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EDITION FOUR


PROXIMITY ON A PAGE Proximity offers a multitude of services across our Legal, Commercial and Governance teams. This infographic captures on one page what we offer for our valued clients. VALUES GENUINE

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DELIVERY

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Corporate & Commercial

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ADVISORY

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Organisational Governance Probity

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Legal Support Services

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Procurement & Contracting

Process Improvement Work Health and Safety Reviews, Investigations & Assurance

Program Evaluation & Benefits Realisation

Project Control & Cost Modelling

Business Cases & Feasibility Studies THE INFORMATION IN THE PULSE IS PROVIDED FOR INFORMATION ONLY AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL OR PROFESSIONAL ADVICE. FORMAL LEGAL OR PROFESSIONAL ADVICE SHOULD BE SOUGHT IN RELATION TO SPECIFIC CIRCUMSTANCES.

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Litigation & Dispute Resolution

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Property & Environment

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Workplace & Industrial Relations

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Public Law

Procurement-as -a-service Optixâ„¢

proximity.com.au enquiries@proximity.com.au 1800 959 885

Printed on ecoStar+ Carbon neutral, FSC recycled certified, manufactured from 100% post consumer recycled paper.


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WELCOME TO PROXIMITY Welcome to our latest edition of The Pulse as we near the end of another busy year.

In 2019, we have experienced incredible growth with 33 new staff joining the Proximity team, and as you will read inside, we are currently growing our presence in Melbourne. In the pro bono space, Proximity is proud to have recorded 43 hours on average per lawyer this year, well above the national target of 35 hours. In this edition, find out more about our latest pro bono partner, Inclusive Australia, which champions inclusion, diversity and social harmony across the nation and a whole new initiative, the Proximity Community Pledge, where we will give a percentage of revenue from new legal advisory business between now and Christmas to our community partner, Menslink. We are also pleased to be entering into sponsorships of student prizes for the first time, at both the ANU College of Law and with the University of Canberra for a new unit, Law, Innovation and Technologies. For the sixth year, we are pleased to be sponsoring the Proximity Canberra Triathlon Festival, and by increasing our commitment in 2020, it opens up the corporate and community category to free entries for the first time. We hope this will significantly boost participation on Saturday 15 February, and we encourage everyone to register at www.proximitytriathlon.com.au The Proximity team wishes everyone a safe and happy festive season, and we look forward to another exciting year ahead in 2020. James Dunn Director, Proximity

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celebrating diversity

PROXIMITY HOSTS INCLUSIVE AUSTRALIA LAUNCH CEO of Inclusive Australia, Andrea Pearman, welcomed Proximity’s support, which includes hosting the national launch in Canberra on 2 December. ‘We are excited to be building a social movement for change, which will shift ingrained negative behaviours and attitudes between people from different backgrounds, perspectives and circumstances, and reduce the impacts of discrimination,’ Andrea said.

Proximity is extremely proud to be a founding partner of a new organisation, Inclusive Australia (IA). IA strongly aligns with our principles, by striving to create a more inclusive and unified Australia in which every person feels they belong and are valued.

Proximity is the official legal and governance services partner for IA, and is excited to provide pro bono support for an organisation whose primary goal is to improve societal attitudes and behaviours between people from different backgrounds, perspectives and circumstances. ‘We see this as an opportunity for Proximity to show national leadership in the drive for social inclusion in Australia,’ said Proximity Corporate Social Responsibility and Pro Bono Manager, Declan Norris.

‘With the support of like-minded organisations such as Proximity, we will promote new perspectives and bring people together from different walks of life to break down barriers and prejudices and increase the cooperation and capacity of organisations to contribute real and substantial change.’ Inclusive Australia is encouraging organisations to join the movement by taking the ‘Inclusive Australia Pledge’. There is no cost to join the Alliance and details are available on www.inclusiveaustralia.com.au

‘We look forward to working with the other partners and members of Inclusive Australia to build an alliance and a national conversation about an Australia in which difference is respected and celebrated.’

INCLUSIVE AUSTRALIA CEO, ANDREA PEARMAN CONGRATULATES PROXIMITY DIRECTOR, JAMES DUNN AND CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY AND PRO BONO MANAGER, DECLAN NORRIE.

