MODERNISING THE EMPLOYMENT FRAMEWORK
[Source of criteria: APSC Corporate Plan 2017–18, page 8; PBS 2017–18, page 115.]
Activity: Develop and implement workplace relations policies to support the workforce of the future
Key performance indicator: Advice provided to government on future policy options.
Measure: Satisfaction of government with policy advice.
2017–18 result: We provided advice to government on the development of its new Workplace Bargaining Policy 2018. The policy was released on 6 February 2018 and replaced the Workplace Bargaining Policy 2015.
Key performance indicator: Agencies bargaining new agreements consistent with government policies.
Measure: Satisfaction of agencies with policy and bargaining advice.
2017–18 result: We conducted a survey of agencies to which we provided advice during 2017–18. The survey measured agency satisfaction with the advice and guidance provided on the government’s Workplace Bargaining Policy and enterprise bargaining. The survey results showed that the vast majority of agencies were satisfied with the responsiveness, comprehensiveness and clarity of Commission advice and the professionalism and helpfulness of Commission staff.
Activity: Implement changes to the employment framework to reflect the future of work
Key performance indicator: Agencies are satisfied that the framework is sufficiently flexible to enable the future needs of the APS.
Measure: Feedback from key stakeholders indicates increased confidence in the framework.
2017–18 result: We began work on identifying flexibilities in the existing framework. This work was superseded when government began considering a more significant review of the APS, including its governing legislation.
Activity: Promote contemporary termination practices
Key performance indicator: Managers and agencies review and adapt termination practices to be more streamlined and effective.
Measure: Feedback from agencies that the process of hiring and firing employees is more efficient and effective.
2017–18 result: In progress. We acknowledge that agencies might benefit from contemporary guidance on managing underperformance in the workplace, including where the employee is under probation and generally not covered by agency underperformance policies. We are developing a toolkit to assist managers and agencies in adapting streamlined and effective underperformance and termination practices. Initial scoping of key factors, research and drafting of more detailed guidance are under way. A process of consultation with agencies is to occur. A new Management Essentials webpage was published; it provides information on termination of employment.
Measure: Feedback from key stakeholders indicates increased knowledge of and confidence in termination practices.
2017–18 result: In progress—see comments above.
Measure: Data from agencies indicates increased use of probation and termination to manage underperformance
2017–18 result: In progress—see comments above.
Performance analysis: strategic priority 1
DEVELOPING AND IMPLEMENTING WORKPLACE RELATIONS POLICIES TO SUPPORT THE WORKFORCE OF THE FUTURE
Between 1 July 2017 and 30 June 2018 employees in 30 Commonwealth agencies voted up 34 enterprise agreements. The Commission provided tailored advice to agencies throughout the Commonwealth on policy, legislation, drafting and best practice. The aim was to ensure that all workplace arrangements were consistent with the government’s Workplace Bargaining Policy 2015 and its replacement, the Workplace Bargaining Policy 2018.
The Commission remains committed to improving the quality of the guidance and advice it offers to agencies in relation to government policy. In view of this, in July 2018 it surveyed agencies to learn more about their satisfaction with the quality of the advice and guidance provided and their interactions with the Commission. The results showed the following:
Ninety-six per cent of respondents found the Commission’s advice and guidance ‘Very Good’ or ‘Good’.
- Eighty-three per cent of respondents found the Commission’s advice and guidance ‘Very Comprehensive’ or ‘Comprehensive’.
- Eighty-three per cent of respondents found the Commission’s advice and guidance ‘Very Clear’ or ‘Clear’.
- Ninety-one per cent of respondents found the Commission’s staff ‘Very Professional’ or ‘Professional’.
- All respondents found the Commission’s staff ‘Very Helpful’ or ‘Helpful’.
A small number of agencies provided their views on areas where the Commission might improve. This included tailoring Commission advice specifically to small agencies, resolving inconsistency on complex matters and reducing turnover among their Commission contacts. The Commission will pursue opportunities to improve in these areas.
Overall, the survey results demonstrated that agencies were satisfied with the Commission’s advice on the government’s Workplace Bargaining Policy 2018 and the enterprise bargaining process.
Implement changes to the employment framework to reflect the future of work
In 2017–18 the Commission began work on identifying flexibilities in the existing employment framework. This work was superseded when government began considering a more significant review of the APS, including its governing legislation.
Promote contemporary termination practices
During the reporting year the Commission also began work on a toolkit designed to assist managers and agencies in adopting streamlined and effective underperformance policies.
Previous guidance issued by the Commission was the subject of a desktop review. That guidance, as well as guidance published by other Australian public sectors, was reviewed, as were legal briefs and guides issued by the Australian Government Solicitor and other legal bodies.
Detailed questions asking employees about their experience of performance and underperformance management processes in their agencies were included in the 2018 Employee Census, and the responses will be taken into account as the toolkit is developed. A number of APS agencies were also consulted with a view to obtaining copies of their termination guides.
The Commission completed the first draft of a good-practice probation guide, which will become part of the toolkit. The toolkit will also contain guidelines on streamlining termination processes in instances of non-performance instances of non-performance or unsatisfactory performance of duties.