our Annual Report for 2009-10 - Australian Public Service Commission

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Contents
The Commission at a glance ............................................................................................................ 3
Welcome to our Annual Report for 2009-10 .................................................................................. 4
Letter of transmittal ........................................................................................................................ 5
Guide to the report ......................................................................................................................... 6
Part 1 Overview ............................................................................................................................... 8
Public Service Commissioner’s review ............................................................................................ 9
Commission overview ................................................................................................................... 18
Part 2 Performance review ........................................................................................................... 24
Sub-program 1.1: APS policy, review and evaluation ................................................................... 27
Sub-program 1.2: Development programs and employment services ......................................... 45
Part 3 Management and accountability ........................................................................................ 72
Part 4 Annual report of the Merit Protection Commissioner ....................................................... 88
Part 5 Financial statements ......................................................................................................... 116
Appendix A: Agency resource and outcome resource statements............................................. 163
Appendix B: Report on performance under the Commonwealth Disability Strategy ................ 166
Appendix C: Occupational health and safety .............................................................................. 167
Appendix D: Freedom of information ......................................................................................... 170
Appendix E: Advertising and market research ............................................................................ 175
Appendix F: Ecologically sustainable development and environmental performance .............. 176
Appendix G: Staffing profile and equal employment opportunity ............................................. 178
Appendix H: List of requirements ............................................................................................... 183
Abbreviations and acronyms ....................................................................................................... 187
The Commission at a glance
Our role
The Australian Public Service Commission promotes good practice in strengthening the
capability of the Australian Public Service (APS) workforce to meet the evolving needs of
citizens and the government, supports leadership and learning and development in the APS,
and fosters ethical behaviour and workplaces that value diversity.
We also have an important evaluation role in working with agencies to ensure that the APS is
performing effectively and consistently with the APS Values.
Our mission
To support a high-performing Australian Public Service.
Highlights from 2009–10
During 2009–10, the Commission:

contributed to the work of the Advisory Group that developed the report Ahead of the
game: Blueprint for the reform of Australian Government administration (the Blueprint)

began the significant task of implementing many of the recommendations from the
blueprint—which included work to reposition the Commission and build its capacity to
support a more systematic approach to the development of the APS workforce

established a whole-of-government ICT career structure and a whole-of-government
strategic ICT workforce plan

tabled the 2008–09 State of the Service Report in November 2009. The report provides an
insight into APS workforce trends and capabilities, and areas of focus for the APS in
addressing future challenges

conducted a second census of Indigenous APS employees to canvass and record their
views on a range of issues, including the pathways to employment, work–life balance, job
satisfaction, people management, and learning and development opportunities. The
Commission is working with agencies to develop robust strategies in response to the key
findings

gained responsibility for Australian Government policies for agreement-making,
classification structures, APS pay and employment conditions, work level standards and
workplace relations advice from the Department of Education, Employment and
Workplace Relations. The transfer took place on 1 July 2010

undertook an in-depth, external survey of participants at our key leadership programs and
commissioned research into program models to build future capability in strategic policy
leadership.
Welcome to our Annual Report for 2009-10
The Australian Public Service Commission is a central agency within the Prime Minister and
Cabinet portfolio. The Commission supports two statutory office holders: the Public Service
Commissioner—who is also agency head—and the Merit Protection Commissioner.
This report has been prepared in accordance with section 63(2) of the Public Service Act 1999
and reflects the Requirements for annual reports for departments, executive agencies and FMA
Act bodies endorsed by the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit in June 2010.
© Commonwealth of Australia 2010
ISSN 1032 0350
ISBN 978-0-9806404-8-9
This work is copyright. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part
may be reproduced by any process without prior written permission from the Commonwealth.
Requests and inquiries concerning reproduction and rights should be addressed to the
Commonwealth Copyright Administration, Attorney-General’s Department, 3–5 National
Circuit, Barton ACT 2600, or posted at: www.ag.gov.au/caa.
Acknowledgments
Lead coordinator: Edward M Hay
Group coordinators: Gail Baker, Paul Casimir, Sarah Hardy, Margaret Lovell, Qiumeng Mao
Design and typesetting: Jayne Abel, Paul Joice
Letter of transmittal
AUSTRALIAN PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSIONER
STEPHEN SEDGWICK
October 2010
The Honourable Julia Gillard MP
Prime Minister
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600
Dear Prime Minister
In accordance with sections 44 and 63 of the Public Service Act 1999, I am pleased to present
my annual report for the year ended 30 June 2010. This report includes the annual report of the
Merit Protection Commissioner, as required by section 51 of the Public Service Act 1999.
This report has been prepared in accordance with section 63(2) of the Public Service Act 1999,
which requires that you table the report in parliament. It reflects the Requirements for annual
reports for departments, executive agencies and FMA Act bodies endorsed by the Joint
Committee of Public Accounts and Audit in June 2010.
The report includes the Commission’s audited financial statements as required by section 57 of
the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997.
In addition, and as required by the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines, I certify that I am
satisfied that the Commission has in place appropriate fraud control mechanisms that meet the
Commission’s needs and that comply with the guidelines applying in 2009–10.
Yours sincerely
Stephen Sedgwick
Australian Public Service Commissioner
Guide to the report
The Australian Public Service Commissioner’s annual report 2009–10 is provided in accordance
with the provisions of sections 44 and 63 of the Public Service Act 1999 (the PS Act). The report
has been developed with the aim of transparent reporting under the Commission’s outcome
and sub-program structure.
Part 1: Overview
The report’s overview includes the Public Service Commissioner’s review and an overview of
the Commission’s role and responsibilities, outcome and sub-program structure, organisational
structure and financial performance. The Commissioner’s review summarises some of the
principal developments affecting the work of the Commission, including highlights of some of
the significant achievements during 2009–10.
Part 2: Performance review
The performance review provides a detailed discussion of the Commission’s performance under
its two sub-programs. The performance information in Part 2 covers the Commission as a
whole. To ensure comprehensive reporting against the sub-program structure, the
performance review includes the work of the Merit Protection Commissioner.
Part 3: Management and accountability
The management and accountability component of the report provides an overview of the
Commission’s approach to corporate governance and the management of resources within the
Commission.
Part 4: Annual report of the Merit Protection Commissioner
In accordance with the provisions of section 51 of the PS Act, Part 4 contains the Merit
Protection Commissioner’s report on her statutory role and responsibilities.
Part 5: Financial statements
Part 5 contains the Commission’s audited financial statements for 2009–10.
Appendices
The appendices provide detailed information on staffing and other matters relevant to the
Commission’s activities, including a statement as required under section 8(1) of the Freedom of
Information Act 1982 at Appendix D.
Contact us
The Commission welcomes your comments on this report. To make a comment, or to request
more information, please contact:
Steve Tomlin
Client Engagement
Australian Public Service Commission
16 Furzer St
Phillip ACT 2606
Tel: (02) 6202 3526
Fax: (02) 6264 5153
Email: [email protected]
Internet: www.apsc.gov.au
Internet address for report: www.apsc.gov.au/annualreport
Part 1 Overview
This part of the report includes the Public Service Commissioner’s review and an overview of
the Commission’s role and responsibilities, outcome and sub-program structure, organisation
structure and financial performance.
Public Service Commissioner’s review
This is my first annual report since I became Public Service Commissioner in December 2009.
I am pleased to present this report in what has been a challenging year and one of transition for
the Commission.
I would like to acknowledge the significant contributions of my predecessor, Ms Lynelle Briggs,
and the Deputy Public Service Commissioner, Ms Carmel McGregor, who acted as Public Service
Commissioner prior to my commencement. Ms McGregor provided strong leadership in the
Commission during a time of uncertainty and made an invaluable contribution to the work of
the Advisory Group that developed the recommendations of the report Ahead of the game:
Blueprint for the reform of Australian Government administration (the Blueprint).
The Commission commenced the year with a new corporate plan identifying strategies to
continue to support a high-performing Australian Public Service (APS). We had a number of
challenges in bedding down a new structure, investigating different ways of managing our
regional presence, managing a challenging budget which includes a requirement to fund certain
activities through revenue from our fee-for-service activities and implementing a more
centralised approach to managing the review work of the Merit Protection Commissioner.
The then Prime Minister established an Advisory Group in September 2009 to review Australian
Government administration and develop a blueprint for reform. The Commission made a
submission to the review and argued in favour of a significant refresh of a number of aspects of
the APS human capital framework, which in some instances would involve an enhanced role for
the Commission.
The Blueprint was released in March 2010 and the then Prime Minister announced, in May
2010, that the government had accepted all the recommendations from the report. The report
outlines a comprehensive reform agenda to ensure that the APS can meet today’s challenges
and better respond to the emerging needs of the Australian community. It was pleasing to note
that the report drew substantially from the Commission’s submission in developing the
recommendations accepted by government.
The Commission strongly supports the analysis underpinning the Blueprint, which provides for
an enhanced emphasis on the development of the capabilities of the APS workforce. The
Commission accepts the challenge to reposition itself to better support APS agencies in their
pursuit of this endeavour.
In the latter part of the year, the Commission began the significant task of implementing many
of the recommendations from the Blueprint—recommendations that impact across the whole
APS and which require a significant revision to the Commission’s business model, organisational
structure and workforce capability.
Towards the end of the year the Commission was transitioning towards a new organisational
structure and business model, supported by activities to secure a broader range of capabilities
in human capital. This also included the machinery of government transfer to the Commission
of the function for Australian Government policies for agreement-making, classification
structures, APS pay and employment conditions, work level standards and workplace relations
advice from the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.
This review is in two parts: the business-as-usual imperative and our achievements in 2009–10,
and the initiatives underway to place the Commission in the best possible position to respond
positively and quickly to the government’s APS reform agenda.
2009–10 in review
The Commission works to support a high-performing Australian Public Service.
A high-performing APS must be able to meet the changing needs of government and society in
order to be relevant and fit for purpose.
Responding to an external environment characterised by rapid change has become the day-today business of the APS, and a key challenge for the public service is to be ready for the future.
Through research and scenario planning the APS needs to be prepared for and well positioned
to influence change.
Against this background, the Commission identified five strategic priorities for 2009–10 in our
corporate plan.
Supporting the APS to be ready for the future
The Commission supports the APS to be future-ready using research and evaluation to assist in
the transformation of the APS. The Commission identified key priorities for public sector reform
and innovation to help agencies adapt and deliver on the priorities set for them by government.
In 2009–10, the Commission provided a submission to the Advisory Group established to
undertake the review into the reform of Australian Government administration. The submission
proposed a new and increased emphasis on human capital, workforce planning and capability
management in the APS and substantial changes to the responsibilities of the Commission in
these areas.
The Commission established a whole-of-government ICT career structure and a whole-ofgovernment strategic ICT workforce plan. The ICT workforce plan provides a high-level
overview of the issues affecting the ICT workforce and strategies to address the future human
capital needs of ICT employment in the APS. Using this framework, agencies will be better able
to plan for, develop and manage a qualified, satisfied and flexible ICT workforce, while
providing an attractive career path for ICT professionals within the APS.
Embedding the government’s ethics and integrity agenda
The Commission supports high standards of accountability, transparency, ethics and integrity
for the APS through the Ethics Advisory Service; active promotion of the APS Values and Code
of Conduct; policy advice on and promotion of systems and approaches to deliver the
government’s objectives; and an increased emphasis on ethical decision-making.
In 2009–10, the Commission issued guidance to agencies on the disclosure of official
information and on protocols for online media participation, and provided access to web-based
information and publications and advice to APS employees on ethical and integrity concerns.
We worked with agencies to implement the ethics contact officer network and provided
support for the network, including through the establishment of a GovDex online discussion
forum.
The Commission added to the available resources for ethics contact officers by publishing a
new guide on ethical decision-making by the Merit Protection Commissioner and developing
two new vodcasts.
Strengthening our engagement with clients and ensuring delivery around their
needs
The Commission has built alliances with key clients and connected to stakeholders to deliver
seamless, joined-up services. The Commission takes a proactive approach to networking and
understanding client needs so our services can be highly effective. In coming months the
Commission plans to introduce a revised client engagement model that is intended to better
position us to deliver support that is well informed by an understanding of the needs of
individual agencies.
In 2009–10, the Commission undertook an in-depth external survey of participants at our key
leadership programs and commissioned research into program models to build future capability
in strategic policy leadership. The report indicated that the Commission’s leadership programs
were meeting the needs of participants.
In response to feedback from agencies, extensive research into the development of strategic
policy leadership was conducted in 2009. This research will be used to develop initiatives to
build agency capability in strategic policy development.
Driving agency performance and capability
The Commission uses learning and development services, consultancy services and review work
to help agencies to improve their performance, as well as evaluating APS performance through
the State of the Service Report.
The 2008–09 State of the Service Report was tabled in November 2009. The report provides an
insight into APS workforce trends and capabilities, and areas of focus for the APS in addressing
future challenges, including strategic workforce planning; improved leadership and employee
engagement within a values-driven framework; and increased cross-agency collaboration. I am
particularly pleased that the report was used extensively by the Advisory Group in developing
its themes and recommendations in the Blueprint.
Leading by example
The Commission has developed leading-edge programs and products and strives to model best
practice. We have challenged ourselves to implement our own best practice recommendations
and, to this end, have embarked on a systematic review of internal human resource policies
and procedures. This work will proceed over coming months.
In 2009–10, the Commission completed negotiations to establish a new employee enterprise
agreement, which commenced on 2 October 2009 and expires on 30 June 2011. It delivered
modest salary increases to staff. We also introduced revised work level standards for APS and
Executive Level classifications.
The Commission implemented an e-recruitment system that enables potential employees to
apply for advertised positions through a streamlined process via the web and we completed the
redevelopment of our intranet to take advantage of improved knowledge management
capabilities.
The Blueprint
The APS is constantly challenged to become more responsive, agile and flexible to meet the
rising expectations of government and citizens in a complex and uncertain world. Taxpayers
expect no less. A public service that aspires to be the best expects no less of itself.
The Advisory Group on APS reform, of which I was a member, identified a number of challenges
that are increasing the degree of difficulty of modern public service.
We face rising expectations of citizens and governments, rapid technological change (including
in respect of administrative technologies), a world of considerable complexity, a tight labour
market and constrained budget resources.
To tackle these challenges, the public service needs to get ahead of the game—a goal captured
in the Blueprint. It offers a way to respond to the changing external environment by driving
change and improvement in the public service in four key areas:
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service delivery and effectiveness
strategic advice and strengthened leadership
workforce capability
efficiency of operations through consistently high standards.
The 28 recommendations in the Blueprint will help achieve this by adapting and improving the
public service’s tools, structures and culture, and the Commission will play a key role in
promoting this change.
A strengthened Commission
The Blueprint sets out a strengthened role for the Commission as a central agency—to provide
expertise, guidance, performance monitoring and some centralised services to all the agencies
in the public service and to support secretaries in our joint responsibility as stewards of the
APS.
Today’s challenges require greater monitoring, transparency and accountability across the APS
and stronger support for better human capital planning and development—an enhanced role
for the Commission.
The Commission has been encouraged to assume a significant APS-wide leadership and changemanagement role and needs to reposition itself in order to deliver on these broad goals. In
respect of APS employees and agencies, these goals include updated approaches to learning
and career development; more systematic talent management; effective performance
management; a stronger set of common values; stronger leadership; reviewed classification
arrangements and work level standards and a strengthened bargaining framework that support
a more united APS; greater mobility; streamlined recruitment processes; improved workforce
planning; and an improved accountability framework.
Subject to available resources, the Commission will continue to build on its expertise,
knowledge and capability in workforce planning and people management; human capital
benchmarking; labour market analysis; agency capability reviews; centralised assessment and
procurement of learning and development; and classification structures, pay, employment
conditions, work level standards and workplace relations.
Implementation progress
The 2010–11 Budget provided funding to the Commission to support APS reform for three
years commencing in 2010–11. A range of preliminary work has begun to implement a number
of the Blueprint reforms. This includes:
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the issue of a discussion paper and establishment of an online consultative forum for
APS employees on improving the APS Values
work to scope out the methodology for organisational capability reviews
gathering of information from agencies and other jurisdictions on their approaches to
survey citizens’ satisfaction with the services they receive and the establishment of a
reference group
establishment of an Advisory Board for a new Strategic Centre for Leadership, Learning
and Development which will act as a thought leader/regulator for certain core APS
learning and development activities and support talent management across the APS
a project to review the size and growth of the SES and the implementation of temporary
caps on the number of SES employees in agencies
scoping of work on revised employment bargaining arrangements, having regard to the
large number of agency agreements due to expire in mid-2011.
The Commission has put in place a project management framework to provide some rigour
around its work on key reform recommendations and will have responsibility for monitoring
and reporting progress across all reforms, including the provision of regular progress reports to
the Secretaries Board.
Outlook for 2010–11
The Commission has undertaken a significant amount of work in addressing the challenging
agenda reflected in the Blueprint and setting up the organisation to respond. The challenge to
meet the rapidly evolving external environment in which the APS operates creates an exciting
future for the Commission with a wider set of responsibilities to promote and support
improved human capital and organisational capability across the entire APS.
The Commission, while retaining its current outcome, has developed a new vision:
To lead and shape a unified, high-performing APS.
Further, our priorities for 2010–11 are as follows:
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One APS—Build a unified, citizen-centric APS by leading APS organisational and human
capital strategies
APS agencies—Drive APS agencies’ adoption of best human capital practices and assure
agencies’ organisational capability
APS leaders—Develop outstanding leaders and shape a cohesive leadership network
APS values—Instill and enliven APS ethics and values to inspire excellence
APSC capability—Invest in and grow the Commission’s capability to deliver its expanded
role.
The Commission is implementing a revised organisational structure, which it will formally
transition to from 1 July 2010, that better links to meeting the challenges confronting the APS,
which are well articulated in the Blueprint, and delivering on its ongoing business. The structure
reflects a new business model and a significantly enhanced focus on stakeholder and client
engagement. The structure aligns our work into the new portfolios of human capital, the
Strategic Centre for Leadership, Learning and Development, agency capability, workplace
relations, ethics and merit protection, and corporate. As part of the restructure, the
Commission settled on a business model for our offices outside of Canberra. A number of
functions previously performed in Canberra will be relocated to our Brisbane, Sydney and
Melbourne offices. A small representational role will be retained in Perth and Adelaide.
The Commission will continue to work on aligning and enhancing our governance and corporate
support mechanisms to the new structure and is working actively, subject to resources, to build
the capability of our workforce to deliver on our strategic priorities. Work has commenced on
implementing a workforce transition plan to assist in scaling up our activities and the
development of a new workforce plan that focuses on building our capability and people
performance.
I would like to thank all members of the Commission for their contribution to the work of the
Commission both in maintaining the high quality of service delivery during a year of significant
uncertainty and change and in helping to lay the necessary groundwork so that the Commission
is well placed to respond positively and quickly to the changing environment in which the APS
operates.
Stephen Sedgwick
Public Service Commissioner
Ahead of the game:
Blueprint for the reform of Australian Government administration
In May 2010, the Prime Minister announced that the government had accepted all the
recommendations of the report Ahead of the game: Blueprint for the reform of Australian
Government administration (the Blueprint), which was published in March 2010.
The Blueprint seeks to improve the systems, structures and processes that influence outcomes
for citizens. It recognises the importance of building the capability of the APS workforce to
achieve this goal, and the significance of cultural norms in making change sustainable. There is
an emphasis on leadership to drive change from the top and a focus on accountability to ensure
progress is made.
It offers a new ethos of putting people first. It encourages greater feedback from the public,
better links with stakeholders, and clearer accountability for the outcomes of citizens rather
than individual programs. It also places people first within the APS, through strong investment
in learning and development, clear employment frameworks, improved performance
management and broad career opportunities.
The Blueprint aims to embed a culture of continuous improvement. By developing better data,
more responsive systems and regular reviews, the APS can become a more flexible, innovative
organisation that is alert to the needs and preferences of the community. It will also be better
placed for future evaluation of performance.
Effective change will require a shift in the attitudes and behaviour of managers within agencies.
The Blueprint concluded that the best way to achieve this shift was to strengthen the role of the
Commission as a central agency to provide expertise, guidance, performance monitoring and
some centralised services to all agencies.
The outcome will be a strong, efficient and forward-looking Commission that:

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unites and leads the APS
provides effective support to agencies seeking to improve people performance
actively fosters talent and leadership
is cognisant of, and equipped to face, future challenges
drives APS-wide change
values and invests in the APS workforce
responds to APS-wide issues, including diversity, service responsiveness and access to
government information.
The Blueprint recommended nine reforms grouped under four core components to deliver a
high-performing APS. Figure 1 outlines the report’s recommendations and highlights the areas
of focus for the Commission.
While full implementation of the reform agenda will take a number of years to roll out and
embed, both the community and the APS can expect to see changes in the coming year.
Figure 1: The Blueprint: recommendations for APS reform and the Commission’s
responsibilities (green background)
A high-performing public service
Meets the needs of citizens Provides strong leadership and
strategic direction
Contains a highly
capable workforce
1 Delivering better services 3 Enhancing policy capability
to clients
6 Clarifying and aligning 8 Ensuring agency
employment conditions agility, capability and
effectiveness
1.1 Simplify Australian
Government services for
citizens
3.1 Strengthen strategic policy
6.1 Ensure employment
bargaining
arrangements support
one APS
8.1 Conduct agency
capability reviews
1.2 Develop better ways to
deliver services through the
community and private
sectors
3.2 Build partnerships with
academia, research institutions
and the community and private
sectors
6.2 Assess the size of
and role of the SES
8.2 Introduce shared
outcomes across
portfolios
1.3 Deliver services in
closer partnership with
State, Territory and local
governments
3.3 Improve policy
implementation
7 Strengthening the
workforce
8.3 Reduce internal red
tape to promote agility
1.4 Reduce unnecessary
4 Reinvigorating strategic
business regulatory burden leadership
7.1 Coordinate
workforce planning
9 Improving agency
efficiency
2 Creating more open
government
4.1 Revise and embed the APS
Values
(with PM&C)
7.2 Streamline
recruitment and
improve induction
9.1 Review the measures
of agency efficiency
2.1 Enable citizens to
collaborate with
government in policy and
service design
4.2 Articulate the roles and
responsibilities of Secretaries
(with PM&C)
7.3 Expand and
strengthen learning and
development
9.2 Strengthen the
governance framework
2.2 Conduct a citizen survey 4.3 Revise employment
arrangements for Secretaries
4.4 Strengthen leadership
across the APS (with PM&C)
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
Operates efficiently and
at a consistently high
standard
7.4 Strengthen the
9.3 Small agencies to
performance framework improve the efficiency of
their corporate functions
7.5 Encourage
employees to expand
their career experience
Commission overview
The Australian Public Service Commission is a central agency within the Prime Minister and
Cabinet portfolio. The Commission supports two statutory office holders: the Public Service
Commissioner—who is also agency head—and the Merit Protection Commissioner. Their
functions are set out in sections 41(1) and 50(1), respectively, of the Public Service Act 1999
(the PS Act).
Minister
For the reporting period, the Commission’s Minister was Senator the Hon Joe Ludwig, Cabinet
Secretary, Special Minister of State, Manager of Government Business in the Senate.
Role and responsibilities
Our mission is to support a high-performing Australian Public Service. The statutory
responsibilities that support our mission are detailed in the PS Act and include:
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evaluating the extent to which agencies incorporate and uphold the APS Values
evaluating the adequacy of systems and procedures in agencies for ensuring compliance
with the APS Code of Conduct
promoting the APS Values and Code of Conduct
developing, promoting, reviewing and evaluating APS employment policies and
practices
facilitating continuous improvement in people management throughout the APS
coordinating and supporting APS-wide training and career development
providing advice and assistance on public service matters to agencies on request
providing independent external review of actions by the Merit Protection
Commissioner.
Outcome and sub-program structure
The Commission’s outcome is increased awareness and adoption of best practice public
administration by the public service through leadership, promotion, advice and professional
development, drawing on research and evaluation activities.
In 2009–10, the Commission worked to achieve its outcome through two sub-programs:


1.1: APS policy, review and evaluation
1.2: Development programs and employment services.
The Public Service Commissioner provides staff to assist the Merit Protection Commissioner to
perform her prescribed functions.
Corporate structure
A three-person Executive, consisting of the Australian Public Service Commissioner, the
Australian Deputy Public Service Commissioner and the Merit Protection Commissioner, led the
Commission in 2009–10.
The Executive
Mr Stephen Sedgwick
Australian Public Service Commissioner
Mr Stephen Sedgwick became Australian Public Service Commissioner in December 2009 after
a period as Professor and Director of the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social
Research at the University of Melbourne. He has had a long and distinguished career in the
public sector, having served as the Secretary of the Commonwealth Departments of Finance,
Employment and Education between 1992 and 2002. He is a former Commissioner and
Chairperson of the Industry Commission and a former senior officer of the Department of the
Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Mr Sedgwick graduated with honours in economics from the University of Sydney and holds a
master’s degree from the University of London. He was a member of the board of the Asian
Development Bank between 2002 and 2007. He is currently a member of the Research and
Policy Council of the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia.
Ms Carmel McGregor
Deputy Australian Public Service Commissioner
Ms Carmel McGregor joined the Commission as Deputy Australian Public Service Commissioner
in November 2008.
Ms McGregor’s previous position was Deputy Secretary Client and Corporate Services in the
Department of Immigration and Citizenship. She led a global client service reform and a major
organisational and cultural change program. Her earlier roles in the Department of
Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs and at Centrelink involved considerable
experience in policy, service delivery and human capital programs.
Previously she was General Manager Employment, Disability and Education at Centrelink,
where she managed delivery of employment and education programs and led the
implementation of the Welfare to Work reforms.
She is Vice Chair (October 2009) and Australian representative of the OECD Public Governance
Committee.
She holds an arts degree with majors in psychology and sociology from the University of
Queensland and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management. She has memberships in
the Institute of Public Administration Australia, the Australian Institute of Training and
Development and the Australian Human Resources Institute.
Ms Annwyn Godwin
Merit Protection Commissioner
Ms Annwyn Godwin was appointed as Merit Protection Commissioner in January 2008. Ms
Godwin joined the APS in 1990 and has extensive experience in corporate and staffingrelated
fields, including with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, the Department of
Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service.
During her early career, she also worked in a wide variety of private sector agencies.
Ms Godwin has a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from Melbourne University with majors in Australian
politics and history and a Master’s of Business Administration from the Australian Graduate
School of Management at the University of New South Wales.
Organisational structure
Six groups, each led by a Group Manager, supported the functions of the Commission in 2009–
10 and reported to the Executive. The Deputy Public Service Commissioner had responsibility
for the day-to-day oversight of the National Business Centre, National Leadership and
Programmes Centre, Research and Evaluation and Workforce Policy Groups. The Merit
Protection Commissioner had responsibility, in addition to her statutory responsibilities, for the
Ethics and Corporate Groups. Figure 2 shows the Commission’s organisational structure at 30
June 2010.
Figure 2: Organisational structure as at 30 June 2010
Group functions
The Ethics Group advances and advises on ethics and integrity in the APS, encouraging open,
transparent and effective agency decision-making and supporting the review and inquiry
functions of both the Commissioner and the Merit Protection Commissioner.
The Corporate Group supports the operations of the groups, builds organisational capability
and provides assurance on governance.
The Workforce Policy Group leads and shapes the APS workforce and develops and advises on
APS employment policy to support the APS of the future. The group actively works with
agencies to assist them to manage their workforce and adapt to a changing environment.
The National Business Centre provides nationally and centrally coordinated consultancy
services across all areas of strategic human resource management; manages whole-ofgovernment recruitment campaigns implementing specific government initiatives; and provides
recruitment and employment services more generally. The National Business Centre includes
the Career Transition and Support Centre, and area offices that provide a local focus for
Commission services.
The National Leadership and Programmes Centre provides national leadership, learning and
development services to the public sector. The group strategically engages and develops
relationships with stakeholders, fosters capability and nurtures talent.
The Research and Evaluation Group advises on the long-term future directions for the APS and
its leadership through targeted research, evaluation and policy activities that support APS
transformation.
Reports and publications
The Commission issues a range of APS leadership, learning and development information in a
variety of formats. Commission publications and circulars, as well as selected speeches given by
the Public Service Commissioner, are available on the Commission’s website at
www.apsc.gov.au.
Locations
The Commission’s head office is in Canberra. It has area offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane,
Adelaide and Perth. Full addresses and contacts details are available on the Commission’s
website.
Funding and financial performance
The Commission’s activities are funded through a combination of appropriation and revenue
generated through the sale of leadership services, learning and development training courses,
and employment-related services. Much of the Commission’s revenue is earned in a
competitive market where agencies may choose the source of the services they need.
In 2009–10 the Commission received $20.731 million in appropriation funding, with revenue of
$19.922 million coming from the sale of goods and rendering of services. The 2009–10 Portfolio
Additional Estimates Statements reduced the Commission’s appropriation by $0.250 million,
reflecting whole-of-government departmental efficiencies.
During 2009–10, the Commission managed its budget with care and diligence in difficult
economic conditions so that it finished the financial year with a surplus. As a result of the
funding to implement the recommendations of the Blueprint, the Commission’s 2010–11
budget position has been substantially improved.
Part 2 Performance review
In this part, the Commission reports on its performance against its outcome and its two subprograms, including achievements during the year, key performance results, and activities
undertaken during the year.
Outcome and sub-program structure
The Commission’s outcome is:
increased awareness and adoption of best practice public administration by the public service
through leadership, promotion, advice and professional development, drawing on research and
evaluation.
The Commission delivered this outcome through two sub-programs:

