26 September 2023

APS finds Service Report a sign of the future

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The State of the Service Report released this week by the Australian Public Service Commission has revealed that the many members of the Australian Public Service (APS) enjoying the benefits of working from home may not be alone.

In his Overview of the Report, APS Commissioner Peter Woolcott (pictured) said that while the APS was moving past having to deal with the immediate COVID-19 crisis, it was taking the opportunity to examine its ways of working, its structures, cultural norms and capabilities.

“According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the COVID-19 pandemic has created opportunities to inject new flexibility and resilience into public service operating models across the world,” Mr Woolcott said.

“The use of flexible working arrangements in the APS, including working from home, pre-dates the pandemic and looking to the future will remain a feature of how the APS operates,” he said.

“The large scale shifts to home-based work, necessitated by health orders, has proven (that) a more distributed model of work is viable without undermining productivity”.’

He said that while questions remained about how greater flexibility might support both the wellbeing of the employee and the operation needs of the organisation, it also ensured the strength and quality of networks, teamwork and collaboration.

“Greater flexibility offers clear benefits for the APS in its capacity to recruit and retain expertise from wider labour markets,” Mr Woolcott said.

“Our capacity to continuously learn and adapt will depend on effective structures, an inclusive culture, strong capabilities and leadership,” he said.

“I am confident that the APS is well placed to meet the demands of our rapidly changing environment and continue to meet the needs of Government and the Australian people into the future.”

The 150-page APS State of the Service Report can be accessed at this PS News link.

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