As Merit Protection Commissioner I am responsible for independent and impartial review of employment actions in the Australian Public Service (APS), merit-based recruitment services and a range of fee-for-service activities.
In this role I provide assurance to the government and the community that the APS Values and Employment Principles are being applied effectively by decision-makers in agencies with respect to staffing decisions. By reviewing agency decisions I support fair, transparent, logical and ethical decision-making. Through my promotion review function and the establishment of Independent Selection Advisory Committees (ISACs), I promote merit-based recruitment.
I contribute to high standards of public administration. Independent review by the Merit Protection Commissioner is an informal and cost-effective way of resolving employment disputes and reduces the risk and costs of legal challenge. It assists agencies by supporting accountability and promoting better employment decision-making across the APS and encouraging timely return to productive workplaces.
The Merit Protection Commissioner; Annwyn Godwin
The work I have undertaken over the last three years to streamline processes and improve the quality of decision-making has significantly improved the effectiveness of the review and fee-for-service functions. I am happy to report that this year all performance measures have not only been met, but exceeded. I am particularly pleased to be able to state that more than 95% of reviews of action and promotion reviews have been completed within target timeframes.
Significant work has also been done to embed changes to the Public Service Act 1999 (the PS Act), the Public Service Regulations 1999 (the Regulations) and the Privacy Act 1988 and to support the introduction of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 and the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.
At the same time, I have focused on improved communication with agencies and employees. My web pages (www.apsc.gov.au/merit) have been redesigned to improve accessibility to up-to-date information. I have also updated and republished the series of five promotional brochures that set out the role and functions of the Merit Protection Commissioner. These can be downloaded from my web pages.
The achievements this year augur well for the coming financial year.
My report is divided into four parts: a focus on the year's activities, the outcomes for the year, the outlook for 2014–15 and the governance arrangements applying to the role of the Merit Protection Commissioner. Supporting information and performance statistics are provided in the appendix.
The report also includes a sample of case studies highlighting issues raised in review cases finalised in 2013–14 and other information relevant to agencies and employees.