1.1: APS policy, review and evaluation

1.2: Development programs and employment services.
Financial performance
Table 1 summarises the Commission’s financial performance in 2009–10.
Table 1: Summary of financial performance, 2009–10
Budget estimate Actual result
($ million)
($ million)
Sub-program 1.1: APS policy, review and evaluation
Advice and support to Minister, Executive and agency heads
2,327
2,521
Merit Protection and other services
2,273
2,036
Statistical/information services
1,516
1,603
Research and evaluation
1,306
1,276
Total for sub-program 1.1
7,422
7,436
Sub-program 1.2: Development programs and employment services
Employment services
6,071
5,549
International assistance and organisations
2,968
3,121
Leadership services
7,177
6,232
Program delivery
7,143
7,322
National/international programs
2,833
4,337
Indigenous employment
3,959
3,994
Promote better practice
2,293
1,902
Total for sub-program 1.2
32,444
32,457
Total for outcome
39,866
39,893
Note: The 2009–10 Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements reduced the Commission’s
budget by $0.250 million.
Table 2 shows the income, by source, that the Commission received in 2009–10.
Table 2: Income received by source, 2009–10
Source
Estimate ($ million)Actual ($ million)
Development programs
12.2
13.8
Employment services
3.3
3.1
International assistance
2.1
2.4
Better practice and evaluation0.9
0.5
Other services
0.1
0.2
Total
18.6
20.0
Sub-program 1.1: APS policy, review and
evaluation
Summary
Components
The sub-program consists of:




advice and support to Minister, Executive and agency heads
Merit Protection and other services
statistical/information services
research and evaluation.
Objectives
The Commission’s objectives under this sub-program in 2009–10 were to:






provide policy advice on, and promote systems and approaches to improve, public
service ethics and integrity
implement an Ethics Advisory Service that will, among other things, assist the
Commissioner and agency heads to promote the APS Values and Code of Conduct and
support all APS employees in ethical decision-making
strengthen its support for the review and inquiry functions of the Commissioner and the
Merit Protection Commissioner
undertake its regulatory review and reporting role under the Public Service Act 1999
(PS Act), including handling whistleblowing reports
collect, maintain, analyse and use data on APS employment to assist in its advice to the
government and the APS
provide an annual State of the Service Report and undertake other research and
evaluation activity to provide an evidence base on the current strengths and
weaknesses of the APS and to generate informed debate on contemporary issues and
future public sector reform directions.
Priorities
To achieve these objectives, the Commission’s corporate plan identified the following priorities
for 2009–10:


undertake research and evaluation to support debate on contemporary government
challenges, public sector reform, and improvements to public service leadership
develop a whole-of-government APS workforce strategy which will support the APS into
the future as well as during an economic downturn




establish a whole-of-government APS career pathway and a whole-of-government
strategic ICT workforce plan by March 2010, and provide support for the ICT workforce
through leadership events, awards and monitoring use of contractors
support the government’s wider accountability and integrity agenda for the public
sector, including effective implementation of the Ethics Advisory Service and enhancing
the focus on the review and inquiry functions of the Commissioner and the Merit
Protection Commissioner
progress a review of the PS Act and subordinate legislation ready for implementation by
mid-2010
prepare the State of the Service Report and the Statistical Bulletin for delivery in
November 2009, and ensure the Commission’s APS data collections are relevant.
Achievements
During 2009–10, the Commission:






provided a submission to the Advisory Group established to undertake the review into
the reform of Australian Government administration. The submission proposed a new
and increased emphasis on human capital, workforce planning and capability
management in the APS and substantial change to the responsibilities of the
Commission in these areas
established a whole-of-government ICT career structure and a whole-of-government
strategic ICT workforce plan. The ICT workforce plan provides a high-level overview of
the issues affecting the ICT workforce and strategies to address the future human
capital needs of ICT employment in the APS
tabled the 2008–09 State of the Service Report in November 2009. The report provided
an insight into APS workforce trends and capabilities, and areas of focus for the APS in
addressing future challenges, including strategic workforce planning, improved
leadership and employee engagement within a values-driven framework, and increased
cross-agency collaboration
issued guidance to agencies on the disclosure of official information and on protocols
for online media participation. Both of these circulars re-emphasised the need for APS
employees to fully understand the APS Values and Code of Conduct and how they apply
to official or personal communications and participation in online forums
continued to enhance its reputation through the provision of access to web-based
information and publications and advice to APS employees on ethics and integrity
concerns
streamlined the processes for handling whistleblowing reports lodged with the Public
Service Commissioner or Merit Protection Commissioner.
Key performance indicator
Table 3 summarises sub-program 1.1 performance against its key performance indicator for
2009–10 and the previous two years.
Table 3: Summary of sub-program 1.1 performance against key performance indicator, 2007–08
to 2009–10
2007–08
Key performance indicator
Actual
High level of use and satisfaction with the State of the Service
Report and other research and evaluation reports by the SES, 90%
agencies and other clients.
2008–
2009–10
09
ActualTargetActual
90% 70% 90%
Program deliverables
Table 4 summarises sub-program 1.1 performance against its program deliverables for 2009–10
and the previous two years.
Table 4: Summary of sub-program 1.1 performance against program deliverables, 2007–08 to
2009–10
2007–08 2008–09
Deliverables
Actual
2009–10
Actual Target
Actual
Reviews finalised on behalf of the Merit Protection
Commissioner (pages 91–2)
261
217
235
Reviews conducted on behalf of the Merit Protection
Commissioner completed within published timeframes
(page 92)
57%
86%
70% 81%
Responses to whistleblowing reports made to the
Commissioner or the Merit Protection Commissioner
(page 25)
5
3
22
Whistleblowing reports responded to within 6 weeks with
80%
any further investigations conducted promptly (page 25)
100%
70% 96%
State of the Service Report and associated publications
(page 33)
2
2
2
State of the Service Report tabled in accordance with
tabling requirements (page 33)
100%
100%
100% 100%
Research and evaluation reports completed (page 32)
AchievedAchieved 3
Secretariat service provided to the Management Advisory
Committee and the Public Service Commissioners’
AchievedAchieved 2
Conference (page 37)
264
24
2
Not
achieved*
2
* Research and evaluation resources were redirected to supporting the Advisory Group’s
review of Australian Government administration and international research projects.
Advice and support to Minister, Executive and agency heads
A central role of the Commission is to provide high-quality, timely advice and support to the
Minister, the Executive and agency heads.
Ethics and integrity
APS Values and Code of Conduct
The report Ahead of the game: Blueprint for the reform of Australian Government
administration (the Blueprint) proposed that to reinvigorate the strategic leadership of the APS
the Commission should, as part of a number of initiatives, revise and embed the APS Values in
the APS.
The Blueprint recommended that the APS Values, and, as necessary, the Code of Conduct, be
revised in order to:




promote APS collegiality and unity
encourage excellence in the public service
clarify expectations of public service behaviour to foster public trust
affirm the importance of including consideration of human rights issues in policy
making.
The Commission was given the lead role to implement this recommendation.
Ethics Advisory Service
Following its launch in May 2009, the Ethics Advisory Service (EAS) provided expert advice to
APS employees and agencies through the year consistent with its client service charter.
Seventy-eight per cent of queries were made by telephone and 22% by email, indicating a
preference for the closer personal contact as a way of resolving problems with an ethical
dimension. The number and nature of calls to the EAS in 2009–10 are reported in the
Commissioner’s State of the Service Report.
Ethics contact officer network
The Commission established an ethics contact officer network in May 2009 with
representatives from 99 APS agencies. Ethics contact officers support their agencies by
providing a contact point for discussion and dissemination of advice on ethical issues and
through liaison with the EAS.
The network is supported by an online discussion forum developed on GovDex, the Australian
Government’s secure, web-based collaborative space. Ethics contact officers use the forum to
share ideas on ethics issues and maintain their link to the network. The themes for the year
included disclosure of information, social media and embedding the APS Values.
Merit Protection Commissioner and ethical decision-making
The EAS published a booklet, The Merit Protection Commissioner and ethical decision-making,
which draws together two presentations by the Merit Protection Commissioner on how the APS
Values and Code of Conduct can be used to make ethical decisions in the APS. The resource is
aimed at ethics contact officers and other employees with an interest in ethical decisionmaking.
Vodcasts
In response to agency demand, the EAS released two vodcasts during the year dramatising
ethical dilemmas that APS employees may encounter during their careers. One vodcast deals
with disclosure of information, conflict of interest and procedural fairness, while the other is
about workplace behaviour and respect.
A total of five vodcasts are now available on the EAS’s website, and are used by agencies in
their training programs. A sixth vodcast is being developed for release in 2010–11.
Online media participation protocols
APS agencies are increasingly embracing the opportunities that Web 2.0 technologies provide,
particularly as an avenue for the Australian community to engage directly with government.
However, participation of public servants in policy debates on these forums can raise issues
about the role of the APS—for example, if they are invited to play a moderating role in a blogbased discussion of policy issues or options.
To help clarify agencies’ responsibilities, in November 2009 the Commission issued Circular
2009/6: Protocols for online media participation. The circular explains the broad parameters for
agencies operating in this environment and includes guidelines for public servants. The
development of the protocols was informed by agency trials, feedback from agencies, including
through the ethics contact officer network, and discussion with the Government 2.0 Taskforce.
The Government 2.0 Taskforce endorsed the Commission’s new guidelines, including the
declaration that Web 2.0 provides public servants with unprecedented opportunities to open
up government decision-making and implementation to contributions from the community.
The taskforce agreed that APS employees should be encouraged and empowered to engage
online, consistent with the APS Values and Code of Conduct. Agencies have a responsibility to
develop policies to ensure that their employees have a clear understanding of how they are
expected to conduct themselves in such forums.
‘Testing APS ethics: Where’s the integrity?’
In July 2009, the then Commissioner published an article in the Australian Journal of Public
Administration outlining Australia’s approach to maintaining high ethical standards in the APS.
The article considers the APS’s standards of integrity by analysing the ethical framework under
which the public service operates and the particular ethical issues and tensions that this
involves; testing and benchmarking the ethical performance of the public service; and providing
some suggestions for next steps in ethics considerations in the APS.
Disclosure of official information
In response to community debate about the disclosure of official information, particularly when
dealing with non-government members of parliament, the Commission issued Circular 2009/4
in July 2009. The aim of the circular was to remind agencies of the responsibilities and rights of
APS employees with regard to disclosure of official information. The then Commissioner
released a media statement in August 2009 on the same issue.
Information sessions and assistance to agencies
Part of the role of the EAS is to provide advice on ethics and ethical decision-making in the APS.
The EAS presented a number of information sessions to APS agencies during the year, including:



National Security Executive Development Program, Carmel McGregor, Deputy
Commissioner, November 2009
The APS management framework and values-based leadership, Senior Executive
Workshop, Screen Australia, Karin Fisher, Group Manager, Ethics and Karen Wilson,
Group Manager, Workforce Policy, November 2009
Ethical decision making, Learning and Development Seminar Series, Australian Maritime
Safety Authority, November 2009.
The Group Manager, Ethics presented at the Asia–Pacific Economic Cooperation Anticorruption
and Transparency Workshop in Beijing in October 2009. The presentation focused on the EAS
and recent ethics developments in the APS.
Improving APS Values
To support the reforms to the public service, and particularly as part of the commitment to
reinvigorate strategic leadership, the Blueprint proposed that the APS Values be revised and
embedded APS-wide. The objective behind the proposal is to create ‘a smaller set of core
values that are meaningful, memorable and effective in driving change’.
The Commission was given lead responsibility for this recommendation.
The Blueprint proposed that the Commission:


consult broadly, including with employees and stakeholders from the government,
community, private sectors and relevant unions, on revised APS Values
provide advice on necessary legislative changes to the Public Service Act 1999.
The Blueprint proposed five qualities as a starting point for the consultations:





accountable
frank, impartial and non-partisan
results oriented
ethical
merit-based employment.
Once revised APS Values are agreed, the Commission will develop strategies to promote, model
and embed the new values into the work of the APS, including through:



a compulsory SES induction program to develop APS-wide values leadership
other core learning and development programs
a new performance framework.
In June 2010, the Commission issued a discussion paper, including on the Commission’s website
and publicly, outlining possible directions for changes to the APS Values. The paper was sent to
a broad range of government agencies, trade unions, peak industry groups and academic
commentators.
The Commission also wanted to tap into the practical experience that APS employees have in
working with the APS Values and get their perspective on how the Values could be improved,
including what strategies would work best to embed them in APS agencies. It established an
online consultation forum allowing APS employees to comment, and engage in discussion with
their peers about what the APS Values should be, and how they can be made an even stronger
part of the APS.
This material will be taken into account in developing a streamlined set of APS Values later in
2010.
Review of secrecy provisions
In 2008, the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) commenced a review of
Commonwealth secrecy laws. The terms of reference asked the ALRC to inquire into and report
on options for ensuring a consistent approach across government to the protection of
Commonwealth information, balanced against the need to maintain an open and accountable
government through providing appropriate access to information.
The Commission assisted the ALRC in its review and provided input throughout the review. The
ALRC tabled the final report, Secrecy laws and open government in Australia, on
11 March 2010.
The report recommends a new and principles-based framework for striking a fair balance
between the public interest in open and accountable government, and adequate protection for
confidential Commonwealth information.
Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity submission and hearing
In May 2009, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Australian Commission for Law
Enforcement Integrity initiated an inquiry into the operation of the Law Enforcement Integrity
Commissioner Act 2006.
The Commission made a submission to the inquiry and the Merit Protection Commissioner and
the Group Manager, Ethics appeared before the committee on 14 August 2009.
Whistleblowing reports and other allegations of misconduct
In July 2009, the then Commissioner delegated her whistleblowing inquiry functions to senior
staff in the Ethics Group, reserving for her personal consideration matters concerning agency
heads or matters that raised serious public interest issues. This has enabled greater
streamlining in the handling of whistleblowing cases. In 2009–10, the Commission responded to
96% of reports within six weeks, exceeding the target of 70%.
During 2009–10, the Commissioner received eight whistleblowing reports from APS employees
and 19 complaints from non–public servants, including private citizens and former public
servants. Table 5 shows actions taken by the Commissioner in response to these reports over
the past three years and the source of the complaints.
Table 5: Whistleblowing reports received by the Public Service Commissioner, 2007–08 to
2009–10
2007–08
2008–09
2009–10
Number of reports
Received
22
15
27
Finalised
20
17
23
On hand at the end of the reporting period
7
5
9
Current APS employees
11
10
8
Former APS employees
1
1
6
Private citizens
7
2
10
Anonymous or employment status uncertain
3
2
3
Source of report
In 2009–10, the complaints from public servants concerned agency recruitment processes,
including allegations of patronage and cronyism; performance management decisions; and
alleged misreporting of data or information by colleagues. The complaints from members of the
public generally alleged that agency decision-makers had failed to comply with their legislative
obligations or had not exercised their decision-making powers properly.
Twenty-three matters were finalised in 2009–10, including five matters carried over from the
previous year. Table 6 shows the actions the Commissioner took in response to these cases.
Table 6: Whistleblowing matters finalised by outcome, 2007–08 to 2009–10
Action by Commissioner
2007–08
2008–09
2009–10
Referred to agency head for consideration
12
8
12
Investigated under whistleblowing powers
3
3
3
Code of Conduct inquiry conducted
1
2
1
No further action or referred elsewhere
4
4
7
Total
20
17
23
Eight of the finalised matters involved allegations against agency heads. In seven of these cases,
the Commissioner decided that an inquiry into the allegations was not warranted. In the
remaining case no breach of the Code of Conduct was found.
New whistleblowing arrangements
In 2008, the Australian Government asked the House of Representatives Standing Committee
on Legal and Constitutional Affairs to inquire into and report on whistleblowing protections in
the Australian Government public sector. The committee tabled its report, Whistleblower
protection: A comprehensive scheme for the Commonwealth public sector, in the House of
Representatives on 25 February 2009.
The government agreed fully or in part to all but four of the 25 recommendations in its
response released in March 2010. The Commission contributed to the government response,
which was prepared by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Clarifying the role of new agency heads
In May 2009, the Commissioner released an information paper to portfolio secretaries, Roles
and responsibilities of Australian Government statutory office agency heads. Since July 2009,
the paper has been provided to six new APS agency heads as part of the Commissioner’s
‘welcome letter’, which also includes a range of tailored information and publications to assist
new agency heads in their role.
Merit-based selection of APS agency heads and statutory office holders
The policy and guidelines Merit and transparency: Merit-based selection of APS agency heads
and APS statutory office holders was released in February 2008 and revised in February 2009.
During 2009–10, 47 positions were filled in accordance with the new policy and guidelines. The
Commission provided assistance to agencies in implementing the guidelines, including finding
suitable panel representatives, and supported the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner in
performing their responsibilities. The current list of positions covered by the policy (and of
specific offices that are excluded) is available on the Commission’s website.
Improving the employment framework
Whole-of-government ICT strategic workforce plan 2010–2013
Flowing from the 2009 Gershon ICT Review, the Commission established a whole-ofgovernment ICT career structure and a whole-of-government strategic ICT workforce plan. The
ICT workforce plan provides a high-level overview of the issues affecting the ICT workforce and
strategies to address the future human capital needs of ICT employment in the APS. Using this
framework, agencies will be better able to plan for, develop and manage a qualified, satisfied
and flexible ICT workforce, while providing an attractive career path for ICT professionals within
the APS. See page 29 for more information.
Recruitment advertising policy and website
The Commission received funding in the 2008–09 Additional Estimates for the measure
‘recruitment advertising policy and website’. To support this measure, the Commission is
conducting an evaluation of recruitment advertising to closely monitor the impact, if any, the
Guidelines on Recruitment Advertising are having on the efficiency and effectiveness of
agencies’ recruitment advertising.
The evaluation seeks to gain an understanding of how and where potential employees become
aware of vacant positions, and to consider how efficient the various advertising sources are at
providing the best candidates. Two surveys have been conducted that evaluated data from
recruitment advertisements in June and July 2009 and March 2010.
A report on the first survey has been made available to agencies. A final survey will collect data
from September 2010 recruitment advertisements.
Review of the SES
Mr Roger Beale AO, a distinguished former public servant, has been engaged to guide, advise
on and oversee a review of the size and growth of the SES. Work is also in hand to revise the
work level standards and capability expectations of the SES, assisted by a consultancy that has
been awarded to Mercer LLC. Temporary caps on the number of SES have been agreed for all
agencies until the SES review has been completed.
A new ICT workforce plan and career structure
On 29 April 2010, the Minister for Finance and Deregulation, the Hon Lindsay Tanner MP, and
Cabinet Secretary and Special Minister of State, Senator the Hon Joe Ludwig, announced the
release of a new ICT workforce plan and career structure.
In line with the Gershon Review, the new plan provides a framework for agencies’ people
management processes and for the career planning of ICT professionals across the APS.
The goal of the ICT workforce plan is to develop a strategic APS-wide understanding of the
relationships between demography, labour markets, skill shortages, branding, attraction and
retention.
Priority actions include:




continuing to focus on workforce planning to support the identification of capacity and
capability requirements for critical ICT jobs
improving the way that agencies attract and retain ICT employees, through targeted
recruitment campaigns to attract key talent
building on the work underway to attract more women, Indigenous Australians and
people with a disability into the ICT workforce
focusing on investing in the development of people to respond to the identified needs
of agencies and the APS.
The workforce plan provides a high-level overview of the issues affecting the ICT workforce and
strategies to address the future human capital needs of ICT employment in the APS.
To ensure the ICT workforce plan continues to meet the needs of agencies across the whole of
government, the Commission will canvass the views of key agency and industry stakeholders as
the plan and structure are implemented, evaluated and updated.
The plan and career structure are underpinned by an ICT capability framework, which is built
upon an internationally recognised ICT capability model—the Skills Framework for the
Information Age.
The career structure assists employees to plan their ICT careers in the APS. It is available to all
APS agencies and employees in an interactive online format. The online portal—Career
Navigator—contains a number of tools, including an ICT capability assessment and links to
learning and development options. The structure will also assist agencies to develop consistent
job profiles.
Employment Policy Adviceline
The Commission’s Employment Policy Adviceline continued to provide advice and information
to APS agencies’ human resources areas and senior managers. This advice included guidance
about recruitment, termination of employment and redundancy.
The Adviceline received 1,887 phone calls and emails covering 2,024 subjects in 2009–10. Some
callers had inquiries that covered more than one subject area. Table 7 provides a three-year
breakdown of Adviceline inquiries by main category.
Table 7: Main categories of Employment Policy Adviceline inquiries, 2007–08 to 2009–10
Inquiry categories
2007–08 2008–09 2009–10
Agency head/statutory office holder selection
na
19
14
Staffing matters
933
831
813
General legislative issues
135
136
134
Separations
190
218
215
Conditions/entitlements
351
398
193
Review matters
88
161
75
APS Values/Code of Conduct
265
225
102
Workplace diversity issues
29
42
31
SES matters
50
86
95
Mobility/reciprocal mobility with other jurisdictions
35
23
24
Competencies/qualifications
6
8
5
Other
402
524
323
Total
2,484
2,671
2,024
na = not applicable.
As well as providing guidance to agencies, the Commission analyses the queries to inform policy
direction on employment matters.
Public servants and the workplace relations environment
The Commission continued to work with the Department of Education, Employment and
Workplace Relations (DEEWR) on a range of issues arising out of the introduction of the Fair
Work Act 2009 and its impact on the APS, including:


the implications for APS redundancy arrangements of the new Notice of Termination
and Redundancy Pay element of the National Employment Standards under the Fair
Work Act
reviewing the supporting guidance on the Australian Government Employment
Bargaining Framework.
As part of APS bargaining arrangements, DEEWR provided the Commission with copies of draft
agency enterprise agreements and collective determinations under section 24(1) of the PS Act
for review against the requirements of the Bargaining Framework. In 2009–10, the Commission
reviewed 127 industrial instruments (124 enterprise agreements and three section 24(1)
collective determinations) to ensure that they included compulsory redeployment, reduction
and retrenchment provisions and did not enhance existing redundancy provisions. One
hundred and three assessments were conducted within the agreed five-day assessment period;
delays in reviewing the remaining assessments were due to the complexity of the matters dealt
with in the agreements and the changes to the Bargaining Framework as a consequence of the
introduction of the Fair Work Act.
Table 8 shows the number of assessments conducted by the Commission over the last three
years, including the percentage that were conducted within the agreed period of five working
days.
Table 8: Agreement and determination assessments, 2007–08 to 2009–10
2007–082008–09 2009–10
Number of instruments received
45
100
127
Number (and percentage) of reviews conducted within agreed
period
40
(89%)
93
(93%)
103
(81%)
On 4 May 2010, the government agreed to the transfer of the function for Australian
Government policies for agreement-making, classification structures, APS pay and employment
conditions, work level standards and workplace relations advice from DEEWR to the
Commission. The transfer took place on 1 July 2010.
Merit Protection and other services
The Merit Protection Commissioner’s functions are set out in section 50 of the PS Act. The
Merit Protection Commissioner and the Commissioner have a memorandum of understanding
for provision of staff necessary to assist the Merit Protection Commissioner in performing her
statutory functions.
The Commission’s move to a new structure from 1 July 2010 involved centralisation of the
Merit Protection Commissioner’s functions in Sydney.
A report on the performance of these functions is contained in the Merit Protection
Commissioner’s annual report in Part 4.
Statistical/information services
To support a high-performing APS, the Commission collects and analyses workforce statistics.
This assists the Commission in identifying significant workforce challenges for the APS, and
helps agencies to develop and benchmark their workforce planning strategies. The Commission
maintains the APS Employment Database (APSED), which is the central information source on
trends in APS employment.
APSED is an important tool for ensuring cross-service accountability, especially for the State of
the Service Report. It is also used as the sampling frame for the State of the Service employee
survey and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander APS employee census.
APSED is also used for research. A particular focus in 2009–10 was APS-wide research into
classification levels and the composition of the SES. This research was used as the basis for
work commenced as part of the Blueprint—for example, determining the SES cap and providing
details for the SES appointments survey. A range of APS data was also provided to the
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development for a comparative publication.
APS Statistical Bulletin
The APS Statistical Bulletin 2008–09 provides a snapshot of APS-wide staffing as at 30 June
2009, and of staff movements during 2008–09. The bulletin also provides summary data for the
past 15 years, and contains information useful to agencies in benchmarking themselves against
APS-wide trends. It is distributed to all APS agency heads, state and territory public service
commissioners, New Zealand’s State Services Commissioner and leading public and tertiary
education libraries. It is available in hard copy and electronically on the Commission’s website.
In 2009–10, due to the large number of errors generated by agency data, an audit was initiated
to look at the capture and processing procedures of the APSED team. The audit’s objectives are
to identify areas where data can be processed more efficiently and recommend corrective
action where necessary. The audit is expected to be completed early in the next financial year.
Enhancing APSED
Enhancements have been made to the way in which leave without pay and maternity leave
data is stored on APSED. This data had been underutilised because of data quality issues and
the complex way in which it was stored on APSED. The changes aim to provide better quality
data as well as enable easier analysis. The enhancements are expected to be completed early in
the next financial year.
Revised APSED data specifications were released in June 2008. The new specifications have
seen considerable improvements in data quality from agencies. This has resulted in the
generation of fewer errors as data is loaded into APSED, and fewer queries for agencies to
resolve.
However, there are still some agencies that have yet to implement the revised specifications. At
the end of January 2010, just under a third of agencies were still sending data based on the old
specifications, which causes problems with data consistency.
Improving APSEDII
The APSED Internet Interface (APSEDII) promotes better practice in workforce planning and
benchmarking by enabling users to produce data similar to that published in the APS Statistical
Bulletin. APSEDII users can also produce cross-tabulation data and download the results for
further manipulation. Some 108 users in 46 agencies can access more detailed information on
APSEDII through a secure logon and password procedure. This level of access allows designated
users to examine unit record information for employees in their agency in order to improve
workforce planning and enhance data quality. In 2009–10, more than 3,500 queries were run.
Research and evaluation
The Commission’s research and evaluation activities inform its work to help the APS achieve
best practice public administration and deliver more effective services to the Australian
community. The Commission pursues research and evaluation activities through:
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statistical assessment of APS performance
comprehensive annual surveys of APS operations and employee attitudes
public administration research, both Australian and international
production of speeches and presentations for the Commission’s Executive.
These activities equip the Commission to assess the capacity of the APS and its employees to
meet government objectives, advise on long-term future challenges for the APS and its
leadership, and develop guidance and recommendations for change. The research and
evaluation work also enables the Commission to learn from, and benchmark, APS performance
against that of comparable overseas public sector jurisdictions.
State of the Service Report
Under section 44(2) of the PS Act, the Commissioner is required to report annually on the state
of the APS. The State of the Service Report 2008–09 was tabled in parliament in November
2009. The report highlighted four new themes for the APS as a whole—building workforce
capability, leading for the future, working with others to shape a stronger future, and building
trust.
Survey reports
The Commission also produced two associated publications: the State of the Service Employee
Survey Results 2008–09, which provided the results of the employee survey in a collated,
aggregated form; and the State of the Service Report 2008–09: At a Glance pamphlet, which
contained a summary of findings. All three publications are available on the Commission’s
website.
Following the success of agency-specific employee survey reports in previous years, the
Commission again provided these reports to heads of all agencies with at least 400 employees.
These reports summarised the agencies’ own employee responses, as well as employee
engagement results, and compared these with the APS-wide results. Statistically valid
differences were marked appropriately. Small and medium-sized agencies were provided with a
benchmark summary of all similarly sized agencies.
Data sources
In compiling the report, the Commission drew upon diverse and complementary data sources.
These included the Commission’s own research and databases (particularly APSED), published
and unpublished material from other agencies, Australian National Audit Office reports and,
where available, comparable data from other Australian and international jurisdictions.
The Commission also conducted two surveys that contributed to the report:
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The agency survey provided information on a wide range of management and capability
issues in agencies with 20 or more APS employees. The Commission conducted the
agency survey online and achieved a response rate of 100% from the 95 agencies in
scope.
The employee survey, sent to about 9,500 randomly selected APS employees, provided
data on employee attitudes to, and understanding of, a variety of issues, including
work–life balance, job satisfaction, working with external stakeholders, the APS Values
and Code of Conduct, diversity, individual performance management, and harassment
and bullying. The 2009 survey had a high response rate, for a voluntary survey, of 66%.
State of the Service Report 2008–09: Future challenges
The 2008–09 State of the Service Report provided valuable insight into the capacity of the APS
to meet the challenges facing Australia in the 21st century. This assessment provided an
important evidence base for the report on APS reform (the Blueprint) released in March 2010.
The 2008–09 State of the Service Report’s findings indicated a high level of commitment by APS
employees, who embraced the vision and direction of their organisation and are motivated to
make a difference. It also highlighted five key challenges that needed to be addressed if the APS
is to be well positioned to meet future demands. These challenges are:
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improving collaboration across boundaries
building leadership capability
attracting and retaining appropriately skilled staff
fostering employee engagement
embedding the APS Values framework.
The Blueprint identified four key areas of reform designed to meet these challenges and to
develop a high-performing public service that:
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meets the needs of citizens
provides strong leadership and strategic direction
contains a highly capable workforce
operates efficiently and at a consistently high standard.
Future State of the Service reports will be an important evidence source for assessing how well
the APS is performing in these key areas.
Evaluation
To evaluate readers’ perceptions of the 2008–09 State of the Service Report, a short
questionnaire was made available through the Commission’s website. The questionnaire asked
readers for general impressions of the report, the usefulness of the chapters and any additional
comments. The feedback—from 161 respondents—was generally positive. Around 90% of
respondents agreed that the report is a valuable resource and that the information is well
presented and easy to understand.
Planning for next report
One of the key considerations in the development of the 2009–10 report has been to assess the
capability of the APS to meet the demands of an increasingly challenging environment in order
to become a world leader in public administration.
Particular focus was given in the 2010 employee survey to employee engagement, interactions
with ministers and collaboration across government. The survey, which was in the field for a
month, achieved a response rate of 64%. Consistent with the approach taken in 2009, agencies
with at least 400 employees will be provided with a copy of their results, benchmarked against
the results for the APS as a whole, in December 2010.
The agency survey also included a focus on these issues, but from an employer perspective. It
examined areas such as agencies’ leave management practices, succession management
strategies and other workforce planning activities. It was administered online to agencies in
early June for completion by mid-July 2010.
Review of Australian Government administration
In September 2009, the then Prime Minister established an Advisory Group to review Australian
Government administration and identify reforms.
The Commission contributed to the work of the Advisory Group in a number of ways:
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by providing two seconded staff (one at SES level) to the secretariat taskforce to the
Advisory Group; this taskforce operated within the Department of the Prime Minister
and Cabinet
supporting the Commissioner’s role as a member of the Advisory Group
supporting the Deputy Commissioner’s role as a member of the Internal Reference
Group
providing research and policy options papers as input to the Advisory Group’s
deliberations
providing a submission to the Advisory Group which proposed a new and increased
emphasis on human capital, workforce planning and capability management in the APS
and substantial change to the responsibilities of the Commission in these areas.
The Advisory Group’s March 2010 report—the Blueprint—is the product of the group’s
deliberations and recommends 28 reforms to the APS (see pages 9–10 for details).
Implementation progress
The Commission is responsible as lead agency for conducting a citizen survey and agency
capability reviews which will examine the full range of institutional capability to assist
secretaries and agency heads to improve their organisations’ capability and performance.
Initial work involved developing project implementation arrangements, and scoping the
methodology for conducting the survey and the reviews in the context of the Blueprint’s
findings.
Towards a new synthesis in public administration
The Commission is partnering with the Victorian State Services Authority and the Australian and
New Zealand School of Governance to represent Australia in an international research project.
As part of the project, the Commission developed a case study on Australia’s new cooperative
federal financial framework, focusing on outcomes for citizens. The case study was presented
at an international roundtable in Canada in May 2010.
Management Advisory Committee
The Commission continued to assist the Management Advisory Committee (MAC). The
committee, which was established under section 64 of the PS Act, is chaired by the Secretary of
the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, with the Commissioner as its executive
officer.
During 2009–10, a MAC project team conducted an inquiry into public sector innovation. Its
final report, Empowering change: Fostering innovation in the Australian Public Service, was
released on 21 May 2010. This was the ninth—and final—MAC report. Secretariat support for
the inquiry was provided by the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research. The
Deputy Commissioner was a member of the Project Steering Committee and State of the
Service Report data was used in the project team’s analysis of workforce capability.
The MAC has been replaced by a Secretaries Board. This new leadership forum comprises
portfolio secretaries and the Commissioner, and is supported by an expanded senior leaders
forum—the APS 200. The Commission will take over the responsibility for secretariat support to
both these forums in the coming year.
Public Service Commissioners’ Conference
The Public Service Commissioners’ Conference is held twice a year. The conference is a crossjurisdictional forum for Commonwealth, state and territory public service commissioners and
New Zealand’s State Services Commissioner. The conference provides opportunities for
commissioners to discuss contemporary challenges in public administration. It also serves as a
forum for exchanging information and sharing experience.
The Commission provides secretariat and research support to the conference.
Sub-program 1.2: Development programs and
employment services
Summary
Components
The sub-program consists of:
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employment services
international assistance and organisations
leadership services
program delivery
national/international programs
Indigenous employment
promote better practice.
Objectives
The Commission’s objectives under this sub-program in 2009–10 were to:
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continue to develop and offer leadership, learning and development programs that
build knowledge, capabilities, skills and behaviours that departments and agencies
require of their employees in the modern APS environment
continue to develop and present leadership and development programs which
challenge and stretch current and future APS leaders’ thinking about approaches to
leadership, cooperation and collaboration in pursuit of improved service delivery
support leadership excellence through international programs and work with the states
and territories on public sector educational training needs
deliver the APS Employment and Capability Strategy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Employees, including supporting APS agencies to increase employment and
retention of Indigenous employees in the APS; build skills and capabilities of Indigenous
employees; and improve the representation of Indigenous employees across agencies
build APS capability to provide more effective service and program delivery
analyse and provide advice on better practice service delivery, talent management and
succession planning
continue to provide a range of services to APS employees and agencies to help them
meet their legislative responsibilities.
Priorities
To achieve these objectives, the Commission’s corporate plan identified the following priorities
for 2009–10:
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design and deliver leading-edge programs and events to support leadership
development for the SES and its feeder group and reinforce the concept of an SES
leadership cadre
develop new thinking and innovative approaches to learning, professional development
and qualification pathways through enhanced use of research, evaluation, links with
academia and best practice
become a centre of excellence in ideas and practice for public sector leadership
development, by extending our capacity and depth of expertise through strategic
alliances and developing a pool of associates
support the work of the Ethics Advisory Service by building on current programs and
develop products that support the government’s ethics agenda
research and develop approaches to best practice human resource management
implement whole-of-government recruitment programs for Indigenous Australians and
support agencies in the development of Indigenous employees through the design and
delivery of tailored and structured programs
design and deliver employment and strategic human resource–related services
nationally, to assist agencies in managing their workforce needs in a collaborative and
contemporary way.
Achievements
During 2009–10, the Commission:
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continued to make a strong contribution to the government’s long-term policy direction
for building capability in the APS, and supporting the contemporary leadership and
workforce needs of the SES and feeder groups
developed a new and innovative framework for the Leadership across borders program
by taking on the role of initial host country and providing participants with a significantly
enhanced community experience that demonstrated health policy in practice
strengthened relationships with the tertiary sector and SES leaders through a series of
alumni events for past participants of the Commision’s flagship leadership programs
undertook an in-depth external survey of participants at our key leadership programs
and commissioned research into program models to build future capability in strategic
policy leadership
promoted innovation in our learning delivery through successful redesign of the
Executive Level Leadership Network events and the launch of new expertise products in
briefing ministers, developing cabinet submissions and ICT awareness
built new strategic alliances with universities to expand our approaches to program
design and delivery
as a registered training organisation, continued to deliver Graduate Certificates in Public
Sector Management through the Public Sector Management Program in conjunction
with Flinders University and developed several new agency-specific programs leading to
certificate or diploma-level qualifications
published the SES census, which identified the SES capabilities that will be required over
the next five years and the need to rethink current strategies for the long-term learning
and development of the SES
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conducted the Ethics hypothetical for 354 participants, the highly successful A taste of
government seminar for 800 graduate entrants to the APS, the Candid reflections
program for 280 participants, and the Great APS graduate debate, attended by 700
participants
established a Disability Steering Group, which shares improvements in recruitment and
retention policies and practices, and redeveloped the website page on disability issues
with improved information for people with disability and employers, including access to
the Ability at Work suite of publications
conducted a second census of Indigenous APS employees to canvass and record their
views on a range of issues, including the pathways to employment, work–life balance,
job satisfaction, people management, and learning and development opportunities
assisted agencies in the redeployment of change-affected employees through the
Career Transition and Support Centre, and other career advisory services
assisted agencies to conduct a variety of recruitment activities using streamlined
processes which resulted in merit-based employment decisions.
Key performance indicators
Table 9 summarises sub-program 1.2 performance against its key performance indicators for
2009–10.
Table 9: Summary of sub-program 1.2 performance against key performance indicators, 2009–
10
2009–10
Key performance indicator
Target
(%)
Actual
(%)
Responding surveyed participants consider that the Commission
programs have equipped them with the knowledge and skills they need 85
in order to perform their roles more effectively
89
Responding surveyed participants consider that the Commission program
85
learning objectives were met effectively
87
Responding surveyed participants agreed that attending Commission
programs and/or events assisted in building their awareness of issues,
developments and priorities to enable them to work more effectively
85
90
Responding surveyed participants agreed that attending Commission
leadership development activities increased their leadership skill,
capability and knowledge
85
na
Note: These are new performance indicators introduced in the 2009–10 Budget, so no trend
information is available.
Program deliverables
Table 10 summarises sub-program 1.2 performance against its deliverables for 2009–10 and the
previous two years.
Table 10: Summary of sub-program 1.2 performance against deliverables, 2007–08 to 2009–10
Deliverables
2007–08 2008–09
Actual
2009–10
Actual Target
Actual
Seminars and forums delivered (page 46)
144
127
125
131
Leadership programs delivered (page 46)
na
51
55
55
Agencies using the capability development panel
(formerly known as the leadership learning and
development panel) to deliver training (page 57)
40
60
30
60
APS 1–6 and Executive Level programs delivered
(pages 55–6)
2,371
801
735
603
Agencies engaged through at least one scheduled
event, activity or network focused on leadership (page 90%
46)
73%
75% 78%
New SES attending orientation program (page 48)
69%
38%
80% 42%
SES and Executive level programs were rated 5 or 6 on
a 6-point scale for relevance, usefulness and
84%
administration and coordination (page 46)
88%
85% 88%
Panel services were rated 5 or 6 on a 6-point scale for
91–
how well the program was delivered and coordinated
100%
(page 57)
97%
85% 94%
Accreditation services were rated 5 or 6 on a 6-point
scale for delivery, administration and coordination
(page 60)
83–92% 85% 90%
nm
Fee-for-service employment related services (page 43) 886
430
530
451
Better practice forums developed and offered (page
63)
81
76
75
81
Responding participants attending better practice
forums, give rating of 5 or 6 on a 6-point scale for
achieving objectives, program content, quality of
presenters or relevance, usefulness and high quality
AchievedAchieved 85% na*
* Given the nature of better practice forums, the data is no longer collected.
na = not available; nm = new measure.
Employment services
The Commission provides a range of employment services to APS employees and agencies to
help them meet their legislative responsibilities.
The Commission also delivers a job seeker website (APSjobs.gov.au) and statutory services,
including advising the SES on staffing matters and machinery of government changes.
SES engagements, promotions and termination of employment casework
The Commissioner has a number of responsibilities in relation to SES staffing arrangements,
including endorsing selection exercises, agreeing to amounts proposed to be paid as incentives
to retire under section 37 of the PS Act, and termination.
In 2009–10, 234 selection exercises were submitted for the Commissioner’s consideration, all of
which were endorsed. There were 64 section 37 retirements with an incentive agreed, which is
almost identical to the previous year’s total of 65 cases. These cases were spread across 30
agencies.
Before an SES employee’s employment can be terminated under one of the grounds listed in
section 29(3) of the PS Act, the agency must request the Commissioner to issue a certificate
under section 38 of the PS Act, certifying that the Commissioner is satisfied that the
requirements of the Commissioner’s Directions have been met and the termination is in the
public interest. The Commissioner issued one such certificate in 2009–10 allowing an agency
head to proceed with the termination of an SES employee. A certificate issued by the former
Commissioner in 2008–09 was rescinded on procedural grounds as a result of a Federal Court
challenge by the SES employee.
Senior Executive Service advisory service
The Commission’s SES adviser provides SES employees across the APS with an avenue to seek
advice from a senior member of the Commission about employment matters. Such discussions
are generally confidential.
In 2009–10, 59 queries were raised with the SES adviser (79 in 2008–09).
In addition, all members of the Commission’s Executive provide advice to SES employees and
agency heads on sensitive employment matters. SES employees can also call the EAS if they
have questions about the interpretation of the APS Values or ethical decision-making.
Machinery of government changes
The Commission managed 15 machinery of government changes in 2009–10. The most
significant changes included:
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the establishment of the new Fair Work institutions (Fair Work Australia and the Office
of the Fair Work Ombudsman)
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the establishment of two new APS agencies—the Australian Transport Safety Bureau
and Safe Work Australia
the movement of energy efficiency and renewable energy functions from the
Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts to the renamed
Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.
The Commission prepared and executed the necessary legislative instruments to give effect to
these machinery of government changes to meet the timeframes set by the government and by
individual agencies.
Ensuring leadership continuity
As part of managing talent at the senior levels of the SES, the Commissioner met each
departmental secretary to discuss the quality of Band 3 and high-performing Band 2 employees
in each portfolio.
SES Notes
SES Notes is a quarterly newsletter provided online and by email. It serves as one of the
principal means of disseminating information to all members of the SES. It provides views and
information from the Commission and other contributing agencies on current developments
and leadership issues relevant to the SES. The content focuses on whole-of-government issues
as well as other topics of relevance to the SES. The Commissioner sent out five issues of SES
Notes during the year. Topics covered included:
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integrity in relationships with ministers, their offices and lobbyists
innovation in the public sector
employment of people with disabilities
the national compact with the third sector.
Career Transition and Support Centre
In May 2008 the Commission established the Career Transition and Support Centre (CTSC) to
assist agencies with the redeployment of excess staff. The underpinning redeployment
principles—agreed by agencies—were to retain critical skills within the APS, maintain agency
performance and minimise the effects of change on excess staff.
Since its inception the CTSC reported 306 referrals from 46 participating agencies. While the
number of referrals was less than anticipated, it was pleasing that many agencies had
developed systems and procedures to manage change-affected staff without CTSC intervention.
Since May 2008, 129 of the 306 referrals (42%) had been redeployed through the centre.
Fourteen were redeployed within their home agency and 91 accepted voluntary redundancy.
A measure of the CTSC’s success is the increased level of cooperation between agencies, and
the informal arrangements that now exist between change-affected agencies and those seeking
to acquire staff.
Specific funding for the CTSC expired on 30 June 2010. The Commission will continue to assist
agencies with change-affected staff by providing career advice on a fee-for-service basis.
Fee-for-service employment-related matters
In 2009–10, the Commission continued to provide employment services covering a range of
activities to agencies on request. These services are provided on behalf of the Commissioner
and Merit Protection Commissioner. The services include activities relating to the recruitment
and selection of staff. Other fee-for-service employment activity centred on career counselling,
mediation and provision of best practice advice.
In total 451 (430 in 2008–09) employment-related requests were received and actioned during
the financial year, using a national team of non-ongoing, part-time staff. A feature of 2009–10
has been the upsurge in requests for Commission expertise in large-scale employment and staff
realignment activities.
The employment services activity has provided an insight into agency human resource
management and practice, and has enabled the Commission to partner with agencies to
implement faster, more streamlined approaches to APS recruitment and allied employment
policy matters.
From September 2010, employment services will be managed nationally out of the
Commission’s Sydney office.
APSjobs—the electronic APS Employment Gazette
The Commission’s Public Service Gazette—APSjobs—is an online employment portal for the
APS. APSjobs has a user-friendly search system for job seekers and other users interested in a
career in the APS. It notifies the public of all employment opportunities, recruitment outcomes
and other APS employment decisions. Fifty editions of APSjobs are published each year. APSjobs
is a cost-recovery activity.
In 2009–10 the number of notices lodged decreased by 8.29% compared to the number lodged
in 2008–09 (see Table 11). This result is attributable in part to a change in the pattern of
employment strategies, with many agencies using bulk recruitment campaigns, mobility
registers and merit lists to fill vacancies.
Table 11: Comparative number of gazette notices lodged, 2006–07 to 2009–10
Number of notices lodged Percentage difference on previous year
2006–07 58,044
–
2007–08 55,418
–4.52
2008–09 41,670
–24.81
2009–10 38,214
–8.29
There was an increase in registered users to over 130,000, and interactive email alerts for job
seekers were regularly sent to over 5,000 users per week. There was also an increase in use by
agencies of the site’s featured recruitment campaign area to advertise opportunities.
Agency support of [email protected] increased, with a total of 36 agencies now participating in the
initiative. The number of candidates registered with the campaign has reached 4,523, giving
agencies a significant database of suitable finance and accounting professionals from which to
fill vacancies.
The Commission is looking to re-invigorate APSjobs as the central portal for employment in the
APS in 2010–11.
Career expos and trade fairs
The Commission actively promoted the APS as an employer of choice, and provided resources
such as Cracking the code and the APSjobs website, at various career expos and employment
trade fairs. The Commission attended the CeBIT Australia expo in Sydney in May 2010, and
participated in Centrelink’s National Jobs Expos in 2009. Commission staff provided various
marketing materials to promote careers in the APS to many universities across Australia and at
various career fairs.
International assistance and organisations
The Commission supports the objectives of the Australian Government in building public sector
capacity throughout the Asia–Pacific region—particularly in the Pacific, Papua New Guinea and
Indonesia—and partners with AusAID to deliver programs that support these objectives.
The Commission also works with other whole-of-government partners, the Australia and New
Zealand School of Government, and the Commission’s New Zealand government partners to
assist countries in the region to build their public sector capacity.
The Commission actively engages in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and
Development (OECD) Public Governance Committee and the Board of the Commonwealth
Association of Public Administration and Management, as well as sharing information and
knowledge on public sector reform by hosting visiting delegations.
Supporting public sector reform in the Pacific
The Commission undertook a number of activities during the year to support public sector
reform in the Pacific. These included:
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contributing to capacity building in 14 Pacific Island countries and assisting partner
governments in their progress towards building better governance
attending the 2009 Pacific Public Service Commissioners’ Conference, and providing
guidance and support to the host country and its regionally based secretariat
facilitating the Pacific Human Resource Managers Network and coordinating its fourth
annual conference

