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                    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_31211" align="aligncenter" width="583"] Job cuts and a reliance on outsourcing are causing a skill shortage in the APS: submissions.[/caption]

The federal public service is plagued by a lack of internal expertise caused by reliance on outsourcing, a lack of inter-departmental mobility and poor wage growth, the APS Review has been told.

Thousands of successive job cuts and the reliance on contractor services resulting from the introduction of an average staffing level (ASL) cap are eroding expertise and creating a “capability gap” within the public service, the Community and Public Services Union (CPSU) argued in its submission to the APS Review. 

These job cuts create a “false economy” where the work of APS employees is replaced by external providers at the expense of specialist capability and service delivery, the public servants' union said.  

“Essential skills are being lost, and the capacity and capability of the APS is being hollowed out. Government funding is being squandered on expensive external providers, often with no direct accountability and a lack of transparency. In most cases this work would be done better, more efficiently and more effectively by directly employed staff,” it said.

Professor Andrew Stuart Podger, a former public servant and honorary professor of public policy at ANU, told the review that capability gaps are the result of both a risk averse culture and excessive outsourcing.

“Despite the increasing proportion of graduates and post-graduates in the APS, there is evidence of emerging capability gaps. The Moran Review identified weaknesses in strategic policy advising and human resources management, these being confirmed in many of the subsequent capability reviews, along with a risk averse culture, too centralised control within departments and poor project management,” he said.

“Another likely contributor is the increasing reliance on third parties for policy advice and service delivery, affecting career paths and the ability to retain specialist knowledge.”

Professor Podger called on the review to examine the evidence already collected in reviews such as the Moran Review to “clarify” where capability has been lost and how it might be regained.

Poor mobility, wage growth

Stagnant wage growth and a lack of inter-departmental mobility are further eroding expertise within the public service, current APS employees told the review. The APS needs to “even the playing field” by offering more competitive remuneration and equalising pay to incentivise mobility, a public servant in the service’s HR department argued: 
“In state and territory government, the pay scales are 10 to 15 per cent higher and we lose good talent. I recently took a $15,000 pay cut to come from ACT Government back to Melbourne, where the work level standard is the same. I think mobility will help unlock diversity and inclusion and breed new and better ideas across the service if staff can move."
Another public servant who has been working for the Federal Government since 1989 similarly argued that remuneration and leave entitlements need to be standardised. “My proposal for a future APS would be to have the same pay and conditions for all employees. I find it amazing an employee working for the same employer (Federal Government), same classification and same skills can be paid up to $15,000 extra from one agency to another,” they said. Sebastian Cabrera Torres, another APS employee, said that inter-departmental mobility is riddled with bureaucracy and often merely procedural rather than genuine opportunities to move around. “Why must there be so much red tape when one wishes to perform other duties at level,” he asked. A former public servant who led workforce planning teams in multiple APS departments argued that moving to agile team-based workforces with a mix of skills would help to improve capabilities in the public service. “Critical to this capability being realised is that it needs to be managed through a central agency such as the APSC. The current siloed nature of departments drives duplication and inefficiencies because while efforts are made to foster transfer of individuals between departments, different EAs provide financial incentives to employees identifying as members of a Department rather than the APS,” the former public servant said.

Project management key

Veteran APS management consultant Tanner James told the review that the APS must adopt a best practice program and project management to establish professional competencies and better manage policies. John Howarth, founder and executive chairman at Tanner James Management Consultants, said that adopting global industry-leading best practices and project and program management methods, such as Prince 2 and MSP, can help build the skills to help organisations manage change. “Embedding them in an organisation will support the delivery of strategic business objectives in the most cost-effective way possible,” Mr Howard said in his submission. “For 24 years I have run a small business that is trying to help the APS skilfully adopt global best practice program and project management. We haven’t achieved that – yet. But we’ll keep trying. Pockets of the APS have success, but then the SES change and all the good work is lost.” Mr Howarth said he has called on the APS to take on best practice and project management methods “several times.” “So many times in fact that I am actually going to provide most of my submission in the form of previous submissions. It provides a sorry history of the APS’s inability to reform itself,” he said.
Submissions to the APS review are open until midnight on 31 July and can be made here.
Follow Government News for ongoing coverage of the APS Review.
[post_title] => APS 'hollowed out' by outsourcing, stagnant wages [post_excerpt] => The federal public service is plagued by a reliance on outsourcing, a lack of mobility and poor wage growth, the APS Review has been told. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => aps-hollowed-out-by-outsourcing-stagnant-wages [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-07-17 09:57:45 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-07-16 23:57:45 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=31209 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 29976 [post_author] => 674 [post_date] => 2018-04-24 09:33:10 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-04-23 23:33:10 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_30065" align="aligncenter" width="602"] The RAI's new program will provide an evidence base to government on regional policy, says Jack Archer.[/caption] Governments back new research program that aims to provide guidance and best practice for responding to challenges facing regional areas. Adapting to a changing local economy, ensuring jobs in the future and balancing urban and regional population growth are the three initial priorities of a new research program from Regional Australia Institute that has been endorsed by state and territory governments. RAI chief executive Jack Archer said governments had joined with the institute to share ideas and invest in better knowledge for regions. “This is a really efficient way to work on these big issues, which are often common across different regions,” he told Government News. “Toowoomba in Queensland has a lot in common with places like Tamworth and Wagga in NSW, so regions can learn from each other and governments can look at what’s working in different places to apply those learnings in their state.” The RAI, which was established in 2012 to provide decision makers with independent research on regional issues, has been working with regional leaders and agencies around Australia to shortlist common issues for the new program to focus on, Mr Archer said. “When you think about how regional economies are changing these really are the three biggest issues we have to deal with,” he said. The first project aims to provide a new evidence base for governments around helping communities that are experiencing major economic change, such as industrial closures. “There is still a gap in the evidence when it comes to designing policy responses ... The Regions in Transition project is going to give governments a policy playbook so they'll have some guidance when faced with a closure or a big transition in a region.” A focus on jobs of the future in the regions will see the second project gather evidence on the key roles at risk in different areas. and help local authorities plan how they’ll respond to automation and support regional workforces, he said. The third project seeks to broaden the ongoing national discussion about a “big Australia” beyond population growth in the capital cities to examining the opportunities for expansion in regional cities and centres. In addition to the three major projects, the RAI researchers will undertake a smaller initiative on government procurement, examining how policies to buy local can best support regional investment and economic development. “That project is looking at how we do government procurement well, where you get the best impact and what the options for improvement are,” Mr Archer said.

