A Reflect RAP clearly sets out the steps you should take to build relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders, and implement a RAP for your organisation. Committing to a Reflect RAP allows your organisation to spend time developing relationships, deciding on your vision for reconciliation and exploring your sphere of influence, before committing to specific actions or initiatives. This process will help to produce future RAPs that are meaningful, mutually beneficial and sustainable.
The simple actions in your Reflect RAP will enable you to build the right framework for reconciliation within your organisation. Organisations developing a Reflect RAP may have very few (or no) existing relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders and may not be aware of who within your organisation identifies as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. Developing a Reflect RAP is the first step in developing these relationships.
RAP insight: Westpac
“We know the journey to reconciliation will take collaboration, perseverance and passion, and we are committed to staying the course alongside our fellow Australians, our partners, our employees and the communities in which we serve.”
Gail Kelly, CEO, Westpac
Your Reflect RAP is focused on listening and learning, rather than on developing actions, programs or targets without the right groundwork. It’s important not to rush into ‘solutions’ before you really know what the issues are from the perspective of your organisation’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders. This means that if your organisation chooses to develop Reflect RAP it won’t ask you to:
1. Download the Reflect RAP template
Use the Reflect RAP template to develop your RAP. The template sets out the actions your organisation will commit to undertake to establish the right foundations for sustainable change. Make sure you contact us to discuss any proposed changes to this template.
2. Submit your Reflect RAP to Reconciliation Australia for endorsement and registration
Send your Reflect RAP to firstname.lastname@example.org for endorsement and registration and we will register it on our website alongside other RAPs.
3. Launch your Reflect RAP
The next step is to celebrate and implement your Reflect RAP. Publicly celebrating the launch of your Reflect RAP is a great opportunity to garner interest and support internally and within the wider community and is a great way to involve your staff and stakeholders in your organisation’s commitment to reconciliation. Reconciliation Australia can support your celebration/s in a variety of ways. Please contact us to see if a Reconciliation Australia representative is available to attend, and to discuss publicity options, invitees and speakers. Consider using social media to publicise your RAP, and remember to take high-quality photos of the event to use in your future RAPs and annual reports.
Reconciliation Australia has designed the Reflect RAP template to help new RAP organisations build the right foundations to achieve reconciliation within their workplace. By completing the actions listed in the Reflect RAP template, your organisation will be in a good position to develop future strategies to drive meaningful and sustainable change within your sphere of influence.
1. Form a RAP working group comprising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians, to support the implementation of your RAP.
The RAP working group is the driving force of every successful RAP. See the section on the RAP working group for more information on who should be involved, and how to get started.
2. Develop a list of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, organisations and key stakeholders within your local area or sphere of influence to assist in understanding your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
Building respectful, mutually beneficial relationships is what the RAP program is all about. This action is a scoping exercise to find out which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and key stakeholders might have an interest in working with you to develop future RAPs. You can do this by looking in the phone book or searching online, but the best way is by speaking with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
3. Working group to attend a community event or organise an internal event to recognise and celebrate National Reconciliation Week.
National Reconciliation Week is celebrated across Australia each year between 27 May and 3 June. The dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey: the anniversaries of the successful 1967 referendum and the High Court’s Mabo decision.
The week is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements, and to explore how each of us can join the national reconciliation effort. There are many ways your organisation can get involved in National Reconciliation Week, such as:
4. Develop a plan to raise awareness across the organisation about your RAP commitment, particularly with key internal stakeholders.
Your Reflect RAP is focused on building the right framework for reconciliation to succeed. This includes building internal awareness of the RAP program and your organisation’s commitment to it. Implementing this action may include:
5. Present to all relevant areas of your business to ensure they have an understanding of how their area can contribute to our RAP.
Future RAPs will include actions around recruitment, retention and promotion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees, cultural awareness training and cultural experiences, purchasing products and services from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses as well as communicating your opportunities and good work to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. As such, it is important that all the relevant areas of your business are on board with your organisations vision for reconciliation and understand the role they will play in ensuring the success of your RAP.
6. A business case for cultural awareness, capability and development based on our core business is developed, with findings presented to relevant HR/Learning and Development area for their input.
The cultural development of staff members is a basic element of the RAP program, and is crucial to ensuring that other RAP actions are meaningful and sustainable. For example, to attract and retain Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff, an organisation must be committed to implementing initiatives that reflect an appreciation of and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. Government agencies and community service organisatons also find staff cultural development an invaluable factor in efficient, effective and culturally sensitive service delivery. In developing the Reflect RAP, you should establish what cultural development opportunities your organisation has already investigated or implemented (if any), and explore options for future cultural awareness and competency training that are relevant to your business.
While Reconciliation Australia doesn’t endorse or promote particular training providers, you can find a register of cultural awareness training providers on our website.
