26 September 2023

APS leaders write to PS on Robodebt

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The Australian Public Service Commissioner (APSC) and Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) have circulated a message to all staff of the APS relating to the recent findings from the Royal Commission into the Robodebt Scheme.

The leaders, Professor Glyn Davis at PM&C and Dr Gordon de Brouwer, APSC, wanted everyone in the APS to know the findings of the Royal Commission were being taken seriously.

“We are committed to working through the findings in an open and constructive way with you – the APS – and with the Australian public,” Professor Davis and Dr de Brouwer said.

“We know the vast majority of public servants are committed to providing quality advice and dedicated service consistent with the APS values and code of conduct. Australians see the important and meaningful work that you and your agencies do every day, and the professional and diligent way you do it.”

They said that following the release of the report, a taskforce would be established to support Ministers preparing the Government’s response.

“Separate to this, the APSC will oversee an independent process to determine if public servants with adverse findings have breached the APS Code of Conduct,” they said.

“This process will be established under the APS Commissioner’s powers in the Public Service Act 1999.

“It is designed to be fair, independent, and consistent.”

They said the APSC had engaged former APS Commissioner Stephen Sedgwick to exercise the powers as an Independent Reviewer.

“Mr Sedgwick will make inquiries and determinations about whether an individual referred for inquiry has breached the APS Code of Conduct,” they said.

They also said they recognised that their message and the Royal Commission’s findings may have an impact.

“We encourage you to contact your agency’s Employee Assistance Program,” they said and included contacts in their letter.

The leaders’ letter can be accessed on the PM&C website at this PS News link.

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