Work with governments

The RAI’s researchers will be undertaking their analysis in consultation with governments and community agencies to get an understanding of key policy challenges and identify evidence of local approaches that are proving effective, Mr Archer said. “We get all the governments around the table every three months to talk about these issues and share information. We also spend a lot of time bringing regional leaders in to contribute their views. “It’ll be a mixture of analysis, new data collection, engagement with policy makers and regional discussions,” he said of the program’s methodology. In terms of expected outcomes, Mr Archer said the research will culminate in analyses, policy guidance for governments, discussion papers to inform public debate and case studies that convey best practice. “It’s really important to look at things that are working well, so governments can learn from how various regions are dealing with their challenges. You find approaches can be quite different as you go around the country and so there’s a lot to be learned from those detailed case studies,” he said. First up, the RAI is preparing to release an analysis into the impact of automation at the local level and likely implications for regional education and employment. “Off the back of that analysis, which we’ll release in the next couple of months, there’ll be some policy advice back into governments,” he said.
Follow Government News for ongoing coverage of the RAI’s regional research program.
Comment below to have your say on this story.
[post_title] => Initiative to provide ‘policy playbook’ on regional Australia [post_excerpt] => Regional Australia Institute's new program will provide governments with guidance and best practice for responding to challenges facing regional areas, CEO Jack Archer tells Government News. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => initiative-to-provide-policy-playbook-on-regional-australia [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-04-24 09:54:54 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-04-23 23:54:54 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=29976 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 29698 [post_author] => 674 [post_date] => 2018-04-03 09:54:36 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-04-02 23:54:36 [post_content] =>
  • This is the first in our new 'Spotlight' series where we profile an innovative local council, the issues they’re facing and the initiatives they’ve developed in response. If you have a suggestion for the next council we should feature, contact us: editorial@governmentnews.com.au
[caption id="attachment_29700" align="aligncenter" width="573"] Wyndham City's Catalyst development leverages council land for economic development.[/caption] The City of Wyndham in Victoria is pioneering new ways of working and digital transformation as it responds to rapid population growth. Located on the western edge of Melbourne, between the city and Geelong, Wyndham is a city experiencing massive population growth, which is putting intense pressure on the area’s services and infrastructure. The city’s young, multicultural population has outgrown Greater Geelong’s for the first time and is now expected to increase by 74 per cent to reach 436,000 by 2036. In response, the City of Wyndham council has overhauled its organisational and operational structures, pioneered and adopted new ways of working and initiated an agenda of “city shaping” projects. “Our aim is to be a sector leader, to stretch our organisation’s capacity and push the boundaries of local government by working in partnership with different levels of government and the private sector as we respond to the unique challenges we face as a growth city,” CEO Kelly Grigsby tells Government News. [caption id="attachment_29701" align="alignright" width="143"] Kelly Grigsby[/caption] The city has a diverse population with almost half its residents born overseas and coming from 162 countries, while Ms Grigsby says there’s also a rich and diverse Aboriginal cultural heritage. It’s also a population experiencing massive growth; 86 babies are born every week in Wyndham which is compounded by strong inward migration. “It’s hugely challenging when you consider just from a basic service level the sorts of support we need to provide in the community given our young population, which requires services for babies and children,” said Ms Grigsby. “We’re already heading to the size of the likes of Tasmania and Canberra – cities with significant investment in infrastructure compared to an outer growth area like ours.”

‘Masters of our own destiny’

While councils in growth areas can find themselves consigned to processing approved planning applications from state government, as they watch urban growth boundaries be extended, Ms Grigsby said Wyndham instead sought to adopt a proactive and deliberative “city shaping” approach. “We wanted to be the masters of our destiny to ensure we don’t let development just occur without also creating community and the right conditions for local economic development,” she said. Three years ago the council developed its Wyndham 2040 plan to set out a long-term vision for the city and its community, detailing the values and aspirations of residents. “We developed district plans as part of that. Each of our key suburbs is vastly different so they’re packaged up into planning districts,” said Ms Grigsby.

Organisational overhaul

In line with the city’s new plan, the council undertook an overhaul of its organisational structure and way of working. “We redesigned the organisation from top to bottom to contemporise the way we work, because the old ways weren’t going to deliver any of the aspirations for the future. “We had to rethink our capability in terms of staff, skill sets and where we would invest more attention.” [caption id="attachment_29709" align="aligncenter" width="592"] Wyndham overhauled how it works in order to implement the long-term plan.[/caption] A key outcome of the organisational overhaul was the establishment of a smart city office, which has been rolling out the council’s digital transformation project. This includes a focus on the Internet of Things, how data is being used and ways to digitise the internal council environment. “We’re really passionate about how we can use technology and data to make the city more accessible for people in terms of entrepreneurial opportunities and economic development.” An early project for the office was WynLens, a tool that uses augmented reality to help residents envision future developments, which has subsequently won several awards and garnered considerable interest within the sector. The premise was that blueprints and maps often don’t provide the insight that the community, stakeholders and investors require when considering a new development whereas “mixed reality” could bring abstract and technical ideas to life. The ability to immerse citizens, staff, politicians and business leaders into a digital environment to explore and understand a city is game changing, Ms Grigsby said. “We’re spending a lot of time supporting other councils to use the technology. This is where we’ve been leading in terms of that thinking around smart cities. We’re big believers in sharing what we’re learning to enhance and strengthen the sector,” she said.

Stimulating industry, employment

An early deployment for WynLens was in engaging community around the council’s Catalyst project, a joint venture with developers that sees council land leveraged to create a multi-use investment within the Werribee City Centre. Werribee is one of a number of centres the council is working to transform into vibrant city centres through landmark projects that create local jobs as well as new residential and commercial spaces. [caption id="attachment_29713" align="aligncenter" width="560"] An artist's impression of the redeveloped Werribee City Centre.[/caption] “Currently, many residents leave Wyndham to head to work in the city or other suburbs in the outer metro area, which creates significant congestions issues on our roads, as well as poor lifestyle outcomes given residents are spending so much time in their vehicles,” said Ms Grigsby. “Liveability is a huge issue for us, which is why we’re focused on the creation of employment so more residents can live and work locally,” she said. For the council this requires supporting existing industry in the region, such as agriculture, and working with partners to create an environment where new enterprises are nurtured. “One of the floors will be dedicated to start-ups and a co-working space,” Ms Grigsby said of the new Catalyst project. More broadly, Ms Grigsby acknowledges that the council will always need to focus on the “core service delivery aspects” of local government, but argues this doesn’t mean it can’t think big. “Fundamentally, to be the change agents we need to be in our community, to shape the city for the future, we need to think differently about the projects we engage in and the partners we work with,” she said.
Comment below to have your say on this story.
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[post_title] => Spotlight: Council adopts new approach to doing business [post_excerpt] => The City of Wyndham in Victoria is pioneering new ways of working and digital transformation as it responds to rapid population growth. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => spotlight-council-adopts-new-approach-to-doing-business [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-04-03 09:59:01 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-04-02 23:59:01 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=29698 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 29624 [post_author] => 655 [post_date] => 2018-03-27 10:21:55 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-03-26 23:21:55 [post_content] => Our wrap of the latest appointments in and around government and the public service across Australia.

