Australian Public Service Commissioner's annual report 2013–14

Investing in APS development and capability


During 2013–14, the Commission's achievements included:

  • releasing the APS Leadership and Core Skills Strategy 2014–15, with the endorsement of the Secretaries Board, in June 2014
  • providing core skills programs to agencies, including pilot programs on performance management, structuring work, ethics and values, and coaching and developing others
  • implementing new SES leadership programs and continuing to deliver talent development programs
  • making a range of comprehensive learning materials for core skills programs available on govdex for APS use
  • coordinating the APS Human Resources Summit 2013, which addressed a range of themes, including what constitutes effective human resource management and its effect on organisational values, culture and performance
  • facilitating the launch, by Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister and Minister for Public Service and the Australian Public Service Commissioner, of an ethics- and values-based leadership and management capability framework. The framework, the culmination of two years' work, is being integrated into strategic human capital management policy and process
  • delivering a further three pilot capability reviews in Indonesia in 2014 following the successful implementation of the first review
  • providing strategic guidance and building capacity in the Ghana Public Services Commission and other stakeholders for the delivery of Ghana's first State of the Public Service Report, due in March 2015
  • partnering with the Sir Roland Wilson Foundation to manage the 2014 selection process for the Sir Roland Wilson Foundation Scholarships
  • supporting a community of practice that draws together leadership, learning and development practitioners from across the APS to share tools and practices and address shared challenges
  • partnering with Jawun (a not-for-profit organisation) to coordinate the short-term secondment of 42 high-potential APS employees to Indigenous organisations.

Leadership, learning and development

During 2013–14, the Commission continued to progress work on behalf of the APS to:

  • enhance the capability of APS leaders (current and future)
  • enhance the core skills of the APS workforce
  • continually improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the APS leadership and core skills development system
  • support APS agencies to enhance their own leadership development and learning and development practice.

Advisory board

The operations of the Commission's Centre for Leadership and Learning are overseen by an advisory board, which is chaired by the Commissioner and comprises four secretaries, one agency head and three external experts. The advisory board meets quarterly and provides strategic advice on, and direction and oversight of, the centre's activities.

APS Leadership and Core Skills Strategy 2014–15

The refresh of the APS Leadership and Core Skills Strategy undertaken in 2014 builds on previous versions, clarifying the environmental factors and business drivers shaping and determining development priorities across the APS. The relevance of the core skills identified in the 2012–13 strategy were confirmed and additional skills were added, including organisational design, program evaluation and collaboration. Priorities for leadership practice, talent development, management expertise and core skills were identified. The Secretaries Board endorsed the refreshed APS Leadership and Core Skills Strategy 2014–15 in May 2014.

Talent management

In 2013–14, talent management efforts were focused on implementing the second SES Band 3 talent development program and on designing and preparing to implement the first talent development program for SES Band 1 executives. A second SES Band 2 talent development program was also completed during the year.

Implementation of the talent management approach also included:

  • identification of high-performing, high-potential Executive Level (EL) employees for the Sir Roland Wilson Foundation Scholarships program
  • identification of high-potential EL employees to participate in Indigenous community placements through the Jawun program. The program results in positive outcomes for communities, creates opportunities for personal awareness and development for participants, and enhances cultural awareness within the APS. A total of 42 secondees took up these opportunities in 2013–14.

Core skills

In 2013–14, the Commission completed and evaluated the pilot core skills programs that were developed in 2012–13 and made them available to agencies. The pilot programs were on structuring work, ethics and values, performance management, and coaching and developing others. A range of comprehensive learning materials relating to these core skills programs has been released on govdex for APS use.

During the year, focus was given to the priority core skills programs (programs on dealing with change and planning and managing change) and programs in the next two core skills clusters (relationships and working with government). These programs are due to be released between July and September 2014. The current status of programs is shown in Table 5.

