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State of the Service Report 2017–18

ii
State of the Service Report 2017–18
Contact and acknowledgment 
information
The Australian Public Service Commission welcomes your comments 
on the State of the Service Report 2017–18. Please direct comments or 
enquiries to:
Workforce Information Group
Australian Public Service Commission
Level 4, B Block, Treasury Building, Parkes Place West
Parkes ACT 2600
Email: [email address] 
Website: www.apsc.gov.au
Production team: Helen Bull, Diane Tsuji, Michelle Coffill, 
John Wilson, Nicole Steele and Nathan Borgelt 
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Indexing: Angela E. Grant
Printing: Elect Printing
© Commonwealth of Australia 2018
With the exception of the Commonwealth Coat of Arms 
and where otherwise noted, all material presented in this 
document is provided under a Creative Commons Attribution 
3.0 Australia licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/
by/3.0/au
). Details of the relevant licence conditions are available 
on the Creative Commons website (accessible using the links 
provided), as is the full legal code for the CC BY 3.0 AU licence 
(http://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by/3.0/au/legalcode)
This document must be attributed as the State of the Service 
Report 2017–18
.
ISBN 978-0-6482154-6-2


 
iii
The Honourable Mathias Cormann MP 
Minister for Finance and the Public Service  
Parliament House 
Canberra ACT 2600
Dear Minister
In accordance with Section 44(1) of the Public Service Act 1999 (Cwlth), I present 
you with my report on the state of the Australian Public Service for 2017–18.
In this report, I acknowledge my predecessor, the Hon. John Lloyd PSM, 
for his contribution to the state of the Australian Public Service workforce 
in 2017–18. 
Section 44(3) of the Public Service Act 1999 requires that this report is laid before 
each House of Parliament by 30 November 2018.
Yours sincerely
Peter Woolcott AO 
Australian Public Service Commissioner 
5 November 2018

iv
State of the Service Report 2017–18
PREFACE
Section 44 of the Public Service Act 1999 (Cwlth) provides that the 
Australian Public Service Commissioner must issue a report each year 
to the agency’s Minister for presentation to the Australian Parliament. 
The report must include a report on the state of the Australian Public 
Service (APS) during the year. 
The State of the Service Report 2017–18 identifies the year-to-year trends 
in workforce participation and capability across the APS. 
This is the 21st annual report on the state of the APS presented to 
Parliament. The report has been significantly enhanced since it was 
first tabled in 1998. 
This year, the State of the Service report has been organised around 
three key agency capability themes: 
1.  culture
2.  capability
3.  leadership. 
The report contains an overview of the current state of play in the 
APS and the pressures to reform in the context of continual change. 
The remaining 10 chapters are grouped under the three key themes 
outlined above (and highlighted in Figure 1).

 
v
Figure 1:  State of the Service Report 2017–18 themes and 
structure overview
Chapter 1
Commissioner’s
Chapter 2
Chapter 11
overview
Transparency
Talent
and integrity
Chapter 10
Chapter 3
Developing
Risk and
leadership
1
innovation
ership
. C
ad
e
State of 
ult
L
u
 .
the Service
r
Chapter 9
3
e
Chapter 4
2017–18
Leadership and
Managing
stewardship
change
2. Capability
Chapter 8
Chapter 5
Mobilising
Diversity and
capability
inclusion
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Organisational
Building
performance
capability
and efficiency
The appendices to the State of the Service Report 2017–18 comprise:
•  APS workforce information sources
•  APS agencies
•  APS workforce trends
•  supporting statistics to the report
•  unscheduled absence data.

vi
State of the Service Report 2017–18
APS AT A GLANCE
150 594
136 175 14 419
105
10 042
ONGOING
NON- ONGOING
TOTAL EMPLOYEES
APS AGENCIES
SEPARATIONS
Down 0.8% 
Down 2.9% from 2017
Up 2.9% 
Down 0.9% from June 2017
from June 2017
from June 2017
11 years
1.1%
MEDIAN LENGTH 
APS BY CLASSIFICATION AND GENDER
FEMALE
APS PROPORTION 
OF APS SERVICE
9 000
32 981
MALE
OF THE EMPLOYED 
ENGAGEMENTS
AUSTRALIAN 
29 458
57%
Down 1.4% 
LABOUR FORCE
from June 2017
69%
25 672
52%
20 849
17 610
61%
AVERAGE APS EMPLOYEE
66%
11 761
FEMALE
9 555
46%
60%
43 YEARS OF AGE
2 698
45%
40%
34%
31%
39%
43%
48%
54%
APS 6
55%
TRAINEE/ 
APS 3
APS 4
APS 5
APS 6
EL 1
EL 2
SES
GRAD/ 
LOCATED IN ACT
Note: While data for Gender X employees was collected,  
APS 1 & 2
proportions are too small to be presented
WORKING IN A SERVICE DELIVERY ROLE
DIVERSITY
APS AGE PROFILE
11 YEARS OF SERVICE
100%
LGBTI+ 
60 & OVER 
4%
8%
AGED 55+ 
55–59 
LOCATION
19%
11%
% OF TOTAL APS
50–54 
NESB 
APS HEADCOUNT
14%
14%
NT
DISABILITY 
1.3%
QLD
INDIGENOUS 
45–49 
4%
 2 016
11.3%
3%
15%
WA
50%
16 955
40–44 
4.6%
SA
14%
6 963
6%
 8 979
NSW
35–39 
18.5%
WOMEN 
14%
59%
 27 870
ACT
30–34 
37.9% 
12%
57 115
OVERSEAS
VIC
25–29 
9%
1%
 17%
20–24 
TAS
4%
 1 471
25 531
0%
2.5%
 3 694

 
vii
150 594
136 175 14 419
105
10 042
ONGOING
NON- ONGOING
TOTAL EMPLOYEES
APS AGENCIES
SEPARATIONS
Down 8.0% 
Down 2.9% from 2017
Up 2.9%  
Down 0.9% from June 2017
from June 2017
from June 2017
11 years
1.1%
MEDIAN LENGTH 
APS BY CLASSIFICATION AND GENDER
FEMALE
APS PROPORTION 
OF APS SERVICE
9 000
32 981
MALE
OF THE EMPLOYED 
ENGAGEMENTS
AUSTRALIAN 
29 458
57%
Down 1.4% 
LABOUR FORCE
from June 2017
69%
25 672
52%
20 849
17 610
61%
AVERAGE APS EMPLOYEE
66%
11 761
FEMALE
9 555
46%
60%
43 YEARS OF AGE
2 698
45%
40%
34%
31%
39%
43%
48%
54%
APS 6
55%
TRAINEE/ 
APS 3
APS 4
APS 5
APS 6
EL 1
EL 2
SES
GRAD/ 
LOCATED IN ACT
Note: While data for Gender X employees was collected,  
APS 1 & 2
proportions are too small to be presented
WORKING IN A SERVICE DELIVERY ROLE
DIVERSITY
APS AGE PROFILE
11 YEARS OF SERVICE
100%
LGBTI+ 
60 & OVER 
4%
8%
AGED 55+ 
55–59 
LOCATION
19%
11%
% OF TOTAL APS
50–54 
NESB 
APS HEADCOUNT
14%
14%
NT
DISABILITY 
 1.3% 
QLD
INDIGENOUS 
45–49 
4%
 2 016
 11.3% 
3%
15%
WA
50%
 16 955
40–44 
 4.6% 
SA
14%
 6 963
 6% 
 8 979
NSW
35–39 
 18.5% 
WOMEN 
14%
59%
 27 870
ACT
30–34 
 37.9%  
12%
 57 115
OVERSEAS
VIC
25–29 
9%
 1% 
 17% 
20–24 
TAS
4%
 1 471
 25 531
0%
 2.5% 
 3 694

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State of the Service Report 2017–18
CONTENTS
APS at a Glance 
vi
Chapter 1 Commissioner’s overview 1
The pressure for reform 
2
Current state of play 
3
An APS workforce for the future 
5
Culture  
7
Capability 9
Leadership 10
Theme 1: Culture 13
Chapter 2 Transparency and integrity 14
Public trust 
14
Transparency  
16
Open Government National Action Plan 
16
Use and transparency of government data 
17
2018 Review of Australian Government Data Activities 18
Citizen engagement 18
APS Values and integrity 22
Managing misconduct 25
Chapter 3 Risk and innovation 34
Innovation 34
Engaging with risk 
39
The Commonwealth Risk Management Policy 
42
Chapter 4 Managing change  
44
Chapter 5 Diversity and inclusion 50
Leading diversity 51
Gender  
54
Indigenous representation 58
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and/or Intersex representation 61
Disability 61
Older workers 63
Cultural and linguistic diversity 65
Considerations for the future 
67
Theme 2: Capability 69
Chapter 6 Organisational performance and efficiency
70
Public sector performance 70

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ix
Agency performance 73
Cutting red tape 
75
Collaborating for better outcomes  
76
Workplace relations 77
Engagement 79
Wellbeing 82
Flexible work 
83
Chapter7Buildingcapability 86
Investing in capability 88
Professional public service 89
Building digital capability 90
Data capability 92
Strategic policy skills 
94
Attraction and retention 94
Chapter 8 Mobilising capability 100
Degree of APS mobility 102
Theme 3: Leadership 107
Chapter 9 Leadership and stewardship 108
Secretaries Board 
109
Leadership capabilities for senior roles 
110
Leadership performance 113
Secretaries  
113
SES and immediate supervisors 113
Chapter 10 Developing leadership 118
Leadership development focus 
118
Leadership development approach 119
Observations from APS leadership development programs 120
Capability shifts 120
Leadership transitions 120
Strengthening community engagement 121
The role of managers in leadership development 123
Chapter 11 Talent 124
Talent management in the APS  
126
Talent management at SES level  
127
Talent management in agencies 128
Talent management in the future 129
State of the Service appendices 
130
Glossary
175
Index
176

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State of the Service Report 2017–18
List of figures
Figure 1:  State of the Service Report 2017–18 themes and  
structure overview v
Figure 2: Delivering for citizens and businesses 
3
Figure 3:  Global and local trends with implications for the future 
of the APS 
6
Figure 4:  Edelman Trust Barometer—trust in government 
institutions (all levels of government) 15
Figure 5: APS Values 
23
Figure 6: Acting in accordance with APS Values 
23
Figure 7:  Measures applied by APS agencies in 2017–18 to  
embed the APS Values 
24
Figure 8:  Number of employees investigated for a suspected  
breach of the APS Code of Conduct, 2014–18 26
Figure 9:  Reported perceived rates of bullying and/or harassment 
2012–18 27
Figure 10:  Perceived experiences of discrimination by APS  
employees of diversity groups 
28
Figure 11:  Perceived experiences of harassment and/or bullying  
by APS employees of diversity groups 
29
Figure 12:  Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions 
Index, Australian public sectors, 2012–17 31
Figure 13:  Number of employees investigated for corrupt  
behaviour, 2014–18 31
Figure 14:  Employee perceptions of workplace corruption 
risk, 2018 
33
Figure 15:  APS employee perceptions of innovation in  
their agency  
35
Figure 16:  Percentage point differences between the top and  
bottom 10 agencies for innovation 36
Figure 17:  APS employee perceptions of risk management in 
their agency 
40
Figure 18:  APS employee perceptions of whether change is  
managed well in their agency, 2013–18 45
Figure 19:  APS employee perceptions of effective 
internal communication  
by perceptions of effective change management 46

Figure 20:  APS employee perceptions of effectiveness of  
communication from SES to employees, 2016–18 47
Figure 21:  APS employee perceptions of communication  
between the SES and other employees by perceptions  
of effective change management 47


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xi
Figure 22:  APS employee perceptions of whether they are  
consulted  about change at work by perceptions of 
effective change management 48

Figure 23:  APS employee perceptions of effective change 
management by workplace stressors 48
Figure 24:  APS employee perceptions of effective change 
management by ratings of agency performance 49
Figure 25:  APS employee perceptions of agency commitment to 
creating a diverse workforce, 2013–18 53
Figure 26: APS gender representation by year, 2009–18 54
Figure 27: Classification of APS employees by gender, 2018 
55
Figure 28: APS employee perceptions of gender equality 56
Figure 29:  Representation of gender X employees in the APS, 
2014–18 57
Figure 30:  Representation of Indigenous employees in the APS, 
2009–18 58
Figure 31:  Representation of Indigenous and non-Indigenous  
APS employees by classification, 2018 
58
Figure 32:  Representation of employees with an ongoing  
disability in the APS, 2012–18 62
Figure 33: Mean age of APS employees, 2009–18 63
Figure 34: APS employee career intentions by age group 
64
Figure 35:  APS employee interest in leaving the APS for other  
job opportunities by age group 
64
Figure 36:  Proportion of APS employees from non-English  
speaking backgrounds and APS employees born  
overseas, 1968–2018 66

Figure 37:  Proportion of APS employees by location of birth, 
1968–2018 66
Figure 38:  Departmental expenditure as a percentage of total  
Government expenses, 2007–08 to 2021–22 72
Figure 39:  Productivity-related perceptions of APS employees  
from agencies with high and low perceived  
organisational performance 73

Figure 40:  Perceptions of SES managers held by APS employees  
from agencies with high and low-perceived  
organisational performance 74

Figure 41:  Percentage point differences between the top 10  
and bottom 10 agencies for employee engagement 80
Figure 42: Employee engagement scores by classification 
81
Figure 43:  APS employee perceptions of their agency,  
SES and non-SES employees 81

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State of the Service Report 2017–18
Figure 44:  Percentage point differences between the top 10  
and bottom 10 agencies for wellbeing 82
Figure 45:  Barriers cited as reasons for not using flexible working 
arrangements 84
Figure 46:  Proportion of APS agencies undertaking actions  
to improve data literacy capability  
93
Figure 47:  Most common reasons why employees joined the APS   95
Figure 48:  APS employee intention to remain with their agency 
99
Figure 49: APS employees by number of agencies worked in 
102
Figure 50:  Location of ongoing APS employees by classification  103
Figure 51:  Proportion of transfers of ongoing employees into an  

agency by type 
103
Figure 52:  Number of agencies worked by an APS employee by  
job family 105
Figure 53: Common leadership themes 110
Figure 54: APS employee perceptions of their immediate SES 
managers 114
Figure 55:  APS employee perceptions of the SES managers  
within their agency 115
Figure 56:  APS employee perceptions of their immediate 
supervisors 116
Figure 57:  APS employee perceptions of their immediate s 
upervisors’ approach to developing capability 117
Figure 58: Talent Management System  
125

 
1
CHAPTER 1 
COMMISSIONER’S 
OVERVIEW
Reform has been a key focus for the APS this year. The Government 
continues its endeavours to create a more productive, efficient and 
effective public service. In May 2018, the Government announced 
two approaches to further reform the APS.
The first approach is an ongoing Roadmap for Reform (the Roadmap) 
to be implemented by Secretaries.1 The Roadmap focuses on short to 
medium-term strategies in six streams designed to improve:
1.  Citizen and business engagement—ensuring more effective 
engagement between the public sector, citizens, business, 
and innovators when designing and delivering policies, 
programs and services.
2.  Investment and resourcing—better aligning funding to deliver 
government priorities and meet service delivery expectations.
3.  Policy, data and innovation—making the best use of data 
to support policy development and decision making and 
improve innovation.
4.  Structures and operating models—ensuring APS operating models 
support integration, efficiency and a focus on citizen services.
5.  Workforce and culture—adopting workforce practices that 
will meet future needs, including through strengthening talent 
management, data analytical capability and digital skills.
6.  Productivity—developing the best contemporary 
measures for public sector productivity and using this to 
improve administration.
The second approach is an Independent Review of the APS 
to ensure the APS is fit-for-purpose for the coming decades. 
The Review is being conducted by a six-person panel. The panel is 
chaired by Mr David Thodey AO, and includes Ms Maile Carnegie, 
Professor Glynn Davis AC, Dr Gordon de Brouwer PSM, 
Ms Belinda Hutchinson AM, and Ms Alison Watkins.
The panel is due to report to Government by mid-2019.
1  Department of Finance (2018), Budget 2018–19: Agency Resourcing Budget paper No. 4
Canberra.

2
State of the Service Report 2017–18
The pressure for reform
Current APS reform work is in response to the need to 
maintain a strong and effective public service in the face of 
increasing challenges. 
Like many other institutions in Western democracies, the APS is 
under pressure. The public has high expectations about how complex 
policy problems are solved and how services are delivered. 
The acceleration of technology, the speed of decision making, 
global interconnectedness and changes brought by social media, 
have profoundly altered Australian society, and the expectations 
Australians have of government institutions.
Evidence also exists of declining trust in government institutions. 
There are many global measures of trust in government, however one 
of the most long-standing is the Edelman Trust Barometer, an annual 
online survey of trust in 28 markets around the world. In 2018, 
results showed an ongoing decline in the trust Australians have 
across all three tiers of government. 
The APS relies on social licence and trust from the public. Data is 
fundamental in responding to public expectations that policy and 
service delivery be personalised and tailored to local community 
needs. Appropriate safeguards and community consultation are 
needed when implementing data and digital services, to avoid 
undermining the broader agenda of effective policy implementation. 
The declining trust in institutions could also lead to increased 
scrutiny and calls for greater transparency and accountability, 
including of the APS. It is therefore as important as ever that the 
APS maintains strong integrity foundations.
The APS is not broken, but it does need to be ready to respond 
quickly to government and changing community needs and to take 
advantage of emerging technologies. While accelerated change 
is needed, this must be managed carefully. The Government 
and the public want a sense of continuity and stability from the 
APS. Services and functions still need to be delivered and sound 
advice provided.

 
3
Current state of play
A high-performing APS is critical to the effective delivery of 
government services to the Australian community (Figure 2). 
Some 150,000 employees working across Australia and overseas 
through 18 departments and more than 100 agencies and authorities 
deliver a wide array of services.
Figure 2: Delivering for citizens and businesses
Over $460 billion in expenses adminstered every year
More than 419 million Medicare services provided
More than 700 million digital, online and 
telephone self-service transactions
6.1 million users of business.gov.au
For many years, Australia has performed strongly on international 
comparisons of public sectors. In 2017, Australia ranked 3rd overall in 
the International Civil Service Effectiveness Index.2 A closer look at 
the measures shows that Australia strongly performed in regulation, 
crisis/risk management, inclusiveness and digital services. Australia 
fell outside the top five in other areas, such as policy making and 
human resource (HR) management.
The 2017 Government at a Glance data, produced by the 
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development 
(OECD), also shows that Australia performs well in a number of 
areas, including integrity, regulation openness of government and 
managing national crises.
The APS no longer has the monopoly it once had. As an enduring 
institution, the APS still has authority, but it is working in a much 
more contested environment. The advice from the APS needs to be 
well-argued, persuasive and open to challenge by political advisers, 
think-tanks, lobby groups and non-government organisations 
(NGOs). This is the reality, and the APS must be able to deliver in 
this environment.
Civil society, the private sector and single-issue groups are highly 
mobile, well-funded and adept at using social media to influence 
reform. The APS has a responsibility to bring a wide lens to any issue 
and ensure that the Government has all the relevant data and analysis 
it needs to make decisions.
2  International Civil Service Effectiveness (InCiSE) Index, 2017https://www.
instituteforgovernment.org.uk/sites/default/files/publications/International-
civil-service-effectiveness-index-July-17.pdf
 (accessed 15 October 2018).

4
State of the Service Report 2017–18
There has been a shift in the very nature of power. Because of new 
communication technologies, influence has flowed to coalitions and 
networks. This means the APS has to engage more actively with 
civil society and the private sector to ensure its positions are well 
understood and to provide sound advice to government.
The APS has to think imaginatively about its working relationships 
with ministers and their offices. An effective APS requires that it be 
accepted that talented employees need to have the opportunity to 
work in ministerial offices to give them a deeper understanding of the 
speed with which matters move, and the pressures that quickly bear 
down on ministers. Understanding these pressures makes for better 
public service advisers.
Similarly, it is incumbent on the APS to assist political 
staffers to understand how to use and work with the public 
service. It is imperative that the APS remains impartial and 
apolitical. However, the APS also needs to be politically astute. 
Government works at its best when ministers, their offices and the 
public service work together in pursuit of an outcome.
Fragmentation and silos remain across the APS and all levels of 
Australian governments.
We cannot fix complex problems through stove-piped processes. 
The taskforce model for policy development and implementation 
is likely to emerge as a model for the future. The ability to quickly 
configure around an issue is going to be crucial in managing 
complexity. Accountability and resourcing needs to be shared.
The community does not differentiate between different levels 
and areas of the public sector. To meet increasing community 
expectations, the APS must work more closely with colleagues across 
the APS, as well as with colleagues in state and territory public 
sectors, and with local government and their communities.
David Thodey AO has recently spoken about early themes emerging 
from the Independent Review of the APS. These include the need to:
•  have a clear statement on and agreement of the purpose, culture 
and behaviours of the APS across all stakeholders
•  value and respect the institution of the APS and the people who 
work in it—the public service profession
•  understand the changing nature of leadership and functional 
expertise required in the APS
•  invest sufficient time and resources to continually develop the APS 
workforce and maintain core capability, while developing the skills 
and capabilities for the future
•  understand that the nature of an impactful and effective APS is 
driven by outcomes and cross-government collaboration
•  ensure the APS is both innovative and responsive in meeting the 
evolving expectations of the community and government

 
5
•  understand the needs of the public and achieving a modern 
citizen-centric public service
•  ensure contemporary governance, management processes and 
organisational design.
These themes are well-articulated and the Independent Review 
is likely to be a highly influential document. That said, the APS 
does not need to wait for the outcomes of the Review to work on 
improving its performance. There is much more we can do now.
The Government’s program for modernising the APS has been 
underway for some time. 
The APS Reform Committee of the Secretaries Board is leading work 
to reform the APS, including improvements to delivering corporate 
services through the shared services program and developing a 
whole-of-government citizen and business engagement strategy, 
with linkages to a digital strategy to improve government service 
delivery. The ARC is also overseeing work to improve policy and 
innovation capability across the APS.
A set of projects are in train to transform the use of government data. 
This includes work through the Data Integration Partnership for 
Australia to support more comprehensive data analysis and improve 
policy development and program implementation. 
A data literacy program was designed in partnership between the 
Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) and the Australian 
Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and released in 2018. The program 
included a ‘Using statistics’ workshop, which was piloted twice in 
mid-2018 before general release. 
The APSC is also working in partnership with the Digital 
Transformation Agency to support the Government’s digital 
transformation agenda through programs to increase digital capability 
in the APS.
In 2017–18, a pilot program for senior executives concentrating 
on digital leadership was introduced. The Leading Digital 
Transformation program is designed to increase the confidence and 
capability of senior executives to lead digital programs and change.
An APS workforce for the future
The role of the APSC is central in building and maintaining the 
capability of the APS. Section 41 of the Public Service Act, in its 
simplest terms, requires the Australian Public Service Commissioner 
to work with the APS to ensure its professionalism, integrity 
and effectiveness.
Under the Roadmap announced in this year’s Budget, the APSC is 
tasked with developing a ‘whole-of-government workforce strategy 
to drive modern workforce practices, inform future capability 

6
State of the Service Report 2017–18
requirements and help prepare the public sector employees for 
the future.’ 
The capability of the APS workforce and the ability of the APS to 
mobilise this capability is vital to the success of a public sector fit for 
the future. 
A number of global and local trends have implications for the future 
of the APS workforce (Figure 3).
Figure 3:  Global and local trends with implications for the 
future of the APS
Ageing
workforce
Robotics and
artificial/augmented
intelligence
Pluralistic
FUTURE
Declining
societies
public trust
TRENDS
Political
Rise of
instability
the digital
economy
24/7 news
Cybersecurity
cycle
threats
The APS-wide workforce strategy will be built on three core 
components to ensure the APS has the:
1.  culture, values and behaviours required to support a modern, 
professional workforce
2.  capabilities required for the future
3.  leadership required to steward the APS through change. 

 
7
Underpinning the strategy will be a range of initiatives to:
•  attract people with the right skills, experience and mindset, 
mobilising them when and where needed. These people may be 
from within the APS or from the private sector, not-for-profit 
sector or other jurisdictions. They may also be consultants 
or contractors.
•  identify and develop the evolving capabilities needed in the APS 
workforce to deliver government outcomes.
•  create a flexible and adaptive environment to meet the needs of 
citizens, the workforce and government.
The high-level themes of this year’s report focus on these three 
components—culture, capability and leadership.
Culture 
Culture is the foundational set of values and behaviours that 
underpin the APS. A culture that reflects a professional public 
service, has a strong focus on integrity and the principles of 
good administration is central to the democratic process and the 
confidence the public has in the public service.
The APS is well regarded by international benchmarks and peers 
for its integrity processes and structures. There can, however, be no 
complacency. It is difficult to build trust and easy to lose it.
With a more mobile workforce moving in and out of the public 
service, the focus on integrity needs to remain strong.
With changing expectations of the APS and the changing nature 
of work, the APS will need to assess if the current set of values and 
behavioural expectations remains relevant and resonates with a 
modern APS.
Inclusiveness remains a crucial cultural value. The APS needs to 
reflect the diversity of the Australian community. 
It is pleasing that this year the APS achieved equal gender balance 
at secretary level. However, the diversity of the APS trails that of 
the broader Australian community, particularly at the SES levels. 
We need to increase our efforts. The APS needs a wider view to 
ensure it does not become inward looking and insular.
A strong change management culture is needed if the APS is to 
effectively address future challenges. 
When considering change management in their agencies, just over 
one-third of respondents to the 2018 APS employee census agree 
that change is managed well. When considering the role of the SES 
in managing change, 58 per cent agree that they effectively lead and 
manage change. There has only been a slight increase to these results 
in the past five years.

8
State of the Service Report 2017–18
In 2015 and 2017, the APSC asked agencies to self-assess their change 
management capability. Eighty-seven per cent assessed they needed 
to increase this capability. Forty-six per cent reported their change 
management capability had declined since 2015.
The development of a positive risk culture is also needed to support 
greater levels of innovation. A strong risk averse culture prevents the 
APS from being open to new ways of responding to government and 
citizen demands and making the most of opportunities, including 
emerging technologies.
The APS has a history of being risk averse. In the State of the Service 
Report 2013–14,
3 Stephen Sedgwick AO reported that external and 
self-assessments of APS practice suggested that ‘risk management is 
seen as a compliance exercise rather than a way of working.’4
Five years later, the recent Public Governance, Performance and 
Accountability Act 2013
 (Cwlth) (PGPA Act) review continues to raise 
concerns about the level of risk management maturity reporting that:
… risk practice across the Commonwealth is still relatively 
immature. There is still significant work to be done to embed 
an active engagement with risk into policy development 
processes and program management practice, and to have 
officials at all levels appreciate their role to identify and 
manage risk.5
The 2018 APS employee census asked questions about employee 
perceptions of risk management and risk culture within their agency. 
Most respondents agreed that their agency supports escalating risk-
related issues to managers. Almost two-thirds of respondents agreed 
that risk management concerns are discussed openly and honestly. 
However, only 28 per cent of respondents agreed that appropriate risk 
taking is rewarded in their agency. A large proportion of respondents 
neither agreed nor disagreed with the questions posed. 
These results suggest that a significant cohort of employees may 
not understand their agency’s risk management framework, may 
not observe or experience risk management in action, or simply 
do not know how the statements apply in practice in their agency. 
This suggests there is some way to go in building an appropriate risk 
culture in the APS.
3  https://www.apsc.gov.au/sites/g/files/net4441/f/sosr-2013-14-web.pdf  
(accessed 16 October 2018).
4  State of the Service Report 2013–14, p. 11.
5  Alexander, E and Thodey, D (2018), Independent Review into the Operation of the Public 
Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and Rule, p. 20.

 
9
Capability
Like organisations worldwide, building capability for the future is an 
APS priority. The nature of work is changing with rapid advances in 
computer power and data growth, advances in artificial intelligence, 
digitalisation and automation. An ageing workforce and younger 
generations entering the workforce are changing the way people 
want to work. Increasing importance is placed on soft skills, Science, 
Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills and 
lifelong learning. 
At the same time, the APS will continue to require professional 
public service capabilities, such as policy expertise, to deliver to the 
standards government and citizens expect.
The APS also needs to mobilise capabilities when and where needed. 
The traditional view of mobility has been focused on the individual 
moving between departments or portfolios. This equates to about 
2.5 per cent of employees per year.
The APS has not sufficiently focused on mobility both between 
agencies and in and out of the APS. Mobility can foster diversity of 
thinking, contestability of ideas and assist in capability development. 
Increased mobility will lift the overall capability of the APS, not just 
the individual.
The workforce of the future will be more mobile. People will have 
multiple careers and will engage in more gig or short-term work. 
The APS needs to be flexible to respond quickly to emerging issues 
and to use our workforce appropriately in response. However, 
balance is needed. Too much, or poorly targeted, mobility can have 
the adverse impact with the APS losing subject-matter expertise.
Deep expertise is and will remain crucial to APS performance. This is 
particularly the case in specialised agencies, often sitting outside of 
departments, including those with specialised regulatory functions.
Experience outside of the APS is also critical in building capability. 
There is a need for more porous boundaries in and out of the public 
sector and stronger connections with the private sector, not-for-profit 
sector, academia, and state and territory jurisdictions.
In his recent address6 to the APS, the Minister for Finance and the 
Public Service asked the APSC to consider ways to rotate public 
servants through state and territory governments, private sector 
companies and the third sector. Such a program offers a way to build 
understanding and familiarity across these sectors and improve 
APS capacity.
6  https://www.financeminister.gov.au/speech/2018/10/10/address-australian-
public-service-apswide-canberra-conference (accessed 16 October 2018).

