Main Menu

WP_Query Object
(
    [query] => Array
        (
            [category_name] => sector
        )

    [query_vars] => Array
        (
            [category_name] => sector
            [error] => 
            [m] => 
            [p] => 0
            [post_parent] => 
            [subpost] => 
            [subpost_id] => 
            [attachment] => 
            [attachment_id] => 0
            [name] => 
            [static] => 
            [pagename] => 
            [page_id] => 0
            [second] => 
            [minute] => 
            [hour] => 
            [day] => 0
            [monthnum] => 0
            [year] => 0
            [w] => 0
            [tag] => 
            [cat] => 8229
            [tag_id] => 
            [author] => 
            [author_name] => 
            [feed] => 
            [tb] => 
            [paged] => 0
            [meta_key] => 
            [meta_value] => 
            [preview] => 
            [s] => 
            [sentence] => 
            [title] => 
            [fields] => 
            [menu_order] => 
            [embed] => 
            [category__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [category__not_in] => Array
                (
                    [0] => 22371
                )

            [category__and] => Array
                (
                )

            [post__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [post__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [post_name__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag__and] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag_slug__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag_slug__and] => Array
                (
                )

            [post_parent__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [post_parent__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [author__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [author__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [ignore_sticky_posts] => 
            [suppress_filters] => 
            [cache_results] => 1
            [update_post_term_cache] => 1
            [lazy_load_term_meta] => 1
            [update_post_meta_cache] => 1
            [post_type] => 
            [posts_per_page] => 14
            [nopaging] => 
            [comments_per_page] => 50
            [no_found_rows] => 
            [order] => DESC
        )

    [tax_query] => WP_Tax_Query Object
        (
            [queries] => Array
                (
                    [0] => Array
                        (
                            [taxonomy] => category
                            [terms] => Array
                                (
                                    [0] => sector
                                )

                            [field] => slug
                            [operator] => IN
                            [include_children] => 1
                        )

                    [1] => Array
                        (
                            [taxonomy] => category
                            [terms] => Array
                                (
                                    [0] => 22371
                                )

                            [field] => term_id
                            [operator] => NOT IN
                            [include_children] => 
                        )

                )

            [relation] => AND
            [table_aliases:protected] => Array
                (
                    [0] => wp_term_relationships
                )

            [queried_terms] => Array
                (
                    [category] => Array
                        (
                            [terms] => Array
                                (
                                    [0] => sector
                                )

                            [field] => slug
                        )

                )

            [primary_table] => wp_posts
            [primary_id_column] => ID
        )

    [meta_query] => WP_Meta_Query Object
        (
            [queries] => Array
                (
                )

            [relation] => 
            [meta_table] => 
            [meta_id_column] => 
            [primary_table] => 
            [primary_id_column] => 
            [table_aliases:protected] => Array
                (
                )

            [clauses:protected] => Array
                (
                )

            [has_or_relation:protected] => 
        )

    [date_query] => 
    [queried_object] => WP_Term Object
        (
            [term_id] => 8229
            [name] => Sector
            [slug] => sector
            [term_group] => 0
            [term_taxonomy_id] => 8229
            [taxonomy] => category
            [description] => 
            [parent] => 0
            [count] => 740
            [filter] => raw
            [cat_ID] => 8229
            [category_count] => 740
            [category_description] => 
            [cat_name] => Sector
            [category_nicename] => sector
            [category_parent] => 0
        )

    [queried_object_id] => 8229
    [request] => SELECT SQL_CALC_FOUND_ROWS  wp_posts.ID FROM wp_posts  LEFT JOIN wp_term_relationships ON (wp_posts.ID = wp_term_relationships.object_id) WHERE 1=1  AND ( 
  wp_term_relationships.term_taxonomy_id IN (8,14,25,8229,19992) 
  AND 
  wp_posts.ID NOT IN (
				SELECT object_id
				FROM wp_term_relationships
				WHERE term_taxonomy_id IN (22364)
			)
) AND wp_posts.post_type = 'post' AND (wp_posts.post_status = 'publish') GROUP BY wp_posts.ID ORDER BY wp_posts.post_date DESC LIMIT 0, 14
    [posts] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 27207
                    [post_author] => 659
                    [post_date] => 2017-05-24 12:33:44
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-24 02:33:44
                    [post_content] => 

 

An audit of underperformance in eight Commonwealth agencies and departments, including the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), has found there is ‘significant room for improvement’ in dealing with poor performers and that managers avoided tackling the problem and encouraged workers to take redundancy or retire instead.

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) looked into underperformance of eight federal government agencies and departments between 2012 and 2016, including the Attorney-General’s Department; Australian Taxation Office; Department of Agriculture and Water Resources; Department of Industry, Innovation and Science; Department of Social Services; Department of Veterans’ Affairs; IP Australia; and the National Film and Sound Archive. These eight were chosen to provide a mix of size and function, as well as a mix of how they had been rated for managing poor performers by their staff.

The audit focused on how well agencies managed underperformance through policies, procedures and management practices and said it was important to address because weak performance management could impact negatively on productivity, efficiency and morale.

“In most agencies underperformance is not being accurately identified and the proportion of employees undergoing structured underperformance processes is very low in all agencies," said the report, although it found that where it was addressed agencies stuck to procedural fairness.

“Probation processes are not generally used robustly to test the suitability of newly appointed employees (except in the Australian Taxation Office and the National Film and Sound Archive).”

The Audit Office said managers should not rely on encouraging badly performing staff to take redundancies or opt for retirement, “while these may be cost-effective approaches in situations of excess staffing or in particularly complex cases they should not be used to replace or undermine ongoing, robust underperformance management procedures.”

The number of staff going through structured underperformance processes was 'very low', with the lowest rate of the eight departments being 0.03 per cent of staff at the ATO. The highest was the National Film and Sound Archive at 0.28 per cent. 

It said management culture and the lack of support and training for senior and middle managers were the main barriers in dealing with underperformance in the workplace, noting an unwillingness to tackle poor performers, give feedback or set clear expectations from some managers. 

Staff perceptions of how well government departments and agencies were doing were also unfavourable. Between 70 to 84 per cent of staff thought their department did not do a good job of managing substandard workers, although around half considered their supervisors did a decent job.  

It acknowledged that the causes of underperformance could be complex and include mental health or physical problems and personal issues as well as lax recruitment processes that fail to hire the right person for the job.  Access to training and development could also play a role.

