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Part 2: Annual performance statements

Statement of preparation

I, Peter Woolcott, as the accountable authority of the Australian Public Service Commission (the Commission), present the annual performance statements of the Commission for the period of 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019, as required under paragraph 39(1)(a) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act).

In my opinion, these annual performance statements are based on properly maintained records, accurately reflect the performance of the Commission, and comply with subsection 39(2) of the PGPA Act.

Peter Woolcott AO

Accountable authority

15 October 2019

Purpose

The Commission’s purpose is to position the APS workforce for the future, and is set out in the Corporate Plan 2018–19. The Commission will do this by:

  1. Shaping the APS workforce
  2. Modernising the employment framework
  3. Building workforce capability, and
  4. Promoting integrity.

Role

The Commission is a non-corporate Commonwealth agency within the Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio.

The Commission’s statutory responsibilities are detailed in the Act and include:

• developing, promoting, reviewing and evaluating APS employment policies and practices

• contributing to learning and development and career management

• contributing to and fostering leadership in the APS

• providing advice and assistance on public service matters to agencies, and

• promoting high standards of integrity and conduct in the APS.

The Commission also provides policy and secretariat support to the Remuneration Tribunal and the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal.

Reporting approach

In response to the PGPA Act, this section presents a detailed review of the Commission’s performance in 2018–19. This includes delivering on the key performance indicators for Programs 1.1 and 1.2 in the 2018–19 Portfolio Budget Statements, and the strategic priorities, deliverables and objectives described in the Corporate Plan 2018–19.

Relationship between the Commissions’ 2018–19 Portfolio Budget Statements and the Corporate Plan 2018–19.

Figure 3: 2018–19 Portfolio Budget Statements mapped to the Corporate Plan 2018–19

Figure 3: 2018–19 Portfolio Budget Statements mapped to the Corporate Plan 2018–19

Strategic priority 1: Shaping the APS workforce

Source of criteria: 2018–19 Portfolio Budget Statements, page 144; Corporate Plan 2018–19, page 7, 10 and 11.

Table 2: Results for objective 1.1

OBJECTIVE 1.1—SUPPORT THE GOVERNMENT’S REFORM AGENDA

Deliverable

Key Performance Indicator

2018–19 results

Partially Achieved

Whole-of-APS workforce strategy is developed in partnership with APS agencies and reflects the future needs of the APS.

Strategy endorsed by the Secretaries Board by the end of June 2019.

Research and analysis to inform a whole-of-APS workforce strategy was undertaken. The strategy continues to be developed and will be informed by the outcomes of the Independent Review of the APS.

Whole-of-APS workforce strategy and APS agencies’ role in implementation is clearly communicated to APS agencies.

APS agencies demonstrate current or planned initiatives that support the whole-of-APS workforce strategy.

Finalisation of the whole-of-APS workforce strategy has been delayed pending the outcomes of the Independent Review of the APS.

 

Table 3: Results for objective 1.2

OBJECTIVE 1.2—FOSTER AN APS WORKFORCE THAT REFLECTS THE DIVERSITY OF THE AUSTRALIAN POPULATION

Deliverable

Key Performance Indicator

2018–19 results

Achieved

Evidence-based learning and guidance material that supports women progressing to leadership positions.

Feedback indicates learning and guidance material is useful.

Three evidence-based reports and guidance materials were developed and published to support women progressing to leadership positions in the APS.

Affirmative measures are used for entry and middle management level recruitment programs.

Increase in the representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and people with disability in the APS.

There was a positive shift from the previous year in the number of vacancy notices published in the APS Employment Gazette applying the s26 Affirmative Measure-Indigenous Employment and s27 Affirmative Measure Disability provisions of the Commissioner’s Directions 2016.

Representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees in the APS has improved, and representation of employees with disability has been stable.

At 30 June 2019, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees represented 3.5 per cent of the APS workforce, while employees with disability represented
3.7 per cent.

Data Source: APS Employment Database, 30 June 2019

Develop a whole-of-APS Inclusion Strategy in partnership with APS agencies

Development approach endorsed by the Secretaries Equality and Diversity Council (SEDC).

The Commission worked with APS agencies to prepare a timeline and strategic approach for developing a whole-of-APS Inclusion Strategy.

The Commission progressed within the reporting period, with the approach being endorsed at an SEDC meeting on 4 July 2019.

 

Table 4: Results for objective 1.3

OBJECTIVE 1.3—SUPPORT AND GUIDE WORKFORCE PLANNING CAPABILITY AND PRACTICES

Deliverable

Key Performance Indicator

2018–19 results

Achieved

Commission-facilitated activities to promote sharing of best practice in APS workforce planning.

Feedback from attendees indicates value and relevance.

Surveys recorded satisfaction rates of 75 per cent or higher for a range of activities the Commission coordinated to bring together APS workforce planning practitioners, as well as practitioners from state and territory governments.