10
State of the Service Report 2017–18
Leadership
Strong and effective leadership is essential to successful reform. 
In 2017, the Secretaries Board endorsed a set of leadership capabilities 
for senior leaders. These provide guidance for the SES in their 
important leadership role of the APS as it adapts to best support 
government and citizens. 
In the 2018 APS employee census, employees rated their supervisors 
favourably on all questions.
Most APS employees also viewed their SES managers positively, 
although less so than perceptions of immediate supervisors. 
APS employees were mostly likely to agree that their SES manager was 
of high quality at 65 per cent, an increase from 62 per cent in 2017. 
The lowest result was in response to whether SES gave time to 
identify and develop talented people, at 45 per cent. This is a small 
increase on last year’s result of 43 per cent. 
Consistent with past years, APS employees rated SES across 
their organisation less favourably than their immediate SES and 
supervisor. In particular, employees are less likely to agree that 
their SES work as a team (only 43 per cent of respondents agree). 
This needs to be a focus area for improvement. 
Data from the 2018 APS agency survey indicates that one of the 
priority areas for capability development across the APS is leadership 
and management. Specific leadership development areas include 
resilience and change management. Leadership development for APS 
5 and 6, and Executive Level (EL) employees is a priority for some 
small agencies.
Agencies suggest a number of factors are driving this demand, 
including the need to operate effectively in an environment of 
continuous change, complexity and uncertainty.

 
11


THEME 1:
CULTURE

link to page 27 14
State of the Service Report 2017–18
CHAPTER 2 
TRANSPARENCY 
AND INTEGRITY
Key points 
Public trust
•  Public trust in governments in 
Trust in government is declining in many 
many countries, including Australia, 
countries. Trust is important for ensuring 
is in decline.
success of government programs. ‘Lack 
of trust compromises the willingness of 
•  Increased transparency and more 
citizens and business to respond to public 
effective engagement with the 
policies and contribute to a sustainable 
community, especially in the co-
economic recovery.’7 
design and implementation of 
services and policies, is a priority.
Trust can be influenced by citizens’ 
experiences in receiving government 
•  All agencies reported that the 
services, citizen engagement and inclusive 
APS Values were reflected in 
policy design, appropriate regulation and 
their management practices 
integrity of institutions. 
and procedures.
There are many global measures of trust in 
•  Most APS employees agreed their 
government. One of the most long-standing 
colleagues, supervisors and senior 
is the Edelman Trust Barometer, an annual 
leaders ‘always’ or ‘often’ act in 
online survey of trust in 28 markets around 
accordance with the APS Values.
the world.8,9 In 2018, the Edelman Trust 
•  A total of 569 employees were subject 
Barometer showed that in Australia, citizen 
to an investigation into a suspected 
trust in all levels of government institutions 
breach of the APS Code of Conduct 
has continued to decline. 
that was finalised in 2017–18. 
Australia ranked 19th across the 28 countries 
This equates to 0.4 per cent of the 
assessed, with an overall score of 35 per 
APS workforce.
cent trust in all Australian governments 
•  The rate of perceived bullying and/
(Figure 4). Australia’s ranking reflects all 
or harassment in the APS has been 
three levels of government and is well below 
declining since 2015.
the average of 43 per cent, falling within the 
•  In 2018, 12 per cent of employees 
barometer’s ‘distrust’ range. 
perceived discrimination at work in 
the past year.
7  http://www.oecd.org/gov/trust-in-government.htm (accessed 16 October 2018).
8  The Edelman Trust Barometer includes trust in business, NGOs, the media and all levels of government.
9  Edelman Trust, 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer, https://www.edelman.com/trust-barometer  
(accessed 15 October 2018).

Culture
15
The loss of trust in government often comes when 
there’s a loss of trust in the capacity of people to 
deliver services. That translates I think more broadly to 
us in the federal or state sphere where we’re trying to 
policy advise even where we’re not directly delivering 
services, if they cannot trust that a) we have the 
expertise to deliver, or b) that we’ve engaged them 
seriously along the way.
Dr Steven Kennedy PSM, Secretary, Department of Infrastructure and 
Regional Development10
Figure 4:  Edelman Trust Barometer—trust in government 
institutions (all levels of government)
50
45
40
35
30
25
20
15
10
Per cent trust in government
5
0
2016
2017
2018
Year
Australia
Global total (28 countries)
Source: 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer
In the 2017 Australian Community Attitudes to Privacy Survey11 undertaken 
by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, the 
Australian community was asked how trustworthy they considered 
14 types of organisations. Federal, state and territory public sectors 
achieved the third highest rating (58 per cent). 
10  IPAA national conference: ‘What’s Next?’, 15 November 2017.
11  Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, Australian Community 
Attitudes to Privacy Survey 2017, https://www.oaic.gov.au/engage-with-us/
community-attitudes/australian-community-attitudes-to-privacy-survey-
2017#commissioners-foreword (accessed 15 October 2018).

16
State of the Service Report 2017–18
In terms of how public servants build the public’s trust, it 
comes down to how we talk with the public, how we treat 
them, and how we ensure that we provide, rationally and 
without advocacy, the information they want and need to 
make informed judgments and decisions.’ 
Dr Gordon de Brouwer PSM, Former Secretary, Department of the 
Environment and Energy12
Transparency 
Openness of government, transparency around decisions, 
and management of information are all key drivers of public trust.
The 2015 World Justice Project Open Government Index13 ranked 
Australia 9th out of 113 countries. The Index uses four dimensions to 
measure government openness: publicised laws and government data; 
right to information; civic participation; and complaint mechanisms.
Open Government National 
Action Plan
Australia’s first Open Government National Action Plan14 was 
launched in December 2016. It contained 15 commitments to advance 
public and private sector integrity, modernise access to government 
information and data, and digitally transform government services 
in Australia.
Under this plan, a new Australian Government Agencies Privacy 
Code was legislated and an International Open Data Charter 
adopted to strengthen the underlying frameworks for data usage. 
A Digital Marketplace and associated live dashboard have been 
implemented to give service providers greater access to Australian 
Government information and communications technology (ICT) 
procurement and improve public oversight of government services. 
Substantial progress has been made in improving the discoverability 
of government data. 
12  IPAA Secretary Series: Secretary Valedictory, 7 September 2017.
13  World Justice Project Open Government Index 2015, World Justice Project, 
http://data.worldjusticeproject.org/opengov/# (accessed 15 October 2018).
14  Open Government Partnership Australia, Australia National Action Plan 
2016–2018, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/australia-national-
action-plan-2016-2018 (
accessed 15 October 2018).

Culture
17
On 21 September 2018, the second Open Government National Action 
Plan 2018–2020
 was released.15 The plan was developed using an 
extensive co-design and consultation process between government, 
members of the Open Government Forum and the community. 
The plan comprises eight targeted commitments that will further 
open up government and help realise the values of the Open 
Government Partnership. These values include enhancing access to 
information, civic participation, public accountability, and technology 
and innovation for openness and accountability.
Specific commitments include exploring ways the government and 
the public service can adopt more place-based approaches in its 
work; involving the states and territories in the promotion of Open 
Government Plan values and principles; and enhancing the ability for 
the public to engage in the work of the public service.
Use and transparency of 
government data
Of key importance to public trust is transparency and openness 
around the use of the data and information collected by governments.
As recognised in Australia’s second Open Government National 
Action Plan 2018–19 and by the Productivity Commission’s 2017 
report Data Availability and Use, government data offers significant 
opportunity for innovation and research.16 Commitments through the 
second Open Government National Action Plan 2018-20 reinforce 
the Government’s existing policy to have non-sensitive data open 
by default.
15  Australian Government, Prime Minister and Cabinet, Australia’s Second 
Open Government National Action Plan 2018–2020. http://apo.org.au/system/
files/193636/apo-nid193636-1009846.pdf
 (accessed 15 October 2018).
16  Productivity Commission (2017), Data Availability and Use, Report no. 82, 
Canberra.

18
State of the Service Report 2017–18
2018 Review of Australian 
Government Data Activities
The 2018 Review of Australian Government Data Activities17 found: 
•  improvements in access to public sector data
•  agencies using data more efficiently to provide agile and 
effective services
•  public sector data skills and capabilities improving
•  government data protections are building citizen trust and 
confidence in how public sector data is collected and used.
In response to the review, the Government intends to introduce a 
Data Sharing and Release Bill as part of its commitment to reforming 
data governance. 
The intent of the new legislation is greater realisation of the economic 
and social benefits of increased data use, while maintaining public 
trust and confidence in the system. 
The Government has established the Office of the National Data 
Commissioner, with the statutory appointment of a commissioner 
pending the passage of the Data Sharing and Release Bill. The National 
Data Commissioner will be responsible for implementing a simpler 
data sharing and release framework that will break down the barriers 
preventing efficient use and reuse of public data. The framework 
is designed to ensure that strong security and privacy protections 
are in place.
Citizen engagement
Citizen engagement is critical in establishing the public’s trust in the 
decisions the APS makes, including agency advice to government.
Citizen engagement provides the APS with access to a significantly 
wider scope of ideas and experience from the public who are directly 
impacted by new and existing policies and services. 
Citizens can help the APS develop a greater understanding of issues 
and enable the development of policies and services that will address 
actual, not assumed, needs.18 
Placing citizens at the centre of policymaking and service design 
ensures they have the opportunity to help shape policy and services 
in the areas that matter to them. 
17  Prime Minister and Cabinet, Review of Australian Government Data Activities 2018, 
https://www.pmc.gov.au/sites/default/files/publications/review_aus_gov_
data_2018.pdf
 (accessed 15 October 2018).
18 APSC, 
Empowering Change: Fostering innovation in the Australian Public Service, 2010, 
https://www.apsc.gov.au/sites/g/files/net5296/f/empoweringchange.pdf

Culture
19
Research into citizen engagement19 has highlighted the benefits 
that can be realised when government builds strong and open 
relationships with the public it serves, including:
•  improving the quality of policy being developed, making it more 
practical and relevant, and ensuring that services are delivered in a 
more effective and efficient way
•  providing the government with a way to check the health of its 
relationship with citizens directly
•  revealing ways in which government and citizens can work more 
closely on issues of concern
•  giving early notice of emerging issues, putting government in a 
better position to deal with these in a proactive way
•  providing opportunities for a diversity of voices to be heard on 
issues that matter to people
•  enabling citizens to identify priorities and share in decision 
making, thereby assuming more ownership of solutions and more 
responsibility for their implementation
•  fostering a sense of mutuality, belonging and a sense of 
empowerment, all of which strengthens resilience. 
Genuine citizen-centric approaches to policy and service 
delivery require more than just consultation to elicit information 
and opinions. 
How confident are we that we know our fellow citizens? 
For private sector organisations, success depends on 
knowing their customer base intimately: knowing what they 
want before they know it themselves. Our clientele is the 
entire population of Australia. How well do we know what 
they want, what they think, how they engage and make 
decisions, what shapes and drives their daily interactions? 
Dr Martin Parkinson AC PSM, Secretary—Department of the Prime 
Minister and Cabinet20
In the 2018–19 Budget, the Government committed to driving 
more effective engagement between public sector officials, citizens, 
businesses and innovators when designing and delivering policies, 
programs and services. 
19  Holmes, B (2011), Citizens’ engagement in policymaking and the design of public services
Research paper no. 1, 2011–12.
20  IPAA, Opening of Innovation Month 2018, 3 July 2018.

20
State of the Service Report 2017–18
Department of Veterans’ Affairs—MyService Pilot
At the start of its transformation journey, the Department 
of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) started a project to make client 
registration, service access and compensation claims for veterans 
faster and simpler. Applying the Digital Service Standard, 
the project team conducted deep-dive interviews with clients, 
employees and advocates as part of the discovery phase around 
the Initial Liability Claim process.
The objective of the engagement was to ensure DVA understood 
the problem from the client’s perspective. DVA needed to know:
•  what users are really trying to do when interacting with 
the department
•  their current experience
•  what their needs are.
Key insights were recorded and from this key themes emerged. 
A number of client ‘personas’ were developed against which 
proposed solutions could be tested.
Through this direct engagement process, DVA realised that 
a claim is merely a means to an end. The clients DVA spoke 
to were mostly trying to access treatment to be healthy and 
productive in their civilian life. Some needed financial assistance 
but most had long careers ahead of them.
While DVA is there to help support these clients with services, 
including health care and rehabilitation, the department learned 
that the previous claims process was a burden on the client, 
at times leaving them feeling confused and deflated and, in some 
instances, even questioning their worth as a veteran.
This led to a change in hypothesis from faster, easier claims to 
‘How might we help those who have served to be healthy and 
productive?’ This philosophy drives the MyService approach.
The co-designed service is showing real benefits for veterans and 
average processing times have reduced from 117 days to 33 days 
during the initial MyService trial. The MyService trial was 
undertaken as part of the $166 million Veteran Centric Reform 
work announced in the 2017–18 Budget.
The APS is beginning the journey of eliciting and analysing overall 
citizen experiences and perceptions on the breadth of services 
delivered to the Australian public by the Australian Government. 
Individual agencies undertake a range of client/customer surveys to 
gather agency and/or transaction-specific information. A regular, 
non-partisan citizen survey focused on citizen experiences and 
engagement broadly across the APS should enable better policy 
development and improved service delivery.

Culture
21
Measuring to enhance citizen engagement—
The Citizen Survey
At the opening of Innovation Month in July 2018, the Secretary 
of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Dr Martin 
Parkinson AC PSM, announced the development of a regular, 
national survey that measures citizen satisfaction, trust and 
experiences of the APS. 
The announcement builds upon the recommendation 
made by Terry Moran AC in the 2010 public sector reform 
blueprint, Ahead of the Game: Blueprint for the Reform of Australian 
Government Administration

The survey will align with the mechanisms many agencies 
undertake to understand user satisfaction in their services and fill 
an important gap. It will provide an opportunity to consistently 
understand the public’s overall experiences and perceptions of 
the diverse range of APS services. 
By better understanding citizen attitudes and satisfaction with 
the APS, results will be able to support continued improvement 
in service delivery and contribute towards a citizen-centred 
APS culture. 
Across the world, in Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand 
and at home in several Australian states and territories, this kind 
of citizen engagement has produced significant value. 
Work is underway to engage widely and frequently. Extensive 
engagement will ensure a robust, valid and useful design and will 
create results that drive positive change. 
The Department of Human Services—
understanding the customer experience for 
students
The Department of Human Services is progressively 
transforming its student payment systems by learning directly 
from students about how they use its services and redesigning 
them around their needs. In 2017–18, this resulted in more than 
45 online and behind-the-scenes improvements making it easier 
for students to claim and manage their payments. A significant 
amount of research was undertaken to guide the student 
transformation work, including engaging employees and students 
at universities and technical and further education campuses 
across South East Queensland to test and trial new processes.
As an example, in March 2018 the multidisciplinary team driving 
this project held student engagement sessions in the department’s 
Design Hub in Brisbane. A range of students participated in 

link to page 35 22
State of the Service Report 2017–18
activities to help design, test and validate proposed changes. 
They each described their individual experiences of claiming 
student support payments. 
Jenna told the Department of Human Services how her 
experience of dealing with the department had improved 
dramatically following online improvements such as reducing 
the number of claim questions from 117 to 37. Her original 
claim, in 2015, for Youth Allowance took four months to 
process and required many phone calls and visits to Centrelink. 
The inconvenience of having to supply multiple documents 
in hard copy turned to frustration when some were misplaced 
and she eventually had to resupply them. Jenna received 
‘ambiguous’ advice on how long her claim would take to process 
and had to follow up because progress updates were not clear. 
Overall, Jenna said the process was ‘quite painful’.
In contrast, when Jenna re-applied for Youth Allowance in 
January 2018, she was surprised by how easy and simple it was 
to claim saying: ‘It took me five minutes to put it all through. 
I think a lot of information was populated from my last claim, 
so I just had to put in my new course and my start and finish 
dates. I found out within a day that I had got the claim put 
through, so it was very good after my first experience.’
Jenna is one of thousands of students who have benefited from 
the department’s student payment transformation work and 
the direct and ongoing involvement of students in all stages of the 
design process.
APS Values and integrity
The Public Service Act 1999 (Cwlth) (the Act) imposes obligations on 
all APS employees to demonstrate high levels of personal integrity. 
The APS Values (Figure 5) and Code of Conduct establish mandatory 
standards of behaviour. 
Agency heads are responsible for upholding and promoting the 
APS Values and ensuring compliance with Code of Conduct. 
Senior Executive Service (SES) employees are required to promote 
the Values, including by personal example. APS employees are 
required—at all times—to uphold the Values, the integrity and the 
good reputation of the employee’s agency and the APS.

link to page 35 link to page 36 Culture
23
Figure 5: APS Values
 I  MPARTIAL
C OMMITTED TO SERVICE
A CCOUNTABLE
R ESPECTFUL
E THICAL

The annual APS employee census tracks employee views about the 
strength of compliance with the integrity framework.
In 2018, most APS employees agreed that their colleagues, 
supervisors and senior leaders ‘always’ or ‘often’ act in accordance 
with the Values in their everyday work (Figure 6).
Figure 6: Acting in accordance with APS Values
Does your supervisor act 
in accordance with the 
APS Values in his or her 
everyday work?
Do colleagues in your 
immediate workgroup act 
in accordance with the 
APS Values in their 
everyday work?
Do senior leaders 
(that is, the SES) in your 
agency act in accordance 
with the APS Values?
0
20
40
60
80
100
Per cent agree
Always/Often
Sometimes
Rarely/Never
Source: 2018 APS employee census
Agencies are committed to embedding the APS Values. In the 
2018 APS agency survey, all agencies reported that the Values were 
reflected in their management practices and procedures, at least in 
part, if not throughout, their whole agency. Similarly, most agencies 
have ensured that performance management frameworks account 
for the way in which employees uphold the APS Values. Figure 7 
shows the measures applied by APS agencies in 2017–18 to embed the 
APS Values. 

24
State of the Service Report 2017–18
Figure 7:  Measures applied by APS agencies in 2017–18 to 
embed the APS Values
Reward and recognition 
schemes reinforce and 
promote APS Values
Agency strategies exist that 
identify areas of risk in 
upholding APS Values and 
APS Code of Conduct
Modelling of APS Values is 
formally incorporated into 
leader performance 
assessments
On-boarding and other 
learning and development 
activities incorporate 'how to 
live' the APS Values, including 
how to make good 
value-based decisions
The agency's strategic plan 
and operational/business 
plans reflect the APS Values
Internal agency 
communications strategies 
support and reinforce the 
APS Values
Agency has processes that 
ensure transparency of 
decision-making including 
appropriate record keeping
APS Values are built into 
agency governance practices
Performance management 
frameworks take into account 
the way in which employees 
uphold the APS Values
APS Values are clearly 
reflected in agency 
management policies and 
procedures including 
employment policies
0
20
40
60
80
100
Per cent of agencies
Applied to the whole agency
Applied to part of the agency
Being developed
Not applied
Source: 2018 APS agency survey

Culture
25
The 2018 APS agency survey asked each agency to describe the most 
effective strategy used to embed APS Values. The most common 
strategies cited included:
•  Embedding the APS Values in performance management 
frameworks. As part of the performance assessment process, 
managers are required to consider whether employees uphold and 
model APS Values. This ensures that managers and employees 
have regular conversations about the APS Values and how they 
apply to specific roles and day-to-day work. Incorporating the 
APS Values into performance management frameworks was also 
said to encourage greater employee accountability for upholding 
the Values.
•  Incorporating APS Values into induction programs for new 
starters. Induction programs are generally delivered as online 
modules. Agencies described this mode of delivery as an effective 
strategy for embedding APS Values because it provides new 
employees with an introduction to the Values and the role they 
play in guiding behaviour across the APS.
•  Offering training courses on APS Values and their practical 
application to employees. While most agencies delivered courses 
online, a few offered face-to-face workshops. Some courses were 
mandatory, while others were voluntary.
Managing misconduct
The APS has a strong framework for dealing with action or 
behaviour by employees which breaches the APS Values and the 
Code of Conduct. Misconduct can vary from serious actions such 
as large-scale fraud, theft, misusing clients’ personal information, 
sexual harassment and leaking classified documentation, to relatively 
minor actions such as a single, uncharacteristic angry outburst. 
Instances of misconduct are rare. The vast majority of APS employees 
behave appropriately in the conduct of their duties.
The APS Values and the Code of Conduct ensure that the APS is 
well-placed to maintain the integrity of the service, strengthening the 
trust of citizens and the confidence of government.
APS Code of Conduct
The APS Code of Conduct clearly outlines expected behaviours of 
all APS employees, including the requirement to behave honestly 
and with integrity in connection with their employment. The Code 
of Conduct requires all APS employees at all times to behave in a 
way that upholds the integrity and good reputation of their agency 
and the APS. 
A breach of the Code of Conduct can result in sanctions ranging 
from a reprimand to termination of employment. 

link to page 38 link to page 39 26
State of the Service Report 2017–18
In the 2018 agency survey, agencies reported that 569 employees were 
subject to an investigation into a suspected breach of the APS Code 
of Conduct that was finalised in 2017–18 (Figure 8). This equates to 
0.4 per cent of the APS workforce.
Figure 8:  Number of employees investigated for a suspected 
breach of the APS Code of Conduct, 2014–18
750
717
700
650
592
600
596
569
550
Number of employees
557
500
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
Year
Source: 2018 APS agency survey
Of the employees investigated, 59 per cent were found in breach of 
the Code and a sanction was applied. 
In 27 per cent of cases a breach was found but no sanction applied. 
In slightly more than 50 per cent of these cases, the employee 
resigned before a sanction was considered. Almost 10 per cent of 
employees investigated were found to have not breached the Code.
Bul ying, harassment and discrimination
Unacceptable behaviours, such as bullying, harassment and 
discrimination are not tolerated in the APS. As well as being 
unlawful, these behaviours are associated with low employee 
engagement, poor wellbeing and high turnover. 
Historically, the rate of harassment or bullying reported by APS 
employee census respondents has remained relatively stable at around 
17 per cent. Since 2015, the perceived rate of bullying or harassment 
in the APS has consistently decreased (Figure 9).

Culture
27
Figure 9:  Reported perceived rates of bullying and/or 
harassment 2012–18
20
19
18
17.4
17.2
17
16.6
16
16.2
16.1
14.8
15
13.7
Per cent of APS employees 14
13
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
Year
Source: APS employee census
In 2018, 13.7 per cent of respondents perceived bullying and/or 
harassment in the previous 12 months. Of those, the most frequent 
type was verbal abuse, followed by interference with work tasks.
The 2018 APS agency survey explored the types of bullying or 
harassment formally recorded on agency internal reporting systems. 
Across the APS, 259 formal complaints of verbal abuse were received 
in 2017–18. This was the most common type of complaint received 
and is consistent with the high frequency of verbal abuse perceived by 
respondents to the APS employee census.
The 2018 APS employee census sought information about 
employee experiences of discrimination. In 2018, the APSC revised 
discrimination survey questions to better understand the experience 
of discrimination, including the type experienced in the past 
12 months. These changes have affected comparisons across time 
but will provide a more accurate picture of the current experience of 
employees with discrimination. 
In 2018, 12.3 per cent of respondents to the APS employee census 
reported discrimination at work in the past year. Most of this 
discrimination (93 per cent) occurred in their current workplace. 
Overall, discrimination based on gender (32 per cent) and age 
(26 per cent) were the main forms identified. 
Far fewer complaints of discrimination were recorded in agency 
reporting systems. Of the 32 complaints recorded during 
2017–18, the largest group (13 complaints) was based on race, 
cultural background or religious belief. This was followed by 
discrimination based on disability (7 complaints). 

link to page 40 28
State of the Service Report 2017–18
Perception of discrimination, bullying and harassment amongst diversity groups
Marked differences exist in the perceptions of discrimination 
between respondents who identify as part of a diversity group and 
those who do not. As shown in Figure 10, respondents who identify 
as Indigenous21, LGBTI+, or as having a disability, perceived higher 
rates of discrimination compared to respondents who did not identify 
as part of a diversity group. 
Figure 10:  Perceived experiences of discrimination by APS 
employees of diversity groups
30
25
20
15
Per cent
10
5
0
s
y
y
us
+
+
le
le
o
a
a
nou
BTI
BTI
ilit
ilit
m
M
e
b
b
G
G
igen
ig
L
isa
isa
Fe
d
d
-L
n
D
 d
In
o
-In
o
N
N
on
N
Aboriginal and 
LGBTI+ 
Disability
Gender
Torres Strait 
representation
Islander 
representation
Note: While data for Gender X employees was collected, 
proportions are too small to be presented
Source: 2018 APS employee census
21  The terms ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander’ and ‘Indigenous’ are 
used interchangeably to refer to Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait 
Islander peoples.

link to page 41 Culture
29
Similarly, there were higher rates of perceived bullying and/or 
harassment by employees who identified as part of a diversity group 
(Figure 11).
Figure 11:  Perceived experiences of harassment and/or 
bullying by APS employees of diversity groups
30
25
20
15
Per cent
10
5
0
s
y
y
us
+
+
le
le
o
a
a
nou
BTI
BTI
ilit
ilit
m
M
e
b
b
G
G
igen
ig
L
isa
isa
Fe
d
d
-L
n
D
 d
In
o
-In
o
N
N
on
N
Aboriginal and 
LGBTI+ 
Disability
Gender
Torres Strait 
representation
Islander 
representation
Source: 2018 APS employee census
Successful strategies implemented by agencies to reduce rates of 
bullying or harassment include:
•  providing education and training in various formats such as 
online, face-to-face, seminars and workshops
•  ensuring workplace policies on unacceptable behaviours are 
regularly updated
•  placing information on addressing unacceptable behaviours in 
easy-to-locate places on agency intranets
•  providing workplace support through multiple avenues, such as 
through workplace harassment contact officer networks, dedicated 
‘workplace conduct’ teams, and employee assistance programs. 

link to page 43 30
State of the Service Report 2017–18
Corruption
Corruption and perceptions of corruption impact on the trust 
placed in the APS by the community. All APS employees are 
required to behave honestly and with integrity in connection with 
their employment.
In addition to the APS Code of Conduct and APS Values, a robust 
legislative framework underpins the APS integrity framework. 
This includes the Commonwealth Fraud Control Framework 2014, 
the PGPA Act and the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (Cwlth).
Specialist bodies that exist to educate, guide, investigate and 
prosecute misconduct and corruption across the APS. These 
include the:
•  Australian National Audit Office
•  Australian Federal Police
•  Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity
•  Commonwealth Ombudsman
•  APSC and Merit Protection Commission
•  Inspector-General of Security and Intelligence
•  Director of Public Prosecutions.
Each year, Transparency International measures perceptions of 
corruption across 180 countries, scoring and ranking them based 
on how corrupt their public sectors are perceived by experts and 
business executives. The Corruption Perception Index is a measure of 
all levels of government.
Transparency International’s 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index22 
shows Australia’s score has steadily declined since 2012 (Figure 12)
This indicates an increase over time of citizens’ perception 
of corruption in the broader public sector. The score of 77 in 
2017 places Australia as the 13th least corrupt country. In 2012, 
Australia ranked 7th. While Australia has seen a marked decline 
in score and ranking, the average score across the Asia Pacific 
region is 44. 
22  Transparency International, Corruption Perceptions Index 2017https://www.
transparency.org/news/feature/corruption_perceptions_index_2017  
(accessed 15 October 2018)

link to page 43 Culture
31
Figure 12:  Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions 
Index, Australian public sectors, 2012–17
86
85
84
82
81
80
80
79
79
78
77
Corruption perceptions score 76
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
Year
Source: 2017 Corruption Perception Index. Transparency International
Data from the 2018 APS agency survey shows the number of 
employees investigated under the Code of Conduct for corrupt 
behaviour. Of the 569 investigated for a suspected breach of the APS 
Code of Conduct in 2017–18, 78 employees were investigated for 
behaviour that could be categorised as corrupt. This was a reduction 
from 121 employees in 2016–17 (Figure 13). 
Of the 78 employees, 72 were found to have breached the Code of 
Conduct. Agencies reported that corrupt behaviours investigated 
included theft, credit card misuse and submitting fraudulent medical 
certificates. Corruption cases represent a very small proportion of the 
already small numbers of employees investigated for breaches of the 
Code of Conduct.
Figure 13:  Number of employees investigated for corrupt 
behaviour, 2014–18
250
209
200
150
121
106
100
100
78
Number of employees
50
0
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
Year
Source: APS agency survey

link to page 45 32
State of the Service Report 2017–18
Recognising that not all corrupt behaviour may result in an 
investigation for a suspected breach of the Code of Conduct, 
the APS employee census asks employees if they have witnessed 
behaviour that may be serious enough to be viewed as corruption. 
The definition of corruption in the APS employee census is broad 
and includes behaviour such as cheating on flex-time sheets and 
misuse of leave.
In the 2018 APS employee census, 4,395 respondents (4.6 per cent) 
reported witnessing such behaviour. The most commonly witnessed 
form of perceived corruption was cronyism, followed by nepotism. 
Care needs to be taken when interpreting this data. The data 
represents employee perceptions and is not evidence of actual 
corruption. In the interests of collecting accurate data, the APSC has 
modified its data collection approach several times since data was first 
collected on perceptions of corruption in 2014. 
The approach to data collection remained the same in 2017 and 2018, 
enabling comparison across these years. The proportion of employees 
reporting they witnessed behaviours that may be perceived as 
corruption remained stable (4.5 per cent in 2017; 4.6 per cent in 2018).
More than three-quarters of respondents to the 2018 APS employee 
census reported that their agency has procedures in place to manage 
corruption. Almost two-thirds reported it would be hard to get away 
with corruption in their workplace (Figure 14)

Culture
33
Figure 14:  Employee perceptions of workplace corruption 
risk, 2018
My agency has procedures in 
place to manage corruption
I feel confident that I would know 
what to do if I identified 
corruption in my workplace
I am confident that 
colleagues in my workplace 
would report corruption
I have a good understanding of 
the policies and procedures my 
agency has in place to deal 
with corruption
It would be hard to get away with 
corruption in my workplace
My workplace operates in a high 
corruption-risk environment 
(e.g. it holds information, assets 
or decision making powers of 
value to others)
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
Per cent agree
Source: 2018 APS employee census

