Commonwealth Courts Corporate Services

Corporate Plan 2018-2019


In the 2015–16 Budget, the Australian Government announced that the corporate services of the Family Court of Australia (FCoA) and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia (FCC) would be amalgamated with the Federal Court of Australia (FCA) into a single administrative body with a single appropriation.

The Courts Administration Legislation Amendment Act 2016 established the amalgamated body, known as the FCA, from 1 July 2016. This approach preserves each court's functional and judicial independence, whilst improving their financial sustainability.

Corporate Services includes communications, finance, human resources, information technology, library, procurement and contract management, property, risk oversight and management and statistics.

The shared corporate services body is managed by the FCA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Principal Registrar. The FCA CEO consults with heads of jurisdiction and the other CEOs in relation to the performance of this function. Details relating to corporate services and consultation requirements are set out in a MOU.

Corporate Services generates efficiencies by consolidating resources and infrastructure, streamlining processes and reducing duplication. The savings gained from reducing the administrative burden on each of the courts will be reinvested to support the core functions of the courts.

The objectives of Corporate Services are to:

  • provide accurate, accessible and up-to-date information and advice
  • standardise systems and process to increase efficiency
  • build an agile and skilled workforce ready to meet the challenges and changes, and
  • create a national technology framework capable of meeting the needs of the courts into the future.

Our Purpose

To provide efficient and effective corporate services to the Commonwealth courts and the National Native Title Tribunal.

Our Values

Competent, reliable, honest, integrity, respectful of others.

We are committed to upholding the Australian Public Service Values and Employment Principles and to comply with the Code of Conduct. We are impartial, committed to service, accountable, respectful and ethical.


The key objective for Corporate Services over the next 12 months is to focus on the continuing provision of high level corporate service to the courts and the National Native Title Tribunal (Tribunal).

A major area of focus will be on the development of the Digital Court Program (DCP), a series of technology-related projects that aim to streamline core business systems, create flexibility and operational efficiency, support the courts' ongoing digital transformation and improve service delivery.

In addition, Corporate Services will continue to look at consolidating resources, streamlining services and reducing unnecessary duplication.

The challenge will be to remain focussed on delivery of services to the courts and the Tribunal whilst the amalgamation of systems and services continues. Lower costs will need to be achieved through consolidation of resources and greater productivity.

From 1 January 2019, subject to the passing of legislation, the FCoA and the FCC will amalgamate to become the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia. This proposed reform may alter some of the Corporate Services' Priorities for 2018–19, however these will be refined as more information becomes available.

Our strategic objectives for the next four years:

  1. Efficient and effective corporate services.
  2. Build an agile, skilled and engaged workforce.
  3. Optimise technology to support judicial, registry and corporate services functions.

Performance measures

The key outcome measure for Corporate Services is contained in the Portfolio Budget Statements. This is, improved administration and support for the resolution of matters according to law for litigants in the FCA, FCoA and the FCC and parties in the Tribunal through efficient and effective provision of shared corporate services.

The ability of the team to meet budget and projected average staffing numbers are the metrics that will be used to measure performance.

1 Strategic Objective

Efficient and effective corporate services

The goal to amalgamate corporate services functions of the three courts and the Tribunal is to improve efficiency, create a culture of high performance and provide value for money services.

Amalgamation has provided an opportunity to consolidate the experience of Corporate Services staff to identify the most effective policies and procedures, to develop nationally consistent services that support the work of the judiciary and registries.

Over the four years of this plan, Corporate Services will focus on the following strategies:

  1. Benchmark finance processes to identify efficiencies and eliminate duplication.
  2. Further refine business processes to streamline the functions of corporate services.

Priorities - Efficient and effective corporate services

In 2018–19, Corporate Services will progress the following projects:

Objective Activity Target date
Refinement of business policies and processes
  • Continue to review opportunities to streamline finance processes and procedures to generate efficiencies
June 2019
  • Progress implementation of best practice
Dec 2018
  • Develop a five year strategic property plan
Jan 2019
Develop a risk and compliance framework to better support and manage the risks of the entity
  • Continue to enhance and refine business continuity plans, risk registers and risk and compliance procedures, building on the established framework
March 2019
  • Training documentation and training programs developed and implemented for areas of risk and compliance
Dec 2018
Drive efficiencies
  • Achieve further efficiencies through consolidating or restructuring contracts as existing contracts expire
June 2019
  • Develop improved procurement processes through simplification of processes and provision of online training and templates/tools
Dec 2018
  • Improve registry security plans, modernise and renew all security equipment and systems
March 2019
  • Deliver new property projects in Newcastle and Rockhampton
June 2019
  • Develop a property functional requirements brief for modern technologically advanced courtrooms, chambers, mediation suites and registries
June 2019

2 Strategic Objective

Build an agile, skilled and engaged workforce

Amalgamation of the Corporate Services teams necessitated changes to the structure and culture of the organisation. In addition, with the increasing applications of technology to the work of the courts and the Tribunal, it is expected that the nature and type of work performed by Corporate Services and registry staff will impact on capability requirements.

A new Enterprise Agreement was accepted by 96 per cent of eligible staff on 5 June 2018. The move from two agreements to one, covering all staff, will assist in harmonising policies across all courts and the Tribunal and allow a consistent approach to all employment matters.

The Tribunal has worked closely with the Court to find synergies and harmonise approaches to employment practices and this will continue. A particular focus will be given to cultural training and development and programs that will assist all staff to work together with a common cultural underpinning.