Table 5: Current status of core skills programs
Status Core skills program
Finalised and made available to agencies Pilot programs
Structuring work
APS ethics and values
Performance management
Coaching and developing others
Completed and due for release between July and September 2014 Priority programs
Dealing with change
Planning and managing change
Programs in the working with government core skills cluster
Compelling communications
Understanding government
Appearing before parliamentary committees
Briefing APS decision-makers, ministers and parliament
Developing Cabinet submissions
Working with the minister
In final development for piloting prior to release between July and September 2014 Programs in the relationships core skills cluster
Working within diversity
Getting the most out of diversity
Building relationships and engagement
Building and leading high-performing teams
Working in teams

Future directions

In 2013–14, the Commission will continue to work towards its objective of enhancing leadership and core skills across the APS, including improving the efficiency of the leadership and core skills development system and supporting agencies to improve their learning and development practice. Implementation of the APS Leadership and Core Skills Strategy will continue, including ongoing design and rollout of APS-wide learning resources on core and management skills, continuous improvement of SES leadership development programs, and design and development of an EL talent development program.

SES leadership programs and services

The Commission continued to provide SES leadership development opportunities in 2013–14 through a range of programs and forums (see Table 6).

Table 6: Senior Executive Service programs and forums, 2013–14
Program Content/focus Number Participants
Note: The statistics are for completed programs only.
SES Band 2 leadership Provides an opportunity to explore how personal leadership strengths and expertise can be leveraged to respond to the strategic environment, lead substantial change and manage responses (of self and others) to uncertainty; provides leaders with new ways to observe their own leadership and new practices to implement at work 2 37
SES Band 1 leadership Enables leaders to build personal strengths, explore leadership perspectives for the APS and prepare for the complexity of future challenges 6 96
SES orientation Provides senior executives with information and networking opportunities to help them operate effectively in the APS environment 9 155
Leadership Conversations Speaker series providing an opportunity to hear from, and engage with, prominent leaders in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, with candid discussions on their experiences in leading large and complex organisations 5 705

SES leadership

SES leadership programs take into account emerging strategic priorities for the APS and the need for leaders to:

  • become more citizen-centric
  • be able to solve complex problems
  • be alert to the need to operate as one APS
  • anticipate challenges
  • implement policies and programs effectively.

During 2013–14, the Commission commenced five iterations of the SES Band 1 leadership program, and six cohorts—including three cohorts that commenced in 2012–13—completed their program. In the same period, one iteration of the SES Band 2 leadership program commenced, and two cohorts—including one cohort that commenced in 2012–13—completed their program.

SES orientation

The SES orientation program is based on the 2011 APS Leadership Development Strategy and is open to all newly promoted or appointed SES, as well as acting SES employees.

During 2013–14, the Commission commenced six iterations of the SES orientation program, and nine cohorts—including five cohorts that commenced in 2012–13—completed their program. Ninety-four senior executives from 43 agencies commenced the program in 2013–14.

SES events

A number of events for SES employees were offered during the year. Presentations at the Leadership Conversations events included:

  • ‘Transformational leadership’, with Mr Noel Pearson, Chairman, Cape York Group, and Mr Sean Gordan, Chief Executive Officer, Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council
  • ‘Leadership through empowerment’, with Ms Pip Marlow, Managing Director, Microsoft Australia
  • ‘Reinventing the ATO’, Mr Chris Jordan, Commissioner of Taxation, Australian Taxation Office.

Executive Level programs and services

The Commission provides EL employees, the critical SES feeder group, with learning and development programs that build essential APS knowledge and capabilities. Programs cover a range of key capability areas that include leadership, strategic thinking, policy development, stakeholder engagement, communication, people management, financial management, and governance and regulation.

In 2013–14, the Commission delivered 134 EL programs, attracting 2,000 participants. Table 7 summarises the main leadership programs offered in 2013–14.

Table 7: Executive Level leadership programs, 2013–14
Program Content/focus Number Participants
Executive leadership dimensions Focuses on practical aspects of leadership in the APS and provides an opportunity for participants to reflect on their professional role and the contemporary behaviours needed to be a highly effective EL 2 leader 5 96
APS professional practical leadership (leading and managing small teams) Designed for EL 1 employees who currently manage or will soon manage a small to medium-sized team; focuses on contemporary thinking about how to manage performance in a public sector environment 4 67
The professional public service: an EL 1 master class Designed for EL 1 employees who wish to fine-tune and advance their strategic thinking and policy advising skills in the context of a contemporary APS 4 82
Career Development Assessment Centre Delivers assessment services to high-potential and high-performing EL 2 officers across the APS 5 56

Expertise development programs

The Commission offers programs for the SES and EL 2 employees to develop their knowledge in specific areas. These programs assist participants to embrace new roles, responsibilities and professional challenges.