Main findings
  • Managers often avoided addressing underperformance, mainly due to lack of support, capability or incentives to do so
  • Managers shied away from confronting poor performers, relying instead on redundancies or retirement, against Australian Public Service Commission guidelines
  • The performance management process was being underused to manage poor performers
  • Probation procedures were deficient in every agency
  • Underperformance policies needed cleaning up and the procedures managing senior staff should be made more transparent
  • Managers in every agency need to make a stronger commitment to dealing with poor performance, including setting clear expectations and giving feedback to staff
Recommendations
  • More commitment from managers to tackle poor performance, rather than using retirement or redundancy
  • Better training and support needed for managers, including the early involvement of an HR professional to help 
  • Clearer guidelines to make it easier for managers to identify inadequate performance
  • Holding managers more accountable for the way they manage underperformance
  • Improve the performance management framework with more ‘check-ins’ between managers and staff
The audit used a variety of data sources including Australian Public Service Commission data from the annual employee census and annual agency survey; agency policies and procedures and interviews with employee representatives, corporate support staff and academics. It cost the ANAO $530,000 to conduct. [post_title] => APS underperformance ignored by managers, says audit [post_excerpt] => Poor performers encouraged to resign or retire. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => aps-underperformance-left-fester-managers-says-audit [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-24 14:31:45 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-24 04:31:45 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27207 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27196 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-05-23 12:33:54 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-23 02:33:54 [post_content] =>
 
