Home > Priorities for Change > Develop stronger internal and external partnerships

Develop stronger internal and external partnerships

Working openly and with integrity with partners, to support the delivery of outcomes for Australians.


Seamless services and local solutions designed and delivered with states, territories and other partners

An open APS, accountable for sharing information and engaging widely

Strategic, service-wide approaches to procurement to deliver better value and outcomes for Australians

Ministers supported through easier access to APS expertise and insights and formal recognition of distinct role of ministerial advisers



  • Key to the APS’s success in serving the government, the Parliament and the Australian public is the quality and depth of its relationships.
  • There are concerns that these relationships can be undermined by the APS’s misplaced sense of primacy: as, for example, the exclusive provider of advice to government, curator of privileged information, keeper of rules, and owner of process.
  • At its worst, public engagement by the APS can be seen as a series of cynical, tick-a-box consultation processes with pre-determined outcomes. States and territories are also dissatisfied with the quality of engagement.
  • One of the APS’s most critical relationships – with ministers and their offices – could be strengthened, reflecting the APS’s important role as a trusted adviser to successive governments.

The transformation opportunity

  • Advances in technology and data analytics mean the APS is better placed than ever to routinely engage with its partners, and to deliver robust and timely advice, and quality services.
  • A fundamental rethink of its key relationships will move the APS to solving problems in genuine partnership with ministers and their offices, civil society, business, academia, other jurisdictions, and the Australian public.
  • The APS must approach these relationships openly and with humility. Like all effective partnerships, there will at times be robust debate and even disagreement – but the goals will be clear and shared, and the interactions respectful.
  • More broadly, there should be an expectation that great agencies and public servants engage meaningfully and regularly outside the service as part of core business. People at all levels must be empowered to live this approach.
  • Embracing this approach will boost the APS’s ability to design and deliver innovative, fit-for-purpose solutions, its position as a trusted adviser to successive governments, and its reputation as an organisation with the highest standards of integrity and ethics.