Chapter 4 Our performance framework

The Department’s annual report has a dual role: it is a key document that is part of the Department’s accountability to the Parliament and it is an informative record of our progress towards our outcomes. A strong emphasis is placed on reporting against program objectives rather than simply reporting the level of program activity.

FaHCSIA has developed a performance framework to improve the consistency and transparency of performance information and reporting at several levels. The main purpose of the framework is to assist programs to set clear performance expectations, assess whether levels of performance have been met, set benchmarks to monitor trends and offer feedback to services on their performance.

Performance reporting in this annual report is based on the outcome and program structure and performance information contained in the 2010–11 Portfolio Budget Statements (PB Statements) and 2010–11 Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements (PAES).

FaHCSIA’s 2010–11 PB Statements did not contain targets as the Department took on the task of reviewing and redefining key performance indicators and deliverables. As a result of this work targets for annual appropriations have been reported in the
2011–12 Portfolio Budget Statements.

This chapter also includes a report on FaHCSIA’s contribution to the Australian Government’s social inclusion agenda across the Department’s outcomes and purchaser–provider arrangements.

Outcome and program structure

Table 4.1 shows the Department’s seven outcomes and their associated programs and program objectives for the 2010–11 reporting period.

Table 4.1 Outcomes, programs and objectives, 2010–11
Outcome 1: Families and Children
Improved child development, safety and family functioning through support services for all Australians, payments for low and medium income families with children and child support policy.
Program Objective
1.1: Family Support To increase access to and timely provision of integrated services for families, particularly vulnerable and at risk families, to improve child development, safety and family functioning.
1.2: Family Tax Benefit To make payments to assist low and medium income families with the direct and indirect costs of raising dependent children.
1.3: Parental Payments and Care Incentives To make payments to families to assist with the costs of a newborn or adopted child, extend the period that parents can be away from work to spend time with their new baby and encourage all families to fully immunise their children.
Outcome 2: Housing
Access to affordable, safe housing through: payments and support services; and rental subsidies to low and moderate income households.
Program Objective
2.2: Housing Assistance and Homelessness Prevention

To provide financial incentives to increase the housing supply and provide rental subsidies for low and moderate income households, and to fund homelessness prevention initiatives to reduce the impact of homelessness.

As a result of Administrative Arrangement Order changes, responsibility for Affordable Housing (former FaHCSIA program 2.1) was transferred to the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. The Housing Assistance and Homelessness Prevention program is now the sole program reported on in Outcome 2.

Outcome 3: Community Capability and the Vulnerable
Improved capacity for vulnerable people and communities to participate economically and socially and to manage life-transitions through payments, targeted support services and community capability building initiatives.
Program Objective
3.1: Financial Management To improve the financial knowledge, skills, capabilities and financial resilience of vulnerable individuals and families to alleviate the immediate impact of financial stress, and to coordinate a national approach to reduce problem gambling.
3.2: Community Investment To provide grants and ongoing funding to improve the responsiveness and integration of local community services to increase participation of vulnerable people in community life. As a result of Administrative Arrangements Order changes, deliverables for Volunteer Management have been transferred to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
3.3: Income Support for Vulnerable People To make payments to financially assist eligible people in severe financial hardship who do not have any other means of support.
3.4: Support for People in Special Circumstances To make payments to Australians in circumstances beyond their control to support them in overcoming those circumstances and maintaining their financial wellbeing. As a result of Administrative Arrangements Order changes, key performance indicators and deliverables for the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment have been transferred to the Attorney-General’s Department.
3.5: Supplementary Payments and Support for Income Support Recipients To make payments and subsidise services to certain income support recipients to assist them financially and to help them continue to participate economically and socially.
Outcome 4: Seniors
An adequate standard of living and improved capacity to productively manage resources and life-transitions for senior Australians through the delivery of payments, concessions and information services.
Program Objective
4.1: Income Support for Seniors To make payments to senior Australians to assist them financially in a manner that encourages them to productively manage resources and life-transitions.
4.2: Allowances, Concessions and Services for Seniors To make payments and provide services to senior Australians to assist with household expenses, enabling them to maintain their standard of living and increase their access to information and community resources.
Outcome 5: Disability and Carers
An adequate standard of living, improved capacity to participate economically and socially and manage life-transitions for people with disability and/or mental illness and carers through payments, concessions, support and care services.
Program Objective
5.1: Targeted Community Care To implement community mental health initiatives to assist people with mental illness and their families and carers.
5.2: Disability Support Pension To make payments to eligible people with disability who are unable to achieve financial independence through sustained mainstream employment.
5.3: Income Support for Carers To make payments and allowances to financially assist eligible carers of people with disability, a severe medical condition or who are frail aged.
5.4: Services and Support for People with Disability To provide supported employment and improve access to information, advocacy and services for people with disability so they can develop their capabilities and actively participate in community and economic life.
5.5: Support for Carers To provide peer support, respite and information services for carers to help them balance their care responsibilities with social participation and, in the case of young carers, completion of their education.
Outcome 6: Women
Improved gender equality through coordinated whole of government advice and support for women’s economic security, safety and status.
Program Objective
6.1: Gender Equality for Women To implement strategies in priority areas to achieve gender equality for women. These priority areas include:
  • reducing violence against women
  • improving economic outcomes for women
  • ensuring women’s equal place in society.
Outcome 7: Indigenous
Closing the gap in Indigenous disadvantage with improved wellbeing, capacity to participate economically and socially and to manage life-transitions for Indigenous Australians through Indigenous engagement, coordinated whole of government policy advice and targeted support services.
Program Objective
7.1: Economic Development and Participation To improve the capacity of Indigenous Australians to participate in the economy.
7.2: Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure To improve the quality of Indigenous housing and tackle overcrowding and homelessness in remote communities.
7.3: Native Title and Land Rights To support Indigenous rights to land recognised or provided for through Commonwealth land rights legislation and facilitate the representation and assistance of native title claimants and holders in the pursuit and exercise of native title rights.
7.4: Indigenous Capability and Development