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growth

WE’RE GROWING IN MELBOURNE Proximity’s Melbourne team is going from strength to strength with the arrival of new Principal Advisor, James Lavery. This growth responds to demand for our services in Melbourne and greater national demand for our innovative legal and commercial solutions. Our experienced team on the ground in Melbourne also includes Senior Advisors Su-Ann Tan Burke and Paul Kruspe. James

Su-Ann

Paul

James recently joined Proximity from KPMG. He was a senior director of KPMG’s national government management consulting practice, assisting governments and agencies, nationally and internationally, with key strategic, governance, policy reform, organisational, regulatory, institutional and commercial issues. James, is also a lawyer specialising in government, public and commercial law, and has significant experience working as a senior executive in the public sector.

Su-Ann has been a vital member of the Proximity team since 2017. She has significant legal and commercial experience including in-house at Toyota - and is currently working with our key clients in Defence and Agriculture. Su-Ann has extensive experience in procurement, contracting and intellectual property. As a passionate future-oriented professional, she enjoys being more than a lawyer and the complex problem-solving work Proximity is known for.

Paul joined Proximity in 2018, and was previously an Assistant Commissioner in various significant roles at the Australian Tax Office. Most recently, he has been working as the CEO at Kinway Chamber of Commerce Victoria Ltd, establishing this new organisation, which will be critical to increasing the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the Victorian economy. Paul has extensive public sector business transformation expertise.

The addition of Paul and James to our Melbourne team expands our Melbourne offering to include management consulting and legal advisory capability, in addition to legal support.

Our Melbourne team contact details are below - please don’t hesitate to get in touch! James Lavery: 0423 603 655 | james.lavery@proximity.com.au Su-Ann Tan Burke: 0422 941 496 | su-ann.tanburke@proximity.com.au Paul Kruspe: 0423 025 962 | paul.kruspe@proximity.com.au

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commercial hub

WHAT TO DO WITH THAT UNSOLICITED PROPOSAL? Since you hadn’t thought of the proposal before it was pitched to you, it’s probably safe to assume that it’s not in your organisation’s strategic or corporate plans and there isn’t any unallocated budget to pay for it. So your first question might be: Is this proposal so good that the organisation will change its plans and budgets to take it up? If a strong case can be made for the proposal the next question is: How can I take up the proposal?

BY JULIE FOX SPECIAL ADVISOR

So, you’ve just come back from your monthly catch-up with one of your major suppliers and they pitched you a really great idea. The proposal sounds feasible; like it would delivery efficiencies and improved outcomes for your organisation. Now what do you do?

The team at Proximity has significant experience assisting government sector clients deal with unsolicited proposals and undertake procurement that delivers value for money according to Government law policy. For more detail on how to manage unsolicited proposals, we can assist with delivering comprehensive and easy to use guidelines.

Your supplier will already have told you that they are best placed to do the work. They may even have mentioned that the proposal was their idea, they put effort into bringing it to you, and no one else can do it as well as they can. While these arguments feel persuasive, you have more work to do before you can simply deal with your supplier directly. Your core responsibility with any spending proposal is to ensure that you are achieving value for money. Here are some initial questions to consider before settling on your next steps. PRO

Is the proposal truly unique and innovative?

CO N

Is the proposal a novel presentation for a known requirement of your organisation that might be sourced through a competitive process?

PRO

Is the proposal detailed enough to show why a competitive process couldn’t deliver the same benefits to the organisation - has something been originally and independently developed by the supplier?

CO N

Does the proposal vary or extend an existing contract? Does it effectively depend upon the staff of the supplier (like consultancy services), or is it simply a different approach to delivering available goods or services?

Conundrum - What if the proposal is experimental, or involves a pilot of concept? Short answer: The concept may not be ‘procurement-ready’.

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legal hub

COMCARE V BANREJI – LESSONS LEARNT It concerned an APS6 in Immigration who sent 9000 tweets (described as “vitriolic” and “intemperate”) criticising government policies, departmental administration, politicians and colleagues, including her supervisor. Although she obscured her identity, colleagues identifed her and made complaints.