34
State of the Service Report 2017–18
CHAPTER 3 
RISK AND 
INNOVATION
Key points 
Innovation
•  Effective risk management is essential 
In an increasingly complex policy 
for the APS to achieve its outcomes 
development and delivery context, 
and maintain public trust through 
where public sectors are expected to 
strong governance.
manage within tight resourcing parameters, 
the ability to innovate is critical.
•  Active promotion of risk management 
issues and effective communication 
The OECD has circulated a draft proposal 
from senior leaders are positively 
for a Declaration on Public Sector 
associated with employee perceptions 
Innovation amongst member countries. 
of risk culture. 
The draft is seeking commitment of member 
countries to:
•  APS employees who were more likely 
to agree their agency is enabling 
•  embrace and enhance innovation within 
innovation also viewed their agency 
the public sector
as having a positive risk culture.
•  acknowledge that innovation is a 
•  Innovation through incremental 
responsibility of every civil servant
change, rather than transformational 
•  equip civil servants to innovate
change, is more common in the APS.
•  cultivate new partnerships and involve 
•  Employees who are encouraged 
diverse voices
to make suggestions and feel 
•  generate multiple options through 
valued for their contribution, have 
exploration, iteration and testing
the most positive perceptions 
•  diffuse lessons and share experience 
about innovation.
and practice.23
•  The influence and ability of senior 
A key APS Value is commitment to service, 
leaders to communicate strategic 
specifically that the APS is professional, 
direction and organisational change 
objective, innovative and efficient, and 
effectively, supports positive 
works collaboratively to achieve the best 
perceptions about innovation.
results for the Australian community and 
the Government.
23  OECD (draft), Proposal for a draft Declaration on Public Sector Innovation’. Use of draft authorised by 
the OECD.

link to page 47 Culture
35
Employee perceptions of innovation in their agency are captured in 
the annual APS employee census. The census assesses innovation 
through dedicated questions that contribute to an index score. 
This innovation index score assesses whether employees feel willing 
and able to be innovative, and whether their agency has an enabling 
culture for this to occur. The overall innovation index score in the 
APS is 64 per cent, a two percentage point increase from 2017.
This index comprises five questions about perceptions of innovation 
within an agency (Figure 15).
Figure 15:  APS employee perceptions of innovation in 
their agency 
I believe that one of my 
responsibilities is to continually 
look for new ways to improve 
the way we work
My immediate supervisor 
encourages me to come up with 
new or better ways of doing things
People are recognised for 
coming up with new and 
innovative ways of working
My agency inspires me to 
come up with new or better 
ways of doing things
My agency recognises and 
supports the notion that 
failure is a part of innovation
0
20
40
60
80
100
Per cent
Neither agree 
Agree
Disagree
nor disagree
Source: 2018 APS employee census
Most respondents believed that one of their responsibilities was 
to continually look for new ways to improve the way they work. 
Many also believed that their immediate supervisor encouraged 
them to come up with new or better ways of doing things. 
This encouragement from the immediate supervisor for innovation 

link to page 48 36
State of the Service Report 2017–18
and creativity is reflected in other areas of the census. For example, 
more than 70 per cent of respondents indicated that their supervisor:
•  encouraged them to contribute ideas
•  invited a range of views, including those different to their own 
•  challenged them to consider new ways of doing things.
A substantial proportion of employees neither agree nor disagree with 
several items assessing innovation, such as their agency is inspiring 
and supports innovation. This suggests that more work is required at 
the agency-wide level. 
Figure 16 shows that agencies with a higher innovation index are 
perceived to be much better at encouraging suggestions, caring about 
health and wellbeing, having high-quality SES who set clear strategic 
direction, and managing the workforce and change well. The results 
show that employee views about senior leadership and their 
immediate supervisor are strongly associated with their perceptions 
of their agency’s innovation culture.
Figure 16:  Percentage point differences between the top and 
bottom 10 agencies for innovation
In general employees in 
my agency feel valued for 
their contribution
In general, employees in my 
agency are encouraged to 
make suggestions
I think my agency cares about 
my health and wellbeing
In my agency, the SES are of 
a high quality
In general the workforce in 
my agency is managed well
In my agency, the SES set a 
clear strategic direction for 
the agency
Change is managed well in 
my agency
0
10
20
30
40
Difference in per cent agree
Source: 2018 APS employee census

Culture
37
In the 2018 APS employee census, 53 per cent of respondents 
indicated that their immediate workgroup had implemented 
innovations over the previous 12 months. Around two-thirds of these 
innovations related to process improvements. The top three impacts 
of the innovations implemented were:
1.  efficiencies created (30 per cent)
2.  service delivery enhanced (26 per cent)
3.  client experience improved (13 per cent).
The results suggest that incremental change, rather than 
transformational change, is more common in the APS. When asked 
to reflect on the barriers to implementing innovation in their agency, 
the top three barriers identified were insufficient time (44 per cent), 
inadequate resources (36 per cent) and lack of funding (35 per cent). 
Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis 
Centre (AUSTRAC)—ASEAN-Australia Codeathon
The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre 
(AUSTRAC) hosted the 2018 Association of Southeast Asian 
Nations (ASEAN)-Australia Codeathon in Sydney during 
March 2018. This was the first financial intelligence Codeathon 
in Australia. The event brought together technology and 
innovation specialists to tackle regional challenges in the fight 
against terrorism. 
The Codeathon was closely tied to the Prime Minister’s counter-
terrorism agenda for Australia and ASEAN. It drew on the 
alliances between public and private partnerships and leveraged 
them to deliver counter-terrorism outcomes.
One hundred innovators from 10 countries, representing 27 
organisations, collaborated to solve complex challenges focused 
on the theme of ‘leveraging innovation to combat money 
laundering, terrorism financing and cyber risks’. The teams were 
given 32 hours to solve challenges unveiled on the first day of 
the Codeathon:
1.  using big data to combat terrorism financing
2.  disrupting money launderers, terrorists and cyber criminals 
across ASEAN-Australia
3.  exploiting financial data to gain insights into crime and 
terrorism risks
4.  applying artificial intelligence to improve Anti-Money 
Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing compliance and 
suspicious matter reporting
5.  applying blockchain technologies to improve financial services
6.  collaborating and sharing knowledge to combat cybercrime, 
money laundering and terrorism.

38
State of the Service Report 2017–18
Collaborating involved constructing innovative digital solutions 
to integrate and maximise the benefits of ICT in countering 
terrorism financing. Participants enjoyed the challenge of 
engaging to develop their skills, network with peers and 
collaborate to solve financial intelligence challenges. The 
outcomes of the Codeathon were presented in various forms 
including live applications or prototypes. 
Since the event, AUSTRAC’s Innovation Hub has continued 
to work with event participants, including a team of university 
students. The Cyber Six’s solution involved applying artificial 
intelligence to improve Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-
Terrorism Financing compliance and suspicious matter reporting. 
AUSTRAC and an event sponsor have organised for the team to 
participate in mentoring and development sessions, with a short-
term goal of further developing their prototype for Financial 
Intelligence Units and the banking sector to detect risks from 
financial data.
AUSTRAC is developing an information sharing prototype 
with the assistance of other Codeathon participants which may 
be used by Financial Intelligence Units and law enforcement 
agencies to overcome challenges in following the money trail of 
criminal syndicates across the region. 
The Codeathon demonstrated innovative thinking, encapsulating 
and empowering people to test and experiment with new 
ideas and approaches to solving Australia’s most complex law 
enforcement and intelligence problems.
Digital Transformation Agency—co-lab 
innovation hubs
The Digital Transformation Agency has established a co-lab 
innovation hub at its Sydney office and will open a second hub 
in Canberra in 2018. The labs will enable multidisciplinary teams 
from APS agencies to work with the Digital Transformation 
Agency, researchers and the private sector. The Department of 
Human Services will initially be hosted to develop initiatives 
for driving more co-ordinated digital service delivery across the 
department. It is anticipated this work will have flow-on benefits 
to other service delivery agencies, including the Department of 
Veterans’ Affairs. 
In the 2018 APS employee census, respondents more likely to 
agree that their agency is enabling innovation, also viewed their 
agency as having a positive risk culture. 

Culture
39
Engaging with risk
Most public service agencies still have a way to go in moving 
from reactive, defensive risk management to proactive, 
performance-focused risk engagement. Too often there 
remains a tendency to focus on compliance … rather than 
on performance. There remains too much focus on looking 
backwards, relying on evaluation and audit to identify 
problems after the event. There is not enough looking 
forward to prevent mistakes occurring.
Peter Shergold AC, Learning From Failure (2015)24
Effective risk management is essential for the APS to achieve its 
outcomes and to maintain public trust through strong governance.
Effective risk management can lead to opportunities, such as 
encouraging innovation and improvements to organisational 
processes and practices. The PGPA Act requires APS agency 
heads, as Accountable Authorities, to manage their organisations 
in a way that effectively manages risk and internal governance 
processes25 without imposing unreasonable levels of red tape, 
or stifling innovation.26 
The recent review of the PGPA Act found examples of strong risk 
management across the Commonwealth public sector, but also 
examples of risk management failure, for example the IT failures at 
the start of the 2016 National Census.
Some of the risks faced by government can be complex 
and profound. Public sector entities must implement the 
decisions of government, or perform functions assigned to 
them in legislation enacted by the Parliament. Often these 
decisions and functions are bound by policy, compliance 
and accountability requirements that limit options for 
managing risk. 
Alexander and Thodey, Independent Review into the Operation of 
the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 
and Rule (2018).27 
24  APSC (2015), ‘Learning from Failure: why large government policy initiatives 
have gone so badly wrong in the past and how the chances of success in the 
future can be improved’, p. vi.
25  Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013, Part 2-2, Division 2, 
Subdivision A.
26  Department of Finance (2016), Guide to the PGPA Act for Secretaries, Chief Executives 
and Governing Boards (Accountable Authorities): Resource Management Guide No. 200. 
27  Alexander, E and Thodey, D (2018), Independent Review into the Operation of the Public 
Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and Rule, p.20.

link to page 52 40
State of the Service Report 2017–18
APS agency approaches to risk vary due to the many different types 
of work undertaken and the context in which it is performed.
The recent PGPA Act review found that:
 … risk practice across the Commonwealth is still relatively 
immature. There is still significant work to be done to embed 
an active engagement with risk into policy development 
processes and program management practice, and to have 
officials at all levels appreciate their role to identify and 
manage risk.28
The 2018 APS employee census asked questions about employee 
perceptions of risk management and risk culture within their agency 
(Figure 17)
Figure 17:  APS employee perceptions of risk management in 
their agency
My agency supports employees 
to escalate risk related issues 
with managers
Risk management concerns are 
discussed openly and honestly 
in my agency
Employees in my agency are 
encouraged to consider 
opportunities when managing risk
Employees in my agency 
have the right skills to 
manage risk effectively
When things go wrong, my agency 
uses this as an opportunity to 
review, learn, and improve the 
management of similar risks
Senior leaders in my agency 
demonstrate and discuss the 
importance of managing risk 
appropriately
In my agency, the benefits of 
risk management match the 
time required to complete risk 
management activities
Appropriate risk taking is 
rewarded in my agency
0
20
40
60
80
100
Per cent
Neither agree 
Agree
Disagree
nor disagree
Source: 2018 APS employee census
28  Alexander, E and Thodey, D (2018), Independent Review into the Operation of the Public 
Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and Rule, p.20.

Culture
41
Encouragingly, most respondents agreed that their agency supports 
escalating risk-related issues to managers. Almost two-thirds of 
respondents agreed that risk management concerns are discussed 
openly and honestly in their agency. However, only 28 per cent 
agreed that appropriate risk taking is rewarded. A large proportion of 
respondents neither agreed nor disagreed with the questions posed. 
I think we are managing risk far more effectively than 
we did five years ago and we are far more productive 
because of this.
EL 2, large operational agency
The results suggest that a significant cohort of employees may 
not understand their agency’s risk management framework, may 
not observe or experience risk management in action, or simply 
do not know how the statements apply in practice in their agency. 
This suggests there is some way to go in building an appropriate risk 
culture in the APS.
Perceptions of risk culture are associated with workplace 
performance and satisfaction with senior leadership. Employees who 
viewed their agency as having a positive risk culture were more 
likely to:
•  rate their agency as high performing
•  rate their SES managers as being of high quality
•  rate the communication between SES managers and other 
employees as effective
•  agree that SES managers in their agency articulate the direction 
and priorities for the agency. 
Respondents who viewed their workplace as operating in a high 
corruption-risk environment, tended to have more positive attitudes 
towards risk management.
Australian Bureau of Statistics—turning adversity 
into success 
The ABS faced significant public scrutiny following the 2016 
Census, as a result of public concerns about privacy and the 
decision to shut down the online Census form for 43 hours to 
protect Australians’ privacy. Despite the initial setbacks and the 
criticism levelled at the agency, the ABS successfully delivered 
the Census, achieving a 95 per cent response rate and higher-
quality data delivered faster.

42
State of the Service Report 2017–18
The ABS took many lessons from the 2016 Census. These included 
the need for:
•  risk management capability to be lifted across the agency, 
bringing high risks to the attention of ABS Executive and 
ministers early, providing opportunity to mitigate them
•  independent quality assurance for future programs
•  strong and continuous community education, proactive issues 
management and rapid response to emerging challenges 
and concerns
•  early and extensive engagement with community, stakeholders 
and political leaders in future high-profile, high-risk programs.
On 9 August 2017, the Treasurer directed the ABS to undertake 
a statistical collection that later became known as the ‘Australian 
Marriage Law Postal Survey’. This national survey was to inform 
one of Australia’s most important decisions—whether the law 
should be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry. It was a 
high-risk exercise and posed a significant challenge for the ABS, 
with only 99 days to design, develop and deliver the national 
survey, including processing and publishing the results. 
Building on the lessons from the 2016 Census, the ABS used 
several new and innovative measures to deliver the Australian 
Marriage Law Postal Survey.
A designated taskforce was immediately established to follow 
the Government’s direction, including establishing governance 
structures to supported rapid delivery, rigorous risk management 
and central coordination.
The Commonwealth Risk 
Management Policy
In 2014, the Department of Finance released the Commonwealth 
Risk Management Policy (Risk Policy).
The Risk Policy’s goal is to embed risk management as part of the 
culture of Commonwealth entities where the shared understanding 
of risk leads to well informed decision making. It supports the 
requirement in the PGPA Act that Commonwealth agencies must 
appropriately manage risk.
The Risk Policy outlines nine elements of good risk management 
practice with which non-corporate Commonwealth entities 
must comply: 
1.  establishing a risk management policy
2.  establishing a risk management framework
3.  defining responsibility for managing risk

Culture
43
4.  embedding systematic risk management into business processes
5.  developing a positive risk culture
6.  communicating and consulting about risk
7.  understanding and managing shared risk
8.  maintaining risk management capability
9.  reviewing and continuously improving the management of risk.29
Entities undertake an annual self-assessment of their performance 
against these elements and report results to Finance. Entities and 
their risk and audit committees use data from the self-assessment 
to monitor and improve their risk management performance. 
Finance uses the data to target its risk services to areas that entities 
are finding challenging. 
This data has shown a consistent increase in risk management 
maturity in the four years since the Risk Policy was introduced.
Data from 2018 found modest improvements against all of the 
policy’s nine measures. Entities scored best in establishing risk 
management policies, embedding systematic risk management and 
defining responsibilities for managing risk.
The lowest scoring measures were developing a positive risk culture, 
understanding and managing shared risk and maintaining risk 
management capability.30 These measures are considered the most 
challenging to improve because they rely on changes to organisational 
culture and capability.31 These are also what the Alexander and 
Thodey Review (2018)32 and the Shergold Review (2015)33 suggested 
need the greatest improvement. 
The 2018 APS census results broadly support the findings from this 
self-assessment, suggesting that employee perceptions about risk 
management and the culture within their agency are good indicators 
of the agency’s risk management performance. Effective risk 
management, the use of risk appetite and tolerance statements, 
and the development of a positive risk culture can support higher 
levels of innovation and, in turn, better organisational performance.
29  Department of Finance (2018), Benchmarking Survey 2018—Risk Management 
Capability Maturity States.
30  Deloitte (2018), Risk Management Benchmarking Program 2018 Key Findings Report.
31 ibid. 
32  Alexander, E and Thodey, D (2018), Independent Review into the Operation of the Public 
Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and Rule.
33  APSC (2015), ‘Learning from Failure: why large government policy initiatives 
have gone so badly wrong in the past and how the chances of success in the 
future can be improved’.

44
State of the Service Report 2017–18
CHAPTER 4 
MANAGING  
CHANGE 
The management of change has been 
Key points 
identified as a critical variable for the success 
•  Managing change well is critical to 
or failure of any reform34 yet worldwide, 
the success of any reform, policy, 
organisations struggle with successfully 
or service implementation. 
implementing change. Research from 
Gartner shows that on average organisations 
•  Most agencies (87 per cent) have 
have experienced five major changes in the 
identified the need to improve their 
past three years, of which only 34 per cent 
change management capability.
were successful.35 A recent report from 
•  Communication from the SES to 
the McKinsey Center for Government 
employees has a significant impact on 
noted that the failure rate of government 
perceptions of change management. 
transformations, at 80 per cent, is far 
•  Less than half of respondents to the 
too high.36
2018 APS employee census agreed 
A strong change management culture is 
that communication between the SES 
required for the APS to effectively address 
and employees was effective.
future reform, and as such, there is a need to 
•  Positive perceptions of change 
ensure the underlying processes are in place 
management are associated with 
to build this culture. This includes ensuring 
higher engagement from employees, 
that leaders have the capability to drive 
better employee wellbeing, and 
change. This is no easy task. Leading and 
perceptions of better performance of 
managing change was identified as an area 
an employee’s workgroup and agency.
for further development in the capability 
review programs, with some agencies failing 
to deliver on formal change initiatives due 
to issues such as poor upfront planning and 
lack of effective communication.37,38 
34  Huerta Melchor, O (2008), ‘Managing Change in OECD Governments: An Introductory Framework’, OECD 
Working Papers on Public Governance, no. 12, OECD publishing.
35  CEB (2018), ‘Open source change: Making Change Management Work’. Presentation delivered to the APSC on 
26 September 2018.
36  McKinsey Center for Government (2018), ‘Delivering for citizens: How to triple the success rate of government 
transformations’, https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/McKinsey/Industries/Public%20Sector/Our%20
Insights/Delivering%20for%20citizens%20How%20to%20triple%20the%20success%20rate%20of%20
government%20transformations/Delivering-for-citizens-executive-summary.ashx
 (accessed 15 October 2018).
37  Capability Review Program, conducted by the APSC between 2012 and 2015, assessed the capabilities of agencies 
to meet future objectives and challenges. Further information is contained in the glossary of the report.
38 APSC, State of the Service Report 2011–12.

link to page 57 Culture
45
The APS is not alone in this regard. United Kingdom (UK) 
civil service capability reviews and annual employee satisfaction 
surveys have also identified leading and managing change as a 
systemic weakness.39, 40
Subsequent to these capability review findings, agency self-
assessments of their change management capability have shown that 
more work is needed. In the 2017 APS agency survey, most agencies 
(87 per cent) self-assessed that they needed to increase their change 
management capability. Forty-five per cent reported that since 2015 
their change management capability had declined. 
Employees also agreed that change management was not strong in 
agencies. Just over a third of respondents to the 2018 APS employee 
census agreed that change is managed well in their agency. There has 
been a slight positive increase in perceptions since 2013 (Figure 18). 
These figures align with those seen in worldwide public sectors 
(37 per cent), including in the UK (35 per cent).41
Figure 18:  APS employee perceptions of whether change is 
managed well in their agency, 2013–18
50
45
40
36
35
35
35
38
35
31
Per cent agree 30
25
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
Year
Source: APS employee census
39  UK Civil Service (2014), The Capabilities Plan: 2014 Annual Refresh, Civil Service 
Reform.
40  Cabinet Office (2017), Civil Service People Survey: 2017 results, Civil Service 
benchmark results.
41  ORC International Perspectives (2018).

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State of the Service Report 2017–18
One lesson learned from the experience of OECD countries on 
managing change was the importance of effective communication .42 
Results from the 2018 APS employee census also show that positive 
perceptions of change management are significantly associated with 
internal communication. When internal communication is effective, 
respondents perceive that change is being well managed. Figure 19 
shows that more than 80 per cent of employees who agree change is 
managed well also agree that internal communication is effective.
Figure 19:  APS employee perceptions of effective internal 
communication by perceptions of effective 
change management
100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
is effective (per cent agree)
20
10
Internal communciation within my agency 
0
Agree
Disagree
Change is managed well in my agency
Source: 2018 APS employee census
Communication is important from all levels of the organisation, 
from immediate supervisor through to SES. Analysis shows that 
communication from SES to employees has the most significant 
impact on perceptions of change management. Less than half 
of respondents to the 2018 APS employee census agreed that 
communication between SES and employees was effective 
(Figure 20). This is an area of focus for improvement and, 
as discussed in Chapter 10 Developing Leadership, agencies are 
undertaking various approaches to build leadership capability. 
42  Huerta Melchor, O (2008), ‘Managing Change in OECD Governments: 
An Introductory Framework’, OECD Working Papers on Public Governance, 
no. 12, OECD publishing.

link to page 59 Culture
47
Figure 20:  APS employee perceptions of effectiveness of 
communication from SES to employees, 2016–18
70
60
50
41
40
45
40
Per cent agree 30
2016
2017
2018
Year
Source: APS employee census
Senior leaders perceived to communicate well with employees may 
be consulting more about change and informing employees of the 
purpose, intent and progress of change in their agency. As a result, 
employees may then perceive their agency is managing change 
well. Figure 21 displays the relationship between perceptions of 
change management and effectiveness of communication from 
SES. More than 70 per cent of employees who agree that change is 
managed well in their agency also agree that communication between 
SES and other employees is effective.
Figure 21:  APS employee perceptions of communication 
between the SES and other employees by 
perceptions of effective change management
100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
In my agency, communication between the SES 
and other employees is effective (per cent agree)
0
Agree
Disagree
Change is managed well in my agency
Source: 2018 APS employee census

link to page 60 link to page 60 48
State of the Service Report 2017–18
For change to be successful, employees need to be consulted during 
the change process. This ensures clarity of purpose and direction, 
and engagement from all levels. Those not consulted report that 
change is not being managed well (Figure 22). 
Figure 22:  APS employee perceptions of whether they are 
consulted about change at work by perceptions of 
effective change management
100
80
60
40
20
Staff are consulted about change 
at work (per cent always/often)
0
Agree
Disagree
Change is managed well in my agency
Source: 2018 APS employee census
Many costs are associated with poor change management. At the 
broader level, this includes failed reform, ineffective policies and 
inefficient services. In the workplace, employees within agencies 
where change is not being managed well, feel they have more 
unrealistic time pressures, less autonomy in decision making, 
poor clarity with their roles and responsibilities, and more strained 
relationships with colleagues (Figure 23)
The capability review program highlighted that organisational culture 
can be one of the greatest barriers to successful change management 
in the APS. Addressing these workplace stressors will enable change 
and improve workplace culture.
Figure 23:  APS employee perceptions of effective change 
management by workplace stressors
50
40
30
20
10
Per cent reporting 
workplace stressor
0
Unrealistic 
Low 
Strained 
Poor role 
time 
autonomy
relationships
clarity
pressures
Agree
Disagree
Source: 2018 APS employee census

link to page 61 Culture
49
Many positive benefits are associated with managing change 
well. Results from the 2018 APS employee census showed that 
positive perceptions of change management were associated with 
higher engagement from employees, better employee wellbeing, 
and perceptions of better performance of an employee’s workgroup 
and agency. Figure 24 shows that employees who perceived their 
agency managed change well, also rated highly their agency’s success 
in meeting goals and objectives.
Figure 24:  APS employee perceptions of effective change 
management by ratings of agency performance
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
objective on a scale of 1 to 10 (mean)
1
Agency's success in meeting its goals and 
0
Strongly 
Agree
Neither agree 
Disagree
Strongly 
agree
nor disagree
disagree
Change is managed well in my agency
Source: 2018 APS employee census
Many agencies have identified the need to improve their change 
management capability. International research shows this is not 
an easy task. Focusing on the underlying processes of building a 
strong change culture will prepare the APS for the challenges ahead. 
Various strategies to develop leadership capability will be discussed in 
Chapter 10 Developing Leadership.

50
State of the Service Report 2017–18
CHAPTER 5 
DIVERSITY AND 
INCLUSION
A diverse workforce enables new ideas and 
Key points 
different ways of thinking. Employees from 
•  The proportion of employees 
a range of backgrounds bring different 
reporting their agency is committed 
experiences and perspectives. This can 
to creating a diverse workforce 
be useful for problem solving in various 
has increased.
situations, adding value to policy 
development and offering more tailored 
•  There is still room for improvement, 
service delivery to the Australian public. 
with 65 per cent of APS employee 
census respondents agreeing that 
Actively encouraging diversity also 
their SES manager actively supports 
opens the APS up to a bigger talent pool. 
people of diverse backgrounds.
An inclusive environment facilitates the 
attraction and retention of employees from 
•  At 30 June 2018, 59 per cent of 
diverse backgrounds.
employees in the APS were women. 
This rate has remained reasonably 
The tendency of organisations to 
stable over the past decade.
recruit, train and select for similarity 
•  Despite an overall increase in the 
… has become widely recognised 
proportion of Indigenous employees 
… organisations become comprised 
in the APS, representation by 
of a very narrow range of skills, 
classification was heavily skewed 
experience, background, values and 
towards the lower end.
styles of behaviour and work. This… 
•  Of the APS employee census 
tends to result in organisations 
respondents in 2018, 8.7 per cent 
that are unaware of the diversity of 
reported having an ongoing disability
community needs and values and 
•  In the 2018 APS employee census, 
lacking in innovation. They are unable 
4.4 per cent of respondents indicated 
to carry out effectively policies for 
they identified as LGBTI+.
the whole community, to respond to 
change in the community and in the 
economic and political environment 
or to improve administrative practices 
through innovation.
Dr Peter Wilenski AC, former Chairman of 
the Public Service Board (1983–87)43
43  Speech to the Federation of Australian University Staff Associations’ Conference on ‘Women in Post Secondary 
Education: Issues and Strategies 1975–1995’, 30 March 1985, Sydney.

Culture
51
Diversity is being invited to the party. 
Inclusion is being asked to dance.
Verna Myers, Diversity Advocate
The OECD draft Recommendation on Public Service Leadership and 
Capability recommends that member countries build values-driven 
culture and leadership in the public service, centred on improving 
outcomes for society by ensuring an inclusive public service that 
reflects the diversity of the society it represents.44
The employment principles outlined in the Public Service Act provide 
that the APS is a career-based service that recognises the diversity of 
the Australian community and fosters diversity in the workplace.
Diversity within a workplace encompasses many differences, 
including cultural background, gender, age, sexual orientation and 
abilities. Connected to diversity is the concept of inclusion.
Workplace inclusion occurs when diversity is respected, connected 
and contributes to organisational success.45 Inclusion benefits all 
employees, not just those from identified diversity groups. 
Leading diversity
The Secretaries Equality and Diversity Council, established in 2016, 
comprises all APS departmental secretaries. It also includes two 
external members—Dr Tom Calma AO and Ms Kathryn Fagg—who 
provide insights and experience from outside the APS. 
The Council is committed to delivering an APS workplace culture 
that builds respect, fosters inclusiveness and promotes diversity. 
It has undertaken in-depth consideration of workplace experiences 
by hearing first-hand from APS employees who identify with 
specific diversity groups. A common theme that has emerged 
from these discussions is the need to continue building inclusive 
workplaces. The Council has also commissioned research into women 
in senior leadership and job-sharing arrangements in the APS. 
Research findings will be used to inform initiatives in support of 
44  OECD, Draft Recommendations of the Council on Public Service Leadership and 
Capability, http://www.oecd.org/gov/pem/draft-recommendation-of-the-council-
on-public-service-leadership-and-capability.pdf (
accessed 15 October 2018).
45  O’Leary, J and Legg, A, Diversity Council Australia, DCA-Suncorp Inclusion@
Work Index 2017–2018: Mapping the State of Inclusion in the Australian Workforce
Sydney, Diversity Council Australia, 2017.

link to page 65 52
State of the Service Report 2017–18
the implementation of Balancing the Future: The Australian Public Service 
Gender Equality Strateg y 2016–19
 (Gender Equality Strategy). 
The Council launched the APS Diversity and Gender Equality 
Awards in 2017 to recognise the outstanding contributions that 
agencies, employee networks and individual employees make towards 
fostering workplace diversity and inclusion. The awards attracted 
many high-quality nominations from across the APS.
The Council’s future work will focus on continuing to develop 
inclusive workplaces, talent programs supporting a pipeline of 
employees between APS 5 and EL 2, inclusive management for 
EL employees, and ongoing monitoring of the three current 
diversity strategies.
To support Indigenous employment and retention initiatives in the 
APS, an Indigenous SES Network was established. The Network 
offers cultural and strategic advice to the Secretaries Equality and 
Diversity Council. 
Indigenous SES Network
The Indigenous SES Network brings together senior Aboriginal 
and Torres Strait Islander leaders from across the APS to drive 
meaningful change and provide guidance on issues impacting 
on the employment of Indigenous Australians in the public 
service. The Network is sponsored by the Australian Public 
Service Commissioner and advised by Professor Tom Calma. 
As Senior Indigenous public servants, network members provide 
a stewardship role for Indigenous employees. They actively 
advocate, role model and promote diversity within the APS and 
within their agencies.
The Network’s strategic objectives are driven by a smaller 
Steering Committee, supported by a working group of EL 
Indigenous employees.
In 2018, the Network has given considerable thought and 
attention to enhancing Indigenous leadership in the APS. 
They are progressing a strategy to work across agencies, with 
tangible actions designed to improve the attraction, retention and 
development of Indigenous leaders. Optimisation of Indigenous 
leadership will enhance the Government’s ability to understand 
and facilitate social and economic opportunities for Indigenous 
Australians and ensure policies and programs reflect Indigenous 
world views, needs and aspirations.
Recent years have seen an increase in the proportion of 
employees reporting they believe their agency is committed to 
creating a diverse workforce (Figure 25). In 2018, three-quarters 
of APS employee census respondents agreed their agency actively 
promotes and supports an inclusive workplace culture.

