Part 4: Management of the Court
Federal Court of Australia Annual Report 2013-2014
FEDERAL COURT GOVERNANCE
Since 1990 the Court has been self-administering, with a separate budget appropriation and reporting arrangement to the Parliament. Under the Federal Court of Australia Act, the Chief Justice of the Court is responsible for managing the Court’s administrative affairs. The Chief Justice is assisted by the Registrar/Chief Executive Officer. The Act also provides that the Chief Justice may delegate any of his or her administrative powers to judges, and that the Registrar may exercise powers on behalf of the Chief Justice in relation to the Court’s administrative affairs.
In practice, the Court’s governance involves two distinct structures: the management of the Court through its registry structure; and the judges’ committee structure which facilitates the collegiate involvement of the judges of the Court. Judges also participate in the management of the Court through formal meetings of all judges. The registries and the judges’ committees are discussed in more detail below.
FEDERAL COURT REGISTRY MANAGEMENT STRUCTURE
As outlined in Part 1 of this report, the Court’s administration is supported by a national registry structure, with a Principal Registry responsible for managing national issues and supporting the corporate services functions of the Court, and a District Registry in each State and Territory which supports the work of the Court at a local level. A diagram of the management structure of the Court is set out in Appendix 3 on page 133.
There are a number of committees of judges of the Court, which assist with the administration of the Court and play an integral role in managing issues related to the Court’s administration, as well as its rules and practice.
An overarching Policy and Planning Committee provides advice to the Chief Justice on policy aspects of the administration of the Court. It is assisted by standing committees that focus on a number of specific issues in this area. In addition, other ad hoc committees and working parties are established from time to time to deal with particular issues.
An overarching National Practice Committee provides advice to the Chief Justice and judges on practice and procedure reform and improvement. There are also a small number of standing committees that focus on specific issues within the framework of the Court’s practice and procedure.
All of the committees are supported by registry staff. The committees provide advice to the Chief Justice and to all judges at the bi-annual judges’ meetings.
There were two meetings of all judges of the Court during the year, which dealt with matters such as reforms of the Court’s practice and procedure and amendments to the Rules of Court. Business matters discussed included the introduction of the electronic court file, management of the Court’s finances and cost savings initiatives.
The Corporate Services Branch in the Principal Registry is responsible for supporting the Court’s national corporate functions. The following outlines the major corporate services issues during the reporting year.
NATIONAL NATIVE TITLE TRIBUNAL
From 1 July 2012 the corporate functions of the National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT) were transferred to the Court. The following information concerning the Court’s corporate services should be read to include the NNTT unless otherwise stated. Specific references to the NNTT are also included in individual sections where required.
The Finance Committee, which is made up of judges from each of the registries, as well as the Registrar, oversees the financial management of the Court. The Corporate Services Branch supports the Committee. During 2013–14 the Committee met on two occasions.
During 2013–14 revenues from ordinary activities totalled $129.598 million. Total revenue, in the main, comprised:
- An appropriation from Government of $93.213 million
- $20.145 million of resources received free of charge, including for accommodation occupied by the Court
- $12.567 million of liabilities assumed by other government agencies, representing the notional value of employer superannuation payments for the Court’s judges
- $3.673 million from the sale of goods and services.
Pre-depreciation expenses of $128.036 million in 2013–14 comprised: $80.126 million in judges’ and employees’ salaries and related expenses; $26.762 million in property related expenses; $21.015 million in other administrative expenses; and $0.133 million write-down of non-current assets.
- The net operating result from ordinary activities for 2013–14 was a surplus of $1.564 million prior to depreciation expenses. This was primarily as a result of less than expected expenditure on:
- judges’ remuneration and judges’ staff salaries (two judicial positions were vacant for most of the year)
- native title mediation consultants
- native title mediation salaries
- technology project costs.
When depreciation expenses of $4.691 million are included, the Court’s expenses for 2013–14 totalled $132.727 million.
