22 October 2023

State of Service report lands for the ACT Public Service

| Chris Johnson
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Public service building

The ACT Public Service’s latest State of the Service Report is out for all to read. Photo: Michelle Kroll

Misconduct complaints are rising in the ACT Public Service, but so are the levels of staff satisfaction with their work and environments.

The ACTPS’s State of the Service Report has just been released and reveals an increasingly diverse workforce with further inroads being made into reducing the gender pay gap.

There were 100 formal misconduct inquiries started in the ACT Public Service in the 2022-23 financial year (up from 81 the year before). A total of 64 processes were completed, and 48 returned findings of substantial misconduct.

But results from the 2023 ACTPS Employee Survey (the second only such survey) showed staff felt more positive than in 2021 across all wellbeing-related questions.

Those questions included happiness, enthusiasm, burn-out, stress, and policies and strategies in place to help manage health and well-being.

All up, 74 per cent of respondents to the employee survey rated their current level of work-related stress as nil to moderate – up from 70 per cent in 2021.

As of June 2023, the ACTPS gender pay gap had reduced to a record low of -0.1 per cent, a favourable comparison with the ACT and Australian labour forces in 2023 (10% and 13.3% respectively).

Working across nine directorates, there are 27,447 employees in the ACT service (24,421 full-time equivalents), who make up 10.4 per cent of the ACT workforce.

The median salary is $95,834 and the average employee age is 42 years.

Seventy-eight per cent of staff are permanent employees, 17 per cent temporary and 5 per cent casual.

Women comprise the greater portion of the workforce, with 64.6 per cent of staff female, 35.3 per cent male and 0.1 per cent non-binary.

“For nearly a decade, we have been preparing the ACT Public Service workforce to respond efficiently and effectively to change – embedding work practices that support agility across the ACTPS,” Head of Service Kathy Leigh says in introducing the report.

“Our Flexible Work Program has been a key enabler of our people’s readiness to adapt to change – through practices including the adoption of activity-based work environments for our office-based employees and providing a technology platform that supports staff regardless of location.

“I am particularly proud of our continued implementation of flexible work practices.”

A key priority for the service is making it easier for the community and individuals to interact with the government.

The rapid changes of the past few years threw up numerous challenges for the sector aiming to deliver services in a way that provides a level playing field for businesses and the community to engage and transact with the government.

Procurement procedures are also under review after numerous flaws in processes were identified.

Almost $1.5 billion is spent on procurements each year. The report noted that “continuous improvement and review of our procurement framework” is critical to ensuring that government expenditure is conducted with transparency, fairness and rigour and achieves value for money in alignment with community values.

“We recognise the ongoing importance of stewarding the public service system,” Ms Leigh said.

“The ACTPS holds an important role within the Canberra community as a provider of essential services, and we are accountable to our citizens.

“We continue to ensure that our workforce is equipped to understand their role in delivering services professionally, ethically and efficiently.

“As part of this, we have continued to build the capacity and capability of our service for the future. We are investing now in our people to develop the capabilities to meet future challenges.

“This includes ensuring that we have a diverse group of future leaders entering the service through entry-level programs, as well as investment in the development of our existing leaders.”

Original Article published by Chris Johnson on Riotact.

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