Culture
53
Figure 25:  APS employee perceptions of agency commitment 
to creating a diverse workforce, 2013–18
100
90
75
77
80
68
68
68
69
70
60
Per cent agree
50
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
Year
Source: APS employee census
In the 2018 APS agency survey, agencies were asked to report how 
many SES officers in each agency were active champions for diversity 
and inclusion. Agencies reported an average of three SES in each 
agency, with 318 across the APS. 
The one thing my agency is doing well is developing a 
respectful, inclusive work environment that encourages 
collaboration and fosters excellence.
EL 1, small specialist agency
The actions of senior leaders are important in developing and 
maintaining an inclusive workplace culture. Sixty-five per cent of 
employee census respondents agree that their SES manager actively 
supports people of diverse backgrounds. More work is needed in the 
APS to increase senior leadership support in creating a diverse and 
inclusive workforce.
The value of diversity is not just that it humanises us and 
helps us treat others with respect and value them for the 
people they are, but that it keeps us on our feet, brings in 
new and different ideas, ensures we have the best of the crop 
advising ministers and implementing government policy, 
and improves outcomes.
Dr Gordon de Brouwer PSM, Former Secretary, Department of the 
Environment and Energy, September 201746
46  IPAA Secretary Series: Secretary Valedictory, 7 September 2017.

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State of the Service Report 2017–18
Gender 
At 30 June 2018, 59 per cent of the 150,594 employees in the APS 
were women (Figure 26). This rate has remained reasonably stable 
over the past decade.
Figure 26: APS gender representation by year, 2009–18
100
90
80
70
60
50
40
Per cent
30
20
10
0
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
Year
Women
Men
Note: While data for Gender X employees was collected, 
proportions are too small to be presented
Source: APSED
Excluding trainees, there are more women than men at all 
classification levels up to and including EL 1. The proportion of 
women at EL 2 continues to increase (Figure 27)
The proportion of female SES employees increased substantially 
to 45 per cent in 2018, up from 36 per cent in 2009. In 2017–18, 
gender parity at secretary level was achieved for the first time.
I’d like to get to the point where gender really doesn’t matter 
in a public service career, where women and men are both 
judged really on their merits rather than on a gendered view 
of merit as I think happens even now.
Renée Leon PSM, Secretary, Department of Human Services47 
47  Speech for International Women’s Day, 8 March 2018.

Culture
55
Figure 27: Classification of APS employees by gender, 2018
100
90
80
70
60
50
40
Per cent
30
20
10
0
EL 1
EL 2
APS 1
APS 2
APS 3
APS 4
APS 5
APS 6
SES 1
SES 2
SES 3
Trainee
Graduate
Classification
Women
Men
Note: While data for Gender X employees was collected, 
proportions are too small to be presented
Source: APSED
Implementation of the APS Gender Equality Strategy
Balancing the Future: The Australian Public Service Gender Equality Strateg y 
2016–19
 sets out actions for driving high performance and boosting 
productivity. The strategy’s key focus areas include:
1.  driving a supportive and enabling workplace culture
2.  achieving gender equality in APS leadership
3.  working innovatively to embed gender equality in 
employment practices
4.  increasing take-up of flexible work arrangements by 
men and women
5.  measuring and evaluating actions.
In the 2018 APS agency survey, agency responses indicate that progress 
is being made in implementing the Gender Equality Strategy. 

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State of the Service Report 2017–18
The 2018 APS employee census data indicates that APS employees 
have a generally positive view of the actions their SES manager 
and immediate supervisors are taking to support gender equality 
(Figure 28). 
Figure 28: APS employee perceptions of gender equality
My supervisor actively supports the 
use of flexible work arrangements 
by all staff, regardless of gender
My SES manager actively supports 
opportunities for women to access 
leadership roles
My SES manager actively 
supports the use of flexible work 
arrangements by all staff, 
regardless of gender
0
20
40
60
80
100
Per cent
Neither agree 
Agree
Disagree
nor disagree
Source: 2018 APS employee census
The report Embedding Gender Equality in the Australian Public Service: 
Changing practices, changing cultures
48 found that the Gender Equality 
Strategy has been influential in further progressing and embedding 
gender equality in the APS. Specifically, it has started an important 
conversation about the nature of equality, opening discussion around 
the opportunities and challenges in progressing gender equality. 
However, more work is needed if the APS is to remain a leader in 
gender equality in Australia.
In the 2018 APS agency survey, some of the most frequently reported 
initiatives to implementing the Gender Equality Strategy included 
developing and implementing agency-specific diversity strategies, 
having gender champions and gender networks, and changing 
recruitment practices. Some changes to recruitment practices 
included gender-specific recruitment targets and gender-balanced 
recruitment panels. 
Agencies reported that barriers to implementing the initiatives in 
the Gender Equality Strategy include the low number of female 
applicants for some advertised positions and the belief by some 
managers that a focus on gender equality is inconsistent with 
merit-based recruitment. 
48  Williamson, S and Foley M (2017), Embedding Gender Equality in the Australian 
Public Service: changing practices, changing culturesUNSW School of Business, https://
www.unsw.adfa.edu.au/school-of-business/sites/bus/files/uploads/172084%20
Gender%20Equality%20Publication_171122.pdf
 (accessed 14 October 2018).

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57
Gender reporting
On 1 July 2016, the APSC began recording a third gender category 
in the APS Employment Database. This category encompasses APS 
employees who do not identify as male or female. For the purposes 
of APS data collection, this third gender category is referred to as 
‘X’. This collection approach aligns with the Australian Government 
Guidelines on the Recognition of Sex and Gender49 which require 
non-binary gender identity to be reflected in government records.
Ninety per cent of agencies have reported they are promoting and 
applying the gender X category or similar in their HR systems 
and reporting. Work to enable this has included reconfiguring HR 
systems and updating recruitment and on-boarding forms. The APSC 
is working with agencies to support the upload of gender X data 
into HR systems so data captured accurately represents the gender 
identification of APS employees.
Gender X was first introduced as a gender category in the APS 
employee census in 2014. Census data collected between 2014 and 
2017 showed reasonable stability in the rates of APS employees 
identifying as gender X (Figure 29). 
In 2018, the rate of respondents identifying as gender X dropped 
considerably. This coincided with the introduction in 2018 of ‘prefer 
not to say’ as an option for the gender question. In previous years’ it 
was hypothesised that some census respondents selected gender X 
as a way to further anonymise their census responses. If this trend 
continues, this would suggest that the hypothesis was correct. 
Figure 29:  Representation of gender X employees in the APS, 
2014–18
1.2
1.1
1.0
1.0
0.8
0.8
0.8
0.6
Per cent 0.4
0.2
0.2
0.0
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
Year
Source: APS employee census
49  https://www.ag.gov.au/Publications/Pages/AustralianGovernment 
GuidelinesontheRecognitionofSexandGender.aspx (accessed 16 October 2018).

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State of the Service Report 2017–18
Indigenous representation
At 30 June 2018, 3.3 per cent of the APS workforce identified as 
Indigenous (Figure 30). The representation of Indigenous employees 
in the APS has improved slightly over the last 10 years and is 
higher than the proportion of Indigenous Australians in the wider 
population (2.8 per cent).
Figure 30:  Representation of Indigenous employees in the 
APS, 2009–18
3.3
3.3
3.5
3.1
2.8
2.9
3
2.6
2.6
2.6
2.5
2.5
2.5
2
Per cent
1.5
1
0.5
0
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
Year
Source: APSED
Despite an overall increase in the proportion of Indigenous 
employees in the APS, representation by classification is heavily 
skewed towards the lower end (Figure 31)
Indigenous employees in the APS are most commonly employed at 
the APS 4 level (27 per cent). Representation at more senior levels is 
very low, with only 0.05 per cent of all SES Indigenous employees. 
Figure 31:  Representation of Indigenous and non-Indigenous 
APS employees by classification, 2018
30
25
20
15
Per cent
10
5
0
EL 1
EL 2
APS 1
APS 2
APS 3
APS 4
APS 5
APS 6
SES 1
SES 2
SES 3
Trainee
Graduate
Classification
Indigenous
Non-Indigenous
Source: APSED

Culture
59
In response to the Forrest Review: Creating Parity50, the Government 
released the Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment 
Strateg y 2015–18
51 in September 2015. The strategy addresses the 
priority to build Indigenous employment within the Commonwealth 
public sector. Specific goals include:
•  increasing the representation of Indigenous employees across the 
Commonwealth public sector to 3 per cent by 2018
•  ensuring Indigenous Australians are offered entry pathways into 
the public service
•  creating better career development opportunities for 
Indigenous employees
•  increasing the representation of Indigenous Australians in senior 
leadership positions.
All Commonwealth agencies have an Indigenous representation 
target, either a self-nominated stretch target or the minimum 
2.5 per cent. In the 2018 APS agency survey, 69 per cent of agencies 
reported having set an agency-specific target.
To support the retention and career advancement of Indigenous 
employees, a range of whole-of-APS retention and development 
programs are underway. These include:
•  Indigenous mentoring program: More than 150 mentoring 
partnerships were established in 2017. Following the success of the 
first pilot, a second pilot is underway.
•  excELerate: A career development program that combines formal 
training and individualised coaching. The program supports the 
progression of high-performing Indigenous employees at APS 5 to 
APS 6 levels into EL roles. 
50  The Forrest Review, Creating Parity, https://www.pmc.gov.au/sites/default/files/
publications/Forrest-Review.pdf (accessed 15 October 2018).
51 APSC, 
Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strateg y,  
http://www.apsc.gov.au/publications-and-media/current-publications/
commonwealth-aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-employment-strategy 
(accessed 15 October 2018).

60
State of the Service Report 2017–18
Australian Government Indigenous Lateral 
Entry pilot
The APSC’s Australian Government Indigenous Lateral 
Entry (AGILE) pilot is designed to improve representation of 
Indigenous employees at EL and SES levels. AGILE is a centrally 
co-ordinated recruitment process using the affirmative measure. 
The key aim was to attract experienced Indigenous professionals. 
The pilot recruited Indigenous employees to four in-demand 
capability areas: project management; strategic policy; law; 
and accounting and finance. It also provided career advancement 
opportunities for existing Indigenous APS employees.
Applications were received from 220 individuals, with 67 found 
suitable for roles at APS 6 to EL 2 classifications. APS agencies 
can engage successful AGILE candidates to fill immediate 
vacancies, and can recruit from Indigenous talent merit pools 
for up to 12 months. Initial indications are positive, with several 
candidates having already accepted offers of employment. 
A comprehensive evaluation of the pilot is expected to be 
completed by the end of 2018.
Agencies continue to implement the strategy within their own 
contexts. In the 2018 APS agency survey, the most frequently 
reported initiatives for increasing Indigenous employee 
representation, include: apprenticeship, internship and cadet 
programs; advertising vacancies in alternative places such as the 
Koori Mail and ‘Our Mob’ job board52; and offering scholarships, 
study assistance, further training and mentoring programs. 
Challenges agencies experienced to expanding Indigenous 
employment opportunities and increasing the representation of 
Indigenous employees in senior roles include a limited number of 
Indigenous candidates applying for vacancies and low turnover rates 
in their senior roles.
A progress report on the strategy53 was published in May 2018. 
The report outlines areas of future focus to further improve 
employment outcomes and opportunities available to Indigenous 
peoples. Although the strategy has had a positive impact on 
increasing employment opportunities for Indigenous persons, 
considerably more effort is required. 
A full evaluation of the Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait 
Islander Employment Strateg y
 will be undertaken at the completion of 
the strategy. 
52  ourmob.com.au, Job Search, http://ourmob.net/ (accessed 15 October 2018).
53 APSC, 
Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strateg y: Progress 
report recommendations, https://www.apsc.gov.au/commonwealth-aboriginal-and-torres-
strait-islander-employment-strategy-progress-report (
accessed 15 October 2018).

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61
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and/or 
Intersex representation
The APS employee census collected data on employees who identify 
as LGBTI+ for the first time in 2017. In the 2018 employee census, 
4.4 per cent of respondents indicated they identified as LGBTI+. 
This was a slightly higher proportion than 2017 (4.1 per cent). 
Analysis of the measures in the census showed very similar workplace 
perceptions reported by respondents who identified as LGBTI+ 
and those who did not. This included wellbeing, job satisfaction, 
engagement, and perceptions of inclusivity in the workplace.
2017 APS Diversity and Gender Equality Awards – 
Network Award
Winner: ATO Making Inclusion Count (ATOMIC) – 
TheAustralianTaxationOffice’sLGBTI+employee network
The Australian Taxation Office launched its LGBTI+ and ally 
network, known as ATOMIC, in 2016. The network now has 
more than 1,700 members and is one of the leading LGBTI+ 
networks in the APS. ATOMIC is passionate about creating 
an environment where everyone can ‘bring their whole self’ to 
work. It achieves this through initiatives such as hosting monthly 
ATOMIC happy hours in Canberra to connect APS agencies, 
speaking about LGBTI+ inclusion at the Australian Government 
Leadership Network, appointing SES Champions to promote the 
inclusion message and provide executive support, and celebrating 
days of importance to the LGBTI+ community.
Disability
Data on employees with disability is collected through agency HR 
systems and the annual APS employee census. 
Of the census respondents in 2018, 8.7 per cent of employees 
reported having an ongoing disability (Figure 32). This proportion 
is higher than the 3.7 per cent recorded on agency HR systems as 
identifying as an employee with disability. 
This difference in rates has been consistently reported over many 
years and could be the result of a number of issues. Disability is not 
necessarily static. Employees who acquire disability during their 
career may not update their HR record. In some cases, employees may 
be concerned about including their disability in their agency’s HR 
system but may be comfortable including that information in a 
confidential survey. 

62
State of the Service Report 2017–18
Figure 32:  Representation of employees with an ongoing 
disability in the APS, 2012–18
10
9
8
7
Per cent
6
5
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
Year
Source: APS employee census
The APS is committed to supporting employees with disability. 
In May 2016, the As One: Making it Happen— APS Disability 
Employment Strateg y 2016–19
54 was launched. This was developed in 
consultation with employees with disability, APS agencies and peak 
disability bodies. It focuses on four key action areas which all include 
a focus on Indigenous people with disability:
1.  expand the range of employment opportunities for people 
with disability
2.  invest in developing the capability of employees with disability
3.  increase the representation of employees with disability in 
senior roles
4.  foster inclusive cultures in the workplace.
As further commitment to the recruitment of people with disability, 
the APSC launched GradAccess in 2017. GradAccess is a two-year 
pilot of centrally co-ordinated graduate recruitment process for 
people with disability. In the first year, 23 people with disability were 
offered a place in 2018 APS graduate programs. The second year is 
underway for places in the 2019 APS graduate programs.
In 2018, the APSC expanded the entry level pathways for people 
with disability by implementing a second two-year pilot, NextStep. 
This is a cross-agency traineeship for people with disability managed 
through a centrally co-ordinated recruitment process. Four agencies 
are participating in the NextStep pilot with 16 placements available. 
54 APSC, http://www.apsc.gov.au/managing-in-the-aps/disability/as-one-aps-
disability-employment-strategy-2016-19 (accessed 15 October 2018).

link to page 75 Culture
63
2017 APS Diversity and Gender Equality  
Awards—Department/Agency Award
Winner: National Disability Insurance Agency
The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) is striving 
to be an employer of choice for people with disability, with a 
target of 15 per cent. This target is within reach, with 13 per cent 
of NDIA’s current workforce identifying as having disability. 
The NDIA continues to develop and implement policies to 
attract, select, support, and retain employees with disability. It is 
leading the way in the recruitment and employment of employees 
with disability and role models how practices increasing access to 
employment opportunities for people with disability can become 
business-as-usual. Candidates and employees are supported 
throughout the recruitment process. Successful candidates are 
then further supported by Disability Liaison Officers from the 
Inclusion and Diversity Support Unit to ensure adjustments are 
in place for a safe, inclusive and accessible work environment that 
allows every individual to perform at their best.
Source: 2018 APS employee census
Older workers
The APS workforce is ageing. In the last 10 years, the mean age 
of APS employees has increased from 41.4 years to 43.4 years 
(Figure 33).
Figure 33: Mean age of APS employees, 2009–18
45
44
43
42
Mean age (years)
41
40
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
Year
Source: APSED
The APS must give due consideration to its ageing workforce. 
It needs to develop workforce plans and other age-related strategies 
to maximise the benefits of older workers and limit negative impacts, 
such as loss of corporate knowledge, because of retirement. In the 
2018 APS agency survey, only 11 per cent of agencies reported having 
multigenerational and/or specific age group plans or strategies.

link to page 76 link to page 76 64
State of the Service Report 2017–18
Responses to the 2018 APS employee census indicate that older 
workers, defined here as those 50 years of age or older, are the age 
group most likely to want to stay working for their agency for at least 
the next three years (Figure 34)
Figure 34: APS employee career intentions by age group
I want to leave my agency 
as soon as possible
I want to leave my agency 
within the next 12 months
I want to leave my 
agency within the next 
12 months but feel it will 
be unlikely in the 
current environment
I want to stay working for 
my agency for the next 
one to two years
I want to stay working 
for my agency for at 
least the next three years
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
Per cent
Under 30
30–49 years
50 years plus
Source: 2018 APS employee census
Older workers are significantly less likely to consider leaving the APS for 
other employment opportunities (Figure 35). While younger respondents 
were most likely to consider leaving the APS for other job opportunities, 
the possibility that their current pay and conditions would not be met 
prevents them from doing so. Respondents 50 years of age and older 
reported that the impact on superannuation, or the fact that they were 
nearing retirement, is stopping them from seeking these job opportunities.
Figure 35:  APS employee interest in leaving the APS for other 
job opportunities by age group
Under 30
30 to 49
50 and older
0
20
40
60
80
100
Per cent
Yes
No
Unsure
Source: 2018 APS employee census

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65
Results from the 2018 APS employee census show that most 
respondents of all age groups felt committed to their agency’s goals 
and believed strongly in the purpose and objective of the APS. Some 
differences exist across age groups with satisfaction rates relating to 
rewards and recognition. Respondents under 30 years of age were 
most likely to agree they were fairly remunerated, and more satisfied 
with their non-monetary employment conditions, than were older 
age groups. They were also more likely to be satisfied with their job 
stability and security. 
The Government announced the establishment of the Collaborative 
Partnership on Mature Age Employment in the 2018–19 Budget. 
This partnership includes representatives from business peak bodies, 
industry associations and mature-age advocacy groups. Its key 
priority areas are: 
•  Employer mobilisation—drive the recruitment and retention 
of mature-age Australians through influencing the policies and 
practices of employers and HR professionals.
•  Industry awareness—promote the benefits of hiring and retaining 
mature-age workers, as well as the assistance and resources 
available, to employers, HR professionals, peak bodies and 
employment service providers.
•  Workplace age discrimination—assist Australian firms to identify 
and address age discrimination in the workplace.
•  Current and potential innovations—encourage business to hire 
older people, including those who have retired, using flexible work 
arrangements and other evidence-based measures.
As the central policy agency with responsibility for APS employment, 
the APSC is involved in this partnership to engage with other sectors 
about best practice to implement measures in the APS to drive 
the recruitment and retention of mature-age workers and to share 
experiences with them.
Cultural and linguistic diversity
Through agency HR systems, the APS collects information on employees 
from non-English speaking backgrounds (NESB). In 2017–18, 
22 per cent of APS employees identified as being born overseas 
and 19 per cent identified as being from NESB (Figure 36). These 
proportions have continued a steady increase over the last 50 years.

link to page 78 66
State of the Service Report 2017–18
Figure 36:  Proportion of APS employees from non-English 
speaking backgrounds and APS employees born 
overseas, 1968–2018
25
20
15
10
5
Per cent of APS employees
0
8
2
8
0
4
6
8
0
4
6
8
4
6
0
8
6
70
74
76
8
82
8
8
8
9
92
9
9
9
02
0
0
12
14
16
01
0
0
0
01
19
19
197
19
19
197
19
19
19
19
19
19
19
19
19
19
000
0
008
2
2
20
20
2
2
2
2
2
2
Year
NESB
Born Overseas
Source: APSED
In 1968, 87 per cent of APS employees born overseas came from 
Europe (Figure 37). This decreased steadily to 32 per cent in 2018, 
mainly because of an increase in employees from Asia. In 2010, 
employees with an Asian country of birth replaced employees from 
Europe as the highest group of people born overseas. 
Figure 37:  Proportion of APS employees by location of birth, 
1968–2018
100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
Per cent of employees by location of birth 
0
8
2
8
0
4
6
8
0
4
6
8
4
6
0
8
6
70
74
76
8
82
8
8
8
9
92
9
9
9
02
0
0
12
14
16
01
0
0
0
01
19
19
197
19
19
197
19
19
19
19
19
19
19
19
19
19
000
0
008
2
2
20
20
2
2
2
2
2
2
Year
Oceania
Europe
Africa and the Middle East
Asia
Americas
Source: APSED

Culture
67
NESB data has been collected through the annual APS employee 
census since 2012. However, in 2018 it was recognised that 
information about the cultural and linguistic differences of APS 
employees, was a more valuable measure for understanding employee 
perceptions. As a result, the 2018 APS employee census captured 
information on the cultural and linguistic diversity of respondents. 
The census contained questions consistent with the core elements of 
the ABS Standards for Statistics on Cultural and Language Diversity. 
Questions included country of birth, language other than English 
spoken at home, proficiency in spoken English and Indigenous status.
Cultural and linguistic diversity groups comprise a significant 
proportion of Australia’s population. Twenty-six per cent of 
Australians were born overseas and 21 per cent of Australians speak 
a language other than English at home. In comparison, a slightly 
lower proportion of respondents to the 2018 APS employee census 
(22 per cent) reported being born overseas and 18 per cent reported 
speaking a language other than English at home. Almost all 
respondents (99.6 per cent) reported the ability to speak English well 
or very well.
Considerations for the future
The level of diversity in the APS is slowly increasing, however it can 
be improved. The Government’s announcement on the development 
of an APS workforce strategy notes that improving the capability, 
capacity and diversity of the workforce is a key outcome. 
Increasing the diversity of the workforce is important for the 
APS to most effectively serve a diverse Australian community. 
However, this will not be achieved in an enduring, meaningful way 
without simultaneously developing more inclusive APS workplaces. 
The APSC and the Secretaries Equality and Diversity Council are 
focused on providing leadership and support for agencies to embed 
inclusion in their workplaces.


THEME 2:
CAPABILITY

70
State of the Service Report 2017–18
CHAPTER 6 
ORGANISATIONAL 
PERFORMANCE 
AND EFFICIENCY
Key points 
Public sector 
performance
•  Where employees perceived their 
agency as having high levels of 
Greater productivity and efficiency underpin 
organisational performance, 
the Government’s agenda for a public 
agencies were more likely to have the 
sector that serves the community and 
tools, resources and work processes 
business effectively.
that facilitate productivity. 
Australian Government expenditure in 
•  Individuals in higher performing 
2017–18 was $460.3 billion, or 25 per cent 
agencies were more likely to be 
of gross domestic product. An efficient 
satisfied with work-life balance, have 
and productive APS needs to ensure 
a say in how they do their work, 
this expenditure has the best impact 
and have a positive attitude towards 
on outcomes.55
risk management.
Assessments about APS performance are 
•  Employee engagement varies across 
usually based on its ability to successfully 
classification levels in the APS. 
deliver programs on time and on budget, 
SES employees have substantially 
to process large volumes of transactions, 
higher levels of engagement 
or reduce spending. These measures, 
compared to EL and APS employees.
while useful, do not necessarily reflect the 
•  Many employees (82 per cent) 
quality of services provided or the value 
agreed that their supervisor actively 
to the public. Reporting meaningful and 
supports the use of flexible working 
comparable public sector performance 
arrangements by all employees, 
metrics remains a challenge.
regardless of gender.
A high-performing public sector is 
•  Employees feeling valued for 
demonstrated by its ability to meet 
their contribution was the biggest 
and influence government outcomes. 
differentiator between agencies 
Performance is driven by its leadership, 
with the highest and lowest 
enabled by its systems, processes 
wellbeing scores.
and governance.
55  The Treasury (2018), Final Budget Outcome 2017–18, Canberra.

Capability
71
Effective public sector performance is founded on strong 
supporting legislation. The PGPA Act came into effect on 
1 July 2014, bringing improvements to the management of public 
resources, including working cooperatively with other jurisdictions, 
planning and reporting. 
An independent review of the PGPA Act in 2018 found that it 
compares favourably to similar frameworks in other countries and 
provides a good framework for a high-performing public sector.56
The Review made recommendations to drive further change in four 
key areas: 
1.  leadership—investment to improve performance outcomes
2.  risk—improvements needed to risk management and risk culture
3.  outcomes-driven objectives—more work needed to implement the 
PGPA’s Act objective of cross-government collaboration
4.  greater transparency—development of clearer performance 
measures and transparency of outcomes needed.57
The Review acknowledged that performance can be difficult to 
measure, particularly with quality of policy outputs and effectiveness 
of government activities and programs. It also found the APS is not 
alone in its challenges of measuring performance, with international 
jurisdictions facing similar issues.
While productivity in the private sector can be based on volume or 
market indicators, the nature of government work, which includes 
developing policy and delivering public goods, does not easily lend 
itself towards such measures. Nevertheless, the APS needs to keep 
moving from focusing on measuring outputs rather than outcomes. 
There are strong benefits in tackling these challenges. Appropriate 
productivity measures are useful in better understanding public 
sector performance both over time and compared to similar entities. 
They are also useful in helping demonstrate to the public how well 
the APS uses its resources.
56  https://www.finance.gov.au/sites/all/themes/pgpa_independent_review/report/
PGPA_Independent_Review_-_Final_Report.pdf (accessed 16 October 2018).
57  https://www.apsreview.gov.au/news/tale-of-2-reviews (accessed 16 October 2018).

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State of the Service Report 2017–18
High-level improvements to public sector productivity are evident. 
For example, the 150,000 APS workforce is now at its lowest level 
since 2006, managing a volume of transactions well in excess of 2006 
levels. The cost of government administration as a proportion of 
overall expenditure fell from 8.5 per cent in 2007–08 to 6.9 per cent 
in 2017–18 and is on track to continue to fall to 5.6 per cent by 
2021–22 (Figure 38).
Figure 38:  Departmental expenditure as a percentage of total 
Government expenses, 2007–08 to 2021–22
9
8
7
6
t
en 5
 c 4
er
P 3
2
1
0
8
2
0
09
–11


–10
1–12
–13
–14
–15
–16
–17
–18
–19
–20
–21
7
9
0
2
3
4
5
6
17
8
9
1–2
0
01
01
01
01
01
01
01
0
01
20
00
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
01
02
2
008
2
2
20
2
20
Notes:
a)  Total government expenses reflects total expenses at the Commonwealth General 
Government Sector level, and includes activities of all relevant Government-
controlled non-market entities. The GGS covers officials employed under the 
Public Service Act (as APS officials) as well as other arrangements.
b)  Expenses data from 2007-08 through to 2017–18 is derived from Final Budget 
Outcome Statements. From 2018–19 onwards expenses data reflects revised 
budget and forward estimates as at 2018–19 Budget.
c)  Excludes the Department of Defence and National Disability Insurance Agency.
d)  This graph is consistent with the Graph 1, the Preface, Agency Resourcing Budget 
Paper No. 4 2018–19.
The Government Business Analytical Unit, established under the 
Data Integration Partnership for Australia, is undertaking a pilot to 
measure productivity of selected public sector functions. The pilot 
will assess public sector performance against a range of known 
drivers of productivity, such as risk tolerance, innovation, use of 
technology, employee engagement and workforce capability. 
A range of existing data sources, including output-based sources 
and employee sentiment indicators, will inform an appropriate 
basket of productivity measures. The project forms part of the 
productivity stream under the Roadmap. Benefits from it could 
include cost savings through more efficient transactional processes, 
increased employee engagement, greater cross-skilling between 
agencies leading to more sophisticated policy advice, better alignment 
of risk and innovation, technology uptake and more flexible use 
of resources. 

Capability
73
Agency performance
Agency performance measures, as reported in their Annual 
Performance Statements, provide a solid base from which to 
understand an agency’s key deliverables and whether targets are 
achieved. Feedback from the APS employee census and APS 
agency survey provide further insight into workforce perspectives 
on performance.
In the 2018 APS employee census, employees were asked to reflect 
on their agency’s success in meeting its goals and objectives using 
a 10-point scale. On average, employees rated their agency a 6.7, 
indicating they viewed their agency’s performance as above average.
Figure 39 shows that where employees perceived their agency as 
having high levels of organisational performance, they also perceived 
their agencies more likely to have: 58
•  workgroups with access to the necessary tools and resources
•  work processes that facilitate productivity
•  workgroup members that complete work to a high standard
•  supervisors that ensure their workgroups deliver.
Figure 39:  Productivity-related perceptions of APS 
employees from agencies with high and low 
perceived organisational performance
100
90
80
70
60
50
Per cent agree 40
30
20
10
0
My supervisor 
The people in 
My workgroup 
The work 
ensures that my 
my workgroup 
has the tools 
processes we 
workgroup 
complete work 
and resources 
have in place 
delivers on what 
to a high 
we need to 
allow me to be 
we are 
standard
perform well
as productive 
responsible for
as possible
Top 10 agencies with more than 50 respondents
Bottom 10 agencies with more than 50 respondents
Source: 2018 APS employee census
58  Analysis in this section presents results when there are more than 50 respondents 
to the question. This is to facilitate agency comparisons and prevent results from 
being skewed towards small agencies who typically exhibit more positive views.

