Meeting our standard | ACMA

Meeting our standard

Media Release 20/2013—28 March 2013

Chris Chapman, Chair and CEO of the ACMA, today released the latest assessment of the ACMA’s performance.

‘Early in my term as Chair of the ACMA, I set an aspirational standard for the organisation: "To be, and to be recognised as, the world’s best converged regulator". I deliberately set this audacious goal to stretch the organisation so as to drive it towards world’s best practice. I have been driving the process of assessing how well the organisation is tracking in reaching its strategic intent.

‘This work tracks how well the ACMA is meeting its strategic purpose, which is to make communications and media work (really work) in Australia’s public interest.’

The ACMA has chosen to tell its own story, using criteria that are relevant to the organisation and tuned to the specific Australian environment.

In this latest assessment, 37 case studies show where the ACMA considers that it is actually meeting or leading world’s best practice. An overall narrative integrates these various case studies and areas of activity, since the standard is seen as one for the whole organisation, not just individual parts.

Feedback on each case study from external peers has been incorporated. As a learning organisation, the ACMA is now seeking further feedback and review through its 'Meeting our standard' website.

‘In my view, the analysis presented here suggests that the ACMA has gone a considerable way towards meeting its standard. However, we made this assessment from a total of 94 areas of activity, and so recognise that, as a learning organisation, we still have much more to accomplish and obvious room to improve, and are seeking feedback accordingly,’ Mr Chapman said.

The ACMA invites any interested party to visit the ACMA’s ‘Meeting our standard’ website, and provide feedback on how well they think the ACMA is travelling on its path to be, and to be recognised as, the world’s best converged regulator.

Please find some more background below.

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact: Emma Rossi, Media Manager, on (02) 9334 7719, 0434 652 063 or


‘Top 20’ ACMA Meeting our standard case studies

The case studies below have been selected to showcase areas of the ACMA’s work that particularly demonstrates stand-out performance, where that work has either been widely recognised externally, or has seen significant internal organisational transformation.

Further, these ‘Top 20’ case studies are distributed around the four elements of the overarching framework developed by the ACMA to articulate its ‘Meeting our standard’ narrative and enable international comparison with other converged regulators.

A. Bridge to the future (Regulatory development and thought leadership)

  1. The unique structure of the ACMA Numbering Work Program meant the ACMA fostered a dialogue which identified issues, suggested solutions and then allowed the ACMA to adjust these to achieve the best public interest results.
  2. Through the Reconnecting the Customer inquiry, the ACMA’s approach in working collaboratively with industry, consumers and other regulators to design national uniform consumer protection for the Australian telecommunications industry is unique from the international perspective.
  3. As an evidenced-based regulator, the ACMA is committed to quality research to inform regulatory policy and decision-making, and has published an influential series of authoritative reports (including Broken concepts—the Australian communications legislative landscape, and its companion piece, Enduring concepts—communications and media in Australia) that examine the way Australians use digital media and communications.
  4. The ACMA is unequivocally recognised as a world leader in the spectrum for mobile broadband space and has conducted a ‘Towards 2020’ analysis of spectrum demand, which goes beyond the 2015 analysis conducted by other international regulators.

B. Transformed agency (Structural fit with convergence and agency innovation)

  1. The ACMA has an ongoing transformation program to shape a flexible, adaptable, agile and resilient organisation, strongly positioned to constantly re-transform and meet future developments.
  2. The ACMA ‘Creating Knowledge’ program fosters listening and learning forums to ‘bring the outside in’ to the organisation and to create a knowledge-sharing culture.
  3. The communications report has been significantly extended to deliver a wide-ranging data set across the emerging digital economy and illustrates the world-class flexibility, agility, adaptability and engagement of the ACMA with the evolving industry landscape.
  4. Through its regulatory ‘best practice’ research, the ACMA ensures it is well-informed on key developments relating to regulatory best practice and actively incorporates this in its day-to-day business.
  5. The digital television coverage evaluation program (CEP) was internationally unique in its scope, deliverables and applied methodology. More than 168,000 measurements in over 23,000 locations carried out under the CEP combined with complex statistical and engineering analysis to assess the extent and effectiveness of rollout.
    (N.B. The ACMA remains critically engaged with the realisation of realisation of the digital dividend (that is, spectrum no longer used for broadcasting and thus available for other uses), the replanning of television broadcasting services (also known as restacking), and the development and implementation of related spectrum auction systems. These important ACMA responsibilities are still work in progress and, therefore within the abovementioned narrative framework, are not yet treated as case studies).
  6. The ACMA Australian Internet Security Initiative (AISI) engages with the contemporary and urgent task of protecting Australian internet users from the major cybersecurity problem of ‘botnets’. It has also explored new ways of regulating through unique voluntary cooperation from Australian (ISPs) and extensive international cooperation.

C. Major program delivery (Program management and corporate governance)

  1. The implementation, management and expansion of the Do Not Call Register has been a leading example of ACMA direct program delivery with the broad outcome of the ACMA’s approach being a simple, comprehensible and fair system worthy of emulation worldwide.
  2. As communication moves online, the ACMA has engaged primarily in information provision to address citizens concern for safety and security, exemplified by the development and implementation of its national Cybersafety education program, complementing its role in regulating online content and the commissioning of internationally-acclaimed content (such as the multi-award winning ACMA-produced film "Tagged").
  3. The ACMA has built an Australian Public Service (APS) leading IT solution off the back of an ICT Strategic Plan that has provided the basis for a ‘best-of-breed’ technology platform, backed in turn by consistent operational IT support.
  4. Transformation has been embedded in the ‘DNA’ of the organization with governance arrangements which continually review the ACMA’s strategic priorities, assessing the environment and the organisational response and framing agile responses to ensure the structure, workforce arrangements and governance framework will continue to achieve its strategic intent.

D. Effective regulation (Regulatory administration and stakeholder engagement)

  1. The ACMA is internationally recognised as one of the world’s first and leading regulators in the fight against spam, inspiring legislative and regulatory approaches in other countries.
  2. The ACMA is the frontline Australian agency combating online child abuse material, taking rapid action in coordination with Australian law enforcement agencies, the Australian internet industry and the international community of internet hotlines.
  3. The ACMA’s facilitation of harmonisation of government use of spectrum in the 400 MHz band and creation of the "layered" solution combining 800 MHz with 4.9 GHz spectrum has created an unprecedented opportunity for significant gains in essential and emergency service interoperability.
  4. The ACMA’s innovative and facilitative stance on the allocation and administration of community broadcasting licenses provides a one-stop shop for service delivery to a globally unique industry sector.
  5. The ACMA’s ‘Five-year spectrum outlook’ series (commenced in 2009) is at the heart of the agencies commitment to consultation, cooperation and collaboration on all spectrum matters. It was devised by the ACMA to support ongoing engagement with industry and government organisations with an interest in the radiofrequency spectrum and to provide an indication of work prioritisation and timeframes for ACMA responses to spectrum issues.
  6. The ACMA initiated Radcomms Conferences and spectrum Tune-Ups successfully encourage interaction and open communication with stakeholders around contemporary spectrum management issues, trends and developments of particular interest.

Last updated: 06 April 2017