APS workforce strategy released

The Australian Public Service Commission has released it first ‘one-APS’ approach to workforce management in what the Commissioner says is a major milestone on the road to reform.

Peter Woolcott

The strategy, Delivering for Tomorrow  is part of the commonwealth’s APS reform agenda which aims to create a better and more efficient public service and comes in response to the Independent Review of the Public Service handed down in December 2019.

The report provides a roadmap for action through to 2025 based on three key areas:

  • Building skills, especially in digital literacy
  • Embracing technology in workforce management
  • Ensuring integrity and effective leadership

The strategy says less than 50 per cent of APS agencies are “actively and strategically” planning for workforce skills and warns against being overly reliant on recruiting from the labour market when vacancies arise.

“We must be able to proactively and strategically recruit with a 5-10 year horizon in mind to build strong capacity pipelines for data and digital/ICT roles and develop these capabilities internally through focused programs,” it says.

New APS Academy

The strategy proposes establishing an APS Academy by July 2021 to workforce transformation, strengthen professionalism, minimise duplication and maximise return on employee investment.

The Academy will operate nationally in partnership with all APS agencies and connect with existing APS centres of excellence and other policy  and academic institutions.

APS Commissioner Peter Woolcott says the strategy is the first of its kind to outline a “one-APS“ approach to management of the workforce, which currently consists of some 150,000 public servants working in 100 agencies across Australian and overseas.

Mr Woolcott said the strategy isn’t meant to replace agency-level planning and strategy, but to support it.

He says agencies will be supported to develop data-driven workplace management practices and meet the challenges of skills deficits, disruption and the increasing pace of service delivery.

“To be positioned to respond to complex challenges in the future, we need the APS workforce to be agile and collaborative,” he said in a statement on Thursday.

“We must work as one enterprise, across traditional boundaries and jurisdictions – taking an outcomes-based approach to delivery.”

The outcomes of the strategy will be monitored over the next five years.

 “I look forward to seeing the impact the strategy has as it is implemented across the APS,” Mr Woolcott said.

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