State of the Service 2012-13

Last updated: 02 Dec 2013

This page is: current

Section 44 of the Public Service Act 1999 (Public Service Act) provides that the Australian Public Service Commissioner must issue a report each year to the agency's minister for presentation to the Australian Parliament. The report must include a report on the state of the Australian Public Service (APS) during the year.

The State of the Service Report 2012–13 identifies the year-to-year trends in workforce participation and capability across the APS. The report also details the initiatives and human resource management practices of APS agencies during 2012–13.

This year's State of the Service report is the sixteenth annual report on the state of the APS that Australian Public Service Commissioners have presented to parliament. The report has been significantly enhanced since it was first tabled in 1998.

This year, the State of the Service report has been organised around three key workforce capability themes, namely:

  • Leadership and culture
  • Human capital management
  • Organisational effectiveness.

The 10 chapters in the report are grouped into these themes (as highlighted in the following figure) to provide a focus for understanding the range of workforce capability issues in the APS.

Figure P.1 State of the Service report themes, 2012–13

Figure P.1 is a wheel diagram of the State of the Service report themes for 2012–13. The three key themes are: leadership and culture, human capital management and organisational effectiveness. The Commissioner's overview is Chapter 1. Under the leadership and culture theme are Chapter 2: Leadership and culture, Chapter 3: Integrity and ethics and Chapter 4: Employee health and wellbeing. Under the human capital management theme are Chapter 5: Diversity, Chapter 6: Workforce planning and strategy, Chapter 7: A national perspective of the APS. Under the organisational effectiveness theme are Chapter 8: The APS in the Asian century, Chapter 9: Flexible work and Chapter 10 Organisational capability. Go to Chapter 10 Go to Chapter 9 Go to Chapter 8 Go to Chapter 7 Go to Chapter 6 Go to Chapter 5 Go to Chapter 4 Go to Chapter 3 Go to Chapter 2 Go to Chapter 1

Source: Australian Public Service Commission

The State of the Service report draws on a range of information sources but its main data sources are the State of the Service agency survey, the APS employee census and the APS Employment Database (APSED). The agency survey includes all APS agencies employing at least 20 staff under the Public Service Act. All 103 APS agencies, or semi-autonomous parts of agencies, that were invited to participate in the online agency survey in June 2013, completed the survey. These agencies are listed in Appendix 2. APSED contains information about recruitment, mobility and separations for all ongoing and non-ongoing employees.

To aid analysis of survey data and for comparability with previous years' data, agencies have again been grouped according to size. Of the 103 responding agencies, 23 were classified as large (more than 1,000 APS employees), 32 as medium (251–1,000 APS employees) and 48 as small (20–250 APS employees). Appendix 2 provides information on agency size.

To allow further comparisons between similar organisations, agencies have been categorised based on both their size and primary function. The functional clusters have been derived from information that agencies provided in the 2010–11 State of the Service agency survey.
The functional clusters are: policy, smaller operational (less than 1,000 APS employees),
larger operational (more than 1,000 APS employees), regulatory and specialist. Appendix 2 lists agency functions.

Similar to last year, in 2013 the Australian Public Service Commission (the Commission) issued a census to all available APS employees. This census approach provided a comprehensive view of the APS and ensured no eligible respondents were omitted from the survey sample.
A total of 102,219 valid responses to the employee census were received, representing a response rate of 66%.

The Commission engaged the services of ORIMA Research and ORC International to help design, deliver and compile statistical output for the agency survey and employee census respectively. Appendix 3 provides information on the agency and employee data collection methodologies.

Agency contact officers in five agencies assisted with testing the agency survey while a number of individual APS employees from nine agencies tested the employee census. The Commission is very grateful for this input.

The Australian Public Service Statistical Bulletin 2012–13 has been produced in association with the State of the Service Report 2012–13. These publications are available on the APSC website.

Contact and acknowledgement information

Enquiries and suggestions about this State of the Service report or the analyses are welcome, and should be directed to:

Human Capital Research and Evaluation Group:

Angie Sturrock
Director, State of the Service
(02) 6202 3716

Dr David Schmidtchen
Group Manager
(02) 6202 3707

Email correspondence should be directed to:

Electronic copies of the report are available in PDF format, and previous reports are also available on the APSC website.