providing training opportunities for 31 Pacific officials at senior and middle
management levels.
Supporting public sector reform in Papua New Guinea
The Commission assists building capacity in the PNG public service as part of the Papua New
Guinea – Australia Partnership for Development. The Commission’s activities are funded by
AusAID.
Achievements in 2009–10 included:
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simplification of the PNG public service code of conduct and the development of a draft
set of values for consideration
development of a customised version of the vocational qualification Certificate IV in
Training and Assessment for delivery in Papua New Guinea
delivery of the pilot Certificate IV in Training and Assessment program successfully to 29
participants at the PNG Institute of Public Administration.
Supporting public sector reform in Indonesia
Since 2006, the Commission has assisted Indonesia with civil service reform under the
Government Partnership Fund administered by AusAID. Two Jakarta-based Commission staff
provide regular policy and technical advice to assist Indonesian agencies in achieving long-term
and sustainable reform.
Achievements in 2009–10 included:
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the trialling of human resource management policy reforms, including merit-based
recruitment and promotion processes, in central agencies
provision of training to support trialling and implementation of competency standards
the development of a blueprint to propose reforms for the Indonesian Government’s
second phase of bureaucratic reform (2010 to 2014).
International forums and visits
In 2009–10, the Commission participated in a number of international forums, including the
Singapore Human Capital Summit in September 2009. These forums provide opportunities to
share information on contemporary public administration issues including governance, public
sector reform and challenges for all public sectors.
The Deputy Commissioner attended the 40th and 41st OECD Public Governance Committee
meetings in Paris in October 2009, where she was elected Vice Chair, and April 2010. While
attending the April meeting, the Deputy Commissioner also met with senior government
officials in the United Kingdom to discuss a range of issues relating to APS reform.
The Merit Protection Commissioner attended the International Business and Leadership
Symposium in Brussels and visited Canada, the Netherlands and France to discuss a range of
issues with senior government officials in October and November 2009.
Visits by overseas delegations
Twenty-four international delegations visited the Commission during the year to discuss issues
relating to public sector reform and the Commission’s roles and responsibilities. The visitors
were from Bangladesh, Canada, China, Denmark, The Gambia, Hungary, India, Iraq, Japan,
Kenya, Korea, Lao, Nepal, the Netherlands, South Africa, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam.
Leadership services
Throughout 2009–10, the Commission continued to make a strong contribution to the
government’s long-term policy direction for building capability in the APS, and supporting the
contemporary leadership and workforce needs of the SES and feeder groups in a challenging
policy environment. Strategies included training, briefings and support in qualification
attainment.
The Blueprint recommends that the Commission establish and operate a Leadership
Development Centre overseen by an Advisory Board. It proposed that the Commission would
develop an annual learning and development strategy, in consultation with the board based on
the Human Capital Plan across four broad elements of learning and development. In response,
the Commission has established the Strategic Centre for Leadership and Development. This
centre has a remit to address these recommendations of the Blueprint and also to promote and
in some instances practice talent management across the APS. To promote a strong alignment
between this work and the strategic human capital priorities of the APS (as understood by the
Secretaries Board) an Advisory Board has been established comprising the Commissioner, four
members of the Secretaries Board (Dr Jeff Harmer AO, Ms Robyn Kruk AM, Mr Finn Pratt PSM
and Dr Ian Watt AO) and two members drawn from the commercial sector (Mr Chris Blake of
Australia Post and Ms Ann Sherry AO of Carnivale Australia).
Senior Executive Service programs and forums
The Commission delivers a number of residential and non-residential leadership programs for
SES Band 1 to 3 officers that address a range of development needs. The programs held in
2009–10 are summarised in Table 12.
Table 12: Senior Executive Service programs and forums, 2009–10
Program title
Content/focus
No. Attendance
Leadership
mastery
This program tests the ability of current SES Band 3 officers to
engage with peers and eminent practitioners about key issues
facing them as leaders and forge collaborative and effective
relationships to achieve results in complex situations
1
16
Leading across
boundaries
This program strengthens the development of ‘whole-ofgovernment’ leadership capabilities for SES Band 2 officers
2
38
New leadership
horizons
This program assists SES Band 1 officers who have been appointed
in the past three years to gain confidence in their new roles and
leverage their experience to make a significant contribution to their
organisation and across the APS
3
43
Transforming
leadership
This program is designed for SES officers with three or more years’
experience at Band 1 level and aims to enhance leadership
capability by helping participants to identify, share and leverage
their considerable experience in the APS
3
42
SES breakfast
seminar series
These seminars provide a forum for participants to interact with
speakers and colleagues on contemporary issues that often lie
outside their areas of direct responsibility and to discuss matters
that span major areas of public debate
5
278
SES update
forum
These forums provide an opportunity for SES officers to keep up-todate with major changes that affect the APS and the environment it
operates in
2
70
SES Band 3
forum
This forum offers the opportunity for peers to come together from
different agency contexts to explore and further their
understanding of issues that affect the APS
2
54
Participants on these courses are surveyed as part of a continuous improvement approach to
the Commission’s leadership programs. In 2009–10, 90% of those responding agreed that
attending Commission programs and events assisted in building their awareness of issues,
developments and priorities to enable them to work more effectively.
Evaluation is routinely undertaken at all stages of the program design, development and
delivery process. In addition, in 2009–10, the Commission engaged an independent research
body to conduct a comprehensive survey of participants’ views on the Commission’s suite of
SES leadership residential programs. The evaluation process included a survey of almost 50% of
2008–09 residential program participants. The evaluation report indicated that the SES
residential programs were meeting the needs of participants. The evaluation report made a
number of recommendations to improve the programs and these are under consideration,
together with a more comprehensive analysis of the Commission’s current suite of programs
that has been commissioned.
In response to feedback from agencies, extensive research into the development of strategic
policy leadership was conducted by external consultants in 2009. This research will be used to
develop initiatives to build agency capability in the strategic policy development area into the
future.
SES orientation
In 2009–10, the Commission offered two SES orientation programs—one focused on SES
promoted within the APS and the other tailored specifically for lateral recruits to the SES. Both
programs provide senior executives with information and networking opportunities to help
them operate effectively in the APS environment. Topics covered include accountability,
governance and the relationship between ministers and the APS. The program for lateral
recruits to the SES also addresses the different needs of this group by exploring the complexity
of the APS operating environment, interactions and the regulatory and legislative imperatives.
During 2009–10, the Commission delivered 11 SES orientations to 167 senior executives. Two
SES orientations for lateral recruits were delivered to 16 senior executives.
While the percentage of new SES attending these programs continues to be less than optimal
(42%), there are a number of reasons for this, including busy work schedules, previous
experience in the SES and in the APS, and comprehensive induction at the agency level.
However, more needs to be done to increase attendance at these programs to support the
aspiration of a unified SES.
Connections: insights from the front line
In October 2009 the Commission developed the Connections program to facilitate short
workplace visits by SES Band 3 leaders to front-line service delivery agencies. The program
provides participants with the opportunity to gain an enhanced understanding of citizens’
experiences and needs when accessing government services and support and the challenges of
implementing policy and regulations.
Participants are sponsored by their agency and itineraries are individually tailored by host
agencies. In 2009–10 participants visited agency state offices, major international airports,
service delivery shopfronts, detention centres and rural and Indigenous communities.
Both Connections participants and the host agencies have strongly indicated the program is
highly successful and is valued by all stakeholders involved. Host agencies have benefited from
discussions with senior policy leaders, and senior policy leaders have shared their observations
and reflections and explored options around continuous improvement with both operational
managers and policy employees upon their return to their policy agency.
Broader leadership activities
Expertise development programs
The Commission offers programs to assist the SES and feeder groups to develop their
knowledge and skills in specific areas. These programs assist participants to embrace new roles,
responsibilities and professional challenges. Two new programs, Briefing ministers and
Developing cabinet submissions, were offered to build the capability of senior public servants to
effectively support the needs of ministers and the government.
The programs held during the year are summarised in Table 13.
Table 13: Expertise development programs, 2009–10
Program title
Content/focus
No. Attendance
Briefing ministers
This program involves participants in real-life briefing
scenarios that simulate the high-pressure and high-stakes
nature of ministerial briefing
5
67
Developing cabinet
submissions
Aimed at SES and EL 2s, this program provides insight and
techniques to prepare cabinet submissions that clearly
advocate, articulate and meet the government’s goals
8
103
Learn to be an effective
coach
This practical workshop seeks to enhance the
communication, coaching and mentoring skills of senior
leaders in the APS
2
23
3
51
11
60
Mastering your financial This program is aimed at SES who are new to the public
environment
service or who need to refresh their knowledge in the area
of financial compliance
Preparing to appear
before parliamentary
committees
This program focuses on building confidence, public
presentation skills and personal communication skills to
support executives who may appear at Senate Estimates
hearings
Leader to leader series
The Leader to leader series enables the heads of public sector agencies and their equivalents to
present and share their views on APS-wide challenges and the need to address emerging policy
and reform agendas. Seven Leader to leader events attracted 604 people during the year.
Speakers and topics were:

Chris Richardson, Director of Access Economics, ‘The global financial crisis—An
alternative view’






Kerry Schott, Managing Director of Sydney Water, ‘Infrastructure provision in good and
bad economic times’
John Hinshaw, Chief Information Officer and Vice President, Information Technology,
The Boeing Company, ‘Leveraging IT to drive productivity and innovation’
Roel Bekker, Former Secretary General of Government Reform in the Netherlands,
‘Reforming public service in Europe: An OECD study’
Jonty Olliff-Cooper, Senior Researcher and head of the Progressive Conservatism
Project, Demos, UK, ‘Why the public sector must reform’
Ann Sherry AO, CEO of Carnival Australia, ‘Future proofing: The case for strategic human
capital planning’
Thérèse Rein and the Hon Bill Shorten MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and
Children’s Services, ‘Inspire, include, recruit—The business of ability’.
New directions: Ministers’ views
The New directions: Ministers’ views series provides the opportunity for agency heads and
feeder groups to hear directly from ministers on policy perspectives and expectations about
policy implementation in a whole-of-government context.
Two events were held in 2009–10 with a total of 206 people attending:


Senator the Hon Joe Ludwig, Cabinet Secretary and Special Minister of State, ‘Setting
the agenda on accountability and integrity’
Senator the Hon Nick Sherry, Assistant Treasurer, ‘Advice to Ministers: Sources, content
and value’.
Ethics hypothetical
On 25 March 2010, 354 people attended a special event to promote the ethics agenda in the
APS.
The event was conducted as a panel discussion of ethical challenges for the public service and
public servants on the theme ‘The practice and ethics of disaster response’. It was based
around a hypothetical scenario that addressed the organisational and personal challenges of
policy development and implementation. The hypothetical was facilitated by leading educator
and broadcaster Mr Peter Thompson.
Executive Level Leadership Network
The Executive Level Leadership Network (formerly the Leadership Development Network)
consists of an annual forum and breakfasts for Executive Level staff. The network provides
opportunities for information sharing and developing strong communities of interest. The
Commission coordinates and currently chairs the network.
Speakers and topics in 2009–10 included:




Ms Amanda Horne, Executive Coach and Founding Member, Positive Workplace
International, ‘Green shoots leading—Positive psychology in the workplace’ (130
participants)
Mr Phil Minns, Deputy Secretary, Department of Defence, ‘Building a positive
employment culture in large and diverse organisations’ (98 participants)
Mr James Adonis, Managing Director, Team Leaders, ‘Generation why: Managing
diversity in the workplace’ (127 participants)
Mr Carl Murphy, Assistant Secretary, People Management Branch and Ms Leanne Elliott,
Assistant Director, Leadership Development, People Management Branch, Department
of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, ‘Innovations in leadership
development’ (86 participants).
The network’s annual forum was held in June 2010 and attracted 178 people. The topic for the
2010 forum was ‘The APS Reform Blueprint—Working together to get ahead of the game’.
Career Development Assessment Centre
The Career Development Assessment Centre assesses the leadership capability and
development priorities of high-performing Executive Level 2 staff from across the APS. This is
one of the Commission’s key strategies for strengthening the SES feeder group.
There were 12 sessions run during the year, with 141 participants attending from 48 agencies.
Regional events
The Commission’s area offices maintain a strong facilitation role in promoting effective
leadership with senior staff in the regions through various groups and activities. This work is
primarily done through engagement with the Australian Government Leadership Network in
each state, which are supported by the Commission.
The purpose of these networks is to support senior leaders of the APS by providing a forum for:






leadership development
exchange of innovative thinking, ideas, knowledge and experiences
peer support and collegiality
facilitation of whole-of-government approaches to public sector activities
member contributions to the development of local and strategic public sector initiatives
reducing the impact of geographical isolation from national offices.
Events include monthly forums and annual conferences that address these themes.
Speakers at the 2009–10 annual conferences brought a wealth of knowledge and experience of
contemporary issues facing the public service which they shared with conference participants.
Speakers included:

Mr Terry Moran AO, Secretary, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet






Senator the Hon Joe Ludwig
Professor John Wanna, Sir John Bunting Chair of Public Administration, Australian
National University
Ms Olya Booyar, General Manager, Content, Citizen and Consumer Division, Australian
Communications and Media Authority
Mr Andrew Podger, National President, Institute of Public Administration Australia
Ms Karen Curtis, Privacy Commissioner
Professor Peter Shergold AC, Macquarie Group Foundation Professor, Centre for Social
Impact, University of New South Wales.
In addition, the Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner and other senior Commission staff
delivered briefings on the 2008–09 State of the Service Report in regional areas. In conjunction
with these briefings, meetings were also held with senior staff in the regions, providing an
opportunity for discussion of the government’s agenda and public sector reform.
Other regional events during the year included:



delivery of Better practice series workshops relating to areas of recruitment, workforce
planning and attendance
International Women’s Day celebrations
presentations by the Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
and the Public Service Commissioner on the Blueprint, which were held in nine regional
locations in May and June 2010.
Special event— 25th anniversary of the SES
On 26 November 2009, the Commission held an event to commemorate the 25th anniversary
of the creation of the SES. This event celebrated an important moment in the history of the
APS, reflected on 25 years of leadership and marked achievements, and looked forward to the
challenges ahead. The event was attended by 330 SES.
Mr Terry Moran AO, Secretary, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and Mr Michael
Keating AC, former Secretary, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (1991–96), were
guest speakers.
Mr Moran launched two publications on behalf of the Commission:


a factual account of the origins of the SES, from Federation to the present
the findings of a survey of the current SES in which they were asked to scan the horizon
and comment on the medium-term future of the APS, taking a five-year timeframe.
In launching the publications Mr Moran noted that the creation of the SES had been critical to
Australia’s success story. It had helped to produce a flexible and adaptable class of apolitical
and professional public servants who serve and are responsive to the government of the day.
These attributes remain critical in today’s rapidly changing devolved environment which
demands organisational agility and responsiveness and a flexible approach to public
administration.
The Acting Public Service Commissioner, Ms Carmel McGregor, also noted that APS leaders will
face greater economic uncertainty, higher citizen expectations, increasing policy complexity,
more rapid technological change and a tighter labour market. These challenges will require the
SES leadership group to develop new capabilities and lead their staff in new ways of working—
cross-agency, cross-jurisdictional and cross-sector.
Integrated Leadership System
The Integrated Leadership System describes the leadership capabilities and behaviours
expected of employees at all APS levels. It underpins all of the Commission’s development
programs and contains a range of specific tools to help agencies and individuals implement it in
their workplaces.
The Commission provided information sessions and presentations on the system to a variety of
forums during 2009–10. In particular, 16 training and familiarisation sessions were delivered to
staff at all levels in a range of agencies, including IP Australia, the Department of Defence and
the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
Program delivery
During 2009–10, the Commission continued to work in partnership with APS agencies to build
capability by strengthening the knowledge, skills and experience of non-SES employees.
Approaches taken included the delivery of a suite of core technical skill and leadership
programs, offered through public calendars and tailored in-house delivery.
Induction and graduate programs
APS induction
The APS induction program equips employees with a broad understanding of the APS
relationship with the Australian Government, the parliament and the public. The program aims
to provide them with the wider contextual knowledge they need to be effective public servants.
The APS induction e-learning modules are accessible either directly from the Commission’s
website or by downloading to an intranet site or learning management system. The
Commission also offers APS induction as a facilitated half-day training program.
Graduate development
Development of graduates remained an important focus for the Commission during the year.
The annual A taste of government seminar and Candid reflections from inspiring APS leaders
program, complemented by the APS 1–6 development programs, were once again popular with
graduate recruits. Agencies continue to view these events and programs as an important
element of a well-rounded graduate year in the APS.
This year’s A taste of government seminar attracted increased interest, with a record number of
800 graduates attending. The Cabinet Secretary and Special Minister of State, the Hon Joe
Ludwig; the Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Mr Terry Moran
AO; and the Commissioner presented the seminar.
The 2010 Great APS graduate debate involved two teams of selected APS graduates debating
the topic ‘Citizen-centred service delivery is a cinnamon doughnut: a hole lot of nothing’. An
expert panel including Ms Felicity Hand, Deputy Secretary, Department of Immigration and
Citizenship; Mr Blair Comley, Deputy Secretary, Department of Climate Change and Energy
Efficiency; and Mr Andrew Tongue, Deputy Secretary, Department of Families, Housing,
Community Services and Indigenous Affairs adjudicated, resulting in a highly entertaining and
energised debate, with the team for the negative being declared the winning side.
Following the success of the Small Agencies Graduate Development Program in 2009, the
Commission launched a whole-of-government program in 2010. One hundred and nineteen
graduates from 11 agencies are participating in the program. The 11-month program includes
23 face-to-face training days, a major project, ongoing assessment, an individual coaching
session, and application of psychometric tools. The program culminates in a formal project
presentation and an awards ceremony, where the graduates are presented with their Diploma
of Government.
Programs and activities for non-SES employees
APS 1–6 programs
The Commission provides a comprehensive and coordinated suite of leadership, learning and
development programs, events and services for APS 1–6 employees. These programs support
APS employees in developing the capability to deliver on government priorities, objectives and
outcomes.
In 2009–10, the most popular public calendar programs were:






Essential writing for APS 1–4 levels
Essential writing for APS 5–6 levels
Strategic thinking
Policy formulation and advice: Introduction
APS job applications and interview skills: Applying for jobs up to the APS 6 level
Minute taking skills.
The Commission delivered 168 programs in Canberra, which attracted 2,746 participants.
Executive Level programs
The Commission provides Executive Level employees with learning and development programs
that build core APS knowledge and capabilities and address development needs relevant to the
SES feeder group. Program areas include people management, leadership and financial
management, communication, stakeholder engagement, strategic thinking, policy
development, self-development, and governance and regulation.
In 2009–10, the Commission delivered 93 Executive Level programs in Canberra, which
attracted 1,577 participants.
The most popular programs were:



Shaping strategic thought
EL 1 transition
Essential writing for Executives.
The Commission also provides a number of residential and non-residential programs for
Executive Level employees. Table 14 summarises the programs offered in 2009–10.
Table 14: Executive Level residential and non-residential programs, 2009–10
Program title
Content/focus
No. Attendance
Executive leadership This program focuses on practical aspects of leadership in the
dimensions
APS and provides an opportunity for participants to reflect on
their professional role and the contemporary behaviours
needed to be a highly effective EL 2 leader
6
117
APS professional
practical leadership
This program has been designed for EL 1s who currently
manage or will soon manage a small to medium-sized team.
The program has a focus on contemporary thinking about how
to manage performance in a public sector environment
4
90
The professional
public service: An
EL 1 master class
This program has been designed for EL 1s who wish to fine tune
and advance their strategic thinking and policy advising skills in
the context of a contemporary APS
4
85
In-house program delivery
In addition to public calendar programs, the Commission offers in-house delivery of core
programs to meet the particular needs of agencies in a flexible and cost-effective manner.
These are usually delivered to an agency in its own training or meeting rooms.
The programs can be tailored to address agency-specific challenges and procedures. Facilitators
delivered 272 core programs around Australia in 2009–10 (99 in the ACT and 173 in regional
areas). The two most popular programs in 2009–10 related to APS job applications and
interview skills and the APS Values and Code of Conduct.
Table 15 provides a summary of programs and activities for non-SES employees in 2008–09 and
2009–10.
Table 15: Summary of programs and activities for non-SES employees, 2008–09 and 2009–10
Program
2008–09
2009–10
ACT APS 1–6
162
168
Focus on people
10
1
ACT Executive Level
102
93
Executive Level 1 residential
1
4
Executive Level 1 non-residential
2
4
Executive Level 2 residential
4
4
Executive Level 2 non-residential
3
2
ACT in-house deliveries
126
99
Regional programs calendar and in-house deliveries
382
243
Panel services
The Commission’s capability development panel currently includes more than 220 leading
corporate management consultancy firms with public and private sector expertise. The
Commission, through the panel, customises programs and services to meet specific needs of
agencies.
The key benefit for agencies that access the Commission’s panels is a reduction in cost and
greater efficiency in procuring services. The panels satisfy the Commonwealth Procurement
Guidelines and therefore obviate the need for agencies to undertake time-consuming and
costly tender processes. Agencies also have the confidence that the consultancy firms on the
panels have been rigorously assessed against their key areas of expertise and are subject to
ongoing quality assurance through regular evaluations. Table 16 provides details of panel
service programs delivered from 2007–08 to 2009–10.
To complement new methods of program development and delivery, the Commission also has
an e-learning support and solutions panel. This panel is made up of 22 specialist e-learning
firms.
Table 16: Panel service programs presented, 2007–08 to 2009–10
Program
No. of programs presented
2007–08 2008–09 2009–10
Writing skills
122
181
147
Leadership/management skills
220
162
150
Procurement and contract management60
72
54
Project management
45
63
78
Coaching services
71
96
64
Policy
135
51
20
E-learning services
0
25
25
Other consultancy services
756
554
560
Total
1,491
1,204
1,098
National and international programs
The Commission continued to support leadership excellence through the development, delivery
and coordination of international and national programs for staff at all levels in the APS.
Accredited learning programs leading to nationally recognised qualifications were accessible by
all APS employees, and a range of study tours were available for senior executive members.
International programs
Leading Australia’s future in Asia
The Leading Australia’s future in Asia (LAFIA) program brings together senior executives from
the Australian, state and territory public services to increase their understanding of significant
drivers of change in the region. The study programs include meetings with government officials
and business and community leaders. LAFIA aims to:



provide background and context for the international dimension of senior executive
responsibilities
enable senior executives to respond strategically to changes in the Asia–Pacific region
develop networks and contacts among Australian participants and with their overseas
equivalents.
The Crawford School of Economics and Government at the Australian National University
provides the academic content for the program.
In 2009–10 the Commission led two LAFIA programs—one to the Pacific and one to Asia.
Thirteen senior leaders undertook a two-week study tour of Papua New Guinea, Samoa and
Vanuatu. Ten senior leaders undertook a three-week study tour of China and South Korea.
Leadership across borders—A four country program
The Leadership across borders—A four country program is an international leadership initiative
designed for senior public leaders working within a Westminster system.
The program aims to challenge and shape a new generation of public service leaders. In
particular, the program enables participants to:




enhance their leadership skills in dealing with complex public service issues that cross
jurisdictions
acquire fresh ideas and new ways of thinking about common public service challenges in
order to deliver results
compare best practices among the four countries in dealing with the modern public
service environment
develop strong networks of senior public service leaders across four countries.
The Commission (also representing New Zealand), the Canada School of Public Service and the
United Kingdom National School of Government have collaborated to create this program. With
week-long modules in each of the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, the program creates
a unique network of high-potential senior leaders covering both hemispheres.
The inaugural program was held in February 2008. The 2009 program attracted 12 Australian,
two New Zealand, 13 Canadian and 13 United Kingdom SES Band 2 (or equivalent) participants.
The 2010 program attracted 13 Australian, 14 Canadian, 11 United Kingdom and two New
Zealand SES Band 2 (or equivalent) participants.
National programs
Australia and New Zealand School of Government
The Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) is a first-tier professional
school established collaboratively in 2002 by a consortium of Australian and New Zealand
governments, universities and business schools to assist in developing the skills of future public
sector leaders.
The Australian Government is a foundation member of ANZSOG. Dr Ian Watt, Secretary of the
Department of Defence, became the government’s representative on the ANZSOG board in July
2008. Dr Ken Henry, Secretary to the Treasury, continues as chair of the ANZSOG Research
Committee.
Since 2003, the Commission, in consultation with other agencies, has supported ANZSOG to
ensure it meets APS needs by providing high-quality, high-profile programs that represent value
for money. Each year, the Australian Government selects leaders and potential leaders to
participate in ANZSOG’s annual flagship teaching programs:

the 2009 Executive Fellows Program, a three-week residential for SES Band 2 and Band 3
officers, attracted 74 participants from Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and
Malaysia, of whom 13 (18%) were from the APS

the 2010 Executive Masters of Public Administration, a two-year part-time program for
high-performing Executive Level 2 officers and equivalents, attracted 128 students, of
whom 27 (21%) were APS employees.
Public Sector Management Program
The Public Sector Management Program instills in mid-level managers (APS 6 to EL 2 and their
equivalents) an understanding of what it means to work collaboratively across the three tiers of
government. The program helps participants to develop a greater understanding of the public
sector operating environment. It also explores the broad context of the three tiers of
government and the political and legal institutions and structures that authorise their activities.
The program provides an opportunity for participants to establish networks across agencies.
In 2009–10, the Commission continued to coordinate Commonwealth, state and territory
governments’ participation by providing secretariat services to a board of management that
oversees the strategic direction of the program.
The Commission also delivers the program in the Australian Capital Territory. Seventy-seven
participants from the Commonwealth and ACT governments enrolled in the Public Sector
Management Program during 2009–10, 17 more than forecast.
Registered training organisation status
The Commission began operating as a registered training organisation from 1 July 2008. As a
registered training organisation, the Commission offers accreditation services in the
qualifications of:






