The results of the Survey and the qualitative evidence from the focus groups, interviews and written submissions indicate that sexual harassment and bullying are pervasive across the AFP. The Survey results show that 46% of women and 20% of men report that they have been sexually harassed in the workplace in the last five years. These percentages are almost double the national average. In relation to bullying, 62% of men and 66% of women reported that they have been bullied in the workplace in the last 5 years. The extent of these behaviours in the AFP demands immediate action.
Members were aware of the complaints mechanisms in the AFP, but a number reported to the Project Team a lack of trust in the reporting system, believing that a complaint can have a negative impact on a member’s career, or result in a complainant being ostracised or victimised. Members also indicated that complaints can take too long to resolve. Some members also stated that the process lacks confidentiality. A number of members expressed support for the Confidant Network as a model. However, many also indicated that the overall complaint’s process is not ‘victim-focussed’.The report features the following Principles and Recommendations
In framing the Project’s findings and recommendations the Project Team has drawn on the many stories, opinions and experiences of AFP members, advice from senior leaders, the Survey results, the policies and practices of the AFP and the organisation’s own workforce and complaints data. In developing the recommendations, the Project Team has identified six principles which it believes will underpin success in achieving cultural reform and greater gender diversity across the AFP:
• Principle 1 – Successful and sustainable reform depends on strong and courageous leadership.
• Principle 2 – Talent promotion requires challenging the biases and assumptions underpinning the traditional view of merit and ensuring effective performance management.
• Principle 3 – Increasing the number of women requires increasing opportunities.
• Principle 4 – Flexible work practices are a key capability driver.
• Principle 5 – Sexual harassment, sexual abuse and bullying damages individuals, divides teams and undermines capability.
• Principle 6 – Adequate resourcing and regular monitoring and evaluation is essential to measuring and sustaining progress.
Principle 1 – Successful and sustainable reform depends on strong and courageous leadership
1. Cultural reform, including the recommendations contained in this Report, must be owned by the Commissioner and the Executive Leadership Committee (ELC – the Deputy Commissioners and the Chief Operating Officer) with responsibility for cultural change embedded into their performance metrics.
2. The Commissioner and the ELC should select a targeted group of no more than 15 members from across the organisation and at different leadership levels to assist with the cultural change process, including the implementation of the recommendations contained in this Report (the Cultural Reform Board). The Cultural Reform Board should: • be chaired by the Commissioner; • be gender balanced; and • include leaders from across functional areas who are champions of reform and/or are in positions of influence.
3. The Commissioner and the SLG should develop and deliver a clear and strong written statement (signed by all) that articulates the case for change and signals their commitment to the full implementation of the Project’s recommendations. Additionally, the Commissioner and the ELC should present a video to reinforce their strong zero tolerance approach to sexual harassment, sexual abuse and bullying.
4. All members of the SES should undertake the Leadership Shadow or an equivalent model, and develop a personal leadership action plan.
5. The Commissioner should appoint an independent, specialist coach to work with each member of the SLG and the group as a whole to assist them to: • implement their personal leadership action plans; and • foster a culture of respect for difference among colleagues and other members, including in relation to decision-making.
6. The AFP should ensure that recruitment and promotion processes have a strong predisposition to effective people management and leadership skills including the successful completion of appropriate training. Where training has not been able to be facilitated prior to the recruitment/promotion process, promotion will be deemed to be subject to the successful completion of training on developing effective people management and leadership. (Among the topics that should be covered in this training are: understanding all people management policies, understanding work place gender equality and diversity more broadly, implementing flexible work arrangements, effective communication and, recognising and responding appropriately to bullying, harassment, sexualised work environments, sexual harassment and sexual abuse.)
7. With the assistance of an independent expert and facilitator, the AFP should develop a purposeful storytelling process involving select senior leaders. This should be done in a safe setting. The storytelling approach utilised by the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force (2012) and the restorative engagement process used by the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce are useful models that could be adapted to the AFP. A key objective of the storytelling would be for the imperative of the case for change to be understood at senior leadership level.
Principle 2 – Talent promotion requires challenging the biases and assumptions underpinning a traditional view of merit and ensuring effective performance management
8. The AFP should address misconceptions about merit and the ‘essential’ experience, skills or characteristics of candidates that may preclude women from being considered for roles including: • ensuring that in relation to senior and operational roles, equal weight is given to a candidate’s leadership and people management skills as well as the other capabilities and experience required for the roles; • ensuring recruitment teams, promotion panels and the candidate pools are gender-balanced; • assessing current promotion trials including the use of an independent assessment centre, blind recruitment and independent representatives on the panel; and • ensuring all staff on extended leave, including parental and carers leave, are notified of promotion and other relevant opportunities.
