2016–17 Annual Report - Part 2: Agency overview

ARPANSA at a glance

Our mission

Protection of people and the environment from the harmful effects of radiation

Our vision

Radiation safety is appropriately considered in societal decision-making

Radiation safety is addressed uniformly and effectively across Australia

Radiation safety in Australia is current international best practice

Our purpose

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) is the Australian Government’s primary authority on radiation protection and nuclear safety. Our purpose is to protect the Australian people and the environment from the harmful effects of radiation, through understanding risks, best practice regulation, research, policy, services, partnerships and engaging with the community.

Authority

Established by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998 (ARPANS Act), ARPANSA commenced operations on 5 February 1999. ARPANSA replaced the Nuclear Safety Bureau and Australian Radiation Laboratory.

Responsible ministers and portfolio

ARPANSA sits within the Department of Health portfolio. The CEO, Dr Carl-Magnus Larsson, is the accountable authority of ARPANSA.

As at 30 June 2017, Dr Larsson reported to the Assistant Minister for Health.

Our outcome

ARPANSA has a single outcome as set out in the portfolio budget statement:

Protection of people and the environment through radiation protection and nuclear safety research, policy, advice, codes, standards, services and regulation.

Our staff

As at 30 June 2017, ARPANSA had 126 ongoing staff, six non-ongoing staff, and one statutory appointment.

Location

ARPANSA has offices in Victoria (Yallambie) and New South Wales (Miranda). Over 83 per cent of staff are located in the Victorian office.

Role of ARPANSA

ARPANSA, on behalf of the Australian Government, aims to protect the Australian people and environment from the harmful effects of radiation.

ARPANSA is the independent regulator of Commonwealth entities that use or produce radiation. ARPANSA provides advice and services to the Australian community on radiation protection, nuclear safety, security, and medical exposures to radiation. The agency also undertakes internationally recognised research and promotes both national uniformity and the implementation of international best practice.

The Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Program, contained within the portfolio budget statement, describes four program objectives which ARPANSA pursues to protect the Australian people and the environment from the harmful effects of radiation. Two new objectives were developed for the 2017–21 corporate plan to reflect the important work of our supporting capabilities:

  • strengthen engagement with community and government
  • enhance organisational innovation, capability and resilience.

The 2016–17 strategic objectives are:

  1. Protect the public, workers and the environment from radiation exposure
  2. Promote radiological and nuclear safety and security, and emergency preparedness
  3. Promote the effective use of ionising radiation in medicine
  4. Ensure effective and proportionate regulation and enforcement activities

How we deliver

ARPANSA provides the Australian Government and community with:

Expertise

We build and maintain expertise in measurement of radiation and assessment of health impacts, including the assessment of risks and responses to radiation emergencies.

Advice

We provide high quality advice to the government and the community on issues related to exposure and effects of radiation, radiation protection and nuclear safety.

Regulation

We use our licensing powers and work with Commonwealth entities to ensure the safety of sources, facilities and nuclear installations, using a risk-informed regulatory approach.

Best practice

We lead the development of codes, standards, guides and advice to support radiation protection and nuclear safety throughout Australia, and play a prominent role in relevant international organisations.

Services

We offer high quality services for the purpose of protection against the harmful effects of radiation.

Research

We undertake research and development, and build strategic partnerships with relevant national and international academic and research organisations.

ARPANSA service charter

Our service charter outlines who ARPANSA is and what we do, the standards of service expected from ARPANSA, and how our stakeholders can help us to improve our service. We review this charter on a regular basis in consultation with clients, stakeholders and staff. The charter is available in full on the ARPANSA website at arpansa.gov.au/service-charter. ARPANSA has developed a complaints management policy and process which includes customer service performance monitoring. We are implementing a customer relationship management system to enable future comprehensive reporting of performance against the charter.

Organisational  structure

Chief Executive Officer

Dr Carl-Magnus Larsson has held the position of CEO since 2010.

