department is communicated to the broader Departmental staff via intranet links.
5. Responsiveness
For the programs and policies that are developed in the Communications portfolio to be appropriate and effective in this climate, they need to be developed and delivered in a way that recognises that our society is not culturally homogenous. The effectiveness of this will be measured by the cultural capabilities of the workforce and ultimately a high level of service satisfaction of the stakeholders from CALD backgrounds. In addition - The Department looks forward to the lead APS agencies embedding multicultural considerations into whole-of-government standards/guidelines.
Minimum obligations
5.1 Standards: Any whole-of-government standards and guidelines developed by the Department or agency must address multicultural access and equity considerations.

5.2 Policy, program and service delivery: Provision to ensure that policies, programs, community interactions and service delivery (whether in-house or outsourced) are effective for culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

5.3 Outsourced services: Where relevant, provision for incorporation of multicultural access and equity requirements into contracts, grant agreements and related guidance material of which the department or agency has carriage.

  Action Responsibility Timeline Target
5.1 Standards
5.1.1 The Department of  Communications is currently not responsible for any whole-of-government standards or guidelines – so this obligation is not relevant. n/a n/a n/a
5.2 Policy, program and service delivery
5.2.1 Relevant procurement and grants related processes take into account multicultural access and equity considerations. Finance Branch June 2014 Where appropriate and/or necessary guidance and templates will be amended.
5.2.2 Where necessary, New Policy Proposals (NPP) take into account multicultural access and equity considerations. Finance Branch June 2014 Establish links in the NPP template guidance material to the Departmental AMP and the multicultural access and equity toolkit.
5.3 Outsourced services
5.3.1 Where relevant, procurement and grants documentation, both process documents and templates, take into account multicultural access and equity considerations. Procurement Branch June 2014 Where appropriate and/or necessary guidance and templates will be amended.
6. Openness
The Department of Communications encourages open and accountable interactions with all our stakeholders, including those from culturally and linguistically diverse communities. The principles of accountability and transparency are essential to achieving a vibrant sustainable and internationally- competitive broadband, broadcasting and communications sector and through this, promote the digital economy for the benefit of all Australians. Providing avenues to register complaints and raise concerns about the performance of policy developers and program implementers assists in shaping policy that is interculturally appropriate.
Minimum obligations
6.1 Publishing: Department or agency to publish AMPs on department or agency websites and performance reports against KPIs for culturally and linguistically diverse clients in department or agency annual reports.

6.2 Data: Department or agency to make culturally and linguistically diverse data available to other departments or agencies and the public.

  Action Responsibility Timeline Target
6.1 Publishing
6.1.1 The Department will publish its AMP on the Department’s website. Web Services October 2013 The AMP is published on the Departmental website.
6.1.2 The Department will report on its implementation of the AMP in its Annual Report, in line with whole-of-government annual reporting guidelines. Governance & Reporting Section October 2014 Performance reporting on the AMP is included in the Department’s Annual Report.
6.2 Data
6.2.1 Where available the Department will encourage areas to share any CALD data (consistent with privacy principles) with other departments, agencies and the public.

Note: cross over with Capability, 4.2.1

Line areas – Various July 2015 Relevant CALD data, including data acquired from external sources, collected by the Department is disseminated to other agencies and the public.