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Overview, continued

Commission overview

The Australian Public Service Commission is a central agency within the Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio. The Commission supports two statutory office holders: the Public Service Commissioner–who is also agency head–and the Merit Protection Commissioner. Their functions are set out in sections 41(1) and 50(1), respectively, of the Public Service Act 1999 (the PS Act).


The Commission had two ministers during the year. The Minister until 14 September 2010 was Senator the Hon Joe Ludwig, Cabinet Secretary, Special Minister of State and Manager of Government Business in the Senate and, from 14 September 2010, the Hon Gary Gray AO MP, Special Minister of State and Special Minister of State for the Public Service and Integrity.

Role and responsibilities

Our vision is to lead and shape a unified, high-performing Australian Public Service (APS). The statutory responsibilities that support our vision are detailed in the PS Act and include:

  • evaluating the extent to which agencies incorporate and uphold the APS Values
  • evaluating the adequacy of systems and procedures in agencies for ensuring compliance with the APS Code of Conduct
  • promoting the APS Values and Code of Conduct
  • developing, promoting, reviewing and evaluating APS employment policies and practices
  • facilitating continuous improvement in people management throughout the APS
  • coordinating and supporting APS-wide training and career development
  • contributing to and fostering leadership in the APS
  • providing advice and assistance on public service matters to agencies on request
  • providing independent external review of actions by the Merit Protection Commissioner.

Outcome and program structure

The Commission’s outcome is increased awareness and adoption of best practice public administration by the public service through leadership, promotion, advice and professional development, drawing on research and evaluation activities.

In 2010–11, the Commission worked to achieve its outcome through three departmental programs:

  • 1.1: APS people and organisational performance
  • 1.2: Investing in APS development and capability
  • 1.3: Australian Government employment workplace relations.

During 2010–11 responsibility for the following functions was transferred to the Commission from the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations:

  • agreement making, classification structures, Australian public service remuneration arrangements and work-level standards advice
  • the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal and the Remuneration Tribunal
  • the parliamentarians’ and judicial office holders’ remuneration and entitlements administered program.

The Public Service Commissioner provides staff to assist the Merit Protection Commissioner to perform her prescribed functions and provides secretariat support to the Remuneration Tribunal and the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal.

Corporate structure

The Executive

A five-person Executive, consisting of the Australian Public Service Commissioner, the Deputy Australian Public Service Commissioner, the Merit Protection Commissioner, the Chief Human Capital Officer and the General Manager of the Employment Frameworks Division, led the Commission in 2010–11.


Mr Stephen Sedgwick
Australian Public Service Commissioner

Mr Stephen Sedgwick became Australian Public Service Commissioner in December 2009 after a period as Professor and Director of the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research at the University of Melbourne. He has had a long and distinguished career in the public sector, having served as the Secretary of the Commonwealth departments of Finance, Employment and Education between 1992 and 2002. He is a former Commissioner and Chairperson of the Industry Commission and a former senior officer of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Mr Sedgwick graduated with honours in economics from the University of Sydney and holds a master’s degree from the University of London. He was a member of the board of the Asian Development Bank between 2002 and 2007. He is currently a member of the Research and Policy Council of the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia.

Ms Carmel McGregor
Deputy Australian Public Service Commissioner
(on secondment to the Department of Defence)

Ms Carmel McGregor joined the Commission as Deputy Australian Public Service Commissioner in November 2008. She was seconded to the Department of Defence in May 2011 to lead a review of APS women’s pathways to leadership in the Department of Defence.

Ms McGregor’s previous position was Deputy Secretary of Client and Corporate Services in the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. She led a global client service reform and a major organisational and cultural change program. Her earlier roles in the Department of Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs and at Centrelink involved considerable experience in policy, service delivery and human capital programs.

Previously she was General Manager of Employment, Disability and Education at Centrelink, where she managed delivery of employment and education programs and led the implementation of the Welfare to Work reforms.

She is Vice Chair and Australian representative of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Public Governance Committee.

She holds an arts degree with majors in psychology and sociology from the University of Queensland and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management. She has memberships in the Institute of Public Administration Australia, the Australian Institute of Training and Development and the Australian Human Resources Institute.

Ms Annwyn Godwin
Merit Protection Commissioner

Ms Annwyn Godwin was appointed as Merit Protection Commissioner in January 2008. Ms Godwin joined the public service in 1990 and has extensive experience in corporate and staffing related fields, including with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service. During her early career, she worked in a wide variety of private sector agencies.

Ms Godwin has a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from the University of Melbourne with majors in Australian politics and history and a Master’s of Business Administration from the Australian Graduate School of Management at the University of New South Wales.

Ms Penny Weir
Acting Deputy Australian Public Service Commissioner

Ms Penny Weir joined the Commission in late 2010 and normally heads up the Employment Frameworks Division. She was acting as Deputy Australian Public Service Commissioner at 30 June 2011.

Ms Weir has had an extensive private sector career including with PricewaterhouseCoopers and in her own successful consulting business. Her public sector career has spanned social policy, implementation and corporate leadership roles over a period of 15 years. She was a member of the taskforce that set up the new agency arrangements in support of the Fair Work Act and wound up the Workplace Authority as part of implementing those arrangements. Most recently she established corporate support divisions for both the Workplace Authority and the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency. She has a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy.

Mr Ian Fitzgerald
Chief Human Capital Officer

Mr Ian Fitzgerald joined the Commission in January 2011 as the Chief Human Capital Officer.