74
State of the Service Report 2017–18
Agencies with higher ratings of organisational performance were also 
more likely to be viewed positively on multiple metrics. For instance, 
when comparing higher organisational performance agencies 
with lower performance agencies, immediate supervisors were 
seen as more:
•  likely to be encouraging, consultative and welcoming of new ideas 
and suggestions
•  committed to developing employee capability
•  committed to performance management.
There is also a contrast between how SES managers are viewed in 
high and low-performing agencies. Respondents from agencies with 
perceived high levels of performance were more likely to indicate 
that their SES managers were visible, led regular employee meetings, 
communicated effectively, contributed to the work of their agency, 
and acted in accordance with the APS Values (Figure 40).
Figure 40:  Perceptions of SES managers held by APS 
employees from agencies with high and low-
perceived organisational performance
100
90
80
70
60
50
40
Per cent agree
30
20
10
0
My SES 
My SES 
My SES 
My SES 
Do senior 
manager is 
manager leads 
manager 
manager 
leaders (i.e. the 
sufficiently 
regular staff 
communicates 
actively 
SES) in your 
visible
meetings
effectively
contributes to 
agency act in 
the work of 
accordance 
our area
with the APS 
Values?
Top 10 agencies with more than 50 respondents
Bottom 10 agencies with more than 50 respondents
Source: 2018 APS employee census
APS employees of agencies with perceived higher levels of 
performance were more likely to believe their agency was a better 
manager of change, had more effective internal communication 
and was more likely to promote an inclusive workplace culture. 

Capability
75
These agencies were also viewed as being better managers of their 
workforces and having sufficient opportunities for career progression. 
Where agencies were rated as higher performing, individuals were 
more likely to be satisfied with their work-life balance, feel they had 
choice in how they did their work and hold more positive attitudes 
towards risk management.
When viewed holistically, respondents from higher performing 
agencies reported higher levels of employee engagement and more 
positive attitudes towards innovation and wellbeing.
Cutting red tape
Unnecessary regulatory burden, or red tape, is a known inhibitor 
of action and decision making. Cutting red tape is important for 
improving efficiency both in the public sector and for the community. 
It has been an objective of successive governments since the 1970s.59
The last review of government red tape, the 2015 Belcher Red Tape 
Review, encouraged removal of internal red tape to enable agility and 
responsiveness, and to develop a culture of risk management rather 
than regulation.60 Four whole-of-government themes emerged from 
the review:
1.  over regulation
2.  inefficient regulation
3.  unclear and inaccessible regulations and guidance
4.  culture of risk aversion.61
In the 2018 APS employee census, employees were asked to rate the 
level of action within their agency to reduce red tape on a scale of 
1 to 10 (with 1 being no action and 10 signifying the highest level of 
action). The level varied across agencies, with an average level of 5. 
This is consistent with the previous year.
This result suggests that cutting red tape may go unnoticed, may 
not be well-promoted within agencies, or may not be pursued by the 
agency. Also, employees may not see red tape removal beyond their 
immediate workgroup.
59  Australian National Audit Office (2016), Implementing the Deregulation Agenda: 
Cutting Red Tape, ANAO Report, no. 29, 2015–16, Canberra.
60  Belcher, B (2015) ‘The Independent Review of Whole-of-Government Internal Regulation’
Canberra.
61  Department of Finance (2015), Independent Review of Whole-of-Government Internal 
Regulation (Belcher Red Tape Review), Report to Secretaries Committee on 
Transformation.

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State of the Service Report 2017–18
Collaborating for better outcomes 
To deliver most value to the public, the APS must collaborate and 
be well connected across agencies, jurisdictions, businesses and 
the community. 
Many examples highlight the APS’s ability to work effectively with 
multiple tiers of government, community organisations, businesses, 
and educational institutions to deliver quality community outcomes. 
Responses to the 2018 APS agency survey demonstrated collaborative 
initiatives, such as the:
•  Department of Agriculture and Water Resources collaborating 
with the University of Melbourne’s Centre of Excellence for 
Biosecurity Risk Analysis, relevant state and territory agencies 
and New Zealand authorities to research ways to combat growing 
biosecurity threats
•  Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority collaborating with 
the Australian Institute of Marine Science, the CSIRO, Reef and 
Forest Research Centre, and several universities (James Cook, 
Queensland and Sydney) to enhance the effectiveness of Crown of 
Thorns Starfish surveillance and control
•  National Library of Australia working with state and territory 
libraries to maintain the National Electronic Deposit service for 
accessing published electronic material across Australia.
Department of Infrastructure, Regional 
Development and Cities—City Deals
The Government’s negotiation of City Deals is an example of 
active engagement by the Australian Government with state, 
territory and local governments, as well as the community. 
City Deals is a tailored partnership aligning the planning, 
investment and governance across three levels of government to 
accelerate growth and job creation, stimulate urban renewal and 
drive economic reforms. City Deals allow customised approaches 
to addressing particular needs of Australian cities.
The Western Sydney City Deal, signed in March 2018, is an 
agreement between the Australian and New South Wales (NSW) 
governments and eight councils in Sydney’s outer west. With the 
2016 Census reporting that around 40 per cent of workers living 
in the City Deal region travelled outside of the area for work, 
and the population of Western Sydney set to grow by an extra 
one million people over the next 20 years, including more than 
450,000 in the City Deal region, a new approach was needed. The 
City Deal sets up agreed conditions for the planning, reforming 
and investing needed to transform Western Sydney and provide 
the public with the transport, housing, employment and 
educational opportunities needed to accommodate growth.

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This City Deal includes enduring governance arrangements 
between the three levels of government around better aligning 
planning, investment and policy decision making for Western 
Sydney. These governance arrangements are supported by a 
tri-government delivery office to co-ordinate delivery of City 
Deal commitments. Australian Government employees work in 
the Parramatta-based City Deal office. 
The needs of the community are at the heart of the Western 
Sydney City Deal. The Australian and NSW governments have 
worked closely with local councils to identify local community 
needs. Through the joint governance arrangements, councils will 
continue to apply community views to shape the City Deal.
The Western Sydney City Deal will achieve significant outcomes 
for Western Sydney residents.
The APS is capable of working well within an essentially hierarchical 
system. The cross-agency taskforce model is regularly deployed 
to address issues requiring multi-disciplinary skills. While there 
is evidence that demonstrates effective collaboration, there are 
also examples where poorer policy outcomes have resulted from a 
disconnect between front-line service delivery and relevant policy 
areas. These lessons emphasise the need to work collaboratively for 
successful delivery of policy and continuous improvement of services.
Efforts to improve public outcomes by mobilising capability are 
described in Chapter 8, Mobilising capability.
To ensure confidence, we need to pay attention to both 
policy development and delivery. Each of us needs to 
consider how the ultimate recipient, the citizen, will 
experience, or be impacted, by a policy.
Kathryn Campbell, CSC, Secretary, Department of Social Services62
Workplace relations
Workplace relations arrangements underpin and inform many aspects 
of HR management. These arrangements support consultation and 
cooperation across organisations, with the view to continuously 
improve organisational performance. This is particularly important 
when managing complex organisational change. 
Trust is an important feature in a healthy workplace relations 
environment. Arrangements for workplace relations support and 
build employer-employee relationships. Strong, positive leadership 
62  IPAA Secretary Series, 26 September 2018.

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State of the Service Report 2017–18
and effective communications are essential. SES and line managers 
need to work together to foster such an environment. The 2018 APS 
employee census results on leadership performance are outlined at 
Chapter 9, Leadership and stewardship.
Each APS agency is responsible for its own workplace relations 
arrangements within a legislative and policy framework. These 
arrangements can support or stymie workforce performance 
and productivity. Over recent years, APS workplace relations 
have focused on the effect of enterprise agreement content on 
agency performance.
A key government objective is modernising public sector workplaces 
so they can adapt quickly to changing operational needs. Large shifts 
in the economy and changing priorities of agencies will continue over 
the coming decade.
Paragraph 2(a) of the Government’s Workplace Bargaining Policy 
2018 states that ‘enterprise agreements and other workplace 
arrangements are not to contain restrictive work practices, 
unduly limit flexibility, or otherwise impede workplace reform’. 
The removal of administrative detail and procedures from enterprise 
agreements enables agencies and employees to:
•  respond more flexibly to changing circumstances and priorities
•  take advantage of new workplace innovations more quickly
•  pursue different ways of working through technological change. 
In addition to flexible workplace arrangements, agencies pursue 
measures to improve workplace productivity. Examples include:
•  business process improvements
•  capability development 
•  technological improvements 
•  reforms to HR policies and delegations 
•  staffing or establishment reviews
•  performance management streamlining
•  flexible workforce structures and resourcing.
Increasingly the APSC is seeing a shift in agency thinking from 
finding productivity gains within enterprise agreements to seeking 
these gains more broadly within their operations. This is consistent 
with the Government’s Workplace Bargaining Policy 2018, 
which requires agencies to identify productivity improvements to 
support their proposed remuneration increases. 
In 2017–18, employees in 18 APS agencies voted up new enterprise 
agreements. Generally strong employee support for recent enterprise 
agreement ballots and a low level of protected industrial action 
suggests that employees are largely satisfied with their employment 
terms and conditions. This is broadly consistent with the 2018 

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79
APS employee census results, where more than three-quarters 
of respondents reported satisfaction with their non-monetary 
employment conditions.
Thirty-six APS enterprise agreements reach their nominal expiry 
dates in 2018–19. In some instances, agencies and employees are 
considering providing wage increases through determinations 
made under the Public Service Act while leaving nominally expired 
enterprise agreements in place. 
In response to agency demand and the need for greater strategic 
focus on workplace relations, the APSC is working with agencies to 
enhance the capability of their workplace relations specialists and 
raise awareness of good workplace relations practice. The Workplace 
Relations Capability Program includes: 
•  resources such as a bargaining guide
•  peer-to-peer learning through small group sessions and 
panel events
•  problem solving through small group sessions.
Engagement
Research over many decades has shown that high levels of employee 
engagement are associated with positive benefits. These include 
better organisational performance, productivity and retention. 
Engagement is more than job satisfaction or commitment to an 
organisation. It is the extent to which employees are motivated, 
inspired and enabled to improve organisational outcomes. It is a 
two-way relationship between an employee and their organisation. 
The employee engagement index included in the APS employee 
census measures the emotional commitment that employees have to 
working for their organisation.
In this model, an engaged employee will ‘say’, ‘stay’ and ‘strive’:
•  Say—the employee is a positive advocate of the organisation.
•  Stay—the employee is committed to the organisation and 
wants to stay.
•  Strive—the employee is willing to put in discretionary effort to 
excel in their job and help their organisation succeed.
Results of questions against each element produce an overall 
engagement index score. This score for the APS in 2018 was 70.
Across APS agencies, levels of employee engagement vary. Results 
from the 2018 APS employee census show some key factors 
differentiating between agencies with the highest and lowest 
engagement scores. 

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State of the Service Report 2017–18
Figure 41 shows that agencies with a higher engagement index are 
perceived as more than 30 percentage points better in their SES 
actively contributing to the work of the agency, seen as high quality, 
regularly leading employee meetings and supporting flexible work. 
These agencies are also perceived by their employees to be better in 
providing opportunities for mobility, to care about employee health 
and wellbeing, and to provide opportunities for autonomy and choice 
in how to perform work.
Figure 41:  Percentage point differences between the top 10 
and bottom 10 agencies for employee engagement
In my agency, the SES 
actively contribute to the 
work of our agency
In my agency, the SES are of 
a high quality
My SES manager leads 
regular staff meetings
I have a choice in deciding 
how I do my work
My SES manager actively 
supports the use of flexible work 
arrangements by all staff, 
regardless of gender
My agency provides 
opportunities for mobility 
outside my agency
I think my agency cares about 
my health and welbeing
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
Difference in per cent agree
Source: 2018 APS employee census
What drives employee engagement varies from agency to agency with 
some differences due to size and function. In examining drivers for 
employee engagement, some of the highest factors influencing this in 
the APS include:
•  employees believing that one of their responsibilities is to 
continually look for new ways to improve the way they work
•  employees having a clear understanding of their development needs
•  employee satisfaction with recognition for doing a good job
•  employees having a clear understanding of how their workgroup’s 
role contributes to their agency’s strategic direction
•  agency managing change well
•  agency actively encouraging ethical behaviour by all employees

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Employee engagement also varies across classification levels in the 
APS. Figure 42 shows that SES employees have substantially higher 
levels of engagement compared to EL and APS employees. 
Figure 42: Employee engagement scores by classification
Trainee/Apprentice
Graduate (incl Cadets)
APS 1-2
APS 3-4
APS 5-6
EL 1
EL 2
SES 1
SES 2-3
0
20
40
60
80
100
Employee engagement score as per cent
Source: 2018 APS employee census
A number of employee engagement items indicate large differences 
between SES and non-SES respondents. In particular, a greater 
proportion of SES respondents would recommend their agency as 
a good place to work and feel their agency inspires them to do their 
best every day (Figure 43). 
Figure 43:  APS employee perceptions of their agency, SES 
and non-SES employees
100
90
80
70
60
50
Per cent agree
40
30
20
10
0
I would recommend 
My agency really 
my agency as a good 
inspires me to do my 
place to work
best work every day
SES
Non-SES
Source: 2018 APS employee census

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State of the Service Report 2017–18
Wellbeing
Employee wellbeing is important for maintaining high performance 
and high levels of employee engagement. The APS employee 
census measures the practical and cultural elements allowing for a 
sustainable and healthy working environment.
The wellbeing index included in the APS employee census provides 
a measure of wellbeing for employees within an organisation. 
The overall index for the APS in 2018 was 66, a one percentage point 
increase from 2017.
Figure 44 shows that agencies with a higher wellbeing index are 
perceived as being more than 30 percentage points better in:
•  SES actively contributing to work, seen as high-quality, working as 
a team member and communicating effectively with others
•  managing the workforce and change well
•  communicating effectively.
Employee census results suggest that employees feeling valued for 
their contribution is the biggest differentiator between agencies with 
the highest and lowest wellbeing scores.
Figure 44:  Percentage point differences between the top 10 
and bottom 10 agencies for wellbeing
In general, employees in my agency feel 
they are valued for their contribution
In my agency, the SES actively 
contribute to the work of our agency
In my agency, the SES are of a high quality
In general, the workforce in my agency 
is managed well
Internal communication within my 
agency is effective
In my agency, the SES work as team
Change is managed well in my agency
In my agency, communication between the 
SES and other employees is effective
0
10
20
30
40
50
Difference in per cent agree
Source: 2018 APS employee census

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83
Most 2018 APS employee census respondents (81 per cent) believed 
their immediate supervisor cared about their health and wellbeing 
and were comfortable in approaching their immediate supervisor 
about personal circumstances that may impact on work. 
Flexible work
APS agencies need workforce flexibility to adapt quickly in a rapidly 
changing environment. This can be achieved while still ensuring 
employee work-life balance. Flexible work encompasses practices 
supporting when, where and how work can be conducted. 
The APS has a reasonably flexible work culture. Approximately half 
of respondents in the 2018 APS employee census said they access 
flexible working arrangements. The other half said they did not need 
to do so. 
Out of all respondents:
•  82 per cent agreed their supervisor actively supports the 
use of flexible working arrangements by all employees, 
regardless of gender
•  60 per cent agreed their SES manager actively supports 
the use of flexible working arrangements by all employees, 
regardless of gender
•  77 per cent said they were satisfied with their non-monetary 
employment conditions, including access to flexible 
working arrangements
•  74 per cent said they were satisfied with work-life balance in 
their job.

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State of the Service Report 2017–18
It is not always possible to access flexible working arrangements 
in specific jobs. Some operational environments require more 
structured approaches to work, for example with shift work. The top 
three barriers to flexible work reported were: resourcing and staffing 
limitations; operational requirements of the role; and managerial 
decision making (Figure 45). 
Figure 45:  Barriers cited as reasons for not using flexible 
working arrangements
Resources and staffing limits
The operational requirements 
of my role
Management discretion
My agency's culture is not 
conducive to flexible 
working arrangements
I would be letting my 
workgroup down
Potential impact on my career
Personal/financial reasons
Lack of technical support
Absence of necessary hardware
My agency does not have a 
flexible working 
arrangement policy
0
5
10
15
20
Per cent of APS employees not currently 
using flexible working arrangements 
Source: 2018 APS employee census

Capability
85

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State of the Service Report 2017–18
CHAPTER 7 
BUILDING 
CAPABILITY
A fit-for-purpose APS needs an engaged and 
Key points 
highly capable workforce that is able to serve 
•  Sixty-eight per cent of APS employee 
government and citizens into the future. 
census respondents reported 
While the future is opaque, some trends are 
being able to access learning and 
likely to impact on the capabilities required 
development solutions that meet 
by the APS. These include globalisation, 
their needs.
demographic change, technological change, 
resource challenges and workforce changes.
•  Agencies reported a need to develop 
digital skills. They also reported skill 
The APS is grappling with building and 
shortages in various digital roles. 
maintaining the capability needed to 
respond to increasingly complex challenges. 
•  A data literacy program has been 
Two themes emerge as the APS looks to 
released to support agency efforts in 
the future:
building data capability.
1.  The ability to quickly re-configure around 
•  More than half of APS employee 
a problem will be crucial in managing 
census respondents were attracted 
complexity. Adaptability and agility will 
by the security, stability and 
be the norm, with the need to build new 
employment conditions in seeking 
capabilities rapidly, and bring together 
APS employment.
skills and resources in new ways. 
•  Around half of employees applied 
2.  The need for the APS to maintain the 
for another job over the previous 
continuity and stability that government 
12-months, with most applying for 
and citizens expect. There will continue to 
jobs in their current agency.
be a need for professional public service 
skills, including deep public policy and 
implementation expertise. Employees will 
need to know how to operate within the 
APS framework of values and integrity. 
Accountability to government and citizens 
will remain central to a trusted and 
high-performing institution.
Given the breadth of APS operations, 
agency-specific knowledge and skills 
are likely to continue to be important 
for delivering outcomes for government 
and citizens. Deep expertise will remain 
crucial to APS performance particularly in 
specialised agencies. This deep, technical 
expertise cannot be undervalued.

Capability
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As managers and as future leaders, we have to spend, 
I think quite rightly, a significant amount of time thinking 
about how we prepare our workforce for the capabilities 
and skills they need for the future. Optimising the 
collective ability to deliver for the government and 
for the people of Australia, and that’s an immense 
challenge for all of us.
Chris Moraitis PSM, Secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department63
Changes in the way work is performed will also have an impact on 
building capability. The likely shift to a more mobile APS workforce 
will require the APS to find ways of developing and maintaining 
skills throughout more fluid careers. The impacts of technology 
such as automation and artificial intelligence will require re-training 
employees as technology becomes even more integrated into their 
daily lives and work. 
As the APS engages with future trends, including technological 
advancements, new capabilities are emerging as necessary for the 
functioning of the modern organisation and workplace. In the 
APS, the current focus is on digital and data capability, systems 
thinking, adaptation and change, and agile design. Operating globally 
will mean capabilities such as cross-cultural competence and 
intercultural communication will be increasingly necessary, as will a 
global mindset.
An early theme emerging from the Independent Review of the APS 
is the need to build, maintain and renew skills and capabilities in 
employees. Numerous submissions have highlighted the need to 
strengthen relationships with other jurisdictions and sectors to better 
use external capabilities.64 The need to improve digital capability is 
a recurring theme, including in the submission from the Office of 
Innovation and Science65, which reports that ‘…the APS needs new 
mindsets, skills and capabilities to deliver innovative digital services’. 
In the 2018 APS agency survey, the top three learning and 
development needs for agencies over the next 12 to 24 months were:
1.  improving digital literacy
2.  developing leadership and management capability
3.  improving core skills in areas such as policy development and 
project management.
63  IPAA Secretary Series, 21 February 2018.
64  Submissions include from the Building Council of Australia, ANZ bank, QBE 
Insurance, Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities, and 
the Australian Information Industry Association, https://contribute.apsreview.
gov.au/submissions

65  Part of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.

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State of the Service Report 2017–18
Investing in capability
… we all know how important on-the-job coaching and 
mentoring are—passing on traditions, insight and guidance 
is like a capability multiplier.
I sometimes think about my own public service career as a 
lifelong apprenticeship: I’ve never stopped learning from 
people around me and hope the Australian Public Service 
can deliver this for all its members.
Dr Martin Parkinson AC PSM, Secretary, Department of Prime 
Minister and Cabinet 66
The development of capability occurs across a career through 
experiences, job roles, manager support, mentoring, coaching, 
and formal learning and development programs. 
The APSC plays a role in fostering leadership and high-quality 
development in the APS. This is provided through guidance, 
advice and some program delivery, however responsibility for 
capability development is largely devolved to agencies. For this 
reason, it is difficult to accurately assess total APS expenditure on 
formal learning and development. 
Responses to the 2018 APS employee census showed that around 
70 per cent of employees report being able to access learning and 
development solutions to meet their needs. A similar proportion 
agreed that their supervisor provides time for them to attend 
learning programs and supports them to apply their learnings back in 
the workplace. 
There are areas for improvement regarding supervisor support 
for capability development. Just under 60 per cent of employees 
agreed their immediate supervisor coaches them as part of their 
development and/or discusses their career plans. Ensuring the 
optimum level of investment in the development of employees 
will contribute to a more capable workforce, better able to provide 
government services. These results are discussed in more detail in 
Chapter 8, Mobilising capability.
66  The Mandarin, ‘Brexit, multilateralism and how the media impacts policy work’, 
19 October 2018, <https://www.themandarin.com.au/100211-dr-martin-
parkinson-brexit-multilateralism-and-how-the-media-impacts-policy-work/>


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Professional public service
Professional public service skills underpin the ability of the public 
service to serve citizens through the government of the day. 
These skills go to the heart of what a public service does—policy, 
service delivery, regulation, implementation design, program 
management, and evaluation.
Recent work to analyse the capabilities that underpin the 
professionalism of APS employees identified six core enabling 
capabilities. These include working with government, working 
with people, effective communication, APS decision making, 
and management. The sixth capability, data and digital, is increasingly 
critical for all public servants. 
While many of these skills have traditionally been learned on the 
job, there is a role for more structured learning and development 
to accelerate their acquisition and ensure consistency and fitness 
for purpose.
A case study highlighting recent evaluation results for ‘working with 
government’ and ‘APS decision-making’ capabilities demonstrates 
the extent to which ongoing attention to development is needed. 
Workforce renewal, including recruitment through entry-level 
programs and lateral recruits, means developing professional public 
service skills is an ongoing task.
Building professional public service skills
The APSC offers learning programs for employees across the 
APS. All programs are evaluated for quality, relevance and 
learning outcomes. This includes participants assessing their 
level of capability before a program begins and after it finishes. 
The assessment is expressed as a percentage, with 100 per cent 
indicating a very high level of confidence in capability and 
0 per cent indicating no confidence. The shift between before 
and after assessments indicates a movement in capability.
Recent evaluation results on the capability shift for programs 
focused on the ‘working with government’ and ‘APS decision-
making’ capabilities demonstrate the extent to which ongoing 
development of employees is required. These capabilities are 
specific to the APS context and all new APS employees are 
required to acquire knowledge and skills in these areas.
Participants attending ‘working with government’ programs 
in 2017–18 rated their average capability level before starting a 
program as 39 per cent. At program end, the self-rated average 
capability level was 94 per cent. This is an average increase of 
55 percentage points.

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State of the Service Report 2017–18
The learning programs to develop the ‘working with 
government’ capability include: appearing before parliamentary 
committees; briefing and responding to APS decision makers, 
ministers and Parliament; crafting quality new policy proposals; 
and producing a quality cabinet document. Participants of the 
Cabinet document program reported the greatest increase in 
capability, from a pre-program capability of 29 per cent to a post-
program capability of 94 per cent.
Similar results were reported for the ‘APS decision-making’ 
capability, with participants in 2017–18 reporting an average 
pre-program capability level of 38 per cent, and a post-program 
average capability level of 95 per cent. This is an average increase 
of 57 percentage points.
These programs include: improving analytical and critical 
thinking; APS decision making; APS ethics and values; and 
APS frameworks. Participants in APS frameworks reported the 
strongest shift in capability, from a pre-program capability of 32 
per cent, to a post-program capability of 96 per cent. 
Building digital capability
Rapidly changing technology is transforming the economy and 
significantly altering the way the community interacts with 
government. A breadth and depth of digital capability is crucial for a 
public sector that is fit-for-purpose now and into the future. 
Connectivity and the growth of networks are outpacing 
national laws, rules, regulations and policies—and 
indeed the technical comprehension of many regulators 
and administrators.
Michael Pezzullo, Secretary, Department of Home Affairs67
For the first time in 2018, the APS employee census captured the 
proportion of employees working in digital roles. While just 1 
per cent of respondents indicated that digital best described the 
work they do, this percentage is expected to increase. Agencies are 
reporting a need to develop digital skills. They are also reporting skill 
shortages in some digital roles. 
In the 2018 APS employee census, 50 per cent of respondents agreed 
that SES in their agency support and provide opportunities for new 
ways of working in a digital environment.
67  Speech to the fourth Australian Security Summit, 17 July 2018, Canberra.

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91
In the 2017–18 Budget, the Government announced funded work 
by the APSC and the Digital Transformation Agency to build APS 
digital capability.
As part of this, Learning Design Standards have been developed 
for various specialist digital capabilities. These standards outline 
the knowledge and skills required to be competent in a digital role, 
with recommended training content. One standard focuses on the 
foundational level of digital capability required for all employees. 
The standards are being progressively placed on the Digital Training 
Marketplace, where they can be used by agencies and training 
organisations to deliver training in the digital skills the APS needs. 
Digital Training Marketplace
In mid-2018, the Digital Transformation Agency launched 
the Digital Training Marketplace. This new component of 
the existing Digital Marketplace is a platform for simplifying 
and speeding up government procurement of digital services 
and expertise. It also makes it easier for businesses to access 
opportunities to provide services to government. 
The Digital Transformation Agency and the APSC worked 
together for close to 18 months under the Building Digital 
Capability program to lift digital skills in the APS. As part of 
this work they collaborated broadly across the APS to identify 
and define the capabilities needed by agencies to drive digital 
transformation. By co-designing with relevant experts, they 
developed blueprints for learning these skills, called Learning 
Design Standards.
Standards have been developed for:
•  digital foundations
•  user research
•  agile delivery management 
•  content design
•  Cloud service management
•  cyber security
•  digital performance analysis
•  product management
•  service design
•  digital service management
•  interaction design
•  technology lead.

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State of the Service Report 2017–18
These standards can be used by agencies to help design and 
procure learning services for employees. The Digital Training 
Marketplace provides agencies with a one-stop shop for sourcing 
these services. 
The Learning Design Standards make it is easier for agencies to 
tailor procurement to the skills they need most and give clear 
guidance to providers on how to respond. 
The market reaction has been very positive with more than 
170 training organisations joining the Digital Training 
Marketplace in the first three months of operation. This has 
created choice for agencies and is enabling them to find training 
that truly meets their needs.
The Learning Design Standards are supporting the design of digital 
career pathways. This is important for attracting and retaining 
the digital talent needed to transform the way government does 
business. The expansion of entry-level programs, such as the ICT 
apprenticeship program, are also important for this, as is mentoring 
and access to professional networks.
It is also critical that SES understand and support digital ways of 
working. Recognising the need for this group to value and champion 
digital ways of working, a program has been designed to enhance SES 
digital leadership skills.
Initial results of the digital leadership program are positive. 
Data shows significant shifts in capability for all areas of learning, 
with an average increase of 56 percentage points. The three program 
areas showing the strongest capability growth were ‘Principles of 
digital leadership’, ‘Applying digital strategies, methodologies and 
tools’ and ‘Systems-thinking to meet digital transformation 
challenges’. Program participants reported strong commitment to 
implementing program learning, such as creating a digital culture in 
their agencies, applying digital methodologies and continuing their 
digital leadership development.
Data capability
Government has provided funding across the APS through 
the Modernisation Fund to improve the use and management 
of data. Better data analytics will improve policy and program 
implementation and expenditure. It will also lead to better design and 
delivery of services.

Capability
93
The 2018 APS agency survey indicated that a priority area for 
capability development is data analysis and reporting. Most agencies 
(65 per cent) cited skills and capability as a barrier impeding data use. 
To further develop data literacy capability, most APS agencies 
have taken a range of actions (Figure 46). Most have ensured 
that employees can access on-the-job training and development 
opportunities (79 per cent) or formal training (71 per cent). 
Just under half (46 per cent) facilitated access to an internal 
data champion.
Figure 46:  Proportion of APS agencies undertaking actions 
to improve data literacy capability 
Ensured employee access to
on-the-job training and
development opportunities
Ensured employee access
to formal training
Access to a data champion
within the agency
Establishment/ongoing
involvement of data community
of practice networks
Establishment/ongoing
involvement of data
management committees
Other
No action
0
20
40
60
80
100
Per cent of APS agencies
Source: 2018 APS agency survey
To support agency efforts, a data literacy program was designed and 
released in 2018, a partnership between the APSC and the ABS. 
The program includes five eLearning modules, focused on using data, 
undertaking research, using statistics, visualising information and 
providing evidence to decision makers. In addition, a ‘Using statistics’ 
workshop was piloted twice in mid-2018 before general release. 
Pilot participants reported an average of 37 percentage point 
increase in capability. Most noteworthy was the reported 
improvement in ‘basic statistical terms and concepts’ and ‘selecting 
the most appropriate measure for a purpose’. In a recent interview, 
one participant reported that program impacts went beyond increased 
knowledge and competency, with benefits including improved 
reporting and credibility with stakeholders. 

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State of the Service Report 2017–18
Strategic policy skills
The APS Policy Capability Project is an initiative of the APS Reform 
Committee of the Secretaries Board and is linked to the Roadmap. 
This cross-agency project aims to align, leverage and support efforts 
to lift policy capability across the APS. It is a response to the rapidly 
changing policy environment, concern about potential capability gaps 
and the expanding policy toolkit. The project is taking a collaborative 
and system-wide approach, as long-term efforts to lift capability need 
to be owned by practitioners and reflect the practical reality of policy 
work. While still in its early phases, the project will identify practical 
actions and engage with APS policy professionals to co-design a 
longer-term approach to improve capability.
Attraction and retention
The APSC’s Contestability Review ‘Unlocking Potential’, outlined 
the importance of having appropriate mechanisms in place to attract, 
recruit and retain talented people with the skills and capabilities the 
APS needs.68
The Review found that unnecessarily complex and lengthy 
recruitment processes had developed over time. To help agencies 
better understand their obligations under the Public Service 
Act, and to improve transparency for employees and the wider 
community, the APSC has been working towards a streamlined 
approach. Agencies are encouraged to develop methods of attracting 
and selecting the right person for the right job in a way that continues 
to support the APS Employment Principles by being open, fair 
and competitive.
Some innovative recruitment and selection methods being used by 
agencies include:
•  one-page pitch without requiring responses to selection criteria
•  video applications
•  informal face-to-face interviews
•  Skype interviews
•  online psychometric assessment at various stages of the process.
The APSC has reviewed its online material on recruitment and 
introduced the Management Essentials69 series. Agencies are 
being consulted to better understand and share innovative 
recruitment practices. The APSC is reviewing changes made to the 
Commissioner’s Directions in 2016, in particular to understand the 
impact of enabling agencies to share merit lists for similar vacancies. 
68  APSC (2015), Unlocking potential: If not us, who? If not now, when?, Australian Public 
Service Workforce Management Contestability Review, Canberra.
69  https://www.apsc.gov.au/management-essentials (accessed 16 October 2018).

