Chapter 2 - Leadership and culture

It is clear that the APS has much to be proud of. Capability reviews, for example, consistently praise the commitment of APS employees and their responsiveness to the agenda of the government of the day. Employee responses to the census show rising levels of engagement and rising levels of satisfaction with the performance of their leaders, despite the stresses and uncertainties of an organisation that has begun to contract and faces substantial uncertainty until its future roles and scale are better defined. The APS has smoothly navigated another change of government and is now implementing significant changes to the machinery-of-government. Yet there is much still ahead of the APS, including to:

  • assist the government to re-prioritise and re-scale government activities and respond at pace to the needs of a rapidly changing external (indeed world) environment
  • support innovation that extends the effectiveness of government interventions while reducing costs of delivery (including compliance costs)
  • build leader capability, especially in leading and managing change, and more consistently embedding a high-performance culture and practices, and strengthen succession in a number of instances
  • develop the cultural competencies that both support effective interactions with a diverse population and workforce and lead to more active engagement with and understanding of the countries of our region
  • collaborate to improve outcomes for (and the experience of) individuals and businesses
  • sustain trust in the APS as an effective, politically neutral institution that is responsive, proactive, forward looking, and creative, and that embodies the APS Values.

As we said last year, leadership will need to focus on encouraging the discretionary effort of our people to really engage, make a difference and perform to full capacity. ‘Getting by’ is not enough. The ability to think, imagine, collaborate, listen and respond will continue to be an important part of managing future challenges.