APVMA business operating model

APVMA business operating model

The APVMA future business operating model outlines our approach to establish a regulatory centre in Armidale, supported by?a unit of specialist scientists and decision makers in Canberra, e-working, shared services and the continued use of external assessment arrangements.

The majority of our workforce will operate from Armidale in 2019 following final construction and fit-out of the permanent leased premises at 102 Taylor Street and 91 Beardy Street.

The business model is inherently flexible and enables us to scale up or reduce our reliance on supporting elements such as e-working, shared services or the use of external assessors.

Exercising this flexibility the APVMA will fulfil the Government Policy Order by relocating operations to Armidale, while ensuring the current and future regulatory performance by maintaining of a unit of 30 to 40 specialist scientists and decision makers in the Canberra office.

Conceptual view of how the APVMA will operate in 2019


2019 APVMA Armidale Organisation Structure. This graphic shows the APVMA Armidale organisational structure for 2019. At the top of the graphic is the Chief Executive Officer. Below the Chief Executive Officer sit the Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Office of General Counsel. Under the Deputy Chief Executive Officer sits the Executive Director - Scientific Risk and Capability, the Executive Director - Registration and Corporate Services. Under Corporate Services (COO/CIO/CFO) sits human resources, information technology, finance, procurement and property and media, communications and parliamentary functions. Under Executive Director - Registration sits registration administration, portfolio/case management, pre-evaluation and quality, registration, minor use and business intelligence and improvement. Under Executive Director - Scientific Risk and Capability sits Post Market Risk and Assurance: compliance and monitoring, MQL, AERP and Chemical Review. Also under Executive Director Scientific Risk and Capability sits Scientific Assessment: Chemistry and manufacture, efficacy, environment, residues and trade, health. Also under Executive Director Scientific Risk and Capability sits the Chief Regulatory Scientist. Under the Chief Regulatory Scientist sits quality and capability and partnerships.

A specialist consulting firm, Pegasus Economics, worked with our staff and stakeholders in 2017 to provide recommendations on the operating model for the APVMA in Armidale.

Recommendations accepted by the APVMA included in the report: Operating model for APVMA functions in Armidale?are:

  • we need to build our presence in Armidale ahead of 2019. A progressive build based on existing technologies will more effectively reduce risks associated with the relocation
  • we should continue our emphasis on attraction, recruitment and retention of staff to ensure the agency is fully operational in Armidale by 2019.

Having implemented the recommended activities designed to enable the business operating model and reduce relocation risk, the CEO determined that additional action was required to ensure the continued delivery of APVMA regulatory functions. Early plans for teleworking, an enhanced reliance on external scientific assessors and recruitment into Armidale did not reduce the risk to an acceptable level, which is why the business model was adjusted in July 2018 to retain the unit of specialist scientists and decision makers operating from a site in Canberra.

The APVMA Organisational Structure 2019 indicates where functions and sub-functions will sit in the organisation when we are fully established in Armidale.

APVMA Organisational structure 2019

The APVMA currently contracts external suppliers under a panel arrangement to provide scientific assessment services in several areas. The current panel arrangements expire in 2019.

An Expression of Interest (EOI) 2018-239 was released on AusTender in December 2017 for Scientific Data Evaluation and Regulatory Risk Assessment Services. The EOI closed 2:00 PM, 15 February 2018 and submissions are being evaluated.

Maintaining and developing our workforce

The APVMA’s business runs on the capability of its highly skilled people. In February 2018 we surveyed our staff to better understand their intensions to relocate, be redeployed within the APS or otherwise separate from the authority. From this survey we expect a modest number of Canberra staff to relocate.

With this in mind, a workforce transition strategy has been developed to focus on:

  • capturing and transferring knowledge
  • creating an environment where talented people are retained for as long as possible
  • attracting the best talent and building capability.

Retaining staff expertise and regulatory science capability is a key risk for the authority as it manages the relocation. Even after the application of a number of risk mitigations strategies the remaining risks associated with the relocation are high, which is why we are maintaining the unit of 30 to 40 specialist scientists and decision makers in Canberra.

Supporting our people

Two important staffing policies—the Armidale permanent relocation policy and the Employee retention policy—were both finalised in September.

The relocation policy provides support for people relocating from Canberra to Armidale between now and 2019. The retention policy provides incentive for staff to stay with the APVMA, maintain business continuity and transfer their knowledge as the APVMA further establishes its presence in Armidale.

The APVMA’s knowledge management strategy supports transfer of corporate regulatory knowledge. Underpinned by the expertise of our former and current staff, we’re actively documenting business procedures and improving the instructional material that future staff will rely on, including capturing efficiencies gained through the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper process and other key projects.

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