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95
The 2018 APS employee census sought views from employees 
about why they joined the APS. Figure 46 shows that more than 
half of respondents sought employment for security, stability and 
employment conditions. Newer employees were more likely to be 
attracted to employment conditions (Figure 47). Remuneration is a 
lower motivating influence on employees to join the APS. 
Figure 47:  Most common reasons why employees joined 
the APS 
Security and stability
Employment conditions
Type of work offered
The work aligned with my job
skills/experience
Long term career progression
Service to the general public
Geographical location
Remuneration
Other
0
20
40
60
80
Per cent
APS overall
Employees with less than 1 year of service in the APS
Employees with 20 years or more of service in the APS
Source: 2018 APS employee census

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State of the Service Report 2017–18
Over time, reasons for joining the APS have shifted. Twenty years 
ago people remember joining because the APS offered security and 
stability. While this is still a main reason for starting an APS career, 
results from the 2018 APS employee census indicate a far greater 
proportion of new employees are attracted by employment conditions 
and work that aligns with their skills and experience. In addition, 
more new starters are attracted by the long-term career progression 
being offered by the APS.
Digital Transformation Agency—Digital Entry 
Level Programs
The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) delivers a broad 
range of services. Its central focus is on simple, clear and fast 
access to government. Its four strategic priorities for 2018–19 are 
to deliver:
1.  a whole-of-government Digital Transformation Strategy 
and Roadmap
2.  a digital capability improvement program, including 
procurement reform 
3.  whole-of-government digital platforms, including 
digital identity
4.  investment advice, and whole-of-government portfolio 
oversight on ICT and digital investments.
The DTA is working towards delivering reliable, consistent and 
easy-to-use government services. These services will be trusted 
and secure, with smarter use and storage of personal data and the 
ability for the user to control its use. 
To facilitate this transition, the DTA is building digital capability 
across the APS and attracting candidates to the digital discipline. 
This includes end-to-end recruitment and development specific 
to the digital profession and needs of the APS. The DTA is 
working towards this through its Digital Emerging Talent 
programs and is the lead Australian Government agency 
administering this centralised approach to enhance the 
APS workforce. 
The DTA provides services against three distinct digital 
programs through recruitment and development to include the:
•  Apprenticeship Program
•  Cadetship Program
•  Graduate Program

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97
These programs are designed to improve digital recruitment 
outcomes for government agencies. They also support agencies 
with limited resources and reach and provide cost-effective 
solutions while fostering skills development in the APS.
The programs were implemented in 2007 and have seen more 
than 1,100 participants being employed within the APS between 
2007 and 2018, directly increasing digital capability. Another 120 
participants will join the programs in 2019 and the DTA will 
continue having oversight of these programs into the future.
Entry-level programs
Attracting high-calibre candidates and investing in their foundational 
development is an important aspect of building APS capability. 
One way of achieving this is through strong entry-level programs.
Part of the APS Workforce Strategy, under the Roadmap, commits 
to ensuring new entrants are adequately developed to provide a 
strong foundation for their career. This includes through improved 
entry-level programs. Effective induction, on-the-job learning, 
support from teams and managers, and specific training can all bring 
new entrants up to speed quickly and build their capability. 
This will be increasingly important as the APS becomes more 
permeable and people join the APS, or move in and out of it, 
throughout their career. 
APS Induction Portal
A pilot of an APS Induction Portal began in 2018, with 71 agencies 
now participating. The portal is designed to support employees as 
they begin their careers in the APS. In addition to general guidance 
material, the portal provides eLearning modules on relevant topics 
for new employees. Developed in partnership with subject-matter 
experts across the APS, the modules cover: 
•  working in the APS
•  structure of government and role of Parliament
•  departments and agencies
•  APS frameworks
•  information management
•  fraud awareness
•  integrity and values
•  money and resources
•  work, health and safety
•  security
•  risk
•  diversity.

link to page 111 98
State of the Service Report 2017–18
Resources and reference materials are provided to managers, who 
have an important role in inducting new employees into the APS.
Agencies will complement learning from the portal with agency-
specific induction processes.
The pilot will test the value of a cross-APS approach to induction 
across the four objectives of an effective induction process:
1.  increasing the rate at which a new employee becomes 
fully productive
2.  ensuring the behaviour of a new employees aligns with the APS 
Values and culture
3.  helping a new employee learn how to work with APS frameworks
4.  fully engaging a new employee in the work of the APS, 
capitalising on their individual talents and strengths.
Retention
Half of respondents to the 2018 APS employee census reported they 
had applied for a job over the previous 12 months. Employees were 
most likely to apply for a job within their own agency (37 per cent), 
ahead of another APS agency (18 per cent) and/or outside of the APS 
(12 per cent). 
Figure 48 reflects employee thoughts about tenure in their agency. 
Half of respondents said they wanted to stay working for their agency 
for at least the next three years. Another 24 per cent said they want to 
work for their agency for the next one to two years. 

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99
Figure 48:  APS employee intention to remain with 
their agency
 
I want to stay working for
my agencyfor at least
the next three years
I want to stay working for my
agency for the next
one to two years
I want to leave my agency
within the next 12 months but
feel it will be unlikely in
the current environment
I want to leave my agency
within the next 12 months
I want to leave my agency
as soon as possible
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
Per cent
Source: 2018 APS employee census
The top reasons employees cited for wanting to leave their agency in 
the next 12 months were:
1.  lack of career opportunities within the agency (26 per cent)
2.  a desire to try a different type of work or seek a career change 
(14 per cent).
Overall, 47 per cent of respondents to the 2018 APS employee 
census indicated they would consider leaving the APS for other job 
opportunities. Just more than a quarter (26 per cent) said that they 
would not.
Many reasons exist for preventing respondents from seeking job 
opportunities outside the APS.70 The main ones included:
•  current pay and conditions would not be met (38 per cent)
•  the impact on their superannuation (36 per cent)
•  values being more aligned with their APS work (22 per cent)
•  nearing retirement (12 per cent).
While younger respondents were more likely to consider leaving the 
APS for other job opportunities, the possibility that their current pay 
and conditions would not be met would prevent them from doing 
so. Respondents 50 years of age and older reported that the impact 
on superannuation, or the fact that they were nearing retirement, 
would prevent them from doing so.
70  Respondents could select more than one reason.

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State of the Service Report 2017–18
CHAPTER 8 
MOBILISING 
CAPABILITY
From a system perspective, mobilising 
Key points 
people across the APS as and where required 
•  Mobility can foster diversity of 
is an important means to building collective 
thinking, contestability of ideas and 
capability. Mobility can foster diversity of 
assist in capability development.
thinking, contestability of ideas and assist in 
capability development, lifting overall APS 
•  Most APS employees (72 per cent) 
capability, not just individual capability. 
have only worked for one agency.
In his first speech to the APS, the Senator 
•  Mobility within the ACT was higher 
the Hon Mathias Cormann, Minister for 
than in other jurisdictions.
Finance and the Public Service, tasked the 
•  Most movements occurred between, 
APSC to look at ways to rotate public 
and into, policy agencies.
servants through state and territory 
•  Just more than half of respondents 
governments, private sector companies 
to the APS employee census agreed 
and the community sector. Such rotations 
their agency supports mobility within 
are a way of building understanding and 
the agency.
familiarity across sectors of the economy.
The APS has experience in providing such 
rotations. The Jawun APS secondment 
program is a successful example of the 
benefits of short-term mobility opportunities 
for APS employees outside the APS.

Capability
101
… how can we be confident that we are 
providing well-informed and integrated advice to 
government on Australia’s place in the world, or the 
transformation of the Australian economy, if the bulk 
of the APS has only worked in one department?
Dr Heather Smith PSM, Secretary, Department of Industry, 
Innovation and Science71
Jawun APS secondment program
The Jawun program enables APS employees to work alongside 
others from government, corporate, philanthropic and 
Indigenous organisations within an Indigenous organisation. 
The program aims to provide secondees with a deeper 
understanding of Indigenous culture and communities while helping 
to build the capacity of Indigenous leaders and organisations. 
Since 2011, more than 430 secondees from more than 50 APS 
agencies have participated in Jawun, with most secondments 
being for six weeks. In 2017–18, 28 senior executive visits were 
undertaken and 72 EL employees from 26 agencies placed within 
one of the 10 Jawun regions. Many secondments are in remote or 
regional Australia; some are in Sydney.
The professional and personal development reported by 
participants includes:
•  improved flexibility and readiness to adapt to new routines 
and situations
•  increased tolerance of ambiguity
•  improved self-awareness
•  improved interpersonal and engagement skills
•  improved resilience.
The impact of the Jawun experience has far reaching implications 
for how secondees work when they return to their agency. 
‘I learned a lot from interacting with Government, as opposed 
to being part of Government. In particular, roadblocks and 
issues that Government practices and processes can cause 
and the impact of communication styles and approaches,’ 
said one secondee.
‘It was a great opportunity to see how policy is made from the 
other side of the table’.
71  IPAA, 22 March 2018.

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State of the Service Report 2017–18
Degree of APS mobility
The headline mobility rate, measuring the proportion of employees 
who have moved between agencies in a year, is 2.5 per cent. 
This number has remained constant over the past 15 years.
Data is not consistently captured to allow reporting of internal agency 
movements because agencies often have difficulty in recording 
and reporting on this data. If internal mobility was included, it is 
likely that mobility would be significantly higher than the reported 
2.5 per cent.
Most APS employees, 72 per cent, have only worked for one agency 
(Figure 49).
Figure 49: APS employees by number of agencies worked in
80%
70%
60%
50%
40%
Per cent 30%
20%
10%
0%
One
Two
Three
Four or more
agency
agencies
agencies
agencies
Source: APSED
When viewing these numbers, it is easy to conclude there is little 
mobility in the APS. There is, however, more detail to this story and, 
to an extent, it is a story of two regions: the ACT and non-ACT. 
Mobility within the ACT is significantly higher than it is in other 
jurisdictions. In 2017–18, 79 per cent of total movements were 
attributed to the ACT. Higher mobility in the ACT contrasts with 
most APS employees (62 per cent) working outside the territory. 
The greatest proportion of the ongoing workforce is at the APS 1-6 
classifications (Figure 49). These roles are primarily based outside the 
ACT, and most of these employees are in service delivery. From the 
EL 1 classification upwards, employees are more likely to be located 
in the ACT where mobility occurs.

Capability
103
Figure 50:  Location of ongoing APS employees by 
classification
100
90
80
70
60
50
Per cent 40
30
20
10
0
EL 1
EL 2
APS 1
APS 2
APS 3
APS 4
APS 5
APS 6
SES 1
SES 2
SES 3
Trainee
Graduate
ACT
Non-ACT
Source: APSED
Policy agencies attract the most movements between agencies. 
In 2017–18, 45 per cent of all transfers were into agencies focused on 
policy development (Figure 51). Most of these are primarily located in 
Canberra. This is consistent with the majority of movements between 
agencies being reported in the ACT. 
Figure 51:  Proportion of transfers of ongoing employees into 
an agency by type
50%
45%
40%
35%
30%
25%
Per cent 20%
15%
10%
5%
0%
Policy
Larger
Smaller
Specialist
Regulatory
Operational Operational
Source: APSED

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State of the Service Report 2017–18
APS employees that belong to more technical or specialised job 
families are more likely to only work for one agency. Those belonging 
to the organisational leadership and strategic policy job families are 
most likely to have worked for multiple agencies (Figure 52).
These two most mobile job families are also primarily based in the 
ACT, with 59 per cent of organisational leadership and 89 per cent of 
strategic policy roles being based in the territory. 
While promotions also provide opportunity for mobility, they 
are far more likely in an employee’s current agency than into a 
different agency. Of the 9,564 promotions reported for ongoing 
APS employees in 2017–18, 90 per cent were in an employee’s 
current agency. 
The 2018 APS employee census sought feedback from employees 
on whether internal mobility was encouraged. Fifty-two per cent of 
respondents agreed their agency provided opportunities for mobility 
within the agency. Slightly less, 50 per cent, reported their supervisor 
actively supported opportunities for mobility. Less again, 32 per cent, 
agreed their agency provided opportunities for mobility outside 
their agency.
When agencies were asked about how they give visibility to their 
mobility initiatives, the most common responses were through 
expressions of interest, intranet-based job boards and mobility 
registers. Some agencies reported they use internal mobility to deliver 
project work by matching required capabilities with project needs. 
Agencies tended to express a preference towards using internal 
expertise before looking externally.

Capability
105
Figure 52:  Number of agencies worked by an APS employee 
by job family
Organisation Leadership
Strategic Policy
Communications
and Marketing
Project and Programme
Accounting and Finance
Human Resources
Research
Information and Knowledge
Management
ICT
Monitoring and Audit
Legal and Parliamentary
Intelligence
Administration
Service Delivery
Compliance and Regulation
Health
Development Programme
Trades and Labour
Science
Engineering and Technical
0
20
40
60
80
100
Per cent
One agency
Two agencies
Three agencies
Four or more agencies
Source: APSED


THEME 3:
LEADERSHIP

108
State of the Service Report 2017–18
CHAPTER 9 
LEADERSHIP AND 
STEWARDSHIP
Leadership is central to APS performance. 
Key points 
Effective leaders shape an ethical and 
•  Effective leaders shape an ethical 
productive culture and build the capability 
and productive culture and build the 
of organisations and teams. They engage 
capability of organisations and teams.
people to give their best in making progress 
on complex challenges for government, 
•  The Secretaries Board endorsed a set 
business and the Australian community.
of leadership capabilities for the most 
senior APS roles, reflecting what is 
From a system-wide perspective, the 
needed now and in the future from 
leadership of secretaries and agency heads 
senior leaders.
provides vision and direction for the APS. 
Their leadership provides the impetus to 
•  Most APS employees viewed 
share, collaborate and mobilise efforts across 
their SES managers positively, 
the APS to deliver quality outcomes for 
although less so than perceptions of 
government and citizens.
immediate supervisors.
From an organisational perspective, 
•  Immediate supervisors and 
leaders drive performance, helping to 
SES needed to invest more time 
steer agencies to more effectively deliver. 
in developing the capability 
Leaders engage broadly with ministers 
of employees. 
and their offices, stakeholders and the 
community to bring people together to find 
policy and service delivery solutions. 
There is an expectation that leadership 
is exercised at a range of levels in the 
APS. It can be seen in the day-to-day use 
of good judgement, in problem solving 
and teamwork.

Leadership
109
If values are the bedrock of an institution, 
leadership is what links values with function 
and purpose. And central to leadership is the 
capacity to set out a vision.
Peter Varghese, former Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs 
and Trade70
Secretaries Board72
The Public Service Act was amended in 2013 to formally establish 
the Secretaries Board. The 2010 report Ahead of the Game: Blueprint 
for the Reform of Australian Government Administration
 recommended 
the establishment of the Board to provide stewardship across the 
APS.73 The Board is the pre-eminent forum for the debate of key 
strategic priorities and it develops and implements strategies to 
improve the APS. 
The APS Reform Committee is a subcommittee of the Board. 
It drives work to ensure the success of the Government’s program 
to deliver better and more efficient services to citizens and business, 
including identifying and delivering new short-to-medium term 
reform opportunities as part of the Roadmap. 
The Board is overseeing the implementation of public 
sector modernisation initiatives under the Government’s 
$500 million Modernisation Fund investment in the innovation, 
transformation and sustainability of the public sector.74 
After five years of operation the Board is reviewing its operating 
model and considering changes to strengthen stewardship over the 
achievement of policy and program outcomes and the effectiveness 
of people and administrative management. The Board is also 
actively engaging with the Independent Review of the APS around 
these issues.
72  IPAA Secretary Series: Secretary Valedictory, 9 June 2016.
73  Advisory Group on Reform of Australian Government Administration (2010), 
Ahead of the Game: Blueprint for the Reform of Australian Government Administration
Canberra.
74  2017–18 Budget, Paper 4.

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State of the Service Report 2017–18
Leadership capabilities for 
senior roles
We think that management skills, technical competency 
and subject matter expertise will continue to be critical 
skills, but they are not enough in themselves. We also 
need our leaders to be visionary, influential, collaborative, 
enabling and entrepreneurial. We see those as the crucial 
additional capabilities for the future. Of course, our leaders 
need to be self-aware, courageous and resilient.
Finn Pratt AO PSM, Secretary of the Department of the 
Environment and Energy and Chair of the Secretaries Talent Council, 
November 201675
As they create leadership pipelines for the future, organisations are 
grappling with defining requirements for senior leadership roles. 
They are balancing what is needed for success in the current business 
environment with the requirements for the future.
Many organisations are explicit when expressing what good 
leadership looks like for them, linking leadership to their culture 
and values. Recent research into a range of private sector and public 
sector organisations indicates some common leadership themes 
(Figure 53).
Figure 53: Common leadership themes
KNOWLEDGE/
SKILLS/DOING
ATTRIBUTES/BEING
KNOWING
Engaging and 
Adaptability
Business acumen
motivating others
Learning agility
Strategic insight
Delivering results
Drive
Self-awareness
Thought leadership
Managing change
Courageous
Collaborating 
Creative
and influencing
Integrity
Inspiring
Harvard University research76 on leadership for the future emphasises 
adaptability, self-awareness, boundary spanning, collaboration and 
network thinking. This research suggests that in an environment 
characterised by turbulence and complex challenges, more complex 
thinking skills will be needed, including learning agility, comfort 
with ambiguity, and strategic thinking.
75  IPAA ACT Conference: ‘Identifying and Developing Future Leaders’, 
10 November 2016.
76  Petrie, N (2014), Future Trends in Leadership Development. Center for Creative 
Leadership White Paper. Included a review of approaches to developing leaders 
across the schools of Harvard University (education, business, law, government, 
psychology); a literature review; interviews with 30 experts in the field.

Leadership
111
In 2017, the Secretaries Board endorsed a set of leadership capabilities 
for the most senior APS roles. These reflect their views on what is 
needed from senior leaders now and in the future. These capabilities 
underpin SES talent management and are being used to guide 
development conversations. They reflect the expectation that in 
serving government and citizens, senior APS leaders will provide 
vision and direction, be influential and collaborative, look for new 
ways of doing things that add public value, and build the capability of 
their teams and organisations.
Leadership capabilities for senior roles 
Influentia
Visionary
l
Making a difference
l
C
ria
o
u
lla
e
Self-awareness
b
n
e
o
r
Courage
r
p
at
e
Resilience
r
iv
t
e
n E
for the nation
Enabling
Delivery
Visionary
To provide the best policy advice to government, senior leaders 
need to be able to scan the horizon for emerging trends, 
identifying opportunities and challenges for the nation.
Influential
To take the government’s policy agenda forward, senior leaders 
need the capacity to persuade others towards an outcome, 
winning and maintaining the confidence of government and 
key stakeholders.

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State of the Service Report 2017–18
Col aborative
In making progress on issues that cut across agencies, sectors and 
nations, senior leaders need to be able to develop relationships, 
build trust and find common ground with others. An openness 
to diverse perspectives is critical. 
Entrepreneurial
In finding new and better ways of achieving outcomes on 
behalf of government and citizens, senior leaders need to be 
able to challenge current perspectives, generate new ideas and 
experiment with different approaches. They also need to be adept 
at managing risk. 
Enabling
Creating an environment that empowers individuals and 
teams to deliver their best for government and citizens is a 
core requirement for senior leaders. This includes setting 
expectations, nurturing talent and building capability.
Delivers
Senior leaders need to be highly skilled at managing the delivery 
of complex projects, programs and services. This includes 
harnessing the opportunity provided by digital technology to 
improve delivery outcomes for citizens.
Self-awareness, courage and resilience
These personal qualities sit at the heart of effective leadership 
in the APS. For APS leaders, mobilising and driving change 
requires a strong capacity for action and agency on the one hand, 
and an equally strong capacity for understanding and contending 
with constraints. Self-awareness, courage and resilience 
enable senior leaders to hold steady through the challenges 
of leadership.

Leadership
113
Leadership performance
Secretaries 
The Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet 
and the Australian Public Service Commissioner conduct annual 
performance discussions with secretaries. This practice started in 
2013. This year the methodology changed to include an assessment 
process against the new leadership capabilities, drawing on feedback 
from ministers, stakeholders, peers and direct reports, as well as 
interviews with an organisational psychologist. 
The assessment went to three dimensions of a Secretary’s role: chief 
advisor to the Minister; leader of a department; and steward of the 
APS. This process allowed for a deeper discussion with secretaries 
aimed at providing a basis for enhancing the individual and collective 
performance of the most senior leadership group. 
APS leaders have been successful in establishing a responsive and 
action-oriented culture. The challenge remains to balance this against 
the requirement to be stewards of the APS and bring a holistic 
approach to complex and interconnected issues.
SES and immediate supervisors
Every year the APS employee census measures employee views about 
the quality and capability of leaders at all levels.
Most APS employees view their SES managers positively, 
although less so than their immediate supervisors (Figure 54). 
APS employees were most likely to agree that their SES manager 
was of high quality at 65 per cent, an increase from 62 per cent in 
2017. This is closely followed by supporting people of diversity and 
ensuring work effort contributes to strategic direction. The lowest 
result was in response to whether SES gave time to identify and 
develop talented people, at 45 per cent. This lower score is a small 
increase on last year at 43 per cent. 
A smaller proportion of employees (58 per cent) also perceived their 
SES managers to be able to effectively lead and manage change. 
The ability to manage change well is key to implementing APS 
reform, steering new policy and service delivery. This is discussed in 
more detail in Chapter 4, Managing change.
Differences in the perceptions of SES managers exist, depending on 
their physical location to the respondent. Perceptions of an immediate 
SES manager are more positive when this manager is in the same 
office as the respondent, even if their work location is on a different 
floor. When an SES manager is in a different office, regardless of 
whether the office is in a different town or city, perceptions of the 
immediate SES manager are lower. 

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State of the Service Report 2017–18
Figure 54: APS employee perceptions of their immediate SES 
managers
My SES manager is of a high quality
My SES manager actively supports 
people of diverse backgrounds
My SES manager ensures that work 
effort contributes to the strategic 
direction of the agency and the APS
My SES manager communicates 
effectively
My SES manager is sufficiently 
visible
My SES manager actively supports 
opportunities for women to access 
leadership roles
My SES manager clearly 
articulates the direction and 
priorities for our area
My SES manager actively 
contributes to the work of our area
My SES manager actively 
supports the use of flexible work 
arrangements by all staff, 
regardless of gender
My SES manager leads regular 
staff meetings
My SES manager encourages 
innovation and creativity
My SES manager engages with 
staff on how to respond to future 
challenges
My SES manager effectively 
leads and manages change
My SES manager gives their time to 
identify and develop talented people
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
Per cent agree
Source: 2018 APS employee census
Across both immediate supervisor and SES manager questions, 
employees were less likely to agree on questions relating to developing 
employees, and on identifying and taking time to develop talent. 
Again, these relate to the ‘enabling’ capability. The low responses 
are consistent with previous years. Lower scores on these questions 
suggest that immediate supervisors and SES may not be investing 
time in capability development of employees. It may also suggest a 

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lack of skill in coaching and performance management. This is of 
significant concern as the APS grapples with the need to rapidly build 
capability. Leaders are a key source of development and there may be 
a need to significantly lift their performance in this area. 
The APS employee census also captures employee perceptions of the 
SES as a cohort within their agency. Figure 55 reports on the general 
impressions of this group.
Figure 55:  APS employee perceptions of the SES managers 
within their agency
In my agency, the SES actively 
contribute to the work of our agency
In my agency, the SES set a clear 
strategic direction for the agency
In my agency, the SES clearly 
articulate the direction and 
priorities for our agency
In my agency, the SES are 
sufficiently visible
In my agency, the SES are of a 
high quality
In my agency, the SES supports and 
provides opportunities for new ways 
of working in a digital environment
In my agency, communication 
between the SES and other 
employees is effective 
In my agency, the SES work as a team
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
Per cent agree
Source: 2018 APS employee census
Consistent with past years, employee perceptions of the SES group 
in their agency are lower than perceptions of their immediate SES 
and supervisor. The highest rated perceptions of the SES group 
include contributing to the work of their agency, setting strategic 
direction and articulating priorities. These align with the ‘delivers’ 
and ‘visionary’ capabilities. 
However, employees are less likely to agree that their SES work as a 
team, with only 43 per cent of respondents agreeing to this question. 
This may point to a weakness in the ‘collaboration’ capability.

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State of the Service Report 2017–18
This is a concern given the cross-cutting nature of the issues senior 
leaders need to progress on behalf of government and citizens. 
Working across teams, agencies and sectors is a core requirement in 
a senior role and there appears to be a need to improve capability in 
this area. 
At the individual manager level, as in previous years, the 2018 
APS employee census reveals that most APS employees view 
their immediate supervisor favourably (Figure 56). Responses to 
all questions relating to immediate supervisor were very positive, 
ranging from 72 per cent to 88 per cent. Employees rated their 
immediate supervisor highly, regardless of their supervisor’s normal 
work location (for example, same office, different town or city). 
Figure 56:  APS employee perceptions of their immediate 
supervisors
My supervisor treats 
people with respect
My supervisor treats 
people with respect 
backgrounds
My supervisor gives me 
responsibility and holds 
me to account for what 
I deliver
My supervisor encourages 
me to contribute ideas
My supervisor encourages 
me to contribute ideas 
arrangements by all staff, 
regardless of gender
I have a good immediate 
supervisor
My supervisor maintains 
composure under 
pressure
My supervisor displays 
resilience when faced with 
difficulties or failures
My supervisor 
communicates effectively
My supervisor invites a 
range of views, 
including those 
different to their own
My supervisor challenges 
me to consider new ways 
of doing things
My supervisor helps to 
develop my capability
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90 100
Per cent agree
Source: 2018 APS employee census

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APS employees were most likely to agree that their immediate 
supervisor treats people with respect, supports people from diverse 
backgrounds and holds employees to account. Though still a 
reasonably high result, employees were least likely to agree that 
their supervisor helped develop their capability. This has remained 
consistent across time and aligns with the trends for SES leaders.
An analysis of the approaches immediate supervisors took to develop 
employee capability reveals an interesting pattern (Figure 57).
Figure 57:  APS employee perceptions of their immediate 
supervisors’ approach to developing capability
My immediate supervisor 
provides time for me to attend 
learning programs
My immediate supervisor gives me 
the opportunity to apply what I 
learn in my day-to-day work
My immediate supervisor shares 
links, readings and information
My immediate supervisor provides 
me with opportunities to develop 
relevant capabilities for my career
My immediate supervisor 
encourages me to try new things 
even if they don't always work out
My immediate supervisor coaches 
me as part of my development
My immediate supervisor discusses 
my career plans
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
Per cent agree
Source: 2018 APS employee census
Immediate supervisors were most likely to provide time for their 
employees to attend learning programs and provide opportunities 
for employees to apply what has been learned. Sharing links to useful 
information is also a common approach. The least commonly used 
approaches to developing capability are for supervisors to discuss 
individual career plans and provide coaching as part of development.
Arguably, coaching should be the most likely approach given the day-
to-day working relationship between a supervisor and an employee. 
Delivering work outputs provides many opportunities for guidance 
and coaching. 
The lower likelihood of career conversations aligns with emerging 
themes from recent SES talent-management processes, where few SES 
appear to have had career conversations. In the 2018 APS employee 
census, SES respondents, trainees, apprentices and graduates were the 
most likely to have had career plan discussions, although still relatively 
low at 66 per cent. APS and EL employees were less likely to have had a 
career plan discussion, both at 56 per cent.

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State of the Service Report 2017–18
CHAPTER 10 
DEVELOPING 
LEADERSHIP
Key points 
Leadership 
development focus
•  There was no systematic approach 
across the APS to ensure that all 
The 2017 OECD Skills for a high performing 
leaders get the development they 
civil service report notes that leadership 
need at various stages in their career. 
development is the highest priority for 
There are patches of excellence, and 
OECD countries. Executive leadership 
areas of neglect.
training and coaching was a training priority 
•  How the APS best develops the 
for 23 of the 35-member countries in 2016.77
leadership capability of employees 
Data from the 2018 APS agency survey 
in future will be an area of focus for 
indicates that leadership and management is a 
the APS Reform Committee and the 
top priority for capability development across 
Independent Review of the APS.
the APS. Specific leadership development 
•  Leadership and management 
areas include resilience and change 
were top priorities for capability 
management. Leadership development for 
development across the APS.
APS 5, APS 6, and EL employees is a priority 
•  APS employees required more 
for some small agencies.
managerial support to implement 
Agencies suggest that a number of factors 
new learnings in the workplace.
drive this demand, including the need 
•  APS managers needed to focus 
to operate effectively in an environment 
on incorporating feedback and 
of continuous change, complexity and 
development opportunities into 
uncertainty. A recent report by Harvard 
their day-to-day engagement 
Business Review underlines the importance of 
with employees.
leadership development in organisational 
transformation. The study found that 
organisations where leadership development 
is viewed as critical to success are 
29 times more likely to have a successful 
transformation than those where leadership 
is viewed as not important. The same report 
found that organisations that view learning 
and development as critical to business 
success are continuing to deliver top 
performance compared with their peers.78 
77  https://www.oecd.org/gov/pem/Skills-Highlights.pdf (accessed 16 October 2018).
78  Harvard Business Publishing, 2018. The 2018 State of Leadership Development: Meeting the Transformation Imperative
Research Report.