BY SARAH BYRNE PRINCIPAL ADVISOR

August’s High Court decision in Comcare v Banerji has been subject to some confusing reporting, which this aims to clarify.

Ms Banerji admitted sending the tweets and after a lengthy process, she was sacked for multiple Code of Conduct breaches. She claimed against Comcare for psychiatric injury, arguing her termination was not “reasonable administrative action”, because the relevant provisions of the Public Service Act (PSA) were inconsistent with the implied Constitutional freedom of political communication. Some commentators have suggested the High Court found that sacking is the penalty for criticising government policy. Not so: it did not consider whether sacking was appropriate, because in earlier proceedings Banerji had effectively accepted that it was. Others infer the Court decided public servants may not criticise government policy. Again, not so. All judges found public servants may make political comment and participate in public life. However this is a question of degree and context, and depends on whether the activity jeopardises the APS’s reputation, or undermines its impartiality.

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Others argue Banerji’s tweets should be protected by their anonymity. The court found no reason anonymous comments could not be a breach; also suggesting the tweets weren’t really anonymous – Banerji‘s identity was easily discovered, and Immigration’s social media policy warned staff should expect to be identified. Last, some commentators suggested the Court wound back the implied Constitutional freedom of political communication. The Court made no changes to this whatsoever. This right has never been a personal right of free speech, but operates to prevent Parliament enacting legislation that unreasonably limits political communication. All judges found the PSA does not infringe this principle, each for slightly different reasons, including: the APS is only part of the population, so overall the freedom is not impaired; the Constitutional commitment to an impartial APS justifies setting limits in the PSA; and the boundaries are not oppressive – most public servants can still comment on most topics, and when they do infringe, penalties are usually minor. In conclusion – Comcare v Banerji changes nothing. Business as usual.


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governance hub

TRANSFORMING YOUR ORGANISATION TO ENSURE IT REMAINS RELEVANT The world is changing at an exponential rate and will continue to accelerate.

BY JOHN JESTON PRINCIPAL ADVISOR

The future is not problem rich, it is opportunity rich

The internet is all pervasive; customer’s expectations are rapidly changing; robotics (software and physical) are becoming more pervasive; and the changes in the workforce as a result of the quad generations will mean that millennials be more than 70% of the workforce. In a post on his web site in May 2017 (www.davidhoule.com) futurist, David Houle, made the following comments and predictions (emphasis added). ‘There will be more change in the next 20 years than any 20–50 year period in history. In fact, future historians may well look back on this time as a historical transit as significant as the beginning of the Industrial Revolution or the Renaissance. It is hard to imagine any area of life that will not be changed. This means that it will be disconcerting, disorienting, disruptive and that ‘reality’ as we know it today will end.’

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‘The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not turbulence – it is to act with yesterday’s logic’ PETER DRUCKER

Transformating your organisation, to completely change an organisations (or a part of an organisation) to make it relevant for the future, is traditionally thought of as a hugely complex, high risk, multi-year program of work. It need not be. Organisations must find a way of remaining relevant while creating a practice of continuous transformation, because there is no such thing as ‘business as usual’. The environment dictates ‘Business as Unusual’. If an organisation is to build the capability for fast, furious and continuous change, to be agile, then an orgnisation will require a structured and agile approach.


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Proximity has a well documented, proven, structured and agile approach that is acknowledge by academics and used internationally in large complex organisations. The Transformation House overviews this approach and is adapted for each organisational engagement. Proximity’s agile approach is to work with you in a short engagement to agree a structured way of rapidly establishing the foundations for a

process-focused (BPM) business transformation program. ‘Setting for success’ will clearly understand the business outcomes and create a roadmap for delivery. For more about our approach and the Transformation House please contact us on enquiries@proximity.com or call 1800959885.

