The quality of leadership practice and management expertise in the APS is central to the delivery of the transformational change required by government and citizens. There is a strong positive relationship between leadership practice and engagement that has been maintained over the year. Additionally, there has been a trend increase in employee engagement and satisfaction with immediate supervisors over the past three years.
While this year has also seen improvements in satisfaction with senior leader capabilities, the findings of the Capability Reviews indicate there remains considerable work to be done in fostering collaboration amongst APS senior employees and across the service.
The HIP Royal Commission reported shortcomings in senior APS leaders in relation to good governance and providing ‘frank and fearless’ advice, particularly in relation to risk management. The APS Values bind the service in the way work is approached and delivered. All APS employees have the responsibility to practise leadership; in particular, having the courage to raise a missing perspective or to point out contradictions. So, while satisfaction with senior leaders has improved in some key measures, other concerns have been raised that must be addressed.
The leadership and core skills strategy refresh provides a focus on the leadership practice and management expertise required across the APS in a period of transformational change. The findings reported here reinforce the central direction of the leadership and core skills strategy and offer areas for further consideration. Overall, in a period of considerable uncertainty and change for the APS, the quality of leadership practice remains high but there are some important areas of weakness that must be addressed.