In this wrap:

  • New NSW industry department secretary
  • Waverley Council appoints new GM
  • New directors at Canberra Town Planning
[caption id="attachment_29627" align="alignright" width="154"] Simon Draper[/caption]

New NSW industry department secretary

Simon Draper has been appointed secretary of the NSW Department of Industry. He moves from the Department of Premier and Cabinet where he’s been deputy secretary, economic policy. Mr Draper’s experience across the private sector in the energy and infrastructure fields, combined with his public policy roles means he is well-placed to lead the Department of Industry’s ongoing contribution to the government’s economic agenda, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

Waverley Council appoints new GM

[caption id="attachment_29626" align="alignright" width="154"] Ross McLeod[/caption] Ross McLeod has been appointed general manager of Waverley Council. He comes from Hastings District Council in the Hawkes Bay Region of New Zealand where he has been CEO for 10 years. Mr McLeod has extensive Board member experience, including as a member of the Central Government/Local Government Chief Executives Forum in New Zealand. Waverley Mayor John Wakefield said Mr McLeod was chosen from a high quality field of 38 national and international candidates. “There were some very talented leaders amongst the applicants but I am delighted we have appointed someone with Mr McLeod’s abilities for leadership and governance,” Mayor Wakefield said.

New directors at Canberra Town Planning

[caption id="attachment_29629" align="alignright" width="300"] From left: Nichelle Jackson and Elizabeth Slapp[/caption] Nichelle Jackson and Elizabeth Slapp have been appointed associate directors at Canberra Town Planning. An experienced town planner with qualifications in architecture, property economics and environmental management, Ms Jackson has experience working on small and large-scale commercial, industrial, mixed use and residential projects. Ms Slapp has worked across both public and private sectors in the delivery of planning advice and has developed knowledge of planning across NSW and the ACT.
Have we missed an appointment? Send the details and an image to: editorial@governmentnews.com.au
Last issue’s Noticeboard: Caroline Spencer appointed WA auditor
[post_title] => Noticeboard: new secretary for NSW Department of Industry [post_excerpt] => Also in this wrap: Waverley Council appoints Ross McLeod as general manager; Canberra Town Planners appoint Nichelle Jackson and Elizabeth Slapp as associate directors. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => noticeboard-new-secretary-for-nsw-department-of-industry [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-03-27 11:37:55 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-03-27 00:37:55 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=29624 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 29484 [post_author] => 674 [post_date] => 2018-03-16 11:23:55 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-03-16 00:23:55 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_29486" align="aligncenter" width="489"] Victoria's auditor has probed regional councils' economic development actions. [/caption] Victoria’s Corangamite Council says a $300,000 support fund it established to attract and expand businesses in its area has contributed $9.2 million in benefits to the local economy. The initiative has been singled out by the Victorian Auditor-General in a new report into the efforts of councils in regional and rural areas to boost economic development. Auditor Andrew Greaves found that while the state’s local government laws provide councils with specific entrepreneurial powers including declaring special rates and charges, councils “made limited use of these powers.” There was a concern among councils that the use of these powers may be perceived as promoting private rather than public interests, Mr Greaves found. But he argued this shouldn’t prevent councils from tapping into these opportunities as there were innovative examples of authorities using their entrepreneurial powers, such as Corangamite. 

Progress made, barriers highlighted

His report, released last week, concluded that councils in regional and rural areas have made progress in facilitating local economic development, but they’re being hindered by systemic issues including the competing interests of some state agencies. A lack of resources and skill within rural councils, their use of four-year plans that are at odds with longer-term development goals and a lack of clear benchmarks are other barriers to success, he found. A number of Victorian councils, particularly non-metropolitan councils, have experienced a decline in their economic growth over the past 10 years, his report noted. Mr Greaves looked at five regional and rural councils - Bass Coast Shire Council, Corangamite Shire Council, Loddon Shire Council, Melton City Council and Southern Grampians Shire Council - as well as the roles of the statutory agency Regional Development Victoria and the departmental unit Local Government Victoria. His report found that planning approvals remained complex and this has “significantly” delayed and limited some councils’ economic development initiatives. It still too early to determine the impacts of fast-track initiatives such as the VicSmart and the Smart Planning program, he concluded. Mr Greaves found that councils could use better data in their economic assessments, especially at the municipality level. Most relied on the Australian Business Register to measure business activity but reported this data could be a poor indicator of business activity. Many councils also fell down when it came to subsequently measuring the performance of their economic development actions, he found.

Skilled staff essential: MAV

[caption id="attachment_29492" align="alignright" width="161"] Rob Spence[/caption] The Municipal Association of Victoria, the body representing local government in the state, said that finding and employing talented staff who could implement economic development strategies is a key issue for councils.  “To be successful in the economic development space councils need people who are skilled in supporting their local business and facilitating industry development,” CEO Rob Spence told Government News. “Finding those people is not easy to begin with, and then having the capacity to employ them is a secondary issue.” While there are increasingly new sources of data for local councils, a key issue remains having the capacity to conduct detailed analysis to identify and understand local economic challenges and opportunities, Mr Spence said. “The other challenge for these smaller to medium councils is where economic development sits among all the more immediate service demands, particularly within the context of a shortage of resources,” he added.

Local council activities

Mr Graves found that some of the actions that councils were taking to boost local economic development included:
  • financial support for business and tourism associations
  • festivals and tourism support events
  • conferences and field days
  • workshops and
  • marketing and promotional materials.
Collectively, Victoria’s councils spent $866 million in 2015-16 delivering business and economic services that included economic development, tourism and community development, which accounted for up to 12 per cent of their total expenditure. All five of the councils in the Auditor-General’s report had established economic development teams of various sizes, which were generally responsible for related activities such as tourism, events and agriculture. Four of the five councils had outsourced the preparation of their economic development strategies because they lacked the skills or resources to undertake economic assessment. The councils had developed strategic partnerships with relevant stakeholders, identified potential partners and consulted with local businesses and peak bodies. However, the auditor said that at the time of writing his report it was too early to assess the effectiveness of these partnerships.

