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The Commission in brief

The Australian Public Service Commission is a non-corporate Commonwealth agency within the Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio. Its statutory responsibilities, which are detailed in the Public Service Act 1999, include the following:

  • developing, promoting, reviewing and evaluating Australian Public Service employment policies and practices
  • contributing to learning and development and career management
  • contributing to and fostering leadership in the Australian Public Service
  • providing advice and assistance on public service matters to agencies
  • promoting high standards of integrity and conduct in the Australian Public Service.

The Commission supports two statutory office holders—the Public Service Commissioner, who is also the agency head, and the Merit Protection Commissioner. Their functions are set out in sections 41 and 50 of the Public Service Act.

The Public Service Commissioner makes staff available to assist the Merit Protection Commissioner in performing her prescribed functions. The Merit Protection Commissioner’s annual report follows the appendixes to this report.

The Public Service Commission also provides secretariat support to the Remuneration Tribunal and the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal.

This report’s financial statements incorporate the activities of the Public Service Commissioner, the Merit Protection Commissioner and the two tribunals.

Our minister

The Commission’s minister during 2016–17 was Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, Minister for Employment, Minister for Women and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service.

Staff and budget

At 30 June 2017 the Commission had 207 staff. The Commission received $20.3 million in departmental appropriation funding in 2016–17 and $20.8 million in fee-for-service revenue.

Organisational structure

Figure 1 shows the Commission’s organisational structure at 30 June 2017.

Figure 1: Organisational structure, 30 June 2017

Purpose, outcome and program structure

The Commission’s purpose, planned outcome and corporate goals are set out in its 2016–17 Portfolio Budget Statements (available at www.pmc.gov.au) and its 2016–17 Corporate Plan (available at www.apsc.gov.au).

Our purpose is to create a high-performing Australian Public Service that delivers quality outcomes for government, business and the community and to make genuine and enduring changes to the way the APS operates.

The Commission’s planned outcome is to increase awareness and adoption of best-practice public administration by the public service through leadership, promotion, advice and professional development, drawing on research and evaluation (Outcome 1, PBS).

The Commission works to achieve this outcome through two PBS programs:

  • 1.1: Australian Public Service Commission
  • 1.2: Parliamentarians’ and Judicial Office Holders’ Remuneration and Entitlements.

The Corporate Plan builds on and complements the PBS and identifies three corporate goals that reflect the priorities of Program 1.1:

  • streamlining process, reducing red tape, and driving productivity and performance
  • building capability
  • promoting integrity and accountability.

Reporting on performance

The Commission seeks to achieve its purpose, planned outcome and goals by meeting its commitments and performance measures, as detailed in its 2016–17 Corporate Plan and the PBS.

Our annual performance statements (see pages 11 to 30) detail the Commission’s achievements during the reporting year and the extent to which we met our performance measures, as set out in the Corporate Plan and the PBS.

The close links between the PBS and the Corporate Plan mean that some of our performance measures are reflected in both documents. For greater clarity, our performance statements identify the source of each performance measure by publication and page number.

Funding and financial performance

The Commission’s activities are funded through a combination of appropriation and fee-for-service revenue.

Revenue is generated through the sale of leadership programs, learning and development courses, employment services and international capacity-building programs funded through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Much of this revenue is earned in a competitive market in which agencies choose the source and level of the services they purchase.

As noted, in 2016–17 the Commission received $20.3 million in departmental appropriation funding and $20.8 million in fee-for-service revenue.

The Commission’s operating result for 2016–17 was a surplus of $0.5 million. This result includes the effects of the government’s net cash funding arrangement, whereby depreciation expenses are no longer funded by an appropriation. Excluding this factor, the Commission delivered an operating surplus of $1.5 million as a result of accounting adjustments for lease expenses and prudent management of its financial resources.

Payments of $63.2 million were made from the special appropriation for the Parliamentarians’ and Judicial Office Holders’ Remuneration and Entitlements administered program.

Departmental expenses were $0.7 million lower than the budget estimate as a result of adjustments for lease expenses. Administered expenses were $1.2 million lower than the budget estimate because levels of remuneration and entitlements for members were lower than projected.

Table 1 summarises the Commission’s financial performance for 2016–17. It should be read in conjunction with Table A2 (see Appendix A).

Table 1: The Commission’s financial performance: a summary
  Budget estimate
($ million)
Actual result
($ million)
Program 1.1: Australian Public Service Commission 41.3 40.6
Total departmental 41.3 40.6
Program 1.2: Parliamentarians’ and Judicial Office Holders’ Remuneration, Allowances and Entitlements 64.4 63.2
Total administered 64.4 63.2
Total for Outcome 1 105.7 103.8
Last reviewed: 
14 May 2018