By Linda Cheng This story first appeared in ArchitectureAu and appears here by kind permission of the author. In its 2017–18 budget, the federal government released what it called “comprehensive plan to address housing affordability.” While promising “no silver bullet,” the government claimed its plan was “designed to improve outcomes across the housing spectrum.” The plan includes measures such as a $1 billion National Housing and Infrastructure Facility (NHIF), releasing surplus Commonwealth land for housing, a Western Sydney City Deal that will provide opportunities for planning and zoning reform, as well as a range of financial incentives to assist first-home buyers, downsizing for older Australians and to encourage private-sector investment in affordable housing. The Australian Institute of Architects and the Planning Institute of Australian have cautiously welcomed the measures. Ken Maher, outgoing president of the Australian Institute of Architects characterized the government’s housing affordability plan as having “good intentions,” but said there were a number of “missed opportunities” on “critical” issues such as density, climate change and public transport. “There’s a real absence of mention in the budget of climate change,” Maher said. “In the built environment area, there’s quite a lot that can be done to reduce carbon emissions.” He pointed to the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council’s (ASBEC) Low Carbon, High Performance report released in May 2016, which outlined “the potential for the Australian built environment sector to make a major contribution to” reaching a zero-net emissions goal by 2050. The report called on policy makers to adopt a nation plan that includes minimum standards for buildings and targeted incentives. Read more here
[post_title] => ‘Good intentions’ or ‘cruel hoax’? Budget 2017’s housing affordability plan draws vexed reactions [post_excerpt] => Architects cautious, some critical. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 27196 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-23 12:42:51 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-23 02:42:51 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27196 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27192 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-05-23 12:20:08 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-23 02:20:08 [post_content] =>   The federal government’s troubled myGov website has had a digital makeover to make it more intuitive to navigate, nicer to look at and easier to access using mobile phones or tablets. The overhaul was made more pressing by the large jump in traffic to the government services portal over the last two years. The federal government said that myGov had 10 million users and dealt with more than 242,000 logins every day: twice the number of logins from just two years’ ago. It is a pivotal website that millions of Australian must interact with daily, dealing as it does with a huge range of services. MyGov was launched in 2013 to provide a single access point for ten different agencies providing services including Medicare, tax, Centrelink, the National Disability Insurance Scheme and My Health Record. The government has recognised that any failure of myGov or rising customer frustration with the system can be a very public and vocal affair. Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation Angus Taylor said in March this year: “The public will ultimately judge us when they go on to the myGov website, when they pay their tax or ask for a refund, when they come through immigration, when they are engaging with the industry portfolio as a small business, they will judge us on how that goes. “They’ll accept that there are speed humps along the way. But they will be unforgiving if that experience doesn’t continually improve.” The changes were in response to ‘hundreds of hours of user research’ which revealed common complaints about the website, including the difficult language used, confusing instructions and dumping large swathes of information on users.   People also complained about how often they were locked out of their accounts and the difficulty in getting these unlocked. The joint statement by Mr Taylor and Human Services Minister Alan Tudge about the myGov revamp said this problem had been addressed to make signing in easier and to allow users to unlock their own accounts once they had been suspended.  They claimed the changes had resulted in incorrect logins being reduced by 37 per cent. Mr Taylor said: “We listened and we got it. The new look myGov also demonstrates how the DTA can partner with other agencies and departments to transfer skills and transform delivery.” The sign-in process had already been tinkered with over the past year to show users passwords as they typed them (to cut down on login failures and account suspensions) and allowing people to use email or mobile numbers instead of just alphanumeric usernames. Mr Tudge said the government had incorporated user feedback and collaborated with other departments to fast-racked changes. “Our investment in myGov is transforming the way people do business with government - making life easier for 10 million Australians,” Mr Tudge said. “In response to user feedback, we’ve also made it easier for users to find and access the services they need.” The rollout, which occurred over the weekend, was a joint project between the Department of Human Services and the Digital Transformation Agency and the Australian Tax Office. The government said the Discovery and Alpha phases were completed by the Digital Transformation Agency while the prototype stage and the beta product were a partnership between the ATO and DHS. [post_title] => MyGov: “we listened and we got it” says minister after digital makeover [post_excerpt] => Users double over two years. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => mygov-listened-got-says-minister-digital-makeover [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-23 12:38:23 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-23 02:38:23 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27192 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27187 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-05-23 11:05:39 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-23 01:05:39 [post_content] => The Department of Health has said 22,000 home care packages have been released under the new system and it will release detailed data in July on how it’s performing. Bonnie Carter says her 84-year-old mother has been waiting for a high-level home care package for more than 70 days. Ms Carter says that since an Aged Care Assessment Team assessed her mother as needing the package, “nothing has happened.” “There’s been no contact other than me calling My Aged Care several times to see where she is in the queue and how long she might have to wait,” Ms Carter says. “Apparently no one can tell anyone anything about this mythical queue until the end of this year,” she adds. Under the latest aged care reforms that came into force on 27 February, the Department of Health has created a new centralised process for allocating home care packages directly to consumers. As part of the new system a “national prioritisation process” has been created: after a senior is assessed as needing a home care package they join a new national queue where they wait to be allocated a package. How long a senior waits on the queue is based on various factors – such as their level of need, how long they’ve been waiting and how quickly a package at their level of need becomes available (the number of packages is increasing but remains capped by government). It’s a complex new system and, in the absence of transparency around how it is working, confusion is mounting among providers and consumers. Read more here. This story first appeared in Australian Ageing Agenda.  [post_title] => Confusion reigns over Health's new aged care queue [post_excerpt] => My Aged Care under fire. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => confusion-reigns-healths-new-aged-care-queue [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-23 12:44:37 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-23 02:44:37 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27187 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27182 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-05-23 10:47:59 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-23 00:47:59 [post_content] => Regional Development Minister Fiona Nash. Pic: Colin Bettles.    Local councils have called upon the federal government to be transparent about its decentralisation drive and make it evidence-based and free from politicking, rather than leaving them to battle one another for government jobs, a public inquiry has heard. A public hearing in Townsville last week (Friday) was the first time most regional councils have been able to make their feelings known about the possibility of moving public servants from Australia’s capital cities out into rural and regional areas. The federal government decentralisation initiative, spearheaded by Regional Development Minister Fiona Nash and Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce, has put government ministers on notice. Ministers have been told to justify why jobs and departments should stay in Canberra, Sydney or Melbourne or to nominate a region to move to by December. Ms Nash has said the criteria for assessment will be finalised by mid-2017. There are currently 155,000 public servants, or 14 per cent of the APS, located outside capital cities. The hearing was part of the Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee’s inquiry into the relocation of Commonwealth departments and specifically into the potential impact of the controversial plan to move the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority’s (APVMA) form Canberra to the northern NSW town of Armidale, in Mr Joyce’s New England electorate, by 2019. The APVMA relocation, which involves about 190 staff, most of whom are highly specialised, failed a government-commissioned cost-benefit analysis and led to many staff walking out the door, including Chief Executive Kareena Arthy and some top regulatory scientists and lawyers. Ernst and Young estimated the move would cost at least $23.19 million. This includes redundancies for 85 per cent of the APVMA staff the report identified as unwilling to move to Armidale. The plan to move the agricultural chemicals regulator exposed the government to further ridicule after Ms Arthy​ revealed that Canberra-based public servants were working out of Armidale MacDonalds using the free wi-fi because they had nowhere else to work, at a February Senate Estimates’ hearing, a remark Ms Arthy later said was taken out of context. The situation blew up again after a document was leaked to Fairfax in April which gave APVMA staff suggested scripted replies to recite if they were asked about the relocation during "BBQ conversations" and other "social settings". The guidelines came from APVMA’s Chief Operating Officer Stefanie Janiec. Meanwhile, Committee Chair Labor Senator Jenny Mcallister said last week’s public inquiry showed that councils wanted the decentralisation process depoliticised ‘rather than agencies or departments being moved on a minister's whim’. She said councils also felt bypassed by the federal government, which had not spoken to them about its decentralisation agenda. She said that while every council wanted public service jobs they should not have to individually petition ministers for favours. “The community can't have that confidence in Barnaby Joyce's decisions,“ Ms Mcallister said. “The Nationals should back Cathy McGowan's proposal for a broad inquiry into decentralisation as a first step to rebuilding that trust.“ Acting Chair of Regional Development Australia Townsville and West Queensland, Frank Beveridge agreed that every region ‘would fight tooth and nail’ to have even one government department in their backyard but he said it was important to ’get away from the politics and actually have some legitimate figures backing it up, supporting it‘. Fears that regional councils could cannabilise each other’s growth look to be well-founded. All the councils spruiked their own areas at the inquiry, whether talking up their internet connectivity, educational institutions, transport links or affordable housing and insisted their area was unique and should get Commonwealth jobs. Toowoomba and Gatton (which has the University of Queensland) were both vying for APVMA before the decison to move the authority to Armidale was finalised. Cessnock City Council Mayor Bob Pynsent said the application process needed to be open and fair to councils. “The process would need to be transparent, so that every local government area has the opportunity to apply. And when those assessments are made, the decision would not be a political one but be based on the criteria that have been made available to the people who have applied,“ Mr Pynsent said. Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said ‘transparency is extremely important to the community to provide confidence that we are doing the right thing‘ and Peter Hargreaves from Bendigo Council said the planned relocation ‘must be a planned process based on clear objectives’. Councils are keen to have the criteria for regional development made clear, for example, the importance of closeness to a university, internet speed or available office space, and for regions to be properly defined. The Senate Committee will issue its report on June 9. [post_title] => Play fair on decentralisation, say councils at APVMA inquiry [post_excerpt] => Don’t make us fight each other for jobs. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => play-fair-decentralisation-councils-say-apvma-inquiry [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-24 13:54:51 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-24 03:54:51 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27182 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27177 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-05-19 11:10:51 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-19 01:10:51 [post_content] => By Charles Pauka The latest statistics from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) have underlined the Transport Workers’ Union’s claims that truck drivers are overly represented in road statistics and that the statistics are getting worse.   BITRE’s latest report found that during the 12 months to the end of March 2017, 217 people died from 196 fatal crashes involving heavy trucks or buses. These included:
