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APSC News June 2015: fostering a flexible, efficient, high performing APS

Welcome to the first of the Commission’s regular newsletters. It aims to provide you with an insight into our work and to promote discussion. I am interested in strategiccommunications [at] apsc.gov.au (your feedback) and how we might improve this publication so that it is useful to you.

John Lloyd PSM

Australian Public Service Commissioner

APS recruitment

The government announced changes to APS recruitment in the May budget. Show more

From 1 July, agencies will again be able to recruit externally without approval from the Commissioner. The restrictions on recruitment, which have been in place since November 2013, have helped to reduce the size of the public service in an orderly way. Continued restraint will be necessary to sustain the government’s objective of a smaller, more agile public service. Guidance will be issued shortly to all agencies on the ongoing monitoring and reporting arrangements.

Email contact: lucy.poole [at] apsc.gov.au (Lucy Poole)  Hide content

Performance management requirements tighten up

An amendment to the Australian Public Service Commissioner’s Directions 2013 dealing with performance management will come into effect on 1 July 2015. Show more

The Directions will set out explicit requirements for agency heads, managers and employees. These requirements will have the force of law, and all APS employees and managers should make themselves familiar with them before their introduction.

This amendment is part of a comprehensive plan to lift the standard of performance management in the APS. Other initiatives include a diagnostic tool to measure the effectiveness of performance management at the agency level, and core skills training developed by the Commission on behalf of all APS agencies.

Effective performance management is a key element of any high performing organisation. Individuals and organisations benefit when expectations are clear and outcomes are achieved. It’s core business, and we need to invest the time to get it right. The links above provide practical guidance and information.

Email contact: craig.meer [at] apsc.gov.au (Craig Meer)  Hide content

APS Bargaining

Agencies continue to progress bargaining for their enterprise agreements, with nearly 60 remuneration and productivity proposals approved by the Commissioner. Show more

Many agencies have tabled offers, and four have put their enterprise agreement to the vote. Disappointingly, none have been voted up by employees.

Modest and sustainable pay increases, backed by reasonable productivity gains, are possible and realistic in this bargaining round. Employers and employees working together can achieve this.

Many agencies have now put forward new enterprise agreements that are more streamlined, clearer, and easier to read than before. Streamlining agreement content is not about removing entitlements. Streamlining means not repeating things that are already covered elsewhere, like recruitment or work health and safety. It can also mean taking out words that do not create an entitlement or obligation.

Excess words in an agreement are not the same as an entitlement. The benefit for you is a clearly understood set of terms and conditions, in an enterprise agreement that covers the things you need to know.

Email contact: marco.spaccavento [at] apsc.gov.au (Marco Spaccavento)  Hide content

Extending leadership development to EL2s

Two exciting new EL2 leadership programs are being launched across the APS. Show more

Leadership in Practice, which focuses on team and leadership skills, began last month with participants from eight agencies. Leadership Extension is aimed at more experienced EL2s and looks at the context in which EL2s operate, their stakeholders and their decision making.

These programs are built on the same adaptive leadership philosophy we’ve been using successfully with the SES. They provide a great opportunity to extend your skills, your network and your effectiveness as an APS leader.

Email contact: jan.anderson-muir [at] apsc.gov.au (Jan Anderson-Muir)  Hide content

APS employee census

The APS employee census is one of the largest of its kind globally, with around 100,000 staff responding each year. Show more

The information you provide helps the Commission and your own agencies to shape employment policies and practices. This year it focuses especially on leadership, performance management and attendance. You have until 12 June to complete it. Results will be available to agencies by August.

Email contact: angela.sturrock [at] apsc.gov.au (Angela Sturrock)  Hide content


  1. The government has articulated a new target of three per cent for Indigenous employment in the APS in response to the Forrest report. The APSC is working with agencies to develop an Indigenous Recruitment and Retention Strategy to ensure we meet this goal. We expect to present this to the Prime Minister this month.
  2. Nominations for the Public Service Medal are due on 1 August 2015. Agencies and staff should look broadly across their organisations to identify deserving officers whose service, contribution and achievements make them stand out. Awards will be announced on Australia Day 2016. Follow the link above for further information.
  3. Enrolments for the second 2015 intake of the Public Sector Management Program (PSMP) are open. The PSMP is for mid-level managers in the Public Sector, with a focus on understanding and managing the business of government. Further information can be found on the Commission website at: www.apsc.gov.au/learn

  1. Leadership—don’t limit your aspirations: The event will mark the ANZAC Centenary and pay homage to the leadership of Australian soldiers in conflict and adversity. It will provide four different perspectives on leadership in the Australian Public Service and the Australian forces by prominent leaders. Wednesday 29 July 2015.
  2. Empowering women to lead in the APS: The event will provide a greater understanding about the real leadership opportunities that exist for women in all walks of life and the benefits of gender balance within the diversity spectrum. Wednesday 2 September 2015.

    Both events are open to all levels across the APS, and will be open for registration in mid June

Last reviewed: 
29 March 2018