Public Sector Management Program put to market

By Paul Hemsley

The Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) has put its hallmark Public Sector Management Program out to market after it issued a calling for a higher education institution to manage the course by updating its curriculum and delivering it across all states and territories in Australia.

A staple qualification for ascendant public servants, the Program has been operating since 1991 after Prime Minister Bob Hawke proposed its creation to the states and territories in 1989 as a cooperative venture between the federal, state and territory governments to cater for the strong demand for professional education and management training within government.

The course’s core qualification is the well regarded Graduate Certificate in Public Sector Management, which is awarded to all successful participants who are normally nominated and sponsored by their employers.

But to deliver the Program across the country, the APSC has called upon existing higher educational institutions to deliver the coursework across the nation.

South Australia’s Flinders University successfully made the cut to the Program after it secured a $1.5 million contract with the APSC in 2008. That contract was originally scheduled to finish in August 2011, but was extended in March 2012 and again in June 2013 – finally ending in August 2013.

Now the APSC is recontesting the contract to find an educational institution to update the curriculum and deliver the program after the present curriculum was reviewed by the Curriculum Review Committee (CRC) in 2012.

The APSC concluded from that review that it needed a “full curriculum refresh” to maintain the Public Sector Management Program as a “key public sector practical management skills development tool, tailored for local contextualisation to the participating jurisdictions”.

When the new educational institution has taken over the role of managing the program, it will be expected to market the program, manage enrolments and deliver the courses.

One element to the government’s advantage is that competition for specialist external course contracts is intense as universities struggle to maintain numbers of foreign students often priced out by a strong Australia dollar.

According to the tender documents, the program delivery will begin in Semester 1, 2015 and run until completion of the contract, which will run for a period of five years and may be extended for two further periods of one year each.

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