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About this report

The Public Service Act 1999 provides the framework for managing the APS. It defines the duties and powers of agency heads and provides a legal framework for the employment of APS employees. The rights and obligations of those employees are set out in the Act.

Public Service Act 1999, Part 1, section 3

The main objects of this Act are:

  1. to establish an apolitical public service that is efficient and effective in serving the Government, the Parliament and the Australian public; and
  2. to provide a legal framework for the effective and fair employment, management and leadership of APS employees; and
  3. to define the powers, functions and responsibilities of Agency Heads, the Australian Public Service Commissioner and the Merit Protection Commissioner; and
  4. to establish rights and obligations of APS employees.

Section 44 of the Public Service Act requires the Australian Public Service Commissioner to give a report each year on the state of the APS for presentation to the parliament.

This State of the Service report provides a high level assessment of the APS during 2015–16.

More detailed information is provided on the Australian Public Service Commission's State of the Service website (https://stateoftheservice.apsc.gov.au).

This report draws on a range of information sources. The traditional sources are the APS agency survey, the APS employee census and the APS Employment Database (APSED). Information about the agency survey, employee census and APSED can be found on the State of the Service website. External sources are also used as required.

The 2015–16 State of the Service report is structured around the following themes:

  • performance
  • capability
  • integrity and accountability.