Certificate IV in Government
Certificate IV in Government (Injury Rehabilitation Management)
Certificate IV in Training and Assessment
Diploma of Government
Diploma of Government (Management)
Diploma of Government (Contract Management).
There are currently 284 APS employees undertaking qualifications through the Commission,
and 221 employees completed qualifications in 2009–10.
The Commission worked closely with several agencies during the year to tailor and adapt
qualifications and assessment options to meet agency-specific needs. For example, the
Commission worked with the Department of Human Services to provide a Diploma of
Government (Management) qualification pathway to 120 team leaders in the Child Support
Program.
The Commission also commenced providing a Diploma of Government qualification to 16 New
South Wales–based staff from various agencies under the NSW Department of Education and
Training Productivity Places Program.
Indigenous employment
Increasing Indigenous representation in employment and reducing the overall level of
disadvantage among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are essential elements of the
Australian Government’s agenda. The National Partnership Agreement on Indigenous Economic
Participation aims to increase levels of Indigenous employment and help Indigenous Australians
participate in the broader economy in order to ‘close the gap’ between Indigenous and nonIndigenous Australians.
The agreement provides for a review of public sector Indigenous employment and career
development strategies to increase Indigenous employment across all classifications to reflect a
national Indigenous working-age population share of at least 2.6% by 2015. The Australian
Government has committed to a target of 2.7% for the public sector workforce.
In the 2009–10 Budget, the APS Employment and Capability Strategy for Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander Employees (the Strategy) was allocated funding of $6 million over three years for
the continuation of the Strategy to 30 June 2012. The Strategy aims to deliver increased
employment and retention of Indigenous employees in the APS; build the skills and capabilities
of Indigenous employees; and improve the representation of Indigenous employees across
agencies.
Target for Indigenous representation
The Commission continued to collaborate with DEEWR to help agencies enhance their existing
recruitment strategies and develop alternative techniques to increase engagements and
improve retention of Indigenous people.
During 2009–10, the Commission:


provided advice on a range of issues, including existing practices and forums
appropriate to the distribution of information to APS agencies about the
implementation of the target for Indigenous representation
worked with DEEWR to analyse agencies’ submissions regarding their plans for
increasing Indigenous representation in their workforces.
Review of the Strategy
The Commission continued to promote the initiatives under the Strategy to other APS agencies
and supported them to develop agency-specific Indigenous employment strategies that will
meet their business needs.
Since its implementation, the Strategy has succeeded in stabilising Indigenous representation in
the APS, which was at 2.1% at 30 June 2009. During 2009–10, the Commission refocused the
objectives of the Strategy to:

attract more Indigenous Australians to the APS and facilitate pathways to their
employment through the Commission’s centralised recruitment programs



provide current Indigenous employees with opportunities for skills and career
development across APS agencies, including staff in regional and remote areas
assist agencies to create and maintain supportive and culturally respectful workplaces
to ensure Indigenous employees’ positive experience in the APS and improve retention
rates
support employers to enhance their own skills and those of their agency in working with
and sustaining Indigenous staff.
The Commission’s publication Building an Indigenous employment strategy—A starter kit for
APS agencies continues to be a cornerstone for this element of the Commission’s work.
Indigenous APS employees’ census
The Commission conducted a second census of Indigenous APS employees in October–
November 2009 to canvass and record the views of Indigenous APS employees on a range of
issues, including the pathways to employment, work–life balance, job satisfaction, people
management, and learning and development opportunities. The 2009 census report is available
on the Commission’s website.
The findings were compared with the results from the 2005 census, as well as with those from
the State of the Service Report 2008–09. The Commission is working with agencies to develop
robust strategies in response to the key findings. This will assist agency contributions to
achieving the target for Indigenous representation and the government’s ‘closing the gap’
agenda, particularly in terms of workforce planning and career development strategies.
Pathways into APS employment
In 2009–10, the Commission worked in partnership with around 50 agencies to provide
targeted recruitment programs under the pathways to employment program, which includes
opportunities for Indigenous graduates, cadets and trainees. This approach provides costeffective avenues for agencies to attract and recruit from a wider pool of applicants. A
comprehensive marketing campaign, involving increased engagement with universities, schools
and other key stakeholders such as Job Services Australia providers, has resulted in an
increased number of applications for the 2011 intakes. In 2009–10:


32 graduates were employed in 17 agencies
45 cadets were employed in 16 agencies.
Supporting Indigenous employees
The Commission continued to provide support to Indigenous employees through a range of
development and networking opportunities:

the Indigenous career trek program delivers learning and development opportunities to
support career development and advancement for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
employees at all levels in the APS. In 2009–10, 458 Indigenous employees participated
in this program



Indigenous APS Employees Networks (IAPSENs) are run by Indigenous employees for
Indigenous employees, with membership spanning a wide range of classification levels
across Australia. In 2009–10, the Commission supported two meetings of IAPSEN chairs
to discuss common issues to ensure the continued success of IAPSENs
the third National Indigenous Employees Conference is being organised for late 2010.
The conference provides a forum for APS-wide issues to be discussed and workshopped
among Indigenous employees
the APS Indigenous Alumni Network provides opportunities for new and previous
graduates, cadets and trainees to share their knowledge, insights and experiences.
Supporting employers
Working collaboratively and providing support for agencies continues to be a priority under the
Strategy. In 2009–10, the Commission partnered with over 70 agencies to develop programs
and strategies to assist with recruitment, training and retention of Indigenous staff. Two key
elements of that support are the Commission’s Indigenous Liaison Officer and the Indigenous
Employment HR Coordinators Forum.
Indigenous Liaison Officer
The Commission’s Indigenous Liaison Officer contacted every agency identified in the 2008–09
State of the Service Report as not having an Indigenous employment strategy to provide advice
and support on developing agency-specific Indigenous employment strategies.
Indigenous Employment HR Coordinators Forum
This forum brings together human resource practitioners who have responsibility for
Indigenous employment strategies for their agency. Meetings are held quarterly. The key role
of the forum is to provide opportunities for agencies to share information on Indigenous
employment strategies and initiatives and help members increase their skills in and knowledge
and understanding of APS Indigenous employment issues.
Promote better practice
The Commission continued to support agencies to improve strategic people management
practices and overall organisational capability, providing better practice advice and information
on key challenges facing the APS.
Workplace diversity—employment of people with disability
The Commission continued to promote and provide best practice advice to agencies regarding
the recruitment and retention of people with disability. In its annual State of the Service
Report, the Commission continues to monitor and report on agencies’ implementation of the
objectives of Management Advisory Committee Report No. 6, Employment of people with
disability in the APS.
The Commission established a Disability Steering Group for human resource practitioners
across the APS, which develops and shares improvements in recruitment and retention policies
and practices for application by agencies. The Commission’s website page on disability issues
has also been redeveloped with improved information for people with disability, employers and
disability employment service providers, including access to the Ability at Work suite of
publications.
A virtual APS Disability Network has been created online for use by APS staff using GovDex tools
provided by the Department of Finance and Deregulation. This allows documents such as
agency disability plans to be centrally located. It takes advantage of existing and user-generated
content to share, create and promote successful practices and experiences in a protected and
secure online environment.
The Commission also organised events promoting the employment of people with disability in
the APS. On 17 May 2010, Ms Thérèse Rein and the Hon Bill Shorten MP, Parliamentary
Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services, spoke at an event targeted to APS senior
executives about focusing on the capabilities, skills and talents that people with disability can
bring to the APS, and the need for the APS to take a leadership role in this area.
Supporting forums and networks
Heads of Corporate Forum
The Heads of Corporate Forum combines the Commission’s previous Corporate Management
Forum and DEEWR’s Heads of Corporate Meeting. Membership in the forum is open to SESlevel heads of corporate (or their equivalent) in APS departments and agencies. The role of the
forum is to provide frank exchange between APS heads of corporate at the SES level, by
encouraging the open flow of ideas, identifying significant issues for discussion and providing
opportunities for members to further develop peer relationships. The forum met three times
during 2009–10.
HR Directors Forum
The HR Directors Forum is open to human resources directors and managers in APS
departments and agencies. The role of the forum is to provide an opportunity for human
resource professionals to meet colleagues from other departments and discuss whole-ofgovernment issues at the executive level. The forum met four times during the year.
Part 3 Management and accountability
This part provides an overview of the Commission’s approach to corporate governance and the
management of its resources.
Achievements
The Commission’s activities continued to be delivered against the background of a tight
budgetary climate, pressures on the Commission’s fee-for-service activities and ongoing
organisational change directed towards improved efficiency and effectiveness and better
service delivery.
In 2009–10, the Commission:






completed negotiations to establish a new enterprise agreement, which commenced on
2 October 2009 and expires on 30 June 2011, delivering modest salary increases to staff
introduced revised work level standards for APS and Executive Level classifications
bedded down a major ICT infrastructure transition to leverage DEEWR’s well-established
ICT infrastructure
completed the redevelopment of the intranet to take advantage of improved
knowledge management capabilities
revised its fraud control plan, records management plan, business continuity plan,
environmental management plan and sponsorship policy
implemented an e-recruitment system which enables potential employees to apply for
advertised positions at the Commission through a streamlined process via the web.
Corporate governance framework
The Commission’s outcome and anticipated use of resources are set out in its Portfolio Budget
Statements and corporate plan. Actions to achieve the Commission’s outcome are detailed in
group business plans and individual performance agreements, which provide the framework for
staff compliance and accountability.
Enabling strategies
The Commission’s Corporate Plan 2009–10 identified priorities for the Commission’s enabling
strategies to:




develop and implement workforce planning strategies that position the Commission to
be agile and responsive
build leadership capability, including by broadening individual roles and active talent
management
build an integrated client and communications unit to develop strong client engagement
strategies, systems and feedback loops
work actively with agencies, including building communities of interest, to influence and
provide services that meet their business and operational needs.
The Commission’s corporate governance framework brings together all the components
necessary to manage and monitor the achievement of the Commission’s outcome.
The Commission’s corporate governance framework is described in Figure 3.
Figure 3: Corporate governance framework, 2009–10
Corporate committees
The Executive establishes the directions and work program of the Commission and directs the
agenda for the Commission Management Committee. The Executive approves business plans
and budgets and determines senior staffing matters. It meets regularly as a group on a needs
basis.
Five advisory committees support the Executive in its management and accountability role.
Commission Management Committee
The Commission Management Committee is chaired by the Commissioner and comprises the
Executive, Group Managers, and the Principal Adviser Review and Legal. The committee meets
weekly and is the forum for scoping strategic challenges and direction and for providing
information updates about Commission activities.
Audit Committee
The Audit Committee is established in accordance with the Financial Management and
Accountability Act 1997 and its responsibilities are detailed in the Audit Charter. The committee
met five times in 2009–10.
In accordance with the Audit Charter, the committee reviewed the charter in 2010 and agreed
to a number of minor changes.
Information Technology Advisory Committee
The Information Technology Advisory Committee is responsible for guiding and managing the
Commission’s information services and oversees the development and implementation of the
Commission’s information and communication technology strategy. The committee meets on a
bi-monthly basis.
Workplace Relations Committee
The Workplace Relations Committee is responsible for advising the Commissioner on the
implementation and development of the Commission’s enterprise agreement. The committee
met three times in 2009–10.
Occupational Health and Safety Committee
The Occupational Health and Safety Committee is responsible for advising the Commissioner on
the administration of the Commission’s occupational health and safety policies and practices.
The committee met four times in 2009–10.
Other governance arrangements
Following the government’s agreement to the Blueprint recommendations, the Commission set
up a Project Management Office and an Internal Change Management Team to support its new
work agenda and the development and implementation of a new structure.
Project Management Office
The Project Management Office was formed to help develop a more disciplined project
management regime in the Commission to support its significant new work agenda in
implementing the recommendations from the Blueprint. A Project Management Steering
Committee oversees implementation of the Commission’s reform projects.
Internal Change Management Team
The Internal Change Management Team was set up to manage the significant internal change
process within the Commission and the transition to a new organisational structure. As part of
its communication strategy, the team established a change management forum on the
Commission’s intranet to keep staff informed of developments, seek comments from staff and
respond to any questions that arose.
Risk management framework
The Commission’s risk management framework is reviewed each year and consists of:



a risk management statement from the Commissioner, which is published on the
Commission’s external website
a risk management policy
a risk assessment handbook.
The Commission continued to participate in Comcover’s annual risk management
benchmarking survey. In 2009–10, the Commission again received an overall rating higher than
the all-agencies average and received a further increase in the discount on its Comcover
insurance premium for 2010–11.
Commission plans
Corporate plan
The Commission’s strategic priorities for 2009–10 were:





supporting the APS to be ready for the future
embedding the government’s ethics and integrity agenda
strengthening our engagement with clients and ensuring delivery around their needs
driving agency performance and capability
leading by example.
These strategic priorities are reflected in specific objectives and deliverables under the
Commission’s two sub-programs and group business planning. All involve a whole-ofCommission approach. Progress against these strategic priorities is monitored quarterly by the
Commission Management Committee.
Fraud control plan
In late 2009, the Commission revised its fraud control plan.
The Commission’s Fraud Control Plan 2010–11 complies with the Commonwealth Fraud Control
Guidelines and meets the Commission’s obligations in fraud prevention, detection,
investigation, reporting and data collection.
Business continuity plan
In 2009–10, the Commission reviewed its business continuity plan.
The plan’s objective is to maintain the continuity of essential services by the Commission as far
as is practicable and to minimise the impact on clients of any disruption to the availability of
services. The plan provides practical assistance and guidance to staff on how to ensure that the
Commission is able to resume normal business operations following a disaster and is reviewed
regularly.
Environmental management system
In 2009–10, the Commission revised its environmental management system.
The Commission aims to minimise the use of non-renewable resources. Significant activities
include continuing to use recycled paper products for most work activities, maximising the
benefits from energy-saving devices, and undertaking purchasing with energy efficiency in
mind. Appendix F provides details of the Commission’s environmental performance.
Reconciliation Action Plan 2007–10
The Commission recognises that as a central agency involved in development of employees,
leaders and the culture of the APS, it is vital that we take a leadership role in reconciliation with
Indigenous people.
The specific objectives of the reconciliation action plan are:


to establish a culturally competent, diverse and inclusive organisational culture within
the Commission
to promote, influence and lead the embedding of a culturally competent, diverse and
inclusive organisational culture across the APS.
The Commission will review the plan in its final year of operation and develop a plan for future
years.
Client engagement
The Corporate Plan 2009–10 proposed that the Commission would build an integrated client
and communications unit to develop strong client engagement strategies, systems and
feedback loops.
As part of its new structure, the Commission has established a Client Engagement Group with
responsibility for working collaboratively with agencies and building the organisation’s
capability.
Compliance and accountability
During 2009–10, the Commission revised its:




records management plan
business continuity plan
environmental management plan
sponsorship policy.
Ethical standards
The Commission supports a culture of a strong commitment to the APS Values. Activities in
2009–10 included:




incorporating references to the relevant APS Values in management policies, guides and
instructions released during the year
providing information to new staff at induction about the APS Values and Code of
Conduct
assessing behaviour consistent with the APS Values through the performance appraisal
scheme
dealing promptly with allegations of staff misconduct.
Internal audit
In October 2008, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu was engaged as internal auditor for a period of two
years, with the option of two one-year extensions at the end of the second year.
The Commissioner in March 2009 approved the strategic internal audit plan covering the years
2009–10 to 2011–12. The 2009–10 internal audit plan included audits of the:



APS Employment and Capability Strategy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Employees (performance)
APS Employee Database (performance)
financial process (data analytics).
As at 30 June 2010, the Indigenous employment strategy and APSED audits were in progress,
and the financial process audit had been completed.
During 2009–10, the following performance audits were completed and the Commission is
implementing the accepted recommendations:


Stakeholder Engagement Framework (2008–09)
Review of better practice alignment with a focus on workforce planning/succession
planning and leadership, learning and development (2008–09).
External scrutiny
Reports by the Auditor-General
There were no reports into the operations of the Commission by the Auditor-General in 2009–
10. Reports of general application are considered by the Commission’s Audit Committee.
Court and tribunal decisions
There were no judicial decisions or decisions of administrative tribunals that have had a
significant impact on the operations of the Commission. However, the Commission was
involved in legal proceedings that generated some interest in the media. The case concerned
the termination of employment of an SES employee from another government department. In
April 2010, consent orders were entered into which set aside the relevant termination decisions
on the basis of jurisdictional error. As a result, the employee was reinstated.
People management
The Commission’s people management approach combines workforce planning strategies,
recruitment plans and a remuneration framework that rewards performance, with a strong
performance management system, a safe working environment, and learning and development
strategies that provide an environment where our staff can excel.
Staff profile
At 30 June 2010, the Commission employed 193 staff, excluding Executive Level 1 casual
employees employed in the Commission’s area offices who provide fee-for-service work. Of
these 193 staff, the majority were based in Canberra (93%), and 175 were employed on an
ongoing basis.
More detailed information about the Commission’s workforce is set out in Appendix G.
Notable trends in the Commission’s staffing are:




the proportion of women working in the Commission at June 2010 declined to 69.9%
compared with 73.6% at June 2009
the proportion of employees identifying as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
descent increased from 4.1% at June 2009 to 5.7% at June 2010
the proportion of staff identifying as having a disability at June 2010 increased slightly to
6.7% compared with 6.4% at June 2009
five Senior Executive Service staff were employed at 30 June 2010, including one
AusAID-funded staff member deployed overseas.
Workforce planning
The Commission’s workforce requirements are identified each year as a key component to
business planning that flows from the corporate plan. Strategies are developed to address
identified skill gaps and inform recruitment processes.
In addition, the Blueprint recommended a number of substantial additions and changes to the
responsibilities of the Commission in 2010–11 and beyond (see pages 9–10 for a summary of
the report’s recommendations). Many of these lead to both an increase in the number of
Commission staff and changes in capability needs.
The Commission has developed a workforce transition plan for 2010 that addresses the
immediate capacity and capability issues arising from the Commission’s restructure following
the release of the Blueprint. A more detailed workforce plan for 2011–13 is also in development
to support longer-term business planning and risk mitigation.
Recruitment strategy
The Commission’s recruitment strategy is informed by a workforce planning strategy and
governed by a recruitment policy.
The workforce policy provides that before any recruitment action, consideration should be
given to alternatives such as redesign of workflows, restructuring of the work area or
redistribution of duties to other staff. Where duties are still available, the appropriate
classification is determined using the Commission's work level standards as a guide before
taking any recruitment action.
In 2009–10, the Commission introduced an e-recruitment system that enables potential
employees to apply for advertised positions at the Commission through a streamlined process
via the web.
In 2009–10, the Commission recruited two graduates and supported one Indigenous cadet and
one Indigenous trainee.
Remuneration framework
The new Fair Work Act 2009 took effect on 1 July 2009. This Act provides the framework for
agreement-making processes.
During the year, the Commission finalised negotiations to establish a new enterprise agreement
which commenced on 2 October 2009 and expires on 30 June 2011. The new agreement
delivered modest salary increases to staff and addressed several issues relating to staffing
matters.
The salary ranges for the Commission’s classification levels covering the enterprise agreement
and section 24(1) determinations are set out in Table 17.
Table 17: Salary ranges, 2007–08 to 2009–10
2007–08
($’000)
Classification
2008–09
($’000)
2009–10
($’000)
APS 1–2
34–44
36–45
37–47
APS 3–4
46–54
47–56
49–58
APS 5–6
56–70
59–74
60–75
EL 1
75–93
78–97
83–100
EL 2
87–115
90–127
105–132
SES 1
120–155
135–161
149–168
Note: During 2009–10 the Commission employed one SES Band 3 employee not included in this
table.
There are grandfathered pay points in the EL 1 and EL 2 classifications that are available only to
employees on the relevant salary immediately prior to commencement of the enterprise
agreement.
Performance management
The Commission’s performance appraisal scheme directly links annual assessment of individual
performance with remuneration. The scheme integrates corporate, group and individual
performance with Commission strategic priorities, providing a basis for identifying individual
development needs and, where necessary, management of poor performance.
The scheme provides that staff who are eligible for assessment and review and who achieve a
rating of 2 or 3 may be eligible for performance-based salary advancement.
The new enterprise agreement and section 24(1) determinations no longer provide for the
payment of performance bonuses.
In July 2009, the Commission paid $96,796 in performance bonuses to 24 employees covered
by Australian workplace agreements or section 24(1) determinations for the 2008–09
assessment cycle.
Details of payments made to staff in 2009–10 are provided in Table 18.
Table 18: Performance payments made in 2009–10
Classification No. of staff No. receiving Total payment ($) Average payment ($)
Range ($)
APS 1-6
105
1
2,250
2,250
1,500–3,000
EL 1
70
8
23,000
2,875
2,000–3,000
EL 2
34
12
44,250
3,688
3,000–5,500
SES
7
3
27,296
9,099
4,240–21,620
Note: These amounts represent payments for the 2008–09 performance cycle and were paid in
July 2009.
Health and lifestyle
The Commission launched its Health, Safety and Wellbeing Program in 2009–10. The aim of the
program is to increase staff awareness of health, safety and wellbeing issues and provide
opportunities for staff to participate in a number of wellbeing activities.
More information about the program is in the Commission’s report on occupational health and
safety at Appendix C.
Learning and development strategies
The Commission identifies learning and development needs of staff annually through the
performance appraisal scheme. This information is used to develop a learning and development
strategy for the Commission that draws on a range of leadership and learning interventions
including the Commission’s own programs.
The Commission spent $302,000 on learning and development activities across all categories in
2009–10.
Unscheduled absences
The Executive and senior management continued to monitor unscheduled absences and to
focus on providing early intervention services and support to staff to return to work. The
Commission’s overall unscheduled leave increased from 10.33 days per employee in 2008–09
to 11.31 days per employee in 2009–10.
Information and communication technology
The Commission’s ICT infrastructure services are provided under a memorandum of
understanding with DEEWR.
The Commission continues to develop and support in-house applications.
The Blueprint made a number of recommendations that require an information technology
response by the Commission to effectively achieve the outcomes proposed by the report. These
include:



establishing a central portal for the management of graduate applications and the
reinvigorating of APSjobs to encourage and assist employees to pursue diverse work
opportunities to develop their capability
identifying appropriate information technology systems to collect reliable and sufficient
data about APS employees, including the SES, to facilitate the development of human
capital and workforce plans and talent management across the APS
undertaking major enhancements to APSED to accommodate the initiatives detailed in
the report.
The Commission is currently updating its ICT strategic plan to take account of the
recommendations of the Blueprint and its ongoing business requirements.
Financial performance
This section provides a summary of the Commission’s financial performance during 2009–10.
Further information is available in Part 5, which includes the independent auditor’s report and
the Commission’s audited financial statements for the period to 30 June 2010.
2009–10 income
The Commission’s total income for 2009–10 was $40.69 million. Appropriation from
government accounted for 50.9%, and sales of goods and services accounted for 49.0%.
Table 19 compares the sources of income since 2007–08.
Table 19: Income sources, 2007–08 to 2009–10
Income source
2007–08 2008–09 2009–10
(%)
(%)
(%)
Appropriation from government
51.7
53.3
50.9
Sale of goods and services
48.2
46.6
49.0
Other income (gains from sale of assets and resources
received free of charge)
0.1
0.1
0.1
Appropriation funding
Appropriation funding decreased from $22.13 million in 2008–09 to $20.73 million in 2009–10
due to one-off funding for the establishment of the Ethics Advisory Service in 2008–09, the
reduced funding to address Indigenous recruitment and retention issues and portfolio saving
measures. A further reduction of $0.250 million in funding resulted from the whole-ofgovernment departmental efficiency measure introduced in the 2009–10 Additional Estimates.
Non-appropriation income
Income from the sale of goods and services in 2009–10 was earned from development
programs 69.0% (65.5% in 2008–09), employment services 15.5% (19.0% in 2008–09),
international assistance 12.0% (11.4% in 2008–09), better practice and evaluation 2.5% (4.0% in
2008–09) and other services 1.0% (0.1% in 2008–09).
Income from development programs amounted to $13.8 million in 2008–09 ($12.71 million in
2008–09) and made up 33.9% (30.6% in 2008–09) of the Commission’s total income from all
sources. This income is earned in an open market, where agencies have a choice about where
they source their services and the level of services required. As demand can be unpredictable,
the Commission devotes considerable effort to estimating income and expenditure and to
monitoring its financial performance during the year.
Table 20 details Commission income since 2007–08.
Table 20: Commission income, 2007–08 to 2009–10
2007–08 2008–09 2009–10
($ million) ($ million) ($ million)
Appropriation
20.804
22.132
20.731
Non-appropriation 19.427
19.365
19.922
Total
41.497
40.653
40.231
Operating result
The Commission’s operating result for 2009–10 was a surplus of $0.799 (deficit of $0.052
million in 2008–09). The surplus is mainly due to lower expenditure from effective management
of staff numbers and increased revenue from the Commission’s delivery of learning and
development programs.
Table 21 details operating results since 2007–08.
Table 21: Operating result, 2007–08 to 2009–10
2007–08
($ million)
2008–09
($ million)
Surplus 0.097
Deficit
2009–10
($ million)
0.799
0.052
Budget outlook
The Commission’s revenue from government will increase in 2010–11 by $12.451 million as a
result of the Budget measure ‘Australian Public Service Reform’. The income from the sale of
goods is projected to be $2.203 million lower than the 2009–10 levels. The projected reduction
in income results from the expected continued volatility in demand for the Commission’s
learning and development programs.
Purchasing
The Commission’s purchasing is undertaken in accordance with the Commonwealth
Procurement Guidelines. Further guidance is provided to staff through the Commission
Purchasing Guide and the Chief Executive Instructions.
The Commission has also established a framework for managing the risks inherent in
procurement activities and has operational guidelines to support staff in assessing the risks
associated with their projects.
The Commission has published the annual procurement plan on AusTender (as required by the
procurement guidelines) to facilitate early procurement planning for 2010–11.
Consultants
The Commission engages consultancy services in circumstances where it requires particular
expertise that is not available internally. During 2009–10, the Commission entered into 14 (11
in 2008–09) new consultancy contracts, involving total actual expenditure of $727,000
($613,000 in 2008–09). In addition, six ongoing consultancy contracts were active during 2009–
10, involving total actual expenditure of $206,000.
Information on the value of contracts and consultancies for 2009–10 is available through the
AusTender website (www.tenders.gov.au). Additional details for consultancy contracts over
$10,000 can be found on the Commission’s website.
Table 22 details expenditure on consultancy contracts between 2007–08 and 2009–10.
Table 22: Expenditure on consultancy contracts, 2007–08 to 2009–10
Total actual
Number of
Total actual
expenditure on
Total actual
Number of new
ongoing
expenditure on
ongoing
expenditure on
consultancies
consultancy new consultancy
consultancy
consultancy
let
contracts that
contracts
contracts that were
contracts
were active
($’000)
active
($’000)
($’000)
2007–
13
08
9
258
313
571
2008–
11
09
11
276
337
613
2009–
14
10
6
521
206
727
Australian National Audit Office access clauses
The Commission’s standard form contracts for services and consultancies provide for access by
the Australian National Audit Office.
Asset management
The Commission manages assets with a gross value of $8.21 million ($8.40 million in 2008–09).
These assets are managed by groups to meet their business needs.
During 2009–10, two major changes to the Commission’s asset base occurred:


as part of the new ICT arrangements with DEEWR, the Commission replaced all its desktop computers and disposed of its old computers through the Computer Technology for
Schools Program
the lease to the Commission’s Melbourne and Brisbane area offices expired, and the
small number of staff in these offices were co-located with another agency.
The Commission conducts annual reviews of its capital budget and plan. A four-year capital
investment plan is developed from which the Commission manages its future asset purchases
and disposals. All assets owned by the Commission, including any information technology
assets, are subject to an annual stocktake to verify the accuracy of asset records. Assets are
depreciated at rates applicable for each asset class, as verified by the Australian National Audit
Office.
Accommodation
As part of the implementation of the Commission’s revised organisational structure, minor
changes were made to the Commission’s accommodation in Canberra and to co-locate the
small number of staff in Melbourne and Brisbane with another agency.
As a result of the recommendations of the Blueprint, the Commission received funding in the
2010–11 Budget for additional staff. In 2010–11 the Commission will need to find suitable
accommodation both in Canberra and in some states to cater for this staff increase.
Exempt contracts
The Commissioner may direct that contract details are not to be reported on AusTender if they
would be subject to an exemption under the Freedom of Information Act 1982, and the
Commissioner considers that the information is genuinely sensitive and harm is likely to be
caused by its disclosure.
The Commission did not issue any exemptions during 2009–10 (nil in 2008–09).
Grant programs
The Commission did not administer any grant programs in 2008–09 or 2009–10.
Part 4 Annual report of the Merit Protection
Commissioner
Letter of transmittal
MERIT PROTECTION COMMISSIONER
The Hon Gary Gray AO MP
Special Minister of State for the Public Service and Integrity
Parliament House
CANBERRA ACT 2600
Dear Minister
I am pleased to present the Merit Protection Commissioner’s report for the period 1 July 2009
to 30 June 2010 as part of the Australian Public Service Commissioner’s annual report required
by section 51 of the Public Service Act 1999.
This report is prepared in accordance with the guidelines approved on behalf of the Parliament
by the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit as required by subsection 51(2) of the
Public Service Act 1999. In accordance with the provisions of the Public Service Act 1999,
detailing the administrative arrangements to support the performance of the Merit Protection
Commissioner’s functions, some of the required information is published within the Australian
Public Service Commissioner’s annual report.
In presenting you with the report on the activities of the Merit Protection Commissioner, I take
this opportunity to express my thanks to the staff of the Australian Public Service Commission
for their assistance in a time of substantial organisational change.
Yours sincerely
Annwyn Godwin
Merit Protection Commissioner
October 2010
Merit Protection Commissioner’s review
Purpose and nature of role
The Merit Protection Commissioner is an independent statutory office holder who contributes
to maintaining high standards of public administration through:




ensuring that the Australian Public Service (APS) Values are applied effectively
improving the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of agency employment-related
decisions and the management of merit-based employment
supporting agencies to maintain fair review procedures
promoting the highest ethical standards.
In particular, the Merit Protection Commissioner is responsible for:





