Reform of Australian Government Administration
Staying Ahead of the Game
"The Australian Public Service has adapted to meet the various tests it has faced over time. Now it must change again to meet the challenges of a new century and stay ahead of the game."
Advisory group on the reform of Australian Government administration
The Role of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in APS reform
The Blueprint for reform
In 2009 an Advisory group chaired by Terry Moran (Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet) was tasked by government with conducting a review of the APS.
In March 2010, after an extensive public consultation process the Advisory group published Ahead of the Game: Blueprint for the Reform of Australian Government Administration.
The Blueprint outlines a comprehensive reform agenda supported by specific areas of action to ensure the APS can meet the challenges faced by a modern public service. It identifies four broad areas where current performance can be strengthened:
- Meeting the needs of citizens
- Providing strong leadership and strategic direction
- Strengthening workforce capabilities
- Operating efficiently and at a consistently high standard
Nine interdependent reforms, supported by twenty-eight specific action areas, provide a comprehensive strategy to deliver these outcomes.
A high performing public service
|Meets the needs of citizens
||Provides strong leadership and strategic direction
||Strengthening workforce capabilities
||Operates efficiently at a consistently high standard
1. Delivering better services for citizens
- 1.1 Simplify Australian Government services for citizens
- 1.2 Develop better ways to deliver services through the community and private sectors
- 1.3 Deliver services in closer partnership with State, Territory and local governments
- 1.4 Reduce unnecessary business regulatory burden
2. Creating more open government
- 2.1 Enable citizens to collaborate with government in policy and service design
- 2.2 Conduct a citizen survey
3. Enhancing policy capability
- 3.1 Strengthen strategic policy
- 3.2 Build partnerships with academia, research institutions and the
community and private sectors
- 3.3 Improve policy implementation
4. Reinvigorating strategic leadership
- 4.1 Revise and embed the APS Values
- 4.2 Articulate the roles and responsibilities of Secretaries
- 4.3 Revise employment arrangements for Secretaries
- 4.4 Strengthen leadership across the APS
- 4.5 Improve talent management across the APS
5. Introducing a new APSC to drive change and provide strategic planning
- 5.1 New APSC with responsibilities to lead the APS
6. Clarifying and aligning employment conditions
- 6.1 Ensure employment bargaining arrangements support one APS
- 6.2 Assess the size and role of the SES
7. Strengthening the workforce
- 7.1 Coordinate workforce planning
- 7.2 Streamline recruitment and improve induction
- 7.3 Expand and strengthen learning and development
- 7.4 Strengthen the performance framework
- 7.5 Encourage employees to expand their career experience
8. Ensuring agency agility, capability and effectiveness
- 8.1 Conduct agency capability reviews
- 8.2 Introduce shared outcomes across portfolios
- 8.3 Reduce internal red tape to promote agility
9. Improving agency efficiency
- 9.1 Review the measures of agency efficiency
- 9.2 Strengthen the governance framework
- 9.3 Small agencies to improve the efficiency of their corporate functions
On 8 May 2010, the Australian Government accepted all of the Blueprint recommendations.
PM&C: Foundation for Reform
The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet plays an important and active role in implementing the reform agenda.
While full implementation of the reform agenda will take a number of years, a strong foundation has already been laid. For example:
- PM&C has established a Strategic Policy Network (SPN), comprising policy practitioners from across the APS.
- The network meets regularly to discuss strategic policy issues including better practice methodologies. The SPN, led by PM&C is developing an online strategic policy resource that will provide APS staff with access to practical policy development tools.
- The ‘Secretaries Board’ has been set up as key leadership forum for discussion of issues that affect the entire APS. It is comprised of Secretaries of all Commonwealth Departments as well as the Australian Public Service Commissioner and chaired by the Secretary of PM&C, Terry Moran.
- The Board is supported by – and are themselves members of – a new senior leadership group, the APS200. It is a group made up of Secretary and Deputy Secretary level staff of Commonwealth departments and agencies. The APS200 will champion critical projects across the service, focusing on complex challenges that span more than one specific portfolio. It will also identify and discuss strategic priorities, be the preeminent forum for public service debate, and model leadership behaviour for the Senior Executive Service.
Building on this comprehensive foundation, 2011 will be an eventful year for APS reform. There will be a number of opportunities for APS staff to get involved in the reform program and see the delivery of initiatives that address key recommendations from the Blueprint.
To find out about the progress of all of the reforms go to the APS Reform website.
Contact for further information
General questions on the blueprint may be emailed to ReformGovernment@pmc.gov.au.
APS Reform Team
PO Box 6500
CANBERRA ACT 2600 Australia
Switchboard Telephone: 02 6271 5111
Last Updated: 28 February 2011