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Submissions to the Independent Review of the APS have 
emphasised the importance of leadership in the future due to the 
competition for talent that will occur.79 General themes are centred 
on identifying the right leadership attributes and nurturing future 
leaders to achieve success. Key characteristics discussed include 
a more inclusive leadership style where alternative viewpoints are 
sought, delegation is undertaken effectively and measured risk 
taking is encouraged. Additionally, the development of soft skills, 
such as responding calmly, thoughtfully, respectively and dealing 
with underperformance, is vital for senior officials. Submissions 
recommend rotating public servants across the APS for further 
development and undertaking training to develop transformational 
leadership capabilities and behaviours. 
As discussed in Chapter 9, Leadership and stewardship, results from 
the 2018 APS employee census indicate that specific leadership 
development areas for the APS include skills in developing the 
capability of employees, and collaboration. 
Leadership development approach
A range of activities over a career are most likely to result in 
improvements in leadership skills. This includes coaching by 
managers, mentoring from a more experienced leader, being part of a 
peer or professional network, and having different work experiences 
such as taking on a new role or completing a secondment. It also 
includes formal education, such as through university programs, 
executive education courses, workshops and seminars. 
In the APS, leadership development is managed within agencies, with 
various approaches used to building this critical capability. The APSC 
also offers cross-APS leadership development for SES and EL 
employees. For some agencies, this complements their own leadership 
development efforts. For others, access to APSC programs is their 
main source of formal development.
79  Submissions include: Martin Stewart-Weeks, Australia and New Zealand School 
of Government, Australian Risk Policy Institute, Australian Trade Training 
and Assessment, Interaction Consulting Group, Grey Swan Consulting, 
Melbourne School of Government, Brendan Sargeant, Patricia Kelly,  
https://contribute.apsreview.gov.au/submissions

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State of the Service Report 2017–18
Overall, there is no systematic approach across the APS for ensuring 
that all leaders get the development needed at various stages in 
their career. There are patches of excellence, and areas of neglect. 
Recent SES talent management processes indicate that the approach 
to development is somewhat ‘hit and miss’ (discussed further 
in Chapter 11, Talent). This is unlikely to produce the quality of 
leadership the APS needs as it strives to serve government in a more 
dynamic operating environment. The question of how the APS best 
develops the leadership capability of employees in the future will be 
an area of focus for the APS Reform Committee and the Independent 
Review of the APS.
Observations from APS leadership 
development programs
Capability shifts
Each year, around 400 SES and EL employees from across the 
APS participate in cross-APS leadership programs. Evaluation 
data indicates that before they begin their leadership development, 
participants report less confidence in their enabling, influencing and 
collaboration capabilities. This aligns with the areas of capability 
need emerging from the 2018 employee census results.
Participants report strong capability growth in these areas at the end 
of programs. In interviews with participants six to nine months after 
completing a program, participants describe sound improvement in 
many areas of their leadership practice. In particular, this includes 
skills in influencing others, engaging with diverse perspectives and 
building resilience.80
Leadership transitions
The programs with the greatest capability shifts appear to be 
at key leadership transition points: the move to the SES level 
(SES Orientation and SES Band 1 Leadership), and the shift from 
being a technical specialist to taking on a formal leadership role 
(EL2 Leadership Practice). This is not surprising. Transitions require 
an individual to leave behind their deep competence in a familiar 
role, and step into a new role where fresh skills and behaviours are 
required. The need to reach a new level of competence often drives 
learning. Although challenging, leadership transition points can be a 
point at which people are most open to development. 
The program with the greatest shift in capability is the Women 
in Leadership program, with an average shift of 42 per cent. 
This program challenges women at middle management level to 
80  Refer to statistical appendix for evaluation data.

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work more effectively with the social and organisational gender 
dynamics that may impede them from stepping fully into a leadership 
role. It is interesting to note that for this program, only 57 per cent 
of participants say they will get the support they need to 
implement the learning. This is much lower in comparison to other 
leadership programs.
Strengthening community engagement
In 2017, the SES Band 2 Leadership Program was updated with a 
strong focus on understanding the citizens the APS serves, and the 
community’s experience of working with government. Two groups 
of Band 2s visited Nowra to engage with various sectors in the 
community. In 2018, two groups visited Wagga Wagga. The questions 
posed by Dr Martin Parkinson in his 2017 address to the APS helped 
frame the visits:
•  How well do you know the public you serve?
•  Are you ready for disruption?
•  What’s your big idea? 
The visits resulted in increased awareness of the need for deep 
engagement with the community when formulating policy advice and 
designing services. There was greater recognition of the importance 
of working collaboratively across government sectors to achieve the 
best outcomes for citizens. Band 2s benefited from observing the 
outstanding leadership of community leaders in regional Australia.
Band 2 Leadership Development—Community visits
In 2018, as part of the APS Band 2 Leadership Development 
program, senior leaders spent time in Wagga Wagga listening to 
community leaders speak about their challenges and experiences 
working with government. Insights from the program are 
influencing how these senior leaders approach their work. 
These include:
Listening and learning
•  Talking with and listening to community members helps you 
make better decisions. 
•  You do not really get to know a community unless you are 
prepared to spend time listening to the variety and diversity 
of voices.
•  There are many diverse perspectives and voices in 
communities. To deliver effectively, we need to listen to 
them all. 
•  We can learn much about stewardship from Indigenous 
culture and heritage. 

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State of the Service Report 2017–18
The experience of communities
•  Communities do not wait for government to help, there are 
many people and organisations doing things to improve the 
lives of citizens.
•  Communities are frustrated by their experience of 
governments not asking what is needed. 
•  Navigating government services is complex. We need to use 
human-centred approaches in service design keeping the 
Australian people front of mind.
•  There is a disconnect between what agencies are trying to 
push down in terms of policies and implementation and what 
citizens and communities are trying to push up. We need to 
understand and address the disconnect.
Working across boundaries
•  Networking across government sectors is essential to deliver 
better policies and services to citizens. 
•  Learning from other agencies helps deliver joined up services 
for citizens.
•  Getting out of your comfort zone makes you realise how 
transferable your skills are across the government sector.
•  There are commonalities in the problems and opportunities 
agencies face and we are more effective when we 
work together.
•  It is important to remember the wider context of our work. 
It is not just about the work of our individual agencies, 
but how the government combines to deliver to the 
Australian community.
•  It isn’t good enough to think whole of APS. We need to work 
across jurisdictions—all levels of government.

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Chapter 2, Transparency and integrity, discusses the importance of 
citizen engagement in establishing public trust in the decisions of the 
APS, including advice to government.
The role of managers in leadership 
development
Cross-APS leadership programs span a six to 12-month period with 
touchpoints over the period including workshops, coaching sessions 
and peer activities. Participants are expected to test new skills 
between sessions, with practice and feedback. These are important 
ingredients for developing more effective leadership skills. 
In this regard, managers play a vital role in developing the leadership 
capability of their employees. One measure in the program evaluation 
data that consistently scores the lowest is ‘support’ from the 
workplace to implement program learning, including from managers. 
Between 20 and 40 per cent of participants indicate they do not 
have the support they need. This presents a risk that a significant 
proportion of those attending APS leadership programs will not 
build the required skills. There is also potential for some wastage in 
the investment. 
This finding aligns with the 2018 APS employee census results. 
There are generally lower ratings for supervisors developing 
capability through coaching, providing development opportunities, 
and encouraging experimentation. It appears that a significant 
element in improving the leadership capability of the APS will be 
shifting the perceptions of managers about their role and equipping 
them with the skills to incorporate development and feedback into 
their daily engagement with employees. 

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State of the Service Report 2017–18
CHAPTER 11 
TALENT
Modern organisations recognise the 
Key points 
importance of their people to the 
•  Two talent management councils 
achievement of business outcomes. 
oversee the development of high-
Recent research across a range of private and 
potential SES employees.
public sector organisations indicates that 
successful ones invest in talent management 
•  SES employees participating in talent 
as a key business strategy so the right people 
management programs benchmarked 
are ready for critical roles. 
well against counterparts in other 
jurisdictions and the private sector. 
The main driver for talent management 
in the public sector is to deliver better 
•  There was limited cultural and 
public value for government and citizens. 
professional diversity among SES 
In recent years the APS has evolved its 
talent management participants.
talent management approach to ensure it has 
•  Many SES employees received limited 
people with the vision, capability and diverse 
support for career management. 
perspectives to lead the service.
This has often been left to the 
There is a risk that APS talent management 
individual to pursue.
is seen as exclusive. This is not the 
•  A common challenge faced by 
case. All employees provide a valuable 
agencies when implementing talent 
contribution in delivering for government 
management included not having the 
and citizens. It is important that all 
capability and capacity to implement 
employees be supported to operate to their 
a talent strategy.
full potential, with opportunities to develop 
and grow, including through high-quality 
learning and development. Harnessing 
the full potential of individuals should 
contribute to a more productive APS.
At the same time, there is a growing 
recognition of the need to identify employees 
with the potential to take on larger and more 
complex jobs (high-potential employees), 
and through targeted career development, 
improve their readiness for critical APS 
roles. Taking a systematic approach to 
building the depth, breadth and capability 
of high-potential employees is a long-term 
investment in the institutional strength 
of the APS.

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The challenge for the APS is to be really serious 
about talent management. Recognise the value 
of your people, what they will bring into your 
organisation and the future they give us.
Ann Sherry AO, Chairman, Carnival Australia81
Figure 58: Talent Management System 
Corporate plan
Business strategy and
objectives now and
in the future
Ongoing strategic 
alignment and evaluation
Workforce plan
To ensure the agency has the
workforce capacity and 
capability it needs to meet 
its objectives, now and 
into the future
Talent deployment
Talent attraction
Drawing on the talent pool 
and identification
to fill critical capability gaps:
Finding the talent needed 
– Succession management
by the organisation now 
and for the future:
– Attracting from outside
– Identifying from within
Talent engagement
Talent development
Ensuring talented individuals
Developing talented
remain engaged with the
individuals in areas identified
organisation:
as critical to the organisation:
– Career management
– Leadership
– Talent monitoring and
– Management 
   tracking
– Technical skill
– Retention strategies
81  IPAA, Helen Williams oration, 23 August 2018.

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State of the Service Report 2017–18
Talent management in the APS 
The Secretaries Board, as stewards of the APS, has engaged with 
efforts to implement talent and has started developing talent 
management for senior offices with oversight from a group of 
secretaries, the Secretaries Talent Council. The Council, reporting to 
the Board, has led a process to design and test talent management for 
the most senior APS roles. The design is built on the work of a group 
of deputy secretaries who initiated a cross-APS talent process for SES 
Band 1s in 2015.
In December 2017, following the Talent Council’s successful 
pilot process with a small group of high-performing Band 3s, the 
Secretaries Board endorsed an APS approach to talent management. 
This approach is based on an agreed set of principles and includes: 
•  SES talent being managed at a cross-APS level to promote ‘one 
APS’ senior leadership and facilitate career mobility as necessary. 
•  Below the SES, talent processes being managed by individual 
departments and agencies, under the ownership and guidance of 
agency executive boards.
Principles underpinning talent management in 
the APS
•  Talent management is owned and led by APS leaders as part of 
their stewardship role.
•  Talent processes are based on valid and objective data about 
an individual’s potential82, ensuring the right people are 
receiving focused development and career management at the 
right time.
•  Talent management recognises the importance of a diverse 
leadership cadre and actively seeks to develop one.
•  Talent management is both systematic and dynamic:
 
» the performance and potential of leaders is regularly 
monitored, with a commitment to active management
 
» potential is regularly re-assessed as it may change 
depending on an individual’s career stage or 
life circumstances.
82  The APS framework for identifying high potential includes: ability (cognitive 
capacity, emotional intelligence, learning agility and propensity to lead); 
aspiration for a bigger, more complex role; and engagement with the purpose 
and values of the APS. This framework was developed after a review of 150 
papers and models for predicting potential used across the world. 

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Talent management at SES level 
Talent management at SES level is overseen by two talent councils. 
The Secretaries Talent Council focuses on high-performing SES Band 
3s with potential for Secretary or Agency Head roles, or more complex 
Band 3 roles. The Deputy Secretaries Talent Council considers SES 
Band 1 and 2 employees with the potential for SES Band 3 roles. 
To date, the Talent Councils have managed five talent assessment and 
development planning processes, involving 98 high-performing SES. 
Two processes are underway, with plans for more assessment rounds 
by the end of 2019. The intention is to embed SES talent management 
by 2020, aligning it with annual SES performance cycles. 
The results from talent processes are providing fresh insights into 
the senior APS leadership group, including what drives them to 
contribute for the public good. General themes include: 
•  The SES participating in talent processes are intelligent, resilient 
and courageous, and benchmark well compared to public and 
private sector counterparts.
•  Most SES have excelled in demanding roles, often through 
disruptive and changing circumstances. They have the ability 
to navigate a unique APS environment, with a complex set of 
objectives, issues and multi-stakeholder environments. 
•  The drive to deliver consistently rates as the strongest leadership 
capability. Collaborative and enabling capabilities appear to be less 
well developed, as is self-awareness. 
•  Motivations and aspirations are diverse, underpinned by a strong 
notion of ‘service to others’ and making a difference for the 
nation. The sense of purpose is palpable.
•  Most have lacked formal career planning and constructive 
feedback over their career in the APS. This may be contributing to 
lower self-awareness and enabling capability. 
Some themes are also emerging about APS cultural settings. These have 
broader implications for the capability and performance of the service: 
•  The diversity of SES talent management participants in terms 
of their cultural and professional backgrounds is limited. 
Such homogeneity may mean less diversity in thinking and fewer 
challenges to existing ideas. This is a concern. The best leadership 
teams have a mix of people with different life experiences, 
who bring many insights to the consideration of issues.
•  SES appear to have little systematic career management and 
development. Many talented participants describe themselves 
as self-taught leaders with little formal leadership development, 
and little supportive feedback from managers. This aligns with 
perceptions from the 2018 APS employee census. There is a 
question about whether this has impacted on individuals being 
able to realise their full potential. 

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State of the Service Report 2017–18
•  The low mobility rates observed across the APS are reflected 
in the career histories of some talent management participants. 
In particular, at the SES Band 1 classification, many participants 
have quite narrow experience, having worked in a limited number 
of agencies or in similar types of roles for most of their careers. 
Individuals most often require experience-based development 
(that is, role moves) to improve depth and breadth of capability.
As an outcome of its work, the Deputy Secretaries Talent Council 
has seen high mobility rates and merit-based promotions from within 
the talent pool. As at 30 June 2018, more than half of talent pool 
members had broadened their experience by moving to a new agency. 
Feedback from talent pool members is that being ‘noticed’ and given 
a ‘nudge’ has made a significant impact to the way they view their 
career development. Many have said they would not have considered 
moves or taken on experiences outside their comfort zone without 
the focus from the Talent Council. This highlights the importance of 
career conversations, and of senior level sponsorship in encouraging 
high-potential individuals and their agencies to ‘loosen their grip’, 
allowing for more career movement.
Talent management in agencies
The Secretaries Board agreed that talent processes below SES level 
would best be managed within agencies, under the guidance of an 
agency’s Executive Board. An agency’s Executive Board is likely 
to have closer insight into talent at these levels, with capacity to 
support development and career moves. As they implement talent 
management processes appropriate to their needs, agencies can draw 
on central support, guidance and tools.
Talent management approaches for non-SES employees vary by 
agency. In the 2018 APS agency survey, just over one-quarter of 
agencies reported having a formal talent management strategy 
in place, while 58 per cent reported having a governance body 
that oversees employee development. This suggests that while 
conversations about talent are happening, the process underpinning 
the work may be less formal. 
Eleven agencies had talent management strategies dedicated to 
developing leadership capacity and capability. These strategies 
focused on identifying and building high-potential employees for 
future leadership roles. 
Eight agencies described their talent management strategy as 
concentrating on the identification and development of high-potential 
employees. These strategies generally incorporated a framework or 
similar tool to identify high-potential employees, followed by skills 
and career development programs for identified employees. As a 

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result, agencies were able to fill critical roles in response to business 
needs and ensure continuity and stability across the organisation.
Agencies reported that talent pools were the most common 
mechanism used to support their talent management strategies. 
By establishing pools, agencies reported being able to develop and 
deploy people with the right mix of skills and experience to fill 
more complex roles. For this reason, strategies were widely linked to 
succession planning and equipping the organisation to respond to 
changing needs and priorities.
Finally, agencies identified their most common challenges in 
implementing talent management. The three most common 
challenges were:
1.  capability to implement a talent strategy
2.  capacity to implement talent management
3.  a strategy in place to guide implementation.
As talent management matures in agencies, there is an 
opportunity to strengthen the link between strategic intent and 
practical implementation.
Talent management in the future
APS talent management will continue to evolve as more is learned 
about how it best delivers value in a changing APS environment. 
The APS Reform Committee of the Secretaries Board will explore 
ways to strengthen the approach as part of developing a whole-of-
government workforce strategy. A fit-for-purpose APS for the future 
is likely to require a more integrated talent management approach. 
Questions to be considered include: 
•  How can the APS attract the talented people it needs for key 
leadership and technical positions? How can it better support 
those people in their transition to the APS? 
•  How does the APS ensure greater diversity in its talent pipeline, 
for example through building the diversity of feeder groups to 
leadership roles, or recruiting laterally?
•  How can the potential of employees be identified at an earlier 
career stage and nurtured more purposefully over a career?
•  What development approach would best support career-long 
learning for all, as well as providing accelerated development of 
high-potential employees?
•  How can career moves be more easily facilitated for 
high-potential employees? 
•  What mechanisms could the APS adopt to retain talent?
•  How can talent be deployed across the APS to fill critical job roles? 
•  What will succession management look like in the APS of 
the future?

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State of the Service Report 2017–18
STATE OF 
THE SERVICE 
APPENDICES

link to page 146 link to page 154 link to page 158 link to page 163 link to page 163 link to page 170 link to page 171 link to page 173 link to page 176 link to page 179 link to page 180 link to page 183 State of the Service Appendices
131
CONTENTS
Appendix 1—APS workforce data 
134
Appendix 2—Australian Public Service agencies 142
Appendix 3—APS workforce trends 146
Appendix 4—Supporting statistics to the report 151
Chapter 2—Transparency and integrity 151
Chapter 3—Risk and innovation 158
Chapter 5—Diversity and inclusion  
159
Chapter 6—Organisational performance and efficiency 
161
Chapter 7—Building capability 164
Chapter 8—Mobilising capability 167
Chapter 9—Leadership and stewardship 168
Appendix 5—Unscheduled absence
171

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State of the Service Report 2017–18
List of tables
Table A2. 1: APS agencies, 2017–18 142
Table A3.1: Ongoing APS engagements by classification, 2009–18 147
Table A3.2: Ongoing APS engagements by age group, 2009–18 147
Table A3.3: Ongoing APS separations by classification, 2009–18 148
Table A3.4: All APS employees by base classification, 2009–18 148
Table A3.5: All APS employees by age group, 2009–18 149
Table A3.6: Gender representation in the APS, as at 30 June, 2009–18   149
Table A3.7: Gender representation by classification, 2009–18 150
Table A4.1:  Number of APS employees investigated and found in breach  
of elements of the APS Code of Conduct, 2017–18 151
Table A4.2:  Type of reports leading to finalised Code of Conduct 
investigations, 2017–18 152
Table A4. 3:  Outcome of investigations into suspected breaches of the  
Code of Conduct, 2017–18 153
Table A4.4:  Sanctions imposed for breaches of the Code of Conduct, 
2017–18 153
Table A4.5: Type of harassment or bullying perceived by respondents 154
Table A4.6 – Perceived source of harassment or bullying 154
Table A4.7: Reporting behaviour of harassment or bullying 155
Table A4.8: Complaints to agencies about harassment and bullying 155
Table A4.9: Type of discrimination perceived by respondents 156
Table A4.10: Perceptions of corruption 156
Table A4.11: Type of potential corruption witnessed 157
Table A4.12: Perceptions of workplace corruption risk 

157
Table A4.13: Perceptions of risk culture in agencies 158
Table A4.14: Results for individual elements of the innovation index 
159
Table A4.15: Proportion of employees by diversity group, 2009–18 159
Table A4.16:  Agency self-reporting—implementation of initiatives in 
Balancing the Future: APS Gender Equality 160
Table A4.17:  Agency self-reporting—implementation of initiatives in 
the Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander 
Employment Strategy 2015-18 160

Table A4.18:  Agency self-reporting—implementation of initiatives in the  
As One; Making it Happen, APS Disability Employment 
Strategy 2016-19 160

Table A4.19:  Percentage of employees using flexible working  
arrangements, by classification 
161
Table A4.20:  Reasons for not using flexible working arrangements,  
by classification 
161
Table A4.21: Types of work arrangements being used, by classification 
162
Table A4.22:  Support for using flexible working arrangements,  
by classification 
162

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133
Table A4.23:  Agency availability of flexible working arrangements, 
by type 
163
Table A4.24:  Employee engagement—components of the Say, Stay, 
Strive employee engagement model 
163
Table A4.25: Wellbeing measures 164
Table A4.26:  Agency actions to improve employee data literacy  

capability 164
Table A4.27: Strategies applied to appropriately use and manage data 
165
Table A4.28: Agency barriers to the use of data 
165
Table A4.29: Reasons for joining the APS 
165
Table A4.30:  Applications for another job during the 12 months  
preceding the census  
166
Table A4.31: Intention to leave 
166
Table A4.32: Primary reason for wanting to leave current agency 166
Table A4.33: Agency support for employee mobility 167
Table A4.34: Mobility by agency type, 2017–18 167
Table A4.35: Mobility by location, 2017–18 168
Table A4.36: Employee perceptions of immediate SES manager 168
Table A4.37: Employee perceptions of agency SES leadership 169
Table A4.38: Employee perceptions of immediate supervisors 170
Table A4.39: Cross-APS leadership programs, capability shift 

170
Table A5.1: Unscheduled absence, 2013–14 to 2017–18 171
Table A5.2: Unscheduled absence by agency size, 2016–17 and 2017–18 171
Table A5.3: Unscheduled absence by agency, 2016–17 and 2017–18 171

List of figures
Figure 1:  Say, Stay Strive employee engagement model elements 138

134
State of the Service Report 2017–18
APPENDIX 1—APS 
WORKFORCE DATA
APS employee database
The Australian Public Service Employment Database (APSED) contains employment, 
diversity and education details for all people employed in the Australian Public Service (APS) 
under the authority of the Public Service Act 1999 (Cwlth). 
Information on staffing, including trends in the size, structure and composition of the APS, 
contributes to research and evaluation work on the changing nature of the APS and the 
impact of people-management policies on the structure of the APS. This, in turn, assists 
agencies to formulate their people management policies and practices.
APSED is the definitive source of APS employment data, supporting strong evidence-based 
APS workforce policy, people management and advice.
APSED scope and collection methodology
APSED stores the employment data of all current and former APS employees. The database 
was established in 1999 but contains data on APS employees from 1966. The most recent 
snapshot, conducted on 30 June 2018, contained records relating to 150,594 employees.
APSED is maintained by the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) and the data is 
supplied to APSED from the human resources (HR) systems of APS agencies.
Two types of data files are used to update and maintain APSED—movement files and 
snapshot files. In general, both file types contain the same data items, but they differ 
in purpose. 
1.  Movementfiles are provided to the APSC from each agency every month. They are used 
to document changes in employment history (for example, engagements, promotions and 
maternity leave) for all people employed under the Act on a monthly basis. 
Changes in employment characteristics every month are recorded using movement codes. 
Movement files contain a record for every movement relevant to updating and maintaining 
employee records in APSED that has been processed in an agency’s HR system during 
the month. Therefore, if an employee undertakes multiple movements within a reference 
period, the corresponding movement files will contain multiple records for that employee. 
Conversely, if an employee has no movements during the reference period they will not 
appear in the movement file.
2.  Snapshotfilesare provided to the APSC from each agency on a six-monthly basis. 
They are used to verify that the information stored in APSED, as provided by each agency 
in the monthly movement files, is correct and current at 31 December and 30 June each 
year. Snapshot files contain a single record for every person employed by a particular 
agency on a particular day (that is, on 30 June or 31 December). 

State of the Service Appendices
135
APSED items
Agency HR systems supply APSED with unit records containing this personal information:
•  personal particulars: Australian Government Staff Number, name, and date of birth
•  diversity data: gender, Indigenous identification, country of birth, year of arrival, first and 
main languages spoken, parents’ first languages, disability status
•  employment data: classification, email address, date of engagement, employment 
status, standard hours, workplace postcode, movement codes and dates, operative status, 
previous employment, job family code, agency
•  educational qualifications and main fields of study.
Under Section 50 of the Australian Public Service Commissioner’s Directions 2016, an agency 
head must ensure there are measures in place to collect information from each employee and 
give collected information to the Australian Public Service Commissioner. While individuals 
do not explicitly consent to the collection of their movement and employment data, they can 
choose to supply or withhold all diversity data except gender, as well as data relating to their 
educational qualifications. In relation to these items, Section 50 states that an agency head 
must allow APS employees to provide a response of ‘choose not to give this information’. 
Management and administration
Agency HR systems collect relevant data items through movement and snapshot files, and 
supply these to the APSC through secure or encrypted means. Agencies are responsible for 
the collection, security, quality, storage, access, use, and disclosure of their HR data as well as 
compliance with the Australian Privacy Principles. While agency HR systems capture detailed 
information on each APS employee’s pay, leave history and entitlements, these are out of 
scope for APSED. Only data fields supplied to the APSC are in scope.
Upon receipt, each data file is corrected in an iterative process. Once validated and transferred 
to the APSC, error checks on the new files are performed by the APSC against the extant data 
in APSED. The APSC and agency work together to resolve these differences. Once resolved, 
cleaned data is incorporated. 
APSED data is stored on a secure information technology system that is password protected 
and accessible only by a small team in the APSC who have been granted access by team 
supervisors and trained in protecting and using these collections. Standard operating 
procedures dictate when personal information can be added or changed. All changes to the 
database are logged in an audit file.
Privacy and confidentiality
APSED is fully compliant with the APSC’s privacy policy, which sets out the kinds of 
information collected and held, how this information is collected and held, its purposes, and 
authority for its collection. The full APSC privacy policy, which includes specific information 
related to APSED collection, is available at www.apsc.gov.au/Privacy. The APSC has 
undertaken a detailed privacy impact assessment in relation to APSED, concluding that it 
complies with all relevant Australian Privacy Principles.
Data protections within APSED include secure transfer of information between agencies and 
the APSC, storage of data on APSC servers requiring individual logons to access, restriction 
of access to a small number of authorised users, and ensuring public release of data is 
undertaken in aggregate format only. 

136
State of the Service Report 2017–18
APS employee census
The APS employee census is conducted between early May and early June each year. It has 
been conducted since 2012.
The APS employee census is administered to all APS employees. It collects confidential 
attitudinal information on important issues, including employee engagement, wellbeing, 
performance management, leadership, and general impressions of the APS. 
Data from the employee census helps target strategies to build APS workplace capability now 
and in the future.
APS employee census collection methodology
The 2018 APS employee census was administered to all available APS employees during the 
period 7 May to 8 June 2018. This timing was consistent with the timing of the past six annual 
employee censuses. 
The employee census provides a comprehensive collection of the opinions and perspectives 
of APS employees and gives all eligible respondents the opportunity to have their say on their 
experiences of working in the APS. 
Although participation is encouraged, the APS employee census is voluntary. If a respondent 
chooses to participate, only a limited number of demographic-type questions must be 
answered. The remaining questions do not need a response.
APS employee census design
The 2018 APS employee census was designed to measure key issues such as employee 
engagement, leadership, wellbeing, diversity, job satisfaction and general impressions of the 
APS. Questions from previous years were used as the basis for the 2018 APS employee census. 
Some questions are included every year or on a particular cycle (for example, every two or 
three years). Some questions were included for the first time to address topical issues or 
improve the quality of the data collected following a thorough evaluation of the content of the 
2017 APS employee census. To maintain a reliable longitudinal dataset, changes to questions 
are kept to a minimum. While a standardised questionnaire is employed, agencies can ask 
their employees a limited number of agency-specific questions.
APS employee census development
The 2018 APS employee census questionnaire included 212 individual questions grouped into 
15 sections. Each section addressed a key aspect of working for an APS agency.
Each year the content of the APS employee census questionnaire is reviewed to ensure each 
question has value and meets a specific purpose. The APSC researches and consults broadly 
to develop and select questions for inclusion. In 2018, the APSC:
•  Considered strategic-level priorities coming from the Secretaries Board and other senior-
level committees to ensure the employee census would capture appropriate information to 
inform these priorities. 
•  Consulted with subject matter experts from within the APSC and other APS agencies to 
seek their input to question design and information requirements for supporting APS-level 
policies and programs. 

