26 September 2023

Operating Officers meet PS IT pressure

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The Australian Public Service (APS) Chief Operating Officers (COO) Committee has hit the ground running, coordinating the operational response to COVID-19 across the APS as the number of staff working from home grows.

APS Commissioner, Peter Woolcott, whose Agency is supporting the COO Committee said the demand on IT services was increasing.

“We do not have figures on the numbers of people working from home in each Agency as it is changing and rapidly increasing every day,” Mr Woolcott said.

He said a working group established by the Committee would evaluate and monitor IT capacity in light of the new staffing arrangements.

“Working from home is not new for the APS,” Mr Woolcott said.

“Remote access is a standard practice across APS agencies and agencies are well-placed to deploy technological solutions to assist with management of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

He said Agencies had been trialling flexible working arrangements and testing IT systems to ensure remote access was feasible.

“We have run a deliberate and phased approach,” Mr Woolcott said.

“There was never a directive that employees needed to stay in the office when they could be working from home – that was a matter for agencies depending on their operational requirements,” he said.

“Agencies will still need to make the ultimate decision on this and will take into account factors such as operational requirements, security and capacity of their IT systems.”

He said the Government considered the APS to be an essential service which needed to keep working in order to keep Australians safe and ensure that services were delivered for the Australian people.

“We can provide the support our community needs, but it is going to require the contribution of the entire APS,” Mr Woolcott said.

“Every public servant who can work, should work,” he said.

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