Senior Executive Service performance
Creating and maintaining a strong performance leadership culture is crucial to ensuring public confidence and trust in the Senior Executive Service (SES). The SES Performance Leadership Framework has been established in accordance with priority one of the APS Reform agenda, to ensure the APS embodies integrity in everything it does.
Key users of the Framework will be human resources teams responsible for maintaining agency policies and procedures, implementing best practice, and reporting on agency performance. The Framework is designed to support agencies to understand their current performance maturity and make informed decisions on where to focus future effort to lift performance practices.
The Framework is available to download and is current at the time of publication.
Implementation of the Framework is mandatory for all APS agencies.
Elements of the Framework
The Framework comprises elements each agency will need to include in their performance practices:
- expectations for behaviours and outcomes
- performance assessments
- reward and recognition
- development and
- unsatisfactory performance.
The Framework also includes a maturity model to guide agency implementation, and a mechanism for reporting and evaluation.
A key feature of the Framework is the principle that behaviours are as important as outcomes and both must be assessed as part of an SES leader’s performance. Excellence in delivering outcomes cannot be used to offset or minimise behavioural concerns. The Framework reinforces the standards of behaviour expected of APS leaders, as expressed through the APS Values and the Secretaries Charter of Leadership behaviours.
Implementing the Framework
The Framework incorporates a staged approach to implementation. Secretaries Board has agreed that all APS-agencies will:
- commence implementation at the earliest opportunity
- complete a self-assessment of their current maturity state against the maturity model outlined in the Framework, prior to the 2024 Agency Survey
- report on their maturity state and aggregate ratings in the 2024 Agency Survey and
- completely implement the SES framework by 2025.
In the first phase, agency data will be reported to the Secretaries Board to provide high-level oversight of performance maturity across the APS. The reporting to Secretaries Board will be coordinated by the Australian Public Service Commission.
Further information on reporting requirements will be made available to agencies in 2024.
The SES Performance Leadership Framework
The Framework is current at the time of publication. Evaluation and review of the Framework is planned for late 2024.
The Framework has been informed with reference to lead agency best practice and mature performance offerings.
Australian Taxation Office
The ATO’s SES performance experience promotes ongoing, honest and meaningful conversations regularly between SES employees and their managers in relation to workplace performance, individual development and growth of leadership capability.
Department of Defence
The focus of the Department of Defence’s Framework is on achieving an accountable, capable and unified workforce with a strong performance culture at its core where leadership, professionalism and corporate behaviours are valued and rewarded.
Performance agreement template
Keeping a record of performance needn’t be overly complex. This performance assessment template is provided as an example of a template that meets the requirements of the Framework. Use of the template is not mandatory. Agencies may reference, or adapt the template according to their needs.
Integrity and psychological safety for leaders
Psychological safety exists when there is interpersonal trust and mutual respect within a team, and staff feel free to express their views and contribute to discussions. Staff also feel they can make mistakes or take risks in their work without fear or judgement or humiliation.
Psychological safety is a necessary element for building a culture of integrity within the APS. This Psychlogical Safety Fact Sheet is provided as an introduction to psychological safety and some ways leaders can foster psychological safety.
APS Talent Management
APS Talent Councils
Talent Councils lead an ongoing cycle of assessment and development to build a strong and diverse pipeline of leaders equipped to steward a modern and dynamic public service. An introduction to the Talent Councils in the APS is available on the Talent Council webpage or via the Talent Council Fact Sheet.
Talent segmentation process
Talent segmentation enables agencies and work areas to consider and prioritise development and career management for individuals. The APS Talent Segmentation Model (formerly the APS Nine-Box Grid) and supporting documentation are available on the APS Talent Management webpage.
Further information on talent management in the APS is available on the APS Talent Management webpages.
HR practitioners seeking more information on the SES Performance Leadership Framework can contact the Employment Policy team for advice via firstname.lastname@example.org or call the enquiry line on 02 6202 3857.