Relevant HR metrics that assist in strategic workforce planning and benchmarking are provided to APS agencies within agreed timeframes.

Feedback from key stakeholders demonstrates a high level of satisfaction with the accessibility, quality and timeliness of advice, planning tools and data provided.

An evaluation survey found more than 80 per cent of reported satisfaction with the APS employee census reporting products. Many agencies indicated they routinely use a number of Commission products and information portals to assist in their workforce planning and to build capability within their agencies. Across 2017–18 and 2018–19 fewer than 7 agencies report not using any Commision products.

Positive feedback has been received on the range of HR metrics the Commission provided APS agencies. These metrics assisted agencies in strategic workforce management, including workforce statistics and trends; to form opinions on workforce management practices and remuneration; and to build capability.

 

Table 5: Results for objective 1.4

OBJECTIVE 1.4—IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF TALENT MANAGEMENT PRACTICES ACROSS THE APS

Deliverable

Key Performance Indicator

2018–19 results

Achieved

Effective Secretaries and Deputy Secretaries Talent Councils.

Feedback from key stakeholders indicates the Talent Councils are supported to operate effectively.

The Talent Councils continued to focus on identifying and developing talent at senior levels of the APS. Feedback from Talent Council members indicated the Commission is continuing to provide appropriate support for the effective operation of the Talent Councils.

In 2018–19, the Secretaries Talent Council committed to assessing the entire pool of Band 3 senior executive officers, signalling its intent to build the capability of this cohort of senior leaders, as well as the value of the insights gained from the talent assessments already delivered.

Updated tools and reference material promoting better practice are available to APS agencies.

Feedback from agencies indicates that tools and guidance material are useful.

Tools and guidance were updated by the Commission in collaboration with agencies.

The Commission is currently piloting an approach that builds and tests supporting tools and guidance to enable agencies to better manage their executive talent, as part of developing agencies’ talent management practices for Executive Level 2 officers.

Performance analysis—strategic priority 1: Shaping the APS workforce

Support the Government’s Reform Agenda

The Commission continues to develop the whole-of-APS workforce strategy, with engagement across the APS. The strategy will be informed by the Independent Review of the APS and the Government’s response, to ensure the final strategy fully supports the Government’s reform agenda.

During the year information and data was provided to the Independent Review of the APS.

In addition, the Commission partnered with the Department of Finance’s Government Business Analytical Unit to better understand the key drivers of productivity in the APS.

Foster an APS workforce that reflects the diversity of the Australian population

Progress towards this objective has been made through a range of activities. The Commission:

  • hosted the 2018 APS Diversity and Gender Equality Awards to acknowledge and celebrate leadership in inclusion initiatives and improving gender equality
  • provided the Secretariat function for the Indigenous Senior Executive Service (SES) Network, supporting cross-service initiatives to improve representation of Indigenous employees in more senior roles in the APS 
  • delivered programs and activities under an MoU with agencies to improve capability and strengthen Indigenous employment outcomes including:
    • delivery of the Indigenous Graduate Pathway centralised recruitment for university graduates
    • piloting the excELerate career development program for high potential APS level 5/6 Indigenous employees, and
    • coordinating opportunities for agencies to participate in Torres Strait Islander cross-cultural learning through workshops and interagency collaboration.

The Commission developed and published the following evidence-based reports and guidance materials to support women progressing to leadership positions in the APS:

  • ‘Workplace flexibility: a best practice guide for Australian Public Service Agencies
  • ‘Are we there yet?’: progress of the Australian Public Service Gender Equality Strategy, and
  • ‘Are we there yet?’ fact sheets for agencies.

The Commission also published “Dismantling Barriers: Inclusive Recruitment Quick Reference Guide” to improve the employment opportunities for people with disability through better recruitment processes in APS agencies.

In addition, the Commission provided the Secretariat function for the APS Disability Champions Network, supporting the exchange of ideas and cross-agency engagement at the SES level to improve employment opportunities for people with disability.

The Commission progressed the GradAccess Pilot Program and the NextStep Traineeship Pilot Program, aimed to increase the numbers of employees with disability.

Employment data at 30 June 2019 indicates the following representation in the APS:

  • indigenous Australians, 3.5 per cent
  • people with disability, 3.7 per cent
  • non-English speaking background (NESB) immigrants, 5.4 per cent
  • immigrant children with NESB parents, 9.1 per cent, and
  • women, 59.7 per cent.

Support and guide workforce planning capability and practices

The Commission coordinated a variety of activities aimed at supporting and guiding workforce planning capability. These activities brought together workforce planning practitioners from across the APS and state and territory governments. Activities included three large-scale Workforce Planning Community of Practice events, along with smaller events focused on the APS Job Family Model, the Commission’s Workforce Planning Guide and a targeted approach to building workforce planning capability in smaller APS agencies. Post-event surveys indicated a 75 per cent or higher satisfaction rate.

