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Case study: Successful collaboration across government

The Australian Public Service’s response to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic illustrates successful cross-agency collaboration, consultation and communication.

The department pivoted its operations in the early stages of the pandemic to answer the call for the redeployment of staff members into critical COVID-19 taskforce roles, both internally and externally. Partnering with the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC), the department quickly initiated the redeployment of more than 500 people into departmental COVID-19 taskforces and externally to taskforces in Treasury, Home Affairs and the National COVID Coordination Commission.

We worked closely with the APSC and Services Australia to meet an urgent request for additional assistance by seconding three graduates and 38 staff members using the APS Mobility Register to place staff with the most suitable skills and experience. The secondees to Services Australia included 32 casual employees from Questacon who provided substantial support throughout a critical period in the COVID-19 response.

To achieve this, the department’s executive showed leadership and drove a response in the spirit of the APS-wide call to action. The dedication of all our staff ensured that interagency communications were succinct and timely and staff were supported throughout their secondment. A multi-disciplinary departmental team was stood up to manage redeployments, while dedicated resources from Human Resources, Finance and Communications branches supported staff and liaised with the APSC to successfully place individuals and contribute to the important and unprecedented COVID-19 work of the APS.