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Gordon Spare


The APS has many fine people who work hard and smart. However, because it is highly stratified, employees must be high performers at the power levels to advance to higher ones. At the lower levels, attention to myriad details and adhering to process are highly valued.

It follows that possibly a majority of people who thrive in the APS are detail people. Although there is talk of innovation and transformation, many of the leaders and middle managers are not equipped to think in original and innovative ways. There is much more focus on getting it right and risk management.

One of the results is that, although red-tape reduction is undertaken across the service, new and 'improved' processes are constantly being implemented to minimise mistakes and manage risk. In this way, red tape grows at the team, branch and divisional levels.

I believe there should be a concerted effort to find pathways through the service for big picture people, instead of frustrating their initiative and driving them out.

To encourage innovation, an environment that supports new ideas and does not make the cost of mistakes too high, should be fostered throughout the various levels of management.

Further, from the Ministers' offices down there needs to be a change of culture regarding the progression of minutes and other communications. The rewrites of these, often to accommodate preference, uses an extraordinary amount of resources for little useful purpose.

If the communication is clear, unambiguous and grammatically reasonable, it should proceed.