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ANZSOG research informs Independent Review of the Australian Public Service 

18 March 2019

News and media


Indigenous conference audience

ANZSOG is playing a key role in the biggest review of the APS in a generation, the Independent Review of the Australian Public Service, chaired by David Thodey.  ANZSOG has been commissioned to use its network of senior academics and practitioners to provide research on key issues which will shape the future of the APS.  ANZSOG’s research papers will be part of the materials considered by the Review, and cover areas including integrity, the role of contracting and commissioning, and the relationship between the APS and ministers.

READ: ANZSOG research papers commissioned by the Independent Review of the Australian Public Service

Established by the Australian Government, the review will identify an ambitious program of transformational reforms to ensure the APS is fit-for-purpose for coming decades, and to guide and accelerate future reform activities.   This will enable the APS to best serve the Australian government and people: providing security, driving productivity and jobs in the economy, improving citizens’ experience of government, and delivering fair and equitable support where it is most needed.  The Review has now released four of the six papers that ANZSOG is providing:  The APS’ relationship with Ministers and their offices  – Professor Anne Tiernan, Dr Ian Holland and Dr Jacob Deem  One of the key functions of the APS is how it interacts with ministers, and the nature and quality of that relationship affects the quality of public administration. This paper explores those interactions, how they have changed over time, and explores a new vision of the APS which is open to the community and synthesises and communicates information drawn from all stakeholders to Ministers and government. Under this model there will be clearer lines of distinction between politics and public administration but, because the APS will be smart, innovative, imaginative and adaptive, it will also more effectively engage in the business of government.    Evaluation and learning from failure and success  – Professor Paul ‘t Hart, Dr Rob Bray PSM and Professor Rob Gray   A systematic approach to high-quality evaluation of policies and programs embedded in APS agencies, and learning from their own and others’ successes and failures, is pivotal to effective and efficient public sector management. This paper discusses the evaluation capacity and capability of the APS and how it can adopt a sustained approach to learning from successes and failures. It outlines the need for a cultural shift and an institutional framework that embeds the strategic importance and processes of institutional learning.   The APS integrity framework  – Nikolas Kirby and Simone Webbe   The APS can be a true, global leader and a trusted and respected partner by establishing a pro-integrity framework that specifically promotes ‘institutional integrity’. The core of such a framework is the promotion of four institutional qualities: purpose, legitimacy, fulfilling commitments and robustness. This paper examines the concept of integrity and the possibility of developing a framework that integrates performance, capability and effectiveness with integrity.     2030 and beyond: getting the work of government done   – Professor Janine O’Flynn and Gary Sturgess   This paper explores APS commissioning and contracting and how it deploys these tools to pursue outcomes. It sets out a vision for an APS that has transitioned from a procurement mindset and adopted approaches that allow it to fully leverage the potential within the APS and has the capability to design and steward complex systems, in pursuit of better outcomes.   The fifth and sixth papers – on Working better with other jurisdictions and Ensuring a world-class Australian Public Service: Delivering local solutions – will be released by the Review in due course. All six papers draw together research and provide up-to-date expert perspectives on these key issues.

The Review’s terms of reference state that the APS needs to be apolitical and professional, agile, innovative and efficient — and drive both policy and implementation through coherent, collaborative, whole-of-government approaches. The APS of the future must have the capability to meet core responsibilities and deliver functions, and to understand and deploy technology and data to drive improvement.

ANZSOG is proud to be contributing to these goals and to present these papers as resource for the Review and for the broader debate around public management in Australia

The review will report in the first half of 2019.

Read the ANZSOG research papers commissioned by the Independent Review of the Australian Public Service.