Innovation is a key capability in order to deliver efficiencies, reduce costs and keep pace with change. To respond we will require a skilled, agile and engaged workforce.

Over the four years of this plan, Corporate Services will focus on the following strategies:

  1. Build and sustain an engaged workforce who are passionate about working together to achieve the vision.
  2. Identify capability requirements resulting from the new structure.
  3. Strengthen the leadership group.
  4. Create a high performance culture.

Priorities - Build an agile, skilled and engaged workforce

In 2018–19, Corporate Services will progress the following projects:

Objective Activity 2018–19
Develop a strategy and structure to support the courts
  • Design an organisational structure in line with recommendations from the organisational review
  • Commence work towards implementing a shared registry model
June 2019
Merge processes and policies to develop best practice
  • Review key policies and programs to rationalise and update following the implementation of a single enterprise agreement across the entity
June 2019
  • Implement preferred models based on above review
June 2019
Corporate Services workforce plan
  • Leadership development

3 Strategic Objective

Optimise technology to support judicial, registry and corporate services functions

During the next four years, Corporate Services will continue to identify and develop digital services to support improvements in registry functions, judicial work and enhance online access for the legal profession and other court users.

The first two years of the amalgamation has seen considerable work completed in modernising the information technology systems and infrastructures. This has included the rollout of personal computing (PC) equipment to all judges and staff, supporting contemporary Windows and MS Office applications. Judges have been provided tablet PCs and touch screen monitors in chambers and courtrooms. The Skype for Business application has been expanded to all judges and staff across the entity.

A key focus for 2018–19 will be the completion of the projects to consolidate data centres and unify secure internet gateway services. The consolidated data centres will be established on new server infrastructure commissioned in 2017–18. The consolidation effort will seek to reduce the total servers under management, by either retiring servers or shifting server functions to cloud services as part of the hybrid cloud architecture developed in 2017–18.

Further investment is required to modernise network equipment and maintain appropriate equipment lifecycles for courtroom technologies, including video conferencing. This will be balanced against greater demand for video conferencing across all courts.

This strategy aims to optimise technology for case management by increasing online accessibility for the legal community and, where appropriate, members of the public. It also supports the judiciary and court officers to manage and decide cases according to the law as quickly, inexpensively and efficiently as possible.

Over the four years of this plan, Corporate Services will focus on the following strategies:

  1. Modernise technology to improve quality and range of services.
  2. Maintain a quality, contemporary and efficient IT environment.
  3. Improve the courts' key business systems.

Priorities - Optimise technology to support judicial, registry and corporate services functions

In 2018–19, Corporate Services will progress the following projects:

Objective Activity 2018–19
Ongoing digital transformation through the delivery of the DCP to drive more efficient and streamlined practices across the courts
  • Enhance family law eFiling to support digital court file
Oct 2018
  • Deliver an initial digital file in the family law jurisdiction
Mar 2019
  • Establish new platform for consolidated eLodgment across general federal and family law
June 2019
  • Migrate general federal law electronic court files to digital court file
30 June 2020
  • Consolidate and enhance the courts case management system
Phased rollout over the next 2–3 years
  • A new document management system
Phased rollout over the next 2–3 years
Optimise digital services
  • Initiate and complete the first stage of a project that delivers a common web platform for the courts and tribunal
June 2019
Domino application migration
  • Assess the remaining FCoA/FCC Domino applications and retire or migrate to a new platform
Mar 2019
  • Retire Domino platform
June 2019
Data centre consolidation
  • Migrate family law business applications to new data centre
Sep 2018
  • Retire AON Building data centre
Dec 2018
  • Migrate/retire all other workloads and retire remaining Canberra data centres
June 2019
Network and secure internet gateway
  • Unify the two secure internet gateways into a single infrastructure
Sep 2018
  • Finalise wide area network redesign
Sep 2018
DevOps capability
  • Expand CI/CD automated deployment tool set from family law to general federal law applications
Sep 2018
  • Create suite of regression tests on test automation toolset
Dec 2018
Voice system
  • Conduct approach to market for new voice system
Dec 2018
  • Migrate services to new system
June 2019
Artificial intelligence
  • Refine and further develop the Artificial Intelligence and Big Data pilot application to support routine registry administrative decisions
June 2019
Courtroom technology
  • Modernise courtroom technology
  • Expand number of video conference enabled courtrooms
June 2019
  • Unify courtroom video conference networks
June 2019
Skype for Business
  • Assess MS Teams as possible cloud replacement for Skype for Business
Dec 2018
  • Migrate Skype for Business to a service cloud model
Mar 2019

Resourcing - Commonwealth Courts Corporate Services

The table below illustrates the financial and staffing resources applied by Corporate Services over the four years of this Plan.

Forward estimate
Forward estimate
Forward estimate
Forward estimate
Departmental expenses    
Departmental appropriation64,60665,78460,17460,522
S74 retained revenue receipts (a)335380412412
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the budget year (b) 53,927 53,842 53,917 54,074
Total expenses Corporate Services 118,868 120,006 114,503 115,008
Average staffing level 123

Note: Departmental appropriation splits and totals are indicative estimates and may change in the course of the budget year as government Priorities change.

  1. Estimated expenses incurred in relation to receipts retained under section 74 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.
  2. Expenses not requiring appropriation in the budget year are made up of depreciation and amortisation expenses and resources received free of charge.

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