9. The AFP should review and amend the performance management system to: • ensure leaders at all levels are held accountable for the culture, health and wellbeing of their teams and functional areas, including in relation to effectively performance managing staff and appropriately responding to unacceptable behaviour such as bullying and sexual harassment and sexual misconduct. This should involve conducting regular team ‘climate surveys’ and including appropriate KPIs in performance agreements of leaders; • create a small ‘Performance Management Support Team’ to support supervisors to performance manage staff and assist in ensuring commitment from Senior Executives to support supervisors who are performance managing staff in their work areas. This should be done as part of a transition phase; and • reintroduce 360 Degree Feedback Surveys to assist with performance appraisals for Coordinators and above.
Principle 3 – Increasing the number of women requires increasing opportunities
10. The AFP should improve the attraction and recruitment of women to AFP Police and PSO roles by: • ensuring a sustained and ongoing annualised recruitment campaign for Police and PSO women that showcases women in the AFP and involves Police and PSO women in the recruitment process; • developing strategies to effectively recruit and facilitate pathways for Police and PSO women to enter operational roles; • developing more flexible career paths for employees across Police, PSO and unsworn roles in the AFP Future Workforce Plan including by decoupling traditional career pathways and continuous service from the promotion process; • establishing an entry-level recruitment strategy for diverse groups to Band 3 and 4 levels (unsworn) and create pathways to Police roles and PSOs; and • implementing a salary maintenance policy to assist staff to move to Police/PSO/unsworn without dropping pay point.
11. The AFP should ensure there is a gender balance, particularly in: • key operational roles (for example, Senior Investigator, Office Manager, Case Manager/Officer, Counter Terrorism, Serious and Organised Crime); and • selecting candidates for all acting up opportunities.
12. The AFP should leverage existing female talent – Police, PSO and unsworn – including through a talent program that enables transition to key operational roles (for example, identify female talent with leadership potential and rotate them across three key functional areas to give broad and diverse experience).
13. Given the benefits of cultural renewal and the capacity to bring in new talent, particularly to the sworn population, the AFP should support members taking leave without pay and assist them to seek opportunities for placement in other organisations. The AFP should also create opportunities for training for members who have taken extended leave to facilitate their reintegration, including those who have taken leave to further their professional development and those who have taken time out for caring responsibilities.
Principle 4 – Flexible work practices are a key capability driver
14. The AFP should adopt adopt a ‘Flex by Default’ approach across the organisation. The refusal of flexible work should be reviewed by a designated member of the Senior Leadership who understands and champions flexible work.
15. The AFP should ensure infrastructure and messaging is in place to maximise the success of flexible work practices including by: • training supervisors to manage flexible workers and teams; • linking supervisor KPIs to the uptake of flexible work arrangements (by both men and women) and the career advancement of flexible workers; • profiling ‘success stories’ of men and women working flexibly, particularly those in leadership positions; • providing proper infrastructure for employees to work flexibly (e.g. remote access, laptops, mobile phones) and people management systems; and • implementing and evaluating a number of trials being undertaken to deliver a flex by default system (eg the split shift trial at Sydney Airport and the rostering initiatives in parts of ACT Police).
16. The AFP should develop a ‘stay in touch’ and return to work plan for members on extended leave, including maternity and parental leave, that includes offering them access to training or other opportunities when they are on leave and as they transition back to the workplace.
