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Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally

Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade :: 2001-2002 Annual Report
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Output 1.2 Quality and quantity information

Page Contents

Quality indicators

  • Client satisfaction with the secure communications network and secure telecommunication infrastructure.
  • Availability to clients, and reliability, of communications through the secure network (including cable delivery).
  • Client satisfaction with the level of physical security at overseas chanceries and residences, including responsiveness to unexpected events.

Quantity indicators

  • Number of posts and Commonwealth entities with access to the secure communications network and secure telecommunications infrastructure.
  • Number of clients serviced, types of services provided and volume of traffic handled.
  • Number of overseas missions for which security services are provided, including security review services.
  • Number of security clearances and reviews processed.

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Client satisfaction

Clients generally expressed high levels of satisfaction with the performance of the secure communications network and secure telecommunications system.

Initial problems identified with the performance of the secure SATIN High system during its rollout in Australia and at pilot posts in Kuala Lumpur and Wellington were rectified. Feedback from attached agencies on the rollout was positive. As with the introduction of any major new IT system, the department anticipated that some modifications and adjustments to SATIN would be necessary as it was bedded down at posts. Problems with some corporate templates and with the performance of the SATIN system in Canberra were identified in client surveys and were solved.

The department sought client views and feedback, on both the ADCNET and SATIN systems, through a variety of mechanisms, including:

  • regular contact with ministers' parliamentary and electorate offices through dedicated account representatives
  • contact between the Chief Information Officer and counterparts in other agencies
  • regular meetings between external clients and departmental account representatives
  • formal governance arrangements such as the Information Technology Strategy Committee, the Technical Advisory Group and the Consultative Committee on Information Management
  • surveys of Canberra-based users of the SATIN system undertaken by an independent agency in late 2001 and by the department's Information Management Branch in April-May 2002
  • regional management and Heads of Mission meetings, post liaison visits, and divisional and post performance management processes
  • calls to the Global Support Centre (the IT Help Desk).

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Availability and reliability of communications

The department continued to examine ways to increase efficiency in the provision of electronic communication services to clients in 11 Australian government agencies, seven ministerial/parliamentary offices and 86 locations overseas (see Appendix 15: Summary of the overseas network). More than 100 agencies or offices of agencies received paper copies of cables.

As part of ongoing network improvements, a number of upgrades were undertaken during 2001-02. Encryption facilities were strengthened and the data networking switching platform within the R G Casey building was also upgraded to allow for SATIN implementation.

The SATIN Global Management System covers all elements of the department's IT network, including router management, network discovery, application response times and servers. The system strengthens our ability to examine and evaluate our IT infrastructure to ensure this remains focused on serving the department's corporate goals and providing a quality service to external users.

The contracts we signed in May 2002 for the supply of international terrestrial and satellite telecommunications links will allow us to expand significantly bandwidth capacity at minimum additional cost. Savings will enable us to deliver improved satellite telecommunications links to over 10 posts in regions where land links are under-developed.

The decision no longer to handle telememos and faxes in our communications centre eliminated double-handling and improved timeliness of information delivery. The increased use of email allowed the gradual phasing out of telememos by April 2002. The department's communication centre ceased handling fax transmissions in February 2002. Staff can now send and receive faxes from their desktop computers.

The provision of the mobile secure communications system (the FlyAway unit) ensured ministers and officials had access to secure communications between Canberra and remote or temporary office locations.

The department's Global Support Centre (GSC) Help Desk delivered first-level telephone user support on issues related to our secure and non-secure information and communications systems. The GSC provided services to 5804 departmental and other Australian Government clients in Australia and overseas and in ministers' parliamentary and electoral offices. More than 70 600 enquiries were received, 73 per cent of which were resolved without the need for more specialised technical support.

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Client satisfaction-physical security

We maintained regular contact with posts on physical security issues and conducted an extensive review of physical security arrangements at our overseas missions following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks. Posts expressed a high level of satisfaction with the level of physical security provided, and our responsiveness to events-including through post inspections, special security assessments and advisory visits, security fit-outs and (where relevant) technical support for Prime Ministerial visits. A recent survey of a major attached agency at posts demonstrated both a high level of satisfaction with physical security measures taken and that the measures taken accurately reflected the degree of risk.

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Quantity information for output 1.2

Indicators 2001-02 2000-01
Number of posts and Commonwealth entities with access to the secure communications network and secure telecommunications infrastructure [Note 1] 104 100
Number of clients [Note 2] 120
(approx)
113
(approx)
Types of Services:
  Cables analysed 136 849 138 889
  Cable pages printed [Note 3] 1 539 270 2 413 960
  Fax pages [Note 4] 19 600 60 990
  Telememos forwarded [Note 5] 142 2 713
Number of overseas missions for which security services are provided, including security review services. [Note 6] 87 82
Number of security clearances and reviews processed. [Note 7] 896 479

1. This figure includes seven ministers' offices, which were not counted in the 2000-01 Annual Report. It also reflects a slightly narrower definition of 'posts and Commonwealth entities'.

2. This figure reflects the number of agencies and other external work units, including seven ministers' offices, which receive paper or electronic copies of cables.

3. Many cables are now provided in electronic form rather than printed.

4. Newer technologies, especially email, have largely replaced faxes. Printing of fax pages ceased in April 2002.

5. Newer technologies, especially email, have largely replaced telememos. Forwarding of telememos ceased in April 2002.

6. This figure includes our overseas posts and other permanent overseas locations-see Appendix 15: Summary of the overseas network. It also includes an Australian Administrative Centre set up in Nauru to facilitate the establishment of an asylum seeker processing facility.

7. We processed 308 new clearances and 588 reviews (including re-evaluations and recognitions).

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