‘The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn’ D R . A LV I N T O F F L E R

Organisation Sustainability & Performance management Process governance | Performance management | Organisational culture Organisational process asset | Benefits management framework

Organisational Alignment Traceability between: Target Operating Model

Guiding Principles

Capability

Operational Processes Core operational processes: › Order to activate › Procure to pay Supporting processes: › Finance › Human resources › IT

Management Processes › Portfolio management - project estimating, selection & prioratisation › Strategy development › Scenario planning › Risk management

Innovation Processes › Dream › Filter, rank, create › Design › Plan › Manage › Govern

Efficiency & Effectiveness (Cost, service, staff)

Sustainable Relevance

Future Proofing

Process Change (Business Process Improvement) Process-focused project management | BPM Improvement methodology | People change management Operate Manage Sustain Benefits realisation | Process governance Performance management

Innovation Incubation › Pilot, prove, trial, iterate › Turn successes into Operational or Management Processes › Transition to business

Enablement Foundation principles and guidelines to enable the delivery or target operating model, capabilities and manage the business Foundations Target operating model components & high level principles to create capability Organisational Alignment | Process | Organisational design | Performance management People | Governance | Technology | Innovation

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food for thought

TRANSFORMING SERVICE DELIVERY

There was broad representation at the dinner from the Commonwealth, ACT, private sector and the ANU. Renee spoke passionately about the transformation of service delivery in the public sector, with a focus on the transition to digital service delivery. The group discussion covered a range of topics:

Proximity’s latest Food for Thought dinner had a strong focus on customer service with Renèe Leon, Secretary, Department of Human Services, our special guest.

› how public service delivery differs from the private sector (i.e. you can’t choose your customers); › the importance of building trust with your customers and stakeholders (including the media); › the benefits of engaging directly with your customer base in the design phase of a service delivery transformation program and listening to customer feedback to inform priorities and map the journey; › the need to build a strong innovation culture, and a culture that supports employees during a transformation program (including giving middle managers the responsibility and support to implement a change program); › the need for digital transformation projects to be ‘business led’ and not run like an IT project; › the importance of creating a multi-disciplinary team to innovate, collaborate and change the culture of the organisation, noting that failure is part of innovation; › acknowledging there is never zero risk and accepting that sometimes things go wrong; › the benefits and issues to manage with ‘big data’ and data analytics; › the importance of legal teams being a key part of the transformation design and implementation process, not just a compliance service; and › the future role of public sector employees in the digital age. The overall message from the evening was that transformation cannot be undertaken ‘in a silo’. It is crucial teams understands they are all part of an important journey, and their commitment and leadership will make a difference in the transformation of the organisation.

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women in leadership

MAKING A MOVE: PUBLIC TO PRIVATE

Sarah encouraged potential public sector women interested in making the move to a leadership position in the private sector to ask themselves the following questions: › What are your reasons for the move – what do you think you will gain, and have you reality tested that? Are you comparing apples with apples? › What position are you actually seeking – is there a particular job you have in mind, and if so how do you prepare for it? › What due diligence is required in respect of the opportunities you pursue – what sort of organisation aligns with your values? Sarah also discussed how women can identify and highlight their best transferable skills. Public sector leaders are experts at managing limited resources, are focused on achieving organisational goals, and understand client service. Private sector employers particularly value regulatory experience and professional networks that position women to advocate for industry. Not for profits often find government experience is an excellent background for CEOs who are negotiating for

Proximity Principal Adviser Sarah Byrne spoke recently to the Women in Leadership Conference in Canberra on making a career move between the public and private sectors – something she has done herself several times.

funding and developing policy positions on behalf of a constituency. Sarah also discussed how women with public sector experience can best present themselves as potential leaders to private sector employers, the different mindsets required for leadership in the public and private sectors, and what women might need to learn – and unlearn – when moving between sectors. The private sector is free of many of the regulatory constraints on government employees – though it is subject to different ones. In particular, women positioning themselves for leadership roles in the private sector should spend time acclimatising to those different frameworks and the language and expectations that accompany them. Proximity is unique among advisory firms in that a significant number of our advisers join us after considerable experience working in government at Commonwealth, State and Territory levels. We understand the value of skills learned in the public sector, and combine commercial nous and practicality with a profound understanding of the needs of our public sector clients.

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staff profile

TWO MINUTES WITH... Each edition, we profile a staff member who is an integral part of the Proximity story. Today we meet Special Advisor, Ted Bilton.

Tell us how you came to join the Proximity team?

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?

What is the best thing about working in the national capital?

