This document was prepared by the Office of the Merit Protection Commissioner. It was released in 2011 and will be updated in 2015 to reflect legislative changes.
This guide is to assist human resource practitioners respond to employee complaints and disputes in the context of the Australian Public Service (APS) Values and good people management practice.
The APS Values in section 10 of the Public Service Act 1999 (the Act) require a fair system of review of employment decisions. Section 33 of the Act establishes a review of actions scheme which enables employees to seek review of an action relating to their employment. Much of the detail of the scheme is in Part 5 of the Public Service Regulations 1999 (the Regulations).
The scheme is premised on review applications generally being made to the agency in the first instance (primary review). If the employee is dissatisfied with the outcome of the agency's review, they can refer the matter to an independent statutory officer, the Merit Protection Commissioner (secondary review).
This guide draws on an evaluation of agency practice in 2009 and 2010 by the Office of the Merit Protection Commissioner and work done in a range of jurisdictions and agencies on better practice in people management and the handling of complaints and disputes more generally.
The guide does not address management of reviews of determinations of breaches of the APS Code of Conduct and/or any sanction imposed as a result. These are reviewed by the Merit Protection Commissioner as a primary review or by Fair Work Australia where the sanction is termination of employment.