Recommendations: support for councils

The Auditor-General recommended that Regional Development Victoria work with councils to assess their deficiencies in grant applications and business cases, promote awareness of its information portal and assess the effectiveness of newly established regional partnerships. He recommended both RDV and Local Government Victoria work with councils to identify their economic development training needs and then provide the necessary resources. They also needed to collect better information on local economic development, Mr Greaves said. Councils needed to review how their economic development strategies align with long-term initiatives, develop clear performance measures including targets and benchmarks, and monitor and report on economic development outcomes, the auditor recommended.
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[post_title] => ‘Skill and talent’ key to councils’ economic development [post_excerpt] => Victoria’s Corangamite Council says a $300,000 support fund it established to attract and expand businesses in its area has contributed $9.2 million in benefits to the local economy. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => skill-and-talent-key-to-councils-economic-development [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-03-16 11:23:55 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-03-16 00:23:55 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=29484 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 29502 [post_author] => 655 [post_date] => 2018-03-16 11:18:20 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-03-16 00:18:20 [post_content] => Our wrap of the latest appointments in and around government and the public service across Australia.

In this issue:

  • Caroline Spencer appointed WA auditor
  • Daryl Karp reappointed Museum of Australian Democracy director
  • Tony Nutt appointed to NMA council, Australia Post board
  • Former UN executive joins ASPI
[caption id="attachment_29505" align="alignright" width="164"] Caroline Spencer[/caption]

Caroline Spencer appointed WA auditor

Caroline Spencer has been appointed Western Australia's next Auditor-General. Ms Spencer, who was most recently the managing partner of professional services firm Vista Advisory, has experience in public sector audit, risk and governance at state and federal level. State Treasurer Ben Wyatt said that Ms Spencer, who previously conducted a review of the Office of the Auditor-General in 2015, has significant understanding of the role. Ms Spencer was selected from a field of 33 applicants and will be the first female Auditor-General for Western Australia.

Daryl Karp reappointed Museum of Australian Democracy director

[caption id="attachment_29509" align="alignright" width="164"] Daryl Karp[/caption] Daryl Karp has been reappointed director of the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House on a full-time basis for a second five year term. Announcing the reappointment Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said that Ms Karp, who been director since 2013, had delivered key outcomes for the museum and built strong stakeholder partnerships. “Ms Karp has established a vision for the museum that celebrates the spirit of Australian democracy and the importance of civic engagement. Under her leadership, the museum has expanded its service offering and achieved its highest visitor numbers on record,” he said. Ms Karp has extensive experience in Australian cultural activities, media and digital engagement. She is currently chair of the Council of Australian Museum Directors and a board member of SBS and the Australian Children’s Television Foundation. Ms Karp previously worked as the head of factual programs at ABC TV and was CEO of Film Australia. [caption id="attachment_29503" align="alignright" width="148"] Tony Nutt[/caption]

Tony Nutt appointed to NMA council, Australia Post board

Tony Nutt has been appointed a member of the Council of the National Museum of Australia on a part-time basis and as a non-executive director of the Australia Post Board – both three-year term positions. Mr Nutt, a former federal and state director of the Liberal Party, is currently an Adjunct Professor at the School of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Notre Dame. Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said Mr Nutt Mr Nutt would bring a range of skill to the roles including public policy and budget expertise, strategy development and stakeholder relations. Mr Nutt was a principal adviser to former Prime Minister John Howard and chief of staff to former Attorney General Daryl Williams. He was also principal adviser to former Premier of Victoria Ted Baillieu. [caption id="attachment_29504" align="alignright" width="151"] Dr Robert Glasser[/caption]

Former UN executive joins ASPI

Dr Robert Glasser, the former head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, is joining the Australian Strategic Policy Institute as a visiting fellow from May.   Prior to his UN service Dr Glasser was secretary general of CARE International, one of the world’s largest non-governmental humanitarian organisations, and was assistant director general at the Australian Agency for International Development before that. ASPI said Dr Glasser would participate in a range of roundtables and events within its risk and resilience program over the next year.
Have we missed an appointment? Send the details and an image to: editorial@governmentnews.com.au
[post_title] => Noticeboard: Caroline Spencer appointed WA auditor [post_excerpt] => Also in this wrap: Daryl Karp reappointed Museum of Australian Democracy director; Tony Nutt appointed to NMA council, Australia Post board; and former UN executive joins ASPI. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => noticeboard-caroline-spencer-appointed-wa-auditor [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-03-16 11:38:45 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-03-16 00:38:45 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=29502 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 29303 [post_author] => 674 [post_date] => 2018-03-05 14:42:33 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-03-05 03:42:33 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_29305" align="aligncenter" width="676"] Governments signed the Western Sydney City Deal on Sunday[/caption] The Federal and NSW Governments, together with eight local councils of Western Sydney, have signed the Western Sydney City Deal, a 20-year agreement between the three levels of government. The plan to create a new “Western Parkland City”, which was signed on Sunday, contains commitments from all levels of government across six domains that include connectivity, jobs, education, housing and livability.  The local governments involved are Blue Mountains, Camden, Campbelltown, Fairfield, Hawkesbury, Liverpool, Penrith and Wollondilly. The Commonwealth and NSW government committed to deliver the first stage of the North South Rail Link from St Marys to Badgerys Creek via Western Sydney Airport, with a rail connection to the new airport planned in time for its opening in 2026. To boost employment in the region, the three levels of government will collectively establish a “Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis” as a city precinct to support jobs growth. [caption id="attachment_29306" align="aligncenter" width="506"] A rail connection to the Western Sydney Airport is planned in time for its opening.[/caption] The Federal Government will enable the development of 114 hectares of Commonwealth land at North Bringelly for the new precinct, which will be master planned and developed by a new Western Sydney Development Authority. An agribusiness precinct will also be established to leverage the airport by providing new domestic and export opportunities for NSW farmers. Together the aerotropolis and agribusiness precincts will create 200,000 new jobs, according to the plan. Within the skills and education components, a new Aerospace Institute, a permanent vocational and educational training facility and a new public high school will be established within the aerotropolis precinct.  On the environmental features of the plan, the federal and NSW governments will each provide $60 million, with $30 million from councils, to establish a Western Parkland City Liveability Program. “Projects funded will deliver improved community facilities and urban amenity, and enhance liveability to enable and complement new housing supply,” according to the plan. The South Creek corridor from Narellan to Hawkesbury has been identified as an important environmental spine for the Western Parkland City and a strategy to investigate its restoration and protection will be developed by the state government. https://twitter.com/PaulFletcherMP/status/970102800968433664 In the planning and housing component, the NSW Government said it will set and publish five and 20-year housing targets for each local government area to deliver at least 184,500 homes over the next 20 years. A Western Parkland City Planning Partnership will be established to achieve better outcomes in planning approvals, while a $30 million Western Parkland City housing package will aim to ensure sustainable growth.

