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Focus for the coming year

Improving communications will continue to be a focus in 2016–17. I expect the new website to be released in August 2016. The content of the website will be continually refreshed with a focus on innovative ways of conveying information to clients, such as podcasts or short videos. I will also issue my regular newsletter informing agencies of issues of interest and practical 'tips and traps' gleaned from our review work.

Work on the build of a new case management system will continue in the second half of 2016–17. Important functionality changes will improve performance reporting, interactivity with the Commission's records management system and interactivity with agency and review clients. In this respect, the system will provide a portal giving both review applicants and agency human resource staff direct access to information on the progress of their cases. This will reduce queries to the review advice line, enabling staff to focus on their review casework.

Activity levels in my Office are largely demand driven. The demand for promotion reviews and independent selection advisory committees (ISACs) is dependent on agency recruitment activity. While it is difficult to predict future demand, I expect APS recruitment activity will continue, but at a slowing rate; and there will be continued, if reduced, demand for promotion review and ISAC services. While I believe the promotion review process has been significantly streamlined this year, my staff will be working with agencies to look for further improvements in timeliness. The specific focus will be on achieving faster provision of agency documentation and better agency recordkeeping to more quickly determine the review rights of employees involved in large-scale recruitment exercises.

I will also be promoting the benefits of ISACs to enhance the overall integrity of APS recruitment, particularly for large recruitment exercises. ISACs provide a quality recruitment process and can avoid the need for promotion review.

I will be evaluating and investing in my statutory Code of Conduct inquiry function, including recruiting and training inquiry officers.

The APS employment framework is undergoing reform in a number of areas—to modernise workforce management, improve flexibility and reduce red tape. In addition, it is likely recommendations will arise from the review of the PID Act that will have an effect on the management of employment grievances. I will be contributing to the policy discussions and reviews that arise from these processes as required throughout the coming year. I support changes that reduce administrative burdens but at the same time continue to address the underlying reasons why the provision was put in place. I will also focus on providing ongoing commitment and support to smaller agencies, consistent with the recommendation of the independent review of whole-of-government internal regulation released in September 2015.

Finally, I will be focusing on workforce planning initiatives in the internal management of my Office. This includes building a surge capacity for both reviews and Code of Conduct inquiries and developing the skills of the staff who have been allocated to me by the Commission.