26 September 2023

New PS engagement tools put to work

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The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science has released a suite of tools aimed at helping members of the Australian Public Service (APS) deliver policy, programs and services more effectively.

The Department said the new APS Framework for Engagement and Participation would include guidance on engagement principles and standards for the APS and ways to open dialogue for “deliberative engagement”.

It said the Framework was the result of work by close to 1,000 APS staff and public, with additional content also drawn from other Governments.

“The APS Framework for Engagement and Participation spells out the principles and standards that underpin effective engagement and will help consolidate and improve existing practice,” a Department said.

“But it also sets a vision, charting a course for engagement to help meet the APS’ challenges in the 21st Century.”

It said engagement should not focus solely on “managing” citizens and stakeholders but should instead see the public as a source of expertise.

The Framework’s ‘Ways of Engaging’ divides engagement into four categories: Share, Consult, Deliberate and Collaborate, it said.

“It asks public servants to reflect on what expertise they require for a problem and what engagement will be obtain it.”

The Department said a range of additional support tools had been developed as part of the Framework including a Guide to the Right Engagement; an Engagement Barometer; and a series of papers on how to conduct “deliberate” engagements.

“At a minimum, we hope the Framework and its support tools can change public servants’ mindset toward valuing the expertise outside government; choosing the right way to engage and gather that expertise for the problem at hand; and doing so with a thought to the person that comes after you,” the Department said.

The 28-page Framework can be accessed at this PS News link.

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