Annual report 2011-12

Annual report 2011-12

Annual Report – October 2012

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The 2011-12 financial year has been another productive one for the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS). The Institute has advanced understanding of the factors affecting the functioning of families and the wellbeing of their members. It continued to undertake research and disseminate findings to policy-makers, service providers and the broader community, and has extended its work with a range of government and community sector agencies to help inform policy and improve practice to support families in Australia.

In January 2012, the Institute moved from the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) portfolio (responsible to the Minister for Social Inclusion, the Hon. Tanya Plibersek MP) to the Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) portfolio. The Hon. Jenny Macklin MP, Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs assumed ministerial responsibility for the Institute.

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1. Director's review

The 2011-12 financial year has been another productive one for the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS). The Institute has advanced understanding of the factors affecting the functioning of families and the wellbeing of their members. It continued to undertake research and disseminate findings to policy-makers, service providers and the broader community, and has extended its work with a range of government and community sector agencies to help inform policy and improve practice to support families in Australia.

In January 2012, the Institute moved from the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) portfolio (responsible to the Minister for Social Inclusion, the Hon. Tanya Plibersek MP) to the Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) portfolio. The Hon. Jenny Macklin MP, Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs assumed ministerial responsibility for the Institute.

Research highlights

Throughout the year, the Institute continued to contribute to policy development by conducting timely and relevant research in a wide range of areas.

Past adoption experiences

One of the Institute's key research priorities throughout 2011-12 has been to undertake research into the current support and service needs of people affected by past adoption experiences, particularly closed adoption processes. This 18-month national project included surveying more than 1,500 respondents, and conducting more than 50 one-on-one interviews and focus groups involving approximately 300 people, throughout Australia. Input from professionals working with people affected by past adoption practices was also sought. The project used quantitative and qualitative approaches in studying this sensitive issue. The report was completed in June 2012 for submission to the Community and Disability Services Ministers Conference in the new financial year.

Life Around Here

Commissioned by the Department of Employment, Education and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), this study involved jobless families in three disadvantaged areas across Australia, and explored the barriers to their gaining employment. Participants from 59 households contributed by sharing their very personal stories of the long-term lack of paid employment. The study has provided valuable insights into the experiences of people who live with entrenched disadvantage, describing their challenges, aspirations and hopes, as well as capturing their insights into the factors that might facilitate their participation in the world of work. The report provides a valuable resource not only for policy-makers, but also for those who work in frontline services that deliver supports to such families.

Longitudinal studies

The ability to work collaboratively in longitudinal research continues to enhance the Institute's reputation as a leading research agency in Australia and overseas. Increasingly, this is a significant part of the Institute's work. The longitudinal datasets are rich resources for Institute researchers, colleagues in Commonwealth, State and Territory government agencies, the community sector and a steadily growing number of researchers. Throughout 2011-12, the Institute extended this expertise as a provider and manager of longitudinal studies as existing projects gained further maturity and the data were more widely used, both here and abroad, and as new longitudinal research collaborations came to fruition.

Growing Up in Australia

Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) continued to provide insights into the paths Australian children and their families take through life. Funded by FaHCSIA, LSAC is undertaken by the Institute in partnership with FaHCSIA and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Analyses of the data by researchers throughout Australia and internationally again showed steady increase across the year, with around 490 registered users. The Institute is collaborating with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to contribute analyses of LSAC data to a range of cross-national longitudinal data harmonisation initiatives being coordinated by the OECD.

This year, the study released the first LSAC Annual Statistical Report 2010, presenting key findings in a range of research areas, including: children's experiences of child care; language development; parenting practices and behaviours; and children's pre- and peri-natal health experiences.

Data from the LSAC project have also been highlighted in a series of documentaries broadcast on ABC TV - Life At 1 (2006), Life At 3 (2008) and Life At 5 (2011), with Life at 7 expected to be released in 2012-13.

Australian Temperament Project

The Australian Temperament Project (ATP) commenced in 1983 and has been conducted in partnership with research teams at the University of Melbourne and Deakin University. The study has been following young people's psychosocial development from infancy to adulthood, investigating the contributions of personal, family, peer and broader environmental factors to adjustment and wellbeing.

This year, the ATP investigated the development of problems such as: learning difficulties; antisocial behaviour; substance abuse, anxiety and depression; and positive development, including social competence, supportive family and peer relationships, and civic participation.

In December 2011, data collection commenced for a new ATP sub-study examining the experiences of ATP study members with children aged 11-36 months.

Stronger Families in Australia

Following the results of the first phase of the Stronger Families in Australia (SFIA) project in 2006, which evaluated the Communities for Children (CfC) initiative, the Institute has been funded by FaHCSIA to undertake phase two of the project.

This phase is evaluating the ongoing effects of the CfC initiative on the children - who are now in middle childhood - and on their families.

Pathways of Care

In the first study of its kind in Australia, data collection for the first wave of the longitudinal study of all children and young people entering into out-of-home care in New South Wales commenced this financial year.

The study is being conducted by NSW Community Services, with AIFS leading a consortium of researchers who are contributing to the design of the survey at each wave and analyses of the data. It is anticipated that four annual waves of data will be collected from carers, caseworkers, the children involved and, possibly, teachers.

Findings from the study will provide the knowledge needed to strengthen the out-of-home care service system in NSW in order to improve outcomes for children and young people in care. These outcomes include children's and young people's permanency, safety and wellbeing, including their physical health, and socio-emotional and cognitive/learning development.

Longitudinal Study of Leaving Care

As the year drew to a close, the Institute formalised a relationship with the Victorian Department of Human Services to undertake a longitudinal study of young people leaving care. Over five years, the Institute will have responsibility for designing and collecting data to help the department to understand what factors assist with positive transitions for young people who have been in out-of-home care. The study will utilise case file data, interviews with young people, and online surveys of caseworkers.

Building a New Life in Australia: The Longitudinal Survey of Humanitarian Migrants

The Institute has also been commissioned by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) to undertake a longitudinal research project about how humanitarian migrants settle into a new life in Australia. More than 1,500 families who are building a new life in communities around Australia will be asked to take part in the research about their experiences and paths to citizenship. Consultation with stakeholder groups will commence early in the new financial year, with data collection to start in 2013.

Family law research

AIFS continues its focus on research into issues related to family law, including the effects on family wellbeing following parental separation and divorce, and the evaluation of the services and supports available to families at such times.

Family Dispute Resolution

In 2011-12, extensive fieldwork was undertaken for an evaluation of a multidisciplinary pilot program for coordinated family dispute resolution in cases involving family violence. The study, conducted for the Attorney-General's Department (AGD), will assist with better understanding the processes involved in conducting "mediation" cases where there has been family violence, and whether effectively managing these risks can bring better outcomes for families and children at risk.

Independent Children's Lawyers

A new study looking at how independent children's lawyers (ICLs) are utilised in the family law system also began this year. ICLs can be appointed to represent children's best interests in family law proceedings. With recent changes to the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) that included a focus on protecting children from violence, the study is relevant and timely. The project will include surveying professionals in the family law system and conducting in-depth interviews with parents and children who have been involved in litigated matters involving an ICL, as well as ICL practitioners.

Family Pathways

The Institute continued work on two longitudinal studies related to family law: Family Pathways: The Longitudinal Study of Separated Families (LSSF) and Family Pathways: Survey of Recently Separated Parents.

LSSF continues to provide valuable insights into the pathways that families take following separation and divorce. This year, LSSF began work on a third wave of data collection. Information being collected will be similar to that collected in the first two survey waves, covering a range of issues such as property distribution, inter-parental relationships, experiences of physical or emotional abuse and safety concerns, parenting arrangements and family law pathways, care-time arrangements, parenting decisions, and children's wellbeing.

The Survey of Recently Separated Parents began its first wave of data collection in 2011-12. The survey will help inform future policies and services that will benefit families who are experiencing relationship difficulties.

Disseminating evidence and informing practice

Information exchange

The Institute plays a key role in disseminating findings and assisting in the application of research to policy and practice. Through its clearinghouses and information exchange, AIFS identifies, collects, evaluates, synthesises and disseminates the latest research and best practice to service providers, practitioners and policy-makers.

Child Family Community Australia

This year, the Institute amalgamated three clearinghouses to form the Child Family Community Australia (CFCA) information exchange. The clearinghouses were: the Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse, Communities and Families Clearinghouse Australia and the National Child Protection Clearinghouse. The amalgamation was largely due to a growing recognition that the sectors serviced by those three clearinghouses were closely aligned. The CFCA aims to be a primary source of quality, evidence-based information, resources and interactive support for professionals in the child, family and community welfare sectors.

By the end of the financial year, the CFCA had published several papers on a wide array of topics, including: parental separation from adolescents' perspectives; parental involvement in preventing and responding to cyberbullying; and natural disasters and community resilience.

Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault

The Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault (ACSSA), has continued its valuable work in disseminating knowledge and information on reducing and responding to sexual violence.

During 2011-12, ACSSA published findings on a range of related issues, including: mothers with a history of child sexual abuse; women's experiences of intimate partner violence; and sexual violence and gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, intersex and queer communities.

Closing the Gap Clearinghouse

The Closing the Gap Clearinghouse, which operates in partnership with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), continues to provide evidence-based research on overcoming disadvantage for Indigenous Australians.

Key research findings were published on issues such as: increasing Indigenous employment rates; early childhood and education services for Indigenous children before starting school; and strategies to enhance employment of Indigenous ex-offenders.

Families Week

The Institute again took the opportunity to participate in National Families Week, with the release in May 2012 of the Families Make All the Difference: Helping Kids to Grow and Learn facts sheet. It generated considerable community and media interest, as it highlighted recent statistics about: children's health; children's cognitive skills; children's social and emotional development; and parents' work and family balance.

With the Deputy Director (Research), Dr Daryl Higgins, I was again pleased to be an Ambassador for National Families Week this year.

Conferences

The Institute's conferences are an important forum for promoting the latest research on factors affecting family wellbeing. They also facilitate the sharing and communicating of knowledge among policy-makers, service providers and practitioners, researchers and community sector organisations.

Growing Up in Australia and Footprints in Time: The LSAC and LSIC Research Conference

During 2011-12, the first combined research conference for the two premier child development longitudinal Australian studies - LSAC and Footprints in Time: The Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children (LSIC) - was held in Melbourne.

The program featured almost 50 presentations, all based on data from the Growing Up in Australia and Footprints in Time studies. The conference was very well received by the 210 participants, many of whom took the opportunity to take part in the data workshops run in conjunction with the event. Keynote and panel speakers included:

  • Professor Steve Zubrick, Division of Population Science, Telethon Institute of Child Health Research in Perth, Western Australia;
  • Professor Melissa Wake, Director of Research at the Centre for Community Child Health at the Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne;
  • Ms Maria Huerta, Social Policy Division, OECD;
  • Dr Polly Atatoa-Carr, Growing Up in New Zealand, NZ Families Commission;
  • Dr Evalill Karevold, Norwegian Institute of Public Health;
  • Dr Synnve Scholberg, Norwegian Institute of Public Health;
  • Mark Rose, Deakin University;
  • Dr John Anley, Australian Centre for Educational Research; and
  • Dr Helen Campbell, Australian National Preventive Health Agency.
AIFS Conference

Throughout 2011-12, considerable time and effort was devoted to the delivery of the 12th AIFS Conference, to be held early in the 2012-13 financial year at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

A strong response to the call for abstracts resulted in a stand-out program being offered, which included three internationally renowned keynote presenters:

  • Dr Willem Adema from the OECD;
  • Professor Laura Lein from the University of Michigan; and
  • Professor Patrick Parkinson from the University of Sydney.

Interest in the conference grew steadily throughout the year, as indicated by the very large number of presentation proposals submitted following the call for papers, and the high number of registrations received by year's end. Together, these indicate that the conference again promises to be one of the leading events for sharing findings and insights in family-related research, and generating fruitful discussions among the policy-makers, service providers and researchers who will be attending.

Seminar Series

The Institute's monthly seminar series also provides an opportunity for information sharing.

Throughout 2011-12, the seminars continued to attract eminent speakers to discuss their research findings with participants, including AIFS personnel. Highlights of the 2011-12 program included:

  • Professor Nick Bala, Faculty of Law, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada;
  • Professor Louise Newman, Professor of Developmental Psychiatry, Director of the Centre for Developmental Psychiatry and Psychology, Monash University;
  • Emeritus Professor Judy Atkinson, a Jiman-Aboriginal Australian (Central West Queensland)/Bundjalung (Northern New South Wales) woman, and formerly Head of the College of Indigenous Australian Peoples at Southern Cross University;
  • Professor Jan M. Nicholson, Director of Research at the Parenting Research Centre; and
  • Professor David de Vaus, Executive Dean, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, University of Queensland.

Relationships

Throughout the year, the Institute continued to develop relationships with other organisations focused on family wellbeing in Australia and elsewhere.

National

The Institute works closely with a number of government departments and organisations, including FaHCSIA, PM&C, AGD, DEEWR, the Department of Human Services (DHS), the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), and the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC). A new relationship was also formalised with DIAC to undertake research on an important longitudinal study of humanitarian migrants.

International

Sharing research expertise and knowledge

Internationally, the Institute continued to benefit from sharing expertise and experience with organisations involved in researching family wellbeing in Europe, the Asia-Pacific and North America.

In 2011-12, Institute staff received invitations to present Australian findings at international conferences in Europe and North America, including presentations on:

  • child care, early childhood education, school starting age, children's development and children living in rural and regional areas, using LSAC data, at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health;
  • LSAC, at the conference of the Society for Longitudinal and Life Course Studies, in Germany, which brought together a number of major national birth cohort studies from around the world; and
  • the Institute's family law research findings, at the US Association of Family and Conciliation Courts in Chicago and the International Commission on Couple and Family Relationships in Boston.

The Institute and the quality of its research benefits from sharing research experience and expertise, from ensuring international quality standards are maintained, and by identifying potential international trends of relevance to Australia.

The year also saw the strengthening of relationships with other organisations that undertake research on family wellbeing, such as the US Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, and the College of Human Development and Family Studies at the Pennsylvania State University.

International visitors

This year the Institute again had several international visitors. These included visitors from Statistics New Zealand, the Thomas Coram Research Unit at the University of London, the Korean Institute for Health and Social Affairs, the Korean Labor Institute, the National Islamic University in Malaysia and the Institute for Family and Gender Studies in Vietnam. These visits enable the Institute to learn more about the work of international researchers, while also providing opportunities for AIFS to share its research.

Future directions

Over 2011-12, the Institute reviewed its strategic and research directions in preparation for the close of the 2009-12 planned cycle.

Key social trends that would influence AIFS research activity were analysed, and an extensive consultation program was undertaken. These included incorporating views from a diverse range of stakeholders, including AIFS staff, peak bodies, government agencies and research bodies.

The AIFS Advisory Council also provided very valuable input and advice to help shape the Institute's directions for the next three years. The AIFS Directions 2012-15 document is due for official release at the AIFS Conference in July 2012, and will outline four key research directions:

  • family change, functioning and wellbeing;
  • social and economic participation for families;
  • child and family safety; and
  • services to support families.

These are supported by core strategic goals for the Institute, to:

  • undertake high-quality impartial research relating to the wellbeing of families in Australia;
  • share the information and transfer our knowledge;
  • value and develop our relationships; and
  • manage our organisation.

AIFS Reconciliation Action Plan

To complement our research and strategic directions, the Institute has also developed its first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which will be officially released at the AIFS Conference in July 2012.

The plan formalises the Institute's commitment to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. The actions set out in the plan demonstrate - through everyday activities - the Institute's vision for recognising, respecting and valuing the histories, cultures and aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The RAP was developed with support from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives external to AIFS and Reconciliation Australia.

Advisory Council

The Institute's Advisory Council continues to be a highly valuable contributor to the success of the Institute and its activities, and has again helped to ensure that the Institute has achieved another very productive year.

Chaired by Reverend the Hon. Professor Brian Howe AO, the council provided advice on a range of strategic matters. In particular, this year, the council contributed to the development of the Institute's research directions, which will support our capacity to deliver rigorous, relevant and timely research on issues affecting family wellbeing.

The end of 2011-12 coincides with the end of the three-year terms of the council members. Three of the members will thus be departing the council:

  • Professor John Dewar;
  • Dr Marie Leech; and
  • Professor Bruce Chapman AM.

I would like to thank these members for their valuable commitment to the Institute and its work, and for so generously making their expertise, support and ever-wise counsel available to us over the years.

From 2012-13, three new members will be welcomed to the council:

  • Professor Dorothy Scott OAM;
  • Professor Barbara Pocock AM; and
  • Professor Ross Homel AO.

They each bring specialist research and social policy expertise that will greatly benefit the Institute.

Concluding remarks

This year saw the Institute continue to make significant contributions towards identifying and understanding family trends and how these are influenced by and, in turn, influence contemporary Australia. It has strengthened existing relationships and built new relationships with a range of government agencies and international partners.

The Institute continues to focus on sound financial management across our operations, with oversight from the Risk Assessment and Audit Committee.

In this financial year, AIFS operated with $3.512m of government appropriations and $6.04m of other revenue, primarily from contracted research. As detailed in the financial statements, the Institute incurred a deficit of $460,159 for the year, due to depreciation expenses and the impact of the government bond rate on employee provisions.

The Institute's work plan has been extended with commissions to undertake several new research projects, which has helped to advance our reputation as the lead research agency on family wellbeing with expertise in longitudinal studies.

The new research, together with the continued development of core research activities, ensures high-quality and productive years ahead. Through the development of the AIFS Research Directions 2012-15 document, the Institute has also committed itself to focusing research on key transitions experienced by Australian families and the factors that influence the paths they take through life.

Professor Alan Hayes AM
Director, Australian Institute of Family Studies

2. Agency overview

The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) is a Melbourne-based statutory agency of the Australian Government, established in February 1980 under the Australian Family Law Act 1975. The Institute operated within the portfolio of Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) from November 2007 to December 2011. In January 2012, it moved to the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA). The Institute also has close links with the Attorney-General's Department (AGD), the Department of Human Services (DHS) and other Australian Government portfolios, their departments and agencies. Staff of the Institute are employed under the Public Service Act 1999. At 30 June 2012, staff numbered 78 people, excluding the Director.

The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) is a Melbourne-based statutory agency of the Australian Government, established in February 1980 under the Australian Family Law Act 1975. The Institute operated within the portfolio of Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) from November 2007 to December 2011. In January 2012, it moved to the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA). The Institute also has close links with the Attorney-General's Department (AGD), the Department of Human Services (DHS) and other Australian Government portfolios, their departments and agencies. Staff of the Institute are employed under the Public Service Act 1999. At 30 June 2012, staff numbered 78 people, excluding the Director.

Role and functions

As outlined in the Portfolio Budget Statements, the Institute aims to increase understanding of factors affecting how Australian families function by conducting research and communicating findings to policy-makers, service providers, researchers and the broader community.

The AIFS Strategic and Research Plans set the framework for its research activities and guide the research undertaken, including commissioned projects. The Institute facilitates and communicates research findings through its research publications, conferences, websites, clearinghouses and information exchange, information services, presentations, seminars, representation and the media.

The Strategic Plan 2009-12 came into effect on 1 July 2009. The plan outlines the roles and functions of the Institute for this annual reporting period. The key strategic objectives are to:

  • conduct high-quality research, relevant to policy and practice, on a broad range of issues regarding families in Australia;
  • expand, through collaborative partnerships, understanding of factors affecting families;
  • increase the effectiveness of our communications to foster greater understanding about factors that affect families; and
  • build our organisational capability to achieve research and communication objectives.

During 2011-12, the Institute developed the AIFS Directions 2012-15 document, which outlines key strategic and research priorities for the next three years.

Organisational structure

The Director is responsible for providing overall leadership of the Institute. He is supported by two Deputy Directors - Deputy Director (Research) and Deputy Director (Corporate & Strategy) - and an Assistant Director (Research), who work together to lead a team of managers responsible for the day-to-day work of the Institute in meeting its strategic objectives.

The Deputy Director (Research) is responsible for the Institute's research program, which includes a wide range of research, evaluation and dissemination projects focusing on policy- and practice-relevant issues affecting families in Australia. This role is complemented by the Assistant Director (Research).

The Deputy Director (Corporate and Strategy) is responsible for the management of services to support the Institute's research activity, including human, financial and physical resources, information and communications technology, communication services and corporate governance.

Research managers oversee teams of research staff who work on a range of commissioned and internally initiated projects, including two clearinghouses, the Child Family Community Australia information exchange and seven longitudinal studies:

  • Australian Temperament Project (ATP);
  • Building a New Life in Australia: The Longitudinal Survey of Humanitarian Migrants;
  • Family Pathways: The Longitudinal Study of Separated Families;
  • Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC);
  • Longitudinal Study of Leaving Care;
  • Pathways of Care: The Longitudinal Study of Children and Young People in Out-of-Home Care in New South Wales; and
  • Stronger Families in Australia Study Extension: SFIA-II.

The Corporate and Strategy area supports research staff by providing library, website, publishing, finance, information technology, external relations, human resources and other administrative services.

Figure 2.1 AIFS organisational structure

Figure 2.1 AIFS organisational structure

Outcome and program structure

In this reporting period, the Institute operated within the Australian Government's outcome and output framework published in the Portfolio Budget Statements 2011-12 (PBS). The Institute has a single planned outcome:

  • Outcome 1 - Increased understanding of factors affecting how families function by conducting research and communicating findings to policy-makers, service providers and the broader community.

All Institute activities are directed to achieving the outcome. Key performance indicators, detailed in Chapter 3, measure output deliverables.

The Institute's research and communications performance is detailed and discussed in Chapter 3, its management accountability performance in Chapter 4, and its financial performance in Chapter 5.

3. Report on performance

Review of program performance and contribution to outcomes

AIFS has a single planned outcome: to increase understanding of factors affecting how families function by conducting research and communicating findings to policy-makers, service providers and the broader community.

To do this, the Institute:

  • Conducts high-quality research relevant to policy and practice on a broad range of issues regarding families in Australia
  • Expands the national knowledge base of factors affecting families through collaborative partnerships
  • Increases the effectiveness of communications to foster greater understanding about factors that affect families
  • Builds organisational capacity to achieve research and communication objectives.

The Institute has a research program that monitors and analyses social and demographic trends, tracking changes in family form, functioning and behaviour within the wider context of social, economic and demographic change. In 2011-12, the Institute's research program continued to be structured around six themes developed under the AIFS Research Plan 2009-12:

  • economic wellbeing of families;
  • families and work;
  • social inclusion;
  • violence, abuse and neglect;
  • family transitions and family law; and
  • children, young people and their families.

The majority of the Institute's research projects relate to more than one research theme. A summary of the projects and how they relate to these themes is provided in Table 3.3.

The Institute conducts its research to deliver information that is:

  • rigorous, high-quality and credible;
  • relevant to current and emerging policy, professional, research and community interests relating to family functioning and wellbeing;
  • responsive, timely and targeted in its delivery; and
  • effectively and efficiently communicated to all stakeholders.

Research activities are either initiated by the Institute or commissioned by an external body. Institute-initiated research is generally funded from the budget appropriation.

Research projects conducted by the Institute vary significantly in both scale and type, and include:

  • research projects that provide evidence relating to current and emerging social policy issues;
  • major evaluations and reviews of government policies and programs;
  • longitudinal studies that provide valuable data on children and their families;
  • specialist advisory services commissioned by government agencies; and
  • information exchange and clearinghouses that identify, collect, evaluate and synthesise research resources about a specialist field and disseminate that information to policy and practice professionals.

A detailed description of the Institute's research projects begins below.

Performance in relation to deliverables

During the reporting period, AIFS delivered research-based information and services through:

  • research outputs commissioned by external bodies, including literature reviews, reviews or reports on government programs and legislation, and longitudinal studies;
  • publications, such as the Family Matters journal, research papers, clearinghouse and information exchange publications, and articles in externally published journals and books;
  • submissions made to parliamentary inquiries and advisory services to government;
  • communications services, including management of national clearinghouses and the information exchange, distribution of electronic newsletters, management of websites, and library help desk services; and
  • AIFS and LSAC-LSIC conferences and the AIFS Seminar Series, external presentations, clearinghouse and information exchange webinars, workshops, and forums.

The communication of research findings continued to target three broad groups:

  • policy-makers, to inform the development and review of policies and programs affecting families;
  • service providers, to improve professional practice that supports families; and
  • the general and research communities, to raise understanding and knowledge of family functioning.

Performance in relation to factors affecting deliverables

Table 3.1 shows the actual deliverables for 2011-12 and the estimated trend indicators for 2012-13 to 2014-15.

Table 3.1 Deliverable indicators: Actual (2011-12) and trends (2012-13 to 2014-15)
Deliverable indicator Actual Trends
2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15
Research outputs and publications 104 100 100 100
Submissions to parliamentary inquiries 0 6 6 6
Library help desk responses 319 700 700 700
Bibliographic records generated 2,237 1,200 1,200 1,200
Websites and sub-sites maintained 7 7 7 7
Conferences and seminars hosted 11 13 13 13
Presentations given 44 100 80 100
External advisory, reference and referee representation 69 65 65 65

Research outputs and publications comprise the core deliverables of the Institute. The number of outputs and publications reported in Table 3.1 include several substantial and high-quality reports involving considerable research resources, as outlined in the Details of Research Activities, along with a large number of short articles published by the new CFCA Connect online service.

In relation to the submissions to parliamentary inquiries deliverable, no submissions were made in 2011-12 as no relevant inquiries being examined in Parliament were being conducted in the financial year.

The deliverable regarding bibliographic records resulted in a significantly greater number of records generated. However the number of help desk queries was lower again this year, which reflects the substantial increases in the use of the Institute's websites (see Table 3.2). Inquiries are also increasingly being made directly to the Institute's clearinghouses and information exchange rather than through the Library service.

In relation to the conferences, seminars, presentations and representations deliverable, fewer seminars were held than anticipated due to speaker cancellations/unavailability and seasonal factors. The lower number of presentations is due to the amalgamation of the AFRC, CAFCA and NCPC into the new CFCA information exchange, which necessitated a reduction in presentation activity throughout the year. External representations were slightly higher than expected.

Performance in relation to key performance indicators

Key performance indicators

The Institute's research and communications performance is measured against five performance indicators. Combined, the performance indicators quantify the quality, relevance and responsiveness of the Institute's research activities and the effectiveness and reach of its communications.

Research
  • Number of commissioning bodies and funding agreements.
  • Number of public submissions to government inquiries that cite AIFS-authored research.
  • Representation on external bodies.
Communication
  • Number of AIFS publications distributed and downloaded (see also Publications).
  • Number of media mentions - online, print, television and radio (see also Media).
Organisational capability

Table 3.2 shows the actual key performance indicators for 2008-09 to 2010-11 and the estimated trend indicators for 2011-12 to 2013-14.

Table 3.2 Key performance indicators: Projected/Actuals (2009-10 to 2011-12) and trends (2012-13 to 2014-15)
Key performance indicator Projected / Actuals Trends
2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15
Funding agreements 34 / 39 41 / 45 42 / 43 42 42 42
Commissioning agencies 20 /19 19 / 21 20 / 20 20 20 20
Inquiry submissions citing Institute research 12 / 19 19 / 18 20 / 20 20 20 20
Publications distributed and downloaded (million) 1.02 / 1.74 1.70 / 2.23 1.75 / 2.71 1.80 1.85 1.90
Media mentions 3500 / 2,197 2600 / 3,556 2300 / 2,606 2,800 2,500 2,800
AIFS Staff on external bodies 65 / 69 65 / 71 72 / 72 74 76 76

Performance in relation to factors affecting key performance indicators

The Institute's trend information derives from five key performance indicators. Trend forecasts take into account the Institute's risk analysis and its examination of external factors that may influence its future performance.

The first indicator - the number of commissioning bodies and funding agreements - was exceeded in 2011-12. The number of different commissioning agencies is dependent on the alignment of portfolios' policy objectives to the Institute's funded research outcomes. The number of funding agreements is dependent, to a significant extent, on whether agencies choose to rely on their own inhouse research or seek expertise externally, and the ongoing financial capacity of other agencies to commission research from the Institute. This risk is managed through budget monitoring and business development processes.

The second indicator - the number of public submissions to government inquiries that cite AIFS-authored research - has been used to indicate the credibility and relevance of Institute research to matters of public policy and parliamentary scrutiny. This will vary considerably in line with the number of government inquiries undertaken in areas of relevance to the Institute's expertise, and is outside the Institute's control. This indicator will be discontinued as it reflects the number of enquiries into issues related to families rather than the value of the Institute's research.

The third indicator - the number of the Institute's publications that are distributed and downloaded - significantly exceeded expectations. Although the number of print publications decreased again as planned, the total distribution of publications substantially increased, with a significant rise in the number of publications downloaded from the Institute's websites. This is in line with the Institute's (and the Government's) priority on electronic distribution.

The fourth indicator - the number of mentions of Institute research in the media - indicates the relevance and timeliness of the Institute's activities and the level of community interest in the issues being researched. Media mentions in 2011-12 exceeded expectations largely due to the interest generated around the LSAC-LSIC Conference.

The fifth indicator - the number of AIFS staff on external bodies - is indicative of the qualification and respect held in this specialist field, and is influenced by the time available to provide this valuable undertaking.

Details of a further indicator - the qualifications and professional experience of the Institute's staff - are outlined as part of the report on human resources. This indicates the depth of the Institute's intellectual capital and its relevance to a broad range of professional bodies.

Social inclusion outcomes

The Institute has no mandatory reporting requirements against the Government's strategic change indicators. However, its research has continued to contribute to the evidence base that may be used by other agencies to advance social inclusion outcomes in Australia. For example, in this reporting period, research was conducted on new income management in Indigenous communities, past adoption experiences, carers of ageing parents, work-family balance, homelessness, children in out-of-home care, separated families and sexual assault. The Institute is also a partner in the Closing the Gap Clearinghouse, which is detailed later in this document.

Future activities will also include a continuing focus on place-based disadvantage, including work on the challenges confronting young parents in such locations, and issues around workforce participation for people who are vulnerable due to the impacts of intergenerational disadvantage.