The Court increased its asset revaluation reserve by $5.490 million after an independent valuation of the Court’s non-financial assets was conducted during the financial year.
Equity increased from $46.181 million in 2012–13 to $51.708 million in 2013–14.
Table 4.1 – Expenses for Outcome 1
|Outcome 1: Through its jurisdiction, the Court will apply and uphold the rule of law to deliver remedies and enforce rights and in so doing, contribute to the social and economic development and wellbeing |
of all Australians
|Programme 1.1 – Federal Court Business|
|Departmental Appropriation||96 246||95 324||922|
|Expenses not requiring appropriation in the budget year||36 674||37 403||-729|
|Total for Program 1.1||132 920||133 153||-233|
|Total expenses for Outcome 1||132 920||133 153||-233|
|Average staffing level (number)||416||413|
The Court’s agency resource statement can be found at Appendix 2 on page 132.
AUDIT AND RISK MANAGEMENT
The Audit Committee met four times during 2013–14. The committee comprises an independent chairperson, four judges and the NSW District Registrar. The Registrar, the Executive Director, Corporate Services and Chief Financial Officer and representatives from the Court’s internal auditors, O’Connor Marsden and Associates and the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) attend committee meetings as observers.
O’Connor Marsden and Associates, conducted the following internal audits during 2013–14:
- Casetrack Migration Health check following the transfer of the Casetrack system from the Family Court to the Court.
- Electronic Court File Project ‘Go Live’ Readiness Review.
- NNTT Disaster Recovery Planning.
Staff of the ANAO inspected the Court’s 2013–14 financial statements and provided an unqualified audit certificate.
The Chief Executive Officer is satisfied that:
- Fraud control plans and fraud risk assessments have been prepared that comply with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines.
- Appropriate fraud prevention, detection, investigation and reporting procedures and practices that comply with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines are in place.
- There have been no cases of fraud during 2013–14 to be reported to the Australian Institute of Criminology.
The Court was not the subject of any reports by
a Parliamentary committee or the Commonwealth Ombudsman. The Court was not the subject of any judicial decisions or decisions of administrative tribunals.
The Court’s procurement policies and procedures, expressed in the Court’s Chief Executive Instructions, are based on the Commonwealth Procurement Rules and best practice guidance documents published by the Department
of Finance. The Court achieves a high level of performance against the core principles of achieving value for money through efficient, effective and appropriately competitive procurement processes.
During 2013–14, six new consultancy contracts were entered into involving total actual expenditure of $360 198. In addition, four ongoing consultancy contracts were active during the 2013–14 year, involving total actual expenditure of $930 591.
Table 4.2 below outlines expenditure trends for consultancy contracts over the three most recent financial years.
Table 4.2 – Expenditure trends for consultancy contracts 2011–12 to 2013–14
|FINANCIAL YEAR||NEW CONTRACTS – ACTUAL EXPENDITURE||ONGOING CONTRACTS – ACTUAL EXPENDITURE|
|2013–14||$ 360 198||$ 930 591|
|2012–13||$ 2 114 473||$ 268 400|
|2011–12||$ 439 015||$ 88 000|
INFORMATION ON CONSULTANCY SERVICES
The Court’s policy on the selection and engagement of all contractors is based on the Australian Government’s procurement policy framework as expressed in the Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPR) and associated Finance Circulars and guidance documentation published by the Department of Finance.
The main function for which consultants were engaged related to the delivery of specialist and expert services, primarily in connection with the Court’s information technology (IT) infrastructure, finance and business elements of the Court’s corporate services delivery.
Selection of consultant services was made in accordance with the Guidelines, and was obtained by way of either an Open, Prequalified or Limited Tender process, which are defined as follows:
Open tender: involves publishing an open approach to market and inviting submissions.
