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Program 1.1—component 1.1.2: Investing in APS development and capability (part 2)

Leadership, learning and development

During 2012–13, the Commission continued to progress work on behalf of the APS to:

  • enhance the capability of APS leaders (current and future)
  • enhance the core skills of the APS workforce
  • continually improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the APS leadership and core skills development system
  • support APS agencies to enhance their own leadership development and learning and development practice.

Advisory board

The operations of the Commission’s Centre for Leadership and Learning are overseen by an advisory board, which is chaired by the Commissioner and comprises four secretaries, one agency head and five external experts. The advisory board meets quarterly and provides strategic advice, direction and oversight of the centre’s activities.

APS Leadership and Core Skills Strategy 2012–13

In 2012–13, the Commission delivered the APS Leadership and Core Skills Strategy 2012–13, which expanded the focus of the 2011 APS Leadership Development Strategy to include the identification of core and management skills development needs.

The strategy identified the changing nature of APS work and prioritised the APS foundation, core and management skills to be developed to enhance the leadership and core skills of the APS workforce.

Implementation of the strategy included:

  • delivery and continuous improvement of refreshed SES Band 1 and Band 2 leadership development programs resulting in a range of new programs and forums
  • expanded talent management to include an SES Band 3 talent development program
  • a review of leadership development and talent management for the Executive Level (EL) 2 cohort
  • pilot testing of a collaborative APS-wide implementation approach for foundation, core and management skills across four priority skills areas
  • production of four learning design standards (structuring work, APS ethics and values, performance management, and coaching and developing others) identifying the capabilities, key content, and learning approaches essential for developing integrated 70/20/10 learning programs5 aimed at developing the four skills areas
  • the redesign of the Commission’s APS ethics and values program to take into account the changes to the PS Act and to align the program with the integrated 70/20/10 best practice approach to learning
  • the commissioning of two integrated learning programs based on the Structuring Work and Performance Management learning design standards (pilot delivery of these programs will take place in 2013–14)
  • the formation of a multi-agency core and management skills reference group of APS learning and development representatives to provide expert advice and review of learning design standards and integrated learning materials
  • a refresh of the APS online induction program to reflect amendments to the PS Act
  • in partnership with the HC Coombs Policy Forum, the design and delivery of a pilot policy skills program for middle managers (the Future Thought Leadership Program)
  • support for the enhancement of leadership, learning and development across the APS through a community of practice.

APS Asia Capability Strategy

During 2012–13, the Commission commenced work with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to develop a strategy to ensure that the APS has the capabilities required to support the government and community to adapt to changes in the Asia–Pacific region. The requirement for the strategy was identified in the Australia in the Asian century white paper.

Talent management

During 2012–13, the Commission continued to deliver an APS-wide approach to talent management. Talent management is a systematic approach to ensuring a sustainable pool of talented people for priority areas. It includes the identification of focus areas that are critical to the APS and the identification and development of a pool of high-potential people from which these focus areas might be filled.

Implementation of the talent management approach began with the pilot of an SES Band 2 talent management program in 2011–12, which was extended to full implementation with a second Band 2 cohort in 2012–13, as well as a Band 3 cohort. Evaluation undertaken indicates that the programs are meeting their objectives.

Implementation of the talent management approach also included:

  • identification of high-performing, high-potential EL employees for the Sir Roland Wilson Foundation scholarship program (see page 62)
  • identification of high-potential EL employees to participate in Indigenous community placements.

In partnership with Jawun, the Commission coordinates the secondment of high-performing
EL employees for short-term projects within Indigenous communities. The program results in positive outcomes for communities, creates opportunities for personal awareness and development for participating individuals, and enhances cultural awareness within the APS. A total of 38 secondees took up these opportunities in 2012–13.

Future directions

In 2013–14, the Commission will continue to work towards its objectives of enhancing leadership and core skills across the APS, including improving the efficiency of the leadership and core skills development system and supporting agencies to improve practice. Implementation of the APS Leadership and Core Skills Strategy 2012–13 will continue, including ongoing design and rollout of APS-wide core and management skills learning resources, continuous improvement of SES leadership development programs and identification of the next talent development focus area.

The Commission’s contribution to improving the overall productivity of the APS will continue to be through capability development of APS employees, enabling them to:

  • understand how to apply and adapt a range of management tools to every stage of the policy and delivery cycle, without losing sight of deliverables and outcomes
  • find stepping stones through uncertainty by knowing the right questions to ask and how to frame issues and options for managers and subordinates
  • move beyond simply reacting to demands and pressure points, to being able to shape a course of action in a changing and challenging environment
  • understand the limits of personal knowledge, capabilities and style and how those limits need not set the boundaries to the ability to deliver.

These capabilities, in turn, deliver a productivity dividend for the APS by:

  • supporting the attainment of resources with the highest priority objectives
  • developing the skills and capabilities of the workforce
  • allowing managers to delegate tasks to the appropriate work levels
  • building a high-performance culture and addressing performance issues
  • building management and leadership capability
  • fostering collaborative knowledge sharing and goal-focused feedback
  • reinforcing collaboration and contribution by focusing workplace conversations on solutions.
Last reviewed: 
11 May 2018