The programs held during 2013–14 are summarised in Table 8.

Table 8: Expertise development programs, 2013–14
Program Content/focus Number Participants
* This program will be replaced by an APS core skills program of the same name in 2014–15.
Briefing APS decision-makers and ministers Focuses on decision-making and covers the skills required to design, develop and deliver a briefing to get a decision; covers the development and role of question time briefs, ministerial talking points for media engagements, ministerial adviser briefings, hot issues briefing, ministerial submissions and second-reading speeches 4 42
Developing Cabinet submissions* An intensive one-day program that draws on the knowledge of expert facilitators and presenters who provide insights and techniques for developing Cabinet submissions 3 25
Mastering your financial environment Focuses on the essentials of government finance from an agency perspective (designed in conjunction with the Department of Finance) 2 28
Preparing to appear before parliamentary committees Focuses on building confidence, public presentation skills and personal communication skills to support executives who may appear at Senate Estimates hearings 6 34

Executive Level Leadership Network

The Executive Level Leadership Network provides an opportunity for mid-level managers from across the APS to come together to strengthen their leadership practice by hearing from a range of engaging speakers with diverse perspectives, sharing insights and experiences with colleagues, and building collaborative networks. In 2013–14, a total of 763 participants registered for four seminars. Highlights included:

  • ‘Marshalling the troops: empower your staff through your leadership’, with Major-General John Caligari DSM, AM
  • ‘Giving ELs the nudge’, with Dr Rory Gallagher, Behavioural Insights Unit, UK Government
  • ‘From statistics to super: a leadership journey’, with Dr Jill Charker, Chief Executive Officer, ComSuper.

The annual forum was held on 18 June 2014 and was attended by 176 participants from 49 agencies. The theme for the forum was change and change leadership in the APS.

Career Development Assessment Centres

Career Development Assessment Centres assist agencies with talent management for the EL 2 cadre. The centres are designed for EL 2 employees who are interested in senior roles and who are considered by their agency to be high performers with high potential. In 2013–14, the Commission held five centres attracting 56 participants.

APS learning and development programs and services

During 2013–14, the Commission continued to work in partnership with APS agencies to build capability by strengthening the knowledge, skills and experience of APS employees.

APS induction

The APS induction program equips employees with a broad understanding of the role of the APS in serving the government, the parliament and the public. The program aims to give new APS employees the wider contextual knowledge they need to be effective public servants.

Graduate development

In 2013, the Commission's Graduate Development Program incorporated 16 days of face-to-face training, a major project including a report and DVD, and four whole-of-government networking events. Upon successful completion, a Diploma of Government qualification was awarded by the Commission in its capacity as a registered training organisation. The Commission also partnered with the Australian Government Information Management Office to deliver the inaugural Australian Government ICT Graduate Program.

The 2013 programs included 86 graduates from 18 agencies. Participants were presented with their Diploma of Government and Graduate Development Program certificates by the Commissioner and senior representatives of their agencies at a graduation ceremony in December 2013.

The Commission's 2014 Graduate Development Program and Australian Government ICT Graduate Program commenced with a joint orientation session on 14 February 2014 with 69 participants from 19 agencies. These programs are scheduled to be completed in late 2014, with a formal graduation ceremony to be held in December 2014.

Graduate events

Graduate events provide an opportunity for APS graduates to build their knowledge of current issues and establish strong networks with their graduate colleagues from other departments and agencies. Four graduate events were held in 2013–14, with an average registration of 640 for each event:

  • APS Panel Discussion, August 2013
  • Candid Reflections from Inspiring APS Leaders, November 2013
  • A Taste of Government, held at the Great Hall, Parliament House, March 2014
  • APS Great Graduate Debate, held at the Canberra Theatre, May 2014.