Report on performance - Research activities

Table 3.3 Summary of Institute research projects, 2011-12
Project Economic wellbeing of families Families and work Social inclusion Violence, abuse and neglect Family transitions and family law Children, young people & their families
Research projects
Access to Early Childhood Education and Care Services     X   X X
Ageing Parent Carers of People With a Disability X X X      
Australian Temperament Project     X X X XX
Building a New Life in Australia: The Longitudinal Survey of Humanitarian Migrants XX X XX   X X
Department of Human Services Research Project X X     X X
Driving Behaviour Study           XX
Evaluation of New Income Management in the Northern Territory Project XX XX XX X   X
Evaluation of the Child Protection Scheme of Income Management in Western Australia XX X XX XX   X
Evidence-Based Interventions for Children and Young People           X
Family Attitudes and Values X XX X X XX XX
Family Law: Coordinated Family Dispute Resolution in Family Violence Cases Evaluation Study       XX XX X
Family Pathways: The Longitudinal Study of Separated Families X   X X X X
Family Pathways: Survey of Recently Separated Parents X   X X X X
Family Trends and Transitions X X X   XX XX
Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children X X X   X XX
Independent Children's Lawyer Study       X X X
Indigenous Justice Program Evaluation: Diversion Programs     X X   X
Labour Market Issues for Families XX XX X     X
Longitudinal Study of Leaving Care     X X X XX
A New Legal Frontier? The Role of Social Networking Services and Mobile Phone Technology in Facilitating Sexual Violence       XX    
Northern Territory Emergency Response: Outcome Evaluation of "Supporting Families"     X X   X
Past Adoption Experiences: National Research Study on Services Responses     X   X X
Pathways of Care: The Longitudinal Study of Children and Young People in Out-of-Home Care in New South Wales       X   XX
Protective Behaviours Pilot Evaluation       X   X
Research and Evaluation Collaboration: Australian Childhood Foundation X X X X X X
Research and Evaluation Collaboration: CatholicCare Archdiocese Melbourne, Marriage and Relationship Education Unit X X   X X X
Research and Evaluation Collaboration: Interrelate Family Centres X X X X X X
Scoping Study for National Survey of Children and Young People in Out-of-Home Care       X   X
Street Stories: The Life Around Here Community Study Research Report XX XX XX X   X
Stronger Families in Australia Study Extension: SFIA-II X X X XX   XX
Victim-Focused Court Practice Reforms in Sexual Assault Matters       X X  
Vulnerable and Disadvantaged Client Access Strategy Review X   X X   X
Young Parents and Their Children in Australia (YPCA) Study X X X X X X
Clearinghouses and information exchange
Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault     X XX    
Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse X X X X X XX
Child Family Community Australia X X X XX X XX
Closing the Gap Clearinghouse X X XX X X X
Communities and Families Clearinghouse Australia     X X   XX
National Child Protection Clearinghouse     X XX   X

Note:"X" indicate the themes to which each project is related and the degree of relevance.

Details of research activities

Access to Early Childhood Education and Care Services

Project duration June 2011 - December 2012
Funding source(s) DEEWR

Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s)

Social inclusion X
Family transitions and family law X
Children, young people and their families X

The purpose of this project is to undertake research to identify gaps in access to and participation in preschool programs by Australian children aged 4-5 years old.

There have been two phases to the project. Phase 1, which is now complete, had the following objectives: (a) review how "access" to preschool services is conceptualised and defined; (b) identify the issues and factors that affect access to preschool services; and (c) document and provide recommendations on how access to preschool services can be measured beyond broad performance indicators. The research involved a review of Australian and international literature; consultations across Australia with key government and non-government stakeholders; and analyses of Australian datasets that provide information about the participation of children in early childhood education in the year prior to full-time schooling. Results from each of these aspects of the project were incorporated into a final report to DEEWR. The report will be published later in 2012.

Phase 2 involves qualitative interviews with families (parents) in Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia. The key research questions are (a) How is participation affected by different delivery systems; that is, school-based systems, community-based systems, long-day-care-based systems, integrated services, and specialised/targeted services? (b) What are the key factors that influence the reasons why a family does or does not access early childhood education services (or other relevant services) for their children generally and for specific cohorts? (c) Are there any views from participants in the study on how to overcome barriers to accessing early childhood education? Project planning and preparation commenced in 2011-12, including the submission of a scoping and methodology report to DEEWR. Work on this project is to continue through to December 2012.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Final Phase 1 research report on access to preschool Final Phase 1 research report delivered in March 2012 Improved understanding of access to early childhood education
Scoping and methodology report for Phase 2 Report for Phase 2 submitted in June 2012 Planned methodology for the project documented

Publication(s)

Baxter, J., & Hand, K. (2012). Access to early childhood education: Draft project report to the Department of Education, Employment, and Workplace Relations. Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Ageing Parent Carers of People With a Disability

Project duration April 2010 - June 2012
Funding source(s) Carers Victoria
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families X
Families and work X
Social inclusion X
Related project(s) Family Trends and Transitions

The ageing of the population is expected to increase the demand for carers to support elderly people with disabilities or advancing frailty. An issue that has received much less attention is whether population ageing means that there will be an increasing number of parents entering "later life" while also looking after their own adult child with a disability.

Relevant literature suggests that many parents who are caring for a son or daughter with a disability are concerned about what will happen if they, the parents, are unable to continue to care for them. The Institute has delivered a final report to Carers Victoria on the proportion of older people (65 years and over) caring for a son or daughter who has a severe or profound disability. The report will be released later in 2012.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Report to Carers Victoria Final report has been submitted Improved understanding of the impact that population ageing has on the demand for ageing parent carers

Australian Temperament Project

Project duration 1983- (ongoing)
Funding source(s) Appropriation; Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Grant (University of Melbourne)
Partner organisation(s) University of Melbourne; Deakin University; Royal Children's Hospital
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Social inclusion X
Violence, abuse and neglect X
Family transitions and family law X
Children, young people and their families XX
Related project(s) Driving Behaviour Study

The ATP is a longitudinal study following young people's psychosocial development from infancy into adulthood. It investigates the contribution of personal, family, peer and broader environmental factors to adjustment and wellbeing.

The study began in 1983 with the recruitment of 2,443 Victorian infants and their families. Fifteen waves of data collection have been completed across the first 28 years of life. Aspects of the participants that have been assessed range from attributes and assets - such as temperament style, social skills, family and peer relationships, and school adjustment - to problems and difficulties - such as antisocial behaviour, substance abuse, anxiety and depression. The focus has broadened in recent years to encompass employment and career development, relationship formation and dissolution, marriage and parenthood aspirations, and social and civic participation.

The Institute has managed and taken the lead in the ATP since 2000, in conjunction with researchers from the University of Melbourne, Deakin University and the Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne. During the reporting period, discussions were held regarding the transfer of responsibility for the day-to-day management of the project back to the University of Melbourne. A memorandum of understanding outlining the future management of the project was drafted, and it is anticipated that this will be signed during the second half of 2012.

In December 2011, data collection commenced for a new ATP sub-study examining the experiences of ATP study members with children aged 11-36 months. One of the main of aims of the ATP Next Generation study (which is being led by researchers from the Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne) is to examine the extent to which patterns of risk, resilience and wellbeing are transmitted to subsequent generations. Approximately 100 computer-assisted telephone interviews have been completed to date.

Statistical analysis and dissemination of the study findings continued in 2011 and 2012. Issues investigated included: (a) the factors and processes that promote positive development; (b) the onset and persistence of risk-taking and adjustment difficulties (e.g., harmful alcohol use, depression); and (c) the contribution of childhood experiences (e.g., school bullying, child maltreatment) to later wellbeing and adjustment.

In addition, the Institute was approached by the OECD to perform analyses of the ATP dataset as part of a study examining the role of cognitive ability and personality traits in fostering wellbeing and social progress. Institute researchers Dr Ben Edwards and Dr Galina Daraganova presented an overview of the ATP at a workshop at the OECD in May 2012. This work will take place in the 2012-13 financial year.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Preparation of Wave 15 data files Data coding and cleaning near completion Provide comprehensive and relevant information about the development and wellbeing of adults in their late 20s that can inform policy development
Preparation and dissemination of journal articles, book chapters and conference presentations 4 journal articles, 1 book chapter and 2 participant newsletters published Findings cited in national and international publications; media interest; requests for advice from other national and international researchers
Provide and maintain the ATP website Website updated Publications and study information made available to researchers, policy-makers, practitioners and study members

Publication(s)

Hawkins, M. T., Letcher, P., Sanson, A., O'Connor, M., Toumbourou, J., & Olsson, C. (2011). Stability and change in positive development during the transition from adolescence to adulthood. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 40, 1436-1452.

Hawkins, M. T., Villagonzalo, K., Sanson, A. V., Toumbourou, J. W., Letcher, P., & Olsson, C. (2012). Associations between positive development in late adolescence and social, health and behavioral outcomes in young adulthood. Journal of Adult Development, 19(2), 88-99.

O'Connor, M., Sanson, A., & Frydenberg, E. (2011). The relationship between positive development during the transition to adulthood and temperament, personality, and educational outcomes. In G. Reevy, & E. Frydenberg (Eds.), Research on Stress and Coping in Education: Vol. VI. Personality, stress, and coping: Implications for education (pp. 111-130). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

O'Connor, M., Sanson, A., Hawkins, M. T., Toumbourou, J. W., Letcher, P., & Frydenberg, E. (2011). Differentiating three conceptualisations of the relationship between positive development and psychopathology during the transition to adulthood. Journal of Adolescence, 34, 475-484.

Toumbourou, J. W., Williams, I. R., Letcher, P., Sanson, A., & Smart, D. (2011). Developmental trajectories of internalising behaviour in the prediction of adolescent depressive symptoms. Australian Journal of Psychology, 63, 214-223.

Vassallo, S. (2011). Year 2011 newsletter to all ATP members. Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Vassallo, S. (2011). Year 2011 newsletter to all ATP parents. Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Building a New Life in Australia: The Longitudinal Survey of Humanitarian Migrants

Project duration June 2012 - December 2017
Funding source(s) Department of Immigration and Citizenship
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families XX
Families and work X
Social inclusion XX
Family transitions and family law X
Children, young people and their families X

In response to gaps in data and research, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has commissioned the Institute to manage Building a New Life in Australia: The Longitudinal Survey of Humanitarian Migrants, which will follow the journey that humanitarian migrants take from arrival in Australia to citizenship. The objective of the study is to aid humanitarian migrants' successful settlement in Australia and better inform government policy by augmenting the current evidence base.

This study aims to:

  • measure how settlement outcomes (e.g., labour market, housing) differ across groups, and change over time;
  • understand what factors appear to be related to and influence positive and negative outcomes; and
  • determine the role of funded services in affecting the outcomes.

AIFS' role is to undertake all aspects of planning, coordinating and managing this new study. Colmar Brunton is the fieldwork company. Development work commenced in mid-2012 and the first wave of data collection will be conducted in mid-2013.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
MOU for survey management services MOU signed for survey management services Initial project planning and liaison with DIAC, in anticipation of development process to be undertaken in 2012-13

Department of Human Services Research Project

Project duration June 2011 - June 2012
Funding source(s) DHS
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families X
Families and work X
Family transitions and family law X
Children, young people and their families X
Related project(s) Family Attitudes and Values; Family Trends and Transitions; Labour Market Issues for Families

In order to inform its development of a large-scale set of reforms in service delivery, the DHS commissioned AIFS to undertake research designed to inform DHS development of preventative service delivery models that will give families timely, targeted, accurate and appropriate support in managing difficult life events and in promoting positive family functioning.

Specifically, AIFS was commissioned to:

  • conduct a literature review on life events, and
  • analyse data from two large-scale Australian longitudinal studies (the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia [HILDA] survey and LSAC).
Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Life events literature review Literature review submitted in February 2012 (to be published as a Research Report later in 2012)

Improve understanding of how life events affect individuals and families, and factors that help shape these effects

Provide information to the DHS portfolio to assist in its development of a large-scale set of reforms in service delivery

Analysis of Australian data on the experience of life events Summary report submitted March 2012

Full report submitted June 2012

Driving Behaviour Study

Project duration June 2002 - August 2012
Funding source(s) Transport Accident Commission (TAC); Royal Automobile Club Victoria (RACV); Appropriation
Partner organisation(s) TAC; RACV
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Children, young people and their families XX
Related project(s) Australian Temperament Project

The Driving Behaviour Study uses data from the ATP to examine the road safety behaviours of young people, and the personal, family and wider environmental factors associated with differing profiles of driving behaviour.

The study began in 2002 when the ATP sample was 19-20 years old. At this time, information was collected on study members' learner driving experiences, current driving patterns and risky driving behaviours. These data were used in conjunction with data from previous survey waves to investigate the personal, family and wider environmental factors associated with differing types of driving behaviours.

A further two waves of road safety data have now been collected - in 2006, when study members were aged 23-24 years, and 2010-11 when study members were aged 27-28 years.

The findings from the second wave of road safety data (at 23-24 years) were reported in an AIFS Research Report (No. 17), which was published in 2010. They are also the focus of two journal articles commissioned by the RACV and TAC. Drafts of these articles have been completed.

Analysis of the third wave of road safety data (at 27-28 years) has recently been undertaken. Two draft reports have been completed. The first of these summarises trends in driving behaviour among the sample at 27-28 years, while the second examines the stability of risky driving between the ages of 19-20 and 27-28 years, and the profiles of groups exhibiting different across-time patterns (i.e., stable, increasing, decreasing).

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Dissemination of study findings 2 draft journal articles completed

2 draft research papers completed

Provision of new Australian evidence to inform policy development

Evaluation of New Income Management in the Northern Territory Project

Project duration April 2010 - June 2012
Funding source(s) FaHCSIA, via Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC) at University of New South Wales (UNSW)
Partner organisation(s) SPRC (UNSW), ANU
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families XX
Families and work XX
Social inclusion XX
Violence, abuse and neglect X
Children, young people and their families X
Related project(s) Closing the Gap Clearinghouse; Evaluation of the Child Protection Scheme of Income Management in Western Australia

This project was the first phase of a broader evaluation of a new model of the Income Management Scheme in the Northern Territory.

The New Income Management Evaluation Framework and Baseline Data Collection Project was commissioned by FaHCSIA and undertaken with the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales and the Australian National University. SPRC is the lead agency in the consortium and the fieldwork company is Colmar Brunton.

The evaluation involves:

  • surveys with people currently subject to New Income Management;
  • surveys and interviews with NT service providers about their perception of the effects of New Income Management on clients and communities; and
  • analyses of further administrative data sources.

To date, AIFS has developed survey instruments and interview schedules for the collection of early implementation data with staff from key agencies involved in the implementation of New Income Management in the Northern Territory, and undertook the fieldwork for the qualitative interviews from September 2011 to March 2012.

These data have contributed to the first report on the whole evaluation, which was submitted to FaHCSIA in June 2012.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Qualitative interviews with Centrelink staff and NT service providers Interviews completed, March 2012 Evidence base to assist with assessing the effects of the New Income Management Scheme in the Northern Territory
Telephone survey with NT merchants Survey completed with NT merchants, September 2011
Online survey with Centrelink staff and NT service providers Survey completed with Centrelink staff and NT service providers, February 2012
First report in the evaluation findings First report submitted, June 2012

Evaluation of the Child Protection Scheme of Income Management in Western Australia

Project duration February-December 2012
Funding source(s) FaHCSIA
Partner organisation(s) FaHCSIA, WA Department of Child Protection, DHS
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families XX
Families and work X
Social inclusion XX
Violence, abuse and neglect XX
Children, young people and their families X
Related project(s) Closing the Gap Clearinghouse; Evaluation of New Income Management in the Northern Territory Project

The Evaluation of the Child Protection Scheme of Income Management (CPSIM) in Western Australia (WA) is being undertaken by FaHCSIA, the WA Department of Child Protection (DCP) and the DHS.

AIFS has been contracted by FaHCSIA in an advisory role to review methodology, provide independent advice and feedback, assist with fieldwork, and comment on the analysis and the final report as needed.

The evaluation will be based on:

  • administrative data from the DHS (Centrelink), Money Management Service providers and WA DCP;
  • a case file review of current and former CP IM clients and a comparison group of non income managed DCP clients;
  • depth interviews with 40-60 CP IM clients and former clients; and
  • in depth interviews with intermediaries (DHS Centrelink, Money Management Service Providers and WA DCP).

Fieldwork will be conducted in Perth, Broome and Kununurra and will take place from May 2012 through to September 2012.

The project is due for completion by the end of December 2012.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Assist with development of project methodology and project planning Project methodology and project plan completed

Evidence base to assist with assessing the impact of Child Protection Scheme of Income Management in Western Australia

Assist with ethics application Ethics approval received
Development of child protection case file analysis tool Case file analysis tool developed
Member of project advisory group Attended advisory group meetings
Contribute to conduct of fieldwork Fieldwork in Kununurra and Broome undertaken

Evidence-Based Interventions for Children and Young People

Project duration April-October 2011
Funding source(s) Commissioner for Children and Young People, Western Australia
Partner organisation(s) Commissioner for Children and Young People, Western Australia
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Children, young people and their families X

The Institute was contracted by the Commissioner for Children and Young People, Western Australia, to develop a compilation of evidence-based programs and services that demonstrate best practice or most promising practice in enhancing the wellbeing of children and young people.

The project involved conducting a literature search for evidence-based programs and services for children and young people and compiling an initial "long list" of around 100 programs or services. An evaluation tool - designed to assess the quality and evidence of the programs and services in the "long list" - was then developed and used to shorten the "long list" down to a final "short list" of 82 programs and services.

This project resulted in an easy-to-use report, Building Blocks: Best Practice Programs That Improve the Wellbeing of Children and Young People, as well as an accompanying website of the same title. The Building Blocks report forms part of the Commissioner's larger Wellbeing Monitoring Framework, which is designed to develop an evidence-based, repeatable data collection framework that monitors specific indicators of children and young people's wellbeing.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Completion of the "short list" of programs and services for children and young people "Short list" completed "Short list" delivered to the Commissioner and the project advisory group
Production and delivery of the final report Final report completed Final report delivered to the Commissioner

Publication(s)

Commissioner for Children and Young People, Western Australia. (2012). Building blocks: Best practice programs that improve the wellbeing of children and young people. Perth: CCYP. Retrieved from <www.ccyp.wa.gov.au/buildingblocks/files/BuildingBlocksFebruary2012.pdf>.

Family Attitudes and Values

Project duration July 2009 - June 2013
Funding source(s) Appropriation
Partner organisation(s) Australian Consortium for Social and Political Research Inc. (ACSPRI)
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families X
Families and work XX
Social inclusion X
Violence, abuse and neglect X
Family transitions and family law XX
Children, young people and their families XX
Related project(s) Department of Human Services Research Project; Family Trends and Transitions

The aim of this study is to monitor attitudes, values and aspirations relating to family issues. The monitoring of such matters in the general population can improve understanding of family trends, such as patterns of leaving home, partnership formation and marriage, having children, parental employment and family life involvement, relationship breakdown, post-separation parenting, and re-partnering. Monitoring and understanding of broad trends in family transitions is important for proactive policy development, and it can help shape the timely development of new research projects.

The Family Attitudes and Values research project commenced with the development of a comprehensive list of relevant measures that have been used in Australia and overseas. This item bank will continue to be updated as a research resource. The second stage of the project will involve a survey of values and attitudes.

A set of questions has been developed to tap people's views on various family-related issues such as care-time arrangements under different circumstances, cohabitation, divorce and intergenerational support. These questions have been included as a module in the Australian Survey of Social Attitudes (AuSSA), which is conducted by the Australian Consortium for Social and Political Research Inc.. The data will be collected in four waves between May 2012 and April 2013. Wave 1 of data collection commenced in May 2012.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Questions developed for inclusion in AuSSA Completed February 2012 Monitoring people's views about family transitions and helping to understand trends in family transitions
2012 AuSSA data collection (Wave 1) Data collection commenced May 2012

Family Law: Coordinated Family Dispute Resolution in Family Violence Cases Evaluation Study

Project duration August 2010 - December 2012
Funding source(s) AGD
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Violence, abuse and neglect XX
Family transitions and family law XX
Children, young people and their families X
Related project(s) Family Pathways: The Longitudinal Study of Separated Families; Family Pathways: Survey of Recently Separated Parents; Independent Children's Lawyer Study

The aim of this project is to evaluate a pilot program for multidisciplinary dispute resolution processes in cases where there has been family violence and the parties are attempting to reach agreement on post-separation parenting arrangements. Funded by the AGD, the pilot is being conducted in five metropolitan locations. The process involves each parent and their lawyer, a case manager, a social worker or equivalent for each parent, and a family dispute resolution practitioner.

The original evaluation methodology and timelines were revised because of a decision by AGD to extend the operation of the pilot until April 2013. The revised methodology for the evaluation involves seven studies: initial interviews with professionals (round one); focus groups with professionals; an online survey of professionals; process and outcomes data collection; parent interviews; an online survey of parents; interviews with professionals (round two) and request for information from location coordinators.

Two studies in the evaluation have been completed. The interviews with professionals (round one) have been completed, with a total of 37 professionals across the five locations having been interviewed. The focus groups with professionals have also been completed, with some 38 professionals taking part. Analysis of the data from these two studies is underway.

Fieldwork for the two studies involving parents (parent interviews and online survey of parents) is nearing completion. To date, 22 parents have been interviewed.

The two further studies involving professionals are also well underway. There have been 28 interviews with professionals (round two) and the requests for information from four location coordinators. The online survey for professionals will be in the field from June until mid-July.

The data collection study is based on pilot files (by professionals involved in the pilot) on processes and outcomes for all cases in the pilot. About 50 such forms have been returned to date, out of an anticipated sample of approximately 80 finalised cases. Comparison data from cases not handled in the pilot, but with similar features to cases eligible for the pilot, were collected for comparison purposes by services allied to each service coordinating the pilot. The data collection for this aspect of the study is complete. Data from a sample of 247 cases have been received, verified and entered, and analysis is underway.

An interim report that covers a fieldwork progress update and early insights into the operation of the CFDR pilot based on Study 1 data was submitted to AGD in September 2011.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Methodology report Methodology report delivered March 2011 Strengths and weaknesses of pilot program are evaluated
Interim report Delivered September 2011

Examine how, where there has been family violence, multidisciplinary dispute resolution can assist families to make effective post-separation parenting agreements

Final report Being prepared

Family Pathways: The Longitudinal Study of Separated Families

Project duration June 2011 - October 2013
Funding source(s) AGD
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families X
Social inclusion X
Violence, abuse and neglect X
Family transitions and family law X
Children, young people and their families X
Related project(s) Family Law: Coordinated Family Dispute Resolution in Family Violence Cases Evaluation Study; Family Pathways: Survey of Recently Separated Parents

Family Pathways: The Longitudinal Study of Separated Families (LSSF) represented the "associated longitudinal research" component linked with AIFS' family law reform evaluation, funded by AGD and FaHCSIA, from April 2007 and June 2010. Wave 1 was conducted between August and October 2008 and collected information from some 10,000 parents who separated after the introduction of the reforms in July 2006. Of these parents, 7,031 were re-interviewed in September-December 2009. The second survey wave enabled assessment of the nature and extent of changes over a 12-month period in the quality of the inter-parental relationships, parenting arrangements, family law pathways, care-time arrangements, parenting decision-making, child support liability and compliance, and parents' perceptions of children's wellbeing. The data collected in Wave 1 formed a part of the report Evaluation of the 2006 Family Law Reforms, published in December 2009, while the research report covering the first two waves of data collection was published in May 2011.

In June 2011, AGD provided funding to undertake a third wave of data collection. LSSF Wave 3 will provide an opportunity to examine longer term effects of parental separation on parents and children. The project will include a "top-up" sample to compensate for possible biases arising from sample attrition and to ensure that separated parents in different circumstances are appropriately represented (e.g., fathers who never see their children; families with equal care-time; parents who hold safety concerns about their child seeing the other parent; parents who have used the court system at some stage).

The key research objectives of LSSF Wave 3 are: (a) to examine the circumstances and wellbeing of family members some five years after parental separation, where parental separation took place 15 months on average after the commencement of the roll-out of the 2006 reforms; and (b) to identify the factors and processes that explain the different trajectories that will have become apparent by the third survey wave.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Scoping paper Scoping study report submitted December 2011

Changes on a range of issues (e.g., care-time arrangements, inter-parental relationships etc.) are examined to enable assessment of longer term effects of the 2006 family law reforms

Increased attention given to other issues pertinent to AGD (e.g., property division, family violence)

LSSF Wave 3 Instrument development Survey domains identified December 2011

Draft questionnaires (follow-up and top-up samples) completed May 2012

Ethics Committee approval Methodology approved March 2012

Survey instrument approved June 2012

Progress report on design and sampling Report submitted June 2012
Publish research reports 3 papers and 4 presentations

Publication(s)

Qu, L., Moloney, L., Weston, R., Hand, K., Deblaquiere, J., & De Maio, J. (2011). Grandparenting and the 2006 family law reforms. Family Matters, 88, 42-50.

Weston, R., Qu, L., Gray, M., De Maio, J., Kaspiew, R., Moloney, L., & Hand, K. (2011). Shared care time: An increasingly common arrangement? Family Matters, 88, 51-56.

Weston, R., Qu, L., Gray, M., Kaspiew, R., Moloney, R., & Hand, K. and the Family Law Evaluation Team. (2011). Care-time arrangements after the 2006 reforms: Implications for children and their parents. Family Matters, 88, 19-32.

Presentation(s)

Kaspiew, R. (2011, September). Family violence in family law children's matters post-2006: The empirical context for the 2011 reforms. Lexis Nexis 8th Annual Family Law Summit, Melbourne.

Moloney, L., Weston, R., & Qu, L. (2011, 9 November). Post-separation parenting arrangements: Timing, stability and pathways. 4th Family Relationship Services Australia (FRSA) National Conference, Gold Coast, Qld.

Qu, L., & Weston, R. (2011, 6 September). Parenting dynamics after separation. Children and Youth Committee, Law Institute of Victoria.

Weston, R., & Qu, L. (2011, 3-5 August). Shared care-time arrangements: Stability, workability and wellbeing. Family Court Conference, Wellington.

Family Pathways: Survey of Recently Separated Parents

Project duration March 2012 to April 2013
Funding source(s) AGD
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families X
Social inclusion X
Violence, abuse and neglect X
Family transitions and family law X
Children, young people and their families X
Related project(s) Family Law: Coordinated Family Dispute Resolution in Family Violence Cases Evaluation Study; Family Pathways: The Longitudinal Study of Separated Families

Family Pathways: The Survey of Recently Separated Parents aims to understand how the family law system meets the needs of a cohort of separated parents, particularly those affected by family violence, before the substantive provisions in relation to family violence in the Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Matters) Act 2011 (the Amendment Act) came into effect on 7 June 2012.

The study will collect data on the position of parents who separated an average of 18 months prior to the implementation of the amendments. It is intended that these data will provide a means of assessing the impacts of the amendments should future funding become available for conducting a survey of parents who separate after the implementation of the Amendment Act.

Data collection will occur during August and September 2012. Information will be collected from approximately 6,000 parents who:

  • registered with the Child Support Program, DHS, between 1 January and 31 December 2011; and
  • separated from the child's other parent between 1 July 2010 and 31 December 2011.

A report on the project findings will be delivered to AGD in April 2013.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Project planning Scoping paper completed February 2012

Examine a range of issues (e.g., care-time arrangements, inter-parental relationships etc.) that will be comparable to the Longitudinal Study of Separated Families

Increase focus on other issues pertinent to AGD (e.g., property division, family violence, awareness of changes of the Amendment Act)

SRSP instrument development Survey domains identified and draft questionnaire completed, March-May 2012
Ethics Committee approval Methodology and survey instruments approved, March-June 2012
Progress report on design and sampling Report submitted June 2012

Family Trends and Transitions

Project duration 1980 - (ongoing)
Funding source(s) Appropriation
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families X
Families and work X
Social inclusion X
Family transitions and family law XX
Children, young people and their families XX
Related project(s) Ageing Parent Carers of People With a Disability; Department of Human Services Research Project; Family Attitudes and Values

The Family Trends and Transitions project analyses and disseminates information on broad trends in patterns of leaving home, couple and family formation, family stability, and family dissolution and re-formation, along with associated values, attitudes and beliefs. As well as providing a better understanding of society's core values, the monitoring and analysis of these trends are important for policy development and for the timely development and design of research projects.

Family-related trends are disseminated through publications and presentations, the online Family Facts and Figures database, media interviews, and the handling of queries from internal and external sources. The updating of the widely used Family Facts and Figures database is an ongoing process. During the reporting period, the Family Facts and Figures section of the website was re-structured to provide better access to the data.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Publish articles, present papers at conferences and seminars, and participate in media interviews 4 articles published

7 presentations

Government, policy-makers and other stakeholders better informed of the nature of, and factors linked with, family trends

International body of knowledge enhanced through national and overseas conferences and presentations

Public interest stimulated via media reports of research findings

Provide and maintain online Family Facts and Figures database Ongoing

Publication(s)

Baxter, J., Weston, R., & Qu, L. (2011). Family structure, quality of the co-parental relationship, post-separation parenting and children's emotional wellbeing. Journal of Family Studies, 17(2), 86-109.

Qu, L., & de Vaus, D. (2011). Starting and ending of one-person households. Journal of Family Studies, 17(2), 126-145

Qu, L,. & Weston, R. (2011). Trends in couple dissolution: An update. Family Relationships Quarterly, 19, 15-17.

Weston, R., Qu, L., & Hayes, A. (2012). From form to function: Contemporary choices, changes and challenges. In P. Noller & G. Karantzas (Eds.), Handbook of couples and family relationships. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

Presentation(s)

de Vaus, D., Gray, M., Qu, L., & Stanton, D. (2011, 6-8 July). Australian women's retirement income and assets: The role of employment, fertility and relationship history. ASPC conference, Sydney.

de Vaus, D., & Qu, L. (2011, 24 August). Understanding the rise of living alone in Australia. AIFS Seminar Series, Melbourne.

Qu, L., & Weston, R. (2011, 15-16 November). Does parental social marital status matter to child well-being? Growing Up in Australia and Footprints in Time: The LSAC and LSIC Research Conference, Melbourne.

Qu, L., & Weston, R. (2012, 13 March). Demographics of ageing and fertility. Principles of Social Policy course, ANU.

Weston, R., & Qu, L. (2011, 2 August). Post-separation parenting: Selected results of the first two waves of the Longitudinal Study of Separated Families. Families Commission, NZ.

Weston, R., & Qu, L. (2011, 4 August). Shared care-time arrangements: Stability, workability and wellbeing. Family Court Conference, Wellington, NZ.

Weston, R., & Qu, L. (2012, 26 May). Australian families: A picture of change. Legal Aid NSW Child Representation Conference, Sydney.

Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children

Project duration March 2002 - June 2019
Funding source(s) FaHCSIA
Partner organisation(s) FaHCSIA; ABS; Consortium Advisory Group
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families X
Families and work X
Social inclusion X
Family transitions and family law X
Children, young people and their families XX
Related project(s) Labour Market Issues for Families

Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) is a major study that is following the development of 10,000 children and families from urban and rural areas of all states and territories of Australia, and addressing a range of questions about children's development and wellbeing. The study is conducted in a partnership between FaHCSIA, the Institute and the Australian Bureau of Statistics, with advice provided by a consortium of leading researchers. Information is collected on children's physical health and social, cognitive and emotional development, as well as their experiences in significant environments, such as that of the family, child care, preschool and school, and their broader communities. A major aim of the study is to identify policy opportunities for improving support for children and their families and for early intervention and prevention strategies.

Planning for the study commenced in 2002, and in 2004 two cohorts of approximately 5,000 infants aged 0-1 years, and 5,000 children aged 4-5 years, and their parents, were recruited and interviewed. Families have been interviewed every two years thereafter, with information being collected from resident and non-resident parents, teachers, child care providers, and the children themselves. In addition, three between-waves mail surveys were undertaken in 2005, 2007 and 2009. In the second half of 2011, between-waves contact was made with the study families, primarily to update their contact details rather than collect new data.