overseeing the APS review of employment actions scheme by providing independent
review as well as guidance and feedback to agencies on review arrangements and
employment-related decision-making
working with APS agencies to deliver effective, merit-based selection processes
including establishing Independent Selection Advisory Committees to assist in agency
recruitment programs
supporting public sector agencies more broadly, and other organisations, with
employment-related services on a fee-for-service basis
inquiring into whistleblowing reports
conducting inquiries at the request of the minister responsible for the public service.
The staff who support the Merit Protection Commissioner in the performance of these
functions are employed in the Australian Public Service Commission (the Commission) and are
made available by the Public Service Commissioner.
Focus this year
The 2009–10 financial year has been a challenging one largely owing to the structural changes
in the Commission. As a member of the Commission’s Executive I have been a contributor to
these decisions and a significant proportion of my time has been taken up with their
implementation.
Nevertheless, during this time of change my focus was twofold: fulfilling my statutory
responsibilities by maintaining high-quality independent review and employment services to
agencies; and assisting the Public Service Commissioner to develop and promote an ethical APS.
These two roles complement each other.
Providing high-quality review and employment services
One of the key APS Values requires the APS to provide a fair system of review of employment
decisions taken with respect to APS employees. My independent review role functions as both
the carrot and the stick by encouraging agencies to make sound and ethical decisions and giving
employees confidence that their grievances can be heard in a professional and impartial
manner. I have a particular interest in improving ethical decision-making as my review work
allows me a unique insight into the workings of agencies and therefore, by providing agencies
with feedback on their decision-making processes, I also contribute to the overall standard of
reviews and people management practices.
An important aspect of my work has been promoting more informed decision-making by
agencies with regard to employment matters. I have worked to improve the communication
channels with agencies in different ways.
One significant initiative this year has been to use the new information sources available to
refine the review function. The Ethics Advisory Service (EAS), established within the
Commission in May 2009, has provided a valuable insight into the ethical dilemmas facing
employees. I have also accessed the EAS Implementation Advisory Group (IAG) as a source of
advice on the broader ethics work of the Merit Protection Commissioner role and found the
strategic and operational input from the membership valuable. While the IAG was initially
established to oversee the operational issues of how to set up and run the EAS, its focus has
now shifted to consider broader ethics and integrity questions.
One issue discussed by the IAG at meetings through the year has been how best to raise the
quality of investigations into suspected breaches of the APS Code of Conduct. I know from the
reviews I conduct that the standard of these investigations is variable. Discussions with
agencies indicate that it is difficult to find investigators, particularly those from outside the APS
who have the necessary skills and experience to undertake such investigations which are
usually complex and sensitive.
As a consequence, the Commission has developed criteria for assessing and endorsing the
objectives and broad content of learning and development programs for investigators as a first
step towards raising standards in this highly specialised area. The Australian Government
Solicitor submitted its program for assessment in May 2010 which has been endorsed by the
Commission. It is expected that other programs will be endorsed in the future as other suitably
qualified organisations submit their programs for assessment. Other work underway includes
the development of a guide for agencies to assist with choosing a suitable investigator.
The IAG has also provided guidance on the scope and conduct of the review of action
evaluation I commissioned in 2008–09. I would like to thank the six agencies that participated
in the evaluation—the Australian Taxation Office, the National Library of Australia, the
Department of Defence, Comcare, the Department of Finance and Deregulation and the
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations—for their input and support.
One outcome of the evaluation has been the development of a better practice guide for APS
employees.
The guide, to be released in early 2010–11, discusses better practice in the management of
individual employee grievances and disputes between employees, and suggests strategies for
responding to and managing conflict in the workplace. In particular, how grievance and review
procedures are perceived in the wider human resource framework is identified as an important
early indicator of how an issue will be addressed. I am confident that the guide will bring some
commonality to the wide variety of practice across the APS and, in particular, help small
agencies that have little experience with reviews because of their infrequency, learn from the
experience of others.
During the year, the Principal Adviser Review and Legal, and I have continued to meet with
senior agency managers to discuss trends and provide practical feedback on issues arising from
reviews of action casework. Such meetings have provided me with feedback on agencies’
experiences with the review function within the Commission and have contributed to greater
openness and transparency in interactions with agency representatives. Agencies have also
found the meetings valuable as they have improved understanding of the reasoning behind
decisions and I have provided an analysis on ‘hot spots’ and recurring issues that may not
otherwise have become apparent. This has assisted agencies to improve internal review
procedures and has provided guidance to decision-makers.
Over a period of nine months I actively engaged in significant consultation with agency heads
and relevant unions concerning changes to the time limits for lodging reviews of actions under
the Public Service Regulations. This resulted in a quiet revolution of support for what is a
fundamental change to the review function. Amendments to the Regulations were signed by
the Governor-General on 29 June 2010 to come into effect on 2 August 2010.
In practice, the 12-month timeframe for lodging a review did not meet the policy objective of
dealing with employees’ concerns quickly. Reviews were often lodged long after the original
action, unnecessarily protracting resolution of the issue. Moreover, the timeframe did not
encourage productivity and harmony in the workplace as, over the 12-month period, working
relationships often broke down. While the timeframe to lodge a review has been reduced,
there has been no change to the existing discretion to allow for applications to be made outside
the specified periods when there are ‘exceptional circumstances’, such as circumstances
causing delay that are beyond the control of the applicant.
Following structural changes within the Commission in May 2009, there have been
improvements in the way services are provided to agencies and employees arising from the colocation of the review and ethics functions in the Commission’s Ethics Group. Lessons learned
from review and whistleblower casework have more easily fed into the development of ethicsrelated policy and the advice provided through the Ethics Advisory Service adviceline. Similarly,
review advisers have appreciated the ready access to policy expertise.
These changes, when combined with other initiatives such as the forthcoming best practice
guide on review of actions and ongoing agency feedback, are aimed at better supporting
agencies and applicants to address difficult workplace issues in a positive and respectful way.
I also consult with colleagues in other jurisdictions to share experiences and to consider
whether there are more effective ways of undertaking reviews. The Commission was scheduled
to host the annual National Public Sector Appeals Conference, which provides an opportunity
for the exchange of views by senior Commonwealth, state and territory public sector
representatives engaged in external review of employment-related decisions. Unfortunately,
due to a range of constraints on agencies including budgetary restrictions, the conference was
unable to proceed as planned.
During the year I have worked with my staff to further streamline handling of the review
casework and to promote fee-for-service work. To help improve timely case-handling, greater
use has been made of templates to assist applicants to better understand the review process,
marshal the information they need to provide and manage their expectations. For example,
application forms are available on the web, which assists applicants in identifying relevant
information needed for the review and their desired outcomes.
My staff and I have also raised with agencies the advantages of using Independent Selection
Advisory Committees (ISACs) for staff selection, particularly for large or sensitive processes
where the maintenance of good working relations may be at risk if the process is not perceived
to be independent. At the same time I have emphasised that ISACs are not to be considered as
‘just another selection process’. As the unsuccessful applicants are unable to seek promotion
review following a unanimous decision, an ISAC is a powerful tool to deliver quality merit-based
and impartial selection decisions in a timely way.
Supporting the ethical standards of the APS
During the year, I promoted my role and functions and the Commissioner’s ethical agenda in a
number of practical ways. I published a monograph titled The Merit Protection Commissioner
and ethical decision-making, which was distributed to APS agencies and published on the
Commission’s website. I contributed articles for SES Notes, a quarterly e-newsletter published
by the Public Service Commissioner for members of the Senior Executive Service (SES), covering
practical aspects of review work, such as the crucial conversations when conducting a review,
and factors to consider in applying appropriate sanctions for breaches of the Code of Conduct. I
also addressed five agency conferences and networks of senior employees on ethical decisionmaking, leadership and related topics. In addition, I regularly spoke at SES orientation programs
on the APS Values and Code of Conduct and performance and conformance issues. I consider
this to be an important way to emphasise with new SES leaders their ethical responsibilities and
reinforce expectations of their leadership role.
I assisted the Public Service Commissioner in supporting international public sector reform. In
this capacity, I represented the Commission’s Executive and gave the keynote address at the
Public Service Commissioners’ Conference in the Solomon Islands in September 2009. I, and the
staff assisting me, also met with a senior member of parliament from Hungary and senior public
servants from Papua New Guinea and Thailand, and I briefed an international delegation from
Kenya. Our work with our international colleagues continues to be both challenging and
rewarding, particularly as we share information on, and experience in, the areas of embedding
values-based principles.
In October 2009 I met officials in Canada and Europe to gain a better understanding of
emerging ethical issues in their public and private sectors and to share Australia’s experiences.
My Canadian counterparts were undertaking a five-year review of their legislation, and the
similarities in our democratic heritage and geographical dispersion meant there was a lot of
mutual benefit in discussing ideas and experiences. Common themes emerged from these
discussions around the importance of independent review roles in:

providing accountability and oversight of the integrity of employment arrangements


supporting a strong ‘disclosure of wrong-doing culture’ and regimes
identifying hard and soft barriers to embedding values-based, open and transparent
decision-making.
I concluded that Australia is well regarded in the review field and considered to be a leading
performer in balancing the needs of clients, the wider issues affecting public services and
independence. While the emphasis of our discussions was on review-type work, Australia’s
continuing rating in the top 10 nations by the Transparency International Corruptions
Perceptions Index is testament to our standing more generally in the ethics field.
I also held discussions with colleagues from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and
Development and the European Union and with senior officials from the Netherlands. These
latter discussions were of interest as the development and direction taken by the Dutch Civil
Service questions a number of assumptions about roles and responsibilities that underpin the
Australian approach to the Westminster system. In particular, the concept of ‘employership’
and ‘employeeship’ as they practically balance enforcement of, and support for, public servants
to ‘do the right thing’, has considerable relevance to the Australian environment. In addition,
the Netherlands’ experience of proactively integrating this concept into the wider, mainstream
approach to people management also resonates with and reinforces our own research
conducted for my forthcoming better practice guide on review of actions.
While in Europe I also attended the sixth conference of the International Business and
Leadership Symposium in Brussels, which explored the concepts of ethics, corporate culture
and leadership in shaping a sustainable future for organisations. The information I gathered has
been useful in contributing to furthering the ethics agenda within the APS, particularly in the
area of the link between ethics and long-term agency health.
I also assisted the Public Service Commissioner as an independent member of a statutory
officer appointment committee for the Migration Review Tribunal and the Refugee Review
Tribunal. This was a major nationwide exercise with over 370 applications resulting in
42 appointments.
Outcomes
For the second year in a row, the review function has met its target of over 70% of reviews of
actions completed within time. The result of 82% is lower than the 86% of reviews of
employment actions completed within target timeframes in 2008–09 but still significantly
higher than the 41% achieved in 2007–08. The work undertaken in improving the timeliness of
reviews was acknowledged in January 2010 when my Principal Adviser and the review team
members were awarded Australia Day medals.
This year there has been a 23% increase in the number of review applications received, with the
number of employees seeking primary review of matters other than Code of Conduct more
than doubling. Of the review applications only around two-thirds were accepted. This increase
in applications that were not accepted significantly increased the workload of the office as
determining eligibility is resource intensive and diverted resources from other reviews. The
main reasons for non-acceptance of cases were the matters raised were more than a year old
or the issues raised by applicants needed to be reviewed by the agency head in the first
instance. There was also a spike in the number of reviews received mid-year—between
December 2009 and February 2010, 71 review of actions applications were received in
comparison to 30 the year before.
In almost 9% of cases, it was recommended that the agency’s original decision be varied or set
aside. The majority of these recommendations were made in reviews of determinations of
breaches of the Code of Conduct and/or the sanction imposed as a consequence. In 2009–10 all
recommendations were accepted by the agency concerned.
Last year I reported that the work of my office was affected by the reduction in recruitment
activity in the APS. In 2009–10, work levels stabilised and in the second half of the year there
was a slight recovery in demand for employment services. The number of ISACs established by
the Merit Protection Commissioner increased to 56 in 2009–10 compared to 41 in 2008–09—
though this is still 23% less than in 2007–08. It is too early to predict with certainty, but there
does appear to be a continuing uptake in ISACs with 14 on hand, including five large
recruitment exercises from the Australian Taxation Office comprising in excess of 3,300
applicants. The benefits of ISACs, particularly the recognition and credibility of an independent
selection process, for large, sensitive or complex exercises are becoming better known.
There was also a small increase in the total demand for other employment services, in large
part because of a 61% increase in the use of the Merit Protection Commissioner’s recruitment
services by the Australian Federal Police.
There was little change in the number of promotion reviews (59 compared to 58 in 2008–09)
and the numbers appear now to have stabilised following the 40% decrease from 2007–08.
While the number of promotion review committees established is similar, the number of
applicants for promotion reviews has fallen by 31%—only 117 employees applied for
promotion review in 2009–10 compared to 170 in 2008–09.[1]
There has been deterioration in performance with respect to the time taken to complete
promotion reviews. The average completion time for promotion reviews increased to
8.39 weeks from 5.98 weeks in 2008–09. Just under half of promotion reviews were completed
within the target timeframe of eight weeks compared to 94% in 2008–09. Only two agency
promotion decisions were overturned in 2009–10, which reflects well on the integrity of agency
selection practices.
The problem with meeting performance targets originated in the second half of the year—for
the first six months the target was met in 92% of completed reviews. The contributing factors
included a spike, as noted before, in the total number of all reviews, including promotion
reviews, received in the period December to February which coincided with reduced staff
availability through internal staff movements and scheduled leave. The backlog that developed
over that period carried over through the remainder of the year. A reduction in recruitment
activity more generally within the Commission in response to financial constraints made it
difficult to replace staff until later in the year when temporary employees were engaged. Some
delay in finalising promotion reviews was also the result of scheduling issues with applicants
and panel members external to the Commission being unavailable. The database used to
manage review work has been modified to enable recording of data on reasons for delays for
future reporting.
The number of whistleblower reports I considered in 2009–10 was 10, four more than the
previous year. The outcome of these reports and the matters covered are discussed below
under ‘Review of performance’.
Outlook
The APS has entered into a period of major reform following the release of the Blueprint for
reform and the acceptance by the government of its recommendations. This has resulted in
significant restructuring within the Commission to enable the organisation to meet its new
objectives. One outcome of the restructure will significantly dominate my priorities for 2010–
11.
Last year my review function was centralised in Canberra, which resulted in a wide range of
efficiencies and enhanced performance. In order to maintain a viable agency presence in areas
outside Canberra, the Public Service Commissioner decided in May 2010 to move the Merit
Protection Commissioner responsibilities—the review function and fee-for-service activities—
to the Commission’s Sydney office. I and my Principal Adviser remain based in Canberra. The
existing review team employees decided not to move with their function and their skills and
abilities were quickly recognised and they have been deployed to other work within the
Commission. I acknowledge the support, commitment and professionalism of these staff during
the transition period and the positive approach they have consistently modelled. Recruitment
for the Sydney office commenced in late June 2010 and I expect the new employees to
commence work in August 2010.
My most pressing priority will be to ensure that the transition of the function to Sydney is
handled efficiently and to minimise the effects on productivity. There have been changes in
staffing of the review function before, but to my knowledge, this is the first time that all
employees will be new. Training and development for the new review employees,
supplemented by mentoring from former staff, is being progressively implemented. The policy
area supporting the Merit Protection Commissioner within the Ethics Group will act as an
advisory service and will be a source of information for the new staff.
To assist the transition, I have asked for an examination of promotion processes and the
procedures for ISACs with a view to simplification and streamlining while maintaining rigour
and integrity. This complements work already undertaken on review of action processes. I will
also continue with my emphasis on improving both the quality and timeliness of review
casework.
I anticipate that timeliness statistics for reviews will suffer in the short term as there is a steep
learning curve facing the new staff before they can achieve peak productivity. I am also
conscious that there is a significant residual caseload carried over that is outside or close to
being outside the target of 14 weeks which will be exacerbated by the transition. I will be
reflecting on the lessons learnt this year and in particular on the need to respond quickly once
the workload, which is applicant driven, becomes too great for the allocated resources.
In the first half of the year, I will work with agencies to raise awareness of the amendment to
the Regulations that reduce the time limits for lodging an application for review. The new time
limits will come into effect on 2 August 2010 for actions occurring after that date. During 2010–
11, all staff involved with review will need to be aware that the time limits to be applied will be
dependent on when the action or decision to be reviewed occurred. A circular on the
amendments was issued in early July 2010 and my website has been updated to provide advice
for agencies and affected employees. To assist agencies, I have asked that a series of frequently
answered questions be developed and placed on the website.
Depending on the government’s budget decisions that impact on the levels of recruitment in
the APS, I will continue to promote the fee-for-service functions available, in particular, the use
of ISACs. While there has been take-up by agencies such as the Australian Taxation Office, other
agencies could make productivity savings from use of ISACs for APS 2–6 classifications by
avoiding time-consuming promotion reviews and ensuring staff are on deck quickly.
In 2010–11, I intend to continue my meetings with agencies to discuss issues arising out of the
review casework. The feedback I receive is that these meetings add value to agencies in
targeting policy and revision of procedures. I will also be collecting feedback on the review
function so as to continue to improve responsiveness and communication. I also look forward
to exploring alternative ways to receive feedback from applicants to enhance their experience
of reviews.
My external focus for the year will continue to be assisting the Public Service Commissioner to
promote an ethical environment and taking advantage of opportunities to discuss and explore
ethical matters with APS employees and other organisations. Where appropriate, I will also
continue to support our Pacific neighbours.
During the year I will be working closely with the Commissioner in the implementation of the
APS reform recommendations. Ensuring efficient implementation of reform initiatives will
require a consideration of ethical and accountability issues. One specific initiative for which I
have direct interest is the revision of the APS Values. I will be acting in an advisory capacity to
the project team working on revising the APS Values to a set of meaningful and effective core
values. I will also continue to head the Commission’s Internal Change Management Taskforce to
help ensure a smooth transition as the new structure comes into effect after 1 July 2010.
Role, function and structure
The office of the Merit Protection Commissioner, established under section 49 of the Public
Service Act 1999 (the PS Act), is an independent office located with the Australian Public Service
Commission.
Function
Section 50 of the PS Act and Parts 2, 4, 5 and 7 of the Public Service Regulations 1999 set out
the functions of the Merit Protection Commissioner. They include:






reviewing employment actions and promotion decisions
undertaking inquiries into whistleblower reports made to the Merit Protection
Commissioner by APS employees alleging breaches of the APS Code of Conduct
providing employment services for APS agencies, in particular Independent Selection
Advisory Committees
conducting other reviews, in particular reviews of the entitlements on separation of
former APS employees and reviews of the employment-related actions of statutory
office holders
providing employment services to non-APS organisations on request including agencies
in other jurisdictions
providing other inquiry functions including inquiries into alleged breaches of the Code of
Conduct by the Public Service Commissioner and inquiries into APS actions at the
request of the Public Service Minister.
The Merit Protection Commissioner charges a fee for establishing ISACs and for providing
employment services.
Organisational structure
In accordance with section 49 of the PS Act, the Public Service Commissioner makes available
staff to assist the Merit Protection Commissioner in the performance of her functions.
In May 2009, the review and fee-for-service work were centralised in the Canberra office in the
Ethics Group and the National Business Centre respectively. The Ethics Group in Canberra also
provides coordination and policy support for the Merit Protection Commissioner.
Following the restructure of the Commission, from July 2010 the Merit Protection
Commissioner’s review and fee-for-service activities will be located in the Commission’s Sydney
office.
This report and further information about the Merit Protection Commissioner’s role and
services are available on the Commission’s website.
Management and accountability
Corporate governance
The Public Service Commissioner, as the head of the Australian Public Service Commission, is
responsible for its corporate governance. The Merit Protection Commissioner is a member of
the Commission’s Executive—a senior management group chaired by the Public Service
Commissioner.
The Merit Protection Commissioner also assists in the Commission’s governance arrangements
by chairing the Audit Committee and the Information Technology Advisory Committee and
providing management oversight to the Ethics and Corporate Groups as appropriate. To avoid
any perceptions of a conflict of interest with regard to employment-related decisions made
within the Commission that could be the subject of review, the Merit Protection Commissioner
provides an oversight rather than direct management role to these groups.
In 2009–10, the Merit Protection Commissioner was also the Commission’s representative on
the Internal Red Tape Task Force established by the Department of Finance and Deregulation
and coordinated the Commission’s response to the recommendations as well as appearing
before the parliamentary inquiry into whistleblowing. Other APS-wide initiatives flagged for
involvement in the next financial year include the Government 2.0 Steering Group and
coordination of the Senate inquiry into the reform of Australian Government administration.
In the last quarter, there was a significant workload in heading the Internal Change
Management Team. This team was established to align the Commission with its new
responsibilities arising out of the APS reform recommendations accepted by the government.
The team assisted senior managers with the internal restructure of the Commission,
established an internal communication network, and worked with directly affected staff, and
other staff more broadly, to determine employment preferences for internal employee
movements. The Corporate Group played a significant and lead role in the actual
implementation of the outcomes.
The Merit Protection Commissioner and the Public Service Commissioner have a memorandum
of understanding for the provision of staff to assist the Merit Protection Commissioner. The
Commission’s Principal Adviser Review and Legal, is currently the main delegate of the Merit
Protection Commissioner for review decision-making, although this may change under the
restructured approach.
Review of performance
Contribution to outcomes 2009–10
The Commission is included in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Portfolio
Budget Statements. The Public Service Commissioner, as head of the Commission, is
responsible for the Commission’s financial and human resources and for assessing the level of
the Commission’s achievement against its output structure.
The performance indicators and targets relevant to the Merit Protection Commissioner’s
functions are provided under ‘Sub-program 1.1—APS policy, review and evaluation’ in Part 2 of
the Public Service Commissioner’s annual report.
The information on activity and performance provided below in Tables M1 to M9 refers to the
Merit Protection Commissioner’s statutory functions.
Review of employment actions
Section 33 of the PS Act and Part 5 of the Regulations provide a scheme for the review of
employment actions affecting individual APS employees. A broad range of employment matters
affecting the individual employee in the workplace can be reviewed. The legislation excludes
certain employment decisions from the review framework, most notably review of termination
of employment.
The Merit Protection Commissioner conducts three main categories of reviews of actions:



