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APS News April 2017: fostering a flexible, efficient, high performing APS

Welcome to our April newsletter. It covers a number of initiatives designed to equip the APS to operate effectively now and into the future. We highlight one agency’s successful approach to addressing underperformance, and promote the use of shared merit lists between agencies as a way to streamline recruitment. And a lot is happening on the events front: a great celebration of 2016 Indigenous graduates in March is being following up with the first grad event for 2017 at Parliament House on 6 April, and the AGLN conference series will start in Townsville in May. Also coming in May – the 2017 APS Census. media [at] apsc.gov.au ( Let us know) if there are issues you’d like to see covered in coming months..

Celebrating Indigenous Trainees, Cadets and Graduates

In 2016, 91 Indigenous Trainees, Cadets and Graduates completed their Indigenous Pathways Program. An APS Indigenous Orientation and Graduation Event in Canberra last month recognised their achievements.

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The event brought together 71 enthusiastic graduates. Attendees participated in a mini hack about the attraction and retention of Indigenous staff to the APS. The excellent ideas that were presented indicated that future leaders were in our midst.

The APS has exceeded the target of 3% of staff identifying as Indigenous. The latest figure is 3.2%. However, our focus is very much on ensuring that Indigenous staff are reaching their full potential and progressing to leadership roles. We all have a role to play in this – as staff, colleagues or managers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees. To find out more about our programs, and how you can help, contact our indigenous [at] apsc.gov.au (Indigenous Capability team).   Hide content

The art of optimising employee performance

Optimising employee performance is a priority for agencies across the APS. Human Resource Practitioners from 50 APS agencies have formed an APS Performance Management Community of Practice (CoP). The CoP met recently to share experiences and outcomes across a variety of perspectives regarding employee performance.

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The meeting gave HR Practitioners the opportunity to dive into the detail of the successful approach used by the Department of Communications and the Arts (DoCA) ) for addressing underperformance and developing plans for staff to return to full performance. It included a workshop on managing complex cases, with a discussion led by subject matter experts from the Department of Communications and the Arts, IP Australia, Civil Aviation Safety Authority and Department of Industry, Science and Research.

If you are interested in becoming a member of the CoP please email the tara.mcgowan [at] environment.gov.au (membership officer). If you would like to know more about the APS wide performance management principles, click here.   Hide content

Did you know…

APS agencies can share merit lists? The main benefit of this approach is the ability to leverage previous APS recruitment activities and reach out to suitable candidates in shorter timeframes. A few parameters apply. The job must be at the same classification, in a similar location and cover similar duties. The improved functionality on APSjobs assists by allowing agency users to search for previously advertised vacancies across the whole of the APS. Click here to learn more about this recent change and here to view our FAQs on merit lists.

2017 APS census opening in early May

Love your work? Think there’s more we can do to improve the work we undertake? Want to tell us about your views on the APS?

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In May, we’ll be inviting you to share your thoughts, opinions and experiences of working in your agency and the broader APS via the 2017 APS employee census. You’ll receive an email invitation to participate in the census fieldwork from 8 May and 9 June.

The results of this survey will be used by the Australian Public Service Commission and agencies to inform planning and initiatives. The data also enables evaluation and identifies improvement areas to working conditions for you and your colleagues.   Hide content

A Taste of Government – our first Grad event for 2017

Are you a 2017 APS Grad? If yes, make sure you’ve registered for our first event in the Grad event series: A Taste of Government. You’ll get to network with around 600 of your fellow grads in the Great Hall of Parliament House, while hearing from some of the most senior executives in the APS. Register now!

The Australian Government Leadership Network

The Australian Government Leadership Network (AGLN) provides forums for leaders across all levels in the APS to exchange ideas, share knowledge and contribute to the development of Public Sector initiatives. Our 2017 conference series focussing on the Future of Work kicks off in Townsville next month, with six to follow across Australia. For more information on the AGLN and our events and conferences, click here.

Working flexibly in the APS

The flexibility of job sharing, working remotely, accessing study leave or working part-time is a reality for many APS staff whose agencies have made new agreements under the Workplace Bargaining Policy 2015.   

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These arrangements allow employees to balance family, caring and other responsibilities, as well as interests alongside their work commitments and career goals.

We’re pleased that our data shows that employees who have access to working flexibly are increasingly enjoying the options that are available to them. Within the APSC, we’ve seen a 50% increase in staff accessing study leave and a 2% increase in the number of part-time employees since the commencement of our new agreement in July 2015.

We encourage all APS staff to understand the facts about the Bargaining Policy, particularly if you are preparing to vote for a new agreement.  Hide content

Boost your collaboration skills

Do you work on complex issues with diverse stakeholders who hold differing perspectives, values, priorities and definitions of success? If yes, you might benefit from attending our three-day Leading Collaborative Work program for APS executives. Click here to find out more about the program.

Recruitment and security clearances

We have had a number of complaints about jobs being advertised with the requirement for applicants to have a current security clearance.

We remind all agencies that a person applying to work in the APS cannot be excluded because they do not hold a security clearance. Agencies need to ensure that their own recruitment ads—or those run for them by recruitment firms—do not give the impression that an existing security clearance is required.

Recruitment in the APS is based on merit and on giving members of the community a reasonable opportunity to apply for APS jobs.

Last reviewed: 
29 March 2018