7. We have captured baseline data on our employee’s current level of understanding around Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, cultures and contributions.
Collecting baseline data on your employee’s current level of understanding will assist your organisation to track the success of your investment in cultural awareness and cultural competency activities.
8. Working group to participate in a community NAIDOC Week event, or hold an internal event (1st Sunday – 2nd Sunday in July each year).
NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life. The week is a great opportunity for your organisation to participate in a range of activities and to engage your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
9. Develop an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander protocol guideline for your organisation.
Protocols for welcoming visitors to country have been part of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures for thousands of years. Incorporating Welcome and Acknowledgement protocols into official meetings and events recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Australians, and promotes an awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians’ ongoing connection to place. Having guidelines in place for acknowledging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander protocols will support and encourage all your stakeholders to recognise Australia’s ancient and unique protocols. In working towards this action, you should consult your organisation’s local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to determine the appropriate ways to acknowledge the Country on which your office is located.
10. Communicate to employees the meaning and significance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander protocols such as Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Country.
Engage employees in understanding the protocols around Acknowledgement of Country and Welcome to Country ceremonies ensures there is shared meaning behind the ceremonies. You might consider engaging employees by inviting a local elder to give a Welcome to Country at one of your events or meetings (the launch of your Reflect RAP is an ideal opportunity) and asking the elder to explain the meaning of the ceremony.
11. Scope a business case for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment within your organisation.
Providing meaningful opportunities is essential if we are to achieve equality in Australia. Employment opportunities are a key determinant for achieving equality, and an area that all RAP partners contribute towards. It’s not about numbers; it’s about providing real and sustainable employment opportunities and career progression.
Your organisation’s Reflect RAP should focus on assessing the mutual benefits of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment strategy for your organisation, and understanding some of the barriers to meaningful and sustainable employment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Activities could include:
12. Capture baseline data on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employers to inform future developments.
Collecting baseline data is essential to guide the future direction of your employment programs or Aboriginal as part of your Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy. Having baseline data will also assist in regularly and transparently evaluating long-term employment program outcomes and it is crucial for forming an evidence base for measuring the success of these programs. It may take a number of months, and a number of internal meetings, to develop processes and ways to capture this baseline data, so it’s best to start these conversations early.
13. Scope a business case for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander supplier diversity and how our organisation can develop an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander supplier diversity program.
In addition to generating value internally, procuring products and services from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses is a great way for organisations to support wealth creation in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Building Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses into your supply chain means these businesses are then able to employ more people—this provides greater choice and opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and increases opportunities for economic development and job creation in local communities.
As a first step, make contact with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business development organisations such as Supply Nation (formerly the Australian Indigenous Minority Supplier Council or AIMSC) or your local Indigenous Chambers of Commerce. You could also speak with existing RAP partners to understand what actions they have taken to increase supplier diversity within their organisation.
14. Ensure the RAP will be adequately resourced.
Many committed and driven employees have developed RAPs and have gone above and beyond their regular duties to ensure their organisation plays its part in reconciliation. This has produced some inspirational results. For your RAP to be sustainable and provide returns for your organisation, it is important to consider what support the working group needs to carry out its responsibilities in developing, implementing and reporting on the plan. For some organisations, this may mean devoting a full-time role to managing the RAP; for others it could involve formally including responsibility for the RAP in the regular duties of an existing employee.
15. Ensure your organisation collects data so you can measure progress against RAP commitments.
As with any reporting requirement, it is important that you can measure your organisation’s progress against the commitments made in the RAP. The minimum reporting requirement of the RAP program is that your organisation completes and submits the RAP Impact Measurement Questionnaire annually. You may also have internal reporting requirements, such as quarterly reporting to the board, or contributing to your organisation’s annual corporate social responsibility report. When you are implementing your Reflect RAP, it’s a good idea to read through the questionnaire to see what kinds of questions are asked, and what type of answer we need to receive so we can include your data in the RAP Impact Measurement Report.
16. Report to Reconciliation Australia annually on our achievements.
Tracking and reporting progress ensures your organisation recognises where achievements have been made, where challenges remain and what opportunities exist for future RAP development and implementation. Sharing your learnings with the RAP community and wider Australian community helps us to learn collaboratively in relation to what works in reconciliation and improving opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
In order to effectively measure the impact of the Reconciliation Action Plan, we have developed the RAP Impact Measurement Questionnaire. The quantitative and qualitative data provided to us via this questionnaire remains confidential and is only reported in aggregate in the annual RAP Impact Measurement Report. We are also collecting case studies from RAP organisations so that we can share strategies and tools that will assist other organisations to achieve change within their organisation.
Each RAP organisation should continue to report according to the timeline in their RAP (usually on the 12 month anniversary of the launch of their RAP). However, the cut-off date for inclusion in each annual RAP Impact Measurement Report is the 30th of September each year.