Implementation plan coming

The Federal Government has said an implementation plan for the Western Sydney City Deal will be released this year, which will provide further detail on the delivery of commitments, including timeframes. Progress reports on the deal will be published each year, it confirmed. Responding to the deal’s signing on Sunday, Western Sydney University Vice-Chancellor Barney Glover praised the governments for the commitment to transform Western Sydney into a thriving region of technological innovation, research and commercial enterprise. “Smart cities are connected cities – ones that make the exchange of ideas, research, expertise and enterprise easy. This plan prioritises those connections and world-class education is pivotal to making it a reality,” he said. Detailed documents on the plan’s components are available here.
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[post_title] => Governments agree on major Western Sydney deal [post_excerpt] => The Federal and NSW Governments, together with eight local councils of Western Sydney, have signed the Western Sydney City Deal, a 20-year agreement between the three levels of government. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => governments-agree-major-western-sydney-deal [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-03-06 09:37:02 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-03-05 22:37:02 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=29303 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 3 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 29249 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2018-02-27 05:31:10 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-02-26 18:31:10 [post_content] =>

The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has recommends to the State Government that it adopt stronger employment screening practices. It says that this will help combat employment application fraud, which if left undetected can ultimately allow other corrupt conduct to occur. ICAC Chief Commissioner Peter Hall said that employment application fraud is common in NSW, and that between 20 and 30 percent of government job applications contain false information. “The detrimental effects that poor employment screening practices have can be very wide reaching,” he said. This puts agencies at financial risk and impacts upon their ability to discharge their public service functions efficiently and effectively. The recommendations are contained in a new ICAC report, ‘Strengthening employment screening practices in the NSW public sector’. The report refers to a number of its published investigations that examine the conduct arising from undetected employment application fraud. These include gaining improper financial benefits. It gives the example of ‘Operation Sonet’, which resulted in an individual with an undetected fraud conviction making a corrupt profit of $1.14 million after being appointed acting IC) manager and then overcharging for ICT project items. “The report provides solutions that will help NSW public sector agencies weed out these problems earlier in the process, before they become a corruption burden on the agency and the state, said Mr Hall. “ICAC recommends that employment screening should not just be a one-off aspect of the initial recruitment process, but should also be applied during the course of the individual’s tenure, for example, if an individual is to be promoted to a higher position within the agency.” The Hon Peter Hall QC  is a former NSW Supreme Court judge who was appointed Chief Commissioner of ICAC for a five-year term in August 2017. He previously acted as counsel assisting the Building Industry Royal Commission and the inquiry into the Waterfall Train Disaster. The report also recommends that NSW government agencies adopt an integrated approach to address employment application fraud. These measures include designing and implementing a risk-based employment screening framework, assigning roles and responsibilities for employment screening, improving the quality of employment screening checks and screening non-permanent workers such as contingent hires. Under section 8(2A) of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988, fraudulently obtaining or retaining employment or appointment as a public official can constitute corrupt conduct. Examples include candidates claiming degrees and qualifications that had never been awarded, falsifying work histories or work achievements, concealing a history of criminal or disciplinary activity and using false or misleading referees. The report also notes that applicants who have engaged in employment application fraud, once they are able to secure a position, sometimes go on to engage in other forms of corrupt conduct. The report is available here. [post_title] => NSW ICAC wants crack down on employment screening [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-icac-wants-crack-employment-screening [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-02-27 09:01:41 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-02-26 22:01:41 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=29249 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 29237 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2018-02-26 15:14:19 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-02-26 04:14:19 [post_content] =>