  • 118 deaths from 104 crashes involving articulated trucks, 87 deaths from 77 crashes involving heavy rigid trucks and 25 deaths from 24 crashes involving buses.
  • Fatal crashes involving articulated trucks: increased by 7.2 per cent compared with the corresponding period one year earlier and increased by an average of 0.9 per cent per year over the three years to March 2017.
  • Fatal crashes involving heavy rigid trucks: increased by 4.1 per cent compared with the corresponding period one year earlier and increased by an average of 2.5 per cent per year over the three years to March 2017.
  Read more here.  This story first appeared in Transport & Logistics & News. [post_title] => Truckies over-represented in fatal crash stats, Bureau confirms union claims [post_excerpt] => Statistics worsening for truck driver deaths. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 27177 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-19 11:10:51 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-19 01:10:51 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27177 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27169 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-05-18 16:41:14 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-18 06:41:14 [post_content] =>     Former NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay announced his retirement from the Legislative Council of NSW after 28 years at the National’s Central Council meeting in Broken Hill this afternoon (Thursday). Mr Gay joined the NSW Nationals in 1974 and was made a life member in 2011. He spent six years as the state’s Roads Minister between 2011 and 2017 but lost his job during NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s Cabinet reshuffle in January. Mr Gay signalled at the time that he was likely to quit Parliament ‘sooner rather than later’. He was also the Leader of the Nationals in the NSW Legislative Council. Mr Gay said: “Since becoming Minister in 2011, I have spearheaded major motorway projects in Sydney like WestConnex and NorthConnex, championed movement of freight from ‘paddock to port’ and driven key road safety initiatives. “As a young grazier from Crookwell, I would have never dreamed of being one of the state’s longest serving Ministers for Roads. I could not be prouder of what I have achieved in my portfolio over six years.” Mr Gay said he had delivered the M5 West Widening project, mandated flashing lights at every NSW school and persuaded people to wear life jackets while out on the water. Meanwhile tributes poured in from the Liberals and Nationals. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said Mr Gay was 'a key member of the team' when the Coalition was elected to power in 2011 and had overseen the creation of the Roads and Maritime Services, as well as accelerated upgrades to the Princes, Pacific and Newell Highways. "We enjoyed an extremely strong and close working relationship during my time as the Minister for Transport and Treasurer. Duncan was highly respected by both sides of the Legislative Council where he served as Leader of the House and Leader of the Government," Ms Berejiklian said. "He was valued for his wisdom and judgment, and his experience will be difficult to replace. I wish Duncan and his family all the best for the future." Deputy Premier and Leader of the NSW Nationals John Barilaro thanked Mr Gay for his years of service and for driving various infrastructure programs, many of which were targeted at regional Australia. “Under his guidance, more money has been invested in rural and regional roads in NSW than in any other state in the country,” Mr Barilaro said. “Programs like Bridges for the Bush, Fixing Country Roads and Fixing Country Rail mean that every person driving in regional NSW will benefit from Duncan’s leadership and legacy." He called Mr Gay a 'passionate advocate for road users and the improvement of the road network across the state' and welcomed his continued wisdom and guidance in the years to come while wishing him, and his wife Katie, well for the future. NSW Nationals Party Chairman Bede Burke said Mr Gay had delivered around $38 billion of investment for projects to country NSW – almost two-thirds of the total amount for the state - and country people had a lot to thank him for. “Right across NSW, drivers only have to look out their car windows to see all of the roads under construction – from Mulgoa to Molong to Moree. “Duncan has been a firm and unshakeable figure in the Nationals for more than 40 years,” Mr Burke said. "The lives of people in regional NSW are markedly better because of Duncan and the party is supremely grateful for his lifetime of service.” Deputy Leader of the NSW Nationals, Niall Blair said Mr Gay would be missed by all sides of the Chamber. “History will record Duncan as one of the giants of the Legislative Council,” Mr Blair said. “His contributions over 28 years are too many to list and his record for fighting for the best deal in regional NSW will serve as a great example for those of us who remain.” Mr Gay's last sitting day will be June 22. [post_title] => Nationals' leading light reaches end of the road: Duncan Gay calls it quits [post_excerpt] => Former NSW Roads Minister retires. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-nationals-leading-light-reaches-end-road [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-19 10:48:35 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-19 00:48:35 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27169 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27165 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-05-18 15:50:21 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-18 05:50:21 [post_content] =>   By Allen Koehn, Associate VP and GM – Public Sector at Infosys We are entering a new phase of human evolution. However, it is not one comprising new limbs or larger eyes. Rather, it involves the pursuit of ultimate control, despite human error, through technological innovation. The robotic automation of society alluded to in the science fiction of our past is finally becoming a reality - one technological advancement at a time. Human involvement, paper-heavy administration and room for error are exponentially decreasing as technologies like blockchain digitise and automate entire processes and interactions. What started as a platform for the transaction of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies now has the potential to span industries and verticals across the globe. There has been much hype about blockchain, with banks reporting annual savings of US$8-12 billion after its implementation1, but seemingly little understanding about what exactly it is and how it can be put to valuable use in different sectors. What is blockchain? Transactions - financial or otherwise - occur across networks every second. With blockchain, each time a transaction occurs, a network of computers carry out a series of algorithms, identifying the originating device and its user, and validating the transaction. This transaction is then added to a digital ledger (public or private) and attached to an irreversible chain of transactional “blocks”. Verified transactions are permanently recorded, traceable and updated across the entire network every 10 minutes. Blockchain is decentralised – it does not have a central server or administrator, but rather exists on and is managed by the network itself. Unimaginable computational processing power is needed to override the network. There are no singular points of vulnerability and the corruption of any one bit of data results in its network-wide corruption. Ultimate visibility and control makes unauthorised actions impossible. Consequently, blockchain is almost entirely secure in the face of human-led threats.  It’s not just about security Blockchain’s automation makes paper trails redundant, exponentially decreasing lost documents or delayed payments. Imagine a future where financial transactions within governments are automatically and irreversibly recorded, or citizens can transact confidentially without physical presence at a government office. Costs are reduced, efficiency is improved and the way for ultimate transparency is paved. Governments and organizations alike can achieve a true competitive advantage with blockchain (and its accompanying applications and digital technologies). So, for those working in government, scratching your head about how to leverage this new technology, here’s five ways that I see blockchain being used in the public sector:
  1.  Identification
Gone are the days of a 100 point ID checks. With digitised birth certificates and ID documents, blockchain enables a single personal identifier. It is an entirely new and reliable way of identifying members of an ecosystem – from citizens to government agencies – enabling everything from digital voting (which is in the works for Australia’s 2017 elections) to confidential legal disputes.
  1. Registries
Blockchain enables the digitization of property titles, car registrations, medical records and more. Once recorded, documents become digital proof, available – for example – for trusted use in legal battles. Printing and tracking costs decrease and smart contracts can automate actions when conditions are met. For example, a digital driver’s license can notify its owner of expiration, or simply auto-renew by triggering a debit off the owner’s account.
  1. Payments
There is room for (and talk of) the use of blockchain and cryptocurrencies in place of existing financial institutions. But blockchain technologies also have immense potential to eliminate fraud and tax avoidance, thanks to built-in transparency and trust protocols. Social benefits, grants, compensation, tax returns and inter-government payments can be automated, recorded and possibly even accessed by the public.
  1. Accountability
On that note, blockchain makes ultimate accountability in all spheres possible. Financial movements can be permanently recorded and traced, or voting results can be updated on a public network, keeping voters in the loop. Each time a change is made to a law recorded on the ledger, the public has full visibility. Public services can be delivered with ease to a trusting population, thanks to this layer of transparency.
  1. Automation
The processes of filing applications, making and receiving payments or benefits, getting visas and transferring permissions or titles can all be streamlined beyond what was previously possible – making blockchain particularly beneficial to developing markets whose existing infrastructure cannot otherwise accommodate such radical change. As with most innovations, the possible use cases of technological advancements like Blockchain are often only discovered much later in their lifecycle. Preconceived notions should not hinder the exploration of evolutionary innovations in new and unique contexts. The true power of technology is only truly realised when it evolves outside its original borders. Only when we colour outside our existing lines can we truly evolve. We believe that Blockchain has the potential to truly evolve the way our governments, organisations and society functions. [post_title] => Five ways blockchain will transform the public sector [post_excerpt] => Making paper trails redundant. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 27165 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-19 10:50:09 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-19 00:50:09 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27165 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27158 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-05-18 13:07:35 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-18 03:07:35 [post_content] =>   Fighting for deamalgamation: former Pittwater councillor Bob Grace. Pic: YouTube.   