Please see atttached my thoughts on APS reform, it needs major reform.
APS Review Submission – by an anonymous EL2 long serving Public Servant, who also has commercial businesses experience and interests.
Having consulted with my team at work (in a policy agency in the APS), I would like the review to fully consider:
What is the APS? It is a diverse range of entities serving different purposes. What should it look like by 2030?
Should it have a common and consistent framework and approach to the delivery of its outcomes?
Should it have separate frameworks that apply to categories of agencies? e.g:
Security – AFP, Home Affairs, ASIO
Should the APS systems and tools be centralised and common – or diverse as needed?
Does the APS need to attract the best people available, or just good people?
The APS should reconsider the employment pay model, e.g. two people at the same APS level are paid the same on a “factory – paid for attendance” model when they could have very different levels of:
Attitude and aptitude
Output and outcomes
The APS needs to consider how it incentives employees to perform, e.g. the private sector can reward good performance with:
Increased pay, $ bonuses
Promotions without testing the market
Flexible working options
Profit share (or savings share)
Bonus holidays, Christmas parties etc
Gifts – shares allocations
We do have an employment framework that limits innovation and our pay increases, it does not allow us to be rewarded for innovation and does not align with best practice.
The APS should make better use of its domestic property accommodation:
Currently there is ~ 1 person per every 1.5 work points, under an ABW model, there could be ~ 1 person to every 0.7 work points = huge savings = $billions.
We only use our accommodation 1/3 of the time (8 hours per day out of 24 hours). Why don’t we have three shifts per day, relieving peak hour congestion and requiring less accommodation?
Why do we make staff travel along way to their workplaces every day?
Why don’t we use central buildings like Treasury, JGB, DFAT etc to bring a department together on one day per week e.g:
ATO on Monday,
Finance on Tuesday
Treasury on Wednesday etc
the other days staff work from an APS hub close to their home, or work remotely from a nearby commercial hub or from their home. This would:
encourage collaboration across departments
relieve congestion on roads and public transport
improve health, as more walking and cycling to work
shorten travel times and costs, and save the environment.
More private sector like procurement methods to get better outcomes and build partnerships:
The current rules do not promote long term relationship building (3-5 year contracts) so suppliers seek to extract as much profit in the short term because there is no certainty of contract renewal.
Successful partners are built on trust - which is inhibited by the current procurement framework.
Who does the APS represent and work for?
Most APS employees would like to think they represent the interests of the Australian citizens, however, in reality they serve the politicians of the day. In its current state the APS would be better called the “Australian Politicians’ Service”, as that is who we serve.
I have seen too many times where Frank and Fearless advice has not been provided to Ministers because they don’t want that advice.
I was disgruntled to find that as a Property Policy Officer, my role was to only implement the policies of the government of the day, not put forward or implement policies that were in the best interests of Australian citizens.
I believe the APS MUST always provide frank and fearless advice in the interest of Australian citizens (based on evidence) to ministers regards of a minister’s preference. This is not happening and must change.
We now have the technology (through smart phones) to collect evidence and the views from Australian citizens to form and support frank and fearless advice. We need to do that and make that advice publicly available. This would make ministers and the government make decisions that align with the interests of Australians and not conflict with their own interests of being re-elected.
Why isn’t the advice provided to government always publically available (unless it poses a real security risk)?
Why isn’t all public data and analysis we hold publically available?