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Classifications and broadbanding

Last updated 23 August 2013


All approved APS-wide classifications are specified in the Public Service Classification Rules 2000 (the Classification Rules), a legislative instrument made under the Public Service Act 1999 that provides the framework for classification management arrangements in the APS.

Under the Classification Rules, agency heads must allocate an approved classification to each APS employee in their agency. The classification must be appropriately based on the work value requirements of the group of duties to be performed.

Agencies may also use their own local titles but these must be in addition to approved APS classifications. Local titles can be used in job advertisements to attract relevant candidates. The approved APS classification must appear when a vacancy is advertised in the Public Service Gazette (the Gazette) and any other advertising material.


The option to broadband is provided for under Rule 9(4) of the Classification Rules. This provides that if a group of duties involves work value requirements applying to more than one classification, the agency head may allocate more than one classification (a broadband) to the group of duties.

In practice, this means that where there are elements of work at two or more classifications that are very similar in nature, but vary in complexity, then an agency head may choose to broadband those classifications. For example, Agency X could have a broadband called ‘Agency X Broadband 2’ that encompasses the full range of work value and work level standards of both the APS 3 and APS 4 classifications. Within the group of duties, agencies must ensure that there are discrete jobs at each classification level within the broadband.

The broadband is allocated to the group of duties, not to the individual employee performing the duties. At all times, the agency must be able to identify the specific APS classification each employee holds—it cannot be more than one classification at any given time. This is required by the Classification Rules and allows for movement to and from the agency. Agencies should structure their salary and classification scales so that the specific APS classification corresponding to each pay point within the broadband can be easily identified.

In establishing a broadband, agencies must take into account the APS Employment Principles relating to merit and community access to employment opportunities. To meet the intent of the APS Employment Principles, it would be best for broadbands to be structured so there are at least two breaks between APS Levels 1-6 that require an open, competitive selection process.

Broadbanding is usually implemented through agency enterprise agreements made in accordance with the Australian Public Service Bargaining Framework.

SES classifications cannot be broadbanded.

Advancement within a broadband

Where an employee is already performing duties within a broadband in their agency, they can be allocated a higher classification within that broadband. In accordance with clause 2.24 of the Public Service Commissioner’s Directions 2013 (the Directions), such a decision is made on the basis of an assessment of the employee’s work-related qualities and the work-related qualities required for efficient and effective organisational performance.

Advancement of an employee through a broadband is not an entitlement and is generally subject to ‘barriers’ such as availability of work, the acquisition of skills by the employee and/or their standard of performance as determined through the agency’s performance management system.

Rule 6(1) of the Classification Rules requires each employee in an agency to be allocated an approved classification. This means all employees performing duties in a broadband must still be allocated a single classification within that broadband. Agencies should ensure that as each employee advances through a broadband, the employee’s APS classification is adjusted to reflect the work value of the duties being performed.

In accordance with clause 2.2(1)(a) of the Directions, the allocation of a higher APS classification in a broadband to an employee already employed within that broadband is not regarded as a promotion. As such, that advancement is not subject to the requirement in the Directions (clause 2.9) that the opportunity must have been notified in the Gazette.

Advertising a vacancy in a broadband

Agencies may choose to establish a competitive merit selection barrier within a broadband, for example when there is only limited work availability at a higher level within that broadband. The agency head (or their delegate) may determine that such a merit selection exercise might only be open to agency employees already employed within the broadband concerned.

The agency head (or delegate) may choose to notify the vacancy in the Gazette and conduct a full competitive merit selection exercise, for instance if the job is to be filled at a higher level within the broadband.

Agencies may specify a single APS classification within the broadband when advertising a broadbanded job or may advertise that the job will be filled within the broadbanded range dependent on the successful applicant’s skills and experience (see also Movement or promotion to a broadband below). In accordance with clause 2.29 of the Directions, if the vacancy is notified in the Gazette any resulting employment decision (an engagement, a movement, an assignment of duties or the promotion of an ongoing APS employee) must be notified in the Gazette within 3 months after the decision is made.

Movement or promotion to a broadband

When a broadbanded vacancy has been notified in the Gazette, the agency head (or delegate) can determine the APS classification within the broadband at which the opportunity is to be filled. For example, if Agency X Broadband 2 (APS 3-APS 4) is advertised the agency head (or delegate) can determine at which classification level (i.e. APS 3 or APS 4) the vacancy is to be filled. This may depend on factors such as the successful applicant’s capabilities and/or the availability of work at a particular level.

Where an APS employee moves from one agency into another agency’s broadband (or from within the agency into a job that is broadbanded or in a different broadband to the one they are currently in) it could be either a movement at (or below) level or a promotion depending on their current APS classification and the particular level within the broadband to which they are moving. For example, an ongoing APS 3 employee may move from his or her existing agency to duties in Agency X Broadband 2 (APS 3-APS 4). If the employee moves to Agency X at the APS 3 level within the broadband, this is a move at level. If, however, the employee moves to Agency X at the APS 4 level within the broadband, that is a promotion.

Promotion reviews

An ongoing APS employee within a broadband can be assigned a higher classification within that same broadband but this action is not defined as a promotion under clause 2.2(1)(a) of the Directions. Therefore, regardless of whether or not the duties were advertised in the Gazette and a selection process has been held, an ongoing APS employee within the broadband has no entitlement to a promotion review.

Any ongoing APS employee outside the broadband (Employee A) who has unsuccessfully applied for an ongoing job at a higher classification within that broadband is entitled to seek a promotion review if another APS employee is promoted to the job. However, Employee A is not entitled to seek a promotion review if an ongoing APS employee within the broadband is advanced to a higher classification within that broadband.


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