I first came across Proximity about six years ago. I was at Defence and needed some quick turn-around work on a specialist ICT matter – enter (Proximity Director) Sean King, on time, on budget and most importantly, on a Vespa. Since that time, I have been interested to observe Proximity’s development, particularly as they expanded from traditional legal services into the commercial and advisory areas. When I decided to leave the public sector, I thought the variety and flexibility of the Proximity model (and their standard issue Vespas) would be a good fit for me.

Seek out roles where you can do something that counts and work with good people. When you can tick both those boxes everything else seems to take care of itself.

While there are lots of Canberra locals – my wife for one - Canberra is predominantly a community of people from somewhere else who have chosen to live in the capital for the extraordinary job opportunities offered by providing services to the Commonwealth. The quality of the work is unbeatable.

What is your proudest moment (in a professional context)? Working in and for the Commonwealth has provided me with unique and truly rewarding career opportunities for which I’m both proud and grateful for in equal measure. The nature of much of the Commonwealth’s work is that we can’t publicly discuss the details, but what I’ve been most proud of is being part of teams of talented people who deliver important outcomes for the public.

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As a manager of people, what is your biggest challenge? To make sure people are engaged, and willing to lean in and show courage to achieve the best outcome for the client.


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hot off the press What advice do you give to someone starting out in a career? In rough order of importance: Try and find something that makes you excited. Work for organisations and people who share your values. Always put your hand up for difficult jobs. Make sure you get as broad a range of professional experiences as you can in the first 3-5 years of your career. Don’t be afraid to completely change career direction if you think that’s what you need to stay motivated. Don’t wear check suits (just joking – I love that suit Ben!)

Experts author military law book

If you had your time again what would you have done differently? Probably nothing – I think you could waste an awful lot of time pondering what might have happened had you taken the other fork in the road. With the benefit of hindsight there will be an endless number of decision points you could improve on if you had your time again – it doesn’t seem like a good use of time! What keeps you awake at night? An irrational fear of clowns, and a cortisol spike which kicks in around 3.30am. If anyone knows how to fix it can they let me know (the cortisol, not the clowns). With an eye to the future, what does success look like for you?

Professor Robin Creyke, Proximity Expert Consultant, was one of three editors, as well as a contributor, to a newly-released book, Military Law in Australia. Military Law in Australia covers contemporary legal practice in a military context, written by a stable of experts drawn from the profession, including a judicial officer, barristers, legal practitioners within Defence, legal academics, and public lawyers in government and the private sector.

Keeping up a good balance between work and home so that both are healthy and sustainable.

It is the first comprehensive book on military law in Australia for nearly a century. This work fills the gap in Australia’s knowledge of the operations of a long-standing and increasingly important arm of our government.

Away from work, what is your passion?

Our congratulations and thanks to Robin for her efforts and ongoing contribution to the legal profession.

Definitely my wife. Definitely not vintage motorcycles.

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learning

FOUR WAYS TO GET YOUR CPD POINTS

BY INGRID BREMERS SENIOR ADVISOR

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) can be painful – particularly with that last minute crunch in March to get all your points. But professional development can be a great tool to learn new skills, meet new people and build your professional reputation. Here are four interesting ways to earn your CPD points.

1. Join a committee – In the ACT, you can claim CPD points for participating as a member of a committee where the work involved is of ‘substantial significance to the practice of law’, and assists in your professional development. This can be a fantastic way to combine CPD points with pro bono work (for example), and a very practical way to develop your skills and network. 2. Write a legal article – Claim units for exploring and explaining topics that interest you, in your own time. This is a great way to learn something new, and in a way that will truly ‘stick’, because you actually had to learn it. And of course, getting it published will build your public profile and professional reputation. 3. Watch CPDs online in your own time – Did you know that there are a number of online and video-based CPDs available? Catch up on your CPD points from the comfort of your couch (or wherever you choose), at whatever time suits you. Many of these services will automatically email you a record of your participation, so it is easily auditable.