A new report from Infrastructure Australia is calling for the Federal Government to take leadership in securing the global competitiveness of Australia’s two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne. The report recommends that the Government establish a framework of incentives to improve the productivity, liveability and affordability of our largest cities. “Australia's cities are the powerhouses of our economy and they need to be a national priority of government,” said Infrastructure Australia CEO Philip Davies. “Asia's global middle class, as well as our own rapidly growing population, will unlock new economic frontiers for Australia, but we need to position our cities to take advantage of this historic opportunity. Australia needs to start setting national objectives that allow our cities to realise their full potential and remain globally competitive. “The Australian Government is right to think that investment shouldn't just come in the form of give and forget grants. We need to introduce more structure and accountability by tying funding for our cities to clear national performance outcomes.” The report says that stronger national leadership will give Australia he opportunity to fund its infrastructure in a way that incentivises the delivery of nation-shaping reforms. “That is why we are recommending that the Australian Government establish a consistent framework of incentives to drive the delivery of national benefits within our cities at the project, place and reform level.” Mr Davies said. The recommended framework includes a hierarchy of three incentive types:
  • National Partnership and Project Agreements, which make project funding contingent on meeting specified outcomes across the project lifecycle and demonstrated economic benefit.
  • City Deals, which apply a series of locally and nationally informed objectives to a city or part of a city, and make infrastructure payments for the area contingent on meeting those objectives.
  • Infrastructure Reform Incentives, which would provide additional infrastructure funding above existing allocation in return for the delivery of policy and regulatory reform focused on improving the productivity, liveability and affordability of Australian cities.
Mr Davies said that o be successful, the design and implementation of these incentives would need to be informed by a well-evidenced national investment and reform agenda for Australian cities. The paper models long-term growth scenarios for Melbourne and Sydney and assesses their performance across a range of indicators. These include performance of the transport network, access to jobs, environmental performance of the road network, access to and demand for social infrastructure, and access to and demand for green space. The paper, ‘Future Cities: Planning for our growing population’, is available here. [post_title] => Leadership needed on Sydney and Melbourne’s growth, says Infrastructure Australia [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => leadership-needed-sydney-melbournes-growth-says-infrastructure-australia [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-02-26 15:14:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-02-26 04:14:19 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=29237 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 29184 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2018-02-19 12:37:16 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-02-19 01:37:16 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_28382" align="alignnone" width="215"] Dominic Perrottet - too much regulation in NSW[/caption] NSW will establish its own state-based Productivity Commission to “drive micro-economic reform and tackle burdensome regulation." The plan was announced by NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet, who said the Commission will aim to expand the state’s economic prosperity. “We have laid the foundations for reform with our state-building infrastructure agenda, but now it’s time for a new wave of growth, to lift the fortunes of our state and its people,” He said, announcing the Commission at an event at the NSW Business Chamber. “We need ongoing reform to continue to fuel our state’s economy and improve living standards for everyone who lives and works here. The Productivity Commission will advocate for micro-economic reform to drive productivity and regulatory improvements and identify regulations that hold us back.” The NSW Business Chamber has estimated businesses spend over $10 billion each year complying with regulations across all levels of government. Mr Perrottet said the Commission, led by a yet to be appointed NSW Productivity Commissioner, will spearhead a reform agenda, focused on four core themes:
  • Making it easier to do business
  • Lowering the cost of living
  • Making housing more affordable
  • Making NSW the easiest state to move to
The establishment of the Commission was recommended by an expert panel established by the Government in 2016 to review NSW’s regulatory policy framework. It is chaired by former NSW Premier Nick Greiner. The NSW Commission will be set up with the aid and advice of eminent Professor Gary Banks, former head of the Commonwealth Productivity Commission. The current head of the Commonwealth Productivity Commission Peter Harris said: “The development of a Productivity Commission-style body in NSW should be very helpful in addressing the kinds of reform opportunities in the Federal-State environment that we have identified in our 2017 Shifting the Dial report.” Mr Perrottet said the Commission will ensure a user-centred approach to regulation that is responsive to users’ needs and changes in the market. “This means a light touch approach that is focused on outcomes rather than on rules. “The public will also be able to have its say on how government processes can be improved and what we can do to make it easier to live, work and run a business in NSW.” Mr Perrottet said an online portal will follow the announcement of the Commissioner, allowing citizens and businesses to identify the most important regulatory roadblocks, and provide fresh ideas to reduce the regulatory burden. [post_title] => NSW to get its own Productivity Commission [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-get-productivity-commission [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-02-19 12:37:16 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-02-19 01:37:16 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=29184 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 29176 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2018-02-19 09:46:36 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-02-18 22:46:36 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_29177" align="alignnone" width="296"] We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore ...[/caption] They’re mad as hell down Tumbarumba way. The Snowy Mountains town best known for John O’Brien’s wonderful poem ‘Up at Tumba-bloody-rumba shootin’ kanga-bloody-roos’ has become the touchstone for renewed opposition to the NSW Government’s disastrous forced council amalgamation strategy. In May 2016 the local council was merged with neighbouring Tumut Shure to form Snowy Valleys Council. Since then many local residents have been campaigning to reverse the merger. The issue is not going away. If anything, the voices for a demerger are getting stronger. Those advocating for the restitution of Tumbarumba Shire have joined the Save Our Councils Coalition, a group representing councils that have – successfully and unsuccessfully – resisted mergers in NSW. Its vociferous campaigning ensures that council mergers and demergers will remain a significant issue at the next NSW state election, due in a little over a year on 23 March 2019. Last week Tumbarumba came to town. It was Valentine’s Day, but there was little love for the NSW Government. A vocal band of Tumbarumba residents, dressed in orange, held a noisy protest outside State Parliament. They were addressed by representatives of all political parties represented in the NSW State Parliament except the governing Liberal-National Coaltion. Dr Neil Hamilton from the Save Tumbarumba Shire group said: “We are here today to initiate an inquiry into the merger process that will hopefully get our council back. This forced merger is bitterly opposed by the community. It is also strongly opposed by Save Our Councils Coalition and many communities across NSW.” The delegation left with the NSW Minister for Local Government a petition signed by 700 residents – more than a quarter of the adult population – to re-instate Tumbarumba Shire on its old boundaries, bordered by the Murray River to the west and the Snowy Mountains to the east. Since the forced merger the Tumbarumba community has held many protests, including a candlelight march, and conducted an optional citizen plebiscite asking residents whether they wanted to reverse the merger, which returned a 93 percent ‘yes’ vote. The opponents of the merger point out that Tumbarumba Council, despite its small size (just 3,500 residents), was the second best 'fit for the future' council in NSW and was not recommended for a merger in an inquiry held after the Government’s initial proposal. “The Baird/Berejiklian Government simply went ahead and merged Tumbarumba anyway,” said Dr Hamilton. “The merger was a disgraceful and unforgiveable act.” Addressing the protest, NSW Greens’ David Shoebridge said:”We are here today in solidarity with the people of Tumbarumba and from shires and councils around the state who are demanding they get their councils back. “If Gladys Berejiklian thinks that the issues of forced council mergers are going away, she is going to have a hell of a fright in 12 months’ time when she is told she will be out of office if she hasn't given them their councils back.” Tumbarumba is in the state electorate of Albury, nominally a safe Liberal Party seat. But the Coalition vote in the last two NSW election has been at historic highs since the scandal-ridden Labor Government was defeated in 2011, and the Government is no certainty to be returned in the March 2019 poll. “What happens in local communities should be a decision for local people. Labor’s policy is that if communities choose to demerge, that is a decision for them and they should be allowed to demerge,” said Labor’s Peter Primrose, addressing the protest. “Gladys Berejiklian has not yet fixed the problem of forced amalgamations,” said Robert Brown from the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party. “There has to be an opportunity for communities to decide if they wish to demerge. We will continue to fight. We will support legislation for a plebiscite to enable you to have your say.” His party scored a surprise win over the incumbent National Party in the 2016 Orange by-election dominated by dissatisfaction with Government policies. It saw one the largest swings against a government in Australian political history. Fred Nile from the Christian Democrats said that his party had always been against forced council amalgamations. “We call upon Gladys Berejiklian today to agree to de-amalgamate Tumbarumba and also Guyra.” (Guyra was forcibly amalgamated into the new Armidale Regional Council at the same time as the Tumbarumba-Tumut merger). “Every political party except the Liberal and National Parties are strongly against forced council mergers, and is strongly for giving communities whose councils were forcibly merged a plebiscite to allow them to de-merge,” said Dr Hamilton. “Unless the Government allows communities who have lost their council this opportunity to demerge, it is highly likely that the Liberal-National Party will be thrown out at the next state election.” ‘But as for me, I'm here to say the interesting piece of news Was up at Tumba-bloody-rumba, shootin' kanga-bloody-roos’. 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The Federal Government’s new report on ways to boost innovation in Australia has called for more government procurement from SMEs (small and medium enterprises). Government agency Innovation and Science Australia (ISA) has released a report, ‘Australia 2030: Prosperity through Innovation’, making 30 recommendations on how to improve Australia’s poor performance in innovation. On most international rankings, Australia performs very poorly on innovation. The Government’s National Science and Innovation Agenda (NISA), announced in late 2015, is supposed to reverse the trend, but there has been little tangible action. Eight of the recommendations in the report are based on ways government policy and activity might improve innovation in Australia:
  • Create a more flexible regulatory environment that fosters innovation
  • Encourage social innovation investment across Australia
  • Improve provision and use of open government data
  • Grow Government procurement from SMEs to 33 percent by 2022
  • Increase the use of innovative procurement strategies
  • Maximise the spillover benefits of major government programs
  • Deliver greater government savings from digitising service delivery
  • Review the Public Service emphasising improved capability to innovate
The report has been criticised in many quarters for being vague and full of vague aspirations and motherhood statements, but the SME procurement target is very specific. The report says that Australian governments’ economic activity generates approximately one-third of the nation’s GDP. “There are opportunities to strategically use this expenditure to promote innovation through procurement, and to trigger more economic spillover benefits from existing major projects through strategic policy and project design choices. “Government spending on procurement is a significant market in Australia – for example, Australian Government procurement alone has grown from approximately $26 billion in 2007-08 to nearly $57 billion in 2015–16.” The reports points out that many other countries use government procurement to foster innovation and economic benefits. “The UK and US governments both run small business research or innovation initiatives as part of their procurement strategies. “Through these programs, a government department identifies a specific challenge or problem that is released to the public. Small businesses can then submit an application with their proposed solution, and over the course of multiple phases, the company has the opportunity to prototype and possibly scale their solution. “Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) allocations in the US have led to the creation of new firms, significantly faster growth and employment, and a higher likelihood of attracting venture capital funding. “The SBIR has supported the early stages of businesses that have subsequently become global success stories, such as security firm Symantec and telecommunications equipment and semiconductor maker Qualcomm. UK firms that participate in the Small Business Research Initiative have nearly 10 percent higher job creation than average, and more than 30 percent average annual sales growth.” The report recommends the establishment of an SME procurement target of 33 percent of all government contracts (by dollar value) by 2022. It further recommends that the Australian Government Department of Industry, Innovation and Science should report on progress towards this target annually. In December the Australian National Audit Office released a major report on Federal Government procurement, which showed that only 10 percent of Federal Government procurement was from SMEs in 2016-17 (SMEs are defined as businesses with less than 200 employees. The figure had decline from 16 percent ten years earlier. It will take a significant change of attitude to reverse the trend. The ISA innovation report is available here.   [post_title] => More procurement from SMEs to ‘boost innovation’ [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => procurement-smes-boost-innovation [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-02-09 10:48:03 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-02-08 23:48:03 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=29032 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28989 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2018-01-25 07:58:57 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-01-24 20:58:57 [post_content] =>

