2 November 2023

Minister to update on APS Reform Agenda and reveal next phase

| Chris Johnson
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Public Service Minister Katy Gallagher will today give an update on APS reform. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Public Service Minister Katy Gallagher will today (1 November) deliver the first annual statement on the progress of Australian Public Service reform and announce the next stage of the ambitious reform agenda.

For the past year, the Federal Government has been working with Commonwealth agencies to deliver on its APS Reform Agenda.

Of the 44 APS Reform Initiatives announced last year, a quarter are now complete, including:

  • The establishment of a National Anti-Corruption Commission
  • The completion of an audit of employment
  • The establishment of an in-house consulting model (now known as Australian Government Consulting)
  • Increased transparency of the Secretaries Board with meeting communiques and terms of reference now published online
  • The expansion of the Survey on Trust and Transparency in Australian Public Services, and
  • The creation of an APS Capability Reinvestment Fund to fund projects to build organisational capability in the APS.

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Giving the update at the Australian National University, Senator Gallagher will describe a public service that has suffered cuts to its core function and where contractors, consultants and labour hire have replaced permanent public service jobs.

“When we came to government, we began the task of rebuilding the public service to restore capacity and capability,” Senator Gallagher will say.

“Following the Royal Commission into the Robodebt Scheme, the need for reform is stronger than ever.

“We need an APS that is fit to serve Australians in the 21st century, but real and lasting change is going to take time.”

She will outline the next phase of the reform agenda, to be rolled out over the next 18 months, aimed at bolstering the integrity of the APS.

These new initiatives will include:

  • Requiring the PM&C Secretary and APS Commissioner to conduct a merit-based appointments process for Secretary roles and publishing a Secretaries’ performance framework and process
  • Better handling of sustained underperformance of Secretaries, including appropriate consequences
  • New own motion powers for the APS Commissioner to initiate reviews and investigations into Code of Conduct breaches by current and former Agency Heads (including Secretaries) and APS employees
  • Criteria for the next round of the Capability Reinvestment Fund
  • Develop best-practice recruitment and selection options across the APS, and
  • The application of consistent hiring practices, mandating the sharing of merit lists and strategies to maximise the use of merit lists.

The Annual Progress Report on APS Reform will be available on the APS Reform website.

Original Article published by Chris Johnson on Riotact.

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