To provide engagement and support for individuals, families and communities to improve wellbeing and capability.

As a result of Administrative Arrangement Order changes, the Repatriation of Indigenous Remains function has been transferred to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

7.5: Closing the Gap in the Northern Territory To provide whole of government policy coordination and to implement targeted measures in relation to the National Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap in the Northern Territory, which aims to protect women and children, improve community capacity and provide sustainable community development in prescribed communities.

Improvements to performance reporting in 2010–11

FaHCSIA is committed to ensuring that performance measures appropriately reflect the desired outcome and intent of the programs it delivers. Performance indicators are continually reviewed to ensure that they align with changes to program parameters and Australian Government priorities, reflect customer trends and deliver client outcomes.

FaHCSIA made a number of improvements to its performance reporting for 2010–11 as outlined in the 2010–11 Portfolio Budget Statements.

Key performance indicators

Changes to key performance indicators in 2010–11 affected a significant number of programs within FaHCSIA. Overall, these changes resulted in increased consistency and integrity of reporting across programs in FaHCSIA. Improvements to indicators were a result of many factors, including changes to Administrative Arrangements Orders and exercises to streamline FaHCSIA’s performance measures.


In 2010–11, FaHCSIA made significant changes to the way it reports program deliverables. The changes focused on providing more detailed and measurable deliverables in line with the intent of each program. The changes ensure better measurement of a program’s implementation and effectiveness. Other changes made to deliverables resulted from the Administrative Arrangements Orders changes and new government priorities.

Commitment to excellence in performance reporting

The Department’s commitment to reporting excellence has again been recognised: FaHCSIA’s 2009–10 annual report received a Silver Award in the Australasian Reporting Awards. The Department was also awarded the Annual Reports Awards Shield for cooperation and contribution by the Institute of Public Administration Australia (ACT Division). This is only the second time that the shield has been presented and it recognises the Department’s significant contribution and ongoing commitment to ensuring accuracy and transparency in government reporting.

FaHCSIA is continuing to improve performance reporting, and a number of changes were made for 2011–12. For the first time, FaHCSIA has provided performance targets for all programs under Appropriation Act (No. 1) 2011–12 and Appropriation Act (No. 2) 2011–12 as part of the 2011–12 Portfolio Budget Statements.

Summary of 2010–11 financial performance

After excluding depreciation, the department reported an operating deficit for 2010–11 of $9.2 million, notwithstanding that a break-even operating result was forecast in the 2011–12 Portfolio Budget Statements. The operating result reflects the impact of several factors including:

The Department’s full departmental and administered results are shown in the audited financial statements in Part 4 of this report.

Council of Australian Governments

The Intergovernmental Agreement on Federal Financial Relations, which began on 1 January 2009, provides the framework for the Commonwealth’s financial relations with the states and territories.

Under the framework’s centralised payment arrangements, the Department of the Treasury is responsible and accountable for estimates, payments and financial reporting for payments from the Commonwealth to each state and territory treasury.

The intergovernmental agreement aims to improve the wellbeing of all Australians by:

National agreements are broad, overarching policy documents recording COAG-agreed objectives, outcomes, outputs and performance benchmarks in broad service sectors. National agreements are not funding agreements, but may be associated with a national specific purpose payment that provides funding to the states for a sector covered by the national agreement.

FaHCSIA has portfolio leadership for three national agreements:

National partnership agreements enable collaboration on policy or projects and, in most cases, provide for financial transfers between the Commonwealth and the states and territories to support that collaboration.