Prequalified tender: involves publishing an approach to market inviting submissions from all potential suppliers on:
(a) a shortlist of potential suppliers that responded to an initial open approach to market on AusTender;
(b) a list of potential suppliers selected from a multi-use list established through an open approach to market; or
(c) a list of all potential suppliers that have been granted a specific licence or comply with a legal requirement, where the licence or compliance with the legal requirement is essential to the conduct of the procurement.
Limited tender: involves either:
(a) an agency approaching one or more potential suppliers to make submissions, where the process does not meet the rules for open tender or prequalified tender; or
(b) for procurements at or above the relevant procurement threshold, limited tender can only be conducted in accordance with paragraph 10.3 of the CPR; or
(c) where a procurement is exempt as detailed in Appendix A of the CPR.
Consultancy services are sought where either:
(a) skills are not available in the agency; or
(b) specialised or professional skills are needed; or
(c) independent research or assessment is needed.
Annual reports contain information about actual expenditure on contracts for consultancies. Information on the value of contracts and consultancies is available on the AusTender website www.tenders.gov.au.
COMPETITIVE TENDERING AND CONTRACTING
During 2013–14, there were no contracts let to the value of $100 000 or more that did not provide for the Auditor-General to have access to the contractor’s premises.
During 2013–14, there were no contracts or standing offers exempted by the Chief Executive Officer from publication in the contract reporting section on AusTender.
ADVERTISING AND MARKETING SERVICES
A total of $22 916 was paid for recruitment advertising services in 2013–14. Payments to Adcorp on advertising for notification of native title applications, as required under the Native Title Act, totalled $149 701 over the reporting year.
The Court did not undertake any advertising campaigns or use market research, polling, direct mail organisations or media advertising agencies in 2013–14.
During the reporting year, the Court’s Human Resources Section continued to provide strategic, policy and operational support to the Court’s registries and the National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT). Human Resources staff supported the Court and NNTT by providing advice on the full range of human resource activities including:
- managing organisational changes and the implementation of organisational reviews
- recruitment and selection activities
- workforce planning and organisation development
- learning and development
- workplace diversity
- workplace relations
- policy development
- remuneration policy
- payroll services
- workplace health and safety.
The year also saw the bedding down of three Machinery of Government (MOG) processes that took place in 2012–13 involving NNTT Corporate Services and mediation staff (1 July 2012), Family Court of Australia Library staff on 3 January 2013 and other NNTT staff (12 March 2013).
The Court’s approach to human resources issues is characterised by transparency and consultation. Consistent with this, the Court’s National Consultative Committee (NCC) continued to operate effectively through the year and now has a staff representative from the NNTT and an Indigenous representative. The Court’s other consultative forums such as Regional Consultative Committees and the Work Health and Safety Committee also continued to operate, reporting to the NCC. Minutes from all committees are placed on the Court’s intranet where they can be readily accessed by staff.
At 30 June 2014, the Court employed 472 employees under the Public Service Act 1999, comprising: 275 ongoing full-time employees, 29 ongoing part-time employees and 168 non-ongoing employees. These numbers include staff who work in the NNTT. The high number of non-ongoing employees is due to the nature of the employment of judges’ associates, who are typically employed for twelve months, as well as the employment of casual court officers. The Court had an average staffing level of 412.89 during the reporting period.
More detailed staffing statistics can be found in Appendix 9 on page 192.
During the reporting period, the Court relied on determinations under s 24 of the Public Service Act for setting the employment conditions of Senior Executive Service (SES) employees and Flexibility Agreements under the Court’s Enterprise Agreement for non-SES employees. The Court now has no employees on Australian Workplace Agreements.
The Court also issued a Notice of Representational Rights to employees on 29 April 2014 to commence the bargaining process for its 2014 Enterprise Agreement. Negotiations with Bargaining Representatives were underway at 30 June 2014.
A performance bonus payment was made to one SES band 1 staff member under a common law contract previously negotiated by the NNTT with its SES staff.
