Workforce innovation in service

This article has photo gallery Published on Department of Defence (author), ABIS Nicolas Gonzalez (photographer)

Nursing Officer, Lieutenant Angus Thompson experiences life at  sea in the sickbay of HMAS Anzac during Phase 4 of the Reserve Entry Officer Course. (photo: ABIS Nicolas Gonzalez)
Nursing Officer, Lieutenant Angus Thompson experiences life at sea in the sickbay of HMAS Anzac during Phase 4 of the Reserve Entry Officer Course.

On 1 July 2016 Navy commenced implementation of the Australian Defence Force Total Workforce Model, which has a fundamental concept of flexibility of service.

Commodore Michele Miller, Director General Navy People explained the changes as positive for all Navy members Permanent and Reserve.

"Most of us start in the Permanent Navy, but as our lives change we may need or want to alter our pattern of service, particularly to do less than full-time work," she said. 

"In the past this has been by ‘discharging’ to the Reserves, doing Reserve days, or using Part Time Leave Without Pay. 

"To build the Navy we need for the future, the Chief of Navy wants us to both retain more good people and also increase our diversity of thinking, and he describes having ‘a 20 year career over 40 years’. 

"The Total Workforce Model for Navy will be one of the building blocks to help us do this," she said.

"The model has been developed to help meet this balance between flexibility of employment and capability requirement."

The Australian Defence Force Total Workforce Model was developed over several years, founded in research involving more than 10,000 Australian Defence Force members.  The research identified that Permanent Navy people wanted more flexibility in the way they served (particularly after around 10 years of service), and Reservists were seeking more opportunities to serve in addition to more stability in terms of both patterns and days of service.

‘The changes give commanders, managers and Career Managers greater visibility and access to a wider pool of Permanent and Reserve Navy people to meet workforce capability requirements, as well as better ways to manage those people, and that’s good news for everyone," Commodore Miller said.

What does this mean for commanders and managers?

Increased flexibility in accessing a wider pool of skilled people and options to support people requesting flexibility to balance personal and service commitments.

What does this mean for Navy people?

Every serving member will be allocated a SERCAT based on current service categorisation. This will be reflected displayed in the personnel system, PMKeyS, automatically.

The vast majority of Permanent Navy people will continue to serve on a full-time basis as SERCAT 7. However, the model provides greater flexibility if circumstances change. Through negotiation, service other than full-time in SERCAT 6 may be approved, initially rendering a 'days per fortnight' pattern of service (other patterns of service will be made available from 1 Oct 16).

For those wishing to transfer to a Reserve Service Category (SERCATS 2, 3 or 5), or return to the Permanent Navy, the transfer processes remains the same.  However, work to on reduce the administrative processes is occurring.

Reserve members in SERCAT 5 you will benefit from greater certainty of tenure and stability, while members in SERCAT 3 will be aware of more opportunities to serve. Pay and conditions of service will not change.

For more information about the changes, serving members can login to ForceNet and visit the specific Australian Defence Force Total Workforce Model page.

As a Navy member, there are opportunities to vary the way you can serve:

SERCAT 2 – Reserve – Reserve members who do not render service and have no service obligation. They are liable for call out.

SERCAT 3 – Reserve – Reserve members who are available for voluntary service, or are rendering service.  The level of service obligation is applied at Navy’s discretion. They are liable for call out.

SERCAT 5 – Reserve – Reserve members who agree to a specific pattern of service within or across financial years (presently reflected in Funded Reserve Commitment (FRC) positions).  The level of service obligation is applied at Navy’s discretion. They are liable for call out.

As a Permanent Navy member, you have the following options for service dependent of workforce capability:

SERCAT 6 – Permanent – Permanent members rendering flexible service, who are subject to the same service obligations as SERCAT 7 members. Transfer to SERCAT 6 is subject to approval and is dependent on the unit’s capability requirements. Initially a days-per-fortnight pattern of service will be available to members.

SERCAT 7 – Permanent – Permanent members serving full time.

What are Service Options (SERVOPs)?

Service Options (SERVOP) are ways members from a variety of SERCATs may be approved to serve.  Service Options relate to specific SERCATs and are not applied independently of any SERCAT. They are activated from a baseline SERCAT.

SERVOP C – Continuous Full Time Service - This service option applies to Reserve members from SERCAT 3 or 5 who are approved to provide Continuous Full Time Service (CFTS).  SERVOP C is available to Reserve members at the Service’s discretion.

SERVOP D – Dual Employment - This service option applies to Permanent members in SERCAT 6 or Reserve members in SERCAT 5.  These members render service in Navy and (alternately) work for a civilian employer under a formal shared ‘dual employment’ arrangement.