Home > Priorities for Change > Strengthen the culture, governance and leadership model

Strengthen the culture, governance and leadership model

A shared purpose and values across the APS, championed by strong and accountable leaders.


Common purpose and vision that unites and inspires the APS

Secretaries Board driving outcomes across government and APS performance

A defined ‘head of service’ and ‘head of people’

Clarity and confidence in the appointment and expectations of secretaries

Genuine transparency and accountability for delivering outcomes for Australians



  • The APS has a compelling institutional foundation. Its mission is to be an apolitical public service that acts with integrity in all it does, and is efficient and effective in serving the government, the Parliament and the Australian public.
  • Australia needs a confident and impactful APS to help tackle complex, inter‑disciplinary problems in coming decades, ranging from delivering seamless services, to navigating international and security interests, and working with communities on local solutions. 
  • Globally, trust in large institutions has fallen significantly. The APS is not immune: Australians want their public service to be accountable and transparent, and to operate with integrity.
  • There is an aspiration within the service to be one APS, bringing together the best of all its parts, but this is not lived in practice – incentives, institutional structures and the broader authorising environment push work into vertical siloes that inhibit collaboration and the ability to deliver better outcomes.

The transformation opportunity

  • Service-wide leadership around clarity of purpose, vision, values and collective outcomes will ensure that all public servants and agencies see themselves as part of the service, harnessing their talents and insights in the interests of Australia.
  • Clear roles and responsibilities for the APS at its most senior levels – and a renewed mandate for its leaders to work across the service – will enable it to work for the collective benefit of Australia and build long-term capability.
  • Strengthened governance, with clearer accountability, will drive improved performance with a renewed focus on integrity.