The Commission also coordinated a virtual community of nearly 300 workforce planning professionals from across Australia, connected by the cross-organisation digital collaboration platform ‘GovTeams’. A steady increase of attendees at events and a growing GovTeams community indicates the value of these forums to workforce planning professionals.

The Commission continued to consult with APS agencies to ensure the collection and reporting of workforce data met operational needs. Evaluation focus groups on the 2018 APS employee census informed the development and delivery of the 2019 census.

Consultation and feedback received indicates that workforce data provided in various formats informs strategic workforce management across the APS. The Commission received positive stakeholder feedback about the following HR metrics that were provided to assist agencies in strategic workforce management:

  • a biannual APS data release summarising a range of workforce data
  • static and trend workforce data through the APS Employment Database internet interface (known as APSEDii), which was accessed approximately 245 times per month
  • employment opinion data measuring employee feedback on leadership, engagement, innovation, collaboration and other workforce management practices
  • the 2017–18 State of the Service Report, describing changing APS workforce trends and workforce capability, and
  • the 2018 Remuneration Report, analysing agencies’ annual remuneration data and benchmarking this to APSwide data.

These were all provided within agreed timeframes.

Improve the quality of talent management practices across the APS

Talent management practices across the APS have continued to improve. The Commission is currently supporting assessment processes of senior executives across the APS, including 37 SES Band 3 officers, 36 SES Band 2 officers, and 67 SES Band 1 officers.

The Commission has also commenced a pilot program on behalf of the APS, which builds an approach, guidance and tools for agencies to identify and develop talented Executive Level 2 officers.

The Secretaries Talent Council recently decided to extend the detailed assessment process, previously used to provide insights into identified SES Band 3 officers, across the Band 3 cohort.

Work is underway to evaluate the impact of the current talent initiatives.

The responsibilities of APS and SES officers can be found in the APS Work Level Standards, published on the Commission’s website, www.apsc.gov.au.

Strategic priority 2: Modernising the employment framework

Source of criteria: 2018–19 Portfolio Budget Statements, page 144; Corporate Plan 2018–19, page 7 and 12.

Table 6: Results for objective 2.1

OBJECTIVE 2.1—PARTNER WITH AGENCIES TO ACHIEVE COMPLIANCE WITH THE GOVERNMENT’S BARGAINING POLICIES

Deliverable

Key Performance Indicator

2018–19 results

Achieved

New agreements made are compliant with Government policy.

Feedback from agencies is positive about the timeliness and quality of advice.

Agencies were surveyed to measure satisfaction with the advice and guidance given to them by the Commission regarding the Government’s Workplace Bargaining Policy 2018, enterprise bargaining and determinations issued under Section 24(1) of the Act. Over 85 per cent of agencies were satisfied with the responsiveness, comprehensiveness and clarity of the advice provided, and the professionalism and helpfulness of the Commission’s workplace relations staff.

Advice and support about more contemporary employment practices made available to agencies and managers.

Feedback from stakeholders indicates an increased knowledge and confidence in using more contemporary employment practices.

The Commission conducted regular forums with its stakeholders to facilitate discussion on issues arising in workplace bargaining. This included a refresher session on the Workplace Bargaining Policy 2018, attended by 46 practitioners from 29 agencies. A survey of key stakeholders indicated satisfaction with the advice given on the policy and the bargaining process.

Table 7: Results for objective 2.2

OBJECTIVE 2.2—WORK WITH AND INFLUENCE AGENCIES TO MODERNISE THE APS EMPLOYMENT FRAMEWORK AND PRACTICES

Deliverable

Key Performance Indicator

2018–19 results

Partially Achieved

Review of the Maternity Leave (Commonwealth Employees) Act 1973 and provide options for reform to the Minister.

Review completed on time and endorsed by the Minister.

The Workplace Relations Group conducted preliminary research and made arrangements in preparation for a review of the Maternity Leave (Commonwealth Employees) Act 1973.

Information is made available to simplify agency employment practices.

Feedback from agencies indicates confidence in using contemporary employment practices.

Stakeholder feedback indicated that agencies are becoming more innovative in their recruitment practices, both in how jobs are advertised and candidates are assessed. These practices included online testing of candidates and ensuring selection criteria were written in plain English.

 

Table 8: Results for objective 2.3

OBJECTIVE 2.3—LEAD EFFECTIVE REFORM OF THE APS EMPLOYMENT MANAGEMENT POLICIES

Deliverable

Key Performance Indicator

2018–19 results

Achieved

Recommend improvements on key employment matters with a focus on recruitment, separation and mobility.

Recommendations are supported by Secretaries Board.

In December 2018, the Secretaries Board supported administrative changes to SES recruitment practices, to provide the Commissioner with greater visibility of SES movements and capability.

The Commissioner’s Directions 2016 were amended to enhance performance management within the APS. The amendments to the Directions came into effect on 25 July 2019.