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4. Host a workshop or discussion group – CPD seminars do not have to be lectures or ‘death-byPowerPoint’. Consider hosting a regular workshop or group to discuss matters within the core CPD areas. This will involve a bit of time to set up and administer, and must of course be ‘of significant intellectual or practical content’ to be eligible for CPD points. The pay-off is an interactive and engaging way to gain CPD points, whilst building your professional team and network. It is also worth remembering that CPD sessions don’t need to be one hour long – you might find it easier to squeeze in a shorter 30 or 45 minute session on a more regular basis. What are the interesting ways that you and your team meet CPD requirements? Do you have a passion to transform legal education? I would love to hear from you – please reach out to me at ingrid.bremers@ proximity.com.au. *NOTE: THIS ARTICLE IS BASED ON THE ACT LAW SOCIETY CPD GUIDELINES, BUT THE PRINCIPLES ARE RELEVANT FOR ALL PRACTITIONERS. PLEASE REFER TO YOUR LOCAL LAW SOCIETY FOR THE GUIDELINES WHICH APPLY TO YOU.


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procurement

PROCUREMENT PANEL DISCUSSION A SUCCESS Amongst the most significant take outs from the panel discussion: › Department of Finance has created a Centre of Procurement Excellence to build capability and efficiency in the public service; › The benefits of sharing knowledge, lessons learnt and expertise through communities of practice across departments; › Gaining insights and knowledge through better use of data to benchmark and find efficiencies and savings; › The importance of increased training to build procurement expertise across the APS; and

For anyone who ever doubted the importance of a quality procurement process, check out this fast fact: In 201718 there were 73,458 contracts published on AusTender with a combined value of $71.1 billion.

Proximity was pleased to host nearly 100 people from across government and business recently to hear an excellent panel discussion on Public Sector Procurement – Lessons and Trends. Facilitated by Proximity Director, Sean King, the expert panel of Anne Collins (Finance), Andrew Stephen (Human Services) and Tom Brennan (Defence) spoke of the increasing priority being given to best-practice procurement in the APS.

› The success of the Indigenous Procurement Policy which has exceeded all expectations. The panel agreed that the procurement process shouldn’t end with the letting of a ‘value for money’ contract. Public servants also need to effectively manage contracts to deliver goods and/ or services that achieve the best business/strategic outcomes for government. Proximity was pleased to partner with the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply to deliver this successful event. For advice on public sector procurement, contact a Proximity expert on 1800 959 885 or email enquiries@proximity.com.au

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consultation

GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR WORKSHOP Whether we are assisting to develop policy, reviewing organisational effectiveness and structure, or looking at governance issues, a critical part of gathering the evidence base for any project is speaking to people, external and internal to an organisation.

BY JAMES LAVERY PRINCIPAL ADVISOR

A critical part of our consulting practice at Proximity is, you guessed it, consultation.

Often, the most effective means of obtaining input and ideas from the most people is through workshops. But there is an art to designing a workshop to make it most effective and efficient for those attending, and to ensure the ideas flow from the workshop into the project at hand. Here are our quick hints for a great workshop.

AGENDA The key to a good workshop is giving the participants a concise agenda with clear content and goals, carefully prepared in advance by the facilitator. That instils confidence in participants that the workshop will be valuable. Presentations can be useful, but in our experience are best kept to a minimum – scene-setting is, however, essential. Some preworkshop reading or homework can be useful, but again, less is more.

ACTIVITIES

For the best results, try to keep your workshop size at 40-50 people maximum. We find that 6 tables of 7-8 people is a good mix, so there can be good group discussion of topics, critical issues, case studies and other items.

Design the agenda to ensure there are specific tasks, topics, activities and case studies for people to discuss, and then report back on their discussions and conclusions. Ensure table discussions start soon after the beginning of the workshop so tables bond, form a team and immediately engage in problem solving. Icebreaker activities can also be useful.

LENGTH

FACILITATION

SIZE

Half day workshops are the most productive in our experience: three hours before lunch, with an hour after lunch works best (remember a morning tea break). Energy flags by mid-afternoon, particularly If the work is intense. If more work is required, try two half-day workshops.

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Good facilitators set the scene, prompt, probe and summarise, they don’t do the talking. Talking is for participants on tables, and the people they appoint to present back their table’s findings to the group.


