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Engage Australians in the Independent Review of the Australian Public Service

What are your views on engaging Australians in the Independent Review of the Australian Public Service?Lead implementing agency/actor

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Commitment 

What is the public problem that the commitment will address?

The Australian public and successive Australian governments have been well served by a highly professional Australian Public Service (APS). The APS has consistently engaged with the key policy, program, service delivery and regulatory challenges of the day, and sought to understand current management, governance and technological developments. However, new technology and global developments are transforming the Australian economy and society. This will continue and accelerate over the decades ahead, posing new opportunities and challenges for citizens, business and the broader community. 

The Government is determined to ensure Australia capitalises on the opportunities this provides to drive innovation, increase productivity, create jobs, improve citizens’ experience of government, and deliver better services. The APS has a critical role in assisting government to manage and respond to new and emerging challenges — both in policy and implementation. But it must be best placed to harness the opportunities, with the necessary in-house capability to both develop and implement solutions. This means improving the capacity of the APS to innovate, collaborate, and to use data and technology more effectively. 

What is the commitment?

The Government has established an independent review to ensure the APS is fit-for-purpose for the coming decades. The review will examine the capability, culture and operating model of the APS and identify an ambitious program of transformational reforms. The independent panel leading the review will consult widely, both within and outside the APS. The panel will ensure their work is undertaken in an open and transparent manner, in collaboration with the APS and its stakeholders.

To do this, the panel will:

  • encourage wide participation and input to deliberations throughout the life of the review (including through more dynamic engagement mechanisms such as online polls);
  • utilise artificial intelligence and natural language processing capabilities to support timely development of insights and analysis; and
  • test ideas (both face-to-face and online) in an open and iterative manner.

How will the commitment contribute to solve the public problem?

Ensuring recommendations are well informed and reflect stakeholder input will maximise their impact in delivering transformational change and ensuring the APS is fit-for-purpose in 2030 and beyond.  By conducting the review in this manner, the panel will model a best practice approach and set the expectations for the conduct of future reviews. 

Why is this commitment relevant to OGP values?

This commitment will advance the OGP values of transparency and civic participation by:

  • facilitating informed public participation into the Independent Review of the Australian Public Service;
  • improving policy development and service delivery;
  • enhancing transparency around the inputs to government decision-making.

Additional information

Up to date information on the Independent Review of the APS is available at: https://www.apsreview.gov.au/

Milestones

Milestone Activity with

a verifiable deliverable

Start Date: End Date:

Open and ongoing

consultation through

face-to-face and online

mechanisms

Q2 2018 Q2 2019

Report delivered to

government

Q2 2019 Q2 2019

Contacts

Independent Review of the APS taskforce, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet: apsreview@pmc.gov.au

Other actors Involved

State actors: All Australian Government departments and their staff will be encouraged to contribute to the review. The review will also engage with state and territory governments to understand their experiences of designing and implementing transformational organisational change.

CSOs, private sector, multilaterals, working groups: Specific organisations are not currently known, but it is expected that a wide range will be consulted in the course of the review, including citizens, APS employees, community groups, business groups, public sector unions and academia.

Discussion question

Is this draft commitment specific, relevant, and ambitious?

 

To participate, you’ll need to register for an account. You’ll then be able to respond to the questions under each of the proposed themes, leave a general comment or respond to those of other participants, and vote on comments.

We expect your comments to be respectful and relevant. As comments are moderated, they won’t appear until they’ve been approved. If, after submission, you do not receive a notification stating that your comment has been queued for review, your submission has not been successfully transmitted to us. In this case, please email your submission to ogp@pmc.gov.au and we will publish it on your behalf. Comments will close 8 July.

If you wish to make a longer submission, you can email us at ogp@pmc.gov.au. We’ll publish all submissions we receive.

The outputs from this and the face-to-face consultations will be made available to the Open Government Forum. At its meeting in July, the Forum will be asked to consider feedback and make final recommendations to government on the form of Australia's second Open Government National Action Plan 2018-20.

 

Submissions and comments received via email

Comment

 

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Ken Coghill

The proposed commitment Engage Australians in the Independent Review of the Australian Public Service does not clearly distinguish:
(1) how the Review will be conducted, from
(2) the extent to which the Review will examine, report on and recommend the application of Open Government principles in the APS.

“What is the Commitment?” should include
1. a statement that the Review will be conducted in accordance with the Open Government Declaration commitment to Support civic participation.
2. a statement (e.g. after the second sentence) that in particular, the Review will examine and make recommendations for implementation of the Open Government Declaration commitments made by Australia in joining the Open Government Partnership i.e.
• Increase the availability of information about governmental activities,
• Support civic participation,
• Implement the highest standards of professional integrity throughout our administrations, and
• Increase access to new technologies for openness and accountability.

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Open Government...

The Canberra consultation to finalise the National Action Plan were held on 27 June and were attended by four participants from civil society. The following comments below were received from participants on this draft commitment.

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Peter Timmins

This commitment seems to have popped out from nowhere late in the piece, raising a question about why this is seen as a more important priority than many suggestions put forward from CSO and public participants earlier in the year.

The commitment itself is not ambitious.
As stated it doesn't amount to much:
“The Government has established an independent review to ensure the APS is fit-for-purpose for the coming decades. The review will examine the capability, culture and operating model of the APS and identify an ambitious program of transformational reforms. The independent panel leading the review will consult widely, both within and outside the APS. The panel will ensure their work is undertaken in an open and transparent manner, in collaboration with the APS and its stakeholders.”

Whilst the APS review may be worthwhile in its own right, the timing suggests its development was un-related to the plan.

It seems an ill-fit.

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Open Government...

Dr Colleen Lewis has provided the comments below:

  • This Review needs to be publicised more widely so that it can engage a broad cross section of the Australian community.  It needs to avoid speaking primarily to "elites" (this word is not in any way meant in a pejorative sense) who already have a strong interest in this issue and who are typically already engaged in these processes.
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