APS 1–6 programs and services

The Commission continues to support capability building through a comprehensive and coordinated range of leadership, learning and development programs for APS 1–6 employees. These programs aim to develop the capability of APS 1–6 employees to deliver on government priorities, objectives and outcomes. In 2013–14, the Commission provided 164 APS 1–6 programs for 2,557 participants.

Accreditation services

The Commission has operated as a registered training organisation since 1 July 2008 and renewed its registration in June 2013 for a further five years. Accreditation services are offered for the following qualifications:

  • Certificate IV in Government
  • Certificate IV in Government (Workplace Relations)
  • Certificate IV in Training and Assessment
  • Diploma of Government
  • Diploma of Government (Procurement and Contracting)
  • Diploma of Government (Management).

At 30 June 2014, 124 APS employees were undertaking qualifications through the Commission, and 153 employees completed qualifications in 2013–14.

In-house program delivery

In addition to its other programs, the Commission offers in-house delivery of APS programs to meet the particular needs of agencies in a flexible and cost-effective manner. They are usually delivered to an agency in its own training rooms.

The programs can be tailored to address agency-specific challenges and procedures. In 2013–14, facilitators delivered 165 in-house programs around Australia—75 in the Australian Capital Territory and 90 across the states and the Northern Territory. The two most popular programs in 2013–14 related to APS job application and interview skills and APS ethics and values.

Table 9 provides a summary of APS 1–6 and in-house programs delivered in 2013–14 and the previous two years.

Table 9: Number of APS 1–6 and in-house programs, 2011–12 to 2013–14
Program 2011–12 2012–13 2013–14
APS 1–6 211 197 164
ACT in-house delivery 87 99 75
In-house delivery outside of the ACT 73 132 90

Panel services

In 2013–14, the Commission completed an open tender to establish four new panels of suppliers to support agency capability development: a learning and development panel, a business services panel, a research panel, and an e-learning support services and solutions panel. The new panels complement the existing executive search and recruitment panel, which was extended to 31 May 2015. The capability development panel expired on 30 June 2014.

The panels transacted more than $15.8 million in products and services in 2013–14. Table 10 shows the number of contracts entered into by agencies for panel service programs delivered in 2013–14.

Table 10: Number of panel service contracts entered into, 2013–14
Panel Contracts entered into
Capability development 141
Learning and development 37
Business services 23
Executive search and recruitment 15
E-learning support services and solutions 5
Research services 3
Total 224

Supporting forums and networks

The Commission supports the Heads of Corporate Forum and the HR Leaders Forum in Canberra. These forums provide a vehicle for thought leadership in human capital and opportunities for human resource professionals to discuss current issues and explore activities that are consistent with best practice. The Commission also supports regional forums and events through the activities of the Australian Government Leadership Networks and the state-based People Management Networks.

Heads of Corporate Forum

Membership of the Heads of Corporate Forum is open to SES-level heads of corporate areas (or their equivalent). Hosted by the Deputy Public Service Commissioner, the forum facilitates open exchange between members through the delivery of presentations on strategic issues, significant initiatives and current research relevant to the human resources profession. The Department of Finance also provides updates on financial governance arrangements across the APS. Topics addressed by the forum during 2013–14 included the 2013 APS employee census, the RecruitAbility scheme, Indigenous employment, and the gazettal of employment decisions.

HR Leaders Forum

The HR Leaders Forum is available to human resource leaders in departments and agencies. The forum provides an opportunity for practitioners to meet and discuss human capital issues that affect APS agencies. During 2013–14, the forum featured a range of topics, including APS core and management skills, workplace bargaining, and intractable problems in the APS.

Australian Government Leadership Networks

Australian Government Leadership Networks are regional networks for senior public servants based outside Canberra. They provide a forum for:

  • professional development of senior APS leaders
  • exchanges of innovative thinking, ideas, knowledge and experiences, peer support and collegiality
  • collaboration with other public sector agencies (federal, state and local) and other interested parties such as academics
  • facilitation of whole-of-government approaches to Australian public sector activities
  • contributions to the development of local and strategic Australian public sector initiatives.

