The work of the Australian Public Service affects all members of the Australian community. The APS can improve and maintain the trust of the community by acting with integrity and being accountable in the way it implements Australian Government policies and programs. The APS is expected to lead the way on respectful and ethical workplaces.
The establishment of the National Anti-Corruption Commission and the introduction of new whistleblower protections are providing new safeguards for integrity and transparency in the broader public sector. The Review into Public Sector Board Appointment Processes will provide advice to the Government on improving public sector appointments. Recommendations of the Report of the Inquiry into the Appointment of the Former Prime Minister to Administer Multiple Departments (Bell Inquiry) are also being implemented.
The APS Integrity Taskforce looked at ways to improve integrity and accountability measures across the service. In partnership with APS agencies, the taskforce examined system-wide improvements to support a pro-integrity culture at all levels. Proposed changes to the Public Service Act 1999 support the work of the taskforce by embedding stewardship as an APS Value, and improving accountability measures, including mandating agency capability reviews and strengthening provisions in relation to ministerial directions on employment matters.
Recommendations arising from the Royal Commission into the Robodebt Scheme have been examined by an inter-departmental committee, to support recommendations to Government’s response. A central team, based at the Australian Public Service Commission, has also been established to inquire into alleged breaches of the APS Code of Conduct arising from the inquiry.
All APS leaders and employees are required to treat everyone with respect. The APS Employee Census indicates that perceived levels of harassment and bullying in the workplace slowly declined between 2015 and 2022 but increased slightly in 2023. However, these levels remain too high, with more than 10% of APS employees perceiving bullying or harassment in 2023. Agencies are now required to publish their APS Employee Census reports and action plans, increasing transparency and accountability of findings.