The Productivity Commission’s Report on Government Services (RoGS) has a section on Emergency Management. These are categorised as Fire and State and Territory Emergency Services (STES). Ambulance services are covered separately in the Health section of the report. Total government expenditure across Australia in 2016-17 for fire and STES services was $4.3 billion, around 1.9 percent of total government expenditure on services. Fire services was by far the largest contributor (94.8 percent), followed by STES (5.2 percent). The RoGS Emergency Management section is available here. Jurisdictions have a range of funding models to resource fire services and STES organisations. For fire services, levies are the largest source of revenue (64.4 percent of total funding in 2016-17) – except for the ACT and the NT which do not raise fire levies, relying on government grants as their largest revenue source. Government grants are the largest source of STES revenue (52.7 percent of total funding in 2016-17). Victoria has the largest fire service, spending $1.3 billion annually, despite having less area and population than NSW, which spends $1.1 annually. But STES expenditure is twice as high in NSW ($131 million) as it is in Victoria ($65 million). Across Australia in 2016‑17 there were 20,008 full time equivalent (FTE) paid personnel were employed by fire service organisations, with the majority (76.9 percent) firefighters. A large number of volunteer staff (208,417 people) also participated in the delivery of services in 2016-17. For STES, the majority of staff were volunteers, with 22,566 state and territory emergency services volunteers and 709 paid staff in 2016‑17. Across Australia, one third of firefighters are over 50 years old. Fire service expenditure per person is highest in Victoria, which has a large Country Fire Authority and many bushfires. Fire death rates are comparable across Australia at around four deaths per million people, that there was a large spike in Victoria (to 36 per million) in the massive 2009 Black Saturday bushfires. In 2016-17, fire service organisations attended a total of 394,054 emergency incidents, of which 95,508 were fires. STES organisations attended a total of 77,832 incidents (data excludes Queensland), of which 62,157 were storm and cyclone events. Metrics included in the report include response times, fire risk prevention and mitigation activities, level of safe fire practices, workforce, services expenditure per person, fire death and injury rate, value of asset losses from the and other events. Response times were quickest in Victoria and the ACT, and longest in Tasmania in the Northern Territory. Tasmania has the highest rate of accidental residential fires, and Queensland the lowest. This would seem to be a function of the average temperatures of each state - fewer heater are needed in Queensland and more in Tasmania. Tasmania also has by far the highest rate of fire insurance claims. Nationally in 2016‑17, household and commercial property insurance claims in relation to fire events (excluding major events, which are total claims greater than $100 million) totalled $883.9 million. Domestic (household) insurance fire event claims increased for, both in terms of average claims (a 28.3 percent increase in real terms from $47,955 in 2012‑13 to $61,524 in 2016‑17) and claims per person (a 8.3 percent increase in real terms from $21.41 per person in 2012‑13 to $23.19 per person in 2016‑17).   [post_title] => PC Report on Government Services – Emergency Management [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => pc-report-government-services-emergency-management [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-01-30 10:16:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-01-29 23:16:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28989 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28969 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2018-01-23 14:50:19 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-01-23 03:50:19 [post_content] =>