The Chief Human Capital Officer leads human capital thinking and knowledge development in the Commission and provides a resource for the Commission and agencies in dealing with human capital issues. The role includes overseeing human capital strategy development, reporting and associated benchmarking; the work of the Centre for Leadership and Learning; and agency capability reviews.

Mr Fitzgerald’s first career was in the justice sector, including delivery and policy lead roles in Australia and at the Home Office in London. More recently he worked for Westpac for six years in various roles, including head of the overall People Strategy and Metrics function, head of Diversity and other human resource director roles with the bank in Australia and New Zealand. He has a Bachelor of Science from the Australian National University and a Master’s of Business Administration from Macquarie Graduate School of Management.

Ms Helen Bull
Acting General Manager, Employment Frameworks Division

Ms Helen Bull joined the Commission as Acting General Manager, Employment Frameworks Division in July 2010 as part of the transfer of the public sector workplace relations function from the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations to the Commission.

Ms Bull’s previous roles include General Manager, Agreements and Policy in the Workplace Authority and Deputy State Manager of the NSW office of the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, where she managed the delivery of employment and workplace relations programs. In addition to workplace relations she has extensive experience in the delivery of occupational health and safety and workers’ compensation programs and policies and has held senior executive positions in the Office of the Australian Safety and Compensation Council, the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission and Comcare.

Ms Bull has a Bachelor of Social Science (Hons) in psychology and sociology from the University of New South Wales and post-graduate qualifications in public law from the Australian National University.

Organisational structure

Ten groups, each led by a group manager, supported the functions of the Commission in 2010–11 and reported to the Executive. The Public Service Commissioner had direct oversight of the Centre for Leadership and Learning and the Human Capital Research and Evaluation Group. The Deputy Public Service Commissioner had responsibility for the day-to-day oversight of the Workforce Participation, Client Engagement, APSC Products and Services, Workplace Relations and Workforce Classification Groups and the Remuneration Tribunal Secretariat. The Merit Protection Commissioner had responsibility, in addition to her statutory responsibilities, for the Ethics and Corporate Groups. Figure 1 shows the Commission’s organisational structure at 30 June 2011.

Figure 1: Organisational structure as at 30 June 2011


Group functions

The Centre for Leadership and Learning is responsible for developing an APS learning and development strategy in consultation with its advisory board. It also has a key role in developing models and guidelines for APS-wide and agency-specific talent management.

The Human Capital Research and Evaluation Group leads human capital management and workforce planning initiatives across the APS. It has responsibility for labour market analysis and human capital benchmarking.

The Workforce Participation Group develops and implements measures to assist APS agencies to improve their employment of people from diverse backgrounds, such as Indigenous Australians and people with disability.

The Client Engagement Group leads the Commission’s client engagement strategies. The group is responsible for managing the Commission’s regional presence and international activities. It has a key role in implementing strategies to improve recruitment, performance management, induction and mobility processes and practices within the APS.

The APSC Products and Services Group delivers learning and development opportunities across the APS, specialising in graduate development programs and APS 1–6, Executive Level and Senior Executive Service programs and events. The group manages the Commission’s registered training organisation.

The Remuneration Tribunal Secretariat provides secretariat services to the President and members of the Remuneration Tribunal.

The Workplace Relations Group is responsible for Australian Government workplace relations policy, including equal employment opportunity and administration of the framework for agreement making and remuneration and conditions. The group provides advice to the Minister and agencies on the legislative and policy framework that applies to APS employment.

The Workforce Classification Group has responsibility for SES selection and separation, managing the SES cap, the review of the SES, and agency head and statutory office holder staffing. The group is also responsible for APS classification arrangements, work-level standards and broadbanding.

The Ethics Group advises on ethics and integrity in the APS, encouraging open, transparent and effective agency decision-making and supporting the review and inquiry functions of both the Commissioner and the Merit Protection Commissioner.

The Corporate Group underpins the operation of the Commission, builds organisational capability and provides assurance on governance.

Regional offices

The primary responsibility of each regional office is to engage and support agencies in identifying and dealing with organisational issues, assist with the integration of the reform agenda and foster leadership and people management networks across the APS.

The Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane offices have specific business responsibilities to support the Commission’s fee-for-service activities and review work.

Reports and publications

The Commission issues a range of APS leadership, learning and development materials in a variety of formats. Commission publications and circulars, as well as selected speeches given by the Public Service Commissioner, are available on the Commission’s website at www.apsc.gov.au.


The Commission’s head office is in Canberra. It has regional offices in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. Full addresses and contact details are available on the Commission’s website.

Funding and financial performance

The Commission’s activities are funded through a combination of appropriation and revenue generated through the sale of leadership services, learning and development training courses, employment-related and international assistance services and workplace relations activities.

Much of the Commission’s revenue is earned in a competitive market where agencies may choose the source and level of the services they need.

In 2010–11 the Commission received $30.10 million in appropriation funding and own-source income of $22.46 million from the sale of goods and rendering of services.

The Commission’s operating result for 2010–11 was a surplus of $1.91 million (surplus of $0.799 million in 2009–10). The surplus is mainly due to lower-than-expected expenditure for APS reform activities.

Payments of $35.68 million were made from the special appropriation for the parliamentarians’ and judicial office holders’ remuneration and entitlements administered program.

Last reviewed: 
11 May 2018