Residents are gearing up to push NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to deamalgamate NSW councils forcibly merged in May last year, galvanised by recent court successes of two councils opposing their mergers. Ku-ring-gai Council, on Sydney’s upper north shore, scored a victory against the NSW government in March when the Court of Appeal found it had been “denied procedural process” during its merger because delegate Garry West relied on a report from consultants KPMG, which contained financial modelling that the council could not access. The state government was ordered to pay the council’s costs and decided not to appeal the decision but Ms Berejiklian has made it clear she will not back down on the merger and her next move is uncertain. Rebel councils had another opportunity to celebrate after Woollahra Council was granted special leave to appeal against its forced merger with Randwick and Waverley in the High Court last week, reigniting the council’s hopes after a failed attempt to challenge the legality of its amalgamation in the Land and Environment Court in December last year. The Ku-ring-gai and Woollahra cases have helped inspire the recent formation of two residents’ groups, which are hoping to stop some mergers and deamalgamate others. Local Democracy Matters represents people opposed to the merger of Woollahra, Randwick and Waverley Councils, which is still on the cards. Protect Pittwater is pushing for the succession of Pittwater from the Northern Beaches Council, which emerged from the former Manly, Pittwater and Warringah Councils in May last year. Both groups are considering their options and legal challenges are likely. Protect Pittwater is also planning to submit a proposal to the NSW Local Government Minister to redefine council boundaries and reinstate Pittwater Council under the NSW Local Government Act but first the group must gather the signatures of 250 of the enrolled voters for the area; or 10 per cent, whichever is greater. Minister Gabrielle Upton, would then have to refer the proposal for examination and report to the Boundaries Commission or to the Departmental Chief Executive if the action was taken under Section 218E of the act, which deals with boundary alterations. This could kick off the whole delegate, public hearing process all over again. Bob Grace from Protect Pittwater, who served for three years on Warringah Council and 20 years on Pittwater Council, said the action was necessary to protect the area from high rises and dense development, similar to that already visited upon Manly and Dee Why. He said there would only be three councillors out of 15 on the Northern Beaches council after the September local government elections and Warringah would hold sway. “They’ve sold us out and I think everyone agrees with that. We will win this case if we go to court,” Mr Grace, a retired barrister, said. “There is really strong feeling up here. People in Pittwater are different. They don’t want a vibrant atmosphere like Manly and they don’t want high rise.” The group will crowdfund the money needed for legal fees. “Crowdfunding will enable the community to contribute and take action on their [own] behalf. They can get their council back if they want to contribute,” Mr Grace said. “People are realising that this Northern Beaches Council is all spin. Services are going down and staff are leaving.” Local Democracy Matters spokeperson Richard Horniblow said residents wanted to keep councils ‘genuinely local’ but some councils had not put up enough resistance to the government’s merger plans. “While Woollahra [Council] has been working hard to protect its residents from a forced amalgamation, we have seen too little too late from Randwick and dreadful complicity by the Liberal majority in Waverley,” Mr Horniblow said. “Our association has members from across the political spectrum who are coming together with one goal: to protect our right to genuinely local government that meets the needs of local residents.” NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge said other councils where feelings still ran high could follow suit, for example Leichhardt, Gundagai and Tumbarumba.   “It is really heartening to see residents standing up so strongly for their councils and for their local democracy,” Mr Shoebridge said. “Residents in the east aren’t waiting for Waverley and Randwick Councils to come good and oppose the amalgamation but are now taking the state government to court themselves.” He said the Ku-ring-gai decision applied to all the government’s amalgamation proposals ‘on the face of it’ and this included Woollahra, Waverley and Randwick. Randwick Council agreed on Tuesday this week that it would mount a late legal challenge to its merger after two liberal councillors withdrew a rescission motion. Randwick Mayor Noel D’Souza said the council had received legal advice, which the council has said it will publish, which suggested it had grounds for appeal. “Randwick Council’s position has consistently been that we are financially viable and strong enough to stand alone,” Mr D’Souza said. “With the climate changing it’s prudent that we consider our options.” Merger court cases are still in progress for several hold-out councils, including Ku-ring-gai, Hunters Hill, North Sydney, Strathfield, Mosman, and Lane Cove. [post_title] => Residents clamour for NSW council deamalgamation after recent court wins [post_excerpt] => Randwick Council’s late legal challenge. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 27158 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-19 10:52:10 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-19 00:52:10 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27158 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27154 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-05-18 10:46:53 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-18 00:46:53 [post_content] =>     Australian Information and Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim. Pic: YouTube. A new Australian Public Service (APS) Privacy Code covering the data citizens give to the federal government will be in place by 2018, prompted by the outcry over Centrelink robo debt and data matching. Today’s [Thursday] joint announcement by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) said the two would work collaboratively on the new code, which aims to ensure a balance between data protection and privacy and data innovation and its use by Commonwealth agencies. Australian Information and Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim told the Senate Community Affairs References Committee, which is conducting a public hearing into the Department of Human Services’ Online Compliance Initiative (OCI) in Canberra today, that the code would cover how data should be ‘respected, protected’ and regulated into the future, consistent with community expectations. Mr Pilgrim said the code would be binding and failure to comply would be a breach of the Privacy Act. The current guidelines are voluntary. He said penalties could range from asking for a written undertaking that an organisation would change their processes and comply - ultimately enforceable in the federal court – to civil penalties in a federal court which could reach up to $1.8 million for serious breaches. The OAIC will lead on the code’s development due to the organisation’s specific privacy expertise and the code will be implemented APS-wide. All agencies will also need to have a privacy management plan in place under the new code. The Department and the OAIC said the code was vital to maximise the value of publicly held data. “The code can therefore be a catalyst to transform the Australian government’s data performance – increasing both internal capacity and external transparency to stakeholders,” they said. Commissioner Pilgrim said the code would ‘support government data innovation that integrates personal data protection’ while giving the APS the ‘skills and capabilities’ it needed to manage personal information. A storm over data privacy occurred after Fairfax published a piece by blogger Andie Fox in February which was highly critical of the DHS’ automated debt recovery drive, designed to claw back more than $1.5 billion over five years. In her article, Ms Fox claimed she had been pursued and ‘terrorised’ by DHS for money she did not owe after a relationship breakdown. In response, DHS disputed Ms Fox’s account and leaked some of her personal information to a journalist, including her Family Tax Benefit claims and relationship details. The government later defended itself arguing that it was allowed to release personal information to correct inaccurate public statements under social security legislation. Federal Labor MP Linda Burney later referred the matter to the Australian Federal Police but the AFP concluded that Human Services Minister Alan Tudge had not breached Commonwealth legislation. The government said the new privacy code would be developed in close collaboration with the APS and data stakeholders and it would apply to all Australian Government entities subject to the Australian Privacy Act 1988.   [post_title] => New APS privacy code on the back of Centrelink robo debt [post_excerpt] => Penalties of up to $1.8m for serious breaches. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => new-aps-privacy-code-back-centrelink-robo-debt [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-19 10:51:12 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-19 00:51:12 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27154 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27129 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-05-16 11:09:20 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-16 01:09:20 [post_content] => The Sydney bus war rages on.    Bus services in Sydney’s Inner West will be snatched away from State Transit and given to the private sector to run. NSW Transport and Infrastructure Minister Andrew Constance said inner-west bus services had attracted the highest number of complaints in the Sydney metro area, “well above” complaints about buses operated by the private sector in adjoining areas. They also had some of the worst on-time running results, he said. “There have been improvements in recent years, but State Transit still lags a long way behind its industry competitors in measures like on-time running and reliability,” Mr Constance said. “If the bus industry can provide quality in western Sydney, the Inner West deserves the same, especially as Sydney grows.” The services that will go out to competitive tender are in Bus Region 6, which services suburbs from the city west to Strathfield and Olympic Park with the tender beginning in July 2017 and likely to be completed by July 2018. The government will retain ownership of the region’s buses and assets, including depots, continue to set Opal fares and timetables and regulate safety and operational standards. But while Mr Constance was talking up his prediction that the “world’s best operators” would compete for the tender, which will come up for renewal every five to ten years, and deliver better services for customers the Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) of NSW is predicting disaster. RTBU Bus Division Secretary Chris Preston said the government’s decision to privatise bus services would slash routes, close bus stops and cost 1,200 public transport workers their jobs. He called the privatisation “a complete betrayal” of Sydney commuters and bus drivers. “We oppose privatisation because we know at the end of the day, it’s the commuters who’ll pay,” Mr Preston said. “Less popular, less profitable bus routes get the chop and commuters are left stranded. “Private bus operators put profits before the public. To make money they’ll slash services and cut back on maintenance. We’ve seen it happen before.” He said the State Transit Authority told bus drivers their jobs were safe for five years in December last year but they would now “get the chop”, something Mr Constance appeared to deny when he said the government would be “growing transport jobs because we want to grow and improve services”. Mr Preston said the government’s intention was to privatise all public transport across NSW. “Every Sydney commuter needs to be asking, ‘is my bus next on the chopping block?’ “. Sydney Buses will continue to operate regions seven, eight and nine, which includes the inner metropolitan areas of the eastern, and southern and northern suburbs, including the CBD. Meanwhile the Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) waded into the debate and backed the minister.   Chief Executive of TTF, Margy Osmond, said competitive contracting would deliver “enormous financial and service benefits to both commuters and government”. “The management of bus networks is an area of transport policy in which the private sector has proven time and time again it can deliver quality services at best value for taxpayers’ money,” Ms Osmond said. “Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and Darwin already have bus networks that are completely managed by private operators, not government, and their experience is that franchising has delivered significantly better results across their networks.” TTF’s 2016 report, On the Buses: The Benefits of Private Sector Involvement in the Delivery of Bus Services, claimed the government would save up to half a billion dollars over five years if Sydney Buses were run by a private operator. The report also said privatisation would improve customer experience, increase operational efficiency and save taxpayers money that could be reinvested into public transport. “Franchising also keeps the infrastructure, including the buses and depots, in public hands but contracts out the operation of these assets to experienced private operators for the period of the contract,” Ms Osmond said. “Today’s [Monday] announcement the NSW Government will franchise the Inner West STA region is a very good start that hopefully signals a shift towards franchising more and more regions in due course.” [post_title] => NSW Transport Minister throws State Transit under a bus [post_excerpt] => Sydney’s inner-west services to go private. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => bjus [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-17 13:40:57 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-17 03:40:57 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27129 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27126 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-05-16 10:15:57 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-16 00:15:57 [post_content] =>