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initiative

OUTPUTS Follow up is critical. If the workshop is properly designed, outputs can be gathered from the workshop, summarised succinctly, and circulated to participants quickly if required. It is a good idea also to have a person taking notes of the plenary discussions. Plenary and table outputs then form the basis of further consulting work, or are an end in themselves, depending on workshop purpose.

WORKSHOP QUICK TIPS Remember: SIZE

Community Pledge From its foundation, Proximity has had a strong commitment to the local community.

LE NGT H AG E NDA ACT IV IT I E S

We are proud to announce an exciting new initiative which gives our clients the opportunity to help us support one of our long-term community partners, Menslink. This November and December, for all clients who opt-in to the initiative, Proximity will donate 5% of revenue from all new legal advisory business to this great cause. Menslink assists hundreds of young men who find themselves socially isolated and without adequate male role models to develop the social skills they need to grow into positive adult men. The Proximity Community Pledge is open to both existing and new clients, and it is another way of Proximity giving back to the community, at a time of year when there is so much strain on our local charities.

FAC ILITAT I O N OU TPU T S And you won’t go wrong with your next workshop. Proximity has extensive workshop and facilitation expertise, so we are very happy to assist you with planning and facilitating your next one.

To find out more about how your organisation can optin visit: proximity.com.au/ communitypledge.

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life at proximity

STARTING OUT: SO WHAT’S COOKING? BY JASON RILEY ADVISOR

Like any other entry level position, I expected to be worked beyond reason, become an expert in printing and filing paperwork, and for my main source of income to be whatever change I pocketed from endless coffee runs for senior staff.

But Proximity is different. They have a coffee machine in the office so staff can help themselves. They understand that staff have competing priorities. Not once did I feel pressured to stay late or work extra days where this would impact my study or exams. Importantly though, senior members didn’t ask for coffee, they asked for my opinion and perhaps a few tips on cooking (my other passion outside of work). This is a business that values diversity of thought and experience, and one that rewards the quality of contributions rather than time spent with the company. By my second year with Proximity I had begun to develop an interest in the non-legal aspects of the business. Having built enough trust through past secondments I was given the opportunity to take on Proximity’s first business transformation project. I worked under the direct guidance of a senior member at the partner level of most firms and had responsibility for work that most

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juniors wouldn’t have until much later in their career. The client site knew us as ‘master and apprentice.’ It truly was an incredible learning experience. I now work full time as an advisor across Proximity’s commercial and governance practice areas. Proximity presents an exciting opportunity for junior consultants. Small teams taking on big projects. The opportunity to have visibility of and involvement in the entire scope of the project, working side by side with experts eager to pass on their knowledge and experience. Further, as a growing practice, there is the potential to engage in business strategy and development and influence the future direction of the firm. I remember a meeting I had with one of Proximity’s business managers before I came on full time. They mentioned that my experience could get me a job in any of the ‘big four’. When I asked what they thought I should do they suggested I go where I’ll get the most experience. So far so good.


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health and wellbeing

ENTRIES FREE FOR 2020 PROXIMITY COMMUNITY TRIATHLON SAVE THE DATE: SATURDAY, 15 FEBRUARY 2020

For the first time, entries in the corporate and community category of the 2020 Proximity Canberra Triathlon Festival will be FREE!

Entrants can compete as individuals, or in a relay format in teams of three, to tackle the 200m swim, 10km cycle and 2km run/walk. The short distances and relaxed feel of the event are all designed to make participation available to everyone, and for most of the participants it will be more of a social occasion than a race.

Registrations are now open for next year’s event, which will again take place on Saturday 15 February, at Rond Terrace, on the northern side of Lake Burley Griffin.

‘The triathlon is a great opportunity for workplaces and community groups to put teams together. It’s a great event for team building and encouraging a physically and mentally healthy workplace,’ said Proximity Director, Sean King.

The corporate and community event is a great opportunity for first-timers to compete in the most achievable triathlon category.