A major advance for the study was reached when the Australian Government made this study an ongoing project. Funding has been allocated and planning is underway for the next four waves (Waves 5 to 8), taking the study to 2019. The eight LSAC waves will thus provide data on children's development from infancy through to the threshold of adulthood.

Wave 5 data collection

The main phase of the Wave 5 data collection is currently taking place. Data collection will continue until late 2012 or early 2013.

Life At ... documentary series

The fourth round of the Life At series, Life At 7, to which the Institute has contributed, is currently being developed by Screen Australia in conjunction with Heiress Films. The Life At series draws upon the methodology and findings of LSAC. Eleven children and their families are being followed, with attention directed to the children's behaviour and milestones and the effects of factors such as parents' relationships, finances, work and health. Institute researchers have undertaken interviews with participating parents and assessments of the children, as well as statistical analyses of the LSAC dataset for use in the series.

Wave 6 development

The development of Wave 6 data collection interviews and measures commenced in 2011-12, and will be completed in 2012-13.

Dissemination and promotion of LSAC

The LSAC data have been used extensively for major research projects, including the Institute's Evaluation of the 2006 Family Law Reforms and the Productivity Commission's Inquiry Into Paid Parental Leave. There are 465 data users and 1,016 subscribers to the growingup-refgroup emailing list that provides study updates and information about new publications. The dissemination and promotion of LSAC has continued, with several other papers and reports being published, and papers being presented at national and international forums.

Research reports

Drafts of the LSAC Research Report No. 2 on new father figures and fathers living elsewhere, LSAC Research Report No. 3 on children living in rural and regional areas and LSAC Research Report No. 4 on parental social marital status and children's wellbeing are complete and scheduled for release in 2012.

Technical papers

LSAC Technical Paper No. 8, Using National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) Data in the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC), has also been completed and is scheduled for release in 2012.

Annual statistical report

The 2010 LSAC Annual Statistical Report was published in August 2011. The 2011 edition has been completed and will be released later in 2012. The 2011 report includes chapters on parental mental health, fathers' involvement in children's personal care activities, family housing arrangements, families with a child with disability, children's numeracy skills, exposure to television and other media, access to preschool in the year before school, and children's body mass index.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Wave 5 data collection (mid-2011 to late 2012) Wave 5 data collection interviews and measures complete

First phase of data collection complete

Second phase of data collection in progress

Information obtained on policy-relevant issues regarding children and families
Provide and maintain LSAC website Online newsletters regularly posted on the LSAC website

Events, Study Members and Publications pages updated

Increase in the numbers of people accessing LSAC information
Conference presentations, papers, reports and media attention Completed reports, to be published in 2012-13:
  • technical Papers on:
  • using NAPLAN data in LSAC
  • characteristics of between-waves survey respondents
  • LSAC Research Reports on:
  • new father figures and fathers living elsewhere
  • children living in rural and regional areas
  • parental social marital status and children's wellbeing
  • 2011 LSAC Annual Statistical Report
  • commissioned report on unstable housing
Enhanced public profile of the study

Interest in the findings from policy-makers and media

Increased number of registered data users

Deliver training workshops and user group services Ongoing Increased understanding of dataset among potential and novice users

Facilitated use of LSAC data

Maintain sample engagement through distribution of birthday cards and other materials Ongoing Sample engagement maintained

Sample tracking facilitated

Publication(s)

Baxter, J., & Smart, D. (2011). Fathering in Australia among couple families with young children: Research highlights. Family Matters, 88, 15-26.

Baxter, J. A., Weston, R., & Qu, L. (2011). Family structure, co-parental relationship quality, post-separation paternal involvement and children's emotional wellbeing. Journal of Family Studies, 17(2), 86-109.

Edwards, B. (2011). A longitudinal view of children living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods. In Australian Institute of Family Studies, The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children annual statistical report 2010 (pp. 81-89). Melbourne: AIFS.

Gray, M., & Baxter, J. (2011). Parents and the labour market. In Australian Institute of Family Studies, The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children annual statistical report 2010 (pp. 29-41). Melbourne: AIFS.

Gray, M., Taylor, M., & Edwards, B. (2011). Unemployment and the wellbeing of children aged 5-10 years. Australian Journal of Labour Economics, 14(2), 153-172.

Harrison, L. J. (2011). Children's experiences of child care. In Australian Institute of Family Studies, The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children annual statistical report 2010 (pp. 57-69). Melbourne: AIFS.

Lucas, N., Nicholson, J., & Maguire, M. (2011). Parenting practices and behaviours. In Australian Institute of Family Studies, The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children annual statistical report 2010 (pp. 43-55). Melbourne: AIFS.

MacLaren, S. (2011). Family education environment. In Australian Institute of Family Studies, The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children annual statistical report 2010 (pp. 71-79). Melbourne: AIFS.

Maguire, B. (2011). Characteristics of the children and their families. In Australian Institute of Family Studies, The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children annual statistical report 2010 (pp. 7-17). Melbourne: AIFS.

Maguire, B. (2011). Children's pre- and perinatal health experiences. In Australian Institute of Family Studies, The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children annual statistical report 2010 (pp. 123-132). Melbourne: AIFS.

Maguire, B. (2011). How family composition changes across waves. In Australian Institute of Family Studies, The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children annual statistical report 2010 (pp. 19-27). Melbourne: AIFS.

Mullan, K., & Daraganova, G. (2012). Reading: The home and family context. In Year Book Australia, 2012 (ABS No. 92, Cat. No. 1301.0). Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Mullan, K., & Redmond, G. (2012). A socio-economic profile of families in the first wave of the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children. Australian Economic Review, 45, 232-245.

Priest, N., Baxter, J. A., & Hayes, L. (2012). Social and emotional outcomes of young Australian children from Indigenous and culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Australian New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 26(2), 183-190.

Smart, D. (2011). How young children are faring: Behaviour problems and competencies. In Australian Institute of Family Studies, The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children annual statistical report 2010 (pp. 91-106). Melbourne: AIFS.

Taylor, C. L., Maguire, B., & Zubrick, S. R. (2011). Children's language development. In Australian Institute of Family Studies, The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children annual statistical report 2010 (pp. 107-122). Melbourne: AIFS.

Other publications

Growing Up in Australia Newsletter (online) No. 31, Winter 2011.

Growing Up in Australia Newsletter (online) No. 32, Spring 2011.

Growing Up in Australia Newsletter (online) No. 33, Autumn 2012.

Presentation(s)

Baxter, J., & Edwards, B. (2011, 6 July). Children living in rural and regional areas of Australia. 13th Australian Social Policy Conference, "Social Policy in a Complex World", Sydney.

Edwards, B. (2012, 20 June). Experience with data linkage and what the future holds: Informed by the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. Data Linkage and Integration Conference, Canberra.

Edwards, B. (2011, 18 July). Longitudinal research with children: The possibilities. Child Public Health Program, Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne.

Edwards, B., & Baxter, J. (2011, 16 November). A tyranny of distance or disadvantage? Children living in rural and regional Australia. Growing Up in Australia and Footprints in Time: The LSAC and LSIC Research Conference, Melbourne.

Edwards, B., Gray, M., & Taylor, M. (2011, 6 July). Unemployment and the wellbeing of children aged 5-10 years. 13th Australian Social Policy Conference, "Social Policy in a Complex World", Sydney.

Harvey, J. (2011, 6 July). Engaging adolescents and minimising attrition in longitudinal studies: Respondent panel focus groups in the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC). 17th Biennial Conference of the Australasian Human Development Association, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Hayes, A., & Edwards, B. (2011, 12 August). Families living in regional, rural and remote Australia: A tyranny of distance and disadvantage. COAG Reform Council Expert Speakers Seminar Series, Sydney.

Redmond, G., Gubhaju, B., Smart, D., & Katz, I. (2011, 16 November). Has the parental education-child outcome gradient narrowed in Australia since the 1980s? Growing Up in Australia and Footprints in Time: The LSAC and LSIC Research Conference, Melbourne.

Qu, L., & Weston, R. (2011, 16 November). Does parental social marital status matter to child well-being? Growing Up in Australia and Footprints in Time: The LSAC and LSIC Research Conference, Melbourne.

Independent Children's Lawyer Study

Project duration May 2012 to May 2013
Funding source(s) AGD
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Violence, abuse and neglect X
Family transitions and family law X
Children, young people and their families X
Related project(s) Family Law: Coordinated Family Dispute Resolution in Family Violence Cases Evaluation Study; Family Pathways: The Longitudinal Study of Separated Families; Family Pathways: Survey of Recently Separated Parents

The Independent Children's Lawyer Study will examine the role, use and effectiveness of Independent Children's Lawyers (ICLs) in the family law system. The research seeks to support the principle that the child's best interests must be the paramount consideration when making decisions in children's proceedings by examining the core question: to what extent does having an ICL involved in family law proceedings improve outcomes for the child?

The project will collect qualitative and quantitative data from key professionals (such as ICL practitioners, other legal practitioners, judicial officers, child protection practitioners and family consultants) and parents and children who have been involved in litigated matters where an ICL has been appointed. This will be supplemented by an examination of Legal Aid policy and practice in relation to ICLs.

A report on the project findings will be delivered to AGD in May 2013.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Project planning Scoping paper completed Project commenced May 2012
Scoping consultations Consultation meetings (June 2012) Consultation on research focus with a range of key stakeholders

Indigenous Justice Program Evaluation: Diversion Programs

Project duration January 2010 - December 2012
Funding source(s) AGD
Partner organisation(s) AIC
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Social inclusion X
Violence, abuse and neglect X
Children, young people and their families X
Related project(s) Closing the Gap Clearinghouse

In partnership with the Australian Institute of Criminology, AIFS is evaluating four Indigenous youth criminal justice prevention, early intervention and diversion programs from different parts of Australia. The four programs are:

  • Aggression Replacement Training (Qld) - a 10-week program designed to teach young people social skills, anger management techniques and moral reasoning to reduce their risk of committing violent offences;
  • Woorabinda Early Intervention Coordination Panel Service (Qld) - a program that works directly with young people who are at risk of becoming entrenched in a pattern of offending, and their families, to support and empower them to deal with issues as they arise;
  • Aboriginal Power Cup (SA) - a program that focuses on engaging young people in education, promotes healthy lifestyle choices and develops teamwork, leadership and life skills through a school-based curriculum that revolves around sport; and
  • Tiwi Islands Youth Diversion and Development Unit (NT) - offering a wide range of programs linked to identified community concerns and initiatives, including youth diversion and development programs, community mediation and counselling services.

The evaluation is exploring the effectiveness of the programs in diverting Indigenous youth from entering or re-entering the Australian criminal justice system. Specifically, the evaluation is considering the ways in which individual programs are operating and the degree to which they are successful in meeting their stated aims. It will also identify critical "success" factors (common to all programs) for effectively preventing/diverting Indigenous youth away from the criminal justice system.

The evaluation is being conducted over two years. Work has been undertaken in three key phases: (a) project development and design; (b) data collection; and (c) analysis and reporting.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Program logic for each program

Phase 1 progress report

Ethics applications

Field work plan

Program logic developed (Apr 2011)

Phase 1 progress report completed (Jun 2011)

Ethics clearances obtained (Jun & Jul 2011)

Field work plan finalised (Aug 2011)

Evaluation criteria confirmed, based on program logic and ethics approval

Research methodology refined

Data collected and analysed

Phase 2 progress reports 1 & 2

Administrative data requests submitted to relevant agencies

Interviews, document analysis and observations commenced for all programs (finalised for two)

Data analysis commenced and ongoing for all programs

Phase 2 progress reports submitted

Growing knowledge of whether, and on what basis, each program achieves stated aims

Enhanced evidence base for governments to consider in diverting Indigenous youth from the criminal justice system

Labour Market Issues for Families

Project duration Ongoing
Funding source(s) Appropriation
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families XX
Families and work XX
Social inclusion X
Children, young people and their families X
Related project(s) Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children; Longitudinal Study of Leaving Care; Pathways of Care: The Longitudinal Study of Children and Young People in Out-of-Home Care in New South Wales; Street Stories: The Life around Here Community Study Research Report and Documentary

This is an ongoing project that encompasses research on a range of work-family related topics. A recent focus has been that of family joblessness and child wellbeing. This work was published in 2011-12. New analysis that has been completed as part of the LSAC project extends this work to examine links between parental employment, financial wellbeing, social exclusion and children's outcomes.

Other continuing research includes an examination of issues of labour market participation of parents with children and the arrangements that are made for caring for children. New research on this topic, specifically looking at issues related to families with school-aged children, was presented at a workshop on outside-school-hours care. Through analyses of LSAC, we have also participated in a multi-country study of early maternal employment and child outcomes that was published as an OECD working paper.

Other projects with an international focus include a review of work-family policies implemented overseas that will be published as an AIFS Research Paper. Contributions to the international work-family area have also continued through involvement in the International Network on Leave Policies and Research.

Research on the intersection of work and family continues through analyses of fathering in the context of work-family and other factors. This work has led AIFS to be involved in a multi-country study of fathering and children's outcomes, coordinated by the OECD and to be published as an OECD working paper. Another contribution in this area is the analyses of work-family spillover, presented in the AIFS Families Week Facts Sheet, in recognition of the 2012 International Day of Families theme of "Ensuring Work Family Balance". This included a presentation of children's views of whether their parents worked too much.

Work also continues on the examination of adults' and children's time use, in order to better understand the ways in which family members spend their time, especially in the context of parental paid work responsibilities. (See also further details for LSAC.)

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Publications and conference papers 7 conference papers

2 book/report chapters

1 AIFS Facts Sheet

2 contributions to international papers/reports

2 journal articles

Contribution to policy development in relation to supportive workplace and family environments

Publication(s)

Alexander, M., Whitehouse, G., & Brennan, D. (2011). Australia (Country Report). London: International Network on Leave Policies and Research. Retrieved from <www.leavenetwork.org/lp_and_r_reports/country_reports>.

Baxter, J. A. (2011). An examination of the characteristics and time use of those who have unfilled spare time. International Journal of Time Use Research, 8(1), 33-64.

Baxter, J. A., Higgins, D., & Hayes, A. (2012). Families make all the difference: Helping kids to grow and learn (Facts Sheet). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Baxter, J. A., & Renda, J. (2011). Lone and couple mothers in the Australian labour market: Differences in employment transitions. Australian Journal of Labour Economics, 14(2), 103-122.

Gray, M., & Baxter, J. A. (2011). Parents and the labour market. In Australian Institute of Family Studies, The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children annual statistical report 2010. Melbourne: AIFS.

Gray, M., & Baxter, J. A. (2012). Family joblessness and child wellbeing in Australia. In A. Kalil, R. Haskins, & J. Chesters (Eds.), Investing in children: Work, education, and social policy in two rich countries. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution.

Huerta, M., Adema, W., Baxter, J., Corak, M., Deding, M., Gray, M. C., Han, W., & Waldfogel, J. (2011). Early maternal employment and child development in five OECD countries (OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers No. 118). Paris: OECD.

Presentation(s)

Baxter, J. (2011, 3 August). Fathers' involvement in young children's social and educational activities. International Association of Time Use Research Conference, Oxford.

Baxter, J. A. (2011, 16 November). Fathers' involvement in young children's social and educational activities. Growing Up in Australia and Footprints in Time: The LSAC and LSIC Research Conference, Melbourne.

Baxter, J. A. (2011, 20 October). Fathers' parenting self-efficacy: Associations with measures of fathering, and fathers' and families' characteristics. Australian Social Science Academy (ASSA) workshop, "Family, work and wellbeing over the life course", Brisbane.

Baxter, J. A. (2012). Fathers' working arrangements and experiences of work-family spillover. YMCA internal launch of a VicHealth-funded program focused on gender equity in the workplace, Fairfield, Vic.

Baxter, J. A., & Alexander, M. (2011, 6 July). Employment arrangements and the capacity of fathers with young children to co-parent effectively. 13th Australian Social Policy Conference, "Social Policy in a Complex World", Sydney.

Baxter, J. A., & Hand, K. (2012). Outside school hours care: How care provision influences mothers' employment decisions. Out of School Hours Care and Women's Labour Force Participation: Innovations in Provision and Supply, Sydney.

Gray, M., & Baxter, J. A. (2011, 6 July). Family joblessness, child wellbeing and labour market and income support policies. 13th Australian Social Policy Conference, "Social Policy in a Complex World", Sydney.

Longitudinal Study of Leaving Care

Project duration June 2012 - June 2017
Funding source(s) Victorian Department of Human Services
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Social inclusion X
Violence, abuse and neglect X
Family transitions and family law X
Children, young people and their families XX
Related project(s) Labour Market Issues for Families; Pathways of Care: The Longitudinal Study of Children and Young People in Out-of-Home Care in New South Wales

In 2011, the Victorian Government committed to enhancing services for young people transitioning from out-of-home care or who have left care, with a particular focus on improving training, education and employment outcomes. The Institute has been commissioned by the Victorian Department of Human Services to undertake this study to assess the effects of out-of-home care on young people in Victoria, with a focus on what happens post-care, and to identify where outcomes are poor, and where there are areas for improvement. The research will inform government policy in supporting more effective transitions from out-of-home care and, in particular, will aim to improve young people's move towards interdependent relationships and eventual independence by:

  • providing insights into the critical success factors associated with the transition from out-of-home care;
  • proposing ways of enhancing out-of-home care;
  • proposing improvements in the transition from care; and
  • proposing improvements post-leaving care.

The study will include four waves of data collection, including interviews with young people, their carers and other relevant individuals at three intervals over five years; file audits; and a small number of case studies. It is anticipated that data collection will commence in early 2013.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Negotiate project scope and deliverables Project scope and deliverables negotiated Initial project planning and liaison with Victorian Department of Human Services, in anticipation of development process to be undertaken in 2012-13
Contract for services with Victorian Department of Human Services Contract signed for services with Victorian Department of Human Services

A New Legal Frontier? The Role of Social Networking Services and Mobile Phone Technology in Facilitating Sexual Violence

Project duration December 2010 - June 2012
Funding source(s) Legal Services Board Grants Program, Victoria
Partner organisation(s) Centre Against Sexual Assault (CASA) House
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Violence, abuse and neglect XX
Related project(s) Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault

This partnership project explored the use of social networking services (e.g., Facebook, MySpace, chat rooms) and mobile phone technology (e.g., SMS messaging, filming, "sexting") in the facilitation of sexual violence.

The overall goal of this project was to assist in the reduction of sexual violence experienced by young people in Australia and to support the legal system's ability to legislate, investigate and prosecute sexual violence that occurs through or is aided by social networking services. It focused on the trends observed by key stakeholders (police, prosecution, sexual assault services, and education and youth policy) about the interface between technology and sexual violence.

The methodology was qualitative and involved interviews with key informants in sexual assault services, the police, the prosecution, the defence and the judiciary. The research found that while there was clarity about how to respond to serious, predatory and deliberate "technology-facilitated" sexual violence, "middle-ground" issues such as the production and distribution of sexually explicit images by young people themselves were more challenging in terms of what the nature of harm was, whether and how to best involve police, and whether a punitive justice response was in fact appropriate.

The final report will be communicated to key stakeholders, including young people, through several forums and workshops.

As at 30 June, a final draft report was provided to the funding body and a reference group meeting and roundtable have been held.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Two research roundtables 1 roundtable held Knowledge exchanged among policy-makers, service providers and researchers about the most effective strategies to reduce the incidence of sexual assault and to improve responses
Final report Draft final report provided to funding body Improved understanding about the issues surrounding technology-facilitated sexual violence and their implications for service and prevention responses

Northern Territory Emergency Response: Outcome Evaluation of "Supporting Families"

Project duration June-December 2011
Funding source(s) FaHCSIA
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Social inclusion X
Violence, abuse and neglect X
Children, young people and their families X
Related project(s) Closing the Gap Clearinghouse; Evaluation of New Income Management in the Northern Territory Project; Evaluation of the Child Protection Scheme of Income Management in Western Australia

The aim of this project was to assess outcomes relating to the improvement of the safety, health and wellbeing of children by examining the "Supporting Families" measures under the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) and the Closing the Gap in the Northern Territory National Partnership Agreement. AIFS undertook a desktop analysis of existing evaluation documents, survey materials, administrative data and other materials to provide a succinct analysis of measures that have contributed to changes in "Supporting Families" in the NTER communities. The outcome was a chapter published by FaHCSIA as part of the independent NTER evaluation synthesis report.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Desktop review of existing information and data, and secondary analysis of existing databases Desktop review and secondary analysis completed A chapter focused on "Supporting Families" measures contributed to a whole-of-government NTER evaluation
Synthesis report chapter Final of synthesis report chapter provided to funding body

Publication(s)

Scott, D., & Higgins, D., (2011). Supporting families (Chapter 7). In Northern Territory Emergency Response Evaluation Report 2011 (pp. 245-291). Canberra: Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

Past Adoption Experiences: National Research Study on Services Responses

Project duration November 2010 - June 2012
Funding source(s) FaHCSIA and the Community and Disability Services Ministers' Advisory Council
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Social inclusion X
Family transitions and family law X
Children, young people and their families X

This research project built on an earlier project, commissioned by FaHCSIA and completed in April 2010, which involved a review of existing research literature about past adoption practices (relating to the period of "closed adoption") in Australia.

On 4 June 2010, the Community and Disability Services Ministers' Conference announced that ministers had agreed to a joint national research study into past adoption experiences, to be conducted by AIFS. The aims of the project were to:

  • examine experiences of past adoption, as they relate to the current support and service needs of affected individuals;
  • consider the extent to which affected individuals have sought support and services and the types of support and services that have been sought; and
  • present information from the study that could be used in the development of best practice models or practice guidelines for the delivery of supports and services for individuals affected by their adoption experiences.

Planning and the development of the research design began in early 2011, with the establishment of technical and stakeholder advisory groups. Data collection commenced in August 2011, and more than 1,500 individuals had taken part in the study by the end of the data collection period in March 2012. The final report was submitted to FaHCSIA on 21 June 2012.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
1 progress report

1 final report

1 progress report

1 article

1 Facts Sheet

1 final report

Strong stakeholder and consumer interest in the study

High levels of participation across respondent groups, improving awareness within broader community regarding the effects of past adoption practices

Evidence produced that can assist with improving service responses to those affected by their past adoption experiences

Publication(s)

Higgins, D. (2012). Past and present adoptions in Australia (Facts Sheet). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Higgins, D. (2011). Unfit mothers … Unjust practices: Key issues from Australian research on the impact of past adoption practices. Family Matters, 87, 56-68.

Pathways of Care: The Longitudinal Study of Children and Young People in Out-of-Home Care in New South Wales

Project duration July 2010 - June 2015
Funding source(s) NSW Department of Family & Community Services
Partner organisation(s) SPRC (UNSW); Associate Professor Judith Cashmore (University of Sydney); Associate Professor Paul Delfabbro (University of Adelaide)
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Violence, abuse and neglect X
Children, young people and their families XX
Related project(s) Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children; Longitudinal Study of Leaving Care

Pathways of Care: The Longitudinal Study of Children and Young People in Out-of-Home Care, is a project being conducted by NSW Community Services. All children and young people aged 0-17 years entering out-of-home care in New South Wales for the first time by way of final Children's Court orders during a given time period are eligible for inclusion in the study. The study commenced progressive data collection in early 2011, and the first wave of data collection has continued through 2012. Data have been collected from carers and the children themselves, when of an appropriate age. Data will also be sourced from teachers and caseworkers, and from the administrative systems of Community Services and other agencies.

The Institute's role, along with its consortium partners (SPRC and Associate Professors Judith Cashmore, and Paul Delfabbro), is to provide draft survey instruments, data management services, and preparation of analytical reports.

During 2011-12, the Institute has continued to provide design advice and draft instruments for the study, and has worked with NSW Community Services and the data collection agency on progressive cleaning of data files.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
First data quality report Initial frequency analysis produced and data quality feedback provided Improvements made to later data collection as required
Questionnaires developed for Wave 2 Draft Wave 2 carer questionnaire submitted Proposed questionnaires implemented by department
Second data quality report Further frequency analysis produced and data quality feedback provided Improvements made to later data collection as required

Protective Behaviours Pilot Evaluation

Project duration January-July 2012
Funding source(s) FaHCSIA
Partner organisation(s) SPRC (UNSW); FaHCSIA
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Violence, abuse and neglect X
Children, young people and their families X

The Institute was sub-contracted by the Social Policy Research Centre to be responsible for one component of the Family Support Program Evaluation 2011-14 project: an evaluation of the All Children Being Safe (ACBS) program pilot, as implemented in the Tamworth region by Centacare New England North West.

ACBS is a primary school protective behaviours program that uses animal stories, dance, activities and craft to help students identify safe and unsafe feelings, safe people, safe and unsafe places and encourages children to talk with trusted people who will support them.

A mixed-methods approach to evaluation was used. Data were derived from a variety of stakeholders and using a number of data collection methods, including analysis of pre- and post-program questionnaires with children (collected by program implementation staff), semi-structured interviews with school principals, and focus groups with teachers, parents of children who participated in the program, and Centacare New England North West staff.

The focus of the 2011-12 financial year was the design of the evaluation methodology, the undertaking of research fieldwork in Tamworth, and the delivery of a preliminary draft of the evaluation report to SPRC and FaHCSIA. The final report is due later in 2012.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Evaluation methodology designed, in consultation with SPRC and FaHCSIA Evaluation methodology developed Methodology used to undertake the evaluation
Fieldwork conducted in Tamworth, NSW Fieldwork conducted Fieldwork completed and results incorporated into end report
Production and delivery of preliminary draft of evaluation report Preliminary draft completed Preliminary report delivered to SPRC and FaHCSIA

Research and Evaluation Collaboration: Australian Childhood Foundation

Project duration January 2012 - June 2014
Funding source(s) Australian Childhood Foundation
Partner organisation(s) Australian Childhood Foundation
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families X
Families and work X
Social inclusion X
Violence, abuse and neglect X
Family transitions and family law X
Children, young people and their families X
Related project(s) Research and Evaluation Collaboration: CatholicCare Archdiocese Melbourne, Marriage and Relationship Education Unit; Research and Evaluation Collaboration: Interrelate Family Centres

This project works with Australian Childhood Foundation (ACF) staff to design and implement an evaluation of the effects and transferability of the Bringing Up Great Kids parenting program. AIFS is required to undertake a range of tasks, including:

  • reviewing existing program aims and objectives to inform evaluation plans;
  • designing program evaluation tools and procedures; and
  • analysing client feedback and reporting the findings.

The project draws upon a range of evaluation resources developed by the CFCA information exchange website, and is a valuable partnership in linking the translation of research to practice, and practice to research.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Review of program objectives and development of Bringing Up Great Kids program logic model Program logic model finalised Model used to inform the revision and development of client feedback survey
Client feedback and facilitator reflection tools Tools completed and implemented Generation of a database of client feedback that provides a snapshot of the immediate effects of the program on participants, and information about the delivery of the program in a range of settings
Analysis of client feedback data Analysis completed for data received to date These findings will contribute to the ongoing development of the program and procedures relating to its application in a range of settings
Evaluation plan for long-term follow-up of participants and facilitators Plan in preparation It is expected that a 6-month follow-up of program participants will be undertaken to ascertain the longer term effects of the program on parents' relationships with their children

Research and Evaluation Collaboration: CatholicCare Archdiocese Melbourne, Marriage and Relationship Education Unit

Project duration June 2011 - September 2012
Funding source(s) CatholicCare Archdiocese Melbourne
Partner organisation(s) CatholicCare Archdiocese Melbourne
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families X
Families and work X
Violence, abuse and neglect X
Family transitions and family law X
Children, young people and their families X
Related project(s) Research and Evaluation Collaboration: Australian Childhood Foundation; Research and Evaluation Collaboration: Interrelate Family Centres

This project provides support to the Marriage and Relationship Education (MRE) Unit at CatholicCare Archdiocese Melbourne regarding the ongoing evaluation of their Partnerships program. From June 2011 an AIFS senior research officer with expertise in evaluation has worked with the MRE team on the development and implementation of an evaluation plan designed to gather feedback on the effects of the program on the relationships of the participating couples. AIFS undertook a range of tasks, including:

  • reviewing existing program aims and objectives to inform evaluation plans;
  • providing advice and strategies to establish the infrastructure to support ongoing evaluation activities;
  • collaborating with MRE staff on the development of evaluation instruments and protocols; and
  • applying client feedback data to practice and program development.

The project draws upon a range of evaluation resources developed by the CFCA information exchange, and is a valuable partnership in linking the translation of research to practice, and vice versa. This consultancy concludes in September 2012.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Review of program objectives and development of Partnerships program logic model Program logic model finalised Model used to inform the revision and development of client feedback survey
Client feedback tools Revised tools completed and implemented Generation of a database of client feedback that provides a snapshot of the immediate impact of the program on participants
Analysis of client feedback data Written report to MRE unit manager Integration of findings into practice and program development
Evaluation plan for long-term follow-up and ongoing assessment of client feedback Plan prepared for consideration and implementation by MRE unit manager It is hoped that the plan will provide a framework within which ongoing program evaluation and practice development can take place

Presentation(s)

Parker, R. (2011, September). Evaluating the Partnerships program. CatholicCare Marriage and Relationship Educators training workshop. Catholic Archdiocese, Melbourne.

Research and Evaluation Collaboration: Interrelate Family Centres

Project duration July 2010 - July 2014
Funding source(s) Interrelate Family Centres
Partner organisation(s) Interrelate Family Centres
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families X
Families and work X
Social inclusion X
Violence, abuse and neglect X
Family transitions and family law X
Children, young people and their families X
Related project(s) Child Family Community Australia; Research and Evaluation Collaboration: Australian Childhood Foundation; Research and Evaluation Collaboration: CatholicCare Archdiocese Melbourne, Marriage and Relationship Education Unit

This project provides support to Interrelate Family Centres regarding research and evaluation that is relevant to their family support programs and services. Since 2009-10, an AIFS senior research officer with expertise in evaluation has been seconded to Interrelate Family Centres as an internal consultant for one day per week. AIFS undertakes a range of tasks, including activities such as:

  • reviewing existing program aims and objectives to inform evaluation plans;
  • providing advice and strategies to establish a research and evaluation culture;
  • collaborating with Interrelate staff on the preparation of evaluation instruments and protocols; and
  • training and working with staff to undertake tasks related to program evaluation.

The project draws upon a range of evaluation resources developed by the CFCA information exchange, and is a valuable partnership in linking the translation of research to practice, and practice to research. This consultancy was re-funded in July 2011 to continue through to June 2014.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Being a Dad evaluation plan and instruments Client evaluation instrument Data collection using AIFS-designed feedback instrument is underway
Survey of parents with non-agreements in family dispute resolution Telephone interview schedule established Findings reported to Interrelate and published on the CFCA information exchange website
Assistance with establishment of Youth Advisory Panels Literature review Review used to inform the establishment of the Interrelate Youth Advisory Panel in 2012
Evaluation of the Aboriginal Building Connections program Program logic models and data collection tools developed Consultation and development of next stages of the project are underway

Scoping Study for National Survey of Children and Young People in Out-of-Home Care

Project duration June - December 2011
Funding source(s) Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
Partner organisation(s) SPRC (UNSW); Associate Professor Judith Cashmore (University of Sydney); Associate Professor Paul Delfabbro (University of Adelaide)
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Violence, abuse and neglect X
Children, young people and their families XX
Related project(s) Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children; Pathways of Care: The Longitudinal Study of Children and Young People in Out-of-Home Care in New South Wales

In December 2010, Community and Disability Services Ministers agreed to the National Standards for out-of-home care. A key element of monitoring progress against the National Standards is capturing the views of children and young people in out-of-home care to help drive improved practices, increase the evidence base and inform future policy development for this vulnerable population.

