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Checklist - setting up a new APS agency

People matters

These are some of the people management issues that may arise when setting up a new APS agency–i.e. an agency that employees staff under the Public Service Act 1999.

Not all issues will be relevant in every situation and each new agency will also have matters to address that are specific to their circumstances. The list is not intended to be definitive.

See also the checklist compiled by the Department of Finance 'Machinery of Government actions/tasks.'

Have you taken action on the following?


  • enabling legislation
  • instruments for the Minister and Secretary to delegate powers and functions under the Public Service Act 1999 (PS Act), Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act  2013 (PGPA Act) and other relevant legislation
  • other governance documents– e.g. Ministerial Determinations, MoUs
  • corporate plan, business plans
  • mandatory committees–e.g. audit committee
  • advisory committees
  • information management–transferring, creating and maintaining records

Arrangements to move staff

  • identify employees to be moved from other agencies
  • consult with the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) to:
  • arrange the compulsory movement of staff under section 72 of the PS Act
  • establish an approved number of Senior Executive Service employees–SES cap
  • determine actions on outstanding employment related matters–e.g. conditions of engagement or employment, APS Code of Conduct investigations and processes relating to performance managment
  • discuss any workplace relations implications of the change
  • liaise with
  • the Department of Finance about superannuation issues
  • Comcare about managing compensation cases for employees who are moved  

On day one – being ready to work in the new agency

  • all employees have induction information
  • industrial instruments are in place for all employees
  • delegations are in place, including HR delegations
  • agency policies and procedures are in place. As a minimum the following HR policies should be in place from day one: 
  • conditions of engagement­–e.g. probation, health checks, security clearances, citizenship, loss of qualifications
  • handling  breaches of the APS Code of Conduct, including sanctions
  • dealing with public interest disclosures
  • security clearances for employees are arranged, where required
  • an approved APS classification has been allocated to each employee under clause 6 of the Public Service Classification Rules 2000 and in accordance with relevant APS work level standards
  • all employees have been assigned duties in accordance with section 25 of the PS Act
  • security officers, fire wardens and first aid officers have been appointed
  • interim accommodation, furniture and equipment has been arranged, having regard to the Department of Finance standards  

Managing people in the new agency

  • establish other agency policies as a matter of priority. HR policies may include
    • recruitment
    • induction
    • staff development 
    • workplace safety and wellbeing
    • underperformance
    • fitness for continued duty
    • IT use
    • conflict of interest
    • public comment, including on social media
    • receipt of gifts and hospitality
    • bullying and harassment
    • separation
  • finalise an enterprise agreement and other industrial instruments for employees
  • develop performance agreements with individual employees
  • develop work level standards for classifications other than APS 1-6, EL or SES, if required
  • establish a workplace diversity program in accordance with section 18 of PS Act
  • contact the APSC to develop an APSJobs profile and staff access
  • be prepared to provide data to the APSC for the APS Employment Database and information for the APSC annual State of the Service Report as required
  • comply with all relevant Commonwealth Government employment policies– e.g. on workplace bargaining,  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment strategy,  gender equality strategy etc
Last reviewed: 
4 April 2019