‘Our aim is to make this event as accessible to as many people as possible, and so for 2020 we have worked with the event organisers

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to remove the entry fee for the first time. We hope this will encourage hundreds more to give the triathlon a go.’ In the past, the corporate and community triathlon has attracted teams from government departments, the media, businesses, not for profit community groups, and in 2019 there was even a team of ACT politicians. For those teams who don’t have a swimmer, you can enter the ‘DRYathlon’ event option, with a 1km run, 10km ride and 2km run/walk. Air bikes are available for hire on the day and businesses can book a corporate marquee. For registrations and all the information you need visit www.proximitytriathlon.com.au


20

knowledge sharing

FIRST IN-HOUSE COUNSEL DAY A SUCCESS! We were thrilled with the response to our first Government In-House Counsel Day, at the National Museum of Australia.

The full-day event had a huge response with more than 100 in attendance from more than a dozen different Commonwealth Government agencies. During the day, we delved into a range of topical and relevant issues. We discussed the challenges of managing complex projects, and explored interactive tender processes. Delegates received expert advice on key contract terms to include in cloud contracts, and we heard from leading authority in Public

Law, Emeritus Professor Robin Creyke AO, on spring cleaning the administrative decisions cupboard. We also provided timely and practical tips on how lawyers can help their organisation anticipate and prepare for the impact of a Royal Commission inquiry. The day wrapped up with an interactive and entertaining panel discussion ‘Worst. Day. Ever.’ which focused on ethical dilemmas many in government face on an alltoo-frequent basis.

Interested in attending our Government In-House Counsel Day in 2020? Register your expression of interest at enquiries@proximity.com.au

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21

community

University Law Prizes While Proximity’s mantra is about being innovative, genuine and helpful, we also strive for excellence. To that end, we are thrilled to be sponsoring two new academic prizes through both the ANU’s College of Law and at the University of Canberra.

At the ANU, the Proximity Prize will be presented to the undergraduate student showing the greatest academic achievement in the Information Law course. At the University of Canberra, we are pleased to be sponsoring a new unit, Law, Innovation and Technologies. In both cases, Proximity will offer a short internship for the successful student in both courses.

Pro Bono Award At Proximity we pride ourselves on the pro bono work we do in the community. Having achieved 53 pro bono hours per lawyer (well above the 35 hour national average), we were proud to be recognised with a Highly Commended for Pro Bono Service at the 2019 ACT Law Society Annual Dinner and Awards Night.

Menslink breakfast with Barnesy

PICTURED WITH THE AWARD ARE PROXIMITY ADVISOR AND CSR AND PRO BONO MANAGER, DECLAN NORRIE AND SPECIAL ADVISOR, VEENA BEDEKAR.

The Proximity team is proud to support Menslink and we were out in force for their annual business breakfast at the QT Hotel.

Our directors, Sean King and James Dunn, caught up with special guest, rock legend Jimmy Barnes, who shared his very personal story and what he described as his most courageous life decision, to seek expert help to turn around his troubled life. In 2019, Menslink has provided face-to-face support for 900 young men and boys in the Canberra region and Proximity is proud to be a major supporter. THE PULSE EDITION FOUR


22

life at the office

A helping hand Proximity loves being a part of the Canberra community, and our offices regularly play host to organisations making a difference. We were delighted to welcome the board of our pro bono partner, The Farm at Galong for their recent meeting. Proximity also supported our friends at a recent charity fundraiser where they raised an impressive $30,000 in support of their life-changing work.

The Proximity team

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23

Celebrating our success At Proximity, it certainly isn’t a case of ‘all work and no play’.

To celebrate an incredibly successful 2018–19 financial year and our appointment to the Commonwealth Legal Services Panel, we enjoyed a night of relaxation and even a bit of indoor skiing at Vertikal Indoor Snow Sports in Fyshwick. It’s a great venue for your next corporate night out.

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SOLO OR RELAY 200m swim

10k bike

2k run

Corporate & Community Category

SATURDAY 15 FEB 2020 Rond Terrace, at the bottom of Anzac Parade Featuring the Corporate and Community Triathlon for people of all fitness levels REGISTER NOW

proximitytriathlon.com.au

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Profile for Proximity

Proximity: The Pulse | Edition Four  

Proximity is a leading professional services organisation providing legal, commercial and governance advisory solutions. Providing high qual...

Proximity: The Pulse | Edition Four  

Proximity is a leading professional services organisation providing legal, commercial and governance advisory solutions. Providing high qual...