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Program 1.1—component 1.1.2: Investing in APS development and capability (part 3)

Executive Level programs and services

The Commission provides EL employees, the critical SES feeder group, with relevant learning and development programs that build essential APS knowledge and capabilities. Programs cover a range of key capability areas that include leadership, strategic thinking, policy development, stakeholder engagement, communication, people management, self-development, financial management, and governance and regulation. These programs range from multiple-day residential or non-residential formats to a single-day workshop format and are complemented by an event series that focuses on leadership.

In 2012–13, the Commission delivered 167 EL programs attracting 2,552 participants. Table 10 summarises the main leadership programs offered in 2012–13.

Table 10: Executive Level leadership residential and non-residential programs, 2012–13
Program Content/focus Number Attendance
Executive leadership dimensions Focuses on practical aspects of leadership in the APS and provides an opportunity for participants to reflect on their professional role and the contemporary behaviours needed to be a highly effective EL 2 leader 7 127
APS professional practical leadership Designed for EL 1 employees who currently manage or will soon manage a small to medium-sized team; focuses on contemporary thinking about how to manage performance in a public sector environment 7 125
The professional public service: an EL 1 master class Designed for EL 1 employees who wish to fine-tune and advance their strategic thinking and policy advising skills in the context of a contemporary APS 6 108
Career Development Assessment Centre Delivers assessment services to high-potential and high-performing EL 2 officers across the APS 8 86

Expertise development programs

The Commission offers programs for the SES and EL 2 employees to develop their knowledge in specific areas. These programs assist participants to embrace new roles, responsibilities and professional challenges.

The programs held during 2012–13 are summarised in Table 11.

Table 11: Expertise development programs, 2012–13
Program Content/focus Number Attendance
Briefing APS decision-makers and ministers Focuses on decision-making and covers the skills required to design, develop and deliver a briefing to get a decision; covers the development and role of question time briefs, ministerial talking points for media engagements, ministerial adviser briefings, hot issues briefing, ministerial submissions and second-reading speeches 7 86
Developing Cabinet submissions Intensive one-day program—draws from the knowledge of expert facilitators and presenters who can provide insight and techniques for developing Cabinet submissions that clearly advocate innovative solutions to contemporary challenges, articulate genuine options and meet the government’s goals for policy development and implementation 7 86
Learn to be an effective coach Paced over a six-week period, enabling participants to use their new skills in learning activities conducted between the workshops; each workshop is specifically targeted at building staff capability and productivity 1 10
Mastering your financial environment Focuses on the essentials of government finance from an agency perspective (designed in conjunction with the Department of Finance and Deregulation) 1 9
Preparing to appear before parliamentary committees Focuses on building confidence, public presentation skills and personal communication skills to support executives who may appear at Senate Estimates hearings 6 32

Executive Level Leadership Network

The Executive Level Leadership Network provides an opportunity for EL employees from across the APS to come together to strengthen their leadership practices by hearing from a range of engaging speakers with diverse perspectives, sharing insights and experiences with colleagues, and building collaborative networks. In 2012–13, four seminars and a full-day annual forum were held with participants representing 87 Commonwealth and ACT government agencies. Network events catered for 1,177 participants, while the annual forum attracted 374 attendees.

Executive Level Leadership Network Annual Forum, 26 June 2013.

Left: Facilitated panel discussion on ‘Engaging for the future’ with (L–R) Hank Jongen PSM, General Manager, Communications Division, Department of Human Services; Beatrice Barnett, Director, Education and Communications Branch, Australian Electoral Commission; Panel Facilitator, Virginia Haussegger, ABC Journalist, Adjunct Professor ANZSOG Institute for Governance, University of Canberra; Lisa Croft, Branch Manager, Remote Service Delivery, Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs; and Katrina Maguire, General Manager, Communications, Engagement, Research and Compliance, Murray–Darling Basin Authority.

Right: Leadership and management expert Avril Henry addresses the audience on ‘Our future leadership: beyond the here and now’.

Network events have enjoyed a year of growth; average registration numbers rose from 68 per event in 2011–12 to 294 in 2012–13. The highlight was the secretaries’ panel seminar on 11 December 2012, titled ‘ELs—the essential link? A secretary’s perspective’, which attracted 444 attendees. The annual forum held on 26 June 2013 featured a range of keynote speakers such as Dr Stefan Hajkowicz, Leader, CSIRO Futures, and Ms Avril Henry, leadership and management expert, and included interactive breakout sessions and a facilitated panel discussion.

Career Development Assessment Centres

Career Development Assessment Centres assist agencies with talent management for the EL 2 cadre. The centres are designed for EL 2 employees aspiring to senior roles who are considered to be of high potential and high performers by their agency. Each centre is facilitated by organisational psychologists and collects 360-degree feedback (that is, feedback from workplace subordinates, peers and superiors, as well as a self-assessment) and behavioural feedback from
SES Band 2 and 3 observers on participants’ performance during simulated exercises. This feedback is assessed against the SES leadership capability framework. The process also highlights areas where participants could focus their learning and development needs in preparation for transition to the SES.

In 2012–13, eight assessment centres were conducted with 86 participants from 31 agencies. Feedback on the sessions from participants and Commission observers was very positive.

Last reviewed: 
11 May 2018