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We're doing our homework

19 December 2018
APS Review workshop participants looking at comments on the question 'What is your purpose within the APS?'

We’ve done a lot of listening and had great input to the review so far.

Here are some of the main sources we’ve drawn on to inform the panel’s thinking and develop their vision for the Australian public service in 2030.


The review has received more than 700 submissions and browse the ones that chose to be published.

Workshops around the country

We’ve held 29 indepth workshops with 481 public servants and community members across cities and regional areas in every state and territory.

We’re doing more of these with interest groups who play a major role in the successful implementation of public service work including business, civil society and academia.

National and international experience

Public sectors around the world are facing similar challenges and opportunities.

We’re drawing from international experience in Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, United Kingdom and the United States. And making the most of our expert reference group.

Our regular conversations are also vital. So far the review has collectively met over 140 individuals or organisations with unique or expert advice, including business and community leaders, parliamentarians, academics and public servants.

The lessons of the past

We’ve looked at more than 20 reviews of the public service, as well as the Coombs Royal Commission done in the 1970s.

The aim is to learn from past review's themes and findings, as well as how they've been conducted, implemented and evaluated.

In doing this, we are drawing on well over 15 years of work on reform, efficiency, leadership, capability and more. 

The transformation underway

The public service does a lot of work to improve what it offers. The focus of this review is the long term future but it’s important we add value to current work and avoid doubling up.

We’re grateful for our relationships with the different organisations and working groups pursuing the modernisation of the service, including the Australian Public Service Commission and Department of Finance.


There is plenty of good existing research and analysis by international groups, individual governments, academics, private sector specialists and non-government organisations.

When looking at this, we’ve particularly focussed on what we can learn about how organisations innovate, are structured and led and build skills and abilities among their employees. We’ve also catalogued the megatrends that will most influence the future of the service.

Where appropriate, we’re adding our own research and analysis to this picture and commissioning new work by external providers such as academics and consultants.

The public sector

We’re doing extensive work with the public service itself. Our engagement takes all sorts of forms and we’re confident the view of departments, agencies and public servants at all levels are being included.

Well over half our submissions are from the Australian Public Service. We’ve talked to more than 387 public service employees through our workshops. And spoken to well over 1400 public servants through presentations in departments and public sector events.

As we look at this evidence, we are often asking the same questions — what are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities for the future and factors holding people and organisations back?

Increasingly we’ll test the reviews thinking, and gather and refine ideas for recommendations with the help of our online forum.

Thank you for all the contributions so far. Please continue to have your say. And subscribe to stay up to date as we open new online conversations.