 
By Andy Young The NSW RSL is set to face an independent inquiry, which will look into allegations of financial misconduct which have plagued the organisation. The NSW State Government will reveal the details of the inquiry later today, but it will be headed by former NSW Supreme Court justice Patricia Bergin SC. It is expected the inquiry will have royal commission-like powers to compel witnesses to appear and be able to seize evidence. The inquiry comes after a series of allegations of financial rorting by the RSL's NSW branch, which have already seen an inquiry by Australia's charities watchdog. In December former NSW RSL president Don Rowe was referred to NSW Police over claims he used his corporate credit card to withdraw $200,000 in cash. NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation, Matt Kean today told the ABC, that enough was enough and it was time to be clear on what was happening at the RSL. "We will get to the bottom of these allegations once and for all," Kean said. "These are serious complaints and the fact that they've allegedly been committed in the name of one of our oldest and most respected institutions is totally unacceptable. "We want to clean up the mess and make sure it never happens again." Veterans Affairs Minister David Elliott told Fairfax Media that he was "completely fed up". "Based on the emails, letters and conversations I have with veterans around NSW, as well as their sub-branches, there is overwhelming support for the government to intervene," Elliott said. "It is heartbreaking to see the NSW RSL trashed in such a way and this is an opportunity to restore public confidence in this iconic organisation." Ministers Elliott and Kean will address media this afternoon to announce the full details of the inquiry.   This story first appeared in The Shout. 
[post_title] => NSW Government to launch independent RSL inquiry [post_excerpt] => Amidst allegations of financial rorting. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-government-launch-independent-rsl-inquiry [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-16 15:50:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-16 05:50:04 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27126 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27122 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-05-16 10:00:36 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-16 00:00:36 [post_content] =>
  By Mark Say, Managing Editor UKAuthority.com This story first appeared in UKAuthority.com and appears here by kind permission of the author.    Rob Whiteman, chief executive of the UK's Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy talks about the financial challenge in spending on digital transformation – along with the integration of health and social care Pic: CIPFA Rob Whiteman spends a lot of time thinking about the financial dilemmas facing local government, and there is a major one around digital transformation. Almost everyone agrees it is a necessity, but it comes with a big price tag, and with councils’ budgets already cut to the bone it is a tough call to make a case for heavy investment on which the return is likely to be years away. As chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy (CIPFA), Whiteman has a day-to-day preoccupation with local authorities’ bottom line. It is not a direct responsibility, but as the professional body for officials at the sharp end it plays a significant part in honing the thinking. He recites the basics of local government’s current difficulties: spending down by approximately 40% since 2010, demands on social care that have led to a 5% increase for children’s services and a 10% limit on the cuts for adults, and much sharper reductions in areas such as regulatory services and running libraries.

