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Strategic priority six: providing the right tools and workplace for our staff

In the 2019-20 Corporate Plan, the Commission highlighted that it is a professional organisation of people with strong technical and specialist skills. The Commission emphasised it would invest in providing the right tools and workplace culture for our staff which would enable our staff to provide excellence in service and advice.

Under Strategic Priority Six, three focus areas illustrated the Commission’s work to provide the right tools and workplace for our staff. The areas of focus included Workforce and Environment, Governance and Digital Strategy.

Of the four targets set for 2019-20 one was achieved, one was partially achieved, and two were not achieved.

Performance Analysis

Workforce and environment

Workforce Plan

It was identified that a more detailed Workforce Strategy was required to mature the foundations required for effective workforce planning, the draft Workforce Strategy 2020-21 (the Strategy) consultation commenced in early 2020. Following analysis of data and information from 2019, input from areas across the Commission was sought including from APS Workforce Strategy, Engagement and International Group, and the Strategy Policy and Research Groups drawing on the expertise of the organisation.

This consultation, along with validation workshops and testing of the consultation version of the Strategy with key senior officers across the Commission has informed the development of a Workforce Strategy that will allow the Commission to evolve and adapt to change in the business and operational environments, whilst maintaining a focus on the highest value objectives.

The Strategy was endorsed by the Executive Committee in July 2020 and submitted for approval by the Executive Board in early August 2020.

Financial Strategy

The Financial Strategy was drafted during 2019-20 however it was not finalised as it was recognised that a broader strategic resource framework was required. Despite the strategy not being finalised, significant work occurred during the financial year to provide the Commission with greater budget certainty – providing a financial benefit to the Commission.

During 2020-21, the Commission will develop the broader strategic resource framework.

Governance

During 2019-20, focus on developing and implementing the governance processes, to improve transparency and accountability within the Commission was a priority. This ensured that governance processes were compliant with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.

By the end of January 2020, a fit-for-purpose committee structure had been implemented with clear terms of reference for committees, along with the establishment of a Governance Section within the Enabling and Digital Services Group, and Internal Audit arrangements had been reviewed. Establishing the Governance Section assisted to progress and implement action items from the Governance Improvement Plan.

The Governance Improvement Plan contained 48 actions. The Governance Section has implemented 27 action items to improve governance processes. Three of the action items are ongoing operational matters. Implementation of the Governance Improvement Plan was temporarily paused from March and June 2020 due to team members being seconded to Services Australia to assist with workforce surge requirements and redirected internally to support the COVID-19 response. While not all actions were completed within the original timeframes, key improvements have been implemented from the Governance Improvement Plan to create a fit-for-purpose governance framework that delivers greater accountability and transparency while supporting the Commission to deliver on a significant set of priorities.

By the end of June 2020, strong performance measures had been developed that articulate what success looks like for the year ahead, new risk management procedures had been created and implemented, clear organisation performance expectations had been set and strong internal communication around governance practices had been created.

Digital Strategy

The APSC Capability Review findings and recommendations emphasised the need to improve governance to accelerate digital maturity and continue to refine planning, resource management and prioritisation frameworks. This will increase transparency in decision making and create a shared understanding of the business planning process.

The Digital Technology Data Investment and Prioritisation Framework was endorsed by the Executive Board in June 2020. This Framework will help to drive change, deliver against priorities and improve governance across the Commission.

The Framework is supported by a policy and tools to plan for the future as well as ensure investments in digital, technology and data services are aligned to the Government commitments, APS reform agenda and APSC priorities.

Performance Summary

Table 17 Workforce and environment

Performance Measure

Be an employer of Choice in a competitive marketplace

Area of Focus

Workforce and Environment

Approach

Develop plans and strategies to address our workforce challenges and opportunities, and support more flexible ways of working

Target

Workforce Plan developed by the end of 2019

Financial Strategy endorsed by mid-2020

Source

Australian Public Service Commission Corporate Plan 2019-2020, p 13; 2019-20 Prime Minister and Cabinet Portfolio Budget Statements p. 139

Performance Achieved

Not achieved

During development of the Commission’s Workforce Plan, it was identified that a more detailed Workforce Strategy was required to mature the foundations required for effective workforce planning. The Workforce Strategy was in draft, and consultation commenced in early 2020. Progress on the Workforce Strategy was delayed due to resources being redirected to support the public service response to COVID-19.

Not achieved

The Financial Strategy was drafted during the financial year however it was not finalised as it was identified that a broader strategic resource framework was required. Effort was redirected to achieve this more strategic outcome.

Table 18 Governance

Performance Measure

Be an employer of Choice in a competitive marketplace

Area of Focus

Governance

Approach

Develop plans and strategies to address our workforce challenges and opportunities, and support more flexible ways of working

Target

Governance Improvement Plan endorsed by the end of 2019

Source

Australian Public Service Commission Corporate Plan 2019-2020, p 13; 2019-20 Prime Minister and Cabinet Portfolio Budget Statements p. 139

Performance Achieved

Achieved

The Governance Improvement Plan was developed by the end of 2019 and was endorsed by the Executive Board on 20 January 2020.

The APSC Capability Review contained a large number of findings and recommendations for governance, in the Commission. The Governance Improvement Plan incorporated these recommendations, as well as those made through an Internal Audit Report, to ensure the Commission is compliant with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.

Table 19 Digital Strategy

Performance Measure

Be an employer of Choice in a competitive marketplace

Area of Focus

Digital Strategy

Approach

Develop plans and strategies to address our workforce challenges and opportunities, and support more flexible ways of working

Target

Digital Strategy endorsed by mid-2020

Source

Australian Public Service Commission Corporate Plan 2019-2020, p 13; 2019-20 Prime Minister and Cabinet Portfolio Budget Statements p. 139

Performance Achieved

Partially Achieved

The Digital Technology Data Investment and Prioritisation Framework was endorsed by the Executive Board in June 2020.

This foundational Framework was recognised as essential to provide a strong governance link between emerging related pieces of work, including the Resource Framework. The Framework provides a pragmatic policy and supporting tools to plan for the future as well as ensure investments in digital, technology and data services are aligned to the Government commitments, APS reform agenda and APSC priorities.