Go to top of page

Corporate goal 1: Streamline process, reduce red tape and drive productivity and performance

Streamline process, reduce red tape and drive productivity and performance

Driving APS employment reform through workforce management contestability

Source of criteria: APSC Corporate Plan 2015–19, page 9

Measure: We will deliver a contestability review report by November 2015 to support the move to a modern and flexible employment framework that is more in line with community standards.

Result: Unlocking Potential, the APS workforce management contestability review, was delivered in December 2015.

Measure: Following the recommendations of the review we will implement the employment reform commencing March 2016,
to be completed by March 2017.

Result: The Commission is leading the implementation of the 27 actions outlined in Unlocking Potential through a range
of projects.


Modernising the APS employment framework

Source of criteria: APSC Corporate Plan 2015–19, page 9

Measure: We will progressively bring forward proposals to modernise the framework. This will include most aspects of the employment relationship, including recruitment, mobility, performance management and separations.

Result: Policies to modernise the framework were developed. SES remuneration 'incentive to retire' decisions have been devolved to agencies and other policies were simplified and streamlined.

Measure: We will complete a major simplification of the Australian Public Service Commissioner's Directions by June 2016.

Result: Two amendments were made in 2015–16. A third, comprehensive amendment was developed but it was not implemented by 30 June.


Driving high performance across the APS through better employee performance management

Source of criteria: APSC Corporate Plan 2015–19, page 11

Measure: We will partner with entities and industry experts to deliver contemporary and fit-for-purpose best practice models
by March 2016.

Result: In 2015–16, the Commission partnered with agencies and industry experts to develop an adaptable, fit-for-purpose model for best practice performance management systems.

Measure: We will develop performance management guides for HR practitioners and managers by June 2016.

Result: The model was released in late June 2016. It offers a set of principles to foster a stronger staff performance and development culture.


Driving a reduction in APS unscheduled absence

Source of criteria: APSC Corporate Plan 2015–19, page 11

Measure: We will develop a policy framework to support agencies to reduce unscheduled absence by March 2016.

Result: The Commission collected and provided monthly data on unscheduled absences for agencies to use to benchmark their performance against similar agencies and the APS overall.

Measure: We will use innovative methods that have been shown to be successful in the private sector to reduce absenteeism.

Result: Efforts to foster greater employee engagement as a way to reduce unscheduled absence shifted the focus to employee engagement and productivity based on insights gathered from the private sector.


Providing high-quality analysis and reports on APS employment trends

Source of criteria: APSC Corporate Plan 2015–19, page 11; PBS 2015–16, page 124

Measure: We will assist entities to meet their workforce goals through providing comprehensive analysis of workforce trends in the annual State of the Service reports.

Result: More than 75% of stakeholders indicated satisfaction with the revised approach to dataset release. The Commission used responsive and refined techniques to collect APS employment data from all agencies that employ staff under the Public Service Act 1999.

Measure: We will support entities with workforce planning through the production of the statistical bulletins biannually, and through the publication of ongoing research and analysis pieces.

Result: Two official datasets were released on the Commission's website: the Statistical Bulletin, in September 2015; and the December snAPShots, in April 2016.


Implementing the Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy

Source of criteria: APSC Corporate Plan 2015–19, page 11

Measure: We will actively assist entities to meet the government's target for Indigenous representation of 3% by 2018.

Result: The employment strategy was launched on 11 November 2015. Each agency has a target that takes into account its current Indigenous representation and regional presence. Baseline figures were published on 2 October 2015.

Measure: We are introducing a dynamic guide for entities, conveying best practices for employing Indigenous people. The guide will continue to be updated throughout 2016.

Result: The employment strategy implementation guide was released in September 2015 and continued to be updated through 2016.


Working with Commonwealth employers to improve workplace relations outcomes

Source of criteria: APSC Corporate Plan 2015–19, page 9

Measure: We will partner with entities to conclude the enterprise agreement round by March 2016.

Result: We worked closely with agencies to develop new workplace agreements, providing support and advice on the application of the Australian Government's Workplace Bargaining Policy. During the period there were 110 ballot events, resulting in 55 new enterprise agreements.

Measure: We will introduce a program during late 2016 to enhance the bargaining and workplace relations capability of entity staff.

Result: We determined the scope of the capability project and plan to finalise the project plan and implement the first key activities in late 2016.

Measure: We will review our engagement strategies to provide practical guidance to entities on policy and contemporary issues in a timely manner.

Result: We determined the scope of the engagement project and scheduled key activities for late 2016.

Measure: We will coordinate the streamlining of non-APS modern awards, including oversight of proceedings before the Fair Work Commission.

Result: We coordinated the government's submissions on the award modernisation process. On 20 June 2016, the Fair Work Commission made the decision to create the Australian Government Industry Award, which consolidates 12 non-APS enterprise awards.

Measure: We will develop a policy framework to support the next round of bargaining by March 2017.

Result: The new policy framework will be developed based on the progress of bargaining. Emerging issues and lessons learned in this bargaining round will inform recommendations to government about the next bargaining round.


Providing professional and high-quality policy and secretariat support to the Remuneration Tribunal and the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal in order for them to meet their statutory obligations

Source of criteria: APSC Corporate Plan 2015–19, page 12; PBS 2015–16, page 124

Measure: We will measure the quality of our services based on formal feedback from the president of each tribunal.

Result: The Remuneration Tribunal President reported: 'The Tribunal Secretariat comprises a small number of dedicated, capable people, whose work equips the Tribunal with excellent briefing, including research and recommendations across a broad spectrum of public sector remuneration including judicial and parliamentary remuneration.'

The Defence Force Remuneration President reported that the Tribunal Secretariat provided high-quality and timely services at a level of very good or above.


