The following is a discussion of the activities undertaken by CASA in 2008–09 to ensure that the organisation had a workforce that was motivated and capable of meeting CASA’s vision of ‘safe skies for all’.
On 30 June 2009 CASA had 675 employees, which included 76 temporary staff and 12 staff managed as inoperative. Staff who are managed as inoperative include those on long-term leave for maternity/paternity reasons or on long-term leave pending formal retirement.
CASA had an average of 10.68 days unplanned absence per employee in 2008–09. This was higher than the 8.21 days reported in 2007–08. Unplanned absence includes sick leave, carers leave and compassionate leave. One reason for the increase is assumed to be the improved access to and utilisation of personal leave by staff to care for a dependent (carers leave).
In 2008–09 CASA’s rate of staff turnover for permanent staff was 13.7 per cent, a significant reduction from 17.8 per cent reported in 2007–08. Turnover is calculated as the number of staff who have left the organisation as a percentage of the number of permanent positions in the organisation at the time.
Terms and conditions
CASA staff are employed under the powers vested in the Director of Aviation Safety by the Civil Aviation Act. The terms and conditions of most staff are prescribed in the CASA Collective Agreement 2008–2010.
The terms and conditions of staff not covered by the collective agreement are contained in Australian Workplace Agreements or common law employment contracts. Under the Bargaining Framework for Government Employees, CASA staff currently employed under individual arrangements who are not Australian Public Service Senior Executive Service staff or equivalent are being transitioned to the collective agreement as their individual arrangements reach their nominal expiry dates.
At 30 June 2009 approximately 62 per cent of CASA staff were employed under the CASA Collective Agreement 2008–2010 and 38 per cent under Australian Workplace Agreements or common law contracts. CASA also had a number of service contractors and individuals temporarily engaged through contracted employment agencies. This included some short-term project staff and persons engaged to oversee licensing examinations.
CASA employees have access to salary packaging and a choice of superannuation fund as allowed or required by legislation. Unless they are engaged as casual employees, they have access to paid annual leave, paid and unpaid personal leave, a paid Christmas closedown, and paid or unpaid studies assistance. In addition, where it is operationally viable, staff may access a range of non-salary benefits, including purchased leave arrangements, flexible working hours and flexible work location arrangements.
CASA provides access for staff to a confidential employee assistance program. The program helps staff to resolve any work-related or personal problems that could affect their performance or wellbeing.
Learning and development
CASA ran internal training programs for 703 participants in 2008–09 (this number is higher than the actual number of employees because some attended more than one training session). This included both professional development and technical/regulatory training on topics such as project management, essential legal concepts, lead audit, leadership, human factors, safety management systems, airworthiness, civil aviation regulations and exercising regulatory powers. The programs ranged from targeted half-day training sessions to comprehensive five-day residential programs.
Five programs were sourced from the European Joint Aviation Authorities Training Organisation. These courses were aimed at increasing CASA staff’s awareness of how other regulatory bodies regulate the international aviation industry.
In 2008–09, 38 staff attended CASA’s middle management leadership program (Growing Leaders to Achieve Safe Skies or GLASS) and 36 staff attended CASA’s senior management program (Fostering Leadership Innovation Through Excellence or FLITE). The GLASS and FLITE programs are aimed at developing self-awareness, teamwork, stakeholder management and leadership skills in CASA’s middle and senior managers. A specific orientation program was also developed and implemented for new CASA managers, to provide an overview of responsibilities, processes and tools.
A new online learning system was implemented in December 2008, offering a range of courses to staff. Since the implementation of the system, 804 online courses have been completed. Online courses include corporate compliance courses on topics such as occupational health and safety, information technology end-user training and general training. A number of the courses are short introductions to topics while others lead to formal qualifications.
CASA’s Engagement Survey of November 2008 assessed staff perceptions of the working environment and the level to which employees felt ‘engaged’ in the work of the organisation. The results of the survey highlighted strengths in the areas of individuals’ passion for and commitment to their work, as well as engagement with CASA’s vision and strategic objectives. Teamwork, staff initiative and recognition of talent by management were other strengths identified. The Engagement Survey also identified areas for improvement, and responding to these issues has been a significant element guiding the organisational realignment effective 1 July 2009. The merging of operational branches, clarification of accountabilities and reporting lines, and basing the structure around CASA’s functions identified in the Act are all designed to address issues arising from the staff survey. Leadership is another area in which CASA is increasing its focus in response to the Engagement Survey results, with an ongoing commitment to leadership development through the dedicated leadership programs, GLASS and FLITE.
Code of conduct
All CASA staff must comply with a comprehensive code of conduct as a condition of their employment or engagement. The CASA Code of Conduct fully reflects the values and behaviours expected of CASA employees working within the Australian Government framework.
CASA has internal and external protected disclosure arrangements (whistleblower arrangements) to enable confidential reporting of fraud and matters related to organisational corruption.
During 2008–09, CASA received no protected disclosure reports through its confidential reporting service, ‘Your-call’.
Conflict of interest
As a regulatory authority, CASA takes particular care to guard against actual, potential or perceived conflicts of interest for any member of its staff. All employees complete a conflict of interest declaration form on commencement of their duties.
CASA’s standard form of contract of engagement for consultants and contractors imposes the obligation to declare any conflict of interest that may arise during the life of the contract.
Recognising high performance
In 2008–09 CASA continued its recognition scheme for high-performing staff, which is designed to reinforce the CASA values and behaviours (see page 1 – 'Our vision, our mission and our values'). The Employee of the Month award recognised staff whose work displayed a level of service that met or exceeded CASA’s standards for excellence, while the Above and Beyond award recognised individuals or teams who demonstrated outstanding and exceptional work or work on projects of importance to CASA.
Employees are nominated for recognition under the scheme by their managers or colleagues. CASA also uses a recognition scheme to honour the achievements and service of employees for their 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 and 40 year milestones.
Table 2 Recipients of CASA awards for performance, 2008–09
|Employee of the Month||Above and Beyond|
|July 2008||Martin Holberton||Courtney Davies|
|August 2008||Shaun Bennetts||John Flannery|
|September 2008||Fiona Johnstone|
|October 2008||Taryne Buckley||Phil Astley|
|November–December 2008||Ian Murray|
|January 2009||Neville Besant||Jonathan Aleck|
|February 2009||Adele Crawley||Dinh Nguyen, Jaya Ambali and Anil Wadhawan|
|March 2009||Michael Richmond||Trevor Howie|
|April 2009||Anna Henry|
|May 2009||Lynda O’Reilly|
|June 2009||Brenda Cattle||Peter Fereday|