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APS classification guide


The Australian Public Service (APS) classification guide has been developed by the Australian Public Service Commission (the Commission) and provides policy guidance on determining and managing classification arrangements in the APS. This guide is current as at 1 December 2014.

How to use this guide

This guide provides general advice on workforce classification within the APS and replaces the 1992 publication Handbook of Australian Public Service Classification Management. It outlines the broad framework and principles underlying the system of classification management, and provides guidance and advice on techniques that agencies can use when putting these principles into practice.

While many of the principles and practices identified in this guide are relevant across all APS classification levels, this guide is aimed primarily at the classifications APS Levels 1-6 and Executive Levels 1-2. Information relevant to Senior Executive Service (SES) classification levels has been incorporated where appropriate.

Why have this guide?

The reform work stemming from Ahead of the Game: Blueprint for Reform of Australian Government Administration (2010) sought to clarify and align employment conditions across the APS, and in particular to ensure that non-SES classification arrangements and work level standards continued to meet the needs of APS agencies and employees. The report on the APS classification review, published in November 2012, made a series of recommendations to strengthen the integrity of the classification system and to achieve greater consistency in classification decision-making across the APS.

This guide has been developed in response to recommendations made in the APS classification review. It presents a common approach to classification management across the APS and builds on good practice already in place in many APS agencies. The opportunity is taken in this guide to share these good practice examples within a classification framework that is common to all.


This guide was prepared by the Commission's Workforce Classification team. Major contributors were Ms. Erin Selmes, Ms. Elyse Allan, Mr. Izaac White, Ms. Louise Memmolo, and Mr. Owen Livermore.

We thank and acknowledge the contribution of agencies that participated in the APS classification review working group, and of agencies that contributed case studies for publication. Without the assistance of these agencies, the guide would not have been possible.

Further advice

Further information on classification management is available on the Commission's website or by contacting the workforce classification team via StaffingPolicy [at] apsc.gov.au.

Last reviewed: 
29 May 2018