Purpose 2 - National regulator

Delivering risk-based, cost-effective  and consistent national regulation of workplaces, encouraging compliance to  improve health, safety and rehabilitation outcomes through education and  appropriate, balanced enforcement

Performance criteria Source
Achievement of the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012–2022 (Australian WHS Strategy) targets and initiatives PBS Component 1.1

Result

The Australian WHS Strategy includes national targets and performance indicators that measure the success of national actions. Targets in Australia to be achieved by 2022 include:

  • a reduction in the number of worker fatalities due to injury of at least 20 per cent
  • a reduction in the incidence rate of claims resulting in one or more weeks off work of at least 30 per cent
  • a reduction in the incidence rate of claims for musculoskeletal disorders resulting in one or more weeks off work of at least 30 per cent.

In the 12 months to June 2016, the Comcare scheme’s (the scheme’s) performance as measured against this target was one claim for a compensable injury fatality.

The incidence of claims resulting in one week or more of lost time continues to reduce, with the full year result for 2015–16 being the lowest since 2002–03. This rate of improvement, if continued, would exceed the requirements of the Australian WHS Strategy.

The scheme incidence rate for accepted musculoskeletal disorder claims resulting in one or more weeks lost  time has reduced to a rate of 1.6 per 1000 FTE employees in 2015–16, which is  approximately 31 per cent below national benchmarks.

Performance criteria Source
Compliance with the Nationally Consistent Approval Framework for Workplace Rehabilitation Providers by workplace rehabilitation programme providers approved by Comcare PBS Component 1.1

Result

Comcare approves workplace rehabilitation providers (WRPs) who support and facilitate the return  to work of injured employees in the Comcare scheme for Commonwealth agencies and licensees as well as the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Scheme and Seacare Scheme.

During June 2016, the WRP approval team successfully completed the triennial renewal process. Comcare has  renewed 101 existing provider companies and approved 19 new companies to operate in the next three year period (commencing 1 July 2016).

Performance criteria Source
Achievement of Regulator Performance Framework requirements PBS Component 1.1

Result

Comcare has completed its first annual self-assessment against the Government’s Regulatory Performance Framework.

The self-assessment identified that Comcare has met 17 of the 20 measures (85 per cent). The three partially met measures are being reviewed for improvement.

Performance criteria Source
Increased awareness of health and safety in workplaces targeted by prevention strategies—Qualitative evaluation using feedback from participants Corporate Plan KRA 3

Result

In May 2016, Comcare engaged with 30 persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) that had  been subjected to or involved with inspection or audit activities during the evaluation period to collect performance related data and feedback. We received 20 responses. The purpose of this is to allow Comcare to understand how its performance as a regulator is perceived and what impact our inspection and audit activities are having on the jurisdiction.

Generally PCBUs didn’t feel that our regulatory activities increased their awareness of rehabilitation or  work health and safety (WHS) responsibilities as they are comfortable with understanding their obligations. However PCBUs felt that our regulatory activities increased their levels of compliance with rehabilitation or WHS responsibilities.

Performance criteria Source
Improved compliance—Percentage and number of assessed workplaces and providers that show compliance with the WHS and SRC Acts and Regulations. Reported by time period:
  1. At time of first assessment
  2. On subsequent assessments
Corporate Plan KRA 3

Result

During 2015–16, Comcare conducted a self-assessment of its performance in delivering regulatory services. The assessment highlighted that our audit programmes for WHS Systems and Rehabilitation Management Systems (RMS) have allowed Comcare to identify gaps in organisations’ systems and then through corrective action monitoring until necessary improvements are made.

To date 65 federal employers, representing 95 per cent of the federal jurisdiction FTE employees, have participated in the compliance monitoring program for RMS. As a result of  these monitoring activities, Comcare has seen significant improvement in federal employers’ RMS conformance across the period 2011 to 2015, from less than 50 per cent conformance to above 80 per cent.

As a result of the evaluation, more work is underway to improve our ability to ensure measurable improvements are made at workplaces following inspection activities where observations or recommendations have been made within inspector reports.

Performance criteria Source
Consistent compliance activities—Qualitative evaluation of the consistency of compliance activities Corporate Plan KRA 3

Result

The Regulatory Operations Group annually identifies group and business area risks. These risks are reported quarterly to the Comcare Executive Committee. Two key risk areas are our ability to apply consistent decision making and apply the regulatory framework. These risks are currently being addressed through:

  • the creation of a new position, Senior Director National Compliance, to provide direct oversight of the inspectorate and compliance activities
  • a project to review and revise our information  and technology systems, regulatory procedures and training for regulatory operations employees.

In 2015–16, Comcare implemented a Quality Control Framework that assures that systems and processes  used within our regulatory environment are effectively implemented, continually reviewed and improved.

Performance criteria Source
Timely compliance activities—Percentage and number of activities that comply with Comcare internal and statutory requirements—reported by activity type:
  1. Investigations
  2. Inspections
  3. Authorisations
  4. Assessments of notifications
Corporate Plan KRA 3

Result

The table below shows the percentage and number of compliance activities that comply with the  indicated target.

Table 9: Timely compliance activities in 2015–16

Target Percentage Number
90 per cent of serious investigations completed within 12 months 100% 3
80 per cent of liaison inspections (target of 1200) completed within 30 days 71% 951
80 per cent of compliance inspections (target of 200) completed within 90 days 51% 43
100 per cent of notifications entered into Comcare’s regulatory management system within one business day of receipt 97% 1356

These results do not include reporting against ‘authorisations’. This is not a compliance activity—it has been replaced with ‘liaison inspections’.