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Commission overview

The Australian Public Service Commission is a central agency within the Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio. The Commission supports two statutory office holders: the Public Service Commissioner—who is also agency head—and the Merit Protection Commissioner. Their functions are set out in sections 41 (1) and 50 (1), respectively, of the Public Service Act 1999.

Our minister

The Commission's minister throughout the reporting period was Senator the Hon Eric Abetz, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service.

Our vision

The Commission's vision is to lead and shape a unified, high-performing APS.

Our role and responsibilities

The Commission works with agencies to strengthen the capability of the APS to meet the evolving needs of citizens and the government; supports leadership, learning and development in the APS; and fosters ethical behaviour and workplaces that value diversity.

We have an important evaluation role in working with agencies to ensure that the APS is performing effectively and in a manner consistent with the APS Values.

The Commission also administers employment-related policies on behalf of the government.

Strategic priorities

The Commission's strategic priorities for 2014−15 were to:

  • build a unified, citizen-centric APS by leading its organisational and human capital strategies
  • lead APS agencies' adoption of best human capital practices and assure agencies' organisational capability
  • develop outstanding leaders and shape a cohesive leadership network
  • instil and enliven APS ethics and values to inspire excellence
  • invest in and grow the Commission's capability to deliver its role.

Outcome and program structure

The Commission's outcome is increased awareness and adoption of best practice public administration by the public service through leadership, promotion, advice and professional development, drawing on research and evaluation.

The Commission worked to achieve its outcome through two programs:

  • 1.1: Australian Public Service Commission
  • 1.2: Parliamentarians' and judicial office holders' remuneration and entitlements.

The Commissioner makes available staff to assist the Merit Protection Commissioner to perform her prescribed functions. The annual report of the Merit Protection Commissioner follows the appendices to this report. The Commission also provides secretariat support to the Remuneration and the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunals. The Commission's financial statements include the activities of the Commissioner, the Merit Protection Commissioner and the tribunals.

Organisational structure

Figure 1 shows the Commission's organisational structure at 30 June 2015.

Figure 1: Organisational structure at 30 June 2015

Funding and financial performance

The Commission's activities are funded through a combination of appropriation and revenue generated through the sale of leadership services, learning and development training courses, employment-related and international assistance services, and workplace relations activities. More than half of the Commission's funding is provided by agencies—either on a fee-for-service basis or through subscriptions supported by a memorandum of understanding. Much of the Commission's revenue is earned in a competitive market where agencies choose the source and level of the services they purchase.

In 2014–15, the Commission received $21.6 million in departmental appropriation funding and own-source income of $22.7 million from the rendering of services.

The Commission's operating result for 2014–15 was a small surplus of $0.05 million, following a deficit of $0.4 million in 2013–14. The result includes the effects of the government's net cash funding arrangement where depreciation and amortisation expenses are no longer funded by an appropriation. Excluding this factor, the Commission delivered an operating surplus of $1.1 million as a result of prudent management of its financial resources.

Payments of $61.3 million were made from the special appropriation for the parliamentarians' and judicial office holders' remuneration and entitlements administered program.

Table 1 summarises the Commission's financial performance in 2014–15.

Table 1: Summary of financial performance, 2014-15
  Budget estimate ($ million)* Actual result ($ million)

*Full-year budget, including any subsequent adjustment made to the 2014-15 Budget.

Program 1.1: Australian Public Service Commission
44.7 44.4
Program 1.2: Parliamentarians' and judicial office holders' remuneration and entitlements
62.0 61.3
Total Outcome 1 106.7 105.7

Departmental expenses were $0.3 million lower than the budget estimate as the Commission managed the expenses in line with lower than anticipated fee-for-service revenue. Administered expenses were $0.7 million lower than the budget estimate due to levels of remuneration and entitlements for members being lower than projected.

Table 1 should be read in conjunction with Table A2: Expenses and resources for Outcome 1, 2014–15 (Appendix A).

Last reviewed: 
14 May 2018