The networks also help to reduce the impact of geographical isolation from national offices.

The Commission works collaboratively with these networks to deliver a number of events each year, including an annual conference in each state. In 2013, the conference theme was ‘Public sector—future change and challenge’.

People Management Network

The Commission supports People Management Networks in each state through development and delivery of programs relevant to APS human resources professionals. In 2013–14, presentations were given on topics such as the APS classification framework, the RecruitAbility scheme and the performance management framework.

APS leadership, learning and development community of practice

The APS leadership, learning and development community of practice is open to all practitioners working in human resources, leadership or learning and development. The community of practice connects APS practitioners and provides an opportunity to share tools and resources, exchange insights and experiences, and discuss shared challenges.

The community regularly meets face to face and through an online discussion group. The subject matter of the forums is primarily driven by work-based challenges faced by members. Topics addressed in 2013–14 included performance management, career development frameworks, and learning strategy and training needs analysis.

A core skills reference group also worked collaboratively during the year on the design, development, testing and evaluation of core skills programs.

APS Human Resources Summit 2013

For the second year running, an APS Human Resources Summit was held for a target audience of the most senior HR leaders across all agencies. The summit was held in December 2013 and attracted approximately 130 participants.

The event was developed and coordinated by the Commission in collaboration with senior APS HR representatives from the Australian Institute of Criminology, ComSuper and the departments of Defence, Finance, Infrastructure, and Immigration and Border Protection.

Recognising that HR professionals have a vital role to play in supporting business managers to bring out the best in the public service and build agency capability, the theme of the summit was optimising performance in the APS.

The Commissioner and three secretaries set out their expectations for HR leaders and talked about how they can make the greatest impact. Other speakers were the Chief Executive Officer and the HR General Manager of Australia Post, the Auditor-General, deputy secretaries and the Chief Finance Officer of Defence. Sessions focused on practical strategies and sharing better practice across APS agencies in a number of critical areas. The event is being followed by practical activities to build capability within the APS HR community.

These summits are important in contributing to the professionalism of the APS HR community and its capacity to help improve agency performance. Consistent with feedback in 2012, 96% of participants who responded to the post-event survey agreed (or strongly agreed) that the presentations were relevant and 90% reported that they were of high quality. Another summit is planned for 2014.

National programs and relationships with higher education institutions

The Commission continued to support the Sir Roland Wilson Foundation, the Australia and New Zealand School of Government and the Public Sector Management Program.

Sir Roland Wilson Foundation

The Commission continued to coordinate the Sir Roland Wilson Foundation Scholarships, working in partnership with the foundation at the Australian National University. Each year, scholarships are awarded to a small number of high-performing APS employees to undertake research in areas of priority public interest. Nominations for the third, highly competitive round of scholarships resulted in the selection of four high-potential EL employees who began their studies in February 2014. A total of 13 scholars are now undergoing the program, which started in 2011. The Commission is working with the university and each scholar's agency to provide ongoing support and mentoring. Nominations for the fourth round of scholarships were sought in the first half of 2014.

Australia and New Zealand School of Government

The Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) was established in 2002 by a consortium of Australian and New Zealand governments, universities and business schools to assist in developing the skills of future public sector leaders.

The Commission, in partnership with other agencies, supports ANZSOG to ensure that APS leaders and potential leaders are able to participate in executive education. The Commission coordinated nominations for the following executive programs:

  • the Fellows program, a three-week residential program for SES Band 2 and 3 employees, which in 2013 attracted 10 APS employees
  • the Master of Public Administration program, a two-year part-time program for high-performing public sector managers. Twenty-five students from the 2012 cohort completed the program in November 2013. In January 2014, 19 students commenced in the program.

In 2013–14, the Commission continued to be responsible for administering the deed of agreement between the Commonwealth and ANZSOG in relation to a $10 million repayable capital grant made to ANZSOG in May 2005. In accordance with the deed, interest generated from the grant is used to support the Sir John Bunting Chair of Public Administration at the Australian National University and other academic appointments relating to research activities.