Ministers therefore agreed to a Commonwealth commitment to fund a survey of children and young people in out-of-home care, building on existing work in a number of jurisdictions. In order to do this, FaHCSIA commissioned a consortium of researchers led by the Institute to undertake a scoping study to investigate and provide options for the survey methodology. The scoping study involved three stages: 1) stakeholder consultations, including obtaining information from relevant survey owners on current methodologies, evaluating the information gathered, and reporting to FaHCSIA on possible options for the survey; 2) working through the options with FaHCSIA and key stakeholders; and 3) providing a final report, which was submitted in early December 2011.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Stage 1 planning and consultation Attendance at, and facilitation of, consultation meetings with state and territory representatives, and other key stakeholders Stakeholder engagement, identification of current surveys and options
Stage 1 draft report delivery Preparation and delivery of draft report outlining outcomes from consultations and initial overview of options Preliminary advice accepted and considered by Department
Stage 2 planning and consultation Hosting and facilitation of consultation workshop with key stakeholders Refinement of survey options
Stage 3 final report delivery Preparation and delivery of final report outlining outcomes from consultations and overview of options, including recommendations Advice considered by Department

Street Stories: The Life Around Here Community Study Research Report

Project duration November 2009 - February 2012
Funding source(s) Appropriation
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families XX
Families and work XX
Social inclusion XX
Violence, abuse and neglect X
Children, young people and their families X
Related project(s) Labour Market Issues for Families

In previous financial years, the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations commissioned the Institute to undertake the Street Stories project, with the aims of: developing a picture of the lives of families living in three areas identified as experiencing economic and social disadvantage; exploring how families living in these areas interact with their community; and examining the effects of where they live on their engagement with the labour market.

The project involved a research study with families living within the three areas, and a documentary with other selected families.

By adding to the understanding of factors leading to concentrations of joblessness and other forms of disadvantage, the research report and documentary produced as part of the Street Stories project will assist with the development of programs that effectively address area-based disadvantage, such as the Family-Centred Employment Project.

The research report from the project was released in February 2012 by AIFS, funded under the appropriation.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
AIFS Research Report No.19 AIFS Research Report No.19 Evidence base to assist with the development of employment programs in disadvantaged areas

Publication(s)

Hand, K., Gray, M., Higgins, D., Lohoar, S., & Deblaquiere, J. (2011). Life around here: Community, work and family life in three Australian communities (Research Report No. 19). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Stronger Families in Australia Study Extension: SFIA-II

Project duration 2011-13
Funding source(s) FaHCSIA
Partner organisation(s) SPRC (UNSW)
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families X
Families and work X
Social inclusion X
Violence, abuse and neglect XX
Children, young people and their families XX
Related project(s) Child Family Community Australia; Communities and Families Clearinghouse Australia; National Child Protection Clearinghouse

The Institute has been funded to extend the Stronger Families in Australia (SFIA) study. The original SFIA study, completed in 2008-09, was a central component of the National Evaluation of the Stronger Families and Communities Strategy, an area-based intervention aimed at improving outcomes for young children and their families living in disadvantaged communities in Australia. SFIA was designed to evaluate the Communities for Children (CfC) initiative and was conducted in partnership with the Social Policy Research Centre, University of New South Wales. It entailed a three-wave longitudinal study of 2,202 children (aged about 2 years old in 2006) and families living in 10 sites that have a CfC program (CfC sites) and five non-CfC sites that were otherwise comparable to the CfC sites. The results of this study suggested that the CfC initiative had had small but positive effects on children, families and communities - effects that may become more pronounced over time. The CfC initiative is now a major component of FaHCSIA's new Family Support Program.

The new study entails an additional two waves of telephone interviews with the original SFIA sample (the children were 7-8 years old in 2011), and two waves of telephone interviews to evaluate the effectiveness of CfC Plus. The first wave of SFIA-II was conducted in 2011, with the main fieldwork periods for the second wave to be conducted in the second half of 2012.

The CfC Plus initiative builds on the CfC approach but has a stronger focus on child protection services. It also encompasses services that primarily target adults in order to address known parental risk factors, including mental health problems, family violence, housing difficulties and substance abuse. For example, children will be supported as part of an integrated treatment plan for adults with mental illness or substance abuse histories.

Seven new sites that were selected for the CfC Plus program (CfC Plus sites) are part of this second cohort, as well as four contrast or non-CfC Plus sites, which are otherwise comparable to the CfC Plus sites. The target of 1,840 interviews was achieved in Wave 1 for this cohort, with approximately half involving 2-3 year-olds and the other half involving 7-8 year-olds, thus enabling comparisons to be made between children of the same ages in both the CfC and CfC Plus cohorts. Among the original SFIA sample/CfC cohort, 1,434 Wave 4 interviews were conducted in 2011.

The Wave 4 interim report was finalised and submitted to FaHCSIA at the beginning of June 2012, which included the longitudinal analysis of the CfC cohort's Wave 1-4 data, and also presented baseline findings for the newly established CfC Plus cohort (this report has not been publicly released). A 30-family pilot study for the second wave of SFIA-II later in 2012 was subsequently completed in June 2012.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Distribution of communication materials Finalised the content of the SFIA-II approach/pre-approach letter, a brochure and a website and distributed/made them available to participants Study sample members informed about the survey and its aims

Survey content finalised and interviews completed

Finalising survey specification Established required content for CfC cohort Wave 4 and CfC Plus cohort Wave 1 CATI (computer-assisted telephone interviewing) surveys
Interviewer training and commencement of 1st survey wave of SFIA-II Interviewers trained in survey content shortly before fieldwork commencement
Completion of interviewing and data delivery Interviews completed; data delivered to AIFS
Wave 4 interim report Submission of the Wave 4 interim report to FaHCSIA FaHCSIA informed about initial findings and progress of the project
Pilot study with CfC Plus Wave 2 survey Pilot study completed, consisting of 30 interviews

CfC Plus Wave 2 survey finalised

Preparations for CfC Plus Wave 2 survey completed

Victim-Focused Court Practice Reforms in Sexual Assault Matters

Project duration June 2012 - October 2013
Funding source(s) FaHCSIA
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Violence, abuse and neglect X
Family transitions and family law X
Related project(s) Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault

The aim of this research is to understand the organisational and institutional factors that shape how "victim-focused" justice responses and reforms to court practices are implemented and experienced. To this end, this research will explore how judicial staff understand the reforms, practices and victim/survivors' needs, and what they consider to be the facilitators and enablers of the actual uptake of reforms to practice.

The significance of the project lies in identifying the most promising victim-focused approaches and practices insofar as they enable the justice needs of victims to be met. The research will also identify areas of challenge in developing and implementing such approaches and practices. It also assesses the implications of the findings both for reform within the conventional justice system and for alternative justice responses for victims.

The project involves both secondary document analysis and fieldwork. The latter component will be primarily qualitative, as this is best suited to assessing victim-focused reforms, as there is variability in how victims experience the criminal justice process and how their justice needs are best met. Research will be conducted in several Australian jurisdictions, and sexual assault trial transcripts conducted in Victoria will be analysed in light of victims' interaction with the trial setting and how their experience is represented in the courtroom.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Scoping paper Scoping paper developed for FaHCSIA This paper provided a snapshot of the current trends and issues involved in improving court responses to sexual assault complainants. Resulting consultations with legal practitioners informed the development of the methodology.

Vulnerable and Disadvantaged Client Access Strategy Review

Project duration May - June 2012
Funding source(s) FaHCSIA
Partner organisation(s) FaHCSIA
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families X
Social inclusion X
Violence, abuse and neglect X
Children, young people and their families X
Related project(s) Child Family Community Australia

This project was an evaluation of the Vulnerable and Disadvantaged Client Access Strategy (VADCAS) documentation submitted to FaHCSIA by providers funded by the Family Support Program.

AIFS conducted a literature review to identify criteria that indicated good or innovative collaborative practice in targeting and supporting vulnerable and disadvantaged families (including Indigenous families), and existing or new practices to strengthen relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous organisations. A manual review of the provider submissions was conducted and each submission was assessed then categorised. A database was compiled to record the information from the documentation and other key criteria provided by FaHCSIA (for example, size, funding level and location of organisation).

Information from the database was used to create a report describing current and new/innovative practices to target and support vulnerable and disadvantaged families, including Indigenous families. The publication will be included on the CFCA Information Exchange for access by family support services.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Development of database of good and new/innovative practice Soft copy report in the form of an Excel database Information to be used to improve service delivery of FSP and support service providers
Good practice guide Good practice guide drafted CFCA information exchange publication distinguishing between existing practice and good or innovative practice in delivery of FSP programs by service providers
Report on VADCAS implementation and recommendations Soft copy report completed Soft copy report for internal use by FaHCSIA with recommendations on how to sustain and support providers use of good and innovative practice in FSP service delivery

Young Parents and Their Children in Australia (YPCA) Study

Project duration April-November 2012
Funding source(s) DEEWR
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families X
Families and work X
Social inclusion X
Violence, abuse and neglect X
Family transitions and family law X
Children, young people and their families X
Related project(s) Stronger Families in Australia Study Extension: SFIA-II

The Institute has been funded by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations to carry out the Young Parents and their Children in Australia (YPCA) study.

The objective of this project is to interview young teenage parents in Better Futures Local Solutions (BFLS) locations across Australia and assess whether this strategy provides benefits for themselves and their children, in comparison to teenage parents living in comparable non-BFLS sites. The BFLS aims to assist families and individuals in boosting their work skills, findings jobs and providing opportunities for their children, through measures such as the Helping Young Parents program.

This program involves young parents who are 19 years of age or under, receive Parenting Payment, live in one of 10 selected Local Government Areas around Australia, and do not have a Year 12/Certificate II equivalent qualification. The program requires these young parents to attend a Centrelink interview every six months from when their child turns six months of age until they turn six years old. The purpose of the interview and the program is to identify activities that will help young parents improve their education, and to provide information and increased access to local community support services that will assist young parents in caring for their children.

More broadly, this project also aims to capture family, social and child wellbeing information about young parents in BFLS and non-BFLS locations, which will be used to support the overarching evaluation of the Building Australia's Future Workforce (BAFW) package. In particular, the following key evaluation questions will be addressed:

  • Has BAFW changed family functioning, children's outcomes and the capacity of people to manage their day-to-day affairs?
  • Has BAFW resulted in the increased participation of children in activities that improve their wellbeing?

This study will recruit up to 600 teenage parents (aged 19 years or younger as of 1 January 2012) with a child aged 0-6 years who are in receipt of Centrelink Parenting Payments. Approximately half (i.e., 300) of these respondents will be from the 10 BFLS sites, while the other half will be from comparable non-BFLS sites. A computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) methodology will be used for the YPCA study.

A 25-person pilot study for YPCA was conducted in June 2012, with the main study scheduled to commence in early July. Following delivery of the final dataset in September, the final report will be delivered to DEEWR in late November 2012.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Contract fieldwork agency Fieldwork agency contracted The Social Research Centre contracted to carry out the study
Finalise survey specification Required content for YPCA survey established Survey objectives and content finalised
Submit ethics application Ethics application submitted Ethics application submitted and approval granted
Completion of pilot study and finalisation of survey instrument for main study 25-interview pilot study completed Survey finalised based on feedback from pilot study

Report on performance - Clearinghouse and information exchange activities

The Institute's clearinghouses and information exchange identify, gather, synthesise and publish research and resources within a specialist field. By linking research findings into policy and practice, the clearinghouses and information exchange provide evidence to support the decisions and practices of policy-makers and service providers. They also deploy a wide range of communication tools for target stakeholders - policy-makers and service providers - and media, researchers, students, peak bodies and individuals in the community.

Up until March 2012, the Institute managed four national clearinghouses:

  • Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault (ACSSA);
  • Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse (AFRC);
  • Communities and Families Clearinghouse Australia (CAFCA); and
  • National Child Protection Clearinghouse (NCPC).

During 2011-12, the Institute amalgamated the AFRC, CAFCA and NCPC to form the Child Family Community Australia (CFCA) information exchange, which commenced operation on 30 March 2012, to be launched in July 2012.

In partnership with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (the lead agency), the Institute also contributes to the Closing the Gap Clearinghouse.

Publications

The AIFS clearinghouses and information exchange produce a wide range of publications to communicate knowledge, particularly to service providers and policy-makers. Publications vary in format from substantial, in-depth research papers to short resource sheets, brief newsletters and electronic alerts.

Knowledge exchange

The clearinghouses and information exchange transfer and exchange knowledge between researchers, policy-makers and practitioners through:

  • presentations at conferences, seminars and forums;
  • representation on state-based and national advisory groups and committees;
  • media interviews;
  • information help desk service provided by experienced reference librarians from the AIFS Library or researchers;
  • electronic resources in the AIFS Library collection; and
  • print resources available via the AIFS Library interlibrary loan system to library members.

Online resources

Online media are used extensively by the AIFS clearinghouses and information exchange as effective and efficient means of disseminating knowledge and information to generalist and specialist audiences, including:

  • websites - provide access to: publications and newsletters; Promising Practice Profiles; new literature on research, policy and practice; annotated bibliographies; information on events, conferences and training; links to Australian and international organisations; and library collections;
  • electronic alerts - provide up-to-date information about sector news and events, new publications, notices about research participation, professional development opportunities, ACSSA-alert, and CFCA-alert;
  • CFCA Connect - offers a dynamic, interactive online source of the latest information in the child, family and community welfare sectors, including an online discussion forum that enables users to discuss issues with peers, comment on CFCA research content, read summaries of important research and reports and discover what's new in the field;
  • social media - the clearinghouse and information exchange Twitter and Facebook accounts provide a web-based interactive dialogue, help promote services and products, and keep stakeholders informed; and
  • bibliographic resources - accessible via the ACSSA and CFCA websites, these bibliographies describe journal articles; conference papers; books and chapters; government and research reports; discussion, working and unpublished papers; statistical documents; and theses.

Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault

Project duration Operating at AIFS since 2003
Funding source(s) FaHCSIA
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Social inclusion X
Violence, abuse and neglect XX
Related project(s) Closing the Gap Clearinghouse; A New Legal Frontier? The Role of Social Networking Services and Mobile Phone Technology in Facilitating Sexual Violence

The Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault (ACSSA) is the national centre for the collection and dissemination of current information and research on sexual assault. The aim of this information exchange is to assist service providers, policy-makers and others working in the field to improve responses to and ultimately reduce the incidence of sexual assault.

ACSSA synthesises evidence about all forms of sexual assault, with a focus on the sexual assault of women and girls over 15 years of age and adult survivors of child sexual abuse.

The main functions of the centre are to: facilitate access to national policy-relevant data; establish a comprehensive evidence base and provide information and advice on research and best practice approaches for interventions in response to sexual assault; stimulate debate among policy-makers, academics and service providers about the most effective strategies to prevent, respond to and reduce the incidence of sexual assault; and raise awareness of sexual assault and its effects on the Australian community.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Publications
2 Issues papers Issues 12 published

Issues 13 drafted

547 subscribers receive the printed versions of ACSSA Issues Papers and Wraps, which are also available online a

230,866 publication downloads (an increase of more than 55,000 from 2010-11)

Enhanced provision of evidence-informed policy and practice in the sexual assault sector
2 ACSSA Wraps Wrap 10 published

Wrap 11 drafted

2 Resource Sheets (online only) Resource Sheet 1 published

Resource Sheet 2 released

2 Research Summaries

(online only)

Research Summary 1 released

Research Summary 2 released

Promising Practice Profiles (online only) 1 new PPP added

48 PPPs available at 30 June 2012 (site is being redesigned)

45,671 PPP downloads (an increase of nearly 10,000 from 2010-11)
Research Register (online only) 40 separate profiles of current and recently completed research
4 Working With series (online only) 2 Working With issues published
Knowledge exchange
Presentations, seminars, briefings 9 presentations/briefings by ACSSA staff at conferences, seminars, meetings and forums>

3 ACSSA-facilitated seminars hosting other presenters

1 national symposium: Truth Testimony Relevance

Knowledge exchanged among policy-makers, services providers and researchers about the most effective strategies for reducing the incidence of sexual assault and improving responses
Representation 4 board, committee, reference and advisory group memberships
Information and research help desk service 124 research help desk inquiries (stable compared to 2010-11)
Library collection b 79 new relevant items added

1,098 relevant items held at 30 June 2012

Online resources
Website
<www.aifs.gov.au/acssa>
478,393 web pages downloaded (an increase of more than 50,000 pages from 2010-11) Improved access, particularly electronic access, to national policy- and practice-relevant data and resources
Electronic alerts 11 editions of ACSSA-alert distributed

1,502 subscribers at 30 June 2012 (up from 1,405 at 30 June 2011)

Bibliographies 17 bibliographies related to sexual assault

47,360 downloads (21% decrease from 2010-11)

Provision of automatically updated search bibliographies

Notes: a The ACSSA print publication mail list was refreshed in the final quarter of 2009-10 by removing duplicate records, emphasising electronic communication rather than printed copies, and using centralised distribution points within key organisations, resulting in a lower number of subscribers in 2010-11. b Items include books, reports, articles, conference papers and audiovisual material.

Publication(s)

ACSSA Issues

Daly, K. (2011). Conventional and innovative responses to sexual assault (ACSSA Issues No. 12). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

ACSSA Resource Sheets

Fileborn, B. (2012). Sexual violence and gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans and intersex (GLBTI) communities (Resource Sheet No. 1). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Wall, L. (2012). Asking about intimate partner sexual violence (Resource Sheet No. 2). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

ACSSA Research Summaries

Tarczon, C. (2012). Mothers with a history of child sexual abuse: Key issues for child protection practice and policy (ACSSA Research Summary No. 2). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Wall, L. (2012). The many facets of shame in intimate partner sexual violence (ACSSA Research Summary No. 1). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

ACSSA Working With Series

Stathopoulos, M. (2012) Working with sexual assault investigations (Sexual Offences Child Abuse Investigation Team) (ACSSA Working With Series). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Tarczon, C. (2012). Working with sibling sexual abuse (Gatehouse Centre) (ACSSA Working With Series). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

ACSSA Wrap

Clark, H., & Fileborn, B. (2011). Responding to women's experiences of sexual assault in institutional and care settings (ACSSA Wrap 10). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Other publications

Fileborn, B. (2012). Reporting on sexual assault: Media backgrounder. Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Presentation(s)

Bluett-Boyd, N., & Moore, S. (2012, 15 June). A new legal frontier? Social media technologies in the facilitation of sexual violence. 5th National Centre Against Bullying Conference, Allanah and Madeline Foundation, Melbourne.

Bluett-Boyd, N., Moore, S., & Quadara, A. (2011, 20 September). A new legal frontier? Essential Foundations Workshop, "Engaging in Cyber Space: Statewide Sexual Assault Workforce Development", Melbourne.

Quadara, A. (2011, 24 November). Insights into sexual assault perpetration: Giving voice to victim/survivors' knowledge. Australia New Zealand Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers Symposium, "Issues from the Frontline of Sexual Assault", Melbourne.

Quadara, A. (2012, 15 May). Planned and opportunistic offending: The continuum of sexual offending. Symposium on "Truth, Testimony, Relevance: Improving the Quality of Evidence in Sexual Offence Cases", Australian Institute of Criminology, Australian Institute of Family Studies and Victoria Police, Melbourne.

Quadara, A. (2012, 7 March). Victim-centred crisis care: Tensions, challenges possibilities. National Forum on Forensic Evidence in Sexual Assault, "What Price Prosecution? Developments and Challenges in Determining Appropriate Forensic Tools in the Prosecution of Adult Sexual Assault", Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault, Sydney.

Quadara, A., & Fileborn, B. (2012, 7 March). What do we know about the effectiveness of FME in sexual assault prosecution? National Forum on Forensic Evidence in Sexual Assault, "What Price Prosecution? Developments and Challenges in Determining Appropriate Forensic Tools in the Prosecution of Adult Sexual Assault", Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault, Sydney.

Quadara, A., Blay, D., & Imbesi, R. (2011, 17 November). Preventing sexual assault: The question of gender. AIFS Seminar Series, Melbourne.

Quadara, A., Tidmarsh, P., & Taylor, G. (2011, 24 November). The "whole story" and insights into sexual assault and sexual abuse perpetration. Australia New Zealand Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers Symposium, "Issues From the Frontline of Sexual Assault", Melbourne.

Stathopoulos, M. (2011, 28 July). ACSSA work activities. Fiji Women's Crisis Centre Professional Networking Seminar, Melbourne.

Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse

Project duration July 2006-30 March 2012
Funding source(s) FaHCSIA
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families X
Families and work X
Social inclusion X
Violence, abuse and neglect X
Family transitions and family law X
Children, young people and their families XX
Related project(s) Child Family Community Australia; Closing the Gap Clearinghouse; Communities and Families Clearinghouse Australia; National Child Protection Clearinghouse; Research and Evaluation Collaboration: Australian Childhood Foundation; Research and Evaluation Collaboration: CatholicCare Archdiocese Melbourne, Marriage and Relationship Education Unit; Research and Evaluation Collaboration: Interrelate Family Centres

The Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse (AFRC) aimed to improve the wellbeing of families and children by supporting practitioners, service providers and policy-makers in the development and delivery of family relationship programs and services. The AFRC had a particular focus on prevention and early intervention responses to family relationship issues.

Guided by an external reference group, the clearinghouse contributed to the goals of the Australian Government's Family Support Program by collecting and disseminating the latest relevant research and practice via publications and a website. The clearinghouse also functioned as a resource and point of contact for providers of family relationship and support services. Policy-makers and members of the research and broader communities benefited from access to the latest developments in practice- and policy-related research through the AFRC website and publications.

From 30 March 2012, the AFRC merged with CAFCA and the NCPC to form the new CFCA information exchange.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Publications
Briefing 1 AFRC Briefing (Parts A and B) published 1 publication available online

152,212 publication downloads up to 30 March 2012

Enhanced evidence-informed policy and improved practice in the family support sector
Newsletter 1 edition of Family Relationships Quarterly published
Knowledge exchange
Information help desk 30 research help desk inquiries up to 30 March 2012 Enhanced networking and information exchange relating to family relationships within and across sectors
Library collection and scheme AFRC stakeholders had access to the AIFS library collection
Online resources
Website
<www.aifs.gov.au/afrc>
More than 394,790 web page downloads up to 30 March 2012 Continuing capacity to improve access to up-to-date and relevant information for service providers, practitioners, policy-makers and other stakeholders
Electronic alerts 8 issues of AFRC-alert and other e-news alerts distributed

1,383 subscribers at 30 March 2012

Bibliographies 83 bibliographies related to families and relationships available at 30 March 2012

109,457 bibliographies downloaded up to 30 March 2012

Publication(s)

Family Relationships Quarterly No. 19 (August 2011). Articles include: screening and risk assessment for family violence: a response, overview of issues related to past adoption practices, qualitative study with incarcerated mothers and their adolescent children, update on trends in couple dissolution, examination of the links between parenting efficacy and a range of factors, outline of a successful project that embedded an evaluation consultancy into Berry Street.

McDonald, M., & Rosier, K. (2011). Interagency collaboration: Does collaboration benefit children and families? Exploring the evidence (AFRC Briefing No. 21, Part B). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

McDonald, M., & Rosier, K. (2011). Interagency collaboration: What is it, what does it look like, when is it needed and what supports it? (AFRC Briefing No. 21, Part A). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Child Family Community Australia

Project duration 1 July 2011-30 June 2014
Funding source(s) FaHCSIA
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families X
Families and work X
Social inclusion X
Violence, abuse and neglect XX
Family transitions and family law X
Children, young people and their families XX
Related project(s) Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault; Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse; Closing the Gap Clearinghouse; Communities and Families Clearinghouse Australia; National Child Protection Clearinghouse

Child Family Community Australia (CFCA) information exchange is a primary source of quality, evidence-based information, research and resources for policy-makers, practitioners and other professionals in the child, family and community welfare sectors. The CFCA information exchange is a product of the amalgamation of three previous AIFS clearinghouses:

  • National Child Protection Clearinghouse;
  • Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse; and
  • Communities and Families Clearinghouse Australia.

The new information exchange was developed in the first nine months of the 2011-12 financial year, and the new website, incorporating material from the three previous sites, went live on 30 March 2012. The former clearinghouses were maintained as the amalgamation process was undertaken, until 1 January, when publications went into hiatus in order to facilitate the redevelopment work and in preparation for the new website going live 30 March.

Consultations with stakeholders were undertaken in the first phase of the development of the CFCA information exchange, the outcomes of which were taken into consideration in defining core business and products. An external advisory group was re-established to guide the activities undertaken by the information exchange and ensure relevance for the family support and protecting children sectors. Significant work was undertaken on the website, including the migration or archiving of publications and resources.

A review of publications was undertaken and templates were redesigned for the purpose of publishing CFCA-branded papers. The first five CFCA information exchange publications were released in the April-June quarter (see details below).

A number of services and products offered by the clearinghouses were refreshed to offer a more contemporary approach to information exchange, including the increased use of digital communication tools. An example of this is the establishment of CFCA Connect, a dynamic, interactive source of the latest information in the child, family and community welfare sectors. At CFCA Connect, users can engage in discussions with peers, comment on content, find short articles on current issues, read summaries of important research and reports, and discover what's new in the field.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Clearinghouse redevelopment
Sector consultation undertaken Online survey undertaken, results collated and considered in development of new website and products Sectors informed of, and have input into, clearinghouse redevelopment
External advisory group established Existing clearinghouse reference groups disbanded. First meeting of new advisory group hosted in November 2011, with follow-up teleconference in March 2012 Knowledge exchange activities guided by sector experts
New knowledge exchange website developed, and recoding of existing clearinghouse content undertaken New website went live on 30 March 2012. All previous clearinghouse publications and resources recoded, and transfer to new website completed New website developed and published on 30 March 2012

New information exchange to be launched at AIFS conference in July 2012

Publications
Publications released 5 new publications

9 updated publications

More than 33,270 publications downloaded from 31 March to 30 June 2012 Increased access to an evidence base to inform policy and practice in sectors that protect children, support families and strengthen communities
Development of new publications 9 new publications in development
Online resources
Website
<www. aifs.gov.au/cfca>
More than 456,300 web pages downloaded from 31 March to 30 June 2012 Enhanced access to information and resources that helps to inform the work of the sectors who support families, protect children and strengthen communities in Australia
Electronic alerts 8 editions of CFCA-alert (fortnightly distribution)

1,513 e-alert subscribers and 268 Twitter followers as at 30 June 2012

Facebook 98 "likes" as at 30 June 2012
Bibliographies 156 bibliographies related to children, families and communities available at 30 June 2012

More than 40,100 bibliography downloads from 31 March to 30 June 2012

Knowledge exchange
CFCA Connect (short online articles) 29 short online articles produced up to 30 June 2012

46 comments received

Knowledge exchanged among policy-makers, services providers and researchers on latest developments in supporting families, protecting children and strengthening communities in Australia
Presentations 10 presentations (including 4 presentations prior to 30 March 2012)
Information help desk 282 help desk enquiries up to 30 June 2012

Publication(s)

Hunter, C. (2012). Is resilience still a useful concept? (CFCA Paper No. 2). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Lodge, J. (2012). Parental separation from adolescents' perspective: What do they say? (CFCA Paper No. 5). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Nair, L. (2012). Safe and supportive families and communities for children: A synopsis and critique of Australian research (CFCA Paper No. 1). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Price-Robertson, R., & Knight, K. (2012). Natural disasters and community resilience: A framework for support (CFCA Paper No. 3). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Robinson, E. (2012). Parental involvement in preventing and responding to cyberbullying (CFCA Paper No. 4). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Robinson, E., Power, L., & Allan, D. (2011). What works with adolescents? Family connections and involvement in interventions for adolescents problem behaviours. Family Matters, 88, 57-64.

Updated publications

The following publications were updated June 2012 and listed on the Child Family Community Australia (CFCA) information exchange Facts and Figures: Protecting children webpage, at <www.aifs.gov.au/cfca/facts/protectingchildren.html>.

Age of consent laws

Child abuse and neglect statistics

Child deaths from abuse and neglect

Child protection and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children

Children in care

Mandatory reporting of child abuse and neglect

Pre-employment screening: Working with children checks and police checks

The economic costs of child abuse and neglect

What is child abuse and neglect?

CFCA Connect (short online articles)

Adolescent violence in the home (May, 2012)

Age of consent laws (June, 2012)

Child abuse and neglect statistics (June, 2012)

Child protection and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children (June, 2012)

Childhood injury and prevention (April, 2012)

Collaborative relationships (May, 2012)

The economics of interethnic marriages (April, 2012)

An educaring approach to healing generational trauma in Aboriginal Australia (April, 2012)

Family support service takes a SHINE to mental health (April, 2012)

Is resilience still a useful concept when working with children and young people? (April, 2012)

It's National Families Week! Let us know how you'll be celebrating! (May, 2012)

Life around here: Community, work and family in three Australian communities (March, 2012)

Mandatory reporting of child abuse and neglect (June, 2012)

National Disability Insurance Scheme (June, 2012)

Natural disasters and community resilience: A framework for support (May, 2012)

Parental involvement in preventing and responding to cyberbullying (June, 2012)

Parental separation from an adolescent perspective: What do they say? (June, 2012)

Pre-employment screening: Working with children checks and police checks (June, 2012)

Safe and supportive families and communities for children: A synopsis and critique of Australian research (March, 2012)

Seeking asylum in Australia: Mental health and human rights of children and families (April, 2012)

Six resolutions to combat bullying (June, 2012)

Social and emotional outcomes of Australian children from Indigenous and CALD backgrounds (June, 2012)

Social and emotional wellbeing: Development of a children's headline indicator (April, 2012)

Social media and relationships (May, 2012)

A sporting chance to improve education outcomes for Indigenous students (May, 2012)

Victoria's Vulnerable Children Report (June, 2012)

Welcome to CFCA Connect! (March, 2012)

What is child abuse and neglect? (June, 2012)

When domestic and family violence enters the workplace (March, 2012)

Presentation(s)

Price-Robertson, R. (2011, 9 November). How does interagency collaboration benefit children and families? Exploring the evidence. 4th Family Relationship Services Australia (FRSA) National Conference, Gold Coast, Qld.

Price-Robertson, R. (2012, 24 May). How does interagency collaboration benefit children and families? Exploring the evidence. Outer South Peninsula Integrated Family Violence Partnership, Frankston, Vic.

Price-Robertson, R. (2012, 26 March). Alcohol misuse and child maltreatment. Department of Human Services, Dandenong, Vic.

Robinson, E. (2011, 7 September). Engaging young people and their families. Berry Street Practice Forum, Eaglemont, Vic.