reviews of breaches of the APS Code of Conduct
reviews of other employment actions
reviews of promotion decisions.
The information in this section concerns reviews other than promotion reviews. Information on
promotion reviews is provided under ‘Review of promotion decisions’.
Table M1 provides information on the number of applications for review received and reviews
completed in 2009–10 compared with 2008–09. Table M2 provides information on the
timeliness with which these functions were performed in comparison with 2008–09.
The tables refer to ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ reviews. Primary reviews are reviews conducted
by the Merit Protection Commissioner without first being reviewed by the agency head. The
majority of primary reviews involve reviews of decisions that an APS employee has breached
the Code of Conduct, and the sanctions imposed as a result of that breach. There are also
provisions in the Regulations for review of employment matters where it would be
inappropriate for the review to be conducted within the agency.
Secondary reviews are conducted by the Merit Protection Commissioner where the employee is
dissatisfied with the review conducted by the agency head. They also include cases where the
agency head has told the employee that the matter is not reviewable, but the Merit Protection
Commissioner considers that it is.
In addition, the Merit Protection Commissioner reviews complaints by former APS employees
about the final entitlements they received upon separation from the APS.
In 2009–10, the Merit Protection Commissioner received 196 applications for review and
carried over 43 cases from the previous year. This represents a 23% increase in applications
over the 159 received in 2008–09.
A total of 183 cases were finalised in 2009–10, of which 76 were reviewed (that is, they were
not ruled ineligible or withdrawn before the review was finalised). In 2009–10, only 42% of
cases received were assessed as reviewable compared to 50% in 2007–08 and 56% in 2008–09.
There is no obvious reason for the large increase in numbers of review applications submitted
that were not accepted for review, although, as noted previously, the complexity of cases often
requires extensive research and analysis before a decision of this nature can be made. If this
level of non-reviewable applications continues, the Merit Protection Commissioner will
examine the guidance material to see whether the advice on eligibility can be made clearer.
Table M1: Review of employment actions workload for 2009–10, including a comparison with
2008–09
Cases
Primary
reviews—Code of
Conduct
Primary
reviews—
other
Secondary Complaints by
reviews former employees
Total
2008– 2009–
09
10
2009–10
On hand at start
13
of year
1
29
0
41
43
Received during
42
the period
42
112
0
159
196
Reviewed
32
7
37
0
88
76
Not accepted
3
30
54
0
47
87
Lapsed or
withdrawn
1
4
15
0
22
20
Total finalised
36
during period
41
106
0
157
183
On hand at end
19
of year
2
35
0
43
56
Table M2 compares timeliness figures for 2009–10 with those for 2008–09. The target
timeframe for completion of reviews in all these categories is 14 weeks from receipt of
application. There has been a small fall in the percentage of cases completed within target
times in 2009–10 (82%) compared to 2008–09 (86%). The average time for Code of Conduct
and secondary reviews rose slightly in 2009–10, while the time taken for other primary reviews
fell.
The office is carrying over 56 cases to the next financial year, which is a slight increase over the
previous two years. Of these unfinalised cases, 18 had exceeded the target date on carryover.
In 2008–09 only two of the 43 cases carried over were completed outside the 14-week target
date.
The reasons for this slight decrease in timeliness are consistent with the information provided
under the heading ‘Outcomes’.
Table M2: Comparison of timeliness in handling reviews, 2008–09 and 2009–10
Review type
Average time to
Average time to
Completed within
Completed within
complete
complete
target timeframes
target timeframes
reviews
reviews
(%)
(%)
(weeks)
(weeks)
2008–09
2009–10
Primary reviews—
12.12
Code of Conduct
85
12.30
75
Primary reviews—
8.33
other
100
7.91
100
Secondary reviews 12.31
87
12.70
80
Former employees 1
100
0
–
Enhanced case management and streamlining of processes and procedures have meant that
the increase in 2009–10 in the time taken to complete reviews as a result of resource issues has
been minimised. This office aims for timely review without any loss in quality, as resolution of
cases is beneficial to both the employee and employer as it improves the prospect of
successfully reintegrating the employee into the workplace.
Table M3 provides a breakdown of the number of reviews by agency. As has been the case for
the last few years, the agencies with the highest number of applications for review were the
large employers, namely the Australian Taxation Office, Centrelink and the Department of
Defence. These three agencies continue to account for just over 60% of completed reviews
(61% in 2009–10 and 60% in 2008–09).
Table M3 also provides a benchmark indicator of the review cases per number of staff which
may be expected across APS agencies. The number of reviews in individual agencies varies
between years; however, the number of review cases as a percentage of total APS staff in
2009–10 has remained steady at 0.07%. While some smaller agencies may, from time to time,
be addressing a particular issue which registers as a peak of cases for review, most large
agencies can expect to have a rate of cases that falls around the benchmark. Where a medium
to large agency has a rate of review cases either well above or below this benchmark, this is
usually an indicator that further questions need to be asked of that agency about its procedures
or the information it provides to employees about the review of action scheme with the option
to share best practice and lessons learnt depending on the indicator.
The types of employment matters for which review is sought are shown in Figure M1. Breaches
of the Code of Conduct accounted for 32 reviewed cases (43% of the total)—an increase in both
number and proportion compared to 26 and 30% in 2008–09. There was a decrease in both the
number and proportion of performance management cases (5% in 2009–10 compared with
14% in 2008–09) and conditions of employment cases (14% in 2009–10 compared with 23% in
2008–09). While there was an increase in the proportion of harassment cases (13% in 2009–10
compared with 11% in 2008–09), the number of cases (10) stayed the same.
Table M3: Reviews completed, by agency, 2009–10
Primary
reviews—
Code of
Conduct
Agency
Primary
Complaints by
Review cases as
Secondary
reviews—
former
Total a percentage of
reviews
other
employees
total staff
Note: The data on total employment in Table M3 is taken from the APS employment database
as at 31 December 2009.
Australian Taxation
12
Office
0
12
0
24
0.11
Centrelink
3
0
12
0
15
0.06
Department of
Defence
2
0
5
0
7
0.03
Medicare Australia 3
0
0
0
3
0.05
Australian Crime
Commission
0
2
1
0
3
0.62
Department of
Immigration and
Citizenship
3
0
0
0
3
0.04
Department of
Veterans’ Affairs
0
0
2
0
2
0.10
Department of
Agriculture,
Fisheries and
Forestry
1
1
0
0
2
0.04
Department of
Education,
1
Employment and
Workplace Relations
1
0
0
2
0.04
Australian Customs
and Border
2
Protection Service
0
0
0
2
0.03
Table M3: Reviews completed, by agency, 2009–10
Primary
reviews—
Code of
Conduct
Agency
Primary
Complaints by
Review cases as
Secondary
reviews—
former
Total a percentage of
reviews
other
employees
total staff
Department of
1
Health and Ageing
0
1
0
2
0.04
Department of
Innovation,
Industry, Science
and Research
1
0
1
0
2
0.07
Nine other agencies
3
(one review each)
3
3
0
9
na
Total
7
37
0
76
0.07
32
Figure M1: Cases reviewed by subject, 2009–10
Breaches of the Code of Conduct
There were 42 applications for review of a decision that an employee had breached the Code of
Conduct and/or of the sanction imposed for a breach. Thirty-two cases were reviewed during
the year.
Of these 32 cases, 12 were primarily concerned with inappropriate use of information
technology (IT) systems, including internet and email. Three of these cases concerned browsing
of client databases. Two cases involved excessive use of mobile phones.
Six cases were primarily concerned with behaviour towards colleagues, including allegations of
harassment and lack of respect. One case also involved sending inappropriate emails to
colleagues.
There were four cases in which employees were found to have failed to follow a direction or
instructions given by their employer. In 11 of the cases concerning the misuse of IT systems, the
employees were also found to have breached directions given by the employer on the
authorised use of IT.
Three cases concerned employees’ failure to record their attendance accurately.
There were six cases in which employees were found to have failed in their duty as public
servants. In two cases this involved a failure to declare a conflict of interest and in another two,
the employees were accused of inappropriately disclosing information. The remaining two
cases involved vandalism and keeping poor financial records for a social club.
The Merit Protection Commissioner confirmed the agency’s decision in 22 of the 32 Code of
Conduct decisions reviewed. In the remaining 10 cases, the Merit Protection Commissioner
recommended that the agency change its decision.
In five of the 10 cases, the Merit Protection Commissioner found that the employee had
breached the Code of Conduct but took a different view from the agency decision-maker about
which elements of the Code of Conduct had been breached. While the Merit Protection
Commissioner has the option to increase, uphold or reduce a sanction, in two cases the Merit
Protection Commissioner made a recommendation to lessen the sanction. In another case, the
recommendation was to confirm both the breach and the sanction but to annotate on the
applicant’s personnel file that one behaviour had not been substantiated.
In the remaining two cases, the Merit Protection Commissioner recommended for one that the
decision be set aside and be remade because of a procedural defect and in the second noted
errors in the process and a lack of evidence to support the finding.
The recommendations made to agencies were accepted in all cases.
Investigation of complaints by former employees
Regulation 7.2 provides that the Merit Protection Commissioner may investigate a complaint by
a former APS employee that relates to the employee’s final entitlements on separation from
the APS. During 2009–10, no applications were received under this Regulation.
Review of promotion decisions
The Merit Protection Commissioner conducts merits review of promotion decisions made for
jobs in APS classification groups 2 to 6. These reviews are conducted by a three-member
Promotion Review Committee comprising a nominee from the relevant agency, a convenor and
a third member nominated by the Merit Protection Commissioner.
The only ground for a review of a promotion decision is greater merit. The committee has the
power to confirm the promotion decision made by the agency or substitute a different decision.
Details of the promotion review caseload are in Table M4. In this table, ‘case’ means an
application by one or more APS employees for review of a promotion decision (or decisions)
arising from a discrete agency selection exercise.
The number of applications for promotion reviews (59) was similar to 2008–09 but still
represents a fall of 40% from 2007–08 levels. The number of Promotion Review Committees
convened to consider them (34) is also similar to 2008–09 when the number of cases on hand
(13) is taken into account. All the cases on hand at 30 June 2010 are within the target time of
eight weeks with the average time taken being 4.4 weeks.
Although the number of cases finalised within the year was significantly lower in 2009–10, the
average time taken to review cases has increased by almost 2.5 weeks and is now above the
target time of eight weeks. As a result of this, the percentage of cases completed within the
target time (47%) is half that of 2008–09 (94%). The reasons for this have been discussed
earlier.
Table M4: Promotion review caseload, 2008–09 and 2009–10
Promotion review cases
2008–092009–10
On hand at start of year
5
1
Received during the period
58
59
Reviewed
48
34
Not accepted
2
1
Lapsed or withdrawn
12
12
Total finalised during period
62
47
On hand at end of year
1
13
Target completion time (weeks)
8
8
Table M4: Promotion review caseload, 2008–09 and 2009–10
Promotion review cases
2008–092009–10
Average completion time for reviewed cases (weeks)5.98
8.39
Completed within target time (number)
45
16
Completed within target time (percentage)
94
47
Table M5 provides information on the agencies whose promotions attracted review
applications as well as a breakdown of the number of ‘active’ and ‘protective’ applications.
Unsuccessful candidates for a promotion may lodge an ‘active’ application seeking review of a
promotion decision. Employees who have been promoted and whose promotion may be
subject to review may lodge a ‘protective’ application against the promotion of other successful
candidates.
During the year, applications for reviews were received in relation to promotion decisions made
in 12 agencies. The three agencies with four or more applications for review are identified. Nine
other agencies with less than three applications for review are not separately identified.
Promotion Review Committees varied two (2%) of the 98 promotion decisions reviewed. This is
lower than the percentage of promotion decisions varied in 2008–09 (2.7%). In recent years the
proportion of decisions varied has ranged between 2% and 5%. The trend of a small proportion
of decisions varied over years with fluctuating levels of APS recruitment indicates that agency
recruitment decision-making at these classification levels is effective.
The size of cases fell by nearly one-third in 2009–10 with 117 applicants compared to 170 in
2008–09. In previous years, there have been instances of agency selection exercises that have
resulted in promotion review applications of 100 or more. This commonly occurs in ‘bulk’
recruitment rounds and can significantly delay the capacity of agencies to fill vacant jobs.
This year the largest number of applications for a single finalised exercise was 20. Only four
cases had 10 or more review applications, with three-quarters having five or fewer applications.
The average number of applications per case was 3.4.
Centrelink accounted for half of the finalised cases (17), with the number of applicants in each
case ranging from one to 20. One Centrelink promotion review underway at 30 June 2010 has
the highest number of applicants since 2007–08 with 52 applications.
Table M5: Review of promotion decisions, by agency, 2009–10
Total
applications
received
Agency
Centrelink
87
‘Active’
applications
received
‘Protective’
applications
received
Promotion
decisions
considered
Promotion
decisions
varied
33
54
69
0
Department of
15
Defence
8
7
10
0
Department of
Veterans’
4
Affairs
3
1
6
0
Nine other
agencies
11
11
0
13
2
Total
117
55
62
98
2
Note: An APS employee may make an application for review of one or more promotion
decisions. Not all applications are considered by a Promotion Review Committee. Some
applications are withdrawn, held invalid or, in the case of ‘protective’ applications, not
activated.
Independent Selection Advisory Committees
Independent Selection Advisory Committees are established by the Merit Protection
Commissioner at an agency head’s request, usually on a fee-for-service basis. ISACs are
independent three-member committees that undertake a staff selection exercise on behalf of
agencies and make recommendations to the agency about the relative suitability of candidates.
An ISAC consists of a convenor nominated by the Merit Protection Commissioner and two
members, one nominated by the Merit Protection Commissioner and one nominated by the
agency head. ISACs work within agency recruitment policies and have the flexibility to
accommodate a range of selection assessment techniques.
ISACs may be used for any job vacancies in APS classification groups 2 to 6. An ISAC’s
recommendation is not binding on an agency, but if it is accepted then any resulting
promotions decisions are not subject to promotion review.
Agencies may choose to use ISACs for a variety of reasons. The most common ones are to
provide assurance about the fairness and integrity of their recruitment decisions and to avoid
delays in placing staff resulting from review of promotion decisions. An order of merit
established by an ISAC can also be used to fill similar employment opportunities for 12 months
from the date of the original vacancy notification.
Table M6 provides information on the ISAC activity in 2009–10 and the previous year.
There was a 37% increase in the number of requests for ISACs in 2009–10 (56 compared to 41
in 2008–09), although this is still lower than the 73 and 101 requests in the previous two years
respectively. This reflects an increase in recruitment activity in the APS over the past year as the
effects of the global financial crisis lessened.
Table M6: Independent Selection Advisory Committees—workload and work completed, 2008–
09 and 2009–10
2008–09
2009–10
Note: The number of cases on hand at the end of 2008–09 is reported as 7 in Table M6 on page
105 of the 2008–09 annual report. This was a data error and the correct figure is 4.
On hand at start of year
17
4
Received during the period
41
56
Completed
50
43
Lapsed/withdrawn
1
3
Total finalised during the period
51
46
On hand at end of year
4
14
While interest in the use of ISACs is increasing, the average size and number of candidates
recommended for positions has fallen. ISACs considered 8,027 applications in 2009–10 and
recommended 1,271 applicants as detailed in Table M7. In 2009–10, there was an average of
187 applications with 30 recommendations of suitable candidates, compared to the average of
255 applications and 45 recommendations in 2008–09.
Table M7: Independent Selection Advisory Committees by agency, 2009–10
Agency
Committees established
and completed
Candidates
considered
Candidates
recommended
Centrelink
10
690
135
Australian Taxation Office
5
5,353
877
Australian Quarantine and
Inspection Service
3
227
60
Department of Defence
17
312
49
Office of the Migration Agents
4
Registration Authority
451
40
Department of Foreign Affairs
3
and Trade
978
107
Bureau of Meteorology
1
16
3
Total
43
8,027
1,271
Employment-related services (fee-for-service)
The Regulations provide that the Merit Protection Commissioner may undertake a range of
employment-related functions on behalf of non-APS bodies, such as Commonwealth authorities
to which the PS Act does not apply or other government bodies. The Merit Protection
Commissioner may charge a fee for such services. Some of the services are provided on an
ongoing basis under a memorandum of understanding.
Fee-for-service work can include staff selection services and training relevant to the Merit
Protection Commissioner’s functions such as scribing, as well as investigating grievances and
providing mediation services and career advice. Over the last few years, a significant proportion
of this fee-for-service work has been the provision of members of selection panels for the
Australian Federal Police.
There was a 51% increase in the number of completed services in 2009–10. The increase
reflects greater demand by the Australian Federal Police for staff selection services. Requests
for other services were similar to 2008–09 levels and remain significantly lower (9) than those
of 2007–08 (30). The number of requests received in 2009–10 (70) was double that of 2008–09
with 59 completed compared to 39.
Table M8 provides information on the level of fee-for-service activity performed by the Merit
Protection Commissioner (excluding ISACs) in 2009–10, in comparison with the previous year.
Table M8: Other fee-for-service functions—workload and work completed, 2008–09 and 2009–
10
Other fee-for-service functions
2008–09
2009–10
On hand at start of year
9
3
Received during the period
35
70
Completed
39
59
Lapsed/withdrawn
2
1
Total finalised during the period
41
60
On hand at end of year
3
13
Table M9 provides information on the nature of the employment-related services provided by
the Merit Protection Commissioner on a fee-for-service basis in 2009–10, compared with the
previous year.
Table M9: Employment-related services, 2009–10
Nature of service
Number completed
2008–09 2009–10
Australian Federal Police selection panels
31
50
Training
2
4
Member of Independent Selection Advisory Committee
5
4
Scribing services for Independent Selection Advisory Committees1
0
Investigation of grievances
0
0
Career advising
0
1
Total
39
59
Whistleblowing
The PS Act and Regulations provide a scheme for APS employees to report alleged breaches of
the Code of Conduct (such reports are known as whistleblowing reports).
Agency heads are responsible for establishing procedures for handling whistleblowing reports.
In the first instance, such reports are expected to be made to, and investigated by, the relevant
agency head. Where the employee is not satisfied with the agency’s response to their report, or
in other circumstances (for example, where it is not appropriate for the agency head to deal
with the matter), a whistleblowing report may be referred to the Public Service Commissioner
or the Merit Protection Commissioner. Information on whistleblowing reports made to the
Public Service Commissioner is contained in Part 2 of the Commissioner’s annual report.
In 2009–10, the Merit Protection Commissioner had a whistleblowing caseload of 10 (including
cases on hand at the start of the year), compared to six in 2008–09. Two inquiries were
completed. Three of the reports were not accepted as it was determined the matter was
appropriate for investigation by the agency head. In one case the report was withdrawn and
one report was considered to be invalid. There were three reports on hand at the end of the
reporting period.
Allegations made included bullying and harassment, misconduct issues in regard to
employment decisions, fraud and financial irregularities. In the two cases investigated, the
Merit Protection Commissioner did not recommend that any employees should be investigated
under the relevant agency procedures for breaches of the Code of Conduct.
Other functions
Under the PS Act, the Public Service Minister can ask the Merit Protection Commissioner to
inquire into an APS action and report to the minister on the results of the inquiry. No such
requests were received during the reporting period.
The PS Act also provides for the Merit Protection Commissioner to inquire into alleged breaches
of the Code of Conduct by the Public Service Commissioner and to report to the Presiding
Officers on the results of such inquiries. One allegation was received during the reporting
period. The Merit Protection Commissioner is considering this allegation.
Reviews of employment actions—discussion
issues
The subject matter of review cases does not vary significantly from year to year. There are,
however, issues or trends that arise through the casework that suggest improvements can be
made in agency decision-making and policies and procedures.
Code of Conduct
Procedural concerns
The Federal Court decision in October 2009[2] concerning an APS employee has emphasised the
importance of following agency procedures established for investigating alleged misconduct;
ensuring that employees have a reasonable opportunity to respond to evidence; and ensuring
that the decision-maker is demonstrably bringing an unbiased mind to the matter.
In undertaking a review of a Code of Conduct decision, one question that the Merit Protection
Commissioner always considers is whether there was substantial compliance with agency
procedures, as well as the requirements of procedural fairness.
The need to ensure procedural fairness was reinforced by a second case. An APS employee
commenced proceedings in the Federal Court following a Code of Conduct process. Review was
sought of the agency Code of Conduct decision, the recommendations of the Merit Protection
Commissioner’s delegate following a primary review and the decision by the agency to adopt
the Merit Protection Commissioner’s recommendations. The case was settled by the agency
with relevant decisions being set aside because of defects in the original agency decisionmaking. One defect identified was that the agency delegate had taken into account matters
adverse to the employee which had not been put to the employee. An order for costs was
made against the Commonwealth and the matter was sent back to the agency head for
determination according to law.
This year the Merit Protection Commissioner recommended that a Code of Conduct decision be
set aside for a serious procedural defect. In this case it was considered that the delegate who
determined the breach had based the decision on adverse evidence that was not put to the
applicant, thereby denying them the opportunity to provide a reasonable explanation for
consideration. The case was referred back to the agency, as a review conducted by the Merit
Protection Commissioner is unable to ‘cure’ a procedural breach. The presence of such a breach
leaves both the original decision and any subsequent review vulnerable to judicial review.
Agency delegates need to ensure that they have been alerted to or identify any procedural
issues prior to making a determination or imposing a sanction. It is not sufficient to just assess
the evidence, as a failure to comply with procedures can undermine the investigation.
Imposition of sanctions
Decisions relating to behaviour involve assessing available evidence about an employee’s
behaviour and making a determination about whether that behaviour breaches the Code of
Conduct. Should it be decided that there was a breach, the delegate needs to consider whether
under the circumstances a sanction should be imposed.
It is important that when imposing a sanction agencies focus on the actual behaviour of the
employee. The Commission publication Handling misconduct acknowledges there should be a
degree of consistency for the same type of misconduct but cautions against a formulaic
approach and suggests the sanction should reflect the particular circumstances of both the
employee and the misconduct. The publishing of information on actual cases on the Merit
Protection Commissioner’s website, de-identified to protect privacy, is an important step in
sharing information to improve the degree of consistency for both review applicants and
agencies.
One sanction was varied by the Merit Protection Commissioner following consideration of the
mitigating circumstances. In this case the applicant received an email which they forwarded to
their home email unopened. There was nothing to indicate that the email contained
pornographic images. The agency has a clear policy on email usage that employees are not to
use email in an unacceptable way and that they are personally responsible for any actions. The
agency concluded the employee had made a conscious decision to forward pornographic
images.
The Merit Protection Commissioner upheld the breach of the Code of Conduct but considered
the applicant had only made a conscious decision to forward an email not a decision to forward
pornography. The Merit Protection Commissioner considered that in sending the email the
employee had failed in their responsibility to ensure what was sent was not offensive. The
sanction was varied from a reduction in classification to a reduction in salary reflecting the need
to demonstrate that such behaviour is not acceptable and that it was a serious lapse in conduct.
Employment-related issues
Managerial responsibility to act on conduct issues
In previous reports the Merit Protection Commissioner has commented that it is important for
line managers to identify and address performance and behavioural issues with employees
before they become a formal dispute. Taking a preventative approach through timely
identification of issues and early intervention can minimise the potential damage to workplace
relationships and productivity caused by complaints about decisions or conflict.
In the experience of the Merit Protection Commissioner, many secondary review cases are the
culmination of a lot of little, seemingly unimportant and incidental issues that have not been
dealt with and have coloured the perception of both the review applicant and the manager.
When these issues—particularly those involving subjective judgment such as performance
management or unrealistic job expectations or harassment allegations—are not addressed,
they tend to compound.
These small concerns and untested assumptions, particularly about the motives of other
people, escalate until almost every action (or inaction) of the person or persons involved is seen
through a particular mindset which often may lead to perception becoming reality. Thus, one
more small and seemingly insignificant event can set off a reaction that appears to the
manager, and often to members of the work group, to be out of proportion to the actual event.
For the review applicant, however, this event is intricately bound to all of the other unresolved
issues and the reaction is seen as proportionate to the whole, not the individual event.
Recordkeeping
APS agencies rely on employees to accurately record attendance at work for purposes
connected with the employees’ APS employment, in particular, payment of salary and as a
record of whereabouts for workers’ compensation or occupational health and safety matters.
The use of information technology provides agencies with additional sources of monitoring
attendance such as computer log on/log off times and building entry and exit times. The Merit
Protection Commissioner considers that such information can be used to support a pattern of
inaccurate recordkeeping but in most circumstances the data is not itself proof of misconduct.
Agency recordkeeping policies should alert employees if reliance is to be placed on electronic
methods of monitoring timekeeping for Code of Conduct investigations.
In one case the Merit Protection Commissioner upheld a sanction imposed for inaccurate
recordkeeping noting that while there is room in the Code of Conduct for an honest or
reasonable mistake, the inaccurate recordkeeping by the employee occurred over a long period
and involved a significant number of discrepancies.
Information technology
Each year the Merit Protection Commissioner reviews Code of Conduct cases concerning the
inappropriate use of the internet and email. This year was no exception with over one-third of
cases involving IT issues. With the increased uptake of technology, particularly among younger
employees, different IT issues are emerging and all agencies need to monitor existing guidance
to ensure continued relevance of both intent and application.
Two cases included the excessive use of a work-issued mobile phone. Both employees argued
that the respective agency policies allowed for occasional private phone usage and that there
were no numerical limits provided by the agencies. In both cases the Merit Protection
Commissioner upheld the agencies’ decisions, noting that the pattern of usage and the total
volume of calls in one case could not be described as incidental personal use. In the second
case, the Merit Protection Commissioner was satisfied that the number of calls made in the
period represented a usage far more regular and frequent than the policy envisaged.
The Merit Protection Commissioner also considered a case involving inappropriate use of
electronic media. The applicant sought review of the decision that they had breached the Code
of Conduct by failing to follow a direction to remove references to the employing agency in a
personal blog and not ensuring that future postings complied with the APS Values. The Merit
Protection Commissioner upheld the agency finding, but noted that in making that
recommendation the full extent of the directions given and all the circumstances of the alleged
behaviour had not been considered as it was only necessary to establish if there had been a
breach of the Code. A number of the applicant’s submissions were more relevant to whether
the sanction was proportionate to the nature of the breach, which was not subject to review.
In this case, the Merit Protection Commissioner commented that a direction must be tightly
drafted and specify exactly what actions should and should not be taken. This is particularly
important when providing guidance on emerging areas where the boundaries of acceptable and
unacceptable behaviour are less clearly defined.
The publication APS Values and Code of Conduct in practice available on the Commission’s
website is regularly updated to reflect current advice on ethical issues affecting the APS. This
guide is a valuable source of advice in this area.
Part 5 Financial statements
This part includes the independent auditor’s report and the Commission’s financial statements
for the year ended 30 June 2010.
Independent Auditor's report
To the Special Minister of State
I have audited the accompanying financial statements of the Australian Public Service
Commission for the year ended 30 June 2010, which comprise: a Statement by the Chief
Executive and Chief Finance Officer; Statement of Comprehensive Income; Balance Sheet;
Statement of Changes in Equity; Cash Flow Statement; Schedule of Commitments; Schedule of
Contingencies; Schedule of Asset Additions and Notes to and forming part of the Financial
Statements, including a Summary of Significant Accounting Policies.
The Responsibility ofthe Chief Executive for the Financial Statements
The Australian Public Service Commission's Chief Executive is responsible for the preparation
and fair presentation of the financial statements in accordance with the Finance Minister's
Orders made under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997, including the
Australian Accounting Standards (which include the Australian Accounting Interpretations). This
responsibility includes establishing and maintaining internal controls relevant to the
preparation and fair presentation of financial statements that are free from material
misstatement, whether due to fraud or error; selecting and applying appropriate accounting
policies; and making accounting estimates that are reasonable in the circumstances.
Auditor's Responsibility
My responsibility is to express an opinion on the financial statements based on my audit. I have
conducted my audit in accordance with the Australian National Audit Office Auditing Standards,
which incorporate the Australian Auditing Standards. These auditing standards require that I
comply with relevant ethical requirements relating to audit engagements and plan and perform
the audit to obtain reasonable assurance whether the financial statements are free from
material misstatement. An audit involves performing procedures to obtain audit evidence
about the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. The procedures selected
depend on the auditor's judgement, including the assessment of the risks of material
misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to fraud or error. In making those risk
assessments, the auditor considers internal control relevant to the Australian Public Service
Commission's preparation and fair presentation of the financial statements in order to design
audit procedures that are appropriate in the circumstances, but not for the purpose of
expressing an opinion on the effectiveness of the Australian Public Service Commission's
internal control. An audit also includes evaluating the appropriateness of accounting policies
used and the reasonableness of accounting estimates made by the Australian Public Service
Commission's Chief Executive, as well as evaluating the overall presentation ofthe financial
statements.
I believe that the audit evidence I have obtained is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis
for my audit opinion.
Independence
In conducting the audit, I have followed the independence requirements of the Australian
National Audit Office, which incorporate the requirements of the Australian accounting
profession.
Auditor's Opinion
In my opinion, the financial statements of the Australian Public Service Commission:
a. have been prepared in accordance with the Finance Minister's Orders made under the
Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997, including the Australian Accounting
Standards; and
b. give a true and fair view of the matters required by the Finance Minister's Orders
including the Australian Public Service Commission's financial position as at 30 June
2010 and its financial performance and cash flows for the year then ended.
Australian National Audit Office
Lorena Skipper
Senior Director
Delegate of the Auditor-General
Canberra
16 September 2010
Australian Public Service Commission
Statement by the Chief Executive and Chief Finance Officer
In our opinion, the attached financial statements for the year ended 30 June 2010 are based on
properly maintained financial records and give a true and fair view of the matters required by
the Finance Minister's Orders made under the Financial Management and Accountability Act
1997, as amended.
Stephen Sedgwick
Chief Executive
15 September 2010
David Mylan
Chief Finance Officer
15 September 2010
Australian Public Service Commission
Statement of comprehensive income
for the period ended 30 June 2010
Notes
2010 2009
$’000 $’000
Employee benefits
3a
21,31222,653
Supplier expenses
3b
17,12017,293
Depreciation and amortisation
3c
1,376 1,569
Finance costs
3d
22
31
Write-down and impairment of assets
3e
2
8
Losses from asset sales
3f
61
34
Expenses
Total expenses
39,89341,588
LESS:
Own source income
Own-source revenue
Sale of goods and rendering of services
4a
Total own-source revenue
19,92219,365
19,92219,365
Gains
Resources received free of charge
39
39
Total gains
39
39
Total own-source income
19,96119,404
Net cost of / (contribution by) services
19,93222,184
Revenue from Government
Surplus / (deficit)
4b
4c
20,73122,132
799
(52)
Changes in asset revaluation reserves
-
289
Total other comprehensive income
-
289
Total comprehensive income / (loss)
799
237
Other comprehensive income
The above statement should be read in conjunction with the accompanying
notes
Australian Public Service Commission
Balance sheet
as at 30 June 2010
Notes
2010
$’000
2009
$’000
Assets
Financial assets
Cash and cash equivalents
5a
469
443
Trade and other receivables
5b
18,017
15,059
18,486
15,502
Total financial assets
Non-financial assets
Land and buildings
6a,d
3,244
3,784
Property, plant and equipment
6b,d
1,812
2,259
Intangibles
6c,d
691
961
Inventories
6e
189
263
Prepayments paid
6f
449
545
Total non-financial assets
6,385
7,812
Total assets
24,871
23,314
Liabilities
Payables
Suppliers
7a
4,042
3,980
Prepayments received
7b
5,844
3,940
Other payables
7c
633
615
10,519
8,535
1,597
1,766
1,597
1,766
Total payables
Interest bearing liabilities
Lease incentives
8a
Total interest bearing liabilities
Provisions
Employee provisions
9a
4,850
5,709
Provision for restoration obligations
9b
332
530
5,182
6,239
Total provisions
The above statement should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes.
Notes
2010
$’000
2009
$’000
Total liabilities
17,298
16,540
Net assets
7,573
6,774
Contributed equity
(1,300)
(1,300)
Asset revaluation reserve
1,302
1,302
Retained surplus / (accumulated deficit)
7,571
6,772
Total equity
7,573
6,774
Equity
Australian Public Service Commission
Statement of changes in equity
for the period ended 30 June 2010
Retained
earnings
Item
Opening balance
Asset revaluation Contributed equity
reserve
/ capital
2010 2009
$’000 $’000
2010
$’000
2009
$’000
2010
$’000
Total equity
2009
$’000
2010 2009
$’000 $’000
6,772 6,824
1,302
1,013
(1,300)
(1,004)
6,774 6,833
-
-
-
289
-
-
-
289
Surplus / (deficit) for the
799
period
(52)
-
-
-
-
799
(52)
Total comprehensive
income
(52)
-
289
-
-
799
237
Comprehensive income
Other comprehensive
income*
799
Transactions with owners
Contributions by owners:
Appropriation
(equity injection)
-
-
-
-
-
(296)
-
(296)
Sub-total transactions
with owners
-
-
-
-
-
(296)
-
(296)
Closing balance as at
30 June
7,571 6,772
1,302
1,302
(1,300)
(1,300)
7,573 6,774
* See Note 6a for details of revaluation adjustments.
The above statement should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes.
Australian Public Service Commission
Cash flow statement
for the year ended 30 June 2010
Notes
2010 2009
$’000 $’000
Operating activities
Cash received
Goods and services
23,92123,246
Appropriations
20,73122,132
Cash received from the OPA
14,494-
Other cash received
496
Total cash received
59,64246,232
854
Cash used
Employees
22,73223,112
Suppliers
18,77819,321
Net GST paid
128
Cash transferred to the OPA
17,2942,400
Other cash used
511
Total cash used
59,44345,762
Net cash from / (used by) operating activities
11
232
697
199
470
Proceeds from sales of property, plant and equipment
12
19
Lease incentive
-
710
Total cash received
12
729
Purchase of property, plant and equipment
71
1,202
Purchase of intangibles
114
275
Total cash used
185
1,477
Net cash from / (used by) investing activities
(173) (748)
Investing activities
Cash received
Cash used
Financing activities
Notes
2010 2009
$’000 $’000
Cash received
Contributed equity
-
179
Total cash received
-
179
Net cash from / (used by) financing activities
-
179
Net increase / (decrease) in cash held
26
(99)
Cash and cash equivalents at the beginning of the reporting period
443
542
Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the reporting period
469
443
5a
The above statement should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes.
Australian Public Service Commission
Schedule of commitments
as at 30 June 2010
2010
$’000
2009
$’000
By maturity
GST recoverable on commitments
One year or less
(846)
(841)
From one to five years
(1,371)
(1,415)
Over five years
(1,553)
(1,788)
Total GST recoverable on commitments
(3,770)
(4,044)
One year or less
98
240
From one to five years
-
-
Over five years
-
-
Total capital commitments
98
240
One year or less
2,309
2,497
From one to five years
9,722
9,555
Over five years
16,843
19,388
Total operating lease commitments
28,874
31,440
One year or less
6,901
6,509
From one to five years
5,355
6,015
Over five years
243
279
Total other commitments
12,499
12,803
Net commitments by maturity
37,701
40,439
Capital commitments
Operating lease commitments
Other commitments
NB: Commitments are GST inclusive where relevant.
The above schedule should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes.
Australian Public Service Commission
Schedule of contingencies
as at 30 June 2010
2010
$’000
2009
$’000
Contingent assets
-
-
Contingent liabilities
-
-
Net contingent assets / (liabilities)
-
-
The above schedule should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes.
Australian Public Service Commission
Schedule of asset additions
for the year ended 30 June 2010
The following non-financial non-current assets were added in 2009-10:
Buildings
$’000
Other property, plant &
Intangibles Total
equipment
$’000 $’000
$’000
By purchase – appropriation equity
-
-
24
24
By purchase – appropriation ordinary
annual services
41
45
81
167
By purchase – other
-
-
-
-
By finance lease
-
-
-
-
Total additions
41
45
105
191
The following non-financial non-current assets were added in 2008-09:
Buildings
$’000
Other property, plant &
Intangibles Total
equipment
$’000 $’000
$’000
By purchase – appropriation equity
-
-
116
116
By purchase – appropriation ordinary
annual services
472
725
178
1,375
By purchase – other
-
-
-
-
By finance lease
-
141
-
141
Total additions
472
866
294
1,632
Australian Public Service Commission
Notes to and forming part of the Financial statements
for the year ended 30 June 2010
Note 1. Summary of significant accounting policies
1.1 Objective of the APSC
The APSC’s mission is to support a high-performing Australian Public Service.
The APSC is structured to meet one outcome, increased awareness and adoption of best
practice public administration by the public service through leadership, promotion, advice and
professional development, drawing on research and evaluation.
The continued existence of the APSC in its present form and with its present programs is
dependant on Government policy and on continuing appropriations by Parliament for the
APSC’s administration and programs.
Activities contributing toward this outcome are classified as either departmental or
administered. Departmental activities involve the use of assets, liabilities, income and expenses
controlled or incurred by the APSC in its own right. Administered activities involve the
management or oversight by the APSC, on behalf of the Government, of items controlled or
incurred by the Government. The APSC does not manage any administered activities
1.2 Basis of preparation of the Financial Statements
The financial statements are required by section 49 of the Financial Management and
Accountability Act 1997 and are general purpose financial statements.
The Financial Statements have been prepared in accordance with:


Finance Minister’s Orders (or FMO) for reporting periods ending on or after 1 July 2009
and
Australian Accounting Standards and Interpretations issued by the Australian
Accounting Standards Board (AASB) that apply for the reporting period.
The financial statements have been prepared on an accrual basis and in accordance with the
historical cost convention, except for certain assets at fair value. Except where stated, no
allowance is made for the effect of changing prices on the operating result or the financial
position.
The financial report is presented in Australian dollars and values are rounded to the nearest
thousand dollars unless otherwise specified.
Unless an alternative treatment is specifically required by an accounting standard or the FMO,
assets and liabilities are recognised in the balance sheet when and only when it is probable that
future economic benefits will flow to the entity or a future sacrifice of economic benefits will be
required and the amounts of the assets or liabilities can be reliably measured. However, assets
and liabilities arising under agreements equally proportionately unperformed are not
recognised unless required by an accounting standard. Liabilities and assets that are
unrecognised are reported in the schedule of commitments and the schedule of contingencies.
Unless alternative treatment is specifically required by an accounting standard, income and
expenses are recognised in the statement of comprehensive income when and only when the
flow, consumption or loss of economic benefits has occurred and can be reliably measured.
1.3 Significant Accounting Judgements and Estimates
No accounting assumptions or estimates have been identified that have a significant risk of
causing a material adjustment to carrying amounts of assets and liabilities within the next
accounting period.
1.4 Changes in accounting standards
Adoption of new Australian Accounting Standard requirements
No accounting standard has been adopted earlier than the application date as stated in the
standard.
New and revised standards, interpretations and amending standards that were issued prior to
the signing of the statement by the chief executive and chief financial officer and are applicable
to the current reporting period did not have a material financial impact, and are not expected
to have a material future financial impact on the entity.
Future Australian Accounting Standard requirements
New and revised standards, interpretations and amending standards that were issued prior to
the signing of the statement by the chief executive and chief financial officer and are applicable
to the future reporting period are not expected to have a material future financial impact on
the entity.
1.5 Revenue
Revenue from Government
Amounts appropriated for departmental outputs for the year (adjusted for any formal additions
and reductions) are recognised as revenue when the APSC gains control of the appropriation,
except for certain amounts that relate to activities that are reciprocal in nature, in which case
revenue is recognised only when it has been earned.
Appropriations receivable are recognised at their nominal amounts.
Other revenue
Revenue from the sale of goods is recognised when:




the risks and rewards of ownership have been transferred to the buyer
the APSC retains no managerial involvement nor effective control over the goods
the revenue and transaction costs incurred can be reliably measured and
It is probable that the economic benefits associated with the transaction will flow to the
entity.
Revenue from rendering of services is recognised by reference to the stage of completion of
contracts at the reporting date. The revenue is recognised when:


the amount of revenue, stage of completion and transaction costs incurred can be
reliably measured and
the probable economic benefits with the transaction will flow to the APSC.
The stage of completion of contracts at the reporting date is determined by reference to the
proportion that costs incurred to date bear to the estimated total costs of the transaction.
Receivables for goods and services, which have 30 day terms, are recognised at the nominal
amounts due less any allowance for impairment. Collectability of debts is reviewed at balance
date. Allowances for impairment are made when collectability of the debt is no longer
probable.
1.6 Gains
Resources received free of charge
Resources received free of charge are recognised as gains when and only when a fair value can
be reliably determined and the services would have been purchased if they had not been
donated. Use of those resources is recognised as an expense.
Resources received free of charge are recorded as either revenue or gains depending on their
nature.
Contributions of assets at no cost of acquisition or for nominal consideration are recognised as
gains at their fair value when the asset qualifies for recognition, unless received from another
Government agency as a consequence of a restructuring of administrative arrangements (refer
to Note 1.7).
Sale of assets
Gains from the disposal of non-current assets are recognised when control of the asset has
passed to the buyer.
1.7 Transactions with the Government as owner
Equity injections
Amounts appropriated which are designated as ‘equity injections’ for a year (less any formal
reductions) are recognised directly in contributed equity in that year.
Restructuring of Administrative Arrangements
Net assets received from or relinquished to another Australian Government agency or authority
under a restructuring of administrative arrangements are adjusted at their book value directly
against contributed equity.
Other distributions to owners
The FMO require that distributions to owners be debited to contributed equity unless in the
nature of a dividend.
In 2009-10, by agreement with the Department of Finance and Deregulation, the APSC
relinquished control of surplus departmental appropriation funding of $250,000. On 30 June
2010, the Finance Minister issued a determined to reduce Departmental Output Appropriations
by $250,000.
1.8 Employee benefits
Liabilities for ‘short-term employee benefits’ (as defined in AASB 119 Employee Benefits) and
termination benefits due within 12 months of balance date are measured at their nominal
amounts. The nominal amount is calculated with regard to the rates expected to be paid on
settlement of the liability.
Other long-term employee benefits are measured as net total of the present value of the
defined benefit obligation at the end of the reporting period minus the fair value at the end of
the reporting period of plan assets (if any) out of which the obligations are to be settled
directly.
Leave
The liability for employee benefits includes provision for annual leave and long service leave.
No provision has been made for sick leave as all sick leave is non-vesting and the average sick
leave likely to be taken in future years by employees of the APSC is estimated to be less than
the annual entitlement for sick leave.
The leave liabilities are calculated on the basis of employees’ remuneration at the estimated
salary rates that applied at the time that the leave is taken, including the APSC’s employer
superannuation contribution rates to the extent that the leave is likely to be taken during
service rather than paid out on termination.
The liability for long service leave is recognised and measured at the present value of the
estimated future cash flows to be made in respect of all employees at 30 June 2010. In
determining the present value of the liability, the APSC has used the Australian Government
shorthand method.
Separation and redundancy
Provision is made for separation and redundancy benefit payments. The APSC recognises a
provision for termination when it has developed a detailed formal plan for the terminations and
has informed those employees affected that it will carry out the terminations.
Superannuation
Staff of the APSC are members of the Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme (CSS), the Public
Sector Superannuation Scheme (PSS) or the PSS accumulation plan (PSSap).
The CSS and PSS are defined benefit schemes for the Australian Government. The PSSap is a
defined contribution scheme.
The liability for defined benefits is recognised in the financial statements of the Australian
Government and is settled by the Australian Government in due course. This liability is reported
by the Department of Finance and Deregulation as an administered item.
The APSC makes employer contributions to the employee superannuation scheme at rates
determined by an actuary to be sufficient to meet the cost to the Government of the
superannuation entitlements of the APSC’s employees. The APSC accounts for the contributions
as if they were contributions to defined contribution plans.
The provision for superannuation recognised as at 30 June represents the estimated
superannuation payable on the provision for annual leave and long service leave.
1.9 Leases
A distinction is made between finance leases and operating leases. Finance leases effectively
transfer from the lessor to the lessee substantially all risks and rewards incidental to ownership
of leased non-current assets. An operating lease is a lease that is not a finance lease. In
operating leases, the lessor effectively retains substantially all such risks and benefits.
Where an asset is acquired by means of a finance lease, the asset is capitalised at either the fair
value of the lease property or, if lower, the present value of minimum lease payments at the
inception of the contract and a liability is recognised at the same time and for the same amount
The discount rate used is the interest rate implicit in the lease. Leased assets are amortised
over the period of the lease. Lease payments are allocated between the principal component
and the interest expense.
Operating lease payments are expensed on a straight line basis which is representative of the
pattern of benefits derived from the leased assets.
Lease incentives taking the form of “free” leasehold improvements, contributions and rent
holidays are recognised as liabilities. These liabilities are reduced by allocating lease payments
between rental expense and reduction of the liability.
1.10 Borrowing costs
All borrowing costs are expensed as incurred.
1.11 Cash
Cash and cash equivalents includes cash on hand, cash held with outsiders, demand deposits in
bank accounts with an original maturity of 3 months or less that are readily convertible to
known amounts of cash and subject to insignificant risk of changes in value. Cash is recognised
at its nominal amount.
1.12 Financial assets
The APSC classifies its financial assets in the following categories:




financial assets at fair value through profit or loss
held-to-maturity investments
available-for-sale financial assets and
loans and receivables.
The classification depends on the nature and purpose of the financial assets and is determined
at the time of initial recognition.
Financial assets are recognised and derecognised upon trade date.
Effective interest method
The effective interest method is a method of calculating the amortised cost of a financial asset
and of allocating interest income over the relevant period. The effective interest rate is the rate
that exactly discounts estimated future cash receipts over the expected life of the financial
asset, or, where appropriate, a shorter period.
Income is recognised on an effective interest rate basis except for financial assets at fair value
through profit or loss.
Financial assets at fair value through profit or loss
Financial assets are classified as financial assets at fair value through profit or loss where the
financial assets:



have been acquired principally for the purpose of selling in the near future
are a part of an identified portfolio of financial instruments that the APSC manages
together and has a recent actual pattern of short-term profit-taking or
are derivatives that are not designated and effective as a hedging instrument.
Assets in this category are classified as current assets.
Financial assets at fair value through profit or loss are stated at fair value, with any resultant
gain or loss recognised in profit or loss. The net gain or loss recognised in profit or loss
incorporates any interest earned on the financial asset.
Available-for-sale financial assets
Available-for-sale financial assets are non-derivatives that are either designated in this category
or not classified in any of the other categories.
Available-for-sale financial assets are recorded at fair value. Gains and losses arising from
changes in fair value are recognised directly in the reserves (equity) with the exception of
impairment losses. Interest is calculated using the effective interest method and foreign
exchange gains and losses on monetary assets are recognised directly in profit or loss. Where
the asset is disposed of or is determined to be impaired, part (or all) of the cumulative gain or
loss previously recognised in the reserve is included in profit for the period.
Where a reliable fair value cannot be established for unlisted investments in equity
instruments, cost is used. The APSC has no such instruments.
Held-to-maturity investments
Non-derivative financial assets with fixed or determinable payments and fixed maturity dates
that the APSC has the positive intent and ability to hold to maturity are classified as held-tomaturity investments. Held-to-maturity investments are recorded at amortised cost using the
effective interest method less impairment, with revenue recognised on an effective yield basis.
Loans and receivables
Trade receivables, loans and other receivables that have fixed or determinable payments that
are not quoted in an active market are classified as ‘loans and receivables’. Loans and
receivables are measured at amortised cost using the effective interest method less
impairment. Interest is recognised by applying the effective interest rate.
Impairment of financial assets
Financial assets are assessed for impairment at the end of each reporting period.


