The Government’s policy for the approval and monitoring of SES numbers provides agencies with an SES cohort within which they are required to operate.
Where an agency has a need to increase its SES cohort as a result of a New Policy Proposal (NPP) or Cabinet submission, agencies will be required to gain approval for the required SES position(s) through these approval processes.
Where approval for additional SES resources has not been approved through an NPP or Cabinet submission, an increase to an agency’s SES cohort requires the approval of the Minister for the Public Service (the Minister).
The transfer of SES cohort numbers between agencies can occur by agreement between the relevant Agency Heads.
The Minister is supported by the Australian Public Service Commissioner (Commissioner), in the approval and monitoring of the SES cohort.
All agencies are required to report on SES cohorts to the Australian Public Service Commission (the Commission) on a bi-annual basis as at 30 June and 31 December. The Commission will request and collate SES cohort and SES actuals from agencies for the purposes of reporting to the Minister.
It is important that agencies maintain accurate records outside of the reporting periods including tracking approvals, transfers and any other changes to SES numbers.
For reporting purposes, agencies must report:
- the agency’s SES cohort
- the approval mechanism for increases to the SES cohort since the last reporting period
- ongoing SES employees
- non-ongoing SES employees, who are engaged for periods of three months or more
- casual SES employees used for periods of 3 months or more continuously in one role
- non-SES employees who have been temporarily assigned duties in an SES position, where the period of the temporary assignment is three months or more and
- SES employees on secondment, where the salary for the secondee is paid by the reporting agency.
For example, if an SES employee is on long-term leave and the role is being filled by an acting non-SES employee for a period of three months or more, the non-SES employee would be reported as filling the position.
Non-ongoing or temporary assignment of duties that are extended to three months or more must be reported. This includes arrangements that are separated by short breaks but the accumulative total is three months or more.
Request to increase SES cohorts
Where approval for additional SES resources has not been approved through an NPP or Cabinet submission and approval is being sought from the Minister, agencies need to consult with the Commission prior to making a request.
Agency Heads are required to write to the Commissioner outlining:
- the position title, classification level and duration, if temporary
- why the position is required and how it will support the Government's priorities
- funding arrangements for the position
- confirmation of support from the relevant Minister and portfolio Secretary and
- confirmation that the position is appropriately classified, taking into consideration the SES work level standards including span of control.
The Commission provides early advice and guidance to agencies in developing their request. All final requests should be provided to the Employment Policy team for progression to the APS Commissioner.
The APS Commissioner briefs the Minister, who will consider agency requests.
Reductions to SES cohorts
An agency’s SES cohort may be reduced following a Machinery of Government (MoG) change or where an SES employee receives an incentive to retire under section 37 of the Public Service Act 1999 based on the position being excess to requirements.
At any time, an agency may evaluate its business needs and voluntarily reduce its SES cohort. This should be reported to the Commission at next the bi-annual reporting period.