Robinson, E. (2012, 21 March). Adolescents, family relationships and the digital age. Family Law Pathways Network conference, Albury, NSW.

Robinson, E. (2012, 28 March). CFCA information exchange overview. FaHCSIA Social Policy Conference, Canberra, ACT.

Robinson, E., & Carr-Gregg, M. (2012, 16 June). Parental involvement in preventing and responding to cyberbullying. National Centre Against Bullying conference 2012, Melbourne, Vic.

Scott, D. (2012, 5 June). Improving the measurement and surveillance of child maltreatment in emergency departments. AIFS Seminar Series, Melbourne.

Scott, D. (2012, 3 April). Moving from NCPC to Child Family Community Australia: What it means for you. Disability, Child, Youth and Family Services, Human Services Tasmania, Hobart.

Scott, D. (2012, April). Similarities of unintentional and intentional injury and discussion of use of CFCA for access to resources on child protection. Queensland Injury Prevention Council, Qld Health (via teleconference).

Closing the Gap Clearinghouse

Project duration July 2009 - June 2014
Funding source(s) All Australian governments (via AIHW)
Partner organisation(s) AIHW (lead agency)
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families X
Families and work X
Social inclusion XX
Violence, abuse and neglect X
Family transitions and family law X
Children, young people and their families X
Related project(s) Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault; Child Family Community Australia; Evaluation of New Income Management in the Northern Territory Project; Evaluation of the Child Protection Scheme of Income Management in Western Australia; Indigenous Justice Program Evaluation: Diversion Programs; Northern Territory Emergency Response: Outcome Evaluation of "Supporting Families"

The Closing the Gap Clearinghouse is delivered through a collaboration between AIFS and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the lead agency. The aim of the clearinghouse is to support policy-makers and service providers by delivering a central online source of evidence-based resources on programs, strategies and activities that work to overcome disadvantage for Indigenous Australians. The principal stakeholders are Commonwealth, State and Territory departments with responsibility for implementing actions under the Closing the Gap agenda. Clearinghouse resources are also helpful to Indigenous communities, academic researchers, other research clearinghouses and the general public.

The Closing the Gap Clearinghouse provides a website hosted by the AIHW (with content contributed by AIFS), an electronic newsletter, online collections of research, literature and other information resources, and an online register for research and evaluations in progress or completed (within the last three years). In addition, the clearinghouse publishes Resource Sheets, Issues Papers and the annual Key Learnings and Gaps in the Evidence Paper.

The clearinghouse also undertakes outreach and networking and provides advice, the responsibility for which is shared between the AIHW and AIFS.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Publications
Publishing on a range of priority topics to support evidence-informed policy and practice 1 Issues Paper published

9 Resource Sheets published, 6 drafted, 2 under development

1 Key Learnings and Gaps in the Evidence Paper

Resources provided to policy-makers and service providers to support the design and delivery of programs/activities that work to overcome disadvantage for Indigenous Australians
Knowledge exchange
Visits with priority government stakeholders 7 presentations to a range of government agencies including the Working Group for Indigenous Reform, South Australian Department of Premier and Cabinet, the Victorian Aboriginal Health Promotion and Chronic Care partnership and the Australian Human Rights Commission Awareness raising of the clearinghouse as a central source for policy decisions and encouraging use of the research register
Preparation of promotional material PowerPoint presentation revised to explore year three achievements Facilitating information transfer to key stakeholders
Outreach, networking and specialist advice 2 conference presentations

3 presentations to interested research organisations/groups

4 events attended to distribute/display promotional materials

709 help desk inquiries (492 relate to attending the seminars and issues paper workshops)

Expanding networks and outreach
Online resources
Website
<www.aihw.gov.au/closingthegap>
Website hosted by AIHW

43 links to other relevant sites

65,130 web visits in 2011-12

Delivery of a central online source of research and information on overcoming disadvantage for Indigenous Australians
Electronic alerts 5 issues of Closing the Gap e-News distributed

3,464 subscribers at 30 June 2012

Keeping stakeholders informed about new research and resources on overcoming disadvantage for Indigenous Australians
Identification of research for the clearinghouse's general collection of resources More than 4,952 items identified Providing stakeholders with background information relating to the COAG building blocks
Compilation of shortlists of research to be assessed by subject matter experts for assessed collection of resources 602 items in collection

Clearinghouse authors identified 51 additions to the collection in 2011-12. More are expected as authors finalise outstanding publications

Providing information about research evidence to guide/inform decisions related to policy-making and service delivery
Identification of in-progress and recently completed research relevant to the COAG building blocks 706 entries

67 new additions in 2011-12

Promoting awareness of current/recent research activities and facilitates collaboration

Communities and Families Clearinghouse Australia

Project duration Operating at AIFS from July 2005 to 30 March 2012
Funding source(s) FaHCSIA
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Social inclusion X
Violence, abuse and neglect X
Children, young people and their families XX
Related project(s) Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse; Closing the Gap Clearinghouse; National Child Protection Clearinghouse; Stronger Families in Australia Study Extension: SFIA-II

The Communities and Families Clearinghouse Australia (CAFCA) was funded by FaHCSIA to act as an information advisory unit focused on children and families living in disadvantaged communities. The primary aim of CAFCA was to facilitate the use of research among Australian policy-makers and practitioners whose work relates to children (0-12 years) and families in disadvantaged communities. The clearinghouse collected, produced and distributed information and resources about this topic.

From 30 March 2012, CAFCA merged with the AFRC and NCPC to form the new CFCA information exchange.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Publications
Practice Sheets 2 CAFCA Practice Sheets 97,398 publication downloads up to 30 March 2012 Enhanced evidence-informed policies and practices in the sectors that deliver services to children and families, especially in disadvantaged communities
Resource Sheets 2 CAFCA Resource Sheets
Practice Profiles 62 Practice Profiles available as at 30 March 2012 58,028 Practice Profile downloads up to 30 March 2012
Knowledge exchange
Information help desk 4 research help desk inquiries Knowledge exchanged among policy-makers and services providers to improve the services for children and families, especially in disadvantaged communities
Library collection and scheme CAFCA stakeholders have access to the AIFS library collection and Library Membership Scheme
Online resources
Website
<www.aifs.gov.au/cafca>
More than 186,200 web pages downloaded up to 30 March 2012 Improved planning and delivery of services to children and families through access by policy-makers and practitioners to up-to-date information and evidence
Electronic alerts 8 editions of CAFCA-alert distributed

650 subscribers as at 30 March 2012

Bibliographies 23 bibliographies related to children and families in disadvantaged communities as at 30 March 2012

26,231 bibliographies downloaded up to 30 March 2012

Publication(s)

McDonald, M. (2011). Demonstrating community-wide outcomes: Exploring the issues for child and family services (CAFCA Practice Sheet). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

McDonald, M., & Rosier, K. (2011). Promoting positive education and care transitions for children (CAFCA Resource Sheet). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Rosier, K. (2011). Food insecurity in Australia: What is it, who experiences it and how can child and family services support families experiencing it? (CAFCA Practice Sheet). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Rosier, K., & McDonald. (2011). The relationship between transport and disadvantage in Australia (CAFCA Resource Sheet). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

National Child Protection Clearinghouse

Project duration Operating at AIFS since 1995 until 30 March 2012
Funding source(s) FaHCSIA
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Social inclusion X
Violence, abuse and neglect XX
Children, young people and their families X
Related project(s) Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse; Closing the Gap Clearinghouse; Communities and Families Clearinghouse Australia; Evaluation of the Child Protection Scheme of Income Management in Western Australia; Stronger Families in Australia Study Extension: SFIA-II

The National Child Protection Clearinghouse (NCPC) was a research and information advisory unit focused on child abuse prevention, child protection and out-of-home care. The clearinghouse aimed to resource and support the child and family welfare sector to make evidence-informed policy and practice decisions. It collected, produced and distributed information and resources, conducted research, and offered specialist advice on the latest developments in child abuse prevention, child protection and out-of-home care. The clearinghouse received regular requests for information from policy-makers within the Australian and state and territory governments, a strong indication of its significance within the field.

The clearinghouse was funded by FaHCSIA, as part of the Australian Government's response to the problem of child abuse and neglect.

From 30 March 2012, the NCPC merged with the AFRC and CAFCA to form the new CFCA information exchange.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Publications
Issues papers 1 Issues paper 636,102 publication downloads up to 30 March 2012 Enhanced evidence-informed policy and practice in the child abuse prevention, child protection and out-of-home care sectors
Resource Sheets 1 new Resource Sheet

4 updated Resource Sheets

Practice Briefs 1 updated Practice Brief
Knowledge exchange
Information help desk 110 research help desk inquiries Knowledge exchange among policy-makers, services providers and researchers on latest developments in child abuse prevention and protecting children
Library collection a 7,115 relevant items held as at 30 March 2012 Latest research and practice readily available to researchers, policy-makers and practitioners
Library membership 229 NCPC library members as at 30 March 2012
Online resources
Website
<www.aifs.gov.au/nch>
More than 832,500 web pages downloaded up to 30 March 2012 Enhanced access to major resources for child protection information in Australia
Electronic alerts 8 editions of NCPC-alert distributed

3,234 subscribers as at 30 March 2012

Bibliographies 29 bibliographies related to child protection as at 30 March 2012

43,107 downloads up to 30 March 2012

Note: a Items include books, reports, articles, conference papers and audiovisual material.

Publication(s)

Higgins, D. (2011). Protecting children: Evolving systems. Family Matters, 89, 5-10.

Meredith, V., & Price-Robertson, R. (2011). Alcohol misuse and child maltreatment (NCPC Resource Sheet). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

McLean, S., Price-Robertson, R., & Robinson, E. (2011). Therapeutic residential care in Australia: Taking stock and looking forward (NCPC Issues Paper No. 35). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Hunter, C. (2011). Responding to children and young people's disclosures of abuse (NCPC Practice Brief [update]). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Hunter, C. (2011). Defining the public health model for the child welfare services context (NCPC Resource Sheet [update]). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Lamont, A., & Holzer, P. (2011). Children's commissioners and guardians (NCPC Resource Sheet [update]). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Rosier, K. (2011). Reporting abuse and neglect: State and territory departments responsible for protecting children (NCPC Resource Sheet [update]). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Lohoar, S. (2011). Online safety (NCPC Resource Sheet [update]). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Report on performance - Communications activities

Overview

A key role for the Institute is to communicate research about issues affecting families in Australia. To do so, the Institute disseminates a wide range of research information and undertakes knowledge exchange activities through research; submissions and advisory services to government; production of publications; communications services; information collection and library services; conferences, seminars and presentations; representation on editorial and advisory boards; and consultation activities.

During the reporting period, the Australian Public Service Commission made revisions to the Commission's guidance on making public comment and participating online. The Institute's guidelines are consistent with these provisions.

Following the introduction of the Freedom of Information Amendment (Reform) Act 2010, the Institute has also begun implementing the Creative Commons licensing system. As part of our priority for disseminating research, AIFS material is progressively being made available under Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) arrangements, which makes its public sector information available for free distribution, use and reuse (see <creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/au>).

Publications

In addition to the wide range of publications produced in the course of its research activities, the Institute also publishes its research journal, Family Matters, the Research Paper and Research Report series and other publications. Table 3.4 shows that, overall, the distribution of AIFS publications increased substantially in 2011-12 over previous years.

Table 3.4 Publication distribution, 2009-10 to 2011-12
  2009-10 2010-11 a 2011-12 a Change from previous year
Total publications distributed in print 53,664 18,436 4,822 -74%
Total publication downloads across all AIFS websites 1,685,727 2,212,249 2,707,082 +22%
Total publications distributed 1,739,391 2,230,685 2,711,904 +22%

Note: a The significant reduction in numbers of print publications distributed in 2010-11 and 2011-12 reflects the Institute's ongoing process of moving more towards online distribution.

Family Matters journal

Family Matters is one of the Institute's main research dissemination vehicles, with its primary purpose being to keep local and international readers informed about Institute research and activities, and about a broad range of family-related research from other Australian and overseas authors.

Family Matters provides a diverse range of perspectives and analyses of family research and policies. In addition to research articles on family-related topics, regular columns include the Director's Report, information and discussion of new developments in family law, reports of Institute seminars, information about Institute programs and activities and notes on new books.

Three editions of Family Matters were prepared and/or published in 2011-12.

  • Family Matters, No. 88, 2011 - "Family resources, roles and responsibilities" - focused on a range of issues related to family roles and responsibilities. Topics covered include: intergenerational bequests; fathering in Australia; family violence; the effect of pregnancy and newborns on the household budget; grandparenting and the 2006 family law reforms; shared care time; and family involvement in interventions for adolescent problem behaviours.
  • Family Matters, No. 89, 2011 - "Protecting children: Evolving systems" - featured articles on child protection, including discussion of the National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children; law reforms relating to child protection; links between child protection and adolescent offending; neurobiological effects of childhood maltreatment; childhood trauma and psychosis; preparing young people for the transition from out-of-home care; and coordinated family support services.
  • Family Matters, No. 90, 2012 - "Life events" - focuses on life events and their effects on families. Topics include analyses of the prevalence of life events and the factors that make their experience more or less difficult; the effects of returning to work following maternity leave; factors that impede or facilitate the successful transition of children to school; the effects of parental separation on grandparents; and how the difficulties of life-threatening illnesses and subsequent bereavement are moderated by family functioning factors. This issue was prepared during 2011-12 for publication in the second half of 2012.

Printed copies of Family Matters are available by subscription and also distributed at no cost to an extensive list of members of parliament, key policy-makers, and the media. All issues are also available online as free downloads, in three formats, under a Creative Commons Attribution licence.

Family Matters continues to draw considerable media attention, with significant follow-up radio and press interviews and articles.

Research papers and reports

The Research Paper series is an important means by which Institute research findings and methodologies are made public. The series disseminates Institute research to policy-makers, practitioners and researchers, with the aim of encouraging dialogue with research and policy communities. In 2011-12, two Research Papers were published:

  • Hunter, B., & Biddle, N. (2011). Migration, labour demand, housing markets and the drought in regional Australia: A report to the Australian Institute of Family Studies (Research Paper No. 49). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
  • Misson, S., Sanson, A., Berthelsen, D., Rogers, H., Rothman, S., Sipthorp, M., Wake, M., & The LSAC Research Consortium. (2011). Tracking children's development over time: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children Outcome Indices, Waves 2 and 3 (Research Paper No. 50). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

The Research Report series comprises more substantial works that report on research findings of a major project. In 2011-12, one Research Report was published:

  • Hand, K., Gray, M., Higgins, D., Lohoar, S., & Deblaquiere, J. (2011). Life around here: Community, work and family life in three Australian communities (Research Report No. 19). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
Other publications

In addition to Family Matters, reports resulting from commissioned research, and articles and chapters published in external journals and books, Institute staff also produce occasional publications aimed at a broader audience that distil major research findings on topical issues. To this end, two Facts Sheets were published in 2011-12:

  • Higgins, D. (2012). Past and present adoptions in Australia (Facts Sheet). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies. This publication provided a summary of the ways in which adoption currently operates, past adoption practices, and the potential effects that adoption has on those involved.
  • Baxter, J., Higgins, D., & Hayes, A. (2012). Families make all the difference: Helping kids to grow and learn (Facts Sheet). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies. This was published in conjunction with Families Week 2012. It looked at the ways in which families nurture and support children's physical, learning and social emotional development.

A complete listing of Institute publications is available on the AIFS website: <www.aifs.gov.au>.

Submissions to inquiries and reviews

As there were no relevant government inquiries relating to family wellbeing, the Institute did not prepare submissions to government inquiries during the reporting period.

Online communications

Websites

AIFS designs and hosts an external website <www.aifs.gov.au> and a number of sub-sites for:

  • the Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault (ACSSA);
  • the Child Family Community Australia (CFCA) information exchange; and
  • the longitudinal research projects (LSAC and ATP).

Prior to 30 March 2012, separate sub-sites were maintained for the National Child Protection Clearinghouse (NCPC), Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse (AFRC) and Communities and Families Clearinghouse Australia (CAFCA). These have now all been amalgamated into the one sub-site of the CFCA information exchange.

The total number of web pages downloaded across the AIFS website (including sub-sites) in the 2011-12 financial year was 4,366,075 (Table 3.5). This was a significant 11% increase from the previous financial year.

Table 3.5 Website page downloads, all AIFS websites and sub-sites, 2009-10 to 2011-12
2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 Change from previous year
3,759,485 3,922,377 4,366,075 +11%
Electronic alerts

AIFS email alerts, e-newsletters and discussion groups keep stakeholders up-to-date with the work and activities of the Institute and each other. The number of email list subscribers decreased by 35% in 2011-12 compared to the previous year (Table 3.6). However, this can largely be attributed to the closure of the AFRC, NCPC and CAFCA email alert services, and their replacement by the single CFCA-alert. When taking the closure of the AFRC, NCPC and CAFCA alerts into account, the number of subscribers actually increased by 27%.

Table 3.6 Subscribers to email lists, 2008-09 to 2011-12
List name June 2010 June 2011 June 2012 Change from previous year
AIFS-alert for AIFS research highlights 2,106 2,729 2,699 a -1%
All AIFS alerts and lists: AIFS-alert, ACSSA-alert, CFCA-alert, growingup-refgroup 6,085 10,844 7,063 b -35%

Note: a The drop in subscribers to the AIFS-alert service in 2011-12 was mainly due to the removal of incorrect email addresses from the list. b The decrease in subscriptions to the other email alerts can largely be attributed to the closure of the AFRC, NCPC and CAFCA alerts, and their replacement by the CFCA-alert. At the time of closure, the AFRC, NCPC and CAFCA had 5,267 combined subscribers.

External representation

AIFS staff serve on editorial boards, act as external reviewers for academic journals, and are members of steering committees, advisory committees and expert panels.

AIFS staff sat on the editorial boards of the following journals in 2011-12:

  • Australian Journal of Family Law
  • Child Maltreatment: Journal of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children
  • Developing Practice: The Child Youth and Family Work Journal
  • Family Science
  • Gay and Lesbian Issues and Psychology Review
  • Journal of Religion & Abuse: Advocacy, Pastoral Care and Prevention
  • Journal of Sexual and Relationship Therapy
  • Threshold: A Magazine About Marriage Education

In addition to providing editorial advice and services to the journals outlined above, AIFS staff acted as referees for the following publications in 2011-12:

  • Australian Journal of Social Issues
  • Australian Research Council Grants Scheme
  • Child and Family Law Quarterly
  • Child Abuse and Neglect: The International Journal
  • Developing Practice
  • Families, Relationships and Societies
  • Family Matters
  • Injury Prevention
  • Journal of Family Studies
  • Journal of Industrial Relations
  • Journal of Population Research
  • Journal of Southeast Asian Studies
  • Youth Studies Australia

Institute researchers provide professional advice through their membership of external groups and forums:

  • American Psychological Society
  • APS200 Leadership Forum, PM&C and the Australian Public Service Commission
  • ARACY (Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth)
  • ARACY Early Childhood Development Research Reference Group
  • ARACY Research Network, New Investigators Network, Advisory Group
  • Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand
  • Australasian Human Development Association Trust
  • Australasian Statutory Child Protection Teaching and Learning Forum
  • Australian Consortium for Social and Political Research (ACSPRI)
  • Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse Reference Group, University of New South Wales
  • Australian Population Association
  • Australian Psychological Society
  • Australian Social Policy Association
  • Brotherhood of St Laurence's Life Chances Study, Advisory Group
  • Building a Civil Justice Evidence Base, Reference Group (2011)
  • Bullying Roundtable, May 2012
  • Centre for Children and Young People, Southern Cross University, Advisory Board
  • Centre for Community Child Health, Platforms Advisory Group, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne
  • Chief Justice's Family Law Forum
  • Child Dispute Services Expert Reference Panel in the Family Court of Australia
  • Children and Families Research Centre Advisory Board, Macquarie University
  • Children and Youth Statistics Advisory Group, Australian Bureau of Statistics
  • Civil Justice Evidence Base Working Group (2012)
  • Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999 and Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency, Implementation Advisory Group
  • Family Law Council, AGD
  • Family Law System Reference Group, AGD
  • General Social Survey Reference Group, Australian Bureau of Statistics
  • Greater Dandenong Communities for Children (Mission Australia) Advisory Panel
  • Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY), National Evaluation Advisory Group, DEEWR
  • Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia, External Reference Group
  • International Network on Leave Policies and Research
  • Law Council of Australia, National Advisory Board of the Family Law Section
  • Longitudinal Studies Advisory Group, FaHCSIA
  • Marriage and Relationship Educators' Association of Australia, National Executive
  • National Families Week (May 2012) Ambassador (Families Australia)
  • National Council on Family Relations (USA)
  • National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children, Performance and Data Working Group Advisory Committee
  • Pathways of Care: Longitudinal Study of Children and Young People in Out-of-Home Care in NSW, Study Working Group
  • Quality Services and Research Committee, Anglicare Victoria
  • Queensland Injury Prevention Council, Consumer Protection Injury Research Advisory Group
  • Raising Children Network: Parenting Information Website, Advisory Group
  • Relationships Australia, Professional Quality Committee
  • Safe Healthier Cherbourg, Injury Prevention Reference Committee
  • School of Psychology, Deakin University, Post Graduate Advisory Board
  • Social Policy Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Advisory Committee
  • Statewide Workforce Development Project, CASA House, Reference Group
  • Victims of Crime Research, Agenda Advisory Committee, NSW Department of Justice and Attorney-General
  • Victorian Marriage and Relationship Educators' Committee
  • Violence Against Women Advisory Group, Minister for the Status of Women, The Hon. Kate Ellis
  • Work and Family Roundtable, DEEWR
  • Work, Life and Family Surveys (WoLFS) Reference Group, Australian Bureau of Statistics
Consultations

Individuals, government bodies and community sector organisations consult with AIFS, and Institute staff are members of a number of advisory groups. Such consultation is an indication of the Institute's involvement in the policy process.

In the reporting period, consultations were undertaken covering a broad range of issues, including work and family, family law, gambling reform, labour markets, family violence and sexual assault, social capital, child protection, and social inclusion.

Visitors

A number of academics and representatives of government and community sector organisations from within and outside Australia met with Institute researchers to exchange ideas on issues of relevance to the Institute's research. These visits provide the opportunity for the Institute to learn of the work of other researchers and share its own research findings.

Key visitors (1 July 2011 - 30 June 2012)
  • Delegation from the New Zealand Families Commission (July 2011)
  • Ms Ellenor O'Byrne, Statistics New Zealand (July 2011)
  • Professor Ann Phoenix, Director, Thomas Coram Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London (August 2011)
  • Delegation from Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs (August 2011)
  • Delegation from the Korea Labour Institute (September 2011)
  • Western Australian Parliamentary Education and Health Standing Committee (October 2011)
  • Delegation from the National Islamic University, Malaysia (October 2011)
  • Delegation from the Vietnam Institute for Gender and Family Studies (October 2011)
  • Delegation from the Mongolian Government, including the Deputy Prime Minister (October 2011, Sydney)
  • Baroness Vivien Stern CBE, United Kingdom (May 2012)
Visiting scholars
  • Mr Ratib Lekhal, Norwegian Institute of Public Health (November 2011 - April 2012)
  • Ms Emily Ward, British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (May-June 2012)

Library and information services

Library

The library offers a highly responsive information service that supports the work of the Institute, and a specialist collection of online and print resources on family-related research that is disseminated as widely and cost-effectively as possible.

AIFS Library services include:

  • an information help desk to support AIFS information exchanges;
  • a reference service available to the wider community and support for visitors by appointment;
  • a library catalogue, available on the Institute's website; and
  • interlibrary loans to other libraries throughout Australia and overseas.
Knowledge base of bibliographic records

Since 1980, AIFS has created a knowledge base of 111,886 bibliographic records drawn from sociology, psychology, demography, health sciences, education, economics, law, history and social work source documents relevant to the study of families. A particular strength of our knowledge base is the large amount of "grey" literature produced by the research, academic and government sectors, such as informally published or unpublished reports, discussion papers, working documents and conference proceedings. AIFS bibliographic records are provided to the Libraries Australia National Bibliographic Database, managed by the National Library of Australia.

In 2011-12, in addition to using these records for the traditional purposes of recording and managing what is in the library collection, the Institute also drew on them to:

  • continue to build the Australian Family & Society Abstracts (AF&SA) database;
  • upload new records to Libraries Australia; and
  • send relevant records to the AIHW to support the Closing the Gap Clearinghouse.

We have also used our records to:

  • add details of all new AIFS publications to the Institute's website; and
  • create more than 170 bibliographies on current topics for listing on our website.
Australian Family & Society Abstracts (AFSA)

AIFS has supplied 77,353 citations and abstracts from its bibliographic database for the AFSA database, an Australian web-based service of research and education databases operated by RMIT Publishing. AFSA resources are available at RMIT Publishing's Informit online service <www.informit.com.au> and can also be accessed through the AIFS library catalogue <library.aifs.gov.au/uhtbin/cgisirsi/00/0/0/49/X>.

Conferences

Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference

In 2011-12 significant preparations were undertaken for the 12th AIFS Conference to be held from 25 to 27 July 2012 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. The 12th AIFS Conference will focus on a variety of issues relating to family wellbeing, including:

  • family formation, development stages and transition points across the life course;
  • family functioning and diversity;
  • social and economic participation of families;
  • trajectories of families and points of service system intervention, particularly for vulnerable families;
  • family law and family relationships;
  • prevention and responses to violence, abuse and neglect.

The conference is intended for researchers, policy-makers and service providers working with families, and provides a forum to discuss cutting edge research findings, policy priorities and topical issues important to family wellbeing. More than 500 delegates are expected to attend. The program will include 142 oral presentations and 62 poster presentations.

LSAC and LSIC Conference

The combined Growing Up in Australia and Footprints in Time: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) and the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children (LSIC) Research Conference was held at Rydges on Swanston, Melbourne, 15-16 November 2011. It was the first time data from both LSAC and LSIC were presented together. The conference attracted 210 delegates and featured 48 presentations.

Two high-quality keynote speakers headlined the conference:

  • Professor Stephen Zubrick, University of Western Australia and Telethon Institute of Child Health Research, who presented on: Language development and change: Growth, patterns, and processes in the Australian Longitudinal Studies; and
  • Professor Melissa Wake, Director of Research, Centre for Community Child Health, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, presenting on: The Health of Australia's Children.

The program included a wide range of topics, including:

  • temperament and the home environment;
  • the effects of old and new media on language acquisition;
  • resilience;
  • preschool participation among Indigenous children;
  • behavioural and emotional development; and
  • physical and mental health.

Seminar Series

The AIFS Seminar Series is a public forum at which invited researchers and policy-makers speak on contemporary family-related research and social issues. AIFS Seminars are free and open to the public. Where practicable, the Institute provides presentation material and associated speaker papers for free download via the Institute website.

Seminars hosted by the Institute
21 July 2011

Dr Daryl Higgins, Deputy Director Research, Australian Institute of Family Studies

Multiple experiences of childhood maltreatment and victimisation

24 August 2011

Professor David de Vaus, Executive Dean, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, University of Queensland

Understanding the rise of solo living in Australia

6 September 2011

Associate Professor Phillip Mendes, Department of Social Work, Monash University

Towards better outcomes: A social investment model of support for young people transitioning from out-of-home care

18 October 2011

Professor Jan Nicholson, Director of Research, Parenting Research Centre

Early parenting support for vulnerable families: Why, what and how?

17 November 2011

Dr Antonia Quadara, Research Fellow, Coordinator of Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault

Danny Blay, Executive Officer of No to Violence, the Male Family Violence Prevention Association of Victoria

Renee Imbesi, Manager of VicHealth's Preventing Violence Against Women program

Preventing sexual assault: The question of gender

20 February 2012

Professor Nick Bala, Faculty of Law, Queen's University, Kingston Canada

Parental alienation, contact problems and the family justice system

15 March 2012

Professor Louise Newman, Professor of Developmental Psychiatry, Monash University

Seeking asylum in Australia: Mental health and human rights of children and families

12 April 2012

Associate Professor Judy Atkinson, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Scientific Advisory Committee on Closing the Gap Research, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation, We Al-li Trust

An educaring approach to healing generational trauma in Aboriginal Australia

15 May 2012

Justice John Fogarty AM, former Family Court Judge

The report of the Protecting Victoria's Vulnerable Children Inquiry Jan 2012: Another political panacea or a positive road to reform?

5 June 2012

Debbie Scott, Research Fellow, Australian Institute of Family Studies

Improving the measurement and surveillance of child maltreatment in emergency departments

Media coverage

General media

The engagement of media is an important means of communicating the Institute's research findings about factors that affect family wellbeing. Nine media releases were issued in 2011-12.

There was a decrease in media coverage and audience reach of the Institute's research in 2011-12 compared to the previous financial year (Tables 3.7 and 3.8). This can mainly be attributed to the fact that the AIFS Conference did not fall in this financial year. The 12th AIFS Conference will be held in the 2012-13 financial year and the Institute's media coverage is expected to consequently increase substantially.

A total of 2,606 reports across all media types mentioned the Institute's research, which was a 26.7% decrease on the 3,556 reports recorded in 2010-11.

Table 3.7 Number of mentions by media channel
Number of mentions 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 Change from previous year
Radio 1,191 1,946 1,468 -25%
Television 456 775 559 -28%
Press 192 333 318 -5%
Internet 358 502 261 -48%
Totals 2,197 3,556 2,606 -27%

Note: The decrease in media coverage from the previous year was primarily due to the timing of the AIFS Conference.

Source: Media Monitors

Table 3.8 Audience reached by media channel
Audience circulation a 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 Change from previous year
Radio 9,546,800 15,004,300 11,535,600 -23%
Television 6,631,562 8,944,000 4,798,000 -46%
Press 47,045,156 62,573,820 56,145,435 -10%
Totals 63,223,518 87,212,920 72,479,035 -17%

Note: a Audience figures are unavailable for Internet media. The decrease in media coverage from the previous year was primarily due to the timing of the AIFS Conference.

Source: Media Monitors

Social media
Facebook

The AIFS Facebook page has been operating since October 2010. The page is predominantly used to promote new publications and events/seminars, as well as developing an online discussion on the latest research into family wellbeing. At the end of the reporting period, the page had 335 people listed who "liked" the page. This is a 345% increase from the 97 "likes" listed at the same time the previous year.

In April 2012, the CFCA information exchange also established a Facebook page that is used in the same way as the AIFS Facebook page. At the end of the reporting period, the CFCA Facebook page had 98 "likes".

It is anticipated that the Facebook pages will increase awareness of Institute research activities, especially among journalists and the youth demographic. Risk management processes are in place to monitor the content of these pages.

Podcasts

Audio recordings of AIFS Seminar Series presentations are available as podcasts on the AIFS website, alongside transcripts and presentation slides. Podcasts are a useful tool for enabling people to listen to seminars after the event.

RSS feeds

AIFS offers RSS feeds to provide subscribers with rapid notification of new AIFS publications and event information.

Twitter

In 2011-12, the Institute continued to use Twitter as another channel to promote its activities online by sending micro text messages to subscribers. Twitter is used to promote Institute activities, such as seminars, conferences and publications, as well as developing an online discussion on the latest research in family wellbeing.

