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APSC News November 2016: fostering a flexible, efficient, high performing APS

Brand It!

Love working in the APS? Proud of what you do? Reckon you've got the perfect 'pitch' for prospective employees? Brand It!   Show more

The APSC is running a competition to find the next APS employment brand, one that promotes the diversity, complexity and importance of APS work. The winning brand will be used on the APSjobs website, other media and by agencies.

The competition is open to APS employees from 1-30 November.
So, if you think you can Brand It, enter here.   Hide content


APS Commissioner’s Directions 2016 commence next month!

The APS Commissioner’s Directions 2016 start on 1 December. APS agencies need to be ready to implement these changes. You can now access resources on each of the key changes.   Show more

Did you know, from 1 December, agencies will be able to:

  • use merit lists created by another agency to fill vacant positions?
  • conduct a selection process open only to people who have a disability or a particular type of disability?
  • engage a temporary employee for an initial 18 month period using a streamlined selection process and extend that to a total of three years if certain conditions are met?

For further information about the new Directions, check out our dedicated web page. HR practitioners can contact Staffing Policy on staffingpolicy [at] apsc.gov.au.   Hide content


50 years of employment data

We know much about the historical composition of the APS thanks to 50 years of information held in the Australian Public Service Employment Database (APSED).  Show more


The APSED data demonstrates both slow, progressive demographic changes, as well as seismic shifts as a result of government policy.

In the 1960s, the Service became the largest employer of graduates in Australia, but also included some highly specialised roles - French Polishers, Light House Keepers, and even a Panel Beater–First Class.

Women made up 23.3 per cent of the service, and 92 per cent of them were employed at APS 2 or below. The majority of women were employed as typists and clerical assistants.

By the 1980s, typing and shorthand specialists had become a thing of the past, and today only 2.5 per cent of ongoing women in the Service are employed at APS 2 or below.

Women reached numerical parity with men for all APS employees in 1999.

It was in 1973 that the ‘Commonwealth Public Service’ was renamed the ‘Australian Public Service. But the biggest single change in the makeup of the Service was in 1975, when the Postmaster-General’s Department moved out of the APS, taking with it 121,966 employees, or 44 per cent of the entire APS.

On 1 July 1994 self-government in the ACT transferred 7,237 permanent employees to the ACT public service. This included housing, planning, and municipal services like waste management and road works.

As the Australian workforce has aged so has the workforce of the APS. Over the past 50 years, the APS has become 8.5 years older – the median age has jumped from 34.5 to 43.

We have uploaded the

to our website so you can learn more about the Service in 1966.

We celebrate the forethought of the Commonwealth Public Service of 1966 that created what we now know as the Australian Public Service Employment Database.   Hide content


The Public Service Medal

There is just one criterion for the Public Service Medal (PSM) and that is ‘outstanding public service’. The PSM can be awarded to any member of the APS regardless of level, location or employment category.   Show more

If you know someone who represents the best of the APS – perhaps demonstrating innovation, leading the way in excellence in administration, policy or service delivery – now is the time to highlight their achievement to your agency executive.

Public Service Medals are announced by the Governor-General in the Australia Day and The Queen’s Birthday honours lists.

APS Commissioner John Lloyd will be writing to agencies in November calling for nominations. He will be encouraging agency heads to look deeper and wider within their organisations to identify nominees who reflect the diversity of the APS, and whose contributions and achievements make them stand out.

You can find out more about the PSM and the nomination process on the It’s an Honour website.…   Hide content


Need help managing attendance?

The APSC has developed an online toolkit that provides managers with clear guidance on strategies to manage attendance, boost employee engagement and support a positive, high performance culture. The toolkit outlines best practice in managing short term, recurring or long term unscheduled absences, and showcases examples of good practice across the APS.   Show more

Productivity, engagement and absenteeism all work hand in hand. The evidence is clear – where employee engagement is higher, employees take fewer days of unscheduled absence.

That said, even the most engaged and productive employee will experience sickness or situations that prevent them from coming to work. A manager’s response on these occasions can have an impact on the individual’s engagement with work, the length of time away from the office, and future absences.

The toolkit will be updated regularly. Content is current, contemporary and underpinned with data and the latest research. If you come across materials that should be shared, please email us at employmentreform [at] apsc.gov.au.   Hide content


EL2 Leadership in Practice program making an impact

The EL2 Leadership in Practice program supports EL2s to move beyond their technical expertise and develop critical management and leadership capabilities. Participants learn to negotiate the tensions between effective operations now and preparing for future change.   Show more


The Centre for Leadership and Learning regularly checks in with participants to find out how the program is working for them.

The results show the program is making a real difference in the workplace with all participants saying they are more effective APS leaders as a result of the program. This is a great outcome!

A full program evaluation report will be available in the coming weeks. To find out more, and to sign up: EL2 Leadership in Practice program.   Hide content


AGLN Melbourne – APS Transformation

APS leaders have the opportunity to engage with experts in big data, innovation and technology at the Australian Government Leadership Network (AGLN) Conference in Melbourne on 17 November 2016.  Show more

AGLN Conferences provide a forum for leaders in the APS to exchange ideas, share knowledge and contribute to the development of Public Sector initiatives.