Creating space

“The problem is that creating the space and investment for digital transformation is difficult when you don’t have the money to keep the show on the road today,” he says. “Everybody can see that, particularly with Generations X and Y, people want to access services in a different way. They want 24/7 services and want to be able to transact on the web. “That needs investment, and local government has many strengths, but it’s hard for it to make system investment when it’s more than 400 organisations. You need an organisation like DCLG (the Department for Communities and Local Government) to be able to pump prime. “If local government were not 400 institutions it could probably not have borne the cuts it has, but if you want to invest in something different, while the bigger authorities can find the space to do this, it’s very difficult for a small council with big budget constraints. Ideally it should mean working with other authorities to invest in it together.” The joint investment is not happening on any large scale and, since the Government Spending Review of 2015 provided nothing to support local digital efforts, there is no pump priming from the centre. There are organisations such as CIPFA, the Local Government Association and public sector IT association Socitm to support some coordination and shared effort. Whiteman says they can provide help, not just in arguing the case for local authorities but in challenging how they do things, pressing for more economies of scale and to avoid duplication. But councils still have to spend on investment, and Whiteman provides some advice on how they can make the process more manageable.

Look for good practice

“Number one, somebody has almost certainly already done it,” he says. “Actively go out and look for good practice and find councils that have already done something you’re thinking of doing. “Secondly, if you’re going to do it, do it well, and make sure you have the right capability. The best business cases are those that may cost a bit more than people are comfortable with but give greater assurance they will be delivered because you have the capability and capacity to deliver them well. “And try to do it with other people. Find other councils to work with, or partners that have already done something like this.” He emphasises the importance of being very clear over the expected benefits – “the more work on benefits realisation the better” – and the linking of digital and service strategies. But he suggests that councils will struggle if they do not take a more collective approach. “I think local government is good at implementation; it has been able to make 40% cuts because it has implementation skills. The weakness is that implementation tends to be for individual organisations rather than at scale, and if it were done at scale the benefits realisation probably could have been ever greater.”

STP ups and downs

Things get even more demanding when you look at the need for integrating services. The Government has made this a big issue for health and social care with the Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) for England, a move for which he sees up and down sides. On the one hand, he describes them as “a really difficult brand”, not helped by many having been drawn up with little or no public consultation; on the other, they could foster a better working relationship between councils and the NHS. They have different skills sets and financial settlements, with councils being accountable to local electorates while NHS bodies report to the secretary of state for health. This fosters different outlooks, but “these are so different that if they work well with each other the prize can be enormous”. He says the test will be in whether they develop the right attitude to working together: “I think STPS should be organisations where they want to work with each other and don’t feel they are being strong armed. They are an organisational development exercise to build trust for people to get used to transacting with each other. “The test of the good ones will be that, after they are abolished, people will want to carry on working that way because they have been successful.”