Performance analysis—strategic priority 2: Modernising the employment framework

Partner with agencies to achieve compliance with the Government’s bargaining policies

The Commission provided advice and support to agencies to enable them to make workplace relations arrangements consistent with the Government’s Workplace Bargaining Policy 2018. By providing thorough policy, legislative, drafting and best practice advice, the Commission was able to guide and assist agencies towards policy compliance.

Throughout 2018–19, the Commission supported agencies that were either negotiating new enterprise agreements with employees, or preparing for the agency head to issue a remuneration determination for annual wage increases under Section 24(1) of the Act.

Between 1 July 2018 and 30 June 2019 employees in the APS voted in favour of 40 enterprise agreements, and 25 agencies issued remuneration determinations in lieu of bargaining. All of these agreements and determinations were consistent with the Government’s Workplace Bargaining Policy 2018.

The Commission conducted regular forums with APS workplace relations practitioners to lead and facilitate discussion on issues arising in workplace bargaining. This included a refresher session on the Workplace Bargaining Policy 2018, attended by 46 practitioners from 29 agencies.

The Commission is committed to the ongoing improvement of the guidance provided to Commonwealth agencies regarding Government policy. A survey of agencies indicated:

  • 91 per cent of respondents found the responsiveness of advice and guidance to be ‘Very Good’ or ‘Good’, down from 96 per cent in 2017–2018
  • 87 per cent of respondents found the comprehensiveness of advice and guidance to be ‘Very Good’ or ‘Good’, up from 83 per cent in 2017–2018
  • 87 per cent of respondents found the clarity of advice and guidance to be ‘Very Good’ or ‘Good’, up from 83 per cent in 2017–2018, and
  • 91 per cent of respondents found the professionalism of staff to be ‘Very Good’ or ‘Good’. This is consistent with results from 2017–2018

The survey also highlighted a small number of areas for improvement such as increasing the Commission’s understanding of non-APS agencies. The Commission will continue to pursue opportunities to improve in these areas.

Overall, the survey results demonstrate that agencies were satisfied with advice from the Commission on the policy and the bargaining process.

Work with and influence agencies to modernise the APS employment framework and practices

The Commission continued to review and update guidelines for agencies on improved, streamlined employment practices that can be implemented within the existing legislative framework. The Commission published new material on sharing the results of recent recruitment action for a similar vacancy (sharing merit lists), and on using one process to fill many roles (bulk recruitment).

Lead effective reform of the APS employment management policies

Following the support of the Secretaries Board in December 2018, the Commissioner now has greater visibility of SES officer movement and capability. Specifically, the Commissioner has advance notice of any intention to fill an SES Band 3 officer vacancy and agencies must provide the Commissioner with details of all SES officer recruitment outcomes. The requirement for agencies to review appropriate merit lists that may already exist as the result of recent recruitment action has been strengthened. Further, it is now mandatory that the Commissioner approves his representative on all SES officer selection panels.

This year, the Commission continued to explore options for streamlining the management of the Government’s cap on SES officer numbers.

Following consultation with the Secretaries Board, the Commissioner’s Directions 2016 were updated to include greater obligations for managers to support effective performance. The amendments explicitly set out the expectations that agencies proactively identify and develop high potential APS employees and engage in proactive career management conversations. The amendments also extend the responsibility for achieving and sustaining effective performance from agency heads to supervisors and employees. These amendments will assist agencies to maintain a high performance culture across the APS.

In consultation with Deputy Secretaries and agency representatives, the Commission also developed a guidance document to support agencies in meeting the intent of the amended Directions.

Strategic Priority 3: Building workforce capability

Source of criteria: 2018–19 Portfolio Budget Statements, page 144; 2018–19 Corporate Plan, page 7 and 13.

Table 9: Results for objective 3.1

OBJECTIVE 3.1—BUILD DIGITAL CAPABILITY IN THE APS BY PARTNERING WITH THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION AGENCY

Deliverable

Key Performance Indicator

2018–19 results

Achieved

Deliver and refine the Leading Digital Transformation program.

Evaluation data indicates participants are building their digital leadership capability.

244 participants attended the Leading Digital Transformation program for SES officers. Evaluation data showed that 98 per cent of participants agreed or strongly agreed the program was a valuable use of their time and money. Participants also indicated it significantly increased their digital capability (self-reported increase of 47 percentage points). Evaluation data also revealed that participants implemented more than two-thirds of the actions they identified during the program within six months.

Digital capability Learning Design Standards are available for agency use.

Feedback indicates Learning Design Standards are useful and being applied in the workplace.

The Commission developed and built 18 Learning Design Standards (17 have been released and one is being reviewed) reflecting agency priorities and is reviewing an additional standard prior to public consultation. Feedback indicates agencies are now using the standards to develop career pathways for digital specialist roles.

Table 10: Results for objective 3.2

OBJECTIVE 3.2—STRENGTHEN LEADERSHIP AND CORE CAPABILITIES BY PROVIDING CONTEMPORARY LEARNING SOLUTIONS

Deliverable

Key Performance Indicator

2018–19 results

Achieved

Development and roll out of contemporary leadership development solutions.

Evaluation and assessment data indicates a positive shift in capability.

The Commission delivered 32 leadership programs for nearly 500 participants from SES Band 2, SES Band 1 and Executive Level 2 officers. Evaluation data shows positive capability shifts and high perceptions of value in these programs.

 

Table 11: Results for objective 3.3

OBJECTIVE 3.3—SUPPORT AGENCIES TO IMPROVE THEIR WORKPLACE RELATIONS SKILLS AND PERFORMANCE

Deliverable

Key Performance Indicator

2018–19 results

Achieved

Deliver the Workplace Relations Capability Program.

Evaluation data indicates a positive shift in capability.

Seven small group capability sessions were conducted, attended by 168 Commonwealth workplace relations and human resource practitioners.

A participant survey showed that the majority of respondents found the content relevant and helpful in their role, and were also interested in participating in the program in the future.

 

Table 12: Results for objective 3.4

OBJECTIVE 3.4—PROMOTE BEST PRACTICE WORKFORCE PLANNING TO ENCOURAGE EFFECTIVE MONITORING AND REPORTING ON APS CAPABILITY

Deliverable

Key Performance Indicator

2018–19 results

Achieved

Facilitate workforce planning activities to share best practice.

Feedback from participants indicates value and relevance; and improved workforce planning practices in agencies.

The Commission coordinated a variety of activities aimed at supporting and guiding workforce planning capability and sharing best practice. These activities brought together workforce planning practitioners from across the APS, as well as from state and territory governments. Satisfaction rates were 75 per cent or higher, based on feedback collected through post-event surveys.

Knowledge transfer—through sharing of best practices and lessons learned, and through peer coaching and support—is improving workforce planning capability and practice in participating agencies.

Facilitate workforce planning activities to share best practice.

Agency feedback indicates that minimum workforce metric reporting is used for workforce planning and building capability.

In the 2018 APS agency survey, agencies indicated they used a number of the Commission’s products and information portals to develop workforce planning and build capability. These products draw on employment, opinion and remuneration data collected, analysed and released by the Commission.

Performance analysis for Strategic priority 3: Building workforce capability

Build digital capability in the APS by partnering with the Digital Transformation Agency

Initiatives developed by the Commission, in partnership with Digital Transformation Agency, continue to build digital capability in the APS. The Leading Digital Transformation program has been delivered to nearly 10 per cent of SES Band 1 officers, and other jurisdictions are now looking to access the program material to assist in building their digital capability.

The Commission developed and built 18 Learning Design Standards (17 have been released and one is being reviewed) reflecting agency priorities. Feedback indicates agencies are now using the standards to develop career pathways for digital specialist roles.

Strengthen leadership and core capabilities by providing contemporary learning solutions

Leadership and core capability development solutions continued to be provided to the APS to build capability. In addition, the Commission responded to emerging needs by working with agencies to understand their requirements and build new solutions to address capability gaps.

Support agencies to improve their workplace relations skills and performance

The Commission is committed to partnering with agencies to improve capability in workplace relations. In 2018–19, regular small group capability development sessions were conducted. The sessions covered topics such as managing enterprise bargaining, alternatives to bargaining, refreshing policies and procedures, individual flexibility arrangements, and supporting employees affected by family and domestic violence.

A survey of participants indicated an 82 per cent overall satisfaction level. In addition:

  • 95 per cent of respondents were interested in further involvement with the capability program
  • 94 per cent of respondents found the sessions relevant to their work as a public sector workplace relations practitioner, and
  • 85 per cent of respondents said they were able to apply what they had learned to their role.

The survey showed that participants leave the capability sessions better informed about workplace relations, and they have improved workplace relations skills and performance in the Commonwealth.

Promote best practice workforce planning to encourage effective monitoring and reporting on APS capability

The Commission worked with APS agencies to promote best practice workforce planning by providing tools and guidance, and facilitating knowledge sharing.

The Commission continued to update the APS Job Family model, to ensure it reflects and facilitates contemporary approaches to APS workforce segmentation.

By the end of the reporting year the Commission had grown Job Family data holdings to about 114,000 APS employees, representing more than 75 per cent of the workforce. The Commission will continue to work with agencies to improve APS roles and associated Job Family representation over time, including through the Job Family Steering Committee, which the Commission chairs.

During the year the Commission coordinated the Workforce Planning Community of Practice, which continued to meet regularly face-to-face, complemented by an active online GovTeams community. Participants said they appreciated the way these events and forums blended data, analytics and workforce planning case studies with updates on innovation and initiatives in workforce planning across the APS.

The Commission also continued to provide agencies with access to a range of workforce data for benchmarking and monitoring purposes, through publications such as the biannual employment data release, the annual Remuneration Report, the annual State of the Service Report, as well as APS employee census reports.

Strategic priority 4: Promoting integrity

Source of criteria: APSC Corporate Plan 2018–19, page 7, 14

Table 13: Results for objective 4.1

OBJECTIVE 4.1—PROMOTE A HIGH STANDARD OF INTEGRITY ACROSS THE APS

Deliverable

Key Performance Indicator

2018–19 results

Achieved

Facilitate the Integrity Agencies Group to coordinate, enhance, promote and embed integrity in the APS.

Biannual integrity Agencies Group meeting.

The Commissioner chaired two Integrity Agencies Group meetings during the year. Discussion focused on a wide range of contemporary integrity issues that impact the APS.

Provide advice on ethical issues to support high quality ethical decision making.

Publications, networks, and other ethics support services are regularly used across the APS.

The Ethics Advisory Service received more than 600 calls from individuals and agencies seeking advice on ethics-related issues. The Commission also distributed more than 4000 bookmarks with information on the APS Values, APS Code of Conduct and APS Employment Principles to APS agencies.

The Commission hosted two Ethics Contact Officer Network meetings, supported by an Ethics Newsletter, which the Commission distributed to around 120 network members.

Seven agencies requested assistance to develop and deliver bespoke ethical awareness presentations, and the Commission also presented at a range of other APS forums.

 

Table 14: Results for objective 4.2

OBJECTIVE 4.2—EVALUATE AGENCY APPROACHES TO INCORPORATE AND UPHOLD THE APS VALUES

Deliverable

Key Performance Indicator

2018–19 results

Achieved

Conduct an APS wide evaluation of how agencies are embedding the values.

Evaluation data indicates that managers and employees understand their professional obligations as APS employees.

The Commission conducted a Values Evaluation survey with a representative sample of APS employees. Survey data indicated that over the previous 12 months, 86 per cent of employees perceived their agency always or almost always expected full compliance with the APS Values. Other survey results identified a number of strengths and areas of potential improvements in relation to the APS Values. These results will form the basis for future work with agencies to enhance employees’ understanding of their professional obligations.

Performance analysis for Strategic priority 4: Promoting integrity

Promote a high standard of integrity across the APS

The Commissioner chaired meetings of the Integrity Agencies Group (IAG) on
8 November 2018 and 12 April 2019. The IAG discussed a range of contemporary integrity issues including policy, legislation and best practice. Specific topics considered included the:

  • Protective Security Policy Framework
  • Foreign Interest Transparency Scheme, and
  • Interim findings of the Independent Review of the APS.

The Commission provided IAG members with the opportunity to hear from guest speakers who offered insights into best practice initiatives to embed integrity across the APS. Representatives from the Australian Taxation Office offered an account of their experiences operating a large department within the integrity framework. Simone Webbe, co-author of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) report, Being a trusted and respected partner: the APS integrity framework, outlined the findings of ANZSOG’s research, which was considered as part of the Independent Review of the APS.

The IAG’s scope broadened during the year, with the addition of the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority as a standing member. The success of the IAG in promoting, sharing and embedding integrity across the APS has led to convening of a Deputy Secretary level IAG meeting.

During 2018–19, the Commission observed an increasing demand from agencies across the APS for ethics awareness presentations. In developing each presentation, the Commission worked closely with the respective agencies to ensure the content fulfilled the agency’s need and captured emerging integrity issues relevant to their portfolio functions and to the APS more broadly. Awareness sessions incorporated de-identified case studies drawn from Ethics Advisory Service inquiries to illustrate actual ethical dilemmas experienced in the APS, and to stimulate discussion on practical approaches to confronting ethical issues.

These ethics awareness presentations generated opportunities to present at other APS forums. The Commission was invited to address the Small Agencies Forum, various communities of practice and agency corporate areas on a broad range of topics including the APS Code of Conduct, social media use and caretaker arrangements.

This year the Commission developed and distributed two newsletters to support the Ethics Contact Officer network (ECOnet). The newsletters provided ECOnet members with information on current integrity issues and sought feedback on various policy or guidance documents. Feedback on the utility of the newsletter has been positive.

The Commission hosted two ECOnet meetings. The broad range of agency representatives heard from invited guest speakers and the Commission’s Integrity team members on current successes and challenges relevant to promoting and embedding integrity across the APS. The Commission noted that active participation in the ECOnet declined over the period, and re-invigorating the ECOnet will be a focus area in 2019–20.

The APSC Ethics Advisory Service (EAS) continued to be a popular avenue for agencies and individuals to seek advice on the APS ethical framework. While call volume increased from the previous period, the EAS also provided telephone support for the Values Evaluation Project, which inflated the overall call numbers. Of the call subject categories tracked by the EAS, queries about misconduct continued to be the most common, followed by conflicts of interest.