Work health and safety
The Court continued to promote a proactive approach to work health and safety management including the steps detailed below. Average days of unplanned leave per staff member for 2013–14 was 5.98 days compared with 6.30 days in 2012–13. There were five claims for workers compensation in 2013–14 compared to one in 2012–13.
More generally, Court management actively worked with the Court’s Work Health and Safety (WHS) Committee to promote health and safety in the workplace. A particular area of focus continued to be ensuring that the Court complies with its responsibilities under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act), with a particular focus on the Court’s Admiralty Marshal activities. Other measures included:
- Arranging regular meetings of the National WHS Committee and other consultative forums such as the National Consultative Committee and Regional Consultative Committees, all of which have a significant WHS focus.
- Undertaking WHS Audits and follow-up audits annually.
- Providing annual health checks and influenza shots for all staff, consistent with Enterprise Agreement provisions.
- Providing access to eyesight testing and reimbursement for spectacles where needed for screen-based work.
- Providing access to the Court’s Employee Assistance Program.
- Providing training to Admiralty Marshals in boarding and disembarking vessels, consistent with a risk assessment of the role.
- Undertaking medical fitness assessments of all Court staff undertaking Admiralty Marshal duties, consistent with a risk assessment of the role.
- Encouraging health and fitness-related activities (e.g. participation in community-based fitness events) by providing funding via the Court’s Health and Fitness policy.
During the reporting year no provisional improvement notices were issued under s 90 of the WHS Act nor were any enforcement notices issued under Part 10. There were no incidents under ss 83–86 of the WHS Act (whereby any employee may cease to work due to a reasonable concern that to carry out the work would expose the employee to serious risk). There were no incidents that required a notice under s 38 of the WHS Act.
The Court continued to manage its workers compensation cases proactively throughout the reporting period and will be commencing a review of a number of longstanding cases in 2014–15.
In addition, following the MOG transfer of NNTT staff in March 2013, the Federal Court and NNTT WHS Committees have been combined.
The Court remains strongly committed to diversity in the workplace and continued to use a range of flexible employment conditions to accommodate the needs of staff.
These measures have assisted the Court in attracting and retaining employees in key areas, for example legal staff. The Court’s human resource policies foster a workplace that is free from discrimination and harassment and is characterised by high levels of employee engagement and consultation.
The Court continued to build upon strategies in its Workplace Diversity plan. The Court also continued to participate in the Australian Network on Disability’s ‘Stepping Into Law’ programme, with three disabled law graduates working for the Court under the programme in 2013–14. Over a three-month period the interns worked for two days per week in Registry and chambers. The internship involved basic training in the Court’s processes and jurisdiction, time spent with judges assisting with research, Court hearings and other matters
in chambers and time spent assisting registrars in their lists and mediation work.
As noted, NNTT staff transferred to the Court in 2012–13 under Machinery of Government arrangements. This has seen the continuation
of a number of NNTT diversity initiatives within the Court including the NNTT’s Indigenous Advisory Group and Reconciliation Action Plan. Activities under these initiatives are also available to Court staff who are not undertaking NNTT work. Further information about these initiatives can be found in Part 5 on page 65.
In 2013–14 the Court focused on implementing its Workforce Plan. A particular emphasis was on ensuring managers are equipped to give effective feedback to staff, with the aim of ensuring the Court’s Performance Management and Development programme, and the Capability Framework (to which it is linked) are implemented effectively. Specific areas of focus continue to be ensuring that Court employees have the technological skills needed to work in an eCourt environment and that the Court’s organisational structures and work practices are developed in a way that complements its eServices initiatives.
The Court has a range of strategies in place to attract and retain staff including flexible employment conditions and flexibility agreements under the Enterprise Agreement. The Court continued to refine and modify these through 2013–14 as required to meet specific issues and cases.