In 2010–11 FaHCSIA had portfolio leadership for the following national partnership agreements:

FaHCSIA significantly contributes to the following national partnership agreements led by other Australian Government departments:

FaHCSIA’s 2010–11 PB Statements included COAG performance indicators for information purposes only; they are not reported against in the annual report.

On 8 June 2011, the COAG Reform Council released its second-year reports on the National Affordable Housing Agreement, the National Disability Agreement and the National Indigenous Reform Agreement.

Further information about COAG can be found on the COAG website. Further information about the federal financial framework and performance information about specific national agreements and national partnerships can be found on the Ministerial Council for Federal Financial Relations website.

Changes to disability reporting in annual reports

Since 1994, Commonwealth departments and agencies have reported on their performance as policy adviser, purchaser, employer, regulator and provider under the Commonwealth Disability Strategy. In 2007–08, reporting on the employer role was transferred to the Australian Public Service Commission’s State of the Service Report and the APS Statistical Bulletin. These reports are available at From 2010–11, departments and agencies are no longer required to report on these functions.

The Commonwealth Disability Strategy has been overtaken by a new National Disability Strategy which sets out a 10-year national policy framework for improving life for Australians with disability, their families and carers. A high-level report to track progress for people with disability at a national level will be produced by the Standing Council on Community, Housing and Disability Services to COAG and will be available at The Social Inclusion Measurement and Reporting Strategy agreed by the Government in December 2009 will also include some reporting on disability matters in its regular How Australia is faring report and, if appropriate, in strategic change indicators in agency annual reports. More detail on social inclusion matters can be found at

Social inclusion, social justice and equity impact

The Australian Government’s vision of a socially inclusive society is closely reflected in and advanced by many of FaHCSIA’s activities. Advancing social inclusion, social justice and equity and supporting opportunity are all critical aspects of what drives our work.

Through its programs, FaHCSIA supports the social inclusion vision of building a nation where all Australians have the opportunity and support they need to participate in the nation’s economic and community life, develop their own potential and be treated with dignity and respect. All Australians should have the resources, opportunities and capability they need to:

The Government’s social inclusion agenda identifies six specific priorities based on evidence about the causes and consequences of social and economic disadvantage in Australia. These priorities are:

Policies and programs that improve and maintain social inclusion

FaHCSIA plays an important role in assisting to achieve the Government’s vision of social inclusion for all Australians. Many of the policies and programs delivered through the portfolio support and maintain social inclusion for the priority groups identified and for the broader population.

Access to income support and family payments is a key component of ensuring that Australians have adequate material resources and the ability to participate, both economically and socially.

Significant changes in 2010–11 included the commencement of the Paid Parental Leave scheme; the ability to access more flexible advances for a range of family payments; and ongoing pension rate and work bonus adjustments. More details can be found under the relevant outcomes in chapters 5 to 11 of this report.

The 2011–12 Budget also saw the announcement of Building Australia’s Future Workforce, including a suite of place-based initiatives that will further assist some of the most disadvantaged communities. These initiatives will commence in 2012 (subject to the passage of legislation).

Progress on a number of national partnerships between the Commonwealth and state and territory governments continued and strengthened our capacity to collaborate in delivering the services and supports people need.

Strategic change indicators

This year, FaHCSIA is reporting on specific social inclusion program-level indicators. These strategic change indicators provide a snapshot of how particular programs may be impacting on certain priority areas of social inclusion. While these indicators reflect only a small part of the broader work that FaHCSIA undertakes, they provide a useful gauge of progress in some key areas. Further details on each indicator can be found in specific outcome chapters.

Improving the life chances of children at greatest risk of long-term disadvantage

FaHCSIA worked closely with the states and territories, the non-government sector, academics, carers and young people to develop Australia’s first National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children (2009–2020), a comprehensive national approach to reducing child abuse and neglect. A key achievement in 2010–11 was the finalisation with the states and territories, and the non-government sector, of the first-ever National Standards for Out-of-Home Care.

Income management is a key part of the Australian Government’s approach to assisting children at risk:

Indicator: Number of people on Income Management.

As at 30 June 2011, 18,583 people were on Income Management  across Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

The Family Support Program, of which the Family Relationship Services are a component, contributes to the Government’s social inclusion agenda by providing coordinated and integrated services to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged families and children. Family Support Program services work with state, territory and local governments as well as the community sector to ensure that families are connected with local services appropriate to their needs. The program is also moving towards a ‘no wrong door’ approach so that clients requiring assistance can access services through any Family Support Program service. Further information is contained in Chapter 5—Outcome 1.

Indicator: Percentage and number of clients reporting improved family functioning including child wellbeing under the Family Support Program.

