Chapter 2: Harnessing momentum for change
What we need is a modern, flexible, apolitical public service that is fit for purpose for myriad tasks. And we have one, as demonstrated during COVID. We are up to the task. But we need to keep modernising and adapting the service to remain up to the evolving task of Government. In a rapidly changing world we need to evolve and develop as APS leaders, and to evolve and develop the APS as a whole.30
Simon Atkinson, Secretary, Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications
The past year has continued to be instructive as the APS progresses its reform agenda to ensure the service is fit for purpose into the future. The APS is building on the early lessons from the pandemic that tested organisational boundaries, technology, teams and the resilience of its people, while also prompting new conversations about ways of working.
Critical questions for the APS workforce remain:
- To be effective in an increasingly complex environment, how best do we achieve a ‘one-APS’ mindset across all levels and how well do current structures and hierarchies serve the APS to fulfil its remit to Government, Parliament and the Australian community?
- To ensure we remain an employer of choice, how might greater levels of flexibility across key labour markets impact the APS employee value proposition and lay the foundations for maximising an inclusive work culture which reflects the Australian community?
- To uplift capability for the future of work, how does the APS best compete for talent, offer flexible and targeted learning, develop leaders for the ‘new normal’ and embed a pro-integrity culture in all that we do?
The APS is exploring workforce-level initiatives and system-wide thinking to help answer these critical questions.
30 Simon Atkinson, Secretary, Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications. (2021). Address to the IPAA. On Service, Professional Development, Systems Leadership and Global Reopening. 24 June.