Purpose 3 - Excellence in scheme management and design

Working with scheme participants to  achieve a sustainable, fair and best practice national scheme. We provide  expert advice to the Minister for Employment, Safety, Rehabilitation and  Compensation Commission (SRCC) and Seafarers Safety, Rehabilitation and  Compensation Authority (Seacare Authority), and provide leadership in policy  and scheme design.

Performance criteria Source
Returned to work across scheme participants (i.e. the proportion of injured workers with 10 or more days off work, who returned to work for any period of time at some stage since they had their first day off work) PBS Component 1.2


During 2015–16, the Comcare scheme returned to work rate was 89 per cent. This is the proportion of  employees with 10 or more days off work, who had returned to work for any period of time at some stage since they had their first day off.

Performance criteria Source
Current return to work (CRTW) (i.e. the percentage of injured workers with 10 or more days off work, who had submitted a claim 7–9 months prior to the survey, and who are working in a paid job at the time of the survey) PBS Component 1.2
Improved return to work outcomes—Current return to work rate for the scheme Corporate Plan KRA 5
Improved return to work outcomes—Percentage change in the current return to work rate Corporate Plan KRA 1


The Comcare scheme’s current return to work rate was 84 per cent in 2015–16. This is the percentage of  employees with 10 or more days off work, who had submitted a claim 7–9 months prior to the survey, who are working in a paid job at the time of the survey.

Performance criteria Source
Employer satisfaction with scheme management PBS Component 1.2
Employers are satisfied with management of the scheme—Percentage and number of employers who are satisfied with management of the scheme Corporate Plan KRA 4


Evidence supports that more than 95 per cent of employers are satisfied with management of the scheme.  From over 300 engagement activities, less than two per cent of formal feedback received requested scheme management improvements. Qualitative analysis undertaken by Comcare demonstrates high levels of stakeholder engagement generally, with identified opportunities for improvement captured as part of business plan activities for 2016–17. Based on these results, the performance target is considered met.

The timely delivery and provision of information has been undertaken in relation to a range of  activities across the reporting period. Such activities include Comcare’s work on potential legislative changes scoping of a new deemed diseases list and permanent impairment guide and the licence application assessment process.

Constructive and positive feedback was provided across the mix of engagement with feedback, in relation to the return to work survey, and the capability products for rehabilitation case managers, claims managers, and supervisors, that recognise the different  operating models used in the scheme.

Performance criteria Source
SRCC satisfaction with support provided by Comcare PBS Component 1.3
Seacare Authority satisfaction of support provided by Comcare PBS Component 1.3
High satisfaction by SRCC and Seacare Authority with the support provided—Percentage and number of Commissioners and Members satisfied with the quality of support provided—Qualitative evaluation using structured interviews with Commissioners and Members Corporate Plan KRA 6


Comcare conducted a survey and found that seven out of eight (87.5 per cent) Seacare Authority members and  deputy members and five out of six (83.3 per cent) SRCC Commissioners indicated they were satisfied with the support provided by Comcare.

Performance criteria Source
Low level of injury and harm to employees—Injury rate, reported by type of injury Corporate Plan KRA 1


The table below shows that there has been a decrease over time in the incidence rate of accepted  claims. The result for 2015–16 shows a significant improvement against the overall incidence rate of accepted claims, along with an improvement against both major groupings of injury type.

Given this result, it would be reasonable to conclude that in 2015–16, the Comcare scheme achieved a satisfactory outcome, where success is measured by an improved outcome on the previous year.

Table 10: Incidence rate of accepted claims per 1000 FTE employees

Injury type 2013–14 2014–15 2015–16
Injury 10.9 8.8 7.5
Disease 6.6 6.3 4.6
Scheme total1 17.5 15.1 12.1

1 Includes premium payers (Australian Government and ACT  Government) and self-insured licensees

Performance criteria Source
Adoption of policy initiatives—Percentage and number of policy initiatives adopted or used within the Department of Employment, and across government Corporate Plan KRA 4


For the reporting period thirty one (31) separate activities relating to policy advice were provided by Comcare to the Department of Employment and across Government. For all policy information provided, Scheme Management has not received any negative feedback, or feedback that advice was not accepted, used, modified or implemented in some way.

Performance criteria Source
Leadership of a scheme that strives for the prevention of injuries, facilitates recovery at work and promotes the health benefits of work—Qualitative evaluation assessing Comcare’s leadership of the scheme Corporate Plan KRA 4


This year strategies targeted capability development, awareness of barriers to return to work, promotion of better practice resources and reviewing the way we monitor rehabilitation and return to work outcomes.

Comcare delivered the Certificate of Capacity to all ACT General Practitioners (GPs) and trialed other  supports to assist GPs to better focus on capacity to work and help employees  access the health benefits of work. We consulted with a broad range of organisations with an interest in work disability and led the development of the Collaborative partnership to  improve work participation—a programme of work that aims to work across sectors to address work disability issues at a national system-wide level.

Overall the Comcare scheme’s return to work rate increased to 88 per cent in 2015–16 from 75 per  cent in 2014–15. The Comcare scheme return to work rate is the percentage of injured workers with one or more days off work, who had submitted a claim within two years of the survey, and who are working in a paid job at the time  of the survey.

Comcare continues to work with the SRCC in redesigning its self-insurance regulatory model, which now includes a new suite of performance standards and measures that places a greater focus on prevention and rehabilitation outcomes.

Performance criteria Source
Rehabilitation authorities displaying good rehabilitation and return to work practices—Percentage and number of rehabilitation authorities that are assessed as:
  1. Poor
  2. Adequate
  3. Excellent

for their rehabilitation practices

Corporate Plan KRA 2


In 2015–16, Comcare  tasked an internal rehabilitation reference group with developing improved rehabilitation performance metrics. The role of the reference group was to look at rehabilitation performance measures across the entire Comcare scheme  including insurance, claims management, regulation and scheme management. Following the development of these measures work is continuing in 2016–17 to segment employers in the Comcare scheme to ensure rehabilitation performance measures are consistent and practical.

Delays in data and revising the rehabilitation framework meant the assessment of each authority did not occur in 2015–16. Comcare’s Claims and Liability Management Groups, and Regulatory Operations Group continued assessments of Australian Government organisations and worked to improve rehabilitation training. The Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission (SRCC) completes assessment of the rehabilitation performance of licensees as part of the licence performance  model.

The rating scale of poor, adequate or excellent was not used in the assessment of each individual rehabilitation authority in 2015–16 as originally planned. The scale was not adopted for a number of reasons including:

  • the results of assessments conducted by Comcare and the SRCC did not lend themselves to such a simple rating scale
  • the use of the scale may have caused confusion for rehabilitation authorities when considering their performance against the other assessments completed by Comcare and the SRCC
  • the use of the scale may have led to unintended consequences—for example, those rehabilitation authorities rated as ‘good’ may have taken such as an assessment as meaning there was no need for them to continue to improve their performance.

The performance of rehabilitation authorities in the scheme has improved In 2015–16. This is evident through the improvement in the return to work rate, median incapacity performance (i.e. average time off work per claim), and the reduction in claims costs.