Principle 5 – Sexual harassment, sexual abuse and bullying damages individuals, divides teams and undermines capability
17. a) A specialised and independent Office should be established in the AFP to provide support to complainants and to investigate and address sexual harassment and sexual abuse. The Office should: • be headed by an Assistant Commissioner with specialised skills and capability who reports directly to the Commissioner; • adhere to strict confidentiality requirements; • be victim-focused, including accepting requests for advice and support where the complainant does not want a formal investigation and/or is not willing to name the alleged perpetrator; • respond to the complaint in a manner consistent with the seriousness of Category 3 complaints contained within the PRS system, where the complaint wants the complaint investigated; • provide holistic support to complainants, (including providing referrals to external specialised services); • provide regular updates on the status of the complaint to complainants and respondents, or on request; and • collect data on all sexual harassment and sexual abuse complaints including the location, functional area, nature and, where appropriate, alleged perpetrator. De-identified data on the number, length of time and outcome of complaints should be published annually within the organisation. • Provide quarterly reports to the Commissioner on sexual harassment and sexual abuse complaints including the strategic measures that the organisation has undertaken in response to key trends and patterns identified in the data. b) When an employee has one or more established sexual harassment findings against them, the Commissioner or his delegate should consider the employee’s employment suitability to remain within the AFP. The Commissioner’s delegate should be the Assistant Commissioner who will head the aforementioned specialised, independent Office. The AFP also should advise all employees that there will be a zero tolerance to sexual harassment and all incidents of sexual harassment will be treated as serious matters consistent with Category 3 complaints. c) Victims of domestic violence who are members in the AFP should have access to the specialised, independent Office for support and appropriate referral. Where the perpetrator is also a member of the AFP, the Office should take appropriate steps to ensure that: • the victim is safe in their work environment; and • with the consent of the victim, the matter is being properly dealt with, including through direct police intervention. These actions should be supported by best practice policies, to be developed by the aforementioned Office and Human Resources, that recognise that domestic and family violence is a workplace issue.
18. a) The process for addressing bullying should be reformed as follows: • all serious bullying complaints or complaints against repeat offenders should be addressed as Category 3 complaints; • any such complaint that takes longer than 6 months to complete should be escalated to a relevant SES member for review; • PRS should provide regular updates on the status of the complaint to complainants and respondents or on request; and • quarterly reports should be provided to the Commissioner on bullying complaints including in relation to trends, the time taken to complete complaints, outcomes and strategic measures the organisation has undertaken in response to these and other significant issues arising from the data. b) When an employee has one or more established bullying findings against them, the Commissioner or his delegate should consider the employee’s employment suitability to remain within the AFP. The Commissioner’s delegate should be the Assistant Commissioner who will head the aforementioned specialised, independent Office. The AFP should also advise all employees that there will be a zero tolerance to bullying and all incidents of bullying will be treated as serious matters consistent with Category 3 complaints.
19. a) The Confidant Network should be strengthened including by: • ensuring it is managed at Coordinator level or above; • implementing a targeted selection process designed to identify staff who role model the values of the AFP (including, e.g. trust, respect, accountability); • increasing awareness of the role of the Confidant Network across the AFP; and • providing improved and ongoing training for Confidants, including around privacy obligations. b) If it is established that a Confidant breaches a member’s confidentiality that Confidant should be removed from the Network.
20. All members in the AFP, from recruits to the most senior leaders, should participate in expert, independent training on respectful workplaces. This training should include examples of what constitutes bullying behaviour, sexual harassment, sexual abuse and bystander action. Additionally, supervisors should be trained in identifying and properly responding to sexualised work environments, sexual harassment and bullying and their impact on individuals and teams.
Principle 6 – Adequate resourcing and regular monitoring and evaluation is essential to measuring and sustaining progress
21. Progress on cultural reform and the implementation of these recommendations should be measured through key metrics including: a) Women’s Participation • Number and proportion of Police/PSO/unsworn women recruited. • Number and proportion of women by Band in Police/PSO/unsworn and Band. • Number and proportion of women: » at executive level; » undertaking higher duties; » in the pipeline; » in targeted roles and functions which are highly gender segregated; and » in key roles and functions that are critical for career promotion. • Number and proportion of women’s promotions at each rank including acting-up duties. • Gender balance on key decision making bodies within AFP. • Retention of women: » gap between men and women’s retention and separation rates; » number returning to work from paid and unpaid maternity and parental leave; and » number of men and women taking career breaks. b) Women’s Experience • Gender disaggregated data from key organisational surveys including: » employee survey; » exit surveys; and » climate surveys. c) Uptake of flexible work and career advancement of flexible workers. • Number of men and women accessing formalised flexible working arrangements: » number of applications submitted for flexible working arrangements; and » proportion of applications for flexible working arrangements that are approved. • Promotion of staff on flexible work arrangements. d) Sexual harassment and bullying (disaggregated by gender). • Number of complaints. • Types of complaints e.g. sexual harassment, sexual assault. • Relevant demographics of complainant and respondent e.g. work area, rank. • Number of complaints dealt with internally: » number investigated; » number resolved; and » time taken from receipt of complaint to finalisation.
22. The ELC should review progress of the implementation of these recommendations and other initiatives of cultural reform, each month and as a standing agenda item at their meeting.
23. Progress on reform should be published across the organisation.
24. To ensure progress and sustainable reform, adequate resourcing of the implementation of the recommendations should be provided