The Institute has four Twitter accounts, with a total of 1,357 followers. This is a 76.2% increase from the same time the previous year. AIFS has one general account, while LSAC, ACSSA and the CFCA information exchange also have accounts. The CFCA Twitter account replaces the old clearinghouse accounts of NCPC, AFRC and CAFCA.

Webinars

In 2011-12, the Institute introduced the capacity to conduct webinars (online interactive seminars) via a subscription to a service. Webinars integrate PowerPoint presentations, webcam images, participant presentations, slides, questions and messages. Hosting and participating in webinars expands the capacity of AIFS to disseminate its research, build communities of practice and collaborate with invested stakeholders.

Wikipedia

Wikipedia lists information on the Institute's history and services and is a useful global reference tool for providing general information about AIFS. Ongoing monitoring is in place to manage the risk that public editing of the entry could result in inaccurate information being posted.

YouTube and video

The Institute launched its first AIFS YouTube channel in 2011-12. The main purpose of the YouTube channel is to disseminate information about AIFS and its research in a more engaging and accessible way. To date, the Institute has uploaded four videos to the YouTube Channel. The videos have received a total of 956 views. The video showing Deputy Director Daryl Higgins talking about the past adoption experiences study received the most views, with 481. Professor Hayes' discussion on key highlights of the 12th AIFS Conference received 274 views.

Report on performance - Financial activities

Operating results

From 1 July 2010, the Australian Government implemented policies to improve transparency and accountability of the budget. One of these policies meant that depreciation and amortisation expenses were no longer funded by appropriation from Government.

As a result, AIFS has incurred a budget deficit for the financial year 2011-12 of $460,159. This deficit is made up of the depreciation expense for 2011-12 of $299,349 and the operating loss of $161,392 arising from the effects of employee provisions from the decrease in the government bond rate. After adjusting for these items, AIFS would have reported a small surplus of $582.

See Table 3.9 for a summary of budgeted and actual expenses for 2011-12.

Operating revenue

The total operating revenue was $9,556,970 and consisted of the following:

  • government appropriations of $3,512,000;
  • sale of goods and rendering of services of $5,831,148; and
  • other revenue of $213,822.

Operating expenses

Total operating expenses were $10,017,129 and consisted of:

  • employee costs of $7,319,921;
  • supplier expenses of $2,391,673;
  • depreciation and audit fees of $299,349; and
  • loss from asset sales of $6,186.

Balance sheet

Net asset position

The net asset position at 30 June 2012 was $1,473,748 (2010-11: $1,728,907).

Total assets

Total assets at 30 June 2012 were $9,260,078 (2010-11: $6,340,451). Financial assets increased by $2,782,724. The increase in financial assets was mainly due to an increase in cash receipts relating to prepaid revenue, a significant amount of which was received at the end of the financial year. Non-financial assets increased by $136,903. The increase in non-financial assets is due to receipts for registration to the bi-annual AIFS Conference, which was held on 25-27 July 2012.

Total liabilities

Total liabilities at 30 June 2012 were $7,786,330 (2010-11: $4,611,544). The difference is mainly due to an increase in the level of unearned revenue of $3,012,943.

Table 3.9 Budgeted and actual expenses for Outcome 1, 2011-12, and budgeted expenses, 2012-13
Outcome 1: Increased understanding of factors affecting how families function by conducting research and communicating findings to policy-makers, service providers, and the broader community Budget 2011-12
$'000
Actual 2011-12
$'000<
Variation (column 2 - column 1)
($'000)
Budget 2012-13 ($'000)
Program 1.1: Australian Institute of Family Studies
Departmental expenses
Departmental appropriation 9,620 9,534 (86) 10,421
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the Budget year 336 322 (14) 375
Total for Program 1.1 9,956 9,856 (100) 10,796
Outcome 1 totals by appropriation type
Departmental expenses
Departmental appropriation 9,620 9,534 (86) 10,421
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the Budget year 336 322 (14) 375
Total expenses for Outcome 1 9,956 9,856 (100) 10,796
Average staffing level 64 66 2 70
4. Management and accountability

Management and accountability is achieved with the support of the Corporate and Strategy area of the Institute. Corporate and Strategy provides a range of services to assist the Institute to meet its goals, through ongoing improvement and application of financial, administrative, human resources and information technology policies and practices.

Corporate governance

The Institute operates under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (FMA Act). The corporate focus throughout 2011-12 has been the effective maintenance of high standards of governance, accountability and reporting in order to fulfil all FMA requirements and build organisational capacity to achieve the Institute's research and communication objectives.

Integral to the Institute's robust governance practices is its risk management system. This included three internal audits undertaken during the financial year and the implementation of a revised risk assessment framework.

During the year, the Institute also strengthened its capacity in business development and forecasting processes to attract and deliver research projects within a changing financial environment.

Fraud control

During the financial year 2011-12, no fraud was identified. A fraud risk assessment was conducted in December 2011.

Certification of fraud control arrangements

I, Alan Hayes, certify that I am satisfied that for the financial year 2011-12 the Institute, in compliance with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines, has:

  • had a fraud control plan prepared;
  • put in place appropriate fraud prevention, detection, investigation and reporting procedures and processes that meet the specific needs of the Institute. 

Alan Hayes, Director
27 August 2012

Senior executive members

Professor Alan Hayes AM is the Director of the Institute. Two Deputy Directors and an Assistant Director (Research) assist the Director in leading and managing the Institute. Ms Sue Tait is Deputy Director (Corporate and Strategy), Dr Daryl Higgins is Deputy Director (Research), and Ms Ruth Weston is Assistant Director (Research).

Senior management committees

The Director has overall responsibility for the leadership and management of the Institute. A number of committees and groups are in place to support this function.

Internal management committees
Executive

The Executive group leads and coordinates all aspects of the research and corporate functions of the Institute. It comprises the Director, the two Deputy Directors and the Assistant Director (Research).

Leadership and Planning Group

The Leadership and Planning Group comprises the Executive and Managers from the corporate and research areas. The group is a strategic leadership forum providing advice to the Director and Deputy Directors.

Advisory and monitoring committees

The Institute supports sound management of its accountability, ethical and legislative responsibilities through its:

  • Advisory Council;
  • Risk Assessment and Audit Committee; and
  • Human Research Ethics Committee.
Advisory Council

The role of the Advisory Council is to provide specialist advice to the Director in relation to strategic directions for Institute research, any significant proposed changes to the research program, key performance indicators for the Institute's research activities, and the development of future strategic and research plans. The Advisory Council met twice during 2011-12.

Members of the Advisory Council are appointed by the responsible minister, currently The Hon. Jenny Macklin MP, Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

During 2011-12, an internal review was conducted of the administrative processes involved in the Advisory Council's functions. In addition, at the end of the financial period, the three-year terms of the Advisory Council members expired, resulting in new members being appointed to the council, commencing 1 July 2012.

Advisory Council members, 2011-12
  • Reverend The Hon. Professor Brian Howe AO (Chair), Centre for Public Policy, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne
  • Muriel Bamblett AM, Chief Executive Officer, Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency
  • Liza Carroll, Deputy Secretary, FaHCSIA
  • Professor Bruce Chapman AM, Professor, Public Policy, Crawford School of Economics and Government, ANU
  • Professor John Dewar, Provost, University of Melbourne
  • Dr Marie Leech, Principal, Sancta Sophia College, University of Sydney
  • Paul Ronalds, First Assistant Secretary, Office of Work and Family, PM&C, Nominee of the Secretary
  • Professor Paul Smyth, General Manager for Social Action and Research, Brotherhood of St Laurence
Risk Assessment and Audit Committee

The Risk Assessment and Audit Committee reports to the Director, and plays a key role in the Institute's corporate governance. It helps ensure effective and efficient use of resources by reviewing the performance and operations of internal controls and performance management systems. It approves the Institute's internal audit program and advises the Executive on risk, fraud, compliance and performance. It also provides assurance to the Director on preparing and reviewing financial statements.

The committee is chaired by an external member. Membership includes the two Deputy Directors and two independent members external to the Institute. The committee met four times during 2011-12, addressing a range of issues, including approval of budgets, Portfolio Budget Statements, mid-year budget reviews, internal and external audit processes, fraud control, FMA Act compliance reviews, and updates of the Institute's Director's Instructions, Financial Rules, the AIFS Risk Management Framework and Business Continuity Plan.

Risk Assessment and Audit Committee members, 2011-12
  • Denise Swift, PSM (Chair)
  • Dennis Mihelyi (Member), Director, Corporate Services, Fair Work Australia
  • Sue Tait (Member), Deputy Director (Corporate and Strategy), AIFS
  • Dr Daryl Higgins (Member), Deputy Director (Research), AIFS
  • Professor Alan Hayes (Observer), Director, AIFS
  • Susan Leong (Observer), Chief Finance Officer, AIFS
  • Dr Michael Alexander (Observer), Executive Manager, Research Business Development and Accountability, AIFS
Human Research Ethics Committee

The role of the Institute's Human Research Ethics Committee is to ensure that the ethical standards outlined in the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Research Involving Humans, and elaborated in the Institute's ethics statement, Ethical Issues in the Research Process (1996), are met in all research projects undertaken by the Institute.

In particular, the committee must ensure that projects meet the three key principles of respect for persons, beneficence, and justice, as set down in the National Statement. The committee is registered with the Australian Health Ethics Committee, a sub-committee of the National Health and Medical Research Council.

The Ethics Committee meets at least twice a year to consider new project proposals, receive brief oral and written reports on ongoing projects, consider any complaints or problems that may have arisen regarding ethical issues in Institute research, and review the complaints procedures, as required. The committee also has an expedited review process in place for projects that need approval between meetings of the committee.

Members of the Ethics Committee are appointed for three-year terms.

Human Research Ethics Committee members, 2011-12
  • Dr Duncan Ironmonger (Chair), BCom, MCom (Melb); PhD (Cambridge); Department of Economics, University of Melbourne
  • Sr Dr Carol Hogan, BA (Melb); BTheol, PhD (Melbourne College of Divinity)
  • Dr Richard Ingleby, MA, DPhil (Oxford); LLM (Cambridge); Melbourne Chambers; Faculty of Law, University of Western Australia
  • Ms Helen Glezer, BA (Hons) (Melb); MA (La Trobe)
  • Dr Kerreen Reiger, BA (Hons) (Melb); PhD (La Trobe); Department of Sociology, La Trobe University
  • Dr Sarah Wise, BA (Hons) (Melb), MA, PhD (Melb); Anglicare Victoria
  • Mr Shaun Coade, Aboriginal Service Development, Berry Street.
  • Mr Trevor Batrouney (until 12 February 2012)
  • Mr Ian Claridge (from 13 February 2012)

Corporate and statutory reporting

During 2011-12, the Institute continued to refine and strengthen its planning processes, building on earlier initiatives - including the reporting calendar, contracts register and improved records management processes. Along with the implementation of a revised Performance Development and Review process, this brings together a range of corporate and communications priorities, and has contributed to robust compliance standards and reporting performance against outcomes.

An outcomes focus has been emphasised through the continued use of trend forecasting for the Portfolio Budget Statements, aligned to the goals in the Institute's Strategic Plan 2009-12. The Institute continued to refine these processes throughout the year, including streamlined reporting processes to link preparations for Senate Estimates, annual reporting and the PBS.

All statutory reports were completed and tabled in a timely manner as required.

Director's Instructions and Financial Rules

Both the Director's Instructions and Financial Rules were comprehensively reviewed and updated in June 2012, consistent with FMA model clauses. This review represents the Institute's ongoing commitment to the process of improving and aligning its documentation to ensure effective operation and compliance with the requirements of the FMA Act.

Risk management

Internal audit

In 2011-12, the Institute undertook an open tender process to establish an outsourced internal audit program. PKF Chartered Accountants were engaged to develop a Strategic Internal Audit Program for the following three years. As part of this, a risk assessment of the Institute was undertaken to identify the strategic business and fraud risks it faces. During the reporting period, internal audits addressing identified risks were undertaken and the reports tabled with the Risk Assessment and Audit Committee. The reports covered:

  • human resources and payroll activities;
  • funding and revenue management; and
  • a Certificate of Compliance review.

A risk assessment workshop was conducted in June 2011 to develop a Strategic Risk Management Framework and an associated internal audit program for the next three years.

Business continuity

The Institute's Business Continuity Plan provides the necessary guidelines to enable the Institute to:

  • take action to prevent potential disruption to the business;
  • take appropriate action to safeguard staff and property in the event of a crisis;
  • plan and effectively manage the recovery of operations of the business to a satisfactory level;
  • plan and manage the resumption of normal business operations in permanent premises with its usual systems and staff; and
  • plan and manage significant staff reductions in the event of a possible pandemic illness or other threat to business continuity that may be of a protracted nature.

The Business Continuity Plan was revised in 2011-12 to reflect staff and structural changes. The revised plan was endorsed by the Risk Assessment and Audit Committee and approved by the Director in June 2012.

Protective security framework

The Institute is transitioning to the new Australian Government Protective Security Framework, in accordance with guidelines published by AGD.

There were no major security incidents during the reporting period.

Ethical standards

Australian Public Service values in the Institute

The Australian Public Service (APS) values are actively promoted and upheld throughout the Institute. The importance of the APS values is incorporated into the everyday management and operations of the Institute. For example, the obligations of employees to uphold the APS values and abide by the APS Code of Conduct are promoted in induction processes and training courses; applied to personnel management processes; upheld by guidelines and procedures, which themselves take account of the APS values; and reflected throughout Institute human resources documents, which are readily available to employees through the Institute intranet.

External scrutiny

The Institute is subject to an annual statutory audit performed by the Australian National Audit Office. In addition, regular internal audit reviews are undertaken by an independent contractor. The outcomes of all audits are presented to the Risk Assessment and Audit Committee and plans developed for the implementation of recommendations and the ongoing monitoring of resultant actions for improved processes.

The Institute was not subject to reports by the Auditor-General, a parliamentary committee nor the Commonwealth Ombudsman in 2011-12.

The Institute does not have statutory administrative decision-making powers and was not subject to any judicial decisions or decisions of administrative tribunals in 2011-12.

Management of human resources

The Institute is fortunate to have employees with a great diversity of skills, knowledge and experience. This ranges across research knowledge in multiple disciplines - including social science, psychology, family law, child and adolescent development, demography, economics and statistics, and survey design - to management skills such as commercial contract negotiation, project management, financial management, information technology development and maintenance, communications expertise and secretariat support. Some employees have more than 20 years of experience in the workplace, while others have only recently commenced their careers. This diversity of knowledge and expertise exemplifies one of the major benefits of working in a small organisation. These skills are known and are able to be effectively used in a number of facets of the Institute's operations.

The Institute is proud of its ability to attract, develop and retain highly skilled employees to continually strengthen its human and intellectual capital. Figures 4.1 and 4.2 show the highest qualifications gained by Institute employees overall and by those employed in the Research area.

Figure 4.1 Employee qualifications as at 30 June 2012

Figure 4.2 Research employee qualifications as at 30 June 2012

Workplace Relations Committee

The Workplace Relations Committee provides a forum for management and employees to discuss matters affecting the workplace in general, as well as issues relating to the Enterprise Agreement. The committee comprises three representatives each from management and employees, and a Community and Public Sector Union representative. Employees are encouraged to contribute their ideas or raise any concerns regarding their workplace with their representatives. The committee is chaired by the Executive Manager (Human Resources) and meets quarterly.

Input from the Workplace Relations Committee continues to play a key role in the review of Institute human resources policies and guidelines. In 2011-12, the committee provided input into amendments to the Institute's probation policy and Performance Development and Review program, and new and revised policies arising from the Enterprise Agreement.

Health and Safety Committee

The Institute has transitioned to the new Work Health and Safety Act 2011. A Health and Safety Representative and a new Health and Safety Committee have been established to represent staff and facilitate consultation and discussion between management and employees regarding health and safety matters in the workplace. The committee will be involved in the development and implementation of a range of new and revised health and safety policies and procedures arising from the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

Employees are encouraged to participate by consulting with their elected staff representatives, who use the committee forum to raise and manage ongoing health and safety matters.

Individual performance management

The principles underpinning the Institute's performance management program focus on ongoing communication and feedback between all parties in relation to individual performance. The program also aims to build relationships based on mutual trust and respect that encourage open and frank discussions and to maximise employee performance through the provision of individual development, opportunities for growth and work satisfaction. Assistance is available to employees and managers to support the development of individual Performance Development and Review plans.

Workforce planning

In 2011-12, the Institute continued to develop its capacity to plan and respond to changing workforce needs. Current data indicate a staff turnover rate of approximately 12%. Addressing turnover and other workforce issues, including increasing the diversity of the workforce, will continue to be an area of focus in 2012-13.

Recruitment

The majority of vacancies at the Institute are advertised via the online APSjobs service, supplemented by other advertising when appropriate. The Institute undertook online advertising in 2011-12 to target particular markets and eliminate advertising costs associated with press advertising. The Institute continues to attract high-quality applicants for its advertised vacancies.

There is ongoing pressure to recruit appropriately skilled and experienced employees. In line with workforce planning processes, the Institute will continue to develop and introduce strategies throughout 2012-13 to recruit and retain capable staff.

Learning and development

The objective of learning and development activities is to ensure that the Institute has the organisational capability to respond to research challenges both now and in the future.

During the year, the Institute continued to develop its workforce capability by providing professional learning and development. Individuals took part in a range of management, leadership and specialist programs in 2011-12. The effectiveness of the training provided was evaluated in the performance reviews conducted between managers and individuals.

During 2011-12, the Institute invested $67,237 in direct learning and development activities, $37,410 in conference attendance, and the equivalent of $91,080 in wages based on average salary.

The Institute continues to provide professional development opportunities for employees via professional memberships and support for formal study through its Study Assistance Program.

Workplace health and safety performance

On an annual basis, the Institute runs a free flu vaccination program for all staff. Each employee is also able to receive reimbursement of $300 (increased from $150 under the Institute's Enterprise Agreement 2012) for participating in appropriate health promotion activities under the Promoting Good Health scheme. The scheme aims to encourage staff to improve their fitness and general health. Further, employees have access to subsidised eyesight testing (including the provision of glasses), professional counselling and manager support via the Employee Assistance Program, and regular workstation assessments that immediately implement corrective measures if required, such as personally designed ergonomic equipment. The Institute will continue to review its health and wellbeing strategies during 2012-13.

There were no notifiable accidents or investigations reported during 2011-12.

Productivity gains

The Institute has continued to evaluate its functions, structure and procedures with a view to streamlining administrative processes and systems to realise additional productivity savings. During 2011-12, employees have continued to support the Institute in the rationalisation of accommodation space and introduction of environmental management initiatives.

Work continues on information management and technology improvements and efficiencies to create further productivity gains in communication and administrative processes, including online collaboration, time management, record-keeping and approval processes. The development of annual work plans linked to employees' Performance Development and Review plans and relevant Institute plans provides clarity to individuals on expected outcomes. Further, the Institute and its employees will continue to increase productivity savings from reducing travel costs through participation in whole-of-Australian-Government travel arrangements, and improved management and reporting of unscheduled absences in 2012-13.

Statistics on staffing

As at 30 June 2012, there were 78 staff - 21 males and 57 females - employed at the Institute under the Public Service Act 1999. Tables 4.1 and 4.2 present profiles of Institute staff by gender and type of employment for the past two financial years. As Table 4.1 indicates, the Institute has 58% of staff in ongoing positions and 42% of staff in non-ongoing positions. Table 4.3 describes staff by classification level, gender and type of employment as at 30 June 2012.

Table 4.1 Staffing overview: Actual ongoing and non-ongoing full-time and part-time staff, by gender, at 30 June 2012
  Ongoing Non-ongoing Total
Full-time Part-time Full-time Part-time
Male 8 1 6 6 21
Female 30 6 8 13 57
Total 38 7 14 19 78
% of all staff 49 9 18 24 100

Note: Excludes employees engaged to provide services to the Institute on an irregular/intermittent (casual) basis.

Table 4.2 Staffing overview: Actual ongoing and non-ongoing full-time and part-time staff, by gender, at 30 June 2011
  Ongoing Non-ongoing Total
Full-time Part-time Full-time Part-time
Male 8 1 5 3 17
Female 27 12 9 9 57
Total 35 13 14 12 74
% of all staff 47 18 19 16 100

Note: Excludes employees engaged to provide services to the Institute on an irregular/intermittent (casual) basis.

Table 4.3 Staffing overview: Actual ongoing and non-ongoing staff, by classification level and gender, at 30 June 2012

Classification

AIFS Classification

Ongoing

Non-ongoing

Total

% of all staff

Male Female Male Female
Senior Executive Service (SES) Band 1 SES Band 1 1 0 0 1 2 3
Executive Level 2 AIFS EL2 4 9 1 0 14 18
Executive Level 1 AIFS EL1 2 8 2 6 18 23
APS 6 AIFS Band 5-6 2 12 2 4 20 26
APS 5 AIFS Band 5-6 0 3 4 2 9 12
APS 4 AIFS Band 3-4 0 3 0 5 8 10
APS 3 AIFS Band 3-4 0 0 3 3 6 8
APS 2 AIFS Band 1-2 0 1 0 0 1 1
APS 1 AIFS Band 1-2 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total   9 36 12 21 78 100
% of all staff   12 46 15 27 100  

Note: Twelve employees on higher duties were counted at the higher duties level. Excludes employees engaged to provide services to the Institute on an irregular/intermittent (casual) basis. Percentages may not total exactly 100% due to rounding.

Individual and Collective Agreements

The Institute's Enterprise Agreement 2012 was negotiated between management and employee representatives in the first half of 2011-12 and was approved under the Fair Work Act 2009 for commencement on 1 March 2012. The agreement runs until 30 June 2014 and provides for:

  • three pay increases, totalling 7% across the two-year, three-month term of the agreement;
  • increases to a range of allowances;
  • additional provisions for maternity and parental leave;
  • specific leave provisions for community service, Defence service, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural/ceremonial purposes; and
  • changes to the Performance Development and Review Program.

A small number of senior (Executive Level 2) employees who previously held Australian Workplace Agreements are covered by Determinations made under Section 24(1) of the Public Service Act 1999 to supplement the conditions provided by the Institute's Enterprise Agreement. The Institute's SES employees are covered by comprehensive Section 24(1) Determinations.

Details of the number of staff covered by an Enterprise Agreement or a Section 24(1) Determination at 30 June 2012 are shown in Table 4.4. Non-salary benefits received by staff are shown in Table 4.5.

Table 4.4 Number of staff covered by different employment agreements, at 30 June 2012
Type of agreement No. of staff
Enterprise Agreement* 76
Section 24(1) Determination 4

Note: * Four Executive Level 2 employees covered by the Enterprise Agreement have been provided with Section 24(1) Determinations to supplement the provisions of the Enterprise Agreement. Number of staff excludes two SES employees not covered by the Enterprise Agreement and 10 employees engaged to provide services to the Institute on an irregular/intermittent (casual) basis.

Table 4.5 Non-salary benefits by employment category and classification level
Type of agreement Non-salary benefits
Enterprise Agreement Access to Employee Assistance Program; study assistance; flexible remuneration packaging; purchased leave; paid maternity and parental leave; miscellaneous leave; home-based work; flextime; airline lounge membership, if travelling frequently; good health allowance; volunteer allowances
Non-SES staff: Section 24(1) Determination Airline lounge membership; mobile phone; computer and remote access to network; incidental child care; financial and other support for professional and personal development; flexible remuneration packaging
SES staff: Section 24(1) Determination Motor vehicle, fuel and parking; airline lounge membership; mobile phone; home office equipment and remote access to network; financial and other support for professional and personal development; flexible remuneration packaging

Salary ranges

Table 4.6 Staffing overview: Salary ranges by classification, at 30 June 2012
AIFS classification Salary range
SES Band 1 $152,440-177,160
AIFS Executive Level 2 $105,266-123,407
AIFS Executive Level 1 $89,796-99,164
AIFS Band 5-6 $65,282-80,462
AIFS Band 3-4 $52,172-63,134
AIFS Band 1-2 $40,476-50,795

Performance pay

Eligible Executive Level 2 employees on Section 24(1) Determinations may qualify for a performance bonus of up to 15% if they achieve a performance rating of fully effective or above. From 1 January 2011, eligibility for performance bonuses was removed for SES employees and the SES salary range increased. Table 4.7 outlines performance payment information for the 2012 performance cycle.

Table 4.7 Performance pay for 2011 performance cycle
Level Number Aggregated amount Average Minimum Maximum
EL 2 3 $19,171 $6,390 $4,793 $7,189

Assets management

The Institute maintains a detailed and effective assets register. Asset management is not a significant aspect of the strategic business of the Institute.

Purchasing

All purchasing is carried out in line with the requirements of the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines as detailed in the Institute's Director's Instructions and Financial Rules and in keeping with the core principles of ethical, efficient, effective and economical conduct. These provide details, principles, processes and procedures in line with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules. A full range of templates for all aspects of purchasing and approval have been developed and are used consistently.

All procurements in excess of $10,000 are regularly recorded in AusTender, and contracts in excess of $100,000 are included in Senate Order 192 reporting. The Institute has accessed whole-of-government purchasing arrangements in a range of areas, including ICT and travel.

Preparations for the introduction of the new Commonwealth Procurement Rules were also completed in readiness for 2012-13. This included updating the Director's Instructions, Financial Rules, templates and staff training.

Consultants

The Institute's core business to conduct research and communicate findings often requires the use of consultant expertise. Consultants are generally engaged when particular specialist expertise is necessary, sufficiently skilled expertise is not immediately available inhouse, or independent advice on an issue is required.

The services provided by new and continuing consultants in the reporting period included provision of research reports, review and audit of financial activities, and human resources and business process analysis.

Processes for the engagement of consultants are consistent with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules and are detailed in the Institute's Director's Instructions and Financial Rules. As with all procurement, the priority in the engagement of consultants is to obtain value for money. Competitive processes are used for the selection of consultants, and the Director's Instructions contain guidelines for the approval of expenditure.

Consistent with the policy of including trend data in annual reports, expenditure on consultancy contracts over the three most recent financial years are listed in Table 4.8.

During 2011-12, eight new consultancy contracts were entered into (including those to the value of less than $10,000), involving total actual expenditure of $75,523 (inc. GST). In addition, 10 ongoing consultancy contracts were active during the year, involving total actual expenditure of $158,769 (inc. GST). Expenditure for the year totalled $234,292 (inc. GST).

Annual reports contain information about actual expenditure on contracts for consultancies. Information on the value of contracts and consultancies over $10,000 is available on the AusTender website: <www.tenders.gov.au>. Contracts above the value of $100,000 are detailed on the AIFS website: <www.aifs.gov.au>.

Table 4.8 Expenditure on consultancy contracts over the three most recent financial years (inc. GST)
Financial year Consultancy contract expenditure
2009-10 $445,789
2010-11 $221,307
2011-12 $234,292
Total $901,388

Australian National Audit Office Access Clauses

The Institute's contract templates contain standard clauses to provide for the Auditor-General to have access to the contractor's premises. All contracts let during the reporting period contained these standard clauses.

Exempt contracts

The Institute has not entered into any contracts or standing offers that have been exempted from being published in AusTender above the reporting threshold value of $10,000.

5. Financial statements

Independent Auditor's Report

To the Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

I have audited the accompanying financial statements of the Australian Institute of Family Studies for the year ended 30 June 2012, which comprise: a Statement by the Directors, and Chief Finance Officer; Statement of Comprehensive Income; Balance Sheet; Statement of Changes in Equity; Cash Flow Statement; Schedule of Commitments; and Notes to and forming part of the Financial Statements, including a Summary of Significant Accounting Policies.

Chief Executive's Responsibility for the Financial Statements

The Chief Executive of the agency is responsible for the preparation of financial statements that give a true and fair view in accordance with the Finance Minister's Orders made under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997, including the Australian Accounting Standards, and for such internal control as is necessary to enable the preparation of the financial statements that give a true and fair view and are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error.

Auditor's Responsibility

My responsibility is to express an opinion on the financial statements based on my audit. I have conducted my audit in accordance with the Australian National Audit Office Auditing Standards, which incorporate the Australian Auditing Standards. These auditing standards require that I comply with relevant ethical requirements relating to audit engagements and plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free from material misstatement.

An audit involves performing procedures to obtain audit evidence about the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. The procedures selected depend on the auditor's judgement, including the assessment of the risks of mate1ial misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to fraud or error. In making those risk assessments, the auditor considers internal control relevant to the agency's preparation of the financial statements that give a true and fair view in order to design audit procedures that are appropriate in the circumstances, but not for the purpose of expressing an opinion on the effectiveness of the agency's internal control. An audit also includes evaluating the appropriateness of the accounting policies used and the reasonableness of accounting estimates made by the Chief Executive of the agency, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the financial statements.

I believe that the audit evidence I have obtained is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for my audit opinion.

Independence

In conducting my audit, I have followed the independence requirements of the Australian National Audit Office, which incorporate the requirements of the Australian accounting profession.

Opinion

In my opinion, the financial statements of the Australian Institute of Family Studies:

  1. have been prepared in accordance with the Finance Minister's Orders made under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997, including the Australian Accounting Standards; and
  2. give a true and fair view of the matters required by the Finance Minister's Orders including the Australian Institute of Family Studies' financial position as at 30 June 2012 and of its financial performance and cash flows for the year then ended.

Australian National Audit Office

Ron Wah
Audit Principal
Delegate of the Auditor-General
Canberra
27 August 2012

GPO Box 707 CANBERRA ACT 2601
19 National Circuit BARTON ACT 2600
Phone (02) 6203 7300 Fax (02) 6203 7777

Statement by the Directors and Chief Finance Officer

for the period ended 30 June 2012

In our opinion, the attached financial statements for the year ended 30 June 2012 are based on properly maintained financial records and give a true and fair view of the matters required by the Finance Minister's Orders made under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997, as amended.

Alan Hayes, Director, 27 August 2012

Sue Tait, Deputy Director (Corporate and Strategy), 27 August 2012

Susan Leong, Chief Finance Officer, 27 August 2012

STATEMENT OF COMPREHENSIVE INCOME for the period ended 30 June 2012
 
Notes
2012
$
2011
$
EXPENSES
Employee benefits 3A 7,319,921 6,674,420
Supplier 3B 2,391,673 2,459,984
Depreciation and amortisation 3C 299,349 296,686
Losses from asset sales 3D 6,186 1,173
Total expenses   10,017,129 9,432,263
LESS:
OWN-SOURCE INCOME
Own-source revenue
Sale of goods and rendering of services 4A 5,831,148 5,454,391
Royalties 4B 130,830 40,019
Other revenue 4C 60,492 101,737
Total own-source revenue   6,022,470 5,596,147
Gains
Other gains 4D 22,500 22,500
Total gains   22,500 22,500
Total own-source income   6,044,970 5,618,647
Net cost of services   3,972,159 3,813,616
Revenue from Government 4E 3,512,000 3,518,000
Surplus (deficit)   (460,159) (295,616)
Total comprehensive income (loss)   (460,159) (295,616)

The above statement should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes.

