2018-19 State of the Service Report and Public Release of Agency Census Data
The 2018-19 State of the Service Report offers insight into the current state of the Australian Public Service (APS). Findings are drawn from the APS employee census, the APS agency survey, data from the APS Employment Database and case studies from across the APS.
The 2018–19 State of the Service Report highlights the need to continue, and significantly expand, the APS reform agenda to drive an efficient and effective APS now and into the future.
“The service is in good shape but there are areas we can do better and we need to adapt to meet the expectations of the Government and the people of Australia”, said APS Commissioner Peter Woolcott AO. “This includes an APS that deals with issues cutting across organisation boundaries and traditional ways of working — one that is more outward facing, open to change and innovation, and focused on developing and deploying the right capability.”
Key points from the 2018-19 State of the Service Report include:
- APS employees are more engaged than ever before and feel more connected to the goals and objectives of their agency. In 2019, the APS-wide engagement index score is 72 per cent. This represents an increase of two percentage points from 2018.
- The nature of work in the APS and the way it is undertaken is subject to constant change. However only 39 per cent of APS employees agree that change is managed well in their agency. This is of concern given the reform agenda before the APS.
- Although the 2019 APS innovation index has also increased by two percentage points, APS employee perceptions of risk culture are less positive than in 2018. Census results suggest that many APS employees do not engage with risk management issues. This risks stifling innovative practices across the service.
- APS employee perceptions of colleagues, supervisors and senior leaders acting in accordance with the APS Values remain high. Less than 0.4 per cent of the APS workforce (535 employees) were subject to an investigation into a suspected breach of the APS Code of Conduct and overall, the rate of perceived bullying and harassment in the APS continues to decline.
- APS capability remains high, but ongoing investment is needed to ensure that all employees have the skills and knowledge that the future requires. This is a focus of the APS-wide workforce strategy that is currently under development.
- Progress has been made to build an APS workforce that reflects the diversity of the community it serves. The proportion of APS employees identifying as Indigenous was 3.5 per cent as at 30 June 2019, an increase from 2.9 per cent in 2015.
To complement the release of the Report, this year for the first time many agencies are opting to publicly release their APS employee census results. Over 75 per cent of APS agencies have decided to participate in this public release. “By publishing our census results we hope to boost accountability and trust in the service. We welcome scrutiny and feedback, and want to make the most of staff insights to lift our performance”, said Commissioner Woolcott.
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