Sense of place

This will depend partly on how strongly the participants feel a sense of common purpose based on their communities – a “sense of place” as Whiteman puts it – and a willingness to break out of their organisational silos. This is not easy to achieve, as the breakdown of the Total Place policy in the late 2000s demonstrates. But he is hopeful that the move to city devolution, with Manchester at the vanguard, will provide momentum. “My experience is that a sense of place can act as the biggest drive for collaboration of anything that I’ve seen. What I admire about Manchester is that there’s a sense of place, in that people think they are not supporting the public interest as they should if they stick by the present organisational boundaries and siloes. “A sense of understanding the issues of a community and feeling a passion to do something about it is the most powerful.” His other big hope in the technology field is that government makes more of data analytics. He says it could be valuable to local government in plenty of activities, especially social care and public health. “That type of capability has incredible opportunity in other policy areas - identifying children likely to be at risk, people who are likely to be vulnerable, people who are likely to have poor health. There are very real information management and ethical issues about the degree to which the state makes use of data, and we are going to have to work that through with other policy areas, but data analytics could inform on a whole range of policy issues.” Through all this Whiteman conveys a combination of acknowledging the starkness of the financial situation facing local government, and an optimism that it has the qualities to find some long term solutions. There is no doubt that digital is going to play a big part.  
[post_title] => Facing local government’s digital dilemma [post_excerpt] => Tough spending choices for UK local councils. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 27122 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-16 10:00:36 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-16 00:00:36 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27122 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27117 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-05-15 17:25:03 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-15 07:25:03 [post_content] =>     NSW government can learn from other governments internationally about how to develop and promote a culture of open data and data sharing, says a report commissioned by the Information and Privacy Commission of NSW and the NSW Open Data Advocate. The UNSW Law report, Conditions Enabling Open Data and Promoting a Data Sharing Culture 2017, released yesterday (Monday) looks at the progress of five other countries – the UK, France, Canada, the US and New Zealand – towards recognising the importance of open data and doing something about it. All five are considered to be leading the way globally. Open data is data that can be freely used, shared and built-on by anyone, anywhere, for any purpose and offered free or at minimal cost. The data can come from a wide range of sources, including government departments and agencies; universities; corporations; charities; NGOs; groups and individuals and it can encompass statistics, maps, scientific research, reports, and weather amongst other things.   To qualify as open, data should be available in bulk and able to be processed by a computer. The UNSW Law report identified six main drivers for achieving open data and went on to show how the NSW government could use international best practice and put more emphasis on open data. These drivers included:
  • Leadership and public support by government, ministers and agency heads to create processes and a culture that encourage the release and sharing of data
  • Legislation that sets out the rights and responsibilities governing access, sharing and protection of data for those who want the data and those who keep it. For example, the UK, US and France have mandated that data be open by default and be machine-readable and in in a standardised format
  • Policies to guide agency and staff decisions and priorities around open data and privacy, data security and collaboration
  • Regulations to provide certainty and to set expectations and obligations, as well as providing oversight and punishing non-compliance. These should balance rights to data with concerns over privacy and anticipating risk
  • Promoting culture and collaboration that supports open data within government and with the public, for example co-operation between agencies and between international, national and sub-national levels of government
  • Developing strategies to make data open, including funding open data, sharing success stories and engaging communities and individuals, for example the UKAuthority.
NSW Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Tydd said the independent research report was the first of its kind in Australia. “The research demonstrates how open data is being achieved internationally through an examination of leading jurisdictions,” Ms Tydd said. “The research acknowledges NSW’s progress and, importantly, offers new and significant insights to inform our approach to opening up valuable NSW data resources.”   She said opening data was “an impactful, contemporary approach to opening government” that promoted “effective and accountable government and enables meaningful public participation”. A recent IPC community attitudes survey found strong support for Open Data in NSW with 83 per cent of people agreeing that de-identified information should inform government service planning and delivery. The report provides suggestions on how NSW can move further towards open government and open data. These include recommendations to:
  • Publish a complete catalogue of all datasets, including restricted datasets
  • Moving from a legislative framework authorising data release to one that proactively encourages it
  • Mandating departments to open specific datasets and set quotas for datasets to force collaboration
  • Identify which datasets are important economic drivers for growth in regional areas and prioritise these
  • Mandate departments to create machine-readable standardised formats for datasets to allow analytics and linked data applications
  • Explicitly fund departments opening up high-value datasets in machine-readable format
  • Adopt an anticipatory regulatory approach that promotes open data but ensures ongoing evaluation and assessment of security and privacy risks
  • Develop in-depth guidelines on anonymisation and de-identification
  • Identify workforce skills/knowledge gaps and opportunities to work with local government and other government agencies
  • Adopt an incubator model where an open data company is embedded with an agency to co-develop ideas and applications on models, or engage with entities such as Code for Australia to bring in ideas and expertise
The research underpinning the report was guided by a steering committee comprising NSW agencies and experts, including the Data Analytics Centre, Department of Premier and Cabinet, Data61, the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation and the Department of Justice.  [post_title] => Global open data leaders give NSW lessons in data sharing [post_excerpt] => Promoting a culture of open data and data sharing. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 27117 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-16 11:54:01 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-16 01:54:01 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27117 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 14 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27207 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-05-24 12:33:44 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-24 02:33:44 [post_content] =>   An audit of underperformance in eight Commonwealth agencies and departments, including the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), has found there is ‘significant room for improvement’ in dealing with poor performers and that managers avoided tackling the problem and encouraged workers to take redundancy or retire instead. The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) looked into underperformance of eight federal government agencies and departments between 2012 and 2016, including the Attorney-General’s Department; Australian Taxation Office; Department of Agriculture and Water Resources; Department of Industry, Innovation and Science; Department of Social Services; Department of Veterans’ Affairs; IP Australia; and the National Film and Sound Archive. These eight were chosen to provide a mix of size and function, as well as a mix of how they had been rated for managing poor performers by their staff. The audit focused on how well agencies managed underperformance through policies, procedures and management practices and said it was important to address because weak performance management could impact negatively on productivity, efficiency and morale. “In most agencies underperformance is not being accurately identified and the proportion of employees undergoing structured underperformance processes is very low in all agencies," said the report, although it found that where it was addressed agencies stuck to procedural fairness. “Probation processes are not generally used robustly to test the suitability of newly appointed employees (except in the Australian Taxation Office and the National Film and Sound Archive).” The Audit Office said managers should not rely on encouraging badly performing staff to take redundancies or opt for retirement, “while these may be cost-effective approaches in situations of excess staffing or in particularly complex cases they should not be used to replace or undermine ongoing, robust underperformance management procedures.” The number of staff going through structured underperformance processes was 'very low', with the lowest rate of the eight departments being 0.03 per cent of staff at the ATO. The highest was the National Film and Sound Archive at 0.28 per cent.  It said management culture and the lack of support and training for senior and middle managers were the main barriers in dealing with underperformance in the workplace, noting an unwillingness to tackle poor performers, give feedback or set clear expectations from some managers.  Staff perceptions of how well government departments and agencies were doing were also unfavourable. Between 70 to 84 per cent of staff thought their department did not do a good job of managing substandard workers, although around half considered their supervisors did a decent job.   It acknowledged that the causes of underperformance could be complex and include mental health or physical problems and personal issues as well as lax recruitment processes that fail to hire the right person for the job.  Access to training and development could also play a role. Main findings
  • Managers often avoided addressing underperformance, mainly due to lack of support, capability or incentives to do so
  • Managers shied away from confronting poor performers, relying instead on redundancies or retirement, against Australian Public Service Commission guidelines
  • The performance management process was being underused to manage poor performers
  • Probation procedures were deficient in every agency
  • Underperformance policies needed cleaning up and the procedures managing senior staff should be made more transparent
  • Managers in every agency need to make a stronger commitment to dealing with poor performance, including setting clear expectations and giving feedback to staff
Recommendations
  • More commitment from managers to tackle poor performance, rather than using retirement or redundancy
  • Better training and support needed for managers, including the early involvement of an HR professional to help 
  • Clearer guidelines to make it easier for managers to identify inadequate performance
  • Holding managers more accountable for the way they manage underperformance
  • Improve the performance management framework with more ‘check-ins’ between managers and staff
The audit used a variety of data sources including Australian Public Service Commission data from the annual employee census and annual agency survey; agency policies and procedures and interviews with employee representatives, corporate support staff and academics. It cost the ANAO $530,000 to conduct. [post_title] => APS underperformance ignored by managers, says audit [post_excerpt] => Poor performers encouraged to resign or retire. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => aps-underperformance-left-fester-managers-says-audit [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-24 14:31:45 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-24 04:31:45 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27207 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 3794 [max_num_pages] => 271 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => 1 [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => 1 [is_tag] => [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => [is_robots] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => a730fce3115cd17510adbe4b58833495 [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => 1 [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) )

Sector