While working data and spreadsheets may sound like a dry subject, Kishen Gobal discovered just the opposite during his recent McCusker Centre for Citizenship internship.
The mature-age University of WA accounting and finance student worked on the Integrity Dashboard Project during his 100-hour community service internship at the Public Sector Commission.
Mr Gobal, 46, created the dashboard with Microsoft Excel to be used to inform public authorities (state government agencies, local government, government trading enterprises and public universities) about the categories of minor misconduct reported to the Commission.
Although the Mandurah resident was enthusiastic about his project, he admitted that he was uncertain about its reception when he presented the dashboard to members of the Risk Division, culminating in a formal presentation to the Executive Committee and Commissioner Sharyn O’Neill.
“I was pleasantly surprised that most people were genuinely excited about the potential of using dashboards,” he said.
“They were intrigued by the prospect of using data analytics to provide critical insights and drive decisions in their areas of work.
“Some were surprised that such a report could be done with Excel. Current practices can be prone to biases and inaccuracies due to a range of factors, such as the hidden nature of misconduct and reluctance among employees to shine a light on wrongdoing.”
Mr Gobal said he felt personally rewarded to know that his internship had contributed something so useful to the Public Sector Commission.
“The internship was an excellent opportunity to develop my skills by providing sufficient stretch without being overwhelming,” he said.
“As a result, I have a greater appreciation and understanding of internal control and risk assessment systems that exist within the public sector.
“I think the real value of the project is that it was able to demonstrate that dashboards can be a useful tool to analyse raw data and turn that analysis into graphical reports which is accessible by the end user.”