Performance analysis—corporate goal 1

The Commission is committed to driving employment reform, reducing regulation and building a high-performance culture across the APS. Our first corporate goal is to enable attitude and behaviour changes service-wide, focusing on both organisational and individual performance.

Driving APS employment reform through workforce management contestability

The recommendations in the Unlocking Potential report were a catalyst for significant reform.

A workforce management hackathon, titled 'WorkHack', brought together talented, creative individuals from across the APS and private sector. They uncovered innovative and unorthodox solutions to six APS workforce management problems. Work is currently underway to trial these solutions within agencies.

In May 2016, modernisation of the APS employment portal, APSjobs, resulted in a contemporary, personalised user experience to more effectively attract talent to the APS. The development of the employment portal was informed by stakeholder consultation and research into the external labour market. Consultation with agencies on redefining the APS brand proposition to more actively compete for talent also commenced in May 2016.

The Commission is working with agencies to set benchmarks for the way the APS delivers its HR functions. The Unlocking Potential report found that HR areas are often focused on transactional activities rather than high-value strategic work.

Modernising the APS employment framework

The Commission made available APS-wide policy updates to the employment framework in the form of two tranches of amendments to the Australian Public Service Commissioner's Directions 2013. Circular 2015/3 notified that provisions regarding workplace diversity programs and safe workplaces were repealed from the directions because they duplicated existing legislation. Amendments included advice on revised recruitment arrangements for APS, EL and SES level staff.

Circular 2015/7 notified further amendments to the directions that took effect on 30 November 2015. An example concerns an agency head's powers to transfer an ongoing employee to a non-ongoing position. This power was previously restricted to SES employees. It now applies to all employees. This provision can be used to support an employee's transition to retirement.

Agency heads no longer need the Commissioner's agreement to offer incentive-to-retire payments. They do not have to consult the Commissioner before engaging non-ongoing and non-SES employees within a redundancy benefit period. Provisions covering the termination of non-ongoing employment were repealed because they had no material effect.

Providing high-quality analysis and reports on APS employment trends

Changes were made to improve the accessibility and timeliness of data outlining the state of the APS. A new approach was taken to reporting the results of the State of the Service Report. The Commission produced a more succinct report that focused on key highlights of the 2014–15 financial year.

Data and analysis of information from the State of the Service employee census and agency survey were released successively in online snapshots. This made more timely information available to a wider range of stakeholders. The phased release of information supported Commission efforts to facilitate discussion of issues relevant to the state of the service. Consequently, the State of the Service Report became more concise and focused on reporting key highlights and emphasising current challenges and opportunities for the APS.

The Commission continued to collect employee attitude and opinion data to analyse what factors help attract and retain employees and what influences them to leave. This analysis provides input for agency workforce planning activities. The Commission will continue working with APS agencies to improve data collection and analysis and make it more accessible.

In addition to standard reporting, the Commission provided evaluation reports to use in the development of APS people management policies. The Commission worked with the Deputy Secretaries Working Group on Managing Workers' Compensation to evaluate a range of strategies designed to reduce workers' compensation premiums. The evaluation report that resulted will be used to develop strategies to improve management of workplace injuries.

Implementing the Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy

The Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy was launched on 11 November 2015. It aims to help agencies meet the government's target of 3% Indigenous representation in the Commonwealth public sector by 2018. Each agency has a target that takes into account its current Indigenous representation and regional presence. Progress by agencies will be published on the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet's website. Baseline figures were published on 2 October 2015, showing that Indigenous representation continued to grow steadily in 2015, with representation at 2.9%.

The Commission is partnering with agencies to assist in meeting their representation targets. This includes pilot programs under the new 'Turning Up the Volume' memorandum of understanding that will look at improvements to the recruitment, retention and advancement of Indigenous employees.

The Pathways Indigenous Graduate Program has assisted agencies to employ 1,100 Indigenous Australians since 2005. The program facilitated the recruitment of 34 graduates and 59 trainees in 2015–16.

Pathways was refreshed with new branding, a streamlined application process, greater use of social media and current assessment methodology. This resulted in the highest number of applications ever received for the program.

In April 2016, a live Q&A session was held via the Indigenous Careers Facebook page. The campaign was seen by 50,000 people, the page was viewed 657 times, and 161 people actively engaged in the event.

Working with Commonwealth employers to improve workplace relations outcomes

Since Bargaining Policy 2015 was released in November 2015, 45 enterprise agreements were voted up and a total of 55 agreements in 52 agencies were made in 2015–16. The Commission provided detailed advice to many Commonwealth employers on legislation, policy and drafting and better practice recommendations to agencies. The advice ensures that workplace arrangements are consistent with government policy parameters and lead to better workplace relations outcomes.

The making of the Australian Government Industry Award was finalised in 2015–16. The award is part of the Fair Work Commission's award modernisation process and consolidates 12 enterprise awards into one award for non-APS Commonwealth employers. The Commission coordinated the Commonwealth's submission to the Fair Work Commission.

The Commission set the ambitious goal of concluding bargaining by March 2016. Although significant progress was made towards that goal, there is still further work to be done. During 2015–16 the Commission supported concurrent bargaining processes across the Australian Government. Every agency has a unique bargaining context, which means that advice has to be tailored specifically to the needs of individual agencies.

Providing professional and high-quality policy and secretariat support to the Remuneration Tribunal and the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal in order for them to meet their statutory obligations

The Commission's Tribunals Group supported the development and drafting of the Remuneration Tribunal's submission to the Independent Parliamentary Entitlements System Review Committee, established by the then Prime Minister, the Hon Tony Abbott MP. An employee from the Commission's Tribunals Group was seconded to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to provide secretariat services to the committee.