Work life balance
The Court’s Enterprise Agreement 2011–14, and a range of other human resources policies, provide flexible working arrangements to help employees balance their work and other responsibilities, including young families and ageing parents. The conditions available include access to part-time work, job sharing, flexible leave arrangements and purchased leave.
The Court also provides a range of other family-friendly initiatives including improved parental and adoption leave arrangements and homework rooms or similar appropriate facilities for staff with school-aged children.
Reward and recognition
The Court encourages and recognises exceptional performance through its annual National Excellent Service Award. The award recognises the work of individual staff and teams and is presented by the Chief Justice each February to mark the anniversary of the Court’s Foundation Day, 7 February 1977. This year’s award had dual recipients – Angela Fassoulas and Lany Fernandez, the Court’s website team. The award recognised both the work undertaken in redesigning the website and their ongoing excellent service in maintaining the Court’s website and intranet. The redesigned website achieved international recognition from FACT (Forum on the Advancement of Court Technology) which noted the site’s ‘outstanding user interface as well as extensive electronic service offerings including eCourtroom’.
The NNTT’s Annual Rewards and Recognition Program also continued to operate. Through this programme, the Tribunal acknowledges and rewards staff who have delivered excellent service during the reporting period. Awards were provided in the following categories:
- exemplifying Tribunal values: Barry Miller and Alex Ripper
- service improvement and/or innovation: Anthony Gordon
- leadership and management: Alison Warren
- new employee: Kate Madden
- outstanding Indigenous employee/outstanding team: the Indigenous Advisory Group, comprising Naomi Appleby, Tracey Jefferies, Donna Drew and Khara Edgar.
Training and development undertaken and its impact
During 2013–14 the Court and NNTT offered a range of development opportunities to assist employees develop and improve their skills and knowledge, assist them in meeting operational requirements and ensure they have the capabilities needed now and for the future.
The focus for the Court was on competency based training in the Information Technology area. Microsoft 2010 was rolled out nationally and a part of this rollout included training in an overview of changes from Microsoft 2003 and Microsoft 2010, with some additional targeted training in Microsoft Word and Excel 2010. The Court also took a blended learning approach to internal staff training on the electronic court file and changes to the Court’s eServices; this included small group face to face information sessions, eLearning modules and peer mentoring (on the job training).
The Court also offered training opportunities to its in-house mediators, including sessions on ‘Dealing with Parties from Culturally Diverse Backgrounds’ and ‘Dealing with Parties with High Conflict Personalities’.
The NNTT provided a range of technical, corporate and soft skills training for staff in four main areas: leadership practice; management expertise – which included mediation and conflict resolution training from the Association of Dispute Resolvers (LEADR); core skills – which included training in the APS Values and Code of Conduct for all staff; and foundation skills which included copyright training, training in the Tribunal’s in-house database, (ICaFAMS), cultural change training and cultural awareness training (attended by all staff).
The Court and NNTT spent a combined figure of $360 302 on external training during the reporting period. Other sessions offered to staff focused on personal development and included resilience training.
The Court’s study assistance policy continued to operate and provided staff with leave and financial assistance to pursue approved tertiary studies. The NNTT continued to fund two semesters of the ‘Indigenous Study Awards’. These awards included the payment of semester fees and text book/equipment costs along with providing study leave. During the reporting period $67 918 was reimbursed to staff undertaking studies under the policies.
Disability reporting mechanisms
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 www.apsc.gov.au. From 2010–11, departments and agencies have no longer been required to report on these functions.
The Commonwealth Disability Strategy has been overtaken by the National Disability Strategy
2010–2020, which sets out a ten-year national policy framework to improve the lives of people with disability, promote participation and create a more inclusive society. A high level two-yearly report will track progress against each of the six outcome areas of the Strategy and present a picture of how people with disability are faring. The first of these reports will be available in late 2014, and can be found at www.dss.gov.au.