Speakers at the Melbourne conference include:

  • Kerryn Vine-Camp

    First Assistant Commissioner, Australian Public Service Commission
  • Mr Grant Hehir

    Auditor-General, Australian National Audit Office
  • Ms Natalie Walker

    Founder and Managing Director, Inside Policy
  • Prof Marek Kowalkiewicz

    PwC Chair in Digital Economy, QUT
  • Mr Anthony Parsons

    Group Manager, Quality and Integrity, Department of Employment

This is a conference not to be missed. There is still time to register.   Hide content


Public Sector Management Program Graduation

This year hundreds of public sector leaders have gained an employer sponsored Graduate Certificate in Business (Public Sector Management) through the Public Sector Management Program (PSMP) delivered in every capital city.   Show more

In a ceremony at Old Parliament House in October, Commissioner Lloyd congratulated 54 future public sector leaders from Canberra as they graduated from the program.

Carolyn Paterson from the Department of Social Services received the Outstanding Academic Performance Award. Carolyn achieved outstanding results in the program, while balancing her career and a busy community and home life. All this whilst acting Branch Manager at DSS, Vice-President and Assistant Coach for a junior AFL football club and being a mother of five young children!


John Lloyd with graduates from the Public Sector Management Program at Old Parliament House

In his address to graduates and their sponsoring employers, the Australian Public Service Commissioner spoke of the importance of leadership in the APS, saying ‘the public sector needs leaders who will meet the challenge of increasing community expectations in a fast changing and more complex world. Leaders who can help us steer our way through an uncertain and changing landscape’.

The Public Sector Management Program is about to enter its 25th year. Nearly 10,000 graduates have graduated from the program, gaining critical leadership and management skills.

The program is delivered flexibly in Adelaide, Alice Springs, Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. Applications for the next Canberra program are open until 30 January 2017.

For further details call 1800 145 041 or visit the program’s page on the APSC website.   Hide content


Researchers look at how policy expertise is developed in the APS

The APS has many talented and experienced policy officers. But how did they get to be good at their craft?.   Show more

The Centre for Leadership and Learning at the APSC is currently exploring this question and is seeking experienced policy officers, across all levels and portfolios, to interview for this project.

There is plenty of research on the skills and capabilities required to be successful in policy roles. However, little is understood about how policy expertise is acquired and developed.

Policy officers report that their expertise comes from a range of on-the-job experiences, relevant professional development and seminal learning moments in their career.

The Centre is seeking to understand more about the patterns for policy skill development over time, and the opportunities and experiences that have been most helpful. This will inform development initiatives for building policy skills in the APS.

All we need is approximately 90 minutes of your time, and we will come to you.

If you can contribute to this project (or you know of someone who could), then please contact us at coreskills [at] apsc.gov.au.   Hide content


2017 Leadership Development and Core Skills calendars

As 2016 draws to an end, it may be timely to consider your learning and development options for the new year. What capabilities do you need to focus on to take your performance to the next level?   Show more

In 2017, the Centre for Leadership and Learning in the APSC will be offering a range of learning programs that complement your on-the-job development. Programs focus on core, management and leadership skills for APS, EL and SES staff.

Core skills calendar

2017 core skills training calendar is out now! We have a number of new and exciting programs in 2017 including Creative Thinking at Work, Introduction to Better Practice Regulation, and Management in Action.

We are bringing more mixed agency development programs to State and regional areas (WA, QLD, VIC and SA). A new six month calendar will be released in the coming weeks.

As a sampler, we have several programs scheduled for delivery in Perth in the week of 28 November 2016 including: Building relationships and engagement and APS decision making.

For more information, please contact the National Calendar Team on 02 6202 3522 or email nationalcalendarteam [at] apsc.gov.au

Coming soon - Leadership development calendar

Contemporary leadership development programs for Senior Executive and Executive Level staff bring groups together from across the APS and build practical leadership skills, greater self-awareness and resilience, and enduring professional networks.

In addition to regular programs such as the SES Band 1 to 3 leadership programs and EL2 Practice and Expansion programs, a number of new programs are featured for 2017.

There will be leadership alumni initiatives such as Leadership Connections and Leadership Masterclasses, Leadership and Management short courses, and the Women in Leadership Program.

The leadership development calendar will be released in early November.

For questions please contact the Leadership Development Team on 02 6202 3765 or email leadership [at] apsc.gov.au.   Hide content


Challenge your thinking habits and build your meta and micro thinking skills

Thinking underpins every element of public service effectiveness. The Analytical and Critical Reasoning program helps you develop this foundation skill.   Show more

You can join a growing number of public servants who have prioritised the important work of identifying HOW they think and who have expanded their thinking and reasoning skills through practical activities.

The program has recently been updated to include new activities and fresh content. The personalised content and engaging delivery has proven highly effective in challenging participants to engage in different approaches to critical thinking in the workplace.

You can register for this program online.   Hide content