- Developed tools and resources to support the rights of persons living with disability.
- Launched a new website with accessibility, mobile responsiveness and community engagement as a focus.
- Continued to provide high quality and timely services through enquiry, complaint and conciliation work, education and community engagement.
- Commenced the We’re Equal pilot project to promote businesses that wish to make a statement of support for South Australia being an open, inclusive society that embraces and supports diversity.
The OCEO maintained its core service delivery to the community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Technology and remote working models have been embraced to ensure its functions are delivered.
Education on equal opportunity through partnership with industry
The Commissioner presented to the public in a number of forums including:
The OCEO operated a Training Referral Program (TRP) to ensure that individuals and organisations can receive education on equal opportunity matters. The TRP includes a panel of training providers approved by the OCEO to deliver high-quality training to the community.
During the 2021-22 financial year, it referred 41 businesses to its training providers.
A total of 20 training and education sessions were delivered in the 2021-22 financial year, against a target of 60. The ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and work from home directives contributed to the lower-than-expected number of sessions being delivered.
Develop practice guidelines to foster and encourage informed and unprejudiced attitudes amongst members of the public
In August 2021, the OCEO launched its Disability Employment Practices Guideline to encourage and assist employers to employ people living with disability.
Promote the role and functions of the Commissioner
Release of videos via the OCEO website outlining the role of the office, how it helps promote equal opportunity and prevent discrimination, and what to do if you experience discrimination.
Fairly administered laws
Complaint assessment and conciliation
The OCEO received 224 complaints during the 2021-22 financial year, against a projection of 215. It finalised 218 complaints during the same period.
All complaints were assessed to determine what action can be taken by the OCEO. Of the complaints finalised during 2021-22, 80 complaints were accepted, against a projection of 135.
A high volume of complaints relating to COVID-19 was the most significant factor in the low number being accepted. Mask and vaccination mandates resulted in a significant shift towards disability discrimination complaints, many falling outside of the jurisdiction of the office or not amounting to unlawful discrimination within the meaning of the Act.
While the office received more than 70 complaints regarding COVID-19, there was a reduction in complaint volumes in other areas, such as sexual harassment. This may be the result of work from home measures.
On average, complaints were finalised within 2.3 months, ensuring a timely outcome for complainants and respondents. The average time to finalise accepted complaints was 3.9 months. In addition, conciliation was attempted in respect of 47 accepted complaints, 24 of which (51%) were successfully conciliated.
Monitoring of legislative exemptions
Developed and implemented a new system for monitoring compliance in legislative exemptions granted under the Act.
An efficient and effective justice system
Partnering with the University of Adelaide to provide legal advice and research
During the 2021-22 financial year the OCEO continued its partnerships with the University of Adelaide.
The Equal Opportunity Legal Advice Service provides legal advice and assistance on discrimination, harassment and victimisation, and supports preparation for conciliation conferences and tribunal hearings. Final year law students provided advice under the supervision of a legal practitioner. The service assisted 57 individuals.
As part of the University of Adelaide’s Law and Justice Internship Program the OCEO’s Internship Program provided for an exceptional law student to undertake research on topics relating to the work of the office during a 22 to 25-day internship. Three interns were hosted during the year.
Develop new tools to assist with decision-making
The OCEO developed new procedures and process maps to streamline the assessment of complaints and ensure timely and consistent decisions.
Our people meet customer needs
Providing information and advice to individuals and organisations
The OCEO provided advice and information to the community through telephone and email services.
During the 2021-22 financial year, the OCEO received 647 enquiries to these services, against a projection of 600.
Approximately 30% of enquiries related to COVID-19. Concerns about mask and vaccination mandates were most common.
Whilst there was an increase in the total number of enquiries received, COVID-19 resulted in a greater volume of disability discrimination enquiries proportionate to that increase, and there were fewer regarding other grounds for discrimination.
Business continuity during COVID-19 pandemic
In 2021-22 the OCEO continued to provide services to the community. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic it maintained its service delivery, utilising technology to assist the public remotely. Conciliation conferences were held in a virtual environment, ensuring minimal disruptions to dealing with and resolving complaints.
Community engagement using the OCEO’s website
The OCEO operates a website providing the public with information, resources and online forms for complaints and enquiries.
It had approximately 67,000 visitor sessions throughout the 2021-22 financial year, against a target of 150,000.
A new website (www.equalopportunity.sa.gov.au) launched on 1 July 2021. It uses different analytics to capture visitor information than the office’s former website, resulting in a reduction to the forecast number of sessions.
The OCEO will use its 2021-22 result as a baseline for future targets.
Develop new online forms to improve accessibility and streamline processes
During 2021-22 the OCEO provided streamlined services to the community through new and improved online self-service forms.
The OCEO is a business unit of the Attorney-General’s Department (AGD). Information on corporate performance appears in the 2021-22 Annual Report for the Attorney-General’s Department.
Information on employment opportunity programs appears in the 2021-22 Annual Report for the Attorney-General’s Department.
Information on performance management and development systems appears in the 2021-22 Annual Report for the Attorney-General’s Department.
Information on work health, safety and return to work programs appears in the 2021-22 Annual Report for the Attorney-General’s Department.
Nil - the Commissioner is a statutory appointment.