BALANCE SHEET as at 30 June 2012
 
Notes
2012
$
2011
$
ASSETS
Financial assets
Cash and cash equivalents 5A 3,555,434 385,360
Trade and other receivables 5B 4,162,154 4,549,504
Total financial assets   7,717,588 4,934,864
Non-financial assets
Buildings - leasehold improvements 6A, C 295,668 358,422
Plant and equipment 6B, C 983,577 949,463
Intangibles 6D, E 43,834 3,739
Other non-financial assets 6F 219,411 93,963
Total non-financial assets   1,542,490 1,405,587
Total assets   9,260,078 6,340,451
LIABILITIES
Payables
Suppliers 7A 190,219 241,906
Other payables 7B 5,804,897 2,791,954
Total payables   5,995,116 3,033,860
Provisions
Employee provisions 8A 1,791,214 1,577,684
Total provisions   1,791,214 1,577,684
Total liabilities   7,786,330 4,611,544
Net assets   1,473,748 1,728,907
EQUITY
Contributed equity   1,844,295 1,639,295
Retained surplus (accumulated deficit)   (370,547) 89,612
Total equity   1,473,748 1,728,907

The above statement should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes.

STATEMENT OF CHANGES IN EQUITY for the period ended 30 June 2012
 

Retained earnings

Contributed equity

Total equity

  2012
$
2011
$
2012
$
2011
$
2012
$
2011
$
Opening balance
Balance carried forward from previous period 89,612 385,228 1,639,295 1,409,295 1,728,907 1,794,523
Comprehensive income
Surplus (deficit) for the period (460,159) (295,616) - - (460,159) (295,616)
Total comprehensive income (460,159) (295,616) - - (460,159) (295,616)
Transactions with owners
Contributions by owners
Departmental Capital Budget - - 205,000 230,000 205,000 230,000
Sub-total transactions with owners - - 205,000 230,000 205,000 230,000
Closing balance at 30 June (370,547) 89,612 1,844,295 1,639,295 1,473,748 1,728,907

The above statement should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes.

CASH FLOW STATEMENT for the period ended 30 June 2012
 
Notes
2012
$
2011
$
OPERATING ACTIVITIES
Cash received
Appropriations   10,600,000 9,600,000
Sale of goods and rendering of services   10,016,383 6,902,151
Other   76,806 95,746
Total cash received   20,693,189 16,597,897
Cash used
Employees   (7,138,847) (6,516,200)
Suppliers   (2,993,378) (2,680,225)
Section 31 receipts transferred to OPA   (6,868,366) (6,744,440)
Net GST paid   (522,524) (342,172)
Total cash used   (17,523,115) (16,283,037)
Net cash from (used by) operating activities 9 3,170,074 314,860
INVESTING ACTIVITIES
Cash used
Purchase of leasehold improvements, plant and equipment   (316,991) (99,686)
Other   - -
Total cash used   (316,991) (99,686)
Net cash from (used by) investing activities   (316,991) (99,686)
FINANCING ACTIVITIES
Cash received
Contributed equity   316,991 99,686
Total cash received   316,991 99,686
Net cash from (used by) financing activities   316,991 99,686
Net increase (decrease) in cash held   3,170,074 314,860
Cash and cash equivalents at the beginning of the reporting period   385,360 70,500
Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the reporting period 5A 3,555,434 385,360

The above statement should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes.

SCHEDULE OF COMMITMENTS as at 30 June 2012
BY TYPE 2012
$
2011
$
Commitments receivable
Project commitments receivable 1 (20,855,064) (19,977,787)
Total commitments receivable (20,855,064) (19,977,787)
Commitments payable
Other commitments
Operating leases 2 3,687,000 4,439,838
Project commitments 1,267,390 900,880
Net GST payable on commitments 1,384,075 1,280,088
Other commitments 675,847 556,097
Total other commitments 7,014,312 7,176,903
Net commitments by type (13,840,752) (12,800,884)
BY MATURITY
Commitments receivable
Project commitments receivable
One year or less (5,228,205) (4,541,183)
From one to five years (12,156,518) (10,452,754)
Over five years (3,470,341) (4,983,850)
Total project commitments receivable (20,855,064) (19,977,787)
Commitments payable
Operating lease commitments
One year or less 767,070 744,440
From one to five years 2,919,930 3,141,248
Over five years - 554,150
Total operating lease commitments 3,687,000 4,439,838
Project commitments payable
One year or less 1,052,708 300,824
From one to five years 214,682 600,056
Total project commitments payable 1,267,390 900,880
Net GST payable on commitments
One year or less 264,555 303,282
From one to five years 804,035 574,106
Over five years 315,485 402,700
Total net GST payable on commitments 1,384,075 1,280,088
Other commitments payable
One year or less 498,324 159,818
From one to five years 177,523 396,279
Total other commitments payable 675,847 556,097
Net commitments by maturity (13,840,752) (12,800,884)

NB: Commitments are GST-inclusive where relevant.

1 Project commitments receivable are based on known commitments for contracted research funds (i.e., amount specified in contract agreement).

2 Operating leases included effectively are non-cancellable and comprise:

  • Lease for office accommodation
    The Institute has entered into a 10-year tenancy agreement at 485 La Trobe Street, Melbourne, which runs to 28 February 2017. Lease payments are subject to an annual fixed percentage increase of 3.75%. The lease may be renewed for a further term of 5 years at the Institute's option, following a once-off adjustment of rental to market levels.
  • Agreements for the provision of motor vehicles to senior executive officers
    No contingent rental exists. There are no renewal or purchase options available to the Institute.

The above schedule should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes.

NOTES TO AND FORMING PART OF THE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

Index

Note 1: Summary of significant accounting policies

Note 2: Events after the reporting period

Note 3: Expenses

Note 4: Income

Note 5: Financial assets

Note 6: Non-financial assets

Note 7: Payables

Note 8: Provisions

Note 9: Cash flow reconciliation

Note 10: Senior executive remuneration

Note 11: Remuneration of auditors

Note 12: Financial instruments

Note 13: Financial assets reconciliation

Note 14: Appropriations

Note 15: Special accounts

Note 16: Compensation and debt relief

Note 17: Reporting of outcomes

Note 18: Net cash appropriation arrangements

Note 1: Summary of significant accounting policies

1.1 Objectives of the Australian Institute of Family Studies

The Australian Institute of Family Studies ("the Institute") is an Australian Government controlled entity.

It is a not-for-profit entity.

The Institute is structured to meet a single outcome, namely to increase understanding of factors affecting how families function by conducting research and communicating findings to policy-makers, service providers and the broader community.

The Institute's activities contributing toward this outcome are classified as departmental. Departmental activities involve the use of assets, liabilities, income and expenses controlled or incurred by the Institute in its own right.

The key objectives of the Institute are to:

  • conduct high-quality research relevant to policy and practice on a broad range of issues regarding families in Australia;
  • expand the national knowledge base of factors affecting families through collaborative partnerships;
  • increase the effectiveness of communications to foster greater understanding about factors that affect families; and
  • build organisational capacity to achieve research and communication objectives.

The continued existence of the Institute in its present form and with its present programs is dependent on Government policy and on continuing funding by Parliament and contract research revenue for the Institute's administration and programs.

1.2 Basis of preparation of the financial statements

The financial statements are general purpose financial statements and are required by section 49 of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997.

The financial statements have been prepared in accordance with:

  1. Finance Minister's Orders (FMOs) for reporting periods ending on or after 1 July 2011; and
  2. Australian Accounting Standards and Interpretations issued by the Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB) that apply for the reporting period.

The financial statements have been prepared on an accrual basis and in accordance with the historical cost convention, except for certain assets and liabilities at fair value. Except where stated, no allowance is made for the effect of changing prices on the results or the financial position.

The financial statements are presented in Australian dollars and values are rounded to the nearest dollar unless otherwise specified.

Unless an alternative treatment is specifically required by an accounting standard or the FMOs, assets and liabilities are recognised in the Balance Sheet when and only when it is probable that future economic benefits will flow to the Institute or a future sacrifice of economic benefits will be required and the amounts of the assets or liabilities can be reliably measured. However, assets and liabilities arising under executor contracts are not recognised unless required by an accounting standard. Liabilities and assets that are unrecognised are reported in the schedule of commitments.

Unless alternative treatment is specifically required by an accounting standard, income and expenses are recognised in the Statement of Comprehensive Income when and only when the flow, consumption or loss of economic benefits has occurred and can be reliably measured.

1.3 Significant accounting judgements and estimates

No accounting assumptions or estimates have been identified that have a significant risk of causing a material adjustment to the carrying amounts of assets and liabilities within the next reporting period.

1.4 New Australian Accounting Standards

Adoption of new Australian Accounting Standard requirements

No accounting standard has been adopted earlier than the application date as stated in the standard.

Of the new standards, amendments to standards and interpretations issued prior to the signoff date and are applicable to the current reporting period, none have had a financial impact, and are not expected to have a future financial impact on the Institute.

Future Australian Accounting Standard requirements

Of the new standards, amendments to standards and interpretations that were issued by the Australian Accounting Standards Board prior to the signoff date and are applicable to the future reporting period and none are expected to have a future financial impact on the Institute.

1.5 Revenue

Revenue from the sale of goods is recognised when:

  1. the risks and rewards of ownership have been transferred to the buyer;
  2. the Institute retains no managerial involvement nor effective control over the goods;
  3. the revenue and transaction costs incurred can be reliably measured; and
  4. it is probable that the economic benefits associated with the transaction will flow to the Institute.

The Institute receives contract revenue by conducting high-quality research relevant to policy and practice on a broad range of issues regarding families in Australia for various stakeholders. The key stakeholders comprise mainly other Commonwealth agencies, State Government agencies as well as non-government entities.

Revenue from rendering of contract services is recognised by reference to the stage of completion of contracts at the reporting date. The revenue is recognised when:

  1. the amount of revenue, stage of completion and transaction costs incurred can be reliably measured; and
  2. the probable economic benefits associated with the transaction will flow to the Institute.

The stage of completion of contracts at the reporting date is determined by reference to either:

  1. services performed to date as a percentage of total services to be performed;
  2. the proportion that costs incurred to date bear to the estimated total costs of the transaction; or
  3. milestone achieved against provision in the contract.

Copyright royalty revenue for the use of the Institute's publications and bibliographic databases is recognised on an accrual basis.

Cost recovery which relates mainly to Comcare receipts and sponsorships of travel expenses is recognised on an accrual basis.

Receivables for goods and services, which have 30-day terms, are recognised at the nominal amounts due, less any impairment allowance account. Collectability of debts is reviewed at the end of the reporting period. Allowances are made when collectability of the debt is no longer probable.

Revenue from Government

Amounts appropriated for departmental appropriations for the year (adjusted for any formal additions and reductions) are recognised as Revenue from Government when the Institute gains control of the appropriation, except for certain amounts that relate to activities that are reciprocal in nature, in which case revenue is recognised only when it has been earned. Appropriations receivable are recognised at their nominal amounts.

1.6 Gains
Resources received free of charge

Resources received free of charge are recognised as gains when, and only when, a fair value can be reliably determined and the services would have been purchased if they had not been donated. Use of those resources is recognised as an expense. Resources received free of charge are recorded as either revenue or gains depending on their nature.

Contributions of assets at no cost of acquisition or for nominal consideration are recognised as gains at their fair value when the asset qualifies for recognition, unless received from another Government entity as a consequence of a restructuring of administrative arrangements (refer to Note 1.7). The Institute did not receive any contribution of assets in 2011-12 or 2010-11.

Sale of assets

Gains from disposal of assets are recognised when control of the asset has passed to the buyer.

1.7 Transactions with the Government as owner
Equity injections

Amounts appropriated which are designated as "equity injections" for a year (less any formal reductions) and Departmental Capital Budgets (DCBs) are recognised directly in contributed equity.

Restructuring of administrative arrangements

Net assets received from or relinquished to another Government entity under a restructuring of administrative arrangements are adjusted at their book value directly against contributed equity. The Institute was not involved in any restructuring of administrative arrangements in 2011-12 or 2010-11.

Other distributions to owners

The FMOs require that distributions to owners be debited to contributed equity unless in the nature of a dividend. There was no distribution to owners in 2011-12 or 2010-11.

1.8 Employee benefits

Liabilities for "short-term employee benefits" (as defined in AASB 119 Employee Benefits) and termination benefits due within twelve months of the end of reporting period are measured at their nominal amounts.

The nominal amount is calculated with regard to the rates expected to be paid on settlement of the liability.

Other long-term employee benefits are measured as net total of the present value of the defined benefit obligation at the end of the reporting period minus the fair value at the end of the reporting period of plan assets (if any) out of which the obligations are to be settled directly.

Leave

The liability for employee benefits includes provision for annual leave and long service leave. No provision has been made for sick leave as all sick leave is non-vesting and the average sick leave taken in future years by employees of the Institute is estimated to be less than the annual entitlement for sick leave.

The leave liabilities are calculated on the basis of employees' remuneration at the estimated salary rates that will be applied at the time the leave is taken, including the Institute's employer superannuation contribution rates to the extent that the leave is likely to be taken during service rather than paid out on termination.

The liability for long service leave has been determined by use of the Department of Finance and Deregulation's shorthand method using the Standard Commonwealth sector probability profile. The estimate of the present value of the liability takes into account attrition rates and pay increases through promotion and inflation.

Separation and redundancy

No provision has been made for separation and redundancy benefit payments as the Institute has not formally identified any positions as excess to requirements at 30 June 2012 (2011: nil).

Superannuation

The majority of the staff of the Institute are members of the Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme (CSS), the Public Sector Superannuation Scheme (PSS) or the PSS accumulation plan (PSSap).

The CSS and PSS are defined benefit schemes for the Australian Government. The PSSap is a defined contribution scheme.

The liability for defined benefits is recognised in the financial statements of the Australian Government and is settled by the Australian Government in due course. This liability is reported in the Department of Finance and Deregulations administered schedules and notes.

The Institute makes employer contributions to the employees' superannuation scheme at rates determined by an actuary to be sufficient to meet the current cost to the Government. The Institute accounts for the contributions as if they were contributions to defined contribution plans.

The liability for superannuation recognised as at 30 June represents outstanding contributions for the final fortnight of the year.

1.9 Leases

A distinction is made between finance leases and operating leases. Finance leases effectively transfer from the lessor to the lessee substantially all the risks and rewards incidental to ownership of leased assets. An operating lease is a lease that is not a finance lease. In operating leases, the lessor effectively retains substantially all such risks and benefits. Operating lease payments are expensed on a straight-line basis which is representative of the pattern of benefits derived from the leased assets.

The Institute has no finance leases.

1.10 Cash

Cash is recognised at its nominal amount. Cash and cash equivalents includes:

  1. cash on hand; and
  2. demand deposits in bank accounts with an original maturity of 3 months or less that are readily convertible to known amounts of cash and subject to insignificant risk of changes in value.
1.11 Financial assets

The Institute classifies its financial assets as loans and receivables.

The classification depends on the nature and purpose of the financial asset and is determined at the time of initial recognition. Financial assets are recognised and derecognised upon "trade date".

Effective interest method

The effective interest method is a method of calculating the amortised cost of a financial asset and of allocating interest income over the relevant period. The effective interest rate is the rate that exactly discounts estimated future cash receipts through the expected life of the financial asset, or, where appropriate, a shorter period.

Income is recognised on an effective interest rate basis.

Loans and receivables

Trade receivables, loans and other receivables that have fixed or determinable payments that are not quoted in an active market are classified as "loans and receivables". Loans and receivables are measured at amortised cost using the effective interest method less impairment. Interest is recognised by applying the effective interest rate.

Impairment of financial assets

Financial assets are assessed for impairment at end of each reporting period.

Financial assets held at amortised cost - if there is objective evidence that an impairment loss has been incurred for loans and receivables held at amortised cost, the amount of the loss is measured as the difference between the asset's carrying amount and the present value of estimated future cash flows discounted at the asset's original effective interest rate. The carrying amount is reduced by way of an allowance account. The loss is recognised in the statement of comprehensive income.

1.12 Financial liabilities

The Institute classifies its financial liabilities as "other financial liabilities". This comprises suppliers and other payables that are recognised at amortised cost. Liabilities are recognised to the extent that the goods or services have been received (and irrespective of having been invoiced).

Financial liabilities are recognised and derecognised upon "trade date".

1.13 Contingent liabilities and contingent assets

Contingent liabilities and contingent assets are not recognised in the Balance Sheet but are reported in the relevant schedules and notes. They may arise from uncertainty as to the existence of a liability or asset or represent an asset or liability in respect of which the amount cannot be reliably measured. Contingent assets are disclosed when settlement is probable but not virtually certain and contingent liabilities are disclosed when settlement is greater than remote.

To the best of the Institute's knowledge, it was not exposed to any unrecognised contingencies that would have a material effect on the financial statements in 2011-12 or 2010-11.

1.14 Acquisition of assets

Assets are recorded at cost on acquisition except as stated below. The cost of acquisition includes the fair value of assets transferred in exchange and liabilities undertaken. Financial assets are initially measured at their fair value plus transaction costs where appropriate.

Assets acquired at no cost, or for nominal consideration, are initially recognised as assets and income at their fair value at the date of acquisition, unless acquired as a consequence of restructuring of administrative arrangements. In the latter case, assets are initially recognised as contributions by owners at the amounts at which they were recognised in the transferor's accounts immediately prior to the restructuring.

1.15 Leasehold improvements, plant and equipment

Asset recognition threshold

Purchases of leasehold improvements, plant and equipment are recognised initially at cost in the balance sheet, except for purchases costing less than $1,000, which are expensed in the year of acquisition (other than where they form part of a group of similar items which are significant in total).

The initial cost of an asset includes an estimate of the cost of dismantling and removing the item and restoring the site on which it is located.

Revaluations

Fair values for each class of asset are determined as shown below:

Asset class Fair value measured at
Leasehold improvements Depreciated replacement cost
Plant and equipment Market selling price

Following initial recognition at cost, leasehold improvements, plant and equipment were carried at fair value less subsequent accumulated depreciation and accumulated impairment losses. Valuations were conducted with sufficient frequency to ensure that the carrying amounts of assets do not differ materially from the assets' fair values as at the reporting date. The regularity of independent valuations depends upon the volatility of movements in market values for the relevant assets.

Revaluation adjustments are made on a class basis. Any revaluation increment is credited to equity under the heading of asset revaluation reserve except to the extent that it reverses a previous revaluation decrement of the same asset class that was previously recognised in the surplus/deficit. Revaluation decrements for a class of assets are recognised directly in the surplus/deficit except to the extent that they reverse a previous revaluation increment for that class.

Any accumulated depreciation as at the revaluation date is eliminated against the gross carrying amount of the asset and the asset restated to the revalued amount.

Depreciation

Depreciable leasehold improvements, plant and equipment assets are written-off to their estimated residual values over their estimated useful lives to the Institute using, in all cases, the straight-line method of depreciation.

Depreciation rates (useful lives), residual values and methods are reviewed at each reporting date and necessary adjustments are recognised in the current, or current and future reporting periods, as appropriate.

Depreciation rates applying to each class of depreciable asset are based on the following useful lives:

  2012 2011
Leasehold improvements Lease term Lease term
Plant and equipment 3 to 15 years 3 to 15 years
Impairment

All assets were assessed for impairment at 30 June 2012. Where indications of impairment exist, the asset's recoverable amount is estimated and an impairment adjustment made if the asset's recoverable amount is less than its carrying amount.

The recoverable amount of an asset is the higher of its fair value less costs to sell and its value in use. Value in use is the present value of the future cash flows expected to be derived from the asset. Where the future economic benefit of an asset is not primarily dependent on the asset's ability to generate future cash flows, and the asset would be replaced if the Institute were deprived of the asset, its value in use is taken to be its depreciated replacement cost.

Derecognition

An item of leasehold improvements, plant and equipment is derecognised upon disposal or when no further future economic benefits are expected from its use or disposal.

1.16 Intangibles

The Institute's intangibles comprise commercially purchased software. These assets are carried at cost less accumulated amortisation and accumulated impairment losses.

Software is amortised on a straight-line basis over its anticipated useful life. The useful lives of the Institute's software are 3 to 5 years (2010-11: 3 to 5 years).

All software assets were assessed for indications of impairment as at 30 June 2012.

1.17 Taxation

The Institute is exempt from all forms of taxation except Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) and the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Revenues, expenses and assets are recognised net of GST except:

a) where the amount of GST incurred is not recoverable from the Australian Taxation Office; and

b) for receivables and payables.

Note 2: Events after the reporting period

There were no significant events after the reporting period that would significantly affect the ongoing structure and financial activities of the Institute.

Note 3: Expenses

Note 3A: Employee benefits
  2012
$
2011
$
Wages and salaries 5,341,213 4,836,631
Superannuation:    
Defined contribution plans 562,341 454,717
Defined benefit plans 375,879 355,910
Leave and other entitlements 917,729 914,502
Other employee benefits 122,759 112,660
Total employee benefits 7,319,921 6,674,420
Note 3B: Suppliers
  2012
$
2011
$
Goods and services
Consultants 225,320 202,798
Contractors 1,506,732 1,598,099
Stationery 42,775 58,150
Total goods and services 1,774,827 1,859,047
Goods and services are made up of:
Provision of goods - related entities 9,353 9,768
Provision of goods - external parties 129,233 173,682
Rendering of services - related entities 104,257 89,458
Rendering of services - external parties 1,531,984 1,586,139
Total goods and services 1,774,827 1,859,047
Other supplier expenses
Operating lease rentals - external parties:
Minimum lease payments 555,449 558,705
Workers compensation expenses 61,397 42,232
Total other supplier expenses 616,846 600,937
Total supplier expenses 2,391,673 2,459,984
Note 3C: Depreciation and amortisation
  2012
$
2011
$
Depreciation:    
Leasehold improvements 62,755 62,718
Plant and equipment 229,717 220,715
Total depreciation 292,472 283,433
Amortisation:    
Intangibles:    
Computer software 6,877 13,253
Total amortisation 6,877 13,253
Total depreciation and amortisation 299,349 296,686
Note 3D: Losses from asset sales
  2012
$
2011
$
Plant and equipment:
Proceeds from sale - -
Carrying value of assets sold 6,186 1,173
Selling expense - -
Total losses from asset sales 6,186 1,173

Note 4: Income

OWN-SOURCE REVENUE
Note 4A: Sale of goods and rendering of services
  2012
$
2011
$
Provision of goods - related entities 1,273 480
Provision of goods - external parties 47,561 37,200
Rendering of services - related entities 5,122,182 4,416,500
Rendering of services - external parties 660,132 1,000,211
Total sale of goods and rendering of services 5,831,148 5,454,391
Note 4B: Royalties
  2012
$
2011
$
Copyright 130,830 40,019
Total royalties 130,830 40,019
Note 4C: Other revenue
  2012
$
2011
$
Cost recovery 48,211 99,881
Other 12,281 1,856
Total other revenue 60,492 101,737
GAINS
Note 4D: Other gains
  2012
$
2011
$
Resources received free of charge 22,500 22,500
Total other gains 22,500 22,500
REVENUE FROM GOVERNMENT
Note 4E: Revenue from Government
  2012
$
2011
$
Appropriations:
Departmental appropriations 3,512,000 3,518,000
Total revenue from Government 3,512,000 3,518,000

Note 5: Financial assets

Note 5A: Cash and cash equivalents
  2012
$
2011
$
Cash at bank 3,555,434 384,860
Cash on hand - 500
Total cash and cash equivalents 3,555,434 385,360

The Institute received large amounts of Section 31 receipts at the end of June 2012. These were returned to Official Public Account on 3rd July 2012.

Note 5B: Trade and other receivables
  2012
$
2011
$
Good and services:
Goods and services - related entities 176,605 360,252
Goods and services - external parties 322,305 200,428
Total receivables for goods and services 498,910 560,680
Appropriations receivable:
For existing programs 3,640,476 3,972,101
Total appropriations receivable 3,640,476 3,972,101
Other receivables:
Other receivables 22,768 16,723
Total other receivables 22,768 16,723
Total trade and other receivables 4,162,154 4,549,504
Receivables are expected to be recovered in:
No more than 12 months 4,161,963 4,549,136
More than 12 months 191 368
Total trade and other receivables 4,162,154 4,549,504
Receivables are aged as follows:
Not overdue 4,120,780 4,548,316
Overdue by:
0 to 30 days 5,099 1,188
31 to 60 days 36,000 -
61 to 90 days 77 -
More than 90 days 198 -
Total receivables 4,162,154 4,549,504

Note 6: Non-financial assets

Note 6A: Leasehold improvements
  2012
$
2011
$
Leasehold improvements:
Fair value 421,140 421,140
Accumulated depreciation (125,472) (62,718)
Total leasehold improvements 295,668 358,422

No indicators of impairment were found for leasehold improvements.

No leasehold improvements are expected to be sold or disposed of within the next 12 months.

Note 6B: Plant and equipment
  2012
$
2011
$
Plant and equipment:
Fair value 1,414,930 1,171,812
Accumulated depreciation (431,353) (222,349)
Total plant and equipment 983,577 949,463

No indicators of impairment were found for plant and equipment.

No plant and equipment is expected to be sold or disposed of within the next 12 months.

Revaluations of non-financial assets

The Institute conducts revaluation of non-financial assets every three years. No revaluation was conducted in 2012.

All revaluations were conducted in accordance with the revaluation policy stated at Note 1. In 2009-10, an independent valuer conducted the revaluations.

During 2009-10, write-downs of $14,018 for leasehold improvements and write-downs of $70,437 for plant and equipment resulting from the revaluations were recognised as an expense.

Note 6C: Reconciliation of the opening and closing balances of leasehold improvements, plant and equipment (2012)
  Leasehold improvements
$
Plant & equipment
$
Total
$
As at 1 July 2011
Gross book value 421,140 1,171,812 1,592,952
Accumulated depreciation and impairment (62,718) (222,349) (285,067)
Net book value 1 July 2011 358,422 949,463 1,307,885
Additions   270,018 270,018
Disposal   (26,900) (26,900)
Depreciation expense (62,754) (229,718) (292,472)
Accumulated depreciation on disposals - 20,714 20,714
Net book value 30 June 2012 295,668 983,577 1,279,245
Net book value as of 30 June 2012 represented by:
Gross book value 421,140 1,414,930 1,836,070
Accumulated depreciation and impairment (125,472) (431,353) (556,825)
Net book value 30 June 2012 295,668 983,577 1,279,245
As at 1 July 2010
Gross book value 416,200 1,078,266 1,494,466
Accumulated depreciation and impairment - (1,661) (1,661)
Net book value 1 July 2010 416,200 1,076,605 1,492,805
Additions 4,940 94,746 99,686
Revaluations recognised in the operating result - - -
Depreciation expense (62,718) (220,715) (283,433)
Disposals:
Other - (1,173) (1,173)
Net book value 30 June 2011 358,422 949,463 1,307,885
Net book value as of 30 June 2011 represented by:
Gross book value 421,140 1,171,812 1,592,952
Accumulated depreciation and impairment (62,718) (222,349) (285,067)
Net book value 30 June 2011 358,422 949,463 1,307,885
Note 6D: Intangibles
  2012
$
2011
$
Computer software:
Purchased 154,760 107,788
Total computer software 154,760 107,788
Accumulated amortisation (110,926) (104,049)
Total computer software 43,834 3,739
Total intangibles 43,834 3,739

No indicators of impairment were found for intangible assets.

No intangibles is expected to be sold or disposed of within the next 12 months.

Note 6E: Reconciliation of the Opening and Closing Balances of Intangibles (2012)

Computer software purchased
$

As at 1 July 2011
Gross book value 107,788
Accumulated amortisation and impairment (104,050)
Net book value 1 July 2011 3,738
Additions 46,972
Amortisation (6,876)
Net book value 30 June 2012 43,834
Net book value as of 30 June 2012 represented by:
Gross book value 154,760
Accumulated amortisation and impairment (110,926)
Net book value 30 June 2012 43,834
As at 1 July 2010
Gross book value 107,788
Accumulated amortisation and impairment (90,796)
Net book value 1 July 2010 16,992
Amortisation (13,253)
Net book value 30 June 2011 3,739
Net book value as of 30 June 2011 represented by:
Gross book value 107,788
Accumulated amortisation and impairment (104,049)
Net book value 30 June 2011 3,739
Note 6F: Other non-financial assets
  2012
$
2011
$
Prepayments 219,411 93,963
Total other non-financial assets 219,411 93,963
Total other non-financial assets - are expected to be recovered in:
No more than 12 months 212,092 86,006
More than 12 months 7,319 7,957
Total other non-financial assets 219,411 93,963

No indicators of impairment were found for other non-financial assets.

Note 7: Payables

Note 7A: Suppliers
  2012
$
2011
$
Trade creditors and accruals 190,219 241,906
Total supplier payables 190,219 241,906
Supplier payables expected to be settled within 12 months:
Related entities 2,012 14,193
External parties 188,207 227,713
Total supplier payables 190,219 241,906

Settlement was usually made within 30 days.

