The ACMA's response to change: meeting our standard | ACMA

The ACMA's response to change: meeting our standard

Chris Chapman, Chair and CEO of the Australian Communications and Media Authority, today released the third iteration of its report The ACMA—meeting our standard.

The ACMA standard, ‘To be, and be recognised as, the world’s best converged regulator’, is a key part of the ACMA’s long-term transformation and business planning activities. From the inception of the ACMA, convergence, digitalisation and the evolving networked society have created constant pressures for change within the many media and communications sectors. 

‘The primary strategic question for the agency has been: how to maintain relevance in this ever-changing environment?’ Mr Chapman said. ‘Meeting this challenge continues to entail a transformation of the agency’s strategy, culture and structure to be achieved, in part, by seeking to drive the organisation towards best practice.’

The report covers activities across the whole organisation and suggests a critical mass of case studies where the ACMA is world-leading.  

It identifies a total of 113 areas of activity. Sixty-four of these activities enable the ACMA to meet its standard—43 are included as case studies of world-leading practice and 21 are presented because they sustain the ACMA in world-leading performance, in the sense of supporting that performance through effective delivery of ACMA outcomes or obligations.

Mr Chapman said: ‘I feel the ACMA continues to go a considerable way to meeting the standard that it is striving for. In my view, the ACMA has the strategic vision, demonstrated capability and, importantly, the energy to further improve and continue delivering into the future against the standard of performance that it expects of itself and the government expects of it.’

The ACMA invites feedback on its performance as showcased in the third iteration of its Meeting our standard’ narrative.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Emma Rossi, Media Manager, (02) 9334 7719 and 0434 652 063 or media@acma.gov.au.

Media release 79/2014—17 December

Backgrounder

Meeting the pressures for change

From the inception of the ACMA, convergence, digitalisation and the evolving digital economy and networked society have created constant pressures for change within the many media and communications sectors. The primary strategic question for the agency has been—How to sustain relevance in this ever-changing environment so as to continue to contribute to the national interest?

The ACMA accepted early that a shift from the traditional regulatory stance was needed, requiring the capacity and capability to be agile and flexible. It was clear that success for the agency would be shaped by:

  • adopting a clear shared purpose: ‘To make communications and media work in Australia’s public interest’
  • meeting a self-imposed standard: ‘To be, and be recognised as, the world’s best converged regulator’ (the standard)
  • transforming itself into a resilient, externally facing, learning organisation, responsive to these numerous pressures for change.

Meeting this challenge entails a transformation in the agency’s strategy, culture and structure. The required shift is taking shape through:

  • the introduction of ‘first principles thinking’, through fresh thinking and the questioning of historical assumptions
  • becoming a more externally focused organisation
  • the adoption of a ‘graduated approach’ to compliance and enforcement
  • the encapsulation of all these elements into a house style that seeks to communicate and facilitate before regulating.

The ACMA has built agility and flexibility through significant investment in facilities and information technology; internal programs such its ‘Transformational Leadership Forums’; cross-organisational collaboration and organisational learning through ‘Creating Knowledge’ events; and enhancement of interaction with stakeholders through conferences, tune-ups, advisory committees, forums and an overhaul of the ACMA’s web presence and social media engagement.

Meeting our standard 

‘To be, and be recognised as, the world’s best converged regulator’ (the standard adopted by the ACMA as an aspirational goal to stretch the organisation and drive it towards best practice), has been a part of the ACMA’s internal transformation and business planning activities for a number of years. The third iteration of The ACMA—meeting our standard narrative (released today) continues the common ground for valid international comparisons established in the previous editions, using an overarching framework of four primary parts:

  • effective regulation
  • bridge to the future
  • a transformed agency
  • major programs.

These parts all work together for the delivery of public interest outcomes. The narrative integrates a cross-organisational portfolio of activities and provides case studies about where the ACMA is implementing best practice and, equally important, where it is not or where it does not need to.

In assessing the standing of the agency with regard to its standard, the ACMA believes that the organisation demonstrates a critical mass of activities where it is world’s best practice is being achieved. A total of 113 areas of activity are identified in the latest study. Of these, 43 are included as case studies of world leading and 21 are regarded as ‘sustaining’ such practice by the agency.  As a consequence, the ACMA continues to go a substantial way to meeting the standard that it is striving for.

Accountability and transparency

Consistent with this theme of constant adaptation, 2014 has marked the start of a heightened focus within the ACMA on activities that directly drive identified public interest outcomes, as described in the previously released ACMA Corporate plan 2013–16 . Designed to make the ACMA even more accountable and transparent, the defined outcomes and their key performance indicators (KPIs) make clear what the agency needs to do to deliver public interest outcomes for industry, consumers and Australian citizens. The process of ongoing refinement in these KPIs and their measurement will shed important light on interdependencies between the ACMA and third-parties in delivering on those outcomes. Feedback on our performance will also assist the ACMA over time to re-assess outcomes and KPIs.

Currently, under the principles of the Australian Government Guide to Regulation, the new Regulatory Impact Statements and Regulator Audit Framework, the ACMA is assessing the fit of regulatory tools with the contemporary environment and is working systematically and diligently in its strong support of government policy to remove any outmoded elements and to reduce costs and burdens on industry.

The next three years

The abiding strategy of the ACMA is to remain relevant in response to ongoing pressures for change—through world-leading performance and a heightened focus on activities that directly drive public interest outcomes. These factors should drive its performance over the next three years in:

  • further red-tape reduction and agency regulatory reform
  • finalising the digital dividend work programs
  • realising cost and efficiency savings for industry in the way that spectrum is planned, allocated and licensed and providing commercial opportunities through its open data approach
  • informing and fine-tuning its mobile broadband strategy
  • providing ‘fit for purpose’ protection of consumer interests in the transition to the fixed broadband environment
  • working with government to address growing challenges in content safeguards and production support models
  • educating and informing citizens and industry about productive engagement in online communications and social media.

Over the last year, the ACMA has been actively working to reduce the costs around its client and customer interactions through the introduction of its Customer Service Centre. The opening of the centre in March 2014 marked the beginning of a transformation in the way the ACMA transacts and interfaces with its customers.

The ACMA is also working to replace ageing spectrum management toolsets. Material improvements to radiocommunications and frequency assigning tools will give much greater agility and flexibility in the ACMA’s management of spectrum, providing substantial benefits to all of its stakeholders.

Further the ACMA is taking an open data approach, making radiocommunications data available free for download, with a view to a future where app developers use ACMA data to deliver the next generation of services to the Australian public.

Feedback invited

The ACMA invites feedback on its performance as showcased in the third iteration of its Meeting our standard narrative.

 

Last updated: 25 January 2017