As the old saying goes, you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Perhaps that is why the ‘Approach to performance measurement’ report is the first part of the Productivity Commission’s 2018 Report on Government Services series. This first component of the report focusses on the importance of measurement, the scope of the report, and methodology. It says that measuring the performance of government service delivery and public reporting creates incentives for better performance by:
  • helping to clarify government objectives and responsibilities.
  • promoting analysis of the relationships between agencies and between programs, enabling governments to coordinate policy within and across agencies.
  • making performance more transparent through informing the community.
  • providing governments with indicators of policy and program performance over time.
  • encouraging ongoing performance improvements in service delivery and effectiveness, by highlighting improvements and innovation.
A key focus of the Report is on measuring the comparative performance of government services across Australia various jurisdictions. “Reporting on comparative performance can provide incentives for service providers to improve performance where there is no or little competition, and provides a level of accountability to consumers, who have little opportunity to express their preferences by accessing services elsewhere.” The Report focuses on broadly defined ‘social services’, which aim to enhance the wellbeing of people and communities by improving largely intangible outcomes, such as health, education and community safety. It does this across 17 service areas and seven broad policy areas. The amounts involved are staggering, and dwarf that of individual private sector companies. Government recurrent expenditure on services in Australia is approximately $224 billion. This is s71 percent of all government recurrent expenditure, and represents around 13 per cent of Australia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The largest component is health, at $96.7 billion in 2017. It is followed by childcare, education and training ($70.8) billion, and community services ($31.2 billion). All other expenditure is $25 billion. The report point out that governments use a mix of methods to deliver these services to the community: directly as services provider, by funding external providers through grants or the purchase of services, and subsidising users through vouchers or cash payments to purchase services from external providers. “As non‑government organisations are often involved in the delivery of services, funding from government may not meet the full cost of delivering a service to the community. Since the purpose of the Report is to provide information to assist governments in making decisions about the effectiveness and efficiency of government purchase or supply of services, it is confined to the cost to government. Similarly, it does not provide detailed information on general government income support. For example, the Report covers aged care but not the aged pension, and child care but not family payments. Each of the 17 service areas in the Report has a performance indicator framework. Each framework reflects the process through which inputs are transformed into outputs and outcomes in order to achieve desired objectives. Service providers transform resources (inputs) into services (outputs). The rate at which resources are used to make this transformation is known as ‘technical efficiency’. Each service area has a set of objectives against which performance is reported. The structure of objectives is consistent across service areas and has three components:
  • The high-level objectives or vision for the service, which describes the desired impact of the service area on individuals and the wider community.
  • The service delivery objectives, which highlight the characteristics of services that will enable them to be effective.
  • The objectives for services to be provided in an equitable and efficient manner.
The report has a number of ‘guiding principles’:
  • Comprehensiveness — performance should be assessed against all important objectives.
  • Streamlined reporting — a concise set of information about performance against the identified objectives of a sector or service should be included.
  • A focus on outcomes — high‑level performance indicators should focus on outcomes, reflecting whether service objectives have been met.
  • Hierarchical — high-level outcome indicators should be underpinned by lower‑level output indicators and additional disaggregated data where a greater level of detail is required.
  • Meaningful — reported data must measure what it claims to measure. Proxy indicators should be clearly identified and the development of more meaningful indicators to replace proxy indicators is encouraged where practicable.
  • Comparability — data should be comparable across jurisdictions and over time. However, comparability may be affected by progressive data availability. Where data are not yet comparable across jurisdictions, time series data within jurisdictions is particularly important.
  • Completeness and progressive data availability — aim to report data for all jurisdictions (where relevant), but where this is not possible report data for those jurisdictions that can report (not waiting until data are available for all).
  • Timeliness — data published are the most recent possible. Incremental reporting when data become available, and then updating all relevant data over recent years, is preferable to waiting until all data are available.
  • Use acceptable performance indicators— relevant performance indicators that are already in use in other national reporting arrangements are used wherever appropriate.
  • Understandable — data must be reported in a way that is meaningful to a broad audience, many of whom will not have technical or statistical expertise.
  • Accurate — data published will be of sufficient accuracy to provide confidence in analysis based on information in the Report.
  • Validation — data can vary in the extent to which they have been reviewed or validated (at a minimum, all data are endorsed by the provider and subjected to peer review by the Working Group for the relevant service area).
  • Full costing of services — efficiency estimates should reflect the full costs to government (where possible).
  [post_title] => PC Report on Government Services – Approach to Performance Measurement [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => pc-report-government-services-approach-performance-measurement [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-01-25 08:38:41 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-01-24 21:38:41 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28969 [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] => 31209 [post_author] => 675 [post_date] => 2018-07-17 08:40:05 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-07-16 22:40:05 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_31211" align="aligncenter" width="583"] Job cuts and a reliance on outsourcing are causing a skill shortage in the APS: submissions.[/caption] The federal public service is plagued by a lack of internal expertise caused by reliance on outsourcing, a lack of inter-departmental mobility and poor wage growth, the APS Review has been told. Thousands of successive job cuts and the reliance on contractor services resulting from the introduction of an average staffing level (ASL) cap are eroding expertise and creating a “capability gap” within the public service, the Community and Public Services Union (CPSU) argued in its submission to the APS Review.  These job cuts create a “false economy” where the work of APS employees is replaced by external providers at the expense of specialist capability and service delivery, the public servants' union said.   “Essential skills are being lost, and the capacity and capability of the APS is being hollowed out. Government funding is being squandered on expensive external providers, often with no direct accountability and a lack of transparency. In most cases this work would be done better, more efficiently and more effectively by directly employed staff,” it said. Professor Andrew Stuart Podger, a former public servant and honorary professor of public policy at ANU, told the review that capability gaps are the result of both a risk averse culture and excessive outsourcing. “Despite the increasing proportion of graduates and post-graduates in the APS, there is evidence of emerging capability gaps. The Moran Review identified weaknesses in strategic policy advising and human resources management, these being confirmed in many of the subsequent capability reviews, along with a risk averse culture, too centralised control within departments and poor project management,” he said. “Another likely contributor is the increasing reliance on third parties for policy advice and service delivery, affecting career paths and the ability to retain specialist knowledge.” Professor Podger called on the review to examine the evidence already collected in reviews such as the Moran Review to “clarify” where capability has been lost and how it might be regained.

Poor mobility, wage growth

Stagnant wage growth and a lack of inter-departmental mobility are further eroding expertise within the public service, current APS employees told the review. The APS needs to “even the playing field” by offering more competitive remuneration and equalising pay to incentivise mobility, a public servant in the service’s HR department argued: 
“In state and territory government, the pay scales are 10 to 15 per cent higher and we lose good talent. I recently took a $15,000 pay cut to come from ACT Government back to Melbourne, where the work level standard is the same. I think mobility will help unlock diversity and inclusion and breed new and better ideas across the service if staff can move."
Another public servant who has been working for the Federal Government since 1989 similarly argued that remuneration and leave entitlements need to be standardised. “My proposal for a future APS would be to have the same pay and conditions for all employees. I find it amazing an employee working for the same employer (Federal Government), same classification and same skills can be paid up to $15,000 extra from one agency to another,” they said. Sebastian Cabrera Torres, another APS employee, said that inter-departmental mobility is riddled with bureaucracy and often merely procedural rather than genuine opportunities to move around. “Why must there be so much red tape when one wishes to perform other duties at level,” he asked. A former public servant who led workforce planning teams in multiple APS departments argued that moving to agile team-based workforces with a mix of skills would help to improve capabilities in the public service. “Critical to this capability being realised is that it needs to be managed through a central agency such as the APSC. The current siloed nature of departments drives duplication and inefficiencies because while efforts are made to foster transfer of individuals between departments, different EAs provide financial incentives to employees identifying as members of a Department rather than the APS,” the former public servant said.

Project management key

Veteran APS management consultant Tanner James told the review that the APS must adopt a best practice program and project management to establish professional competencies and better manage policies. John Howarth, founder and executive chairman at Tanner James Management Consultants, said that adopting global industry-leading best practices and project and program management methods, such as Prince 2 and MSP, can help build the skills to help organisations manage change. “Embedding them in an organisation will support the delivery of strategic business objectives in the most cost-effective way possible,” Mr Howard said in his submission. “For 24 years I have run a small business that is trying to help the APS skilfully adopt global best practice program and project management. We haven’t achieved that – yet. But we’ll keep trying. Pockets of the APS have success, but then the SES change and all the good work is lost.” Mr Howarth said he has called on the APS to take on best practice and project management methods “several times.” “So many times in fact that I am actually going to provide most of my submission in the form of previous submissions. It provides a sorry history of the APS’s inability to reform itself,” he said.
Submissions to the APS review are open until midnight on 31 July and can be made here.
Follow Government News for ongoing coverage of the APS Review.
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