Note 7B: Other payables
  2012
$
2011
$
Wages and salaries 164,071 155,479
Superannuation 29,085 20,257
Unearned income 4,699,945 1,724,832
Lease incentive 429,800 521,900
Lease payable 229,227 223,993
GST payable 253,136 140,374
Other (367) 5,119
Total other payables 5,804,897 2,791,954
Total other payables are expected to be settled in:
No more than 12 months 5,225,150 2,140,336
More than 12 months 579,747 651,618
Total other payables 5,804,897 2,791,954

Note 8: Provisions

Note 8A: Employee provisions
  2012
$
2011
$
Leave 1,791,214 1,577,684
Total employee provisions 1,791,214 1,577,684
Employee provisions are expected to be settled in:
No more than 12 months 399,643 349,601
More than 12 months 1,391,571 1,228,083
Total employee provisions 1,791,214 1,577,684

Note 9: Cash flow reconciliation

  2012
$
2011
$
Reconciliation of cash and cash equivalents as per Balance Sheet to Cash Flow Statement
Report cash and cash equivalents as per:    
Cash Flow Statement 3,555,434 385,360
Balance Sheet 3,555,434 385,360
Difference - -
Reconciliation of net cost of services to net cash from operating activities:
Net cost of services (3,972,159) (3,813,616)
Add revenue from Government 3,512,000 3,518,000
Adjustments for non-cash items
Depreciation / amortisation 299,349 296,686
Net loss on disposal of assets 6,186 1,173
Changes in assets / liabilities
(Increase) / decrease in net receivables 275,359 (556,782)
(Increase) / decrease in prepayments (125,448) 92,124
Increase / (decrease) in employee provisions 230,949 166,021
Increase / (decrease) in supplier payables (48,225) 86,770
Increase / (decrease) in unearned income 2,975,114 692,270
Increase / (decrease) in lease incentive (92,100) (92,100)
Increase / (decrease) in lease payable 5,235 23,877
Increase / (decrease) in GST payable 112,761 14,400
Increase / (decrease) in other payables (8,947) (113,963)
Net cash from (used by) operating activities 3,170,074 314,860

Note 10: Senior executive remuneration

Note 10A: Senior executive remuneration expense for the reporting period
  2012
$
2011
$
Short-term employee benefits:
Salary 597,559 459,304
Annual leave accrued 48,524 27,128
Performance bonuses - 11,970
Motor vehicle and other allowances 46,000 22,972
Total short-term employee benefits 692,083 521,374
Post-employment benefits:
Superannuation 113,946 65,886
Total post-employment benefits 113,946 65,886
Other long-term benefits:
Long-service leave 21,836 17,334
Total other long-term benefits 21,836 17,334
Termination benefits - -
Total employee benefits 827,865 604,594

Notes:

  1. Note 10A was prepared on an accrual basis (therefore the performance bonus expenses disclosed above differ from the cash "Bonus paid" in Note 10B). In addition, performance bonuses for SES were discontinued from 1 January 2011; this has been rolled into salary.
  2. Note 10A excludes acting arrangements and part-year service where total remuneration expensed for a senior executive was less than $150,000.
Note 10B: 2012 average annual reportable remuneration paid to substantive senior executives during the reporting period
Average annual reportable remuneration 1 Senior executives
No.
Reportable salary2
$
Contributed superannuation3
$
Reportable allowances4
$
Bonus paid5
$
Total
$
Total remuneration (including part-time arrangements):
Less than $150,000 - - - - - -
$150,000 to $179,999 - - - - - -
$180,000 to $209,999 2 153,900 28,947 23,000 - 205,847
$210,000 to $239,999 - - - - - -
$240,000 to $269,999 - - - - - -
$270,000 to $299,999 - - - - - -
$300,000 to $329,999 - - - - - -
$330,000 to $359,999 1 284,769 48,497 - - 333,266
$480,000 to $509,999 - - - - - -
Total 3          

 

Note 10B: 2011 average annual reportable remuneration paid to substantive senior executives during the reporting period
Average annual reportable remuneration1 Senior executives
No.
Reportable salary2
$
Contributed superannuation3
$
Reportable allowances4
$
Bonus paid5
$
Total
$
Total remuneration (including part-time arrangements):
Less than $150,000 - - - - - -
$150,000 to $179,999 - - - - - -
$180,000 to $209,999 - - - - - -
$210,000 to $239,999 1 154,119 35,202 23,000 11,970 224,291
$240,000 to $269,999 - - - - - -
$270,000 to $299,999 - - - - - -
$300,000 to $329,999 1 287,444 21,544 - - 308,988
$330,000 to $359,999 - - - - - -
$480,000 to $509,999 - - - - - -
Total 2          

Notes:

1. This table reports substantive senior executives who received remuneration during the reporting period. Each row is an averaged figure based on head count for individuals in the band.

2. "Reportable salary" includes the following:

a) gross payments (less any bonuses paid, which are separated out and disclosed in the "bonus paid" column);

b) reportable fringe benefits (at the net amount prior to "grossing up" to account for tax).

3. The "contributed superannuation" amount is the average actual superannuation contributions paid to senior executives in that reportable remuneration band during the reporting period, including any salary sacrificed amounts, as per the individuals' payslips.

4. "Reportable allowances" are the average actual allowances paid as per the "total allowances" line on individuals' payment summaries.

5. "Bonus paid" represents average actual bonuses paid during the reporting period in that reportable remuneration band. The "bonus paid" within a particular band may vary between financial years due to various factors, such as individuals commencing with or leaving the Institute during the financial year.

6. Various salary sacrifice arrangements were available to senior executives, including superannuation, motor vehicle and expense payment fringe benefits. Salary sacrifice benefits are reported in the "reportable salary" column, excluding salary sacrificed superannuation, which is reported in the "contributed superannuation" column.

Note 10C: 2012 other highly paid staff
Average annual reportable remuneration1 Staff
No.
Reportable salary2
$
Contributed superannuation 3
$
Reportable allowances4
$
Bonus paid 5
$
Total
Total remuneration (including part-time arrangements):
$150,000 to $179,999 2 84,503 58,510 5,000 7,189 155,202
$180,000 to $209,999 - - - - - -
$210,000 to $239,999 - - - - - -
$240,000 to $269,999 - - - - - -
$270,000 to $299,999 - - - - - -
$300,000 to $329,999 - - - - - -
$330,000 to $359,999 - - - - - -
$480,000 to $509,999 - - - - - -
Total 2          
Note 10C: 2011 other highly paid staff
Average annual reportable remuneration1 Staff
No.
Reportable salary2
$
Contributed superannuation3
$
Reportable allowances4
$
Bonus paid5
$
Total
$
Total remuneration (including part-time arrangements):
$150,000 to $179,999 - - - - - -
$180,000 to $209,999 - - - - - -
$210,000 to $239,999 - - - - - -
$240,000 to $269,999 - - - - - -
$270,000 to $299,999 - - - - - -
$300,000 to $329,999 - - - - - -
$330,000 to $359,999 - - - - - -
$480,000 to $509,999 - - - - - -
Total -          

Notes:

1. This table reports staff:

a) who were employed by the entity during the reporting period;

b) whose reportable remuneration was $150,000 or more for the financial period; and

c) were not required to be disclosed in Tables A, B or director disclosures.

Each row is an averaged figure based on head count for individuals in the band.

2. "Reportable salary" includes the following:

a) gross payments (less any bonuses paid, which are separated out and disclosed in the "bonus paid" column);

b) reportable fringe benefits (at the net amount prior to "grossing up" to account for tax

3. The "contributed superannuation" amount is the average actual superannuation contributions paid to staff in that reportable remuneration band during the reporting period, including any salary sacrificed amounts, as per the individuals' payslips.

4. "Reportable allowances" are the average actual allowances paid as per the "total allowances" line on individuals' payment summaries.

5. "Bonus paid" represents average actual bonuses paid during the reporting period in that reportable remuneration band. The "bonus paid" within a particular band may vary between financial years due to various factors such as individuals commencing with or leaving the Institute during the financial year.

6. Various salary sacrifice arrangements were available to other highly paid staff including superannuation, motor vehicle and expense payment fringe benefits. Salary sacrifice benefits are reported in the "reportable salary" column, excluding salary sacrificed superannuation, which is reported in the "contributed superannuation" column.

Note 11: Remuneration of auditors

  2012
$
2011
$
Financial statement audit services were provided free of charge to the Institute by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO).
The fair value of the services provided was: 22,500 22,500
  22,500 22,500

No other services were provided by the auditors of the financial statements.

Note 12: Financial instruments

Note 12A: Categories of financial instruments
  2012
$
2011
$
Financial assets
Loans and receivables:
Cash on hand or on deposit 3,555,434 385,360
Trade and other receivables 521,678 577,403
Total 4,077,112 962,763
Carrying amount of financial assets 4,077,112 962,763
Financial liabilities
At amortised cost:
Supplier payables 151,854 200,080
Total 151,854 200,080
Carrying amount of financial liabilities 151,854 200,080
Note 12B: Net income and expense from financial assets

There was no income or expense from financial assets - loans and receivables in the financial year ended 30 June 2012 (2011 : nil).

Note 12C: Net income and expense from financial liabilities

There was no income or expense from financial liabilities - at amortised cost in the financial year ended 30 June 2012 (2011 : nil).

Note 12D: Fair value of financial instruments

There were no financial instruments held at 30 June 2012 where the carrying amount is not a reasonable approximation of fair value (2011: nil).

Note 12E: Credit risk

The Institute was exposed to minimal credit risk as loans and receivables were cash, trade and other receivables. The maximum exposure to credit risk is the risk that arises from potential default of a debtor. This amount is equal to the total amount of trade and other receivables (2012: $521,678 and 2011: $577,403). The Institute has assessed that there is no risk of default on payment.

The Institute manages its credit risk by undertaking background and credit checks prior to allowing a debtor relationship and has no significant exposures to any concentrations of credit risk.

No financial instruments were impaired in 2012 (2011: nil).

The Institute holds no collateral to mitigate against credit risk.

Credit quality of financial instruments not past due or individually determined as impaired
  Not past due nor impaired
2012
$
Not past due nor impaired
2011
$
Past due or impaired
2012
$
Past due or impaired
2011
$
Loans and receivables:
Cash and cash equivalents 3,555,434 385,360 - -
Trade and other receivables 480,304 576,215 41,374 1,188
Total 4,035,738 961,575 41,374 1,188
Ageing of financial assets that were past due but not impaired for 2012
  0 to 30 days
$
31 to 60 days
$
61 to 90 days
$
90+ days
$
Total
$
Loans and receivables:
Trade and other receivables 5,099 36,000 77 198 41,374
Total 5,099 36,000 77 198 41,374
Ageing of financial assets that were past due but not impaired for 2011
  0 to 30 days
$
31 to 60 days
$
61 to 90 days
$
90+ days
$
Total
$
Loans and receivables:
Trade and other receivables 1,188 - - - 1,188
Total 1,188 - - - 1,188
Note 12F: Liquidity risk

The Institute's financial liabilities were trade creditors. The exposure to liquidity risk is based on the notion that the Institute will encounter difficulty in meeting its obligations associated with financial liabilities.

This is highly unlikely as the Institute is funded by contract research revenue and receives appropriated funding from the Australian Government. The Institute manages its budgeted funds to ensure it has adequate funds to meet payments as they fall due. In addition, the Institute has policies in place to ensure timely payments are made when due and has no past experience of default.

All non-derivative financial liabilities mature within one year (2011: one year). The Institute has no derivative financial liabilities in either the current or prior year.

Note 12G: Market risk

The Institute holds basic financial instruments that do not expose the Institute to certain market risks.

The Institute was not exposed to "currency risk" , "interest rate risk" or "other price risk".

Note 13: Financial assets reconciliation

Financial assets Notes 2012
$
2011
$
Total financial assets as per balance sheet   7,717,588 4,934,864
Less: non-financial instrument components:      
Appropriations receivable 5B 3,640,476 3,972,101
Total non-financial instrument components   3,640,476 3,972,101
Total financial assets as per financial instruments note 12A 4,077,112 962,763

Note 14: Appropriations

Table A: 2011-2012 annual appropriations ("Recoverable GST exclusive")
  Appropriation Act FMA Act Total appropriation
$
Appropriation applied in 2012 (current and prior years)
$
Variance(b)
$
Annual appropriation
$
Appropriations reduced(a)
$
Section 30
$
Section 31
$
Departmental
Ordinary annual services 3,717,000 - - 9,051,856 12,768,856 10,043,169 2,725,687
Total departmental 3,717,000 - - 9,051,856 12,768,856 10,043,169 2,725,687

Notes:

  1. Appropriations reduced under Appropriation Acts (No. 1, 3, 5) 2011-12: sections 10, 11, 12 and 15 and under Appropriation Acts (No. 2, 4, 6) 2011-12: sections 12, 13 and 14. Departmental appropriations do not lapse at financial year-end. However, the responsible Minister may decide that part or all of a departmental appropriation is not required and request that the Finance Minister reduce that appropriation. The reduction in the appropriation is effected by the Finance Minister's determination and is disallowable by Parliament. In 2012, there was no reduction in departmental and non-operating departmental appropriations.
  2. The variance is due to timing differences of receipt of funding and the appropriation applied.

In 2011-12, there were no adjustments that met the recognition criteria of a formal addition or reduction in revenue (in accordance with FMO Div 101), but at law the appropriations had not been appropriations had not been amended before the end of the reporting period.

Table A: 2010-2011 annual appropriations ("Recoverable GST exclusive")
  Appropriation Act FMA Act Total appropriation
$
Appropriation applied in 2012 (current and prior years)
$
Variance(b)
$
Annual appropriation
$
Appropriations reduced(a)
$
Section 30
$
Section 31
$
Departmental
Ordinary annual services 3,748,000 - - 6,394,076 10,142,076 9,048,861 1,093,215
Total departmental 3,748,000 - - 6,394,076 10,142,076 9,048,861 1,093,215

Notes:

  1. Appropriations reduced under Appropriation Acts (No. 1, 3) 2010-11: sections 10, 11, 12 and 15 under Appropriation Acts (No. 2, 4) 2010-11: sections 12, 13, 14 and 17. Departmental appropriations do not lapse at financial year-end. However, the responsible Minister may decide that part or all of a departmental appropriation is not required and request that the Finance Minister reduce that appropriation. The reduction in the appropriation is effected by the Finance Minister's determination and is disallowable by Parliament. In 2011, there was no reduction in departmental and non-operating departmental appropriations.
  2. The variance is due to timing differences of receipt of funding and the appropriation applied.

In 2010-11, there were no adjustments that met the recognition criteria of a formal addition or reduction in revenue (in accordance with FMO Div 101), but at law the appropriations had not been amended before the end of the reporting period.

Table B: 2012 departmental and administered capital budgets ("Recoverable GST exclusive")
  2012 capital budget appropriations Capital budget appropriations applied in 2012
(current and prior years)
Variance
$
Appropriation Act FMA Act Total capital budget appropriations
$
Payments for non-financial assets3
$
Payments for other purposes
$
Total payments
$
Annual capital budget
$
Appropriations reduced2
$
Section 32
$
Departmental
Ordinary annual services - Departmental Capital Budget1 205,000 - - 205,000 (316,991) - (316,991) (111,991)

Notes:

  1. Departmental and administered capital budgets are appropriated through Appropriation Acts (No. 1, 3, 5). They form part of ordinary annual services, and are not separately identified in the Appropriation Acts. For more information on ordinary annual services appropriations, please see Table A: Annual appropriations.
  2. Appropriations reduced under Appropriation Acts (No. 1, 3, 5) 2011-12: sections 10, 11, 12 and 15 or via a determination by the Finance Minister.
  3. Payments made on non-financial assets include purchases of assets, expenditure on assets which has been capitalised, costs incurred to make good an asset to its original condition, and the capital repayment component of finance leases.
Table B: 2011 departmental and administered capital budgets ("Recoverable GST exclusive")
  2011 capital budget appropriations Capital budget appropriations applied in 2011
(current and prior years)
Variance
$
Appropriation Act FMA Act Total capital budget appropriations
$
Payments for non-financial assets3
$
Payments for other purposes
$
Total payments
$
Annual capital budget
$
Appropriations reduced2
$
Section 32
$
Departmental
Ordinary annual services - Departmental Capital Budget1 230,000 - - 230,000 (99,686) - (99,686) 130,314

Notes:

  1. Departmental and administered capital budgets are appropriated through Appropriation Acts (No. 1, 3, 5). They form part of ordinary annual services, and are not separately identified in the Appropriation Acts. For more information on ordinary annual services appropriations, please see Table A: Annual appropriations.
  2. Appropriations reduced under Appropriation Acts (No. 1, 3, 5) 2010-11: sections 10, 11, 12 and 15 or via a determination by the Finance Minister.
  3. Payments made on non-financial assets include purchases of assets, expenditure on assets which has been capitalised, costs incurred to make good an asset to its original condition, and the capital repayment component of finance leases.
Table C: Unspent departmental annual appropriations ("Recoverable GST exclusive")
Authority 2012
$
2011
$
Appropriation Act (No. 1) 2011-12 6,943,244 -
Appropriation Act (No. 1) 2010-11 - 4,211,882
Total 6,943,244 4,211,882

Note 15: Special accounts

  2012
$
2011
$
Increases: - -
Appropriation credited to special account - -
Costs recovered - -
Realised investments - -
Other receipts - -
Other receipts - -
Total increases - -
Available for payments - -
Decreases: - -
Departmental - -
Payments made - -
Investments made from the special account (FMA Act section 39) - -
Payments made to suppliers - -
Payments made to employees - -
Payments made to competitive neutrality - -
Total departmental decreases - -
Special public money - -
Payments made - -
Investments made from the special account (FMA Act section 39) - -
Payments made to others - -
Total special public money decreases - -
Total decreases - -
Total balance carried to the next period - -

Section 83 of the Constitution provides that no amount may be paid out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund except under an appropriation made by law. The Department of Finance and Deregulation provided information to all agencies in 2011 regarding the need for risk assessment in relation to compliance with statutory conditions on payments from special appropriations, including special accounts. The Institute does not have special appropriations. The Special Account was abolished on 19 October 2010 and there were no transactions in 2010-11. Therefore the risk of non-compliance has been assessed as low.

Note 16: Compensation and debt relief

Departmental 2012
$
2011
$
No "Act of Grace payments" were expended during the reporting period (2011: nil). - -
No waivers of amounts owing to the Australian Government were made pursuant to subsection 34(1) of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (2011: nil). - -
No payments were provided under the Compensation for Detriment caused by Defective Administration (CDDA) Scheme during the reporting period (2011: nil). - -
No ex-gratia payments were provided for during the reporting period (2011: nil). - -
No payments were provided in special circumstances relating to APS employment pursuant to section 73 of the Public Service Act 1999 during the reporting period (2011: nil). - -

Note 17: Reporting of outcomes

Outcome 1
Note 17A: Net cost of outcome delivery
  2012
$
2011
$
Departmental    
Expenses 10,017,129 9,432,263
Income from non-government sector:    
Activities subject to cost recovery (707,693) (1,037,411)
Goods and services income (5,123,455) (4,416,980)
Other own-source income (213,822) (164,256)
Net cost/(contribution) of outcome delivery 3,972,159 3,813,616
Note 17B: Major classes of departmental expense, income, assets and liabilities by outcomes
  2012
$
2011
$
Departmental expenses:    
Employees 7,319,921 6,674,420
Suppliers 2,391,673 2,459,984
Depreciation and amortisation 299,349 296,686
Net loss from disposal of assets 6,186 1,173
Total 10,017,129 9,432,263
Departmental income:    
Sale of goods and services 5,831,148 5,454,391
Income from government 3,512,000 3,518,000
Other non-taxation revenues 191,322 141,756
Other gains 22,500 22,500
Total 9,556,970 9,136,647
Departmental assets:    
Cash and cash equivalents 3,555,434 385,360
Trade and other receivables 4,162,154 4,549,504
Buildings - leasehold improvements 295,668 358,422
Plant and equipment 983,577 949,463
Intangibles 43,834 3,739
Other non-financial assets 219,411 93,963
Total 9,260,078 6,340,451
Departmental liabilities:    
Suppliers 190,219 241,906
Other payables 5,804,897 2,791,954
Employee provisions 1,791,214 1,577,684
Total 7,786,330 4,611,544

Outcome 1 is described in Note 1.1. Net costs shown included intra-government costs that were eliminated in calculating the actual budget outcome.

Note 18: Net cash appropriation arrangements

  2012
$
2011
$
Total comprehensive profit less depreciation/amortisation expenses previously funded through revenue appropriations 582 (65,616)
Plus: depreciation/amortisation expenses previously funded through revenue appropriations 299,349 230,000
Plus: Operating loss arising from the impact of employee provisions from the decrease in the government bond rate 161,392 -
Total comprehensive income (loss) - as per Statement of Comprehensive Income (460,159) (295,616)
Appendix A: Other mandatory information

Appendix A: Other mandatory information

Work health and safety

The Institute is committed to providing and maintaining a safe and healthy workplace, and meeting its responsibilities under the Occupational Health and Safety (Commonwealth Employment) Act 1991. See Chapter 4: Management and Accountability for the Institute's occupational health and safety policies, processes and performance.

Advertising and market research

The following table provides details of advertising and market research expenditure of $11,200 or greater (inclusive of GST), as required by Section 311A of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

Table A.1 Institute expenditure on advertising and market research of $11,200 or greater (inc. GST), 2011-12
  Vendor Total payments for 2011-12
Direct mail organisations Mailcare Systems Pty Ltd $16,137.43

There were no payments made to advertising agencies, market research or polling organisations in relation to advertising. No advertising campaigns were undertaken.

Ecologically sustainable development and environmental performance

Institute management and staff are committed to the principles of ecologically sustainable development. In accordance with government guidelines, AIFS participated in Earth Hour during the year, although it is worth noting that it is Institute practice to always turn off non-essential lighting and appliances.

The Institute's operations have the following environmental impacts and Institute staff have taken the specified initiatives to minimise their impact:

  • In 2011-12, electricity consumption within our tenancy (causing emissions to the air and use of resources) increased by 2% compared to the previous period. This compares to a 9% decrease in 2010-11 and an 18% decrease in 2009-10, compared to the first year of our tenancy in 2008-09. The Institute continued to reinforce the practice of shutting down computers at the end of the day, encouraging staff to switch off lights when not needed and continuing the removal of excess lighting.
  • The Institute uses 20% wind power, thus reducing emissions and resource use.
  • All office equipment conforms to environmental standards.
  • Adverse effects due to transport (causing emissions to the air and use of resources) are primarily due to domestic airline flights. Staff are encouraged to use webinar, video and teleconference facilities where possible. Selected seminar presentations are made available electronically so that people do not have to travel to the Institute to hear them.
  • Paper consumption (use of natural resources) is minimised by use of recycled paper and ensuring that the office printers default to using both sides of the paper. Paper use (number of printer/copier impressions) decreased by 15% in 2011-12 compared to the previous period. This follows a 15% decrease in 2010-11 compared to the previous period.
  • Waste generation (resource waste and emissions to the air) is reduced by recycling paper, cardboard, glass, plastics and metals.
  • Water consumption (use of natural resources) has been minimised by using water- saving facilities.

Disability reporting

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 from the commission's website <www.apsc.gov.au>. Since 2010-11, departments and agencies have no longer been required to report on these functions.

The Commonwealth Disability Strategy has been overtaken by a new National Disability Strategy that sets out a ten-year national policy framework for improving life for Australians with disability, their families and carers. A high-level report to track progress for people with disability at a national level will be produced by the Standing Council on Community, Housing and Disability Services to the Council of Australian Governments and will be available from FaHCSIA's website <www.fahcsia.gov.au>. The Social Inclusion Measurement and Reporting Strategy agreed by the Government in December 2009 will also include some reporting on disability matters in its regular How Australia is Faring report and, if appropriate, in strategic change indicators in agency Annual Reports. More detail on social inclusion matters can be found on the Social Inclusion website <www.socialinclusion.gov.au>.

Information Publication Scheme

Agencies subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) are required to publish information to the public as part of the Information Publication Scheme (IPS). This requirement is in Part II of the FOI Act and has replaced the former requirement to publish a section 8 statement in an annual report. Each agency must display on its website a plan showing what information it publishes in accordance with the IPS requirements.

The Institute provides an Information Publication Plan on its IPS web page <www.aifs.gov.au/common/ips/>, which links to key published information about the Institute. The AIFS website also contains a disclosure log that clearly identifies and provides access to any documents to which we give access in response to FOI requests.

No requests were made of the Institute this year for information under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

Contact details

FOI Contact Officer, Australian Institute of Family Studies, Level 20, 485 La Trobe Street, Melbourne VIC 3000,

Contact the FOI Contact Officer, phone: 03 9214 7888, fax: 03 9214 7839.

Appendix B: Agency resource statements and expenses by outcomes

Appendix B: Agency resource statements and expenses by outcomes

Agency resource statement 2011-12

  Actual available appropriation for 2011-12
$'000 (a)
Payments made 2011-12
$'000 (b)
Balance remaining 2011-12
$'000
(a) - (b)
Ordinary annual services 1
Departmental appropriation 2 14,557 7,361 7,196
Total 14,557 7,361 7,196
Total ordinary annual services (A) 14,557 7,361  
Other services 3
Total other services (B) - -  
Total available annual appropriations and payments 14,557 7,361  
Special appropriations
Total special appropriations (C)   -  
Special accounts 4
Total special account (D)     -
Total resourcing and payments A+B+C+D 14,557 7,361  
Less appropriations drawn from annual or special appropriations above and credited to special accounts and/or CAC Act bodies through annual appropriations - -  
Total net resourcing and payments for AIFS 14,557 7,361  

1 Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2011-12. This may also include prior year departmental appropriation and S.31 relevant agency receipts.

2 Includes an amount of $0.205 m in 2011-12 for the Departmental Capital Budget. For accounting purposes this amount has been designated as "contributions by owners".

3 Appropriation Bill (No. 2) 2011-12 and Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2011-12.

4 Does not include "Special Public Money" held in accounts like Other Trust Monies (OTM) accounts. Services for Other Government and Non-Agency Bodies (SOG) accounts, or Services for Other Entities and Trust Moneys Special (SOETM) accounts.

Expenses and resources for Outcome 1, 2011-12

Outcome 1: Increased understanding of factors affecting how families function by conducting research and communicating findings to policy-makers, service providers, and the broader community Budget* 2011-12 $'000 (a) Actual Expenses 2011-12 $'000 (b) Variation 2011-12 $'000 (a) -  (b)
Program 1.1: Australian Institute of Family Studies
Departmental expenses
Departmental appropriation 1 9,620 9,534 (86)
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the Budget year 336 322 (14)
Total for Program 1.1 9,956 9,856 (100)
  2010-11 2011-12  
Average staffing level (number) 64 66 2

* Full year budget, including any subsequent adjustment made to the 2011-12 Budget.

1 Departmental Appropriation combines "Ordinary annual services (Appropriation Bill No. 1)" and "Revenue from independent sources (s31)".

Appendix C: Compliance index

Appendix C: Compliance index

The Annual Report is prepared in accordance with the Requirements for Annual Reports approved by the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit. This index refers to mandatory and suggested reporting items.

Letter of transmittal

Table of contents

Index

Glossary

Contact officer(s)

Internet home page address and Internet address for report

Review by Director

Review by Director

Summary of significant issues and developments

Overview of agency's performance and financial results

Outlook for following year

Significant issues and developments - portfolio - N/A

Agency overview

Role and functions

Organisational structure

Outcome and program structure

Where outcome and program structures differ from PB Statements/PAES or other portfolio statements accompanying any other additional appropriation bills (other portfolio statements), details of variation and reasons for change - N/A

Portfolio structure - N/A

Report on performance

Review of performance during the year in relation to programs and contribution to outcomes

Actual performance in relation to deliverables and KPIs set out in PB Statements/PAES or other portfolio statements

Where performance targets differ from the PBS/ PAES, details of both former and new targets, and reasons for the change - N/A

Narrative discussion and analysis of performance

Trend information

Significant changes in nature of principal functions/services - N/A

Performance of purchaser/provider arrangements - N/A

Factors, events or trends influencing agency performance

Contribution of risk management in achieving objectives

Social inclusion outcomes

Performance against service charter customer service standards, complaints data, and the department's response to complaints - N/A

Discussion and analysis of the agency's financial performance

Discussion of any significant changes from the prior year, from budget or anticipated to have a significant impact on future operations

Agency resource statement and summary resource tables by outcomes

Management and accountability

Corporate governance

Agency heads are required to certify that their agency complies with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines

Statement of the main corporate governance practices in place

Names of the senior executive and their responsibilities

Senior management committees and their roles

Corporate and operational planning and associated performance reporting and review

Approach adopted to identifying areas of significant financial or operational risk

Policy and practices on the establishment and maintenance of appropriate ethical standards

How nature and amount of remuneration for SES officers is determined

External scrutiny

Significant developments in external scrutiny

Judicial decisions and decisions of administrative tribunals

Reports by the Auditor-General, a Parliamentary Committee or the Commonwealth Ombudsman

Management of human resources

Assessment of effectiveness in managing and developing human resources to achieve departmental objectives

Workforce planning, staff turnover and retention

Impact and features of enterprise or collective agreements, individual flexibility arrangements (IFAs), determinations, common law contracts and AWAs

Training and development undertaken and its impact

Work health and safety performance

Productivity gains

Statistics on staffing

Enterprise or collective agreements, IFAs, determinations, common law contracts and AWAs

Performance pay

Assets management

Assessment of effectiveness of assets management

Purchasing

Assessment of purchasing against core policies and principles

Consultants

The annual report must include a summary statement detailing the number of new consultancy services contracts let during the year; the total actual expenditure on all new consultancy contracts let during the year (inclusive of GST); the number of ongoing consultancy contracts that were active in the reporting year; and the total actual expenditure in the reporting year on the ongoing consultancy contracts (inclusive of GST). The annual report must include a statement noting that information on contracts and consultancies is available through the AusTender website.

Australian National Audit Office Access Clauses

Absence of provisions in contracts allowing access by the Auditor-General

Exempt contracts

Contracts exempt from the AusTender

Financial statements

Financial statements

Other mandatory information

Work health and safety (Schedule 2, Part 4 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011)

Advertising and market research (Section 311A of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918) and statement on advertising campaigns

Ecologically sustainable development and environmental performance (Section 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999)

Compliance with the agency's obligations under the Carer Recognition Act 2010 - N/A

Grant programs - N/A

Disability reporting - explicit and transparent reference to agency-level information available through other reporting mechanisms

Information Publication Scheme statement

Agency resource statements and expenses by outcomes

Correction of material errors in previous annual report - N/A

List of requirements

Appendix D: Acronyms and abbreviations
AASB Australian Accounting Standards Board
ABS Australian Bureau of Statistics
ACSPRI Australian Consortium for Social and Political Research Incorporated
ACSSA Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault
ACT Australian Capital Territory
AF&SA Australian Family & Society Abstracts
AFRC Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse
AGD Attorney-General's Department
AIC Australian Institute of Criminology
AIFS Australian Institute of Family Studies
AIHW Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
AM Member of the Order of Australia
ANU Australian National University
AO Officer of the Order of Australia
APS Australian Public Service
ARACY Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth
ARC Australian Research Council
ATP Australian Temperament Project
CAFCA Communities and Families Clearinghouse Australia
CALD Culturally and linguistically diverse
CASA Centre Against Sexual Assault House
CDDA Compensation for Detriment Caused by Defective Administration
CfC Communities for Children
CFCA Child Family Community Australia
COAG Council of Australian Governments
CSS Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme
Cth Commonwealth
DCB Departmental Capital Budget
DEEWR Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations
DHS Australian Government Department of Human Services
EL Executive Level
FaHCSIA Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
FBT Fringe Benefits Tax
FMA Act Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997
FMO Finance Minister's Order
FOI Act Freedom of Information Act 1982
GST Goods and services tax
HILDA Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia
ICL Independent Children's Lawyers
IPS Information Publication Scheme
LSAC Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children
LSIC Footprints in Time: The Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children
LSSF Family Pathways: The Longitudinal Study of Separated Families
MP Member of Parliament
NAPLAN National Assessment Plan - Literacy and Numeracy
NCPC National Child Protection Clearinghouse
NSW New South Wales
NT Northern Territory
NTER Northern Territory Emergency Response
OECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
OPA Official Public Account
OTM Other Trust Monies
PBS Portfolio Budget Statements
PM&C Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
PPP Promising Practice Profiles
PSM Public Service Medal
PSS Public Sector Superannuation Scheme
PSSap Public Sector Superannuation Scheme Accumulation Plan
Qld Queensland
RACV Royal Automobile Club Victoria
RAP Reconciliation Action Plan
SA South Australia
SES Senior Executive Service
SFIA Stronger Families in Australia
SOETM Services for Other Entities and Trust Moneys Special accounts
SOG Services for Other Government and Non-Agency Bodies accounts
SPRC Social Policy Research Centre, University of New South Wales
TAC Transport Accident Commission
Tas. Tasmania
UK United Kingdom
UNSW University of New South Wales
USA United States of America
Vic. Victoria
WA Western Australia

Publication details

Annual Report
Published by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, October 2012
166 pp.

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