Public Sector Management Program

The Public Sector Management Program is a unique national leadership program for emerging and highly motivated mid-level managers (APS 6 to EL 2 and their equivalents) in the three tiers of government across Australia. Completion of the program culminates in a tertiary qualification at the graduate certificate level.

A key focus this year was to secure the services of a new national educational provider with effect from 1 January 2015. A competitive tender process was conducted resulting in Queensland University of Technology being contracted to develop new curriculum during 2014 and take on national delivery of the program from 2015.

The Commission continued to provide the secretariat function to the program's national board of management in addition to managing the national assessment centre for the program.

The Commission also managed the delivery of the Public Sector Management Program in the Australian Capital Territory.

Contract signing ceremony for the Public Sector Management Program.Left to right: Mr Stephen Sedgwick AO (Australian Public Service Commissioner), Professor Peter Coaldrake (Vice-Chancellor, Queensland University of Technology) and Ms Kathryn Campbell CSC (Chair, Public Sector Management Program Board).

International assistance and engagement

The Commission continues to provide programs that:

  • support good governance and build public sector capability and institutional capacity internationally
  • assist APS leaders to improve their understanding of the Asia–Pacific region.

Leading Australia's Future in the Asia–Pacific

The Leading Australia's Future in the Asia–Pacific (LAFIA) program provides SES leaders (and their state, territory and New Zealand government counterparts) with a unique opportunity to deepen their strategic understanding of the political, economic and social trends and developments in the Asia–Pacific region, and to explore the implications of those trends for Australia.

One LAFIA program, LAFIA South East Asia 2013, took place in 2013–14 with 15 participants.

Official international visits

The Commission welcomes international visitors to share in its expertise and knowledge of public sector reforms, initiatives and practices, and to discuss issues of mutual interest.

In 2013–14, 18 delegations visited from Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Fiji, Indonesia, Mongolia, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Seychelles, Singapore and Thailand.

Public sector reform

The Commission continued its partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to develop public sector capacity throughout the Asia–Pacific region and in Africa. Programs were delivered in Kiribati, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Indonesia and Ghana. These programs support good governance and build public sector capability and institutional capacity to provide the foundations for sustainable reform.

The Commission has developed strong institutional relationships with counterpart government agencies in each of these countries. These relationships focus on building close people-to-people links and facilitate the transfer of knowledge and skills to enable sustainable development outcomes. These relationships also enable broader linkages for regional cooperation on governance matters.

The Commission works with other whole-of-government partners and donor organisations (including New Zealand Government partners, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, relevant United Nations programs, the International Labour Organization and the Pacific Islands Centre for Public Administration) to assist countries in the region to build their public sector capacity.

Pacific island countries

The Commission has worked in the Pacific region on Australian aid funded programs since 2004. Under the guidance of DFAT, the Commission has redirected activities from regional to bilateral engagements through the Pacific Public Sector Program 2013–14.

In 2013–14, the Commission partnered with the Government of Kiribati to implement a whole-of-government performance improvement plan. This plan supported the Government of Kiribati in improving public sector performance, which in turn addressed its key priority of improving the delivery of essential services to citizens.

A key feature of the program was the establishment of an in-country program coordinator, which has enabled a number of key supporting outcomes. Some of these include the development and implementation of a public service induction program, the introduction of a results-oriented performance management framework, and the development of a public service customer-service-delivery standard.

The Commission also worked with the Republic of the Marshall Islands on a workforce planning and human resource strengthening program. The program has assisted the Republic of the Marshall Islands to better position and manage its workforce in preparation for the cessation of US Compact Trust funding in 2023, and has also assisted it with improving customer service delivery for citizens. (Under a Compact of Free Association, the United States provides guaranteed financial assistance in exchange for full international defence authority and responsibility.)

During the year, the focus was on implementing activities outlined in the Republic of the Marshall Islands Public Service Commission's strategic workforce plan, and on streamlining and improving whole-of-government human resource processes.

Papua New Guinea

The Commission's twinning program continues to effectively provide support and share knowledge on public sector governance to build the capacity and capability of Papua New Guinea (PNG) partner agencies—the Department of Personnel Management and the Public Services Commission.

