Home' Defence Magazine : White Paper 2009 Contents 30
he strategic reform
program recommends that
defence support take the
lead in the non-equipment
procurement stream and
establish a contracting and
procurement centre of excellence.
Head Defence Support Operations Major
General (MAJGEN) Elizabeth Cosson, spoke
with Defence Magazine, on behalf of Defence
Support, to outline some of the new directions and
challenges that lay before Defence as Defence
Support works to do business smarter, and
contribute to savings to reinvest into capability.
“Defence currently spends $5.2 billion
on non-equipment procurement that is spread
across 23 different areas, including base services
such as messing, hospitality, catering, cleaning,
grounds maintenance, waste and access control,”
MAJGEN Cosson said.
“Defence Support will be working with each
of the Groups and Services to identify and develop
a standard level of service for all bases.
“We will work together in a collegiate manner
to look at options that could consolidate some
messing services. For instance, where there are
three messes with three kitchens, we may talk
with our contractors about potential opportunities
to prepare meals from a single central kitchen and
have them distributed to the different messes.
We really need to think smart and develop better
Whilst there still is a lot of detail that needs
to be worked through, MAJGEN Cosson said
Defence Support is confident that a cooperative
approach with the Groups and Services will see
these efficiencies achieved.
“We need to maintain flexibility to make
this work,” MAJGEN Cosson said. “If I can’t find
savings by consolidating messes for example, then
we all need to agree to find it in other areas.”
“So far, everyone wants to be a part of the
discussion, and everyone recognises that to
achieve the capability investment outlined in our
White Paper, we need to have this reform.”
Defence Support is also working with
Personnel Services and Policy Group in another
key area of the Strategic Reform Program, the
workforce and shared services stream.
The new shared services structure of Defence
will see Defence Support, through consolidation
and centralisation, over time take on the majority
of core business areas such as payroll, human
resources, procurement and financial processing
for the whole of Defence.
“The Strategic Reform Program has directed
Defence to examine its core business processes
to eliminate unnecessary work and identify
opportunities to streamline and automate processes.
The key focus is on consolidating, centralising
and standardising many of Defence’s ‘back office’
functions that fit within the shared services structure.
“The White Paper identified significant
savings in productivity that can be achieved
through a shared services model and found direct
benefits through consolidating services into the
one Defence Group,” MAJGEN Cosson said.
“Across Defence we have different processes for
the same function and even within Defence Support
we have many ways of doing the one thing. So first
we need to look at improving and standardising our
own processes before we can expand our services to
support the other Groups and Services.
“A good example of this is payroll, where
Defence Support currently manages all the
payroll for Defence’s APS staff and about half
of the Australian Defence Force members. As
part of the shared services structure, it makes
sense to now explore opportunities to extend
this for additional military pay and HR functions,”
MAJGEN Cosson said.
Another example is the accounts processing
function which resides in Defence Support. The
existing structure includes two transactional
centres, at Puckapunyal, Victoria and Edinburgh,
South Australia to process Defence’s accounts.
However, accounts are also processed outside
these transactional centres. As part of the
shared services structure, Defence Support will
investigate opportunities to expand this service
and consolidate its delivery.
“In this one area alone, we have the potential
to achieve considerable reductions in our
processing costs,” MAJGEN Cosson said.
In relation to non-equipment procurement
and shared services reforms, MAJGEN Cosson
also said: “There will be greater transparency of
what it costs to come to work every day, or to live
on a base, and I think our staff will have greater
ownership in the workplace, and we’ll take better
care of what is given to us to use”.
When asked what Defence Support sees
as the challenges facing this process, MAJGEN
Cosson said: “We can’t confuse a reduction in
service with creating efficiencies. And while we’re
all keen to deliver savings, it is a real balancing act
for the organisation.
“We need to streamline our processes and
work together to find better ways to do what we do.
We’re all part of the one organisation and I know
that if I find a saving as part of the reform it will be
invested into the front end of Defence capability.”
MAJGEN Cosson is confident that
the Strategic Reform Program governance
arrangements will ensure costs savings are
captured and reinvested in ADF capability, and
emphasised the need for lateral thinking across
“We can’t put up the boundaries, or return
to our stovepipes, which Defence has a tendency
to do,” MAJGEN Cosson said. “We need to work
together and communicate to every level of
the organisation, from the soldiers, sailors and
airmen, to their commanders and the APS staff
who provide essential support to ADF capability,
as both the shared services and non-equipment
procurement reforms will bring about significant
changes to Defence’s processes.”
Defence Support is embarking on new and improved ways of doing
business, as part of ongoing improvement and to contribute to the Defence
White Paper’s Strategic Reform Program. This will see the standardisation
of service delivery and a continuation of the move to shared services to
achieve operating efficiencies in support of future capability requirements.
By Shelley Daws
defence magazine ›
there will be greater transparency of what it costs to
come to work every day, or to live on a base, and i think
our staff will have greater ownership in the workplace,
and we’ll take better care of what is given to us to use
Head Defence Support Operations Major general elizabeth cosson
Military and civilian personnel at work at the
customer support centre raaf williamtown.
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