Financial assets held at amortised cost - if there is objective evidence that an
impairment loss has been incurred for loans and receivables or held to maturity
investments held at amortised cost, the amount of the loss is measured as the
difference between the asset’s carrying amount and the present value of estimated
future cash flows discounted at the asset’s original effective interest rate. The carrying
amount is reduced by way of an allowance account. The loss is recognised in the
statement of comprehensive income.
Available-for-sale financial assets - if there is objective evidence that an impairment
loss on an available-for-sale financial asset has been incurred, the amount of the
difference between its cost, less principal repayments and amortisation, and its current

fair value, less any impairment loss previously recognised in expenses, is transferred
from equity to the statement of comprehensive income.
Available-for-sale financial assets (held at cost) - If there is objective evidence that an
impairment loss has been incurred the amount of the impairment loss is the difference
between the carrying amount of the asset and the present value of the estimated future
cash flows discounted at the current market rate for similar assets.
1.13 Financial liabilities
Financial liabilities are classified as either financial liabilities at fair value through profit or loss
or as other financial liabilities.
Financial liabilities are recognised and derecognised upon trade date.
Financial liabilities at fair value through profit or loss
Financial liabilities at fair value through profit or loss are initially measured at fair value.
Subsequent fair value adjustments are recognised in profit or loss. The net gain or loss
recognised in profit or loss incorporates any interest paid on the financial liability.
Other financial liabilities
Other financial liabilities, including borrowings, are initially measured at fair value, net of
transaction costs.
Other financial liabilities are subsequently measured at amortised cost using the effective
interest method, with interest expense recognised on an effective yield basis.
The effective interest method is a method of calculating the amortised cost of a financial
liability and of allocating interest expense over the relevant period. The effective interest rate is
the rate that exactly discounts estimated future cash payments through the expected life of the
financial liability, or, where appropriate, a shorter period.
Supplier and other payables are recognised at amortised cost. Liabilities are recognised to the
extent that the goods or services have been received (and irrespective of having been invoiced).
1.14 Contingent liabilities and contingent assets
Contingent liabilities and contingent assets are not recognised in the balance sheet but are
reported in the relevant schedules and Notes. They may arise from uncertainty as to the
existence of a liability or asset, or represent an asset or liability in respect of which the amount
cannot be reliably measured. Contingent assets are disclosed when settlement is probable but
not virtually certain and contingent liabilities are disclosed when settlement is greater than
remote.
1.15 Acquisition of assets
Assets are recorded at cost on acquisition except as stated below. The cost of acquisition
includes the fair value of assets transferred in exchange and liabilities undertaken. Financial
assets are initially measured at their fair value plus transaction costs where appropriate.
Assets acquired at no cost, or for nominal consideration, are initially recognised as assets and
income at their fair value at the date of acquisition, unless acquired as a consequence of
restructuring of administrative arrangements. In the latter case, assets are initially recognised
as contributions by owners at the amounts at which they were recognised in the transferor
agency’s accounts immediately prior to the restructuring.
1.16 Property, plant and equipment
Asset recognition threshold
Purchases of property, plant and equipment are recognised initially at cost in the balance sheet,
except for purchases costing less than $2,000, which are expensed in the year of acquisition
(other than where they form part of a group of similar items which are significant in total).
The initial cost of an asset includes an estimate of the cost of dismantling and removing the
item and restoring the site on which it is located. This is particularly relevant to the provision
for restoration obligations in property leases taken up by the APSC where there exists an
obligation to restore the property to its original condition. These costs are included in the value
of the APSC’s leasehold improvements with a corresponding provision for restoration
obligations recognised.
Revaluations
Fair values for each class of asset are determined as shown below:
Asset class
Fair value measured at:
Leasehold improvements
Depreciated replacement cost
Property, plant and equipment
Market selling price
Following initial recognition at cost, property plant and equipment are carried at fair value less
subsequent accumulated depreciation and accumulated impairment losses. Valuations are
conducted with sufficient frequency to ensure that the carrying amounts of assets do not
materially differ from the assets’ fair values as at the reporting date. The regularity of
independent valuations depends upon the volatility of movements in market values for the
relevant assets.
Revaluation adjustments are made on a class basis. Any revaluation increment is credited to
equity under the heading of asset revaluation reserve except to the extent that it reverses a
previous revaluation decrement of the same asset class that was previously recognised in the
surplus / (deficit). Revaluation decrements for a class of assets are recognised directly through
the surplus / (deficit) except to the extent that they reverse a previous revaluation increment
for that class.
Any accumulated depreciation as at the revaluation date is eliminated against the gross
carrying amount of the asset and the asset restated to the revalued amount.
Depreciation
Depreciable property, plant and equipment assets are written off to their estimated residual
value over their estimated useful life to the APSC using, in all cases, the straight-line method of
depreciation.
Depreciation rates (useful lives), residual values and methods are reviewed at each reporting
date and necessary adjustments are recognised in the current, or current and future reporting
periods, as appropriate.
Depreciation and amortisation rates applying to each class of depreciable asset are based on
the following useful lives:
Asset class
2010
2009
Leasehold improvements
Lease term
Lease term
Plant and equipment
1 to 7 years
1 to 7 years
Impairment
All assets were assessed for impairment at 30 June 2010. Where indications of impairment
exist, the asset’s recoverable amount is estimated and an impairment adjustment made if the
asset’s recoverable amount is less than its carrying amount.
The recoverable amount of an asset is the higher of its fair value less costs to sell and its value
in use. Value in use is the present value of the future cash flows expected to be derived from
the asset. Where the future economic benefit of an asset is not primarily dependent on the
asset’s ability to generate future cash flows, and the asset would be replaced if the APSC were
deprived of the asset, its value in use is taken to be its depreciated replacement cost.
Derecognition
An item of property, plant and equipment is derecognised upon disposal or when no further
future economic benefits are expected from its use or disposal.
1.17 Intangibles
The APSC’s intangibles comprise intellectual property, purchased software and internally
developed software for internal use. These assets are carried at cost less accumulated
amortisation and accumulated impairment losses where the value of the asset exceeds $2,000
for software and $10,000 for intellectual property
Intangibles are amortised on a straight-line basis over their anticipated useful life. The useful
lives of the APSC’s intangibles are between 2 to 10 years (2008-09: 2 to 10 years).
All intangible assets were assessed for impairment as at 30 June 2010.
1.18 Inventories
Inventories held for sale are valued at the lower of cost and net realisable value.
Inventories held for distribution are valued at cost, adjusted for any loss in service potential.
Costs incurred in bringing each item of inventory to its present location and condition are
assigned as follows:


raw materials and stores – purchase cost on a first-in-first-out basis and
finished goods and work-in-progress – cost of direct materials and labour plus
attributable costs that are capable of being allocated on a reasonable basis.
Inventories acquired at no cost or nominal consideration are initially measured at current
replacement cost at the date of acquisition.
1.19 Taxation
The APSC is exempt from all forms of taxation except Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) and the Goods
and Services Tax (GST).
Revenues, expenses, assets and liabilities are recognised net of GST except:


where the amount of GST incurred is not recoverable from the Australian Taxation
Office and
for receivables and payables.
Note 2. Events occurring after reporting date
No matter or occurrence has come to the APSC’s attention which would materially affect the
accounts or disclosures therein or which are likely to materially affect the future results or
operation of the APSC.
Note 3. Expenses
2010 2009
$’000 $’000
* For full disclosure on the impairment of financial assets see Note 15b.
2010 2009
$’000 $’000
3a Employee benefits
Wages and salaries
15,76916,626
Superannuation :
Defined benefit plans
2,181 2,396
Defined contribution plans
727
Leave and other entitlements
1,834 2,422
Separation and redundancies
801
Total employee benefits
21,31222,653
698
511
3b Suppliers
Goods and Services
Consultants
747
613
Contractors
6,742 6,456
Stationery
149
Travel
1,644 1,863
Venue hire and catering
1,477 1,434
Publications and printing
436
429
Advertising and communications
362
150
Training
399
318
Information and communications technology
1,877 1,966
Facilities expense
287
327
Other supplier expense
359
605
Total goods and services
14,47914,340
179
Goods and services are made up of:
Provision of goods - related entities
4
4
Provision of goods - external parties
667
741
Rendering of services - related entities
2,207 986
Rendering of services - external parties
11,60112,609
Total goods and services
14,47914,340
Other supplier expenses
Operating lease rentals - external parties [3]
2,599 2,848
2010 2009
$’000 $’000
Worker compensation expenses
42
105
Total other supplier expenses
2,641 2,953
Total supplier expenses
17,12017,293
3c Depreciation and amortisation
Depreciation:
Buildings
568
484
Property, plant and equipment
433
462
Total depreciation
1,001 946
Amortisation:
Computer software
248
222
Intellectual property
127
173
Assets held under finance lease
-
228
Total amortisation
375
623
Total depreciation and amortisation
1,376 1,569
3d Finance costs
Finance leases
-
22
Unwinding of discount on provision for restoration obligations22
9
Total finance costs
22
31
Impairment on goods and services receivable*
2
8
Property, plant and equipment – write-off on disposal
-
-
Total write-down and impairment of assets
2
8
Proceeds from sale
-
19
Carrying value of assets sold
(13)
(59)
Net gain / (loss) from sale of buildings
(13)
(40)
3e Write-down and impairment of assets
Asset write-downs and impairment from:
3f Sale of assets
Buildings:
Property, plant and equipment:
2010 2009
$’000 $’000
Proceeds from sale
12
257
Carrying value of assets sold
(60)
(246)
Net gain / (loss) from sale of property, plant and equipment (48)
11
Intangibles:
Proceeds from sale
-
-
Carrying value of assets sold
-
(5)
Net gain / (loss) from sale of buildings
-
(5)
Net gain / (loss) from sale of assets
(61)
(34)
[3] These comprise minimum lease payments only.
Note 4. Income
2010 2009
$’000 $’000
Revenue
4a Sale of goods and rendering of services
Provision of goods - related entities
22
43
Provision of goods - external parties
3
5
Rendering of services - related entities
18,67717,781
Rendering of services - external parties
1,220 1,536
Total sale of goods and rendering of services19,92219,365
Gains
4b Resources received free of charge
Resources received free of charge
39
39
Revenue from Government
4c Revenue from Government
Appropriations:
Departmental outputs
20,73122,132
Total revenue from Government
20,73122,132
Note 5. Financial assets
2010 2009
$’000 $’000
5a Cash and cash equivalents
Cash at bank
466
437
Cash on hand
3
6
Total cash and cash equivalents
469
443
5b Trade and other receivables
Goods and services:
Goods and services – related entities
3,243 2,696
Goods and services – external parties
161
Total goods and services receivable
3,404 2,985
289
Appropriations receivable:
for existing outputs
14,600 11,800
Total appropriations receivable
14,600 11,800
Other receivables:
GST receivable from the Australian Taxation Office
-
259
Incentive receivable
25
25
Total other receivables
25
284
Total trade and other receivables (gross)
18,029 15,069
Less: impairment allowance account - goods and services (12)
Total trade and other receivables (net)
(10)
18,017 15,059
All receivables are expected to be recovered in no more than 12 months.
Receivables are aged as follows:
Not overdue
17,077 14,264
Overdue by:
0 to 30 days
394
413
31 to 60 days
456
208
61 to 90 days
33
41
More than 90 days
69
143
952
805
Total goods and services receivables (gross)
18,029 15,069
2010 2009
$’000 $’000
The impairment allowance account is aged as follows:
Overdue by:
more than 90 days
(12)
(10)
Total impairment allowance account
(12)
(10)
Opening balance
(10)
(2)
Amounts written-off
2
1
Amounts recovered and reversed
6
1
(Increase) / decrease recognised in net surplus
(10)
(10)
Closing balance
(12)
(10)
Reconciliation of impairment allowance account
Note 6. Non-financial assets
2010
$’000
2009
$’000
No indicators of impairment were found for intangible assets.
No intangibles are expected to be sold or disposed of within the next 12 months.
6a Land and buildings
Leasehold improvements:
Fair value
3,722
3,784
Accumulated depreciation
(478)
-
Total leasehold improvements
3,244
3,784
Total Land and buildings
3,244
3,784
Fair value
2,224
2,276
Accumulated depreciation
(412)
(17)
Total property, plant and equipment
1,812
2,259
6b Property, plant and equipment
All revaluations were conducted in accordance with the revaluation policy stated at Note 1. On 30 June 2009 an independent
valuer Preston Rowe Paterson Australasia Pty Ltd conducted the revaluations. All assets acquired since 1 July 2009 are carried
at cost, which is materially reflective of their fair value.
In 2009 revaluation increments of $370,000 for leasehold improvements and $268,000 for property, plant and equipment were
credited to the asset revaluation reserve by asset class and included in the equity section of the balance sheet.
2010
$’000
2009
$’000
In 2009 the provision for restoration obligations was also revalued and the provision increased by $349,000. A decrement of
$349,000 was debited to the asset revaluation reserve as a sufficient credit balance existed in the revaluation reserve for the
relevant asset class. This decrement to the asset revaluation reserve was included in the equity section of the balance sheet.
No indicators of impairment were found for land and buildings, property, plant and equipment.
No land and buildings, property, plant or equipment is expected to be sold or disposed of within the next 12 months.
2010
$’000
2009
$’000
6c Intangibles
Computer software:
Internally developed - in use
1,178
1,151
Internally developed - in progress
-
3
Purchased
41
102
Total computer software (gross)
1,219
1,256
Accumulated amortisation
(670)
(492)
Total computer software (net)
549
764
Internally developed - in use
1,048
1,080
Total intellectual property (gross)
1,048
1,080
Accumulated amortisation
(906)
(883)
Total intellectual property (net)
142
197
Total intangibles
691
961
Intellectual property:
Item
Other
Computer
Buildings
Computer
property,
software Intellectual Total
leasehold
software
Total
plant &
internally property intangibles
improvements
purchased
$’000
equipment
developed
$’000
$’000
$’000
$’000
$’000
$’000
6d Analysis of property, plant, equipment and intangibles
Table A – Reconciliation of the opening and closing balances of property, plant and
equipment and intangibles (2009-10)
As at 1 July 2009
Item
Gross book
value
Other
Computer
Buildings
Computer
property,
software Intellectual Total
leasehold
software
Total
plant &
internally property intangibles
improvements
purchased
$’000
equipment
developed
$’000
$’000
$’000
$’000
$’000
$’000
3,784
2,276
102
1,154
1,080
2,336
8,396
Accumulated
depreciation /
amortisation
and impairment
(17)
(74)
(418)
(883)
(1,375)
(1,392)
Net book value
3,784
1 July 2009
2,259
28
736
197
961
7,004
45
3
30
72
105
191
By finance lease -
-
-
-
-
-
-
Revaluations
and
impairments
through equity
-
-
-
-
-
-
Depreciation /
amortisation
(568)
expense
(433)
(10)
(238)
(127)
(375)
(1,376)
By finance lease -
-
-
-
-
-
-
Other disposals (13)
(59)
-
-
-
-
(72)
Net book value
3,244
30 June 2010
1,812
21
528
142
691
5,747
Additions
By purchase
41
Disposals
Net book value as at 30 June 2010 represented by:
Gross book
value
3,722
2,224
40
1,179
1,048
2,267
8,213
Accumulated
depreciation /
(478)
amortisation
and impairment
(412)
(19)
(651)
(906)
(1,576)
(2,466)
Net book value
3,244
30 June 2010
1,812
21
528
142
691
5,747
Other
Computer
Buildings
Computer
property,
software Intellectual Total
leasehold
software
Total
plant &
internally property intangibles
improvements
purchased
$’000
equipment
developed
$’000
$’000
$’000
$’000
$’000
$’000
Item
Table B – Reconciliation of the opening and closing balances of property, plant and
equipment and intangibles (2008-09)
As at 1 July 2008
Gross book
value
4,017
3,844
87
1,054
1,134
2,275
10,136
Accumulated
depreciation /
(532)
amortisation
and impairment
(1,783)
(62)
(211)
(935)
(1,208)
(3,523)
Net book value
3,485
1 July 2008
2,061
25
843
199
1,067
6,613
725
18
100
176
294
1,491
By finance lease -
141
-
-
-
-
141
Revaluations
and
370
impairments
through equity
268
-
-
-
-
638
Depreciation /
amortisation
(484)
expense
(690)
(15)
(207)
(173)
(395)
(1,569)
By finance lease -
(245)
-
-
-
-
(245)
Other disposals (59)
(1)
-
-
(5)
(5)
(65)
Net book value
3,784
30 June 2009
2,259
28
736
197
961
7,004
Additions
By purchase
472
Disposals
Net book value as at 30 June 2009 represented by:
Gross book
value
3,784
2,276
102
1,154
1,080
2,336
8,396
Accumulated
depreciation /
amortisation
and impairment
(17)
(74)
(418)
(883)
(1,375)
(1,392)
Net book value
3,784
30 June 2009
2,259
28
736
197
961
7,004
2010
$’000
2009
$’000
During 2009-10, $74,309 of inventory held for distribution was recognised as an expense (200809 $75,780).
All inventory is expected to be sold or distributed in the next 12 months.
6e Inventories
Inventories held for distribution
189
263
Total inventories
189
263
2010
$’000
2009
$’000
All prepayments are expected to be utilised in no more than 12 months.
6f Prepayments paid
Prepayments paid
449
545
Note 7. Payables
2010
$’000
2009
$’000
*All prepayments received are expected to be settled within the next 12 months.
**All other payables are expected to be settled in no more than 12 months.
7a Suppliers
Trade creditors and accruals
2,781
3,038
Operating lease rentals
1,261
942
Total supplier payables
4,042
3,980
Supplier payables expected to be settled within 12 months:
Related entities
751
616
External parties
2,030
2,422
Total
2,781
3,038
Supplier payables expected to be settled in greater than 12 months:
Related entities
-
-
External parties
1,261
942
Total
1,261
942
2010
$’000
Total suppliers payable
2009
$’000
4,042
3,980
5,844
3,940
GST payable to ATO
76
-
Salaries and superannuation
355
441
Separations and redundancies
185
162
Other
17
12
Total other payables
633
615
7b Prepayments received*
Prepayments received
7c Other payables**
Note 8. Interest bearing liabilities
2010 2009
$’000 $’000
8a Lease incentives
Lease incentives are expected to be settled in:
No more than 12 months
166
169
More than 12 months
1,431 1,597
Total lease incentives
1,597 1,766
Note 9. Provisions
2010
$’000
2009
$’000
The APSC currently has 2 agreements for the leasing of premises which have provisions
requiring the APSC to restore the premises to their original condition at the conclusion of the
lease. The APSC has made a provision to reflect the present value of this obligation.
9a Employee provisions
Leave
4,429
5,183
Superannuation
421
526
Total employee provisions
4,850
5,709
1,851
1,575
Employee provisions are expected to be settled in:
No more than 12 months
2010
$’000
2009
$’000
More than 12 months
2,999
4,134
Total employee provisions
4,850
5,709
Carrying amount 1 July
530
141
Additional provisions made
-
380
Amounts used
(220)
-
Unwinding of discount or change in discount rate
22
9
Closing balance 30 June
332
530
No more than 12 months
245
235
More than 12 months
87
295
Total provision for restoration obligations
332
530
9b Provision for restoration obligations
Provision for restoration obligations are expected to be settled in:
Note 10. Restructuring
As a result of a machinery of government change, on 4 May 2010, the APSC assumed
responsibility for Australian Government employment workplace relations policy from the
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR). By agreement
between the APSC and DEEWR this transfer will have operational effect from 1 July 2010.
There were no restructures in 2008-09.
Note 11. Cash flow reconciliation
2010 $’000
2009 $’000
During 2009-10 the APSC acquired nil and disposed of nil plant and equipment by finance lease
(2008-09: acquired $141,000 and disposed of $245,000). These are non cash transactions and
are not reflected in the Cash Flow Statement.
Reconciliation of cash and cash equivalents as per Balance Sheet to Cash Flow Statement:
Cash and cash equivalents as per:
Cash flow statement
469
443
Balance sheet
469
443
Difference
-
-
Reconciliation of net cost of services to net cash from operating activities:
2010 $’000
2009 $’000
Net cost of services
19,932
22,184
Add revenue from Government
20,731
22,132
Depreciation and amortisation
1,376
1,569
(Gain) / loss on sale of assets
61
34
Employees benefits capitalised
-
(3)
Revaluation of provision for restoration obligations debited to
reserves
-
(349)
Lease incentive received
-
(710)
Changes in assets / liabilities
-
(Increase) / decrease in net receivables
(2,958)
(1,880)
(Increase) / decrease in inventories
74
(76)
(Increase) / decrease in prepayments paid
96
(1)
Increase / (decrease) in supplier payables
55
206
Increase / (decrease) in prepayments received
1,904
1,507
Increase / (decrease) in other payables
18
46
Increase / (decrease) in interest bearing liabilities
(169)
(426)
Increase / (decrease) in employee provisions
(859)
216
Increase / (decrease) in provision for restoration obligations
(198)
389
Net cash from / (used by) operating activities
199
470
Adjustments for non-cash items
Note 12. Contingent liabilities and assets
Quantifiable contingencies
As at 30 June 2010 the APSC has no quantifiable contingencies (2009: nil).
Unquantifiable contingencies
As at 30 June 2010 the APSC has no unquantifiable contingencies (2009: nil).
Significant remote contingencies
As at 30 June 2010 the APSC has no significant remote contingencies (2009: nil).
Note 13. Executive remuneration
Executive remuneration
2010
2009
Executive remuneration
2010
2009
* Excluding acting arrangements and part year service.
In addition to the amounts disclosed above, during the year the APSC paid $133,593 in
termination benefits to senior executives (2009: nil).
Note: 1. "Other" includes motor vehicle allowances and other allowances.
13a Actual remuneration paid to Senior Executives
The number of executives who received:
Less than $145,000*
-
-
$145,000 to $159,999
-
-
$160,000 to $174,999
-
-
$175,000 to $189,999
-
2
$190,000 to $204,999
3
3
$205,000 to $219,999
2
2
$220,000 to $234,999
1
-
$235,000 to $249,999
-
1
$265,000 to $279,999
1
-
$355,000 to $369,999
1
-
$505,000 to $519,999
-
1
Total
8
9
Salary (including annual leave taken)
1,407,762
1,500,343
Changes in annual leave provisions
5,259
12,275
Performance bonus
27,296
75,526
Other1
187,506
212,713
Total short-term employee benefits
1,627,823
1,800,857
Superannuation (post-employment benefits)
217,360
275,319
Other long-term benefits
53,939
51,525
Total
1,899,122
2,127,701
Short-term employee benefits:
13b Salary packages for Senior Executives
Average annualised remuneration packages for substantive Senior Executives
Total
As at 30 June 2010
As at 30 June 2009
remuneration:
Base salary
(including
annual leave)
No.
SES
Total
Remuneration
package1
Base salary
(including
annual leave)
No.
SES
Total
Remuneration
package1
* Excluding acting arrangements.
Note: 1. Non-Salary elements available to Senior Executives include:



motor vehicle allowance
car park and
superannuation
Performance bonuses and long service leave have not been included in the table above.
Less than
$145,000*
$145,000 to
$159,999
-
-
-
-
-
-
$160,000 to
$174,999
-
-
-
-
-
-
$175,000 to
$189,999
-
-
-
3
136,933
185,963
$190,000 to
$204,999
1
154,400
204,306
4
144,300
194,335
$205,000 to
$219,999
2
155,350
208,306
-
-
-
$220,000 to
$234,999
1
181,361
234,884
1
175,438
227,789
$265,000 to
$279,999
-
-
-
1
216,200
275,676
$310,000 to
$324,999
1
244,898
310,585
-
-
-
$415,000 to
$429,999
-
-
-
1
331,883
422,863
$460,000 to
$474,999
1
393,372
473,009
Total
6
10
Differences between Note 13a and 13b
Note 13a discloses Senior Executive remuneration based upon:


actual salary paid during the year (including payment for leave taken)
performance bonuses received



movement in annual leave and long service leave provisions (including revaluation of
provisions)
superannuation (post-employment benefits)
motor vehicle and other allowances
These amounts may differ to the remuneration package disclosed in Note 13b depending upon:







