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Commission overview

The Australian Public Service Commission is one of five central agencies and sits within the Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio. 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 441(1) and 50(1) of the Public Service Act 1999.

Our minister

The Commission's minister from 1 July 2015 to 21 September 2015 was Senator the Hon Eric Abetz. Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash was the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service for the remainder of the reporting period.

Our vision

Our vision is to create a flexible, efficient and high-performing APS that delivers quality outcomes for government, business and the community.

Our role and responsibilities

The Commission works with agencies to:

  • develop, promote, review and evaluate APS employment policies and practices
  • facilitate continuous improvement in people management throughout the APS
  • contribute to learning and development and career management
  • foster and contribute to leadership in the APS
  • provide advice and assistance on public service matters to government entities
  • promote high standards of integrity and conduct in the APS.

The Commmission at a glance

Staffing: 210 employeesStaffing: 72.5% female, 27.5% maleStaffing: 8% people with disability, 4.7% Indigenous59 trainees were employed through the APS Indigenous Pathways Program34 graduates were employed through the APS Indigenous Pathways Program552 leadership, learning and development programs delivered to 10045 APS participants2016 APS employee census: 69% response rateStrategic APS engagement series: accelrate, APSwide, Grads, People Management Network, APS 200, AGLN391 inquiries recieved by the Ethics Advisory Service51 issues of the Public Service Gazette published3009058 visitors to the Commission website

Organisational structure

Figure 1 shows the Commission's organisational structure at 30 June 2016.

Figure 1: Organisational structure at 30 June 2016


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


To create a flexible, efficient and high-performing APS that delivers quality outcomes for government, business and the community.

Overview of purpose

The Commission is transforming itself and the way it does business. We want to improve our client's experience of working with us, and make genuine and enduring changes to the way the APS operates.

In the financial year, the Commission sought to fulfil its purpose through three corporate goals:

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

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.

In 2015–16, the Commission received $20.6 million in departmental appropriation funding and income of $21.9 million from the sale of services.

The Commission's operating result for 2015–16 was a loss of $0.9 million. 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 $0.2 million as a result of prudent management of its financial resources.

Payments of $60.2 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 2015–16.

Departmental expenses were $1.3 million higher than the budget estimate due to higher than projected customer demand for the Commission's services. Administered expenses were $2.9 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, 2015–16 (Appendix A).

Table 1: Summary of financial performance
  Budget estimate
($ million)
Actual result
($ million)
Program 1.1: Australian Public Service Commission 42.1 43.4
Total departmental 42.1 43.4
Program 1.2: Parliamentarians' and judicial office holders' remuneration, allowances and entitlements 63.1 60.2
Total administered 63.1 60.2
Total for Outcome 1 105.2 103.6
Last reviewed: 
14 May 2018