AGENCY MULTICULTURAL PLAN
During the reporting year the Court developed and published on its website an Agency Multicultural Plan. The aim of the Plan is to ensure that no one’s rights will be affected because of the inability of a party or a witness in a Court proceeding to speak or to hear the English language. All court users must have every reasonable means of understanding the course of court proceedings and be treated with due courtesy and respect.
Actions contained in the Plan that were progressed in 2013–14 include:
- Development of key performance indicators for the timely provision of interpreters.
- Reviewing and updating the Court’s language allowance policy and skills register.
- Consultation with front-line staff (court officers and client service staff) to obtain their suggestions for actions that will assist culturally and linguistically diverse clients. As a result of these consultations the Court is developing a plain-English version of the migration form guide and affidavit guide for translation into relevant languages.
- Preparation and distribution within the Court of a Guide for presenting to a Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Group.
The Court occupies law court buildings in every Australian capital city. With the exception of Sydney and Darwin, the purpose-built facilities within these Commonwealth-owned buildings are shared with other Commonwealth Court jurisdictions.
The Federal Court in Sydney is located in the Law Courts Building in Queens Square. This building is owned by a private company (Law Courts Limited), that is jointly owned by the Commonwealth and New South Wales governments. The Court pays no rent, outgoings or utility costs for its space in this building.
The Court’s Darwin Registry is co-located in the Northern Territory Supreme Court building under the terms of a Licence to Occupy between the Court and the Territory Government.
From 1 July 2012 the Commonwealth Law Court buildings have been managed under revised ‘Special Purpose Property’ principles. Leasing arrangements are now governed by whether the space is designated as special purpose accommodation (courtrooms, chambers, public areas) or office accommodation (registry areas). An interim Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the Court with the Department of Finance for 2013–14 to formalise these arrangements, with negotiations continuing for a long-term agreement.
The following property works were undertaken during the reporting year.
Brisbane registry upgrade works: stages 1 and 2
This project is currently underway. Stage 1, which focused on improving the Court’s mediation facilities, was completed in June 2014. It is expected that Stage 2, which involves refurbishment of the registry, will be completed in the first quarter of the 2014–15 financial year.
Darwin mediation space and minor registry upgrade works
A modest re-design of the registry to accommodate mediation and conference/meeting facilities was completed in the last quarter of the reporting period.
Perth NNTT – consolidation of principal registry
The consolidation and re-design of the registry, mediation, conference/meeting and staff facilities was completed in early 2014.
In the course of the year the Court continued to develop security policies and other documents that comply with its obligations under the Government’s Protective Security Policy Framework. Specifically, in preparation for the introduction of the Court’s electronic court file, the focus has been on information technology security.
With the introduction of the Court Security Act 2013 the Court has formalised arrangements for the appointment of Security Officers and Authorised Court Officers within each registry. A number of training and policy initiatives have also been undertaken.
In relation to physical security a programme has commenced to upgrade and replace obsolete building security equipment including CCTV equipment and duress alarms. The Court has participated in the development of tender documents for a Security Guarding contract which is to be issued for tender and established in early 2014–15.
The Court provides the following information as required under s 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
The Court, together with other jurisdictions in shared premises, seeks to reduce the impact of its operations on the environment through the following measures:
- Environmental Management Systems are in place in all buildings to minimise the consumption of energy, water and waste.
- The Court has developed a National Environmental Initiative Policy which encourages staff to adopt water and energy savings practices.
During the reporting year, in addition to supporting the Court’s current technology environment, the Information Technology (IT) team focused on three areas of project activity.
The first, and major, area was the infrastructure preparations to support the electronic court file (ECF). The second was improvements to the Court’s disaster recovery and back-up arrangements. Underpinning all of these was a continuing programme of infrastructure modernisation and cost optimisation.
More information about the three programmes, which are inter-related and will continue through 2014–15, is set out below.