The CEO’s functions (as set out in the ARPANS Act) include:

  • regulating Commonwealth radiation sources and facilities
  • promoting uniformity of radiation protection and nuclear safety policy and practices across jurisdictions of the Commonwealth, the states and the territories
  • providing advice on radiation protection, nuclear safety and related issues
  • undertaking research in relation to radiation protection, nuclear safety and medical exposures to radiation
  • providing services relating to radiation protection, nuclear safety and medical exposures to radiation
  • monitoring the operations of ARPANSA, the Radiation Health and Safety Advisory Council (the Council), the Radiation Health Committee (RHC) and the Nuclear Safety Committee (NSC)
  • reporting on the operations of ARPANSA, the Council, RHC and NSC.

Executive Group

The CEO is supported by the Executive Group, which is comprised of branch and office heads and the Director, Performance and Governance. This group provides the CEO with high-level  policy and strategic advice and reports on matters relating to their individual business groups. Together the CEO and the Executive Group form the leadership team responsible for the day-to-day management of ARPANSA.

In 2016–17 two changes were made to the membership of the Executive Group:

  • Dr Gillian Hirth was appointed Chief Radiation Health Scientist in August 2016.
  • Mr James Scott was acting as Chief Inspector of Regulatory Services, at 30 June 2017.

ARPANSA business groups

ARPANSA has six business groups that deliver components of the agency’s strategies and services. Figure 1.1 shows ARPANSA’s organisational structure at 30 June 2017.

Office of the CEO

The OCEO facilitates, coordinates and supports the activities of the CEO. The OCEO comprises the Communications section and the Government and International Relations section. The office leads collaboration and communication, coordinates international engagement and provides advice to the agency and Government on emerging and strategic issues.

Corporate Office

The Corporate Office comprises four sections; Finance, People and Culture, Information Management, and Performance and Governance. The internal systems for maintaining an effective public service that meets the needs and expectations of the community requires a competent and motivated workforce and effective management systems for internal information exchange, accountability and performance reporting. The Corporate Office plays an important role in this regard.

Office of the General Counsel

The office provides legal advice and strategic support to the agency with regard to all aspects of the agency’s operations and assists the CEO to achieve his statutory mandate. The General Counsel also provides legal advice and support to all ARPANSA staff to assist them in performing their functions and to ensure that in doing so they are compliant with relevant government policy and legislation.

Regulatory Services Branch

Regulatory Services Branch has main carriage of regulation of the safety and security of Commonwealth radiation sources and facilities.

Comprising four sections (Facility Licensing, Source Control, Continuous Improvement and Regulatory Assurance), the branch is ARPANSA’s principal driver for promoting a uniform regulatory framework across all jurisdictions. The costs for direct regulatory activities are recovered from application fees and annual licence charges.

Radiation Health Services Branch1

The Radiation Health Services Branch comprises three sections; Monitoring and Emergency Response, Assessment and Advice, and Radiation Protection Services. The branch provides radiation protection advice and assessments to the public and to government. It operates services on a fee-for-service basis including the Personal Radiation Monitoring Service, the ultraviolet radiation fabric testing service and a radiofrequency equipment calibration service. The branch operates a number of national initiatives including an ultraviolet radiation monitoring network, and the Australian National Radiation Dose Register. It also operates a radiation monitoring network established under the terms of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

Medical Radiation Services Branch

The Medical Radiation Services Branch provides safety and quality advice on the use of radiation in medicine to all Australians. The branch has three sections. The Medical Imaging section is responsible for dose data collection and advice on patient safety within diagnostic imaging. The Radiotherapy section maintains the Australian primary standard for absorbed dose and, by calibrating hospitals’ radiation monitors against the primary standard, ensures that a provider’s equipment is accurate. The Australian Clinical Dosimetry Service audits linear accelerators used by radiotherapy providers in Australia, verifying that the radiation exposure of patients under treatment is correct.

All members of the Executive Group standing infront of a glass panel railing with a leafy backdrop

ARPANSA’S Executive Group (L TO R): Gillian Hirth, Martin Reynolds, Tone Doyle, Ivan Williams, Carl‑Magnus Larsson, George Savvides, Sarsha Collett and James Scott.

Organisational chart (figure 1.1)

PDF icon Organisational chart


Footnote:

  1.  As of 1 September 2016, Dr Stephen Solomon was succeeded by Dr Gillian Hirth as Chief Radiation Health Scientist and Head, Radiation Health Services Branch.