The Public Service Amendment Act 2013 (the Amendment Act) made significant changes to the Public Service Act 1999 (the Act). As a consequence the Public Service Regulations 1999 have been amended and the Public Service Commissioner’s Directions 1999 repealed and replaced with the Australian Public Service Commissioner’s Directions 2013 (the Directions).
The Australian Public Service Commission (the Commission) is developing a series of ‘Advices’ to assist Australian Public Service (APS) agencies implement the changes in the amended legislation and the new Directions. The Advices will be available on the Circulars and advices page of the Commission’s website.
This Advice provides an overview of the changes and lists other Advices in the series. Advices will be developed and released as soon as possible, though not necessarily consecutively.
The commencement date for the amended Act, amended Regulations and the Directions is 1 July 2013. The changes will become part of Commonwealth law on that date. Agencies will need to take action to prepare for these changes before the commencement date.
Why are these changes being made?
The amendments give effect to recommendations in Ahead of the Game: Blueprint for the reform of Australian Government Administration (the Blueprint), a report published in March 2010 by the Advisory Group on Reform of Australian Government Administration, and make a range of operational amendments to improve the operation of the Act, including addressing matters that have arisen since the last major change in 1999.
The amendments give legislative form to the new institutional structures and cultural and behavioural expectations that the Blueprint outlined for the APS.
What changes are being made?
The changes are summarised in the attachment and described in the following Advices:
- Secretaries and Secretaries Board
- SES roles and employment matters
- APS Values, Employment Principles and revisions to the Code of Conduct
- Australian Public Service Commissioner’s functions (including appointment of Special Commissioners)
- Merit Protection Commissioner's functions
- Handling misconduct (section 15(3) and sanction procedures)
- APS Whistleblowing
- Recruitment and selection
- Independent Selection Advisory Committees (ISACs)
- Performance management
- Review of actions
- Use and disclosure of employee information
- Statutory officer holders and the APS Code of Conduct
- Other employment matters
What do agencies need to do?
Agencies should read each Advice for information on actions that need to be put in place before and after the commencement date of 1 July 2013.
Agencies will need to review their delegations in light of the amendments and new Directions.
The Commission will release updated guidance on delegations well before the commencement date. The updated guidance will be available on the APS employment policy and advice pages of the Commission’s website.
Transitional arrangements vary for each of the changes. Information on whether and what transitional arrangements are required is included in each Advice.
The Amendment Act, the Public Service Amendment Regulation 2013 and the Australian Public Service Commissioner’s Directions 2013 are available on the Comlaw website.
Enquiries from agencies’ corporate services staff can be made by email at PSAmendmentAct2013 [at] apsc.gov.au or by telephone on 02 6202 3737.
APS employees who have queries about how the changes will affect them should please contact the HR area in their agency.
Group Manager, Ethics
Australian Public Service Commission
|Public Service Act||Public Service Regulations||Australian Public Service Commissioner’s Directions|
|Amended||Amended||Repealed and re-made|
Schedule 1: Re-engagement of election candidates
Schedule 2: Comparison with Parliamentary Service classifications