1. This circular is to advise agencies of amendments to the Public Service Classification Rules 2000 (Classification Rules) that come into effect on 1 December 2014.
2. The Classification Rules are being amended to:
- require that, from 1 December 2014, whenever an agency head allocates an approved classification to an APS 1–6 Level or Executive Level role, it must be in accordance with work level standards issued in writing by the Australian Public Service Commissioner (the Commissioner)
- These work level standards are published in a document titled Australian Public Service Work level standards APS Level and Executive Level classifications.
- This document can be found at http://www.apsc.gov.au/publications-and-media/current-publications/worklevel-standards
- provide transitional arrangements;
- make a number of technical amendments.
Requirement to use work level standards issued by the Commissioner, for APS 1–6 Level and Executive Level classifications
3. In September 2013, the Commissioner issued work level standards for APS 1–6 Level and Executive Level classifications (APS work level standards).
4. In March 2014, it was indicated in the Australian Government Public Sector Workplace Bargaining Policy that the Commissioner intended to amend the Classification Rules to mandate the APS work level standards.
5. Mandating the APS work level standards is consistent with the approach for SES work level standards issued by the Commissioner, which were mandated through changes to the Classification Rules in 2012.
6. Subrule 9(2A) of the Classification Rules has been amended so that the allocation of an APS Level, Executive Level or SES classification to a group of duties must be based on the work value of the group of duties described in the work level standards for that classification issued, in writing, by the Commissioner, from 1 December 2014.
- The previous Subrule 9 (2A) required agencies to apply work level standards issued by the Commissioner for SES classifications only.
7. Rule 10 of the Classification Rules has been amended so that an agency head must issue, in writing, work level standards for each classification other than an APS 1–6 Level, Executive Level or SES classification describing the work value of the group of duties to be performed in the agency at that classification.
- The previous Rule 10 required an agency head to issue written work level standards for all classifications, other than SES classifications.
8. The amendments affect the allocation of a classification to a group of duties after 1 December 2014.
- There is no immediate requirement for agencies to evaluate existing roles against work level standards issued by the Commissioner for APS 1–6 and Executive Level classifications.
- Agencies are required, however, to use the work level standards issued by the Commissioner whenever assessing work value and allocating an approved classification for an APS 1–6 or Executive Level role, from 1 December 2014.
9. Agencies may retain content from their existing work level standards a supplementary guidance to assist with the job evaluation process for their workforce. However, any agency specific guidance must be consistent with the APS work level standards.
10. The Australian Public Service Commission will review the work level standards and how they are applied by agencies, in the first half of 2016.
11. For classifications that are not APS Level 1–6, Executive Level or SES classifications, there is no change to current arrangements. Agency heads continue to be required to issue, in writing, work level standards for each group of duties to be performed in the agency at that classification (Rule 10). For example, this would apply in the case of Medical Officers.
12. For SES work level standards, there is also no change to current arrangements. Agencies continue to be required to apply the work level standards issued by the Commissioner (Subrule 9 (2A)).
13. Work level standards are used for more than the formal allocation of classifications to a group of duties in accordance with the Classification Rules. For example, they underpin job and organisational design, and support performance management, capability development and mobility. It is expected that the APS work level standards will be applied in all relevant circumstances from 1 December 2014.
Role evaluation tool
14. To assist agencies in applying the APS work level standards, the Commission has developed the APS role evaluation tool (the tool) and guidance material.
15. The tool is designed to assist human resources practitioners and APS managers to assess work value and determine the appropriate classification level for APS and Executive Level roles. Guidance material includes strategies for managing potential outcomes.
16. Although use of the tool is not compulsory, agencies are strongly encouraged to incorporate a structured role evaluation process into their classification management.
17. Subrule 11(1) has been amended by replacing 'an APS employee who is engaged at a training classification' to 'an APS employee who is employed at a training classification'. The amendment provides clarity for circumstances where an existing APS employee moves into an approved training classification–in which case, at the successful completion of the relevant training requirements, the agency head must allocate to the employee an operational classification in accordance with Schedule 2 of the Classification Rules.
18. Other changes made to the Classification Rules will not impact on agency operations. Minor drafting changes have been made so that the term 'work value' is consistently applied, and—in accordance with current drafting conventions—some changes have been made to definitions and included in the Dictionary to the Classification Rules.
19. Further information about the APS classification framework and work level standards can be found at http://www.apsc.gov.au/managing-in-the-aps/classification.
20. Further assistance is also available by contacting the Commission's Staffing Policy team at staffingpolicy [at] apsc.gov.au.