93% of respondents (549) of Family Relationship Services (a component of the Family Support Program) reported improved family functioning including child wellbeing. A sample of 589 registered clients responded.

Indicator: Percentage and number of clients with improved knowledge and skills related to family functioning, parenting, family safety or child development under the Family Support Program.

96.5% of respondents (14,430) reported increased knowledge and skills. A sample of 14,957 registered clients responded.

The data paints a positive picture of intermediate outcomes for clients using Family Relationship Services. Clients reported that they were better able to deal or cope with the issues that they had received help with.

Reducing the incidence of homelessness

The government response to homelessness is administered under the National Affordable Housing Agreement and related national partnership agreements. These agreements encompass people who are homeless and those who are at risk of homelessness, with a focus on the reduction and prevention of homelessness. Further information is contained in Chapter 6—Outcome 2.

Indicator: Number of people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness who are assisted to secure and sustain their tenancies.

Indicator: Number of people who are assisted to move from crisis accommodation or primary homelessness to sustainable accommodation.

Final complete data for these indicators for 2010–11 is not yet available; relevant data available at the time of publishing is provided. The Reconnect program in 2010–11 provided support in approximately 6,015 cases. This support was offered through 104 services located nationally in metropolitan, regional and remote locations. (This figure is subject to change as Reconnect services still have the ability to retrospectively update data for the 2010–11 financial year.)

The Household Organisational Management Expenses (HOME) Advice program assisted 431 families from July 2010 to March 2011. (Data for the HOME Advice program is provided quarterly; final figures for 2010–11 were not available at the time of publication.)

Improving outcomes for people living with disability or mental illness and their carers

The Disability Support Pension (DSP) is an income support payment for people who are unable to adequately support themselves through work due to a permanent physical, intellectual or psychiatric impairment. The objective of Carer Payment is to make payments to financially assist carers whose caring responsibilities for people with disability, frailty because of age or a severe medical condition severely restrict their ability to undertake paid employment. The objective of Wife Pension (DSP) is to make payments to female partners of DSP recipients to assist them financially. This payment was closed to new entrants from 1 July 1995. Wife Pension (DSP) is income and assets tested and paid at the same rate as other social security pensions. Further information is provided in Chapter 9—Outcome 5.

Indicator: Percentage and number of Disability Support Pension recipients reporting employment income.

8.5%; 69,470

Indicator: Percentage and number of Carer Payment recipients reporting employment income.

10.6%; 19,671

Indicator: Percentage and number of Wife Pension (DSP) recipients reporting employment income.

23.2%; 2,754

This data represents the number of people on the respective payments who are reporting employment income. The data indicates that relatively few of the recipients of these payments have employment income. The majority of recipients rely almost exclusively on income support and not employment income.

The Services and Support for People with Disability Program provides support to people with disability, and their families and carers, through grants and funding to organisations that deliver services for people with disability. Further information is provided in Chapter 9.

Indicator: Percentage and number of supported employees/clients with reduced reliance on income support payments (sufficient income to affect Disability Support Pension).

46.9%; 10,190 supported employees

This data suggests that almost 47 per cent of supported employees earn sufficient income from working in an Australian Disability Enterprise to improve their overall financial wellbeing and to reduce their reliance on income support payments.

Factors, events or trends influencing performance

Throughout 2010–11 FaHCSIA continued to support those most at risk of economic and social disconnection, particularly following the effects of the global economic downturn. Ongoing fiscal constraints in the wake of the downturn have meant that effort is focused on sustainability of outlays and investment in measures that focus on the needs of disadvantaged Australians. FaHCSIA’s programs and services provide support and seek to stabilise the circumstances of the most vulnerable members of the community, and support greater participation once that stability has been achieved.

FaHCSIA’s work to meet the immediate needs of Australians, support families to raise their children and strengthen capacity to address future challenges contributes to the Government’s broader priorities to improve participation, manage the challenges presented through structural ageing, and support the capacity of regional Australia, among others.

Our relationship with key partners has provided opportunities to improve our performance in a number of areas. The way we manage our responsibilities under the COAG reform agenda continues to evolve in recognition of the need for improved coordination of service delivery and collaboration with the business and community sectors. FaHCSIA has portfolio leadership for the National Affordable Housing Agreement (Outcome 2), the National Disability Agreement (Outcome 5), the National Indigenous Reform Agreement (Outcome 7), and a range of national partnerships.

Purchaser–provider arrangements

Purchaser–provider arrangements are arrangements under which the services of one agency are purchased by another agency to contribute to outcomes.

FaHCSIA continues to implement the common business model for community program funding in response to the Government’s reform agenda. The model supports the achievement of the seven FaHCSIA outcomes, is consistent with government priorities to reduce red tape, supports provider engagement and provides a greater focus on program performance and impact.

Improvements are achieved through: