International assistance and engagement
The Commission continues to provide programs for APS leaders to improve their understanding of the Asia–Pacific region and to support good governance and build public sector capability and institutional capacity internationally.
Leading Australia’s Future in the Asia–Pacific
The Leading Australia’s Future in the Asia–Pacific (LAFIA) program provides SES leaders (and their state, territory and New Zealand government counterparts) with a unique opportunity to deepen their strategic understanding of the political, economic and social trends and developments in the Asia–Pacific region, and to explore the implications of those trends for Australia. Two LAFIA programs took place in 2012–13, LAFIA Pacific 2012 and LAFIA Asia 2013.
LAFIA Pacific 2012
The LAFIA Pacific 2012 study tour took place from 22 September to 7 October 2012. Participants travelled to Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tonga. A total of 13 senior executives participated in the study tour, which provided an opportunity to take part in high-level engagements with local officials and dignitaries, combined with site visits to government, social and cultural institutions.
The program included an expanded emphasis on leadership development, challenging participants to identify and work on a set of personal leadership goals throughout the program.
LAFIA Asia 2013
The LAFIA Asia 2013 study tour took place from 15 to 30 June 2013, travelling to Indonesia and India. Following the release of the Australia in the Asian century white paper, the program was refreshed to incorporate considerations about opportunities and challenges in the Asian century, and the role of the APS and its senior executives in helping the nation adapt to changes in our region.
A total of 17 senior executives took part in the study tour, which provided a unique opportunity to explore the complexities, challenges and rewards of engaging with our region.
Official international visits
The Commission welcomes international visitors to share in our expertise and knowledge of public sector reforms, initiatives and practices, and to discuss issues of mutual interest.
In 2012–13, 11 delegations visited from Argentina, China, Indonesia, Laos, Pakistan, Singapore and Taiwan.
Public sector reform
The Commission continued its partnership with the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) to develop public sector capacity throughout the Asia–Pacific region and in Africa. Programs were delivered in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Solomon Islands and Ghana. These programs continue to support good governance and build public sector capability and institutional capacity to provide the foundations for sustainable reform.
The Commission works with other whole-of-government partners and donor organisations (including New Zealand government partners, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, relevant United Nations programs, the International Labour Organization and the Pacific Islands Centre for Public Administration) to assist countries in the region to build their public sector capacity.
Pacific island countries
The Commission has continued working with Pacific island countries, most recently under the AusAID–APSC Pacific Governance Partnership 2008–09 to 2011–12. A variation to this partnership provided for a bridging year in 2012–13.
In 2012–13, achievements of the Pacific program included:
- developing the AusAID–APSC Pacific Public Sector Program 2013–14 to 2016–17, which redirects the Commission’s development work to bilateral engagements with up to four Pacific island countries over four years
- working in close partnership with the Republic of the Marshall Islands Public Service Commission, the Asian Development Bank and the Pacific Islands Centre for Public Administration to develop a Public Service Commission Strategic Workforce Plan 2013–2015 and assisting with preparations for hosting the 2012 Pacific Public Service Commissioners’ Conference
- liaising with the Kiribati Public Service Office to develop and deliver human resources management training for 80 senior managers at various levels across Kiribati’s public service
- hosting a whole-of-government meeting for representatives from 19 agencies (including AusAID) working on official development assistance programs in Pacific island countries, to share experiences, explore opportunities to work together and harmonise activities.
Workforce planning at the Public Service Commission, Republic of the Marshall Islands, June 2013. (L–R back): Veronica Wase, Calora Ysawa, Amram Mejbon, Simon Kattil, Devin Bano, Bolten Elanzo, Annaruth Samuel, Richard Bruce, Cindy Menke, Valentina Myazoe, Edward O’Brien and Ken Anitok; (L–R front): Raynard Gideon, Marie Maddison (Marshall Islands Public Service Commission Chairperson), Kate Walcott (Australian Public Service Commission), Karen Moses (Pacific Islands Centre for Public Administration) and Almo Momotaro.
Papua New Guinea
The Commission’s twinning program continues to be effective in providing support and sharing knowledge on public sector governance and building the capacity and capability of PNG partner agencies—the Department of Personnel Management and the Public Services Commission.
The Commission continued to build on previous successes, and key achievements in 2012–13 included:
- developing resources focusing on issues such as misconduct, merit review and personnel (employment) decisions
- continuing promotion of a Code of Conduct and Public Service Values
- finalising an ethics and values-based leadership and management capability framework
- developing a guidance manual to promote a consistent and merit-based approach to the selection and appointment of PNG agency heads
- delivering the final Certificate IV in Training and Assessment program, which has produced 63 graduates over three years.
The Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) requested that the Commission engage with the Leadership Code Commission in Solomon Islands to support effective governance in the region as part of a broader Australian Government assistance package.
During October 2012, the Commission conducted a scoping mission to Solomon Islands to identify development needs of the Leadership Code Commission. AusAID, with the support of RAMSI, has agreed to fund the Commission to pilot an activity to build the capacity of the Leadership Code Commission to develop robust business cases.
Since 2006, the Commission has been funded by AusAID to provide support for bureaucratic reform in Indonesia. Bureaucratic reform is the top development priority for the Indonesian Government, which recognises the importance of an effective public service in delivering services to citizens and achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
Important outcomes achieved by the Commission in 2012–13 in support of bureaucratic reform included:
- signing a memorandum of understanding with Indonesia’s Ministry of Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform to continue to provide support and share knowledge on public sector reforms in both countries
- implementing the first capability review pilot in Indonesia, based on the Australian capability review model. The Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture is currently being reviewed by the Indonesian Financial and Development Supervisory Agency
- engaging in one strategic dialogue and one ministerial visit, which offered opportunities to share expertise and challenges, and progress activities under the partnership
- developing a research paper which identified a range of principles and a framework for assessing machinery of government arrangements. The principles and framework have been applied by Indonesia’s Ministry of Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform and National Development Planning Agency to develop a review of government effectiveness. The review will inform a future proposal to restructure the central government and provide the basis for corresponding legislation.
Mr Azwar Abubakar, Indonesian Minister for Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform, and Mr Stephen Sedgwick AO, Public Service Commissioner, after signing a memorandum of understanding to progress work on public sector reform, Canberra, April 2013.
The Commission’s Africa public sector program supports the Australian Government’s commitment to broaden and deepen its engagement with African countries and institutions.
In 2012–13, the Commission’s Africa program focused primarily on Ghana. A new two-year program, Effective Performance Management in the Ghana Public Service, commenced in March 2013. The focus of this program is to support the Public Services Commission of Ghana.
The Commission’s visit to Ghana in June 2013 supported the program’s key activities, including the establishment of robust performance reporting modelled on our State of the Service Report. A volunteer human resources adviser, funded by AusAID, has been placed in Ghana’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture. As the Australian partner organisation, the Commission will provide the volunteer with advice, information and professional support.
The Commission also hosted a study visit for five senior Nigerian civil servants in September 2012. The visit provided an opportunity for strategic dialogue between senior Nigerian and Australian officials across a number of topics, such as implementation of national policies across jurisdictions and approaches to public sector governance.
Strategic dialogue with the Ghana Public Services Commission Chairman and Commissioners, Public Services Commission Offices, Accra, Ghana, May 2013. (L–R back): Lawrence Kannae, Vice Chair, Ghana Public Services Commission (PSC); Michael Owusu-Nimako, Secretary, Ghana PSC; Janet Fofie, Commissioner, Ghana PSC; Theodore Apedo, Director, Ghana PSC; Kwesi Ohemeng-Agyei, Director, Ghana PSC; (L–R front): Sherryn Bellis, Director International, Australian Public Service Commission; Bridget Katsriku, Chairman, Ghana PSC; David Schmidtchen, Group Manager, Human Capital Research and Evaluation, Australian Public Service Commission.