A key focus of the Commission's collaboration with the PNG Department of Personnel Management has been promoting leadership accountability, resulting in the launch of an ethics- and values-based leadership framework by PNG's Prime Minister and Minister for Public Service and the Australian Public Service Commissioner. The framework also informed recommendations to the partner agency that were designed to strengthen organisational and agency head performance.

The Commission successfully focused the partner agency on the benefits of whole-of-government planning and reporting and supported the team that introduced a State of the Service Report for the PNG public service. The Commission provided guidance and support to enhance the project management capacity of the team during the development of a project plan and the design and delivery of pilot surveys for the agency and employees.

The Commission also developed facilitator and learner training manuals to build the capacity of the PNG Public Services Commission to deliver on its mandate to conduct merit-based reviews and investigations of personnel decisions.

Solomon Islands

The Commission supported the Solomon Islands Leadership Code Commission to produce a submission to the Solomon Islands Prime Minister's Office to recruit a senior legal officer and other critical personnel. The submission argued that these appointments would enhance the Leadership Code Commission's capacity to develop evidence-based business cases to support new policy proposals.


Bureaucratic reform is the top development priority for the Indonesian Government, which recognises the importance of an effective public service in delivering services to citizens and achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The Commission works with the Indonesian Ministry of Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform to support the implementation of reforms across the Indonesian civil service.

In 2013–14, the Commission's activities included:

  • delivering the first pilot capability review in Indonesia, based on the Australian capability review model, in the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture; the review was undertaken by the Indonesian Financial and Development Supervisory Agency
  • implementing a second pilot capability review with the Indonesian Financial and Development Supervisory Agency in the Agency for Placement and Protection of Migrant Workers
  • supporting the development of Indonesia's 2015–19 National Medium Term Development Plan on Bureaucratic Reform by conducting workshops with the Agency for National Development Planning and providing strategic and technical advice on planning and designing public sector reform
  • providing strategic and technical support for the implementation of the newly enacted Indonesian civil service laws, specifically those dealing with the senior executive service, a non-ongoing workforce, a code of conduct, and the establishment of a civil service commission
  • holding two strategic dialogues, which provided an opportunity for the Commission to share expertise with and give strategic support to Indonesian delegates in order to progress bureaucratic reform activities under the partnership with the Indonesian Government.


In 2013–14, the Commission's Africa program focused wholly on Ghana, through the Effective Performance Management in the Ghana Public Service program, delivered in partnership with the Ghana Public Services Commission (GPSC). The overall purpose of the program was to support the GPSC in institutionalising performance management to strengthen the focus on results and accountability among Ghana's ministries, departments and agencies.

The Commission completed a number of activities and in-country visits to support the GPSC in three key areas: building the capacity of human resource managers and chief executive officers; strengthening and rendering the performance management framework applicable across the government; and establishing robust reporting through the production of Ghana's first State of the Public Service Report.

A highlight of the program was a visit to Australia by the GPSC Chairman for the release of Australia's 2012–13 State of the Service Report. The visit program included meetings with the Commission's Executive and group managers and with representatives from various state and federal government agencies. In addition, the Commission's State of the Service Report team hosted two senior GPSC staff for three months each, providing firsthand experience in and exposure to all aspects of producing a State of the Service Report.

Human resource managers from across the Ghana Public Service participated in the Building a Better Workforce workshop held in Accra, Ghana, in July 2013. The workshop was organised by the Australian Public Service Commission and the Ghana Public Services Commission (GPSC). The participants are joined by the GPSC Chairman, Vice Chairman and Commissioner, the head of the Public Sector Reform Secretariat and a senior representative from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, the First Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Accra and the Australian Public Service Commission's trainers.

Human resource managers from across the Ghana Public Service participated in the Building a Better Workforce workshop, held in Accra, Ghana, in July 2013. The workshop was organised by the Australian Public Service Commission and the Ghana Public Services Commission (GPSC). The participants are joined in the photo below by the GPSC Chairman, Vic Chairman and Commissioner, the head of the Public Sector Reform Secretariat and a senior representative from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, the First Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Accra and the Australian Public Service Commission's trainers.