Evaluate agency approaches to incorporate and uphold the APS values

In late 2018 and early 2019, a representative sample of APS agencies and employees participated in a survey designed to assess agencies’ recent performance in embedding the APS Values. This assessment will offer a valuable companion for implementing recommendations that may flow from the Independent Review of the APS.

The survey also provided APS leadership and other stakeholders with more personal insights on the performance of agency approaches since July 2013, when the APS Values were updated in the Act.

The survey further explored different approaches to public service values from relevant jurisdictions in Australia and internationally, and identified both relative alignment with Australian states and territories, and a suite of potential international best practices.

Most respondents were positive about the way the APS Values were embedded in their agency. For example:

  • 86 per cent of respondents felt that their agency always or almost always expected full compliance with the APS Values
  • 77 per cent of respondents felt their agency always or almost always acted lawfully
  • 55 per cent of respondents always or almost always believed their agency complied with Commonwealth anti-discrimination laws
  • 54 per cent of respondents always or almost always perceived respectful behavior by SES officers
  • 54 per cent of respondents always or almost always saw their agency treat all people with dignity, and
  • 53 per cent of respondents always or almost always witnessed their agency handling resources ethically.

A small number of respondents offered suggestions for how the Commission might improve in supporting agency approaches to incorporating and upholding the APS Values.

Other survey results identified a number of strengths and areas of potential improvement in relation to the APS Values. The Commission will work with agencies, including through awareness raising presentations, to better enhance agency approaches to embedding the APS Values.

Foundational objectives 

Source of criteria: Corporate Plan 2018–19, page 7 and 15.

Table 15: Results for objective F.1.

OBJECTIVE F:1—MONITOR AND REPORT ON THE APS WORKFORCE TO INFORM WORKFORCE POLICIES AND PRACTICES

Deliverable

Key Performance Indicator

2018–19 results

Achieved

Collect, analyse, and disseminate APS workforce data.

Data provided by the Commission is regularly used to develop and assess workforce policies and practices.

Agencies indicated in the 2018 APS agency survey that they regularly use workforce data and products provided by the Commission. The Commission collects, analyses and disseminates relevant information in the biannual employment data release, the APS Employment Database interactive interface (APSEDii), the annual Remuneration Report, the APS employee census, the APS annual survey, and the State of the Service Report.

Timely response to APS workforce data requests.

Greater than 85 per cent of data requests are responded to within five days

In 2018–19, the Commission received just over 250 requests for workforce data and actioned 90 per cent within five days.

This represented an increase from 2017–18 where the Commission received 181 requests, with 88 per cent of requests actioned within five days.

Maintain comprehensive data sets representative of the APS workforce.

APS Employee Census response rate remains high.

The response rate for the APS employee census remained high. There was a 77 per cent response rate to the 2019 employee census, up 3 per cent on the previous year. This is the highest response rate for the census since it first began in 2012.

Improve employee data completeness, particularly for diversity, in the APS Employee Database.

The completeness of diversity information held by the APS Employee Database is improving. In the May 2019 edition of APS News, employees were encouraged to review their personal information, specifically diversity details, held in their agency HR system. The Commission will continue highlighting the importance of employees providing current personal information to their agency.

Table 16: Results for objective F.2.

OBJECTIVE F:2—WORK WITH OTHER GOVERNMENTS ON MATTERS RELATING TO PUBLIC SECTOR WORKFORCE MANAGEMENT

Deliverable

Key Performance Indicator

2018–19 results

Achieved

Deliver public sector capacity building activities under the Australian Aid program as requested by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Programs deliver on outcomes as agreed with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The Commission delivered capacity building programs as agreed with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and partner organisations in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. The various activities included leadership development activities and knowledge and skills development for staff in priority areas.

Deliverable

Key Performance Indicator

2018–19 results Achieved

Represent the APS and build relationships with foreign governments and other international bodies.

Host international delegations on request to share APS workforce policies and practices.

The Commissioner visited Canada, the United Kingdom and Malaysia to meet with counterparts and discuss matters of mutual interest, including public sector reform, approaches to learning and development and talent management. The Commissioner also met with the Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The meetings laid the foundation for further dialogue and information sharing on public sector leadership, governance and workforce management issues.

This year the Commission also increased its level of engagement with the New Zealand State Services Commission.

The Commission continued its longstanding engagement with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The Commission provided a range of information and statistics that contributed to OECD reports and publications, and supported Australian participation in OECD forums.

The Commissioner joined the ANZSOG Board. ANZSOG works in partnership with federal and state governments in Australia, the New Zealand government, and universities in both countries, to lift the quality of public sector leadership through public sector executive education and government-focused research.

The Commission responds to requests to meet with visiting foreign delegations and foreign ambassadors serving in Australia, to discuss a range of public sector administration and workforce management issues. The Commission engaged in this context with Thailand, Indonesia, Peru, India, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and French Polynesia.