A key prerequisite to the ECF programme was the relocation of the Court’s case management system, Casetrack from the Family Court’s Canberra data centre to the Court’s Sydney data centre. The relocated system was cutover into active service in early December 2013. Since that time, IT has provided the Casetrack service to the Court and to the general federal law jurisdiction of the FCC with minimal system downtime.
For the remainder of the year, the IT ECF programme focused on establishing the various test and production environments required by the software development teams to prepare the ECF applications. A review and upgrade of end computing and network arrangements was also conducted to better align with the functionality of the ECF.
In preparation for the ECF, the Court has sought to increase the use of its electronic lodgment facility. A survey of key practitioners identified a number of application issues and support processes that are being progressively addressed in parallel with the ECF preparations. This will be an ongoing process through 2014–15.
Reflecting the Court’s increasing reliance on IT services, there was a focus on improving and expanding the Court’s IT readiness for disaster events. This included the establishment of a ‘copy’ of the Casetrack system in a separate data centre. The processes and technologies to failover to this copy, along with failover of other key applications, were successfully tested in November 2013 in the lead-up to the relocation of Casetrack to the Court’s technology environment.
In parallel with this, IT reviewed and improved configuration and documentation of the production environment including back-up arrangements. The aim of this review was to improve the resilience and reliability of the core production data centre.
IT Infrastructure Modernisation
The Court continues to modernise its IT environment through normal lifecycle replacement of aged infrastructure. The bulk of the infrastructure for this modernisation was established in 2012–13 and the programme in 2013–14 targeted migration of workloads and simplifying arrangements to improve reliability and cost effectiveness. Cost optimisation will continue to be a focus through 2014–15 as the court realises the savings projected to flow from its earlier investments.
- Key modernisation and cost optimisation activities for this year include:
- Upgrade of server operating systems to maintain currency in Microsoft product lifecycle.
- Continuing programme of server virtualisation and consolidation.
- Preparation for new Secure Internet Gateway.
- Audit of licences and suppliers to identify areas of over-servicing.
- Implementation of a new system monitoring and telemetry application.
- Refresh of smartphone fleet.
Technology Services are currently implementing the Australian Signals Directorate’s Top Four strategy to mitigate Cyber Intrusions. The Cyber Security Operations Centre estimates that at least eighty-five per cent of cyber intrusion techniques could be mitigated by implementing this strategy.
Business continuity is an essential component of good public sector governance, and it is part of the Court’s overall approach to effective risk management. As such, in 2013–14 the Court reviewed its Business Continuity practices and Policy with each registry updating Crisis Management and Business Continuity Plans.
The Court is currently undertaking an annual security assessment against the mandatory requirements detailed within the Protective Security Policy Framework (PSPF), and will report against these requirements to the Auditor-General.
During the reporting year an IT Security Web Page was created for the Court’s Intranet. It includes presentations given to staff by the Court’s IT security manager, security awareness newsletters and brief videos about IT security.
IT Security Awareness presentations have taken place at various Federal Court registries throughout the year.
The Court has tested and is about to roll out the email protective marking system recommended by the Information Security Manual.
An automated desktop and server patching strategy has been implemented to protect the Court’s assets against data loss and malware. IT Security vulnerability scanning has been introduced on the Court’s IT equipment to enable preventative controls to be put in place before a compromise can be achieved.
LIBRARY AND INFORMATION SERVICES
The Court continues to provide a national library service to the judges and staff of the Federal Court as well as the Family Court of Australia, the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, and the National Native Title Tribunal.
The last twelve months has seen a consolidation of the services provided to the Courts and the Tribunal and a steady and sustained increase in the usage of the combined library service. Feedback from library users has been very positive about the changes.
Consortium for shared library management system
The Federal Court has entered a consortium arrangement with the High Court for a shared library management system.
The consortium will see the High Court Library migrate their holdings to the Federal Court’s existing library system. The benefits to the Federal Court include: access to the latest library management system software; cost savings; and greater sharing of resources, collections, knowledge and expertise between the libraries.