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Implementing the APS leadership and core skills strategy

The Centre for Leadership and Learning's programme of work is performed on behalf of the Secretaries Board. Its investment in leadership practice, management expertise and core skills has always been guided by learning strategies (the APS Leadership Development Strategy 2011, the leadership and core skills strategy and the leadership and core skills strategy refresh).

The 2014 State of the Service Agency Survey (agency survey) was used to provide a baseline against which the implementation of the leadership and core skills strategy could be assessed. Agencies were asked to indicate if their investment in leadership, learning and development was linked to the leadership and core skills strategy. Forty per cent (covering 48% of the workforce) indicated that learning and development investment was linked to the leadership and core skills strategy for the whole agency, while 18% (covering 39% of the workforce) indicated it was linked to part of the agency. Forty-two per cent of agencies (covering 12% of the workforce) indicated that learning and development investment was not linked to the leadership and core skills strategy.

Agencies were also asked to indicate if the leadership and core skills strategy influenced their internal approach to learning and development. Sixty per cent of agencies (covering 73% of the workforce) influenced by the leadership and core skills strategy indicated they had aligned internal leadership development approaches to the leadership and core skills strategy. Another 33% (covering 30% of the workforce) had adopted the leadership and core skills strategy's frameworks and 31% (covering 41% of the workforce) had developed a complementary internal strategy or realigned an existing one.

Agencies also reported reduced effort on the development of internal learning programmes to leverage APS-wide learning materials being made available for core and management skills programmes. Forty per cent of agencies (covering 40% of the workforce) indicated reduced effort in developing core and foundations skills programmes to make use of APS-wide programmes, while a further 24% (covering 37% of the workforce) reported reduced effort developing management expertise programmes to use APS-wide products.

The Centre for Leadership and Learning is in the early stages of implementing APS core and management skills offerings, with a number of APS-wide programmes available to agencies. As APS-wide products continue to be progressively designed, developed and released, it is expected that additional agencies will reduce or redirect their internal programme development efforts over time.

The agency survey also asked agencies to indicate the greatest challenges they faced implementing and/or progressing APS core skills learning programmes. Key challenges identified were internal agency learning and development capability and difficulties mapping leadership and core skills strategy capabilities to local agency requirements. In addition, a number of agencies are undertaking rigorous strategic planning processes to consider how core skills learning materials can be used as a strategic capability development tool following the 2013–14 machinery-of-government changes.

To assist agencies to overcome the challenges of implementing APS-wide core and management skills learning programmes internally, the Centre for Leadership and Learning is providing direct implementation support. This includes support on mapping APS-wide programmes to agency capability requirements, tailoring APS-wide products to individual agency contexts and assisting agency learning and development areas to transition internal arrangements to support contemporary learning programmes that require multiple interventions.

Support offered to agencies is tailored to their individual circumstances and coordinated across the Commission's Panel Services and Centre for Leadership and Learning resources. Opportunities also exist for agencies to be connected where they are facing similar implementation challenges.


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