the amount of leave taken during the year
part-year service
periods of leave without pay
acting arrangements
performance bonuses received
changes to base salary, salary for superannuation purposes and allowances during the
year and
revaluation of employee provisions.
Note 13b discloses remuneration packages only for those Senior Executives employed as at
30 June 2009 and 30 June 2010.
Note 14. Remuneration of auditors
2010 2009
$’000 $’000
No other services were provided by the Auditor-General.
Financial statement audit services are provided free of charge to the APSC.
The fair value of the services provided was:
39
39
Note 15. Financial instruments
2010
$’000
2009
$’000
The total interest expense from financial liabilities not at fair value from profit and loss is nil
(2008-09: $9,000).
15a Categories of financial instruments
Financial Assets
Loans and receivables:
Cash and cash equivalents
469
443
Goods and services receivable
3,404
2,985
Incentive receivable
25
25
Total
3,898
3,453
Carrying amount of financial assets
3,898
3,453
Financial Liabilities
2010
$’000
2009
$’000
At amortised cost:
Trade creditors
2,781
3,038
Other payables
17
12
Total
2,798
3,050
Carrying amount of financial liabilities
2,798
3,050
Loans and receivables
Impairment on goods and services receivable
(2)
(8)
Net gain/(loss) loans and receivables
(2)
(8)
Net gain/(loss) from financial assets
(2)
(8)
Interest expense
-
(22)
Net gain/(loss) financial liabilities - at amortised cost
-
(22)
Net gain/(loss) from financial liabilities
-
(22)
15b Net income and expense from financial assets
15c Net income and expense from financial liabilities
Financial liabilities - at amortised cost
15d Fair value of financial instruments
The carrying amount of all financial assets and liabilities is a reasonable approximation of their
fair value. The net fair values of finance lease liabilities are based on discounted cash flows
using the interest rate implicit in the lease.
15e Credit risk
The APSC is exposed to minimal credit risk as loans and receivables are goods and services
receivable and incentive receivable. The maximum exposure to credit risk is the risk that arises
from potential default of a debtor. This amount is equal to the total amount of goods and
services and incentive receivable (see Note 15a). The APSC has assessed the risk of the default
on payment and has allocated an allowance for impairment on goods and services receivable.
The APSC’s goods and services receivable are principally recoverable from other Australian
Government agencies. The incentive receivable is recoverable from a building lessor, with the
amount recoverable specified in the lease agreement. In addition, the APSC has policies and
procedures that guide debt recovery techniques that are to be applied.
The APSC holds no collateral to mitigate against credit risk.
Credit quality of financial instruments not past due or individually determined as impaired
Not Past Due Nor
Impaired 2010
$’000
Not Past Due Nor
Impaired 2009
$’000
Past due or
impaired 2010
$’000
Past due or
impaired 2009
$’000
Financial Assets
Loans and receivables
Goods and services
2,452
receivable
2,180
Incentive receivable 25
25
Total loans and
receivables
2,477
2,205
952
805
Total
2,477
2,205
952
805
952
805
-
Ageing of financial assets that are past due but not impaired
Year
Goods and services
receivable:
0 to 30 days 31 to 60 days 61 to 90 days 90+ days
$’000
$’000
$’000
$’000
Total
$’000
2010394
456
33
57
940
2009413
208
41
133
795
The following list of assets have been individually assessed as impaired
2010
$’000
Financial Assets
2009
$’000
These items are assessed as impaired as they are past due by 90 + days and it will be
uneconomic to pursue them.
Loans and receivables
Goods and services receivable
(12)
(10)
Total
(12)
(10)
15f Liquidity risk
The APSC’s financial liabilities are payables, finance leases and other interest bearing liabilities.
The exposure to liquidity risk is based on the notion that the APSC will encounter difficulty in
meeting its obligations associated with financial liabilities. This is highly unlikely as the APSC is
appropriated funding from the Australian Government and the APSC manages its budgeted
funds to ensure it has adequate funds to meet payments as they fall due. In addition, the APSC
has policies in place to ensure timely payment are made when due and has no past experience
of default.
Maturities for non-derivative financial liabilities
On demand Within 1 year 1 to 2 years 2 to 5 years > 5 years Total
2010
2010
2010
2010
2010
2010
$’000
$’000
$’000
$’000
$’000
$’000
Financial Liabilities
Liabilities at amortised cost
Trade creditors
-
2,781
-
-
-
2,781
Other payables
-
17
-
-
-
17
Finance lease
-
-
-
-
-
-
Total liabilities at
amortised cost
-
2,798
-
-
-
2,798
Total
-
2,798
-
-
-
2,798
On demand Within 1 year 1 to 2 years 2 to 5 years > 5 years Total
2009
2009
2009
2009
2009
2009
$’000
$’000
$’000
$’000
$’000
$’000
Financial Liabilities
Liabilities at amortised cost
Trade creditors
-
3,038
-
-
-
3,038
Other payables
-
12
-
-
-
12
Finance lease
-
-
-
-
-
-
Total liabilities at
amortised cost
-
3,050
-
-
-
3,050
Total
-
3,050
-
-
-
3,050
15g Market risk
The APSC holds basic financial instruments that do not expose the APSC to certain market risks.
The APSC is not exposed to 'Currency risk' or 'Other price risk'.
Interest Rate Risk
The only interest-bearing items on the balance sheet were 'Finance lease' liabilities'. These bore
interest at a fixed interest rate that did not fluctuate due to changes in the market interest rate.
The finance lease arrangement ceased on 26 June 2009.
Note 16. Appropriations
Departmental outputs
2010
$’000
2009
$’000
1. The amounts in this line item are calculated on an accrual basis to the extent that an expense
may have been incurred that includes GST but has not been paid by year end.
2. This amount excludes accruals.
FMA Act = Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997
Departmental and non-operating appropriations do not lapse at financial year end. However,
the responsible Minister may decide that part or all of a departmental or non-operating
appropriation is not required and request the Finance Minister to reduce that appropriation.
The reduction in the appropriation is effected by the Finance Minister's determination and is
disallowable by Parliament.
On 12 May 2009, the Finance Minister determined a reduction in departmental output
appropriations and other departmental items (Previous Years’ Outputs) following a request by
the Special Minister of State. The amount of the reduction under Appropriation Act (No. 1) of
2008-09 was $900,000 and Appropriation Act (No. 2) of 2008-09 was $296,000.
On 30 June 2010, the Finance Minister determined a reduction in departmental output
appropriations following a request by the Special Minister of State. The amount of the
reduction under Appropriation Act (No. 1) of 2009-10 was $250,000.
16a Acquittal of authority to draw cash from the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) for
ordinary annual services appropriations
Balance brought forward from previous period (Appropriations Acts) 12,259
9,995
Appropriation Act:
Appropriation Act (No.1,3 and 5) as passed
20,981
23,032
Appropriations reduced (Appropriation Act sections 10,11 and 12)
(250)
(900)
Repayments to the Commonwealth (FMA Act section 30)
246
458
* Appropriations to take account of recoverable GST (FMA Act
section 30A)1
1,586
1,647
Relevant agency receipts (FMA Act section 31)
22,181
22,521
Total appropriation available for payments
57,003
56,753
Cash payments made during the year (GST inclusive)
(42,180)
(44,494)
FMA Act:
Balance of authority to draw cash from the CRF for ordinary annual
14,823
services appropriations
12,259
Departmental outputs
2010
$’000
2009
$’000
Represented by:
Cash and cash equivalents
469
443
Departmental appropriations receivable
14,518
11,694
Net GST (payable to) / receivable from ATO2
(164)
122
Total as at 30 June
14,823
12,259
Non-operating
Previous years’
outputs
Equity
2010 2009
$
$
2010
$
2009
$
Total
2010 2009
$
$
1. The amounts in this line item are calculated on an accrual basis to the extent that an expense may have been incurred that
includes GST but has not been paid by year end.
2. Payments of $104,000 were made from Equity in 2007-08 for which Previous years’ outputs appropriation funding was
received in 2008-09, upon which the Equity balance was reimbursed.
FMA Act = Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997
16b Acquittal of authority to draw cash from the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) for other than
ordinary annual services appropriations
Balance brought forward from previous period
(Appropriations Acts)
106
30
-
-
106
30
Appropriation Act (No.2,4 and 6) as passed
-
75
-
400
-
475
Appropriations reduced (Appropriation Act sections 12, 13
and 14)
-
-
(296)
-
(296)
Appropriation Act:
FMA Act:
*Appropriations to take account of recoverable GST (FMA
Act section 30A)1
2
10
-
-
2
10
Total appropriation available for payments
108
115
-
104
108
219
Non-operating
Previous years’
outputs
Equity
2010 2009
$
$
2010
$
2009
$
Total
2010 2009
$
$
Cash payments made during the year (GST inclusive)
(26) (113) -
-
(26) (113)
Transfer between categories2
-
104
-
(104)
-
-
Balance of authority to draw cash from the CRF for other
than ordinary annual services appropriations
82
106
-
-
82
106
Departmental appropriations receivable
82
106
-
-
82
106
Total as at 30 June
82
106
-
-
82
106
Represented by:
Note 17. Special accounts
Other Trust Monies Special Account (Departmental)
Appropriation: Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997; s21.
Establishing Instrument: Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997; s20.
Purpose: Expenditure of monies temporarily held on trust or otherwise for the benefit of a
person other than the Commonwealth.
2010 2009
$’000$’000
Balance brought forward from previous period
-
-
Other receipts - Comcare compensation receipts
10
1
Total increase
10
1
Payments made - reimbursement to Departmental outputs(10) (1)
Balance carried to next period
-
-
Cash and cash equivalents
-
-
Total balance carried to the next period
-
-
Represented by:
Services for Other Government and Non Agency Bodies Special Account (Departmental)
Appropriation: Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997; s21.
Establishing Instrument: Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997; s20.
Purpose: Expenditure in connection with services performed on behalf of other Governments
and bodies that are not FMA Agencies.
The Finance Minister issued a determination to abolish this account, effective from
11 September 2009.
For the period 1 July 2000 to 11 September 2009, the account had nil balances and there were
no transactions debited or credited to it.
Note 18. Compensation and debt relief
2010 2009
$
$
No ‘Act of Grace’ expenses were incurred during the reporting period (2009: nil).
-
-
No waivers of amounts owing to the Australian Government were made pursuant to
subsection 34(1) of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (2009: no waivers).
-
No payments were provided under the Compensation for Detriment caused by
Defective Administration (CDDA) Scheme during the reporting period (2009: nil).
-
-
No ex-gratia payments were provided for during the reporting period (2009: nil).
-
-
No payments were provided in special circumstances relating to APS employment
under s73 of the Public Service Act 1999 (PS Act) during the reporting period (2009: nil).
-
Note 19. Reporting of outcomes
Outcome 1
2010
$’000
2009
$’000
Outcome 1 is described in Note 1.1. Net costs shown include intra-government costs that are
eliminated in calculating the actual Budget outcome.
19a Net Cost of Outcome Delivery
Total expenses
39,893
41,588
Goods and services revenue
1,223
1,541
Total
1,223
1,541
Income from non-government sector
Outcome 1
2010
$’000
2009
$’000
Other own-source income
Resources received free of charge
39
39
Goods and services revenue
18,699
17,824
Total
18,738
17,863
Net cost / (contribution) of outcome delivery
19,932
22,184
19b Major classes of Departmental expense, income, assets and liabilities by outcome
As the APSC only has one outcome, major classes of departmental assets and liabilities for
Outcome 1 are as per the balance sheet and major classes of departmental expense and
income for Outcome 1 are as per the statement of comprehensive income.
Appendix A: Agency resource and outcome
resource statements
Table A1: Agency resource statement, 2009–10
Actual available
Payments made Balance remaining
appropriation for 2009–10
2009–10
2009–10
$’000
$’000
$’000
(a)
(b)
(a)–(b)
Ordinary annual services
Departmental appropriation
Prior year departmental
appropriation
12,259
Departmental appropriation1 20,731
Section 31 relevant agency
receipts
22,181
Section 30 repayments
246
Total
55,417
40,594
14,823
Total ordinary annual services 55,417
40,594
14,823
Other services2
Departmental non-operating
Prior year appropriation
106
Equity injections
–
Previous years’ outputs
–
Total
106
24
82
Total other services
106
24
82
Special Accounts
Opening balance
–
Appropriation receipts
–
Non-appropriation receipts to
–
special accounts
Payments made
Closing balance
–
–
Table A1: Agency resource statement, 2009–10
Actual available
Payments made Balance remaining
appropriation for 2009–10
2009–10
2009–10
$’000
$’000
$’000
(a)
(b)
(a)–(b)
Total resourcing
55,523
40,618
1 Appropriation Act (No. 1) 2009–10 less appropriation reductions.
2 Appropriation Act (No. 2) 2009–10
14,905
Table A2: Expenses and resources for Outcome 1, 2009–10
Outcome 1: Increased awareness and adoption of best
practice public administration by the public service
through leadership, promotion, advice and professional
development, drawing on research and evaluation
Budget*
2009–10
$’000
(a)
Actual
expenses
2009–10
$’000
(b)
Variation
2009–10
$’000
(a)–(b)
Sub-program 1.1 - APS policy, review and evaluation
Departmental expenses
Ordinary annual services (Appropriation Act No. 1)
7,341
7,310
31
Revenues from independent sources (Section 31)
2
44
(42)
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the Budget year
79
82
(3)
Subtotal sub-program 1.1
7,422
7,436
(14)
Sub-program 1.2 - Development programs and employment services
Departmental expenses
Ordinary annual services (Appropriation Act No. 1)
13,640
12,303
1,337
Revenues from independent sources (Section 31)
18,529
19,878
(1,349)
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the Budget year
275
276
(1)
Subtotal sub-program 1.2
32,444
32,457
(13)
Ordinary annual services (Appropriation Act No. 1)
20,981
19,613
1,368
Revenues from independent sources (Section 31)
18,531
19,922
(1,391)
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the Budget year
354
358
(4)
Total expenses for Outcome 1
39,866
39,893
(27)
Outcome 1, totals by appropriation type
Departmental expenses
* Full-year budget as per the 2009–10 Portfolio Budget Statements.
2008–092009–10
Average staffing level (number)215
194
Appendix B: Report on performance under the
Commonwealth Disability Strategy
The Commonwealth Disability Strategy aims to ensure that people with disability can
participate fully in community life.
From 1 July 2007, agencies are required to report on their activities through the Australian
Public Service Commissioner’s State of the Service Report agency survey. The Commission will
report on its performance through the agency survey for 2009–10.
Appendix C: Occupational health and safety
Executive commitment
The Commission is committed to delivering a robust occupational health and safety
environment for its staff.
Occupational Health and Safety Committee
The Commission has an Occupational Health and Safety Committee, which is responsible for
advising the Commissioner on the administration of the Commission’s occupational health and
safety policies and practices.
The Commission’s occupational health and safety (OH&S) officer provides advice to the
Committee, undertakes OH&S inspections, provides necessary training and manages any
return-to-work cases.
Ongoing initiatives
During 2009–10 the Commission continued to support programs aimed at maintaining the
health and wellbeing of its staff, including:




annual influenza vaccinations
occupational health and safety training, including through the Commission’s online staff
induction program and face-to-face sessions
regular information on health and wellbeing activities available to staff
workstation assessments for all new staff and those with reported health concerns.
Health and safety management arrangements
Under section 16(2)(d) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991 (OH&S Act), the
Commission is required to develop written health and safety management arrangements in
consultation with its employees. These arrangements are concerned with the management of
OH&S in the Commission and are one of the main mechanisms by which the Commission
demonstrates its commitment to meeting its duty of care under the Act. They provide a flexible
framework for the management of occupational health and safety in a way which suits the
needs of the Commission. The Commission’s health and safety management arrangements are
currently being reviewed.
New initiatives
The Commission launched its Health, Safety and Wellbeing Program in 2009–10. The themes for
the program are:

Zero Harm, which focuses on the prevention of workplace injury




Focus on Health, which is designed to provide staff with information on how to reduce
the likelihood of developing common health ailments
Wellbeing Seminars, which serve as a forum to provide staff with information in a
structured way
Executive Health and Safety Program, which provides managers with information and
training required to manage the ongoing health and safety of staff
A Taste of Wellbeing, which is designed to provide staff with a one- to two-week trial of
different sports and activities.
Performance assessment
The Commission’s OH&S performance is assessed against both positive performance indicators
and outcome measures.
Positive performance indicators
As part of the Commission’s induction process for new staff, an OH&S induction is provided. In
addition, a workstation assessment is undertaken to ensure that the work environment is
appropriate for the new starter.
Table A3 details the result of the Commission’s preventive measures.
Table A3: Positive performance indicators, 2009–10
Actions
Workstation
assessments
Measures
Actual 2009–
10
Percentage of new staff assessed
Percentage requiring corrective action
OH&S induction
Percentage of staff who underwent relevant OH&S
induction
100%
40%
100%
Outcome measures
The Commission noted a decline in the number of accidents and incidents during 2009–10.
Early management of reported accidents and incidents has continued to keep the Commission’s
claim numbers low.
There were 12 incidents reported in 2009–10, two of which were notified to Comcare.
The Commission referred 13 early intervention cases to SRC Solutions, with three compensation
cases resulting.
No directions were given to the Commission under section 45 of the OH&S Act and no notices
were given under section 29, 46 or 47.
No investigations were conducted during the year.
Appendix D: Freedom of information
This statement is published in accordance with the requirements of section 8 of the Freedom of
Information Act 1982 (FOI Act). The Public Service Commissioner and the Merit Protection
Commissioner are prescribed authorities for the purposes of the FOI Act. This statement is
made on behalf of both offices.
Organisation, functions and powers (s. 8(1)(a)(i))
Public Service Commissioner
The functions of the Public Service Commissioner and the organisation of the Commission are
described in Part 1 of this annual report in the Commission overview.
The principal powers exercised by the Public Service Commissioner as they affect members of
the public are those relating to the issuing of Commissioner’s Directions under the Public
Service Act 1999 (PS Act) in relation to each of the APS Values specified in that Act. The
Commissioner’s Directions ensure that the APS incorporates and upholds the APS Values and
they determine where necessary the scope or application of the APS Values.
Several of the APS Values relate to the recruitment of staff to the APS. The Commissioner’s
Directions provide binding provisions relating to the framework within which people are
recruited to the APS, the basic elements of which include:




merit-based employment decisions, including transparent and fair selection processes
absence of discrimination and recognition of the diversity of the Australian community
promotion of equity in employment
provision of reasonable opportunity to all eligible members of the Australian community
to apply for APS employment.
Another of the APS Values relates to the delivery of services to the Australian public. The Public
Service Commissioner has issued Directions which specify that an agency head must put in
place measures directed at upholding this APS Value, including in relation to the provision to
the public of information about rights and entitlements and taking into account client diversity
and the right to privacy.
Area offices assist in the provision of advice and services to agencies Australia-wide, including
delivery of a range of employment-related activities on a fee-for-service basis.
Merit Protection Commissioner
The organisation of the Office of the Merit Protection Commissioner is described in the body of
the Merit Protection Commissioner’s annual report, which is included with the Public Service
Commissioner’s annual report.
The full range of the Merit Protection Commissioner’s functions under the PS Act, which relate
generally to reviewing actions affecting individual APS employees in relation to their
employment, are described in the Merit Protection Commissioner’s annual report. In addition,
the Merit Protection Commissioner may exercise powers of the former Merit Protection and
Review Agency (MPRA), which was abolished on 5 December 1999 with the introduction of the
PS Act, under the transitional provisions which apply to former MPRA casework.
The principal powers exercised by the Merit Protection Commissioner that may affect members
of the public relate to some review functions, the recommendations of Independent Selection
Advisory Committees and some other employment-related functions. The Merit Protection
Commissioner may investigate complaints by former employees that relate to an employee’s
entitlements on separation from the APS. The committees assess the suitability of candidates
for engagement, promotion or assignment of duties for employment opportunities in the APS.
The wide range of employment-related functions which the Merit Protection Commissioner
may also perform for other bodies, if requested by the body to do, includes functions
performed for state and territory departments and authorities, local government bodies,
private corporations and bodies, and Commonwealth authorities whose employees are not
engaged under the PS Act.
Arrangements for external bodies to participate in policy formulation
or administration (s. 8(1)(a)(ii))
Public Sector Management Program Board of Management
The Public Service Commissioner is represented on the Public Sector Management Program
Board of Management, whose other members include representatives of state and territory
public services. The board sets the direction for and oversees the delivery of a management
and leadership development course for managers at middle and senior levels throughout the
Australian public sector. The Public Sector Management Program is a national strategy to
deliver relevant, practically focused training that reflects the changing expectations of the
public sector. All participants who meet the assessment requirements of the program will be
eligible for a Graduate Certificate in Public Sector Management from Flinders University, South
Australia.
Government Skills Australia Public Sector Industry Advisory Committee
The Australian Public Service Commissioner is represented on the Government Skills Australia
Public Sector Industry Advisory Committee. The committee also includes representatives from
the states and territories. The committee is chaired by a senior representative from the South
Australian Department of Education and Children’s Services. The focus of Government Skills
Australia is providing high-quality training resources and services to support the recognition of
skills and professionalism in government administration, services and operations.
Categories of documents maintained (s. 8(1)(a)(iii))
Public Service Commissioner
Documents maintained by the Public Service Commissioner include those relating to:
























APS Employment Database (APSED)
development programs
employment framework
employment-related fee-for-service activities
ethics advice
individual review and other casework
internal management
leadership issues
legal advisings
machinery of government and administrative arrangements
networks established and/or managed by the Commission
outsourcing of activities
performance management
personnel practices
recruitment, selection, promotion and staffing
review of the PS Act
redeployment, retrenchment and retirement of staff
seminar events and related evaluations
senior executive staffing
submissions to inquiries
surveys, studies, reviews and evaluations
values and conduct policy
whistleblowing
workplace diversity, including equal employment opportunity.
Merit Protection Commissioner
Documents maintained by the Merit Protection Commissioner include:







information brochures about the range of functions of the Merit Protection
Commissioner, Independent Selection Advisory Committees, Promotion Review
Committees and reviews of actions
Merit Protection Commissioner’s Instructions on procedures for Independent Selection
Advisory Committees, Promotion Review Committees and reviews of actions
documents relating to the Merit Protection Commissioner’s decision-making processes,
day-to-day administration and policy matters
individual case files
files relating to fee-for-service activities including records of processes
submissions to inquiries
policy development.
Documents maintained in relation to the powers of the former MPRA exercised by the Merit
Protection Commissioner include:


decisions of Disciplinary Appeal Committees
individual grievance case files.
The pre-July 1987 records of the Public Service Board are now held by the National Archives of
Australia.
General
The majority of documents are held in hard-copy form, either on records management files or
as individual written or printed items. Other documents are held as computer-stored data,
microfiche, charts, plans, films, videotapes, audiotapes or card indexes.
Consistent with National Archives disposal authorities, both policy and casework document files
are maintained. The Records Management Unit maintains a list of indexed headings covering
subjects.
Documents available to the public in accordance with arrangements made by the Public Service
Commissioner and the Merit Protection Commissioner include:




the Public Service Commissioner’s annual report (incorporating the Merit Protection
Commissioner’s annual report)
the State of the Service series of reports
Australian Public Service statistical bulletins
instructions and guidelines on a variety of matters.
Most publications are available electronically on the Commission’s website or in hard copy free
of charge. Details of all publications are available on the Commission’s website.
Facilities for access (s. 8(1)(a)(iv))
In relation to both the Public Service Commissioner and the Merit Protection Commissioner,
facilities for accessing publications or other documents available outside the scope of the FOI
Act are provided via the Public Service Commissioner’s website (which incorporates the Merit
Protection Commissioner site). In the event that documents cannot be located on this site,
further inquiries about access should be directed to the Employment Policy Adviceline at
[email protected]
Where a decision has been made to give access to documents under the FOI Act they will
generally be copied to applicants. Where copies are not made available, documents may be
inspected at the Commission premises at 16 Furzer Street, Phillip ACT, or at area offices.
Freedom of Information procedures and initial contact point
(s. 8(1)(a)(v))
Written requests for access to documents in the possession of the Public Service Commissioner
or the Merit Protection Commissioner should be accompanied by a $30 application fee and
directed to:
Freedom of Information Coordinator
Australian Public Service Commission
16 Furzer Street
Phillip ACT 2606
There will be changes to the requirements relating to fees when amendments to the FOI Act
commence later in the year. Inquiries in this regard may be made to the number below.
There is no pro forma application document. Inquiries about access to documents may be
directed to the Freedom of Information Coordinator at the above address or by telephoning
(02) 6202 3571 between 9.00 am and 5.00 pm Eastern Time, Monday to Friday.
Operation of the Freedom of Information Act
In relation to both the Public Service Commissioner and the Merit Protection Commissioner,
five valid requests for access were received during 2009–10. No requests were outstanding at
the end of the period.
A total of $120 was collected in 2009–10 in relation to the requests received under the FOI Act.
Appendix E: Advertising and market research
A total of $393,657 was paid for advertising, representing a 71% increase over the previous
year.
The master advertising agency, ADCORP, was paid $358,588. This represents the only payments
in 2009–10 for advertising services greater than $11,200 (inclusive of GST).
Advertising was used to promote development programs, advertise tenders or recruit
employees, as well as to recruit Indigenous employees for the APS as a whole.
No market research activities assessing the attitudes of the public were undertaken and the
Commission did not employ the services of polling or direct mail organisations.
To support its preparation of the State of the Service Report, a range of processes were
undertaken by the Commission to assess the attitudes of APS employees.
Appendix F: Ecologically sustainable
development and environmental performance
Section 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 requires
Australian Government organisations to include in their annual reports a report on the
organisation’s contribution to ecologically sustainable development.
The Commission does not administer any legislation or have any appropriation directly related
to sustainable development and environmental performance.
The Commission’s environmental activities are directed towards improving energy
management and environmental practices within the Commission.
As part of the review and updating of its environmental management system, the Commission
established a number of environmental objectives and targets. Table A4 details the
Commission’s performance against the established targets.
Table A4: Environmental performance, 2009–10
Objective
Target
Result
Reduce the amount of virgin
paper purchased
By December 2009: 90% of paper
purchased has 60% or better
recycled content
Achieved
Purchase environmentally
sound stationery products
By December 2009: Reduction of
5% in the purchase of nonrecycled paper
All paper purchased has a 60% or
better recycle content
By December 2010: Further
reduction of 5% in the purchase of
non-recycled paper
Improve recycling practices to
minimise the amount of
general waste going to landfill
Upgrade and standardise recycling Separate containers for waste and
practices
recyclable materials have been
provided to staff
Increased awareness through
publicity, training of staff and
Appointed a champion and
championing of energy
provided awareness information to
management
staff on a regular basis
Maintain energy-efficient
systems and minimise energy
consumption
7,500 megajoules
(MJ)/person/year
5,880 MJ/person/year in 2008
Obtained a 5 on the ABGR rating
scale in 2009
Minimum energy performance
standard (4.5 on the ABGR rating)
Note: The target of 7,500 megajoules per person per year was set in the Australian Government Energy Efficiency in
Government Operations Policy 2006.
During 2009–10, the Commission continued to:




use recycled paper and co-mingle recycling and paper waste recycling
purchase whitegoods and office equipment that had water- and energy-efficient
features, including sleep modes
encourage the use of E10 fuel in Commission vehicles
regularly provide staff with information on energy-efficient ways of working.
Appendix G: Staffing profile and equal
employment opportunity
Table A5 gives a breakdown of all staff in the Commission at 30 June for the last two years by
type and gender. All staff, except for the Public Service Commissioner and the Merit Protection
Commissioner, are employed under the Public Service Act 1999.
Table A5: Ongoing and non-ongoing staff, by gender, 2008–09 to 2009–10
2008–09
Female
2009–10
Male
Total
Female
Male
Total
Ongoing full-time
126
45
171
103
46
149
Ongoing part-time
23
3
26
22
4
26
Non-ongoing full-time
10
7
17
9
7
16
Non ongoing part-time
3
3
6
1
1
2
Total
162
58
220
135
58
193
Note: Figures do not include Executive Level casual employees providing fee-for-service work.
Figures include 9 (16 in 2008–09) staff on long-term leave or secondment and the Public Service
Commissioner and Merit Protection Commissioner, who are statutory office holders and are
counted as ongoing full-time.
Table A6 shows Senior Executive Service staff at 30 June for the last two years by gender.
Table A6: Senior Executive Service by gender, 2008–09 to 2009–10
2008–09
Female
2009–10
Male
Female
Male
Band 1
6
2
2
2
Band 2
0
0
0
0
Band 3
1
0
1
0
Total
7
2
3
2
Note: One male Band 1 (1 in 2008–09) was located overseas. Figures do not include the Public
Service Commissioner and the Merit Protection Commissioner, who are statutory office
holders.
Tables A7 and A8 shows staff by occupational groups, gender and location for the last two
years.
Table A7: Occupational groups by location and gender, 30 June 2010
ACT
F
Trainee APS
NSW
SA
Vic.
WA
Overseas
M F M F M F M F M F M
F
1
1
1
2
APS 1
Total
M
1
Cadet APS
Graduate APS
Qld
2
2
2
APS 2
1
1
2
APS 3
10
4
14
APS 4
15
5
APS 5
8
APS 6
35
11
EL 1
32
19 1 1
EL 2
18
9
SES 1
2
1
SES 3
1
Statutory office holders
1
1
Subtotal
126
53 2 1
Total
179
1
2
23
8
46
1
1
2
11
57
1
30
1
4
1
2
3
12
10
30
21
0
3
1
3
3
1
1
193
Note: Figures do not include 56 (37 female and 19 male) Executive Level 1 and one female
Executive Level 2 casual employees providing fee-for-service work. Figures include 9 staff on
long-term leave and the Public Service Commissioner and the Merit Protection Commissioner,
who are statutory office holders and counted as ongoing full-time. Overseas employee is
located in Indonesia.
Table A8: Occupational groups by location and gender, 30 June 2009
ACT
F
NSW
SA
Vic.
WA
Overseas
M F M F M F M F M F M
Cadet APS
Graduate APS
Qld
F
1
1
APS 1
Total
M
1
1
2
2
2
3
APS 2
1
2
APS 3
14
3
APS 4
11
4
APS 5
11
3
APS 6
32
8
EL 1
41
18 2 1
EL 2
19
9
SES 1
6
1
SES 3
1
1
Statutory office holders
2
2
Subtotal
139
Total
190
1
1
18
1
1
2
1
21
14
1
1
51 5 1
6
1
1
1
1
44
2
31
11
70
1
1
1
22
50
71
41
0
4
5
8
5
2
1
34
1
8
2
220
Note: Figures do not include 23 (11 female and 12 male) Executive Level 1 casual employees
providing fee-for-service work. Figures include 16 staff on long-term leave and the Public
Service Commissioner and the Merit Protection Commissioner, who are statutory office holders
and counted as ongoing full-time. Overseas employees were located in Indonesia.
Tables A9 and A10 shows the representation of equal employment opportunity groups as a
percentage of staff by occupational groups for the last two years.
Table A9: Representation of equal employment opportunity groups as a percentage of staff by
occupational groups, 30 June 2010
Total staff
No.
Women
No.
%
ATSI
No.
%
BO
No.
BO+ENFL
%
No.
%
PWD
No.
%
Trainee APS
1
1
100.0
1
100.0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Cadet APS
1
1
100.0
1
100.0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Graduate APS
2
2
100.0
1
50.0
1
50.0
0
0
1
50.0
APS 1–2
4
1
25.0
1
25.0
0
0
0
0
2
50.0
APS 3–4
37
28
75.7
4
10.8
3
8.1
2
5.4
0
0
APS 5–6
54
43
79.6
1
1.9
9
16.6
3
5.6
3
5.6
EL 1
57
36
63.2
2
3.5
9
15.8
3
5.3
6
10.5
EL 2
30
19
63.3
0
0
3
10.0
1
3.3
1
3.3
SES and SOH
7
4
57.1
0
0
1
14.3
0
0
0
0
Total
193
135 69.9
11
5.7
26
13.5
9
4.7
13
6.7
ATSI = Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander; BO = born overseas; BO+ENFL = born overseas and
did not speak English as a first language; PWD = people with disability; SOH = statutory office
holder.
Note: Figures do not include 56 (37 female and 19 male) non-ongoing Executive Level 1 and one
female Executive Level 2 casual employees providing fee-for-service work. Figures include 9
staff on long-term leave.
As some people fall into more than one equal employment opportunity group, the components
do not add to the total staff number.
Table A10: Representation of equal employment opportunity groups as a percentage of staff by
occupational groups, 30 June 2009
Total staff
No.
Women
No.
%
ATSI
No.
%
BO
No.
BO+ENFL
%
No.
%
PWD
No.
%
Cadet APS
1
1
100.0
1
100.0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Graduate APS
2
1
50.0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
APS 1–2
5
1
20.0
1
20.0
0
0
0
0
2
40.0
APS 3–4
39
31
79.5
4
10.3
5
12.8
4
10.3
0
0
APS 5–6
58
47
81.0
1
1.7
11
19.0
4
6.9
3
5.2
EL 1
70
49
70.0
2
2.9
10
14.3
6
8.6
6
8.6
EL 2
34
23
67.6
0
0
4
11.8
1
2.9
3
8.8
SES and SOH
11
9
81.8
0
0
2
18.2
1
9.1
0
0
Total
220
162 73.6
9
4.1
32
14.5
16
7.3
14
6.4
ATSI = Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander; BO = born overseas; BO+ENFL = born overseas and
did not speak English as a first language; PWD = people with disability; SOH = statutory office
holder.
Note: Figures do not include 23 (11 female and 12 male) non-ongoing Executive Level 1 casual
employees providing fee-for-service work. Figures include 16 staff on long-term leave.
As some people fall into more than one equal employment opportunity group, the components
do not add to the total staff number.
Appendix H: List of requirements
Description
Requirement
Letter of transmittal
Mandatory
Table of contents
Mandatory
Index
Mandatory
Glossary (abbreviations and acronyms)
Mandatory
Contact officer
Mandatory
Internet home page address and internet address for report
Mandatory
Review by Commissioner
Mandatory
Summary of significant issues and developments
Suggested
Overview of department’s performance and financial results
Suggested
Outlook for following year
Suggested
Significant issues and developments—portfolio
Portfolio
departments—
suggested
Overview description of department
Mandatory
Role and functions
Mandatory
Organisational structure
Mandatory
Outcome and program structure
Mandatory
Where outcome and program structures differ from the Portfolio Budget
Statements, Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements or other portfolio
statements accompanying any other additional appropriation bills (other portfolio
statements), details of variation and reasons for change
Mandatory
Portfolio structure
Portfolio
departments—
mandatory
Description
Requirement
Review of performance during the year in relation to programs and contribution to
outcomes
Mandatory
Actual performance in relation to deliverables and key performance indicators set
out in the Portfolio Budget Statements, Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements
or other portfolio statements
Mandatory
Performance of purchaser–provider arrangements
If applicable,
suggested
Where performance targets differ from the Portfolio Budget Statements or
Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements, details of both former and new targets,
and reasons for the change
Mandatory
Narrative discussion and analysis of performance
Mandatory
Trend information
Mandatory
Significant changes in nature of principal functions/services
Suggested
Factors, events or trends influencing departmental performance
Suggested
Contribution of risk management in achieving objectives
Suggested
Social justice and equity impacts
Suggested
Performance against service charter customer service standards, complaints data,
and the department’s response to complaints
If applicable,
mandatory
Discussion and analysis of the department’s financial performance
Mandatory
Discussion of any significant changes from the prior year or from budget
Suggested
Agency resource statement and summary resource tables by outcomes
Mandatory
Developments since the end of the financial year that have affected or may
significantly affect the department’s operations or financial results in future
If applicable,
mandatory
Statement of the main corporate governance practices in place
Mandatory
Names of the senior executive and their responsibilities
Suggested
Senior management committees and their roles
Suggested
Corporate and operational planning and associated performance reporting and
Suggested
Description
Requirement
review
Approach adopted to identifying areas of significant financial or operational risk
Suggested
Certification that the agency complies with the Commonwealth Fraud Control
Guidelines
Mandatory
Policy and practices on the establishment and maintenance of appropriate ethical
standards
Suggested
How nature and amount of remuneration for SES officers is determined
Suggested
Significant developments in external scrutiny
Mandatory
Judicial decisions and decisions of administrative tribunals
Mandatory
Reports by the Auditor-General, a parliamentary committee or the Commonwealth Mandatory
Ombudsman
Assessment of effectiveness in managing and developing human resources to
achieve departmental objectives
Mandatory
Workforce planning, staff turnover and retention
Suggested
Impact and features of enterprise or collective agreements, determinations,
common law contracts and Australian workplace agreements
Suggested
Training and development undertaken and its impact
Suggested
Occupational health and safety performance
Suggested
Productivity gains
Suggested
Statistics on staffing
Mandatory
Enterprise or collective agreements, determinations, common law contracts and
Australian workplace agreements
Mandatory
Performance pay
Mandatory
Assessment of effectiveness of assets management
If applicable,
mandatory
Assessment of purchasing against core policies and principles
Mandatory
Description
Requirement
A summary statement detailing the number of new consultancy services contracts Mandatory
let during the year; the total actual expenditure on all new consultancy contracts let
during the year (inclusive of GST); the number of ongoing consultancy contracts
that were active in the reporting year; the total actual expenditure in the reporting
year on the ongoing consultancy contracts (inclusive of GST); and a statement
noting that information on contracts and consultancies is available through the
AusTender website
Absence of provisions in contracts allowing access by the Auditor-General
Mandatory
Contracts exempt from the AusTender
Mandatory
Report on performance in implementing the Commonwealth Disability Strategy
Mandatory
Financial statements
Mandatory
Occupational health and safety (section 74 of the Occupational Health and Safety
Act 1991)
Mandatory
Freedom of information (section 8(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 1982)
Mandatory
Advertising and market research (section 311A of the Commonwealth Electoral Act
1918) and statement on advertising campaigns
Mandatory
Ecologically sustainable development and environmental performance (section
516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999)
Mandatory
Grant programs
Mandatory
Correction of material errors in previous annual report
If applicable,
mandatory
List of requirements
Mandatory
Abbreviations and acronyms
ALRC Australian Law Reform Commission
ANZSOG Australia and New Zealand School of Government
APS Australian Public Service
APSED APS Employment Database
APSEDII APSED Internet Interface
AusAID Australian Agency for International Development
Blueprint Ahead of the game: Blueprint for the reform of Australian Government administration
Commission Australian Public Service Commission
Commissioner Australian Public Service Commissioner
CTSC Career Transition and Support Centre
DEEWR Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations
EAS Ethics Advisory Service
EL Executive Level
FMA Act Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997
FOI Act Freedom of Information Act 1982
IAG Implementation Advisory Group
IAPSEN Indigenous Australian Public Service Employees Network
ICT information and communication technology
ISAC Independent Selection Advisory Committee
LAFIA Leading Australia’s future in Asia
MAC Management Advisory Committee
OECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
OH&S occupational health and safety
PNG Papua New Guinea
PS Act Public Service Act 1999
SES Senior Executive Service
Strategy APS Employment and Capability Strategy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Employees
UNDP United Nations Development Programme
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