Government agencies in notice of review and assessment on the horizon

Katy Gallagher signaled the return of independent capacity reviews of federal departments and agencies earlier this month, but Tuesday night’s budget really tried to send the message to public servants that internal capacity and performance will be closely monitored.

The Minister of Finance and Public Service used her preface letter in budget document No. 4 to emphasize that a stronger and more capable APS is not only a question of resources but also of capacity. In fact, building the capacity of the bureaucracy to “do its job well” was part of the government’s plan to reduce reliance on consultants and contractors.

Senator Gallagher said the exams would initially be piloted on a number of agencies. The reviews would be independent and transparent, she added, and would complement practical flexible working reforms to “modernize” the way civil servants do their jobs.

“They will be forward-looking, identifying the capabilities needed for the works and emerging challenges,” the minister said.

“Understanding APS capacity, knowing our strengths and weaknesses, and being transparent about how we can do better, is fundamental to building a stronger APS that is committed to improving the lives of Australians.”

The new government’s commitment to transparency and accountability also extends to the public service, Gallagher said.

Citing renewed interest in unearthing and investigating official corruption with the establishment of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), the Minister said that planned work at the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) to align the Evaluation functions on service delivery would be complementary to promoting transparency in government.

“Evaluation is also a clear priority for the government, as it assesses whether policies and programs meet expectations.

“The government will work to align evaluation functions and build capacity to support better outcomes for Australians and higher quality public spending,” the minister said.

In order to adapt APS and respond to future challenges, which are becoming increasingly complex, Gallagher said she wanted to see a “stronger and more inclusive” workforce that held itself to a high standard. and embodied “integrity in everything he does”.

“The government is committed to ensuring a productive, connected and professional SPA to move into a new era of policy making and service delivery.

“Through [these] reforms, we will grow the APS, support greater transparency and genuine partnership with the Australian community, and position the APS to work aggressively to help the government deliver its agenda for all Australians, now and in the future,” she said.


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