Engage with Australian public sector jurisdictions.

Participate in inter-jurisdictional forums to share public sector workforce best practice, information, and current challenges.

The Commission continued to engage in the:

• biannual Australia-New Zealand Public Service Commissioners’ Conference (comprising commissioners from the federal, state and territory levels)

• biannual inter-jurisdictional Industrial Relations Directors’ Conference (federal, states and territories)

• inter-jurisdictional discussion on learning and development (includes New Zealand and the Australian states and territories—convened every two months)

• quarterly National Public Sector Industrial Relations Officers Group teleconferences (with counterparts from states and territories), and

• Inter-jurisdictional Workforce Data Analytics Committee (with counterparts from states and territories—convened monthly).

The Commission also continued to coordinate a Workforce Planning Community of Practice, which brings together workforce planning practitioners from across the APS, as well as state and territory governments, to share knowledge and best practice on workforce planning.

During the year the Commission also sent a delegate to the 2018 National Human Resources Development Institute Leaders Forum on Smart Public Human Resources: Towards Sustainable and Collaborative Governance in South Korea.

Performance analysis: Foundational objectives

Monitor and report on the APS workforce to inform workforce policies and practices

During 2018–19, the Commission worked with agencies across the APS to ensure data collected by the Commission was useful in informing and shaping the structure and management of the APS workforce. The Commission also produced:

  • two data releases covering APS workforce data as at 30 June 2018 and 31 December 2018
  • an annual report on remuneration data and trends, as well as individual reports for each APS agency as at 31 December 2018
  • more than 10,000 reports to agencies covering results of the 2019 APS employee census
  • online access to the APS employee census data since 2012, through data.gov.au
  • data on unscheduled absence rates for each APS agency, quarterly and as part of the annual State of the Service Report, and
  • the 2017–18 State of the Service Report, tabled in late November 2018 and supported by presentations to APS staff around the country.

The Commission released data in response to 252 requests, and produced 19 research reports. Data collected by the Commission supported the work of the Independent Review of the APS, the review of the Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy, and the ongoing development of the APS Job Family Model.

Several APS agencies are using the Job Family Model to generate intelligence and insight into their current workforce and future skill and capability requirements. The Commission released a new version of the model in March 2019, including new roles designed to address emerging capability across the APS (such as digital transformation, user-centric design and cyber security). The Job Family Model also supports the key priorities for APS reform by facilitating workforce planning, talent management and career development.

The Commission continued to evaluate and improve its workforce data collection and reporting processes. Extensive consultation was undertaken with agencies on the content and structure for the 2019 APS employee census. This census was improved by strengthening measures to assess innovation and workplace change and introducing measures to assess collaboration across the APS.

Data collected by the Commission also supported senior departmental committees and networks such as the Secretaries Board, the Secretaries Equality and Diversity Council, the Secretaries APS Reform Committee, the Deputy Secretaries Reform Group, the Deputy Secretaries Data Group and the SES Indigenous Network.

Work with other governments on matters relating to public sector workforce management

The Commission continued to coordinate a Workforce Planning Community of Practice, which brings together workforce planning practitioners from across the APS, as well as state and territory governments, to share knowledge and best practice on workforce planning. This community of practice is complemented by an online GovTeams community, with nearly 300 members across Australia.

The Commission met monthly with delegates from the state and territory public service commissions as part of the Inter-jurisdictional Workforce Data Analytics Committee. Delegates collaborated on approaches to the management and use of workforce information.

The Commission sent a delegate to the 2018 National Human Resources Development Institute Leaders Forum on Smart Public Human Resources: Towards Sustainable and Collaborative Governance in South Korea. The forum comprised government delegates from 13 countries who met to discuss public sector workforce management topics, such as attraction and retention of talent, declining trust in government, ensuring a diverse workforce and working with advancing technology.

Portfolio Budget Statements

Source of criteria: 2018–19 Portfolio Budget Statements, page 144.

Key performance indicators, 2018–19

The previous sections described the Commission’s performance during 2018–19 and related to the priorities set out in the Commission’s Corporate Plan 2018–19.

The following results are for the related performance criteria in the 2018–19 Portfolio Budget Statements.

 

Table 17: Results for program 1:1.

PROGRAM 1.1—AUSTRALIAN PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION

Key Performance Indicator

2018–19 results

Modernise the APS employment framework to reflect changes to the nature of work.

Achieved

Shape the APS workforce.

Partially achieved

Build workforce capability in the APS.

Achieved

Promote a high standard of integrity in the APS.

Achieved

Table 18: Results for program 1:2.

PROGRAM 1.2—JUDICIAL OFFICE HOLDERS’ REMUNERATION AND ENTITLEMENTS

Key Performance Indicator

2018–19 results

Meet all requirements for the budgeting and reporting of Judicial Office Holders remuneration and entitlements.

Achieved