State of the Service Appendices
137
•  Researched contemporary understanding of issues and options for questionnaire content.
•  Provided participating agencies with an opportunity to give feedback and input to 
questionnaire design. 
The resulting questionnaire covered numerous themes and measures. Central to these are 
three indices addressing employee engagement, innovation and wellbeing.
APS employee census delivery
The 2018 APS employee census was administered using these collection methods:
•  online, through a unique link provided to each employee by email from ORC International, 
the contracted census administrators
•  telephone surveys with a number of employees working in specific agencies and employees 
who did not have available supportive information technology to provide reasonable 
adjustment for their disability
•  paper-based surveys for employees who did not have access to an individual email account 
or did not have suitable access to the Internet. 
Sampling and coverage
The 2018 APS employee census covered all ongoing and non-ongoing employees from 
101 APS agencies. Two APS agencies elected not to participate. The initial population for the 
census comprised all APS employees from the 101 participating agencies who were recorded 
in APSED as at 31 March 2018. This population was then provided to each participating 
agency for confirmation.
Invitations to participate in the census were sent to employees from 7 May 2018. The number 
of invitations was adjusted as new employees were added, separations processed, and incorrect 
email addresses corrected. The deadline for survey completion was 8 June 2018.
The final sample size for the census was 140,291. Overall, 103,137 employees responded, 
giving a response rate of 74 per cent, the highest response rate in the history of the annual 
APS employee census. This response rate is encouraging given the size of the APS workforce, 
the number of participating agencies, and that the employee census has been administered 
annually for some time.
Management and administration
The APS employee census is managed and coordinated by the Workforce Information 
Group within the APSC. The APSC contracts an external service provider to support survey 
administration and reporting activities. ORC International was this service provider in 2018.
Privacy, anonymity and confidentiality
Maintaining confidentiality throughout the employee census process is of primary concern 
to the APSC. To ensure confidentiality, each APS employee was provided with a unique link 
to the survey questionnaire by email. Only a small number of staff at ORC International had 
access to individual email addresses and the associated responses. All responses provided 
to the APSC by ORC International were de-identified. As a result of these precautions, 
APSC staff could not identify individual respondents to the survey or identify those who had 
not taken part.

link to page 150 138
State of the Service Report 2017–18
Employee engagement index
The APSC employs a model of employee engagement developed by ORC International. 
This model addresses three attributes associated with employee engagement and measures 
the emotional connection and commitment employees have to working for their organisation. 
In this model, an engaged employee will:
•  Say—the employee is a positive advocate of the organisation.
•  Stay–the employee is committed to the organisation and wants to stay as an employee. 
•  Strive–the employee is willing to put in discretionary effort to excel in their job and help 
their organisation succeed.
The Say, Stay, Strive employee engagement model is flexible and the APSC has tailored 
the questions for the APS context, making further amendments in 2018 following the 
introduction of the model in 2017. The elements that address each attribute and contribute to 
the index score for employee engagement are presented in Figure 1
Figure 1:  Say, Stay Strive employee engagement model elements
• I am proud to work in my agency
• I would recommend my agency as a good place to work
• Considering everything, I am satisfied with my job
• I believe strongly in the purpose and objectives of my agency
SAY
• I feel a strong personal attachment to my agency
• I feel committed to my agency’s goals
STAY
• I suggest ideas to improve our way of doing things
• I am happy to go the ‘extra mile’ at work when required
• I work beyond what is required in my job to help my agency
  achieve its objectives
STRIVE
• My agency really inspires me to do my best work every day
The results for the individual elements of the employee engagement index are presented in 
Appendix 4.

State of the Service Appendices
139
Innovation index
In part, the 2018 APS employee census addressed innovation through a set of dedicated 
questions that contribute to an index score. This innovation index score assesses both whether 
employees feel willing and able to be innovative, and whether their agency has a culture that 
enables them to be so.
The results for the individual elements of the innovation index are presented in Appendix 4. 
Wellbeing index
The wellbeing index included in the APS employee census provides a measure of wellbeing for 
employees within an organisation. It measures both the practical and cultural elements that 
allow for a sustainable and healthy working environment.
The results for the individual elements of the wellbeing index are presented in Appendix 4.
Calculating and interpreting index scores
The questions comprising the employee engagement, innovation and wellbeing indices 
are asked on a five-point agreement scale. To calculate the index score, each respondent’s 
answers to the set of questions are recoded to fall on a scale of between 0 and 100 per cent. 
The recoded responses are then averaged across the five or more index questions to provide 
the index score for that respondent. An individual only receives an index score if they have 
responded to all questions comprising that index.
Strongly 
Agree
Neither 
Disagree
Strongly 
Score
agree
agree or 
disagree
disagree
Weight
100%
75%
50%
25%
0%
%
Example 
Yes
75
question 1
Example 
Yes
75
question 2
Example 
Yes
50
question 3
Example 
Yes
25
question 4
Example 
Yes
100
question 5
Sum of question weights for this employee
325
Index score for this example respondent (325/5)
65
Index scores for groups of respondents are calculated by averaging the respondent scores that 
comprise that group. 
An index score on its own can provide information about the group to which it relates. 
Index scores, however, have the most use when compared with scores over time or between 
work units, organisations and demographic groups. 

140
State of the Service Report 2017–18
Treatment of responses of ‘don’t know’ and ‘not 
applicable’
Specific questions included within the 2018 APS employee census and other surveys enabled 
respondents to provide responses of ‘don’t know’, ‘not applicable’ or similar. Responses of 
this nature were typically excluded from the calculation of results for inclusion within this 
report. This was so results reflected respondents who expressed an informed opinion to the 
relevant question. 
Depending upon the intent, other products generated from the 2018 APS employee census 
and other surveys may not apply these same rules. The method in analysis and reporting will 
be made clear within these products.
APS agency survey
The APS agency survey is conducted annually from late June to mid-August. It collects 
functional data and workforce metrics from APS agencies with at least 20 APS employees.83 
The information collected through the agency survey is used to inform workforce strategies 
and for other research and evaluation purposes.
Data collection methodology
Since 2002, the agency survey has been administered to APS agencies with employees 
employed under the Public Service Act. The annual survey assists the Australian Public 
Service Commissioner to fulfil a range of duties as specified in the Act. These duties include, 
but are not limited to:
•  informing the annual State of the Service report
•  strengthening the professionalism of the APS and facilitating continuous improvement in 
its workforce management
•  monitoring, reviewing and reporting on APS capabilities.
Participating agencies complete the survey across an eight-week fieldwork period that begins 
in late June. The survey collects information on a range of workforce initiatives, strategies 
and compliance matters, including the number and type of APS Code of Conduct breaches, 
workplace diversity strategies and agency approaches to enable staff mobility. 
APS agency survey collection methodology
In 2018, the APS agency survey was administered to 95 agencies during 25 June to 
17 August 2018. The response rate for 2018 was 100 per cent, which is typical for the 
agency survey.
Each year the APS agency survey is sent to the contact officers nominated for each agency. 
These contact officers are responsible for coordinating the input from relevant areas and 
uploading responses to an agency survey portal managed by ORIMA Research. The survey 
requires each agency head to verify the agency’s submission for completeness and accuracy 
of responses.
83   An APS employee is an employee engaged under the Public Service Act 1999 (Cwlth).

State of the Service Appendices
141
APS agency survey design
The agency survey measures activities related to the APS Values and Code of Conduct, 
as well as other broader HR management activities such as diversity, mobility, innovation, 
talent management and workforce planning. 
Before fieldwork each year, the content of the APS agency survey questionnaire is reviewed 
so each question has value and meets a specific purpose. The APSC researches and consults 
broadly to develop and select questions to include in the questionnaire. 
APS agency survey management and administration
The Workforce Information Group within the APSC manages and coordinates the 
APS agency survey. The APSC contracts an external service provider to support survey 
administration. ORIMA Research was this service provider in 2018.
Privacy, anonymity and confidentiality
Maintaining confidentiality and security throughout the agency survey process is of primary 
concern to the APSC. All responses are stored in a secure password-protected environment.
The questions in the survey require only de-identified or aggregated agency responses and 
data is further aggregated before reporting.

link to page 154 142
State of the Service Report 2017–18
APPENDIX 2—AUSTRALIAN 
PUBLIC SERVICE AGENCIES
This appendix covers a range of data about Australian Public Service (APS) agencies.
Table A2.1 lists all APS agencies and employee numbers and reflects data in the Australian 
Public Service Employment Database (APSED) as at 30 June 2018. These are headcount 
numbers and include ongoing, non-ongoing and casual (intermittently engaged) employees. 
APS agencies are grouped into categories or ‘functional clusters’ to allow comparisons to be 
made between agencies with similar primary functions. The functional clusters applied to 
APS agencies are:
•  Policy: agencies involved in the development of public policy.
•  Smaller operational: agencies with fewer than 1,000 employees involved in the 
implementation of public policy.
•  Larger operational: agencies with 1,000 employees or more involved in the 
implementation of public policy.
•  Regulatory: agencies involved in regulation and inspection.
•  Specialist: agencies providing specialist support to government.
Table A2. 1: APS agencies, 2017–18
Agency name
Functional cluster
Headcount
Agriculture and Water Resources
Larger operational
4977
Australian Fisheries Management Authority
Regulatory
185
Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority
Regulatory
201
Murray Darling Basin Authority
Policy
307
Attorney-General’s 
Policy
834
Australian Government Solicitor
Policy
612
Administrative Appeals Tribunal
Smaller operational
670
Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity
Specialist
53
Australian Financial Security Authority
Smaller operational
511
Australian Human Rights Commission
Specialist
142
Australian Law Reform Commission
Specialist
10
Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions
Smaller operational
385
Federal Court Statutory Agency
Smaller operational
1 181
National Archives of Australia
Specialist
399
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
Regulatory
90
Office of Parliamentary Counsel
Specialist
102
Communications and the Arts
Policy
598
Australian Communications and Media Authority
Regulatory
436
Australian National Maritime Museum
Specialist
133
National Film and Sound Archive
Specialist
179

State of the Service Appendices
143
Agency name
Functional cluster
Headcount
National Library of Australia
Specialist
432
National Museum of Australia
Specialist
265
National Portrait Gallery
Specialist
65
Old Parliament House
Specialist
102
Screen Australia
Specialist
7
Defence
Larger operational
18780
Defence Housing Australia
Smaller operational
681
Education and Training
Policy
1776
Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait 
Specialist
114
Islander Studies
Australian Research Council
Specialist
146
Australian Skills Quality Authority
Regulatory
186
Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency
Regulatory
53
Environment and Energy
Policy
2571
Bureau of Meteorology
Larger operational
1 672
Clean Energy Regulator
Regulatory
344
Climate Change Authority
Specialist
10
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
Specialist
242
Finance
Policy
1 664
Australian Electoral Commission
Smaller operational
1 912
Future Fund Management Agency
Specialist
161
Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority
Specialist
58
Foreign Affairs and Trade
Policy
3767
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research
Specialist
53
Australian Trade and Investment Commission
Specialist
561
Health
Policy
3714
Therapeutic Goods Administration
Policy
650
Office of the Gene Technology Regulator and National 
Policy
130
Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme
Australian Aged Care Quality Agency
Regulatory
276
Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care
Specialist
84
Australian Digital Health Agency
Specialist
47
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Specialist
343
Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency
Specialist
143
Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority
Regulatory
346
Cancer Australia
Specialist
79
Food Standards Australia New Zealand
Regulatory
98
National Blood Authority
Specialist
56
National Health and Medical Research Council
Specialist
190
National Health Funding Body
Specialist
22
National Mental Health Commission
Specialist
26

144
State of the Service Report 2017–18
Agency name
Functional cluster
Headcount
Organ and Tissue Authority
Specialist
28
Professional Services Review
Specialist
21
Home Affairs
Larger operational
14 463
Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission
Smaller operational
788
Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre
Regulatory
334
Human Services
Larger operational
32 852
Industry, Innovation and Science
Policy
2 259
Geoscience Australia
Specialist
614
Questacon
Policy
275
IP AUSTRALIA
Larger operational
1 115
National Offshore Petroleum Safety And Environmental 
Regulatory
116
Management Authority
Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities
Policy
898
Australian Transport Safety Bureau
Smaller operational
111
Infrastructure and Project Financing Agency
Specialist
8
National Capital Authority
Specialist
71
JobsandSmallBusiness
Policy
2 155
Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency
Policy
11
Australian Building and Construction Commission
Regulatory
148
Comcare
Smaller operational
653
Fair Work Commission
Smaller operational
294
Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman
Regulatory
823
Safe Work Australia
Policy
109
Prime Minister and Cabinet
Policy
2 152
Aboriginal Hostels Limited
Smaller operational
471
Australian National Audit Office
Specialist
349
Australian Public Service Commission
Policy
243
Commonwealth Ombudsman
Specialist
205
Digital Transformation Agency
Smaller operational
234
Office of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security
Specialist
22
Office of National Assessments
Specialist
192
Torres Strait Regional Authority
Specialist
158
Workplace Gender Equality Agency
Specialist
25
Social Services
Policy
2 318
Australian Institute of Family Studies
Specialist
90
National Disability Insurance Agency
Smaller operational
2 622
Treasury
Policy
990
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Specialist
2 694
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
Regulatory
1 018
Australian Office Of Financial Management
Specialist
39
Australian Securities and Investments Commission
Regulatory
1 845

State of the Service Appendices
145
Agency name
Functional cluster
Headcount
Australian Taxation Office
Larger operational
20 281
Commonwealth Grants Commission
Specialist
29
Office of the Inspector-General of Taxation
Specialist
28
Royal Australian Mint
Specialist
261
Productivity Commission
Specialist
156
Veterans’ Affairs
Larger operational
1873
Australian War Memorial
Specialist
322
Source: APSED

146
State of the Service Report 2017–18
APPENDIX 3—APS 
WORKFORCE TRENDS
This appendix summarises some overall trends in Australian Public Service (APS) 
employment for 2017–18, and over the past 10 years. The primary source of data is the 
Australian Public Service Employment Database (APSED). While this appendix briefly 
summarises APS workforce trends, the June 2018 APS employment data release84 provides 
detailed data.
From this year’s analysis of workforce trends, the typical APS employee is a 43-year-old 
woman with a bachelor’s degree. She is working in a service delivery role at the APS 6 level in 
the ACT and has worked for the APS for 11 years. 
APS employment trends
As at 30 June 2018, there were 150,594 employees in the APS, comprising:
•  136,175 ongoing employees, down by 0.8 per cent from 137,222 ongoing employees 
in June 2017
•  14,419 non-ongoing employees, down by 2.9 per cent from 14,740 non-ongoing employees 
in June 2017.
During 2017–18:
•  9,000 ongoing employees were engaged, down by 1.4 per cent from 9,131 ongoing 
engagements in 2017)
•  10,042 ongoing employees separated from the APS, up by 2.9 per cent from 
9,753 separations of ongoing employees in 2017).
Engagements and separations
Engagement trends have fluctuated over the last 10 years, ranging from 2,363 in 2014–15 to 
13,105 in 2008–09. Tables A3.1 and A3.2 cover ongoing APS engagements by classification 
and by age group. Table A3.3 covers ongoing APS separations by classification.
84  June 2018 APS employment data release, APSC, https://www.apsc.gov.au/aps-employment-data-30-june-2018-
release-0 (accessed 21 October 2018). 

State of the Service Appendices
147
Table A3.1: Ongoing APS engagements by classification, 2009–18
Classification
Employeesengaged(number),financialyearsendingJune
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
Trainee
153
196
278
299
283
251
130
581
546
565
Graduate
1 266
1 225
1 494
1 398
1 237
1 152
1 037
1 434
1 477
955
APS 1
423
194
369
160
130
181
36
48
57
54
APS 2
679
429
707
458
272
281
151
486
461
224
APS 3
4 006
2 341
3 048
2 019
1 297
533
246
2 495
1 643
2 402
APS 4
1 663
1 322
1 767
1 768 1 222
463
141
2 015
1 538
1 510
APS 5
1 294
1258
1 546
1 600
879
427
157
1 316
1 058
1 074
APS 6
1 836
1 665
1 876
1 832
1 147
673
241
1 315
1 301 1 200
EL 1
1 211
1 153
1 237
1 215
777
468
139
782
683
670
EL 2
465
466
441
437
346
184
56
358
294
265
SES 1
70
46
47
51
44
24
17
156
48
49
SES 2
32
25
16
26
13
12
10
31
19
26
SES 3
7
3
4
9
1
1
2
9
6
6
Total
13 105 10 323
12 830 11 272
7 648
4 650
2 363 11 026
9 131 9 000
Source: APSED
Table A3.2: Ongoing APS engagements by age group, 2009–18
Age group 
Employeesengaged(number),financialyearendingJune
(years)
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
Under 20
322
187
231
232
152
108
74
158
169
126
20–24
2 862
2 229
2 780
2 368
1 689
1 095
703
2 018
1 807
1 753
25–29
2 736
2 398
2 891
2 481
1 717
1 034
631
2 529
2 100
1 932
30–34
1 871
1 489
1 874
1 624
1 148
674
314
1 791
1 355
1 428
35–39
1 567
1 164
1 378
1 276
838
470
166
1 293
996
1 091
40–44
1 267
945
1 205
1 134
732
380
163
1 059
870
879
45–49
1 096
794
 1069
896
552
339
130
892
715
740
50–54
710
566
751
660
419
254
102
684
593
536
55–59
499
418
458
411
278
188
55
423
382
342
60 and over
175
133
193
190
123
108
25
179
144
173
Total
13 105 10 323 12 830
11 272
7 648
4 650
2 363 11 026
9 131
9 000
Source: APSED
In 2017–18, there were 10,042 ongoing separations (Table A3.3). The number of separations 
increased slightly from 9,753 in 2016–17. Unlike engagements, separations have remained 
relatively steady over time.

148
State of the Service Report 2017–18
Table A3.3: Ongoing APS separations by classification, 2009–18
Classification
Separatedemployees(number),financialyearendingJune
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
Trainee
44
26
36
52
40
44
38
59
61
74
Graduate
83
67
85
76
55
60
38
42
60
58
APS 1
203
137
143
135
123
100
85
59
61
69
APS 2
508
366
375
363
315
328
331
279
241
288
APS 3
1 977
1 837
1 575
1 452
1235
1 273
1 139
991
1190
1 162
APS 4
1 899
1 805
2 074
1 768
1627
1 800
1 748
1554
1690
1 846
APS 5
1 483
1 259
 1466
1 436
1354
1 422
1 391
1285
1436
1 448
APS 6
2 083
1 818
2 167
2 162
2052
2 272
2 302
1911
2119
2 265
EL 1
1 450
1 467
1 588
1 842
1736
2 375
2 191
2275
1755
1 689
EL 2
726
821
843
951
931
1 363
1 147
1082
882
900
SES 1
124
129
120
130
142
188
170
177
174
161
SES 2
40
33
44
57
47
78
72
71
64
64
SES 3
17
11
14
15
15
13
13
14
20
18
Total
10 637
9 776 10 530 10 439
9672 11 316 10 665
9799
9753 10 042
Source: APSED
Classification structures
At 30 June 2018, almost one-quarter of all APS employees were engaged at the APS 6 level. 
This continues a trend that began in 2011 after a lengthy period of the APS 4 level being the 
most common (Table A3.4).
Table A3.4: All APS employees by base classification, 2009–18
All APS employees (number) at 30 June
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
Trainee
Graduate

1 322
1 294
1 595
1 528
1 413
1 318
1 196
1 570
1 665
1 198
APS 1
2 408
2 943
2 691
4 009
5 260
4 943
4 349
3 898
2 909
2 889
APS 2
7 013
6 497
6 282
5 994
5 225
5 072
4 672
5 004
4 609
4 796
APS 3
24 845
24 115
22 477
20 907
20 466
19 201
19 398
20 767
18 460
17 610
APS 4
32 764
32 743
32 213
32 010
31 857
30 707
30 638
30 578
29 491
29 458
APS 5
21 049
21 569
22 179
22 545
22 241
21 239
20 670
20 932
21 233
20 849
APS 6
30 956
31 955
33 150
33 904
33 678
32 406
31 246
32 670
33 124
32 981
EL 1
25 653
26 847
28 445
29 540
29 310
27 569
25 853
25 484
25 543
25 672
EL 2
12 310
12 858
13 366
13 701
13 550
12 541
11 521
11 486
11 670
11 761
SES 1
1 968
1 986
2 032
2 095
2 054
1 918
1 821
1 963
1 977
2 017
SES 2
563
574
584
590
596
550
530
542
560
557
SES 3
127
137
144
140
132
121
116
125
119
124
Total
161 270 163 785 165 469 167 330 166 138 157 931 152 231 155 597 151 962 150 594
Source: APSED

State of the Service Appendices
149
Age profile
The average age of APS employees has increased steadily in the last decade. This mirrors the 
trend seen across the general Australian population and its workforce. 
The proportion of the APS population aged 50 years of age or over has continued to increase, 
while the proportion of employees under the age of 30 has declined (Table 6).
Table A3.5: All APS employees by age group, 2009–18
Age group 
All APS employees (number) at 30 June
(years)
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
Under 20
758
718
635
659
727
470
458
579
408
453
20–24
8 785
8 618
8 207
7 729
7 039
5 641
5 238
5 885
5 506
5 550
25–29
18 840
19 245
19 320
18 888
18 049
15 833
14 390
14 317
13 647 12 980
30–34
20 668 20 754 21 408
21 892
21 983
21 032
20 146
20 261
19 184
18 474
35–39
22 741
22 914 22 336
22 223
21 898
21 142 20 588 21 304
21 256
21 146
40–44
22 024
22 090
22 558
23 090
23 137
22 438
22 086
21 979
21 282
20 870
45–49
24 444
24 319
23 973
23 459 22 839
21 836
21 059
21 707
21 791 21 922
50–54
22 220
22 679
23 241 23 856
24 033
23 184
22 353
22 173
21 262 20 656
55–59
13 423
14 125
14 758
15 328
15 663
15 578 15 406
16 164
16 360
16 740
60 and over
7 367
8 323
9 033 10 206
10 770
10 777
10 507
11 228
11 266
11 803
Total
161 270 163 785 165 469 167 330 166 138 157 931 152 231 155 597 151 962 150 594
Source: APSED
Gender 
The gender profile of the APS has been skewed towards females since 1999 when they became 
the majority of employees. However, in the last 10 years the proportion of female employees 
has grown from 57.9 per cent to 59.1 per cent (Table A3.6).
Table A3.6: Gender representation in the APS, as at 30 June, 2009–18 
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
Men
67 905
69 079
70 030
70 798
69 867 66 223
63 232
63 711
62 307
61 629
Women
93 354
94 693
95 426
96 518
96 253
91 688
88 978
91 863
89 633
88 914
Gender X
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
23
22
51
Source: APSED

150
State of the Service Report 2017–18
Gender profile by classification
There remains a lower proportion of women at Executive Level (EL) 2 and Senior Executive 
Services (SES) levels compared to men. However, the numbers at both levels continue to rise 
(Table A3.7).
Table A3.7: Gender representation by classification, 2009–18
Classification
Employees (number) at 30 June
Gender
2009 2010
2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
2018
Trainee
Men 
156
126
139
187
146
153
113
273
308
366
Women
136
141
172
180
210
193
108
305
294
313
Graduate
Men 
601
616
794
778
657
678
629
791
817
595
Women
721
678
801
750
754
640
567
778
848
602
APS 1
Men 
774
970
989
1 332
1 833
1 728
1 453
1 220
967
974
Women
1 634
1 973
1 702
2 677
3 427
3 215
2 896
2 678
1 942
1 915
APS 2
Men 
2 402
2 187
2 128
2 226
1 948
1 931
1 802
1 977
1 842
1 909
Women
4 610
4 309
4 153
3 766
3 275
3 140
2 869
3 027
2 767
2 881
APS 3
Men 
8 465
8 347
7 834
7 079
6 909
6 442
6 505
7 003
6 260
6 036
Women
16 379 15 767 14 642 13 827 13 555 12 755 12 889 13 760 12 195
11 561
APS 4
Men 
10 003
9 995
9 717
9 782
9 922
9 555
9 578
9 391
9 060
9 173
Women
22 757 22 743 22 491 22 223 21 930 21 145 21 052 21 180 20 423
20 268
APS 5
Men 
8 858
8 987
9 195
9 254
9 060
8 605
8321
8 343
8 385
8 174
Women
12 191 12 581 12 983 13 290 13 180 12 633 12 348 12 587 12 848
12 673
APS 6
Men 
14 017 14 448 14 886 15 261 15 043 14 463 13 827 14 270 14 246
14 094
Women
16 936 17 504 18 261 18 640 18 632 17 940 17 416 18 396 18 874
18 883
EL 1
Men 
13 322 13 833 14 597 15 023 14 735 13 857 12 905 12 519 12 474
12 438
Women
12 329 13 012 13 846 14 515 14 572 13 708 12 944 12 961 13 065
13 229
EL 2
Men 
7 618
7 857
8 032
8 154
7 929
7 258
6 636
6 418
6 437
6 380
Women
4 692
5 001
5 334
5 547
5 621
5 283
4 885
5 067
5 232
5 381
SES 1
Men 
1 221
1 231
1 238
1 252
1 212
1 118
1 053
1 088
1 099
1 075
Women
747
755
794
843
842
800
768
875
878
942
SES 2
Men 
371
379
378
370
380
351
336
338
343
343
Women
192
195
206
220
216
199
194
204
217
214
SES 3
Men 
97
103
103
100
93
84
74
80
69
72
Women
30
34
41
40
39
37
42
45
50
52
Source: APSED
Note: Data for employees identifying as gender X was collected, however proportions are too small to be presented.

State of the Service Appendices
151
APPENDIX 4—SUPPORTING 
STATISTICS TO THE REPORT
This appendix presents additional data that supports the content included in the main 
chapters of this report. 
Chapter 2—Transparency and integrity
Breaches of the APS Code of Conduct
Table A4.1 presents the number of employees investigated by agencies for suspected breaches 
of individual elements of the APS Code of Conduct and the number of breach findings in 
2017–18. One employee can be investigated for multiple elements of the Code of Conduct.
Table A4.1:  Number of APS employees investigated and found in breach of 
elements of the APS Code of Conduct, 2017–18
Element of Code of Conduct
Number of employees
Investigated
Breached
a. Behave honestly and with integrity in connection with APS 
243
199
employment—s.13(1)
b. Act with care and diligence in connection with APS 
216
189
employment—s.13(2)
c. When acting in connection with APS employment, treat everyone with 
154
107
respect and courtesy and without harassment—s.13(3)
d. When acting in connection with APS employment comply with all 
42
28
applicable Australian laws—s.13(4)
e. Comply with any lawful and reasonable direction given by someone in 
147
121
the employee’s Agency who has authority to give the direction—s.13 (5)
f. Maintain appropriate confidentiality about dealings that the employee 
0
0
has with any Minister or Minister’s member of staff—s.13(6)
g. Take reasonable steps to avoid any conflict of interest (real or apparent) 
31
25
and disclose details of any material personal interest of the employee in 
connection with the employees’ APS employment—s.13(7)
h. Use Commonwealth resources in a proper manner and for a proper 
124
98
purpose—s.13(8)
i. Not provide false or misleading information in response to a request 
51
41
for information that is made for official purposes in connection with the 
employee’s APS employment—s.13 (9)
j. Not make improper use of: inside information, or the employee’s duties, 
51
33
status, power or authority in order to: a gain or seek to gain a benefit or 
advantage for the employee or any other person b. cause or seek to cause 
a detriment to the employee’s Agency, the Commonwealth or any other 
person—s.13 (10)

152
State of the Service Report 2017–18
Element of Code of Conduct
Number of employees
Investigated
Breached
k. At all times behave in a way that upholds the APS values and APS 
412
356
Employment Principles and the integrity and good reputation of the 
employee’s Agency and the APS—s.13 (11)
l. While on duty overseas at all times behave in a way that upholds the 
7
6
good reputation of Australia—s.13(12)
m. Comply with any other conduct that is prescribed by the 
4
3
regulation—s.13 (13)
Source: 2018 APS agency survey
Sources of reports
Table A4.2 presents the number of employees investigated for suspected breaches of the APS 
Code of Conduct during 2017–18 that resulted from each type of report. 
Table A4.2:  Type of reports leading to finalised Code of Conduct investigations, 
2017–18
Type of report
Employees investigated  
(number)
A report made to a central conduct or ethics unit or nominated person 
215
in a HR area
A report generated by a compliance/monitoring system (for example, audit)
183
A report made to an email reporting address
45
A report made to a fraud prevention and control unit or hotline
41
A Public Interest Disclosure
22
A report made to another hotline
2
A report made to an employee advice or counselling unit
1
Other
52
Source: 2018 APS agency survey

State of the Service Appendices
153
Outcomes of reports
Table A4.3 presents the outcomes for employees investigated for suspected breaches of the 
APS Code of Conduct during 2017–18.
Table A4. 3:  Outcome of investigations into suspected breaches of the Code of 
Conduct, 2017–18
Outcome
Employees 
investigated (number)
Breach found and sanction applied
336
Breach found no sanction applied—employee resigned prior to sanction decision
87
Breach found no sanction applied—other reason
66
No breach found (for any element of the Code)
56
Investigation discontinued—employee resigned
18
Investigation discontinued—other reason
6
Source: 2018 APS agency survey
Table A4.4 presents the sanctions applied to employees found to have breached the APS Code 
of Conduct during 2017–18. 
Table A4.4: Sanctions imposed for breaches of the Code of Conduct, 2017–18
Sanction
Employees found to have 
breached the Code (number)
Reprimand
224
Reduction in salary
99
Deductions from salary by way of a fine
78
Termination of employment
75
Reduction in classification
20
Re-assignment of duties
13
Source: 2018 APS agency survey

154
State of the Service Report 2017–18
Harassment and bullying
In the 2018 APS employee census, 13.7 per cent of respondents indicated they had been 
subjected to harassment or bullying in their workplace in the 12 months preceding the census. 
Table A4.5 presents the types of behaviour perceived by respondents. 
Table A4.5: Type of harassment or bullying perceived by respondents
Type of behaviour
% of those who indicated that they had been subjected 
to harassment or bullying in their workplace in the 
previous 12 months preceding the census
Verbal abuse 
49.3
Interference with work tasks 
40.8
Inappropriate and unfair application of work 
37.4
policies or rules
Other
20.3
Cyberbullying
7.3
Physical behaviour
5.4
Interference with your personal property or 
5.1
work equipment
Sexual harassment
3.3
‘Initiations’ or pranks
3.1
Source: 2018 APS employee census
Percentages are based on respondents who said they had been subjected to harassment or bullying in their current 
workplace. As respondents could select more than one option, percentages may not total to 100 per cent.
Table A4.6 presents the perceived source of the harassment or bullying indicated by respondents.
Table A4.6: Perceived source of harassment or bullying
Perceived source
% of those who indicated they had been 
subjected to harassment or bullying in 
their workplace in the previous 12 months 
preceding the census
Co-worker
38.2
Someone more senior (other than your supervisor)
33.5
A previous supervisor
26.1
Your current supervisor
19.4
Someone more junior than you
8.9
Client, customer or stakeholder
4.0
Contractor
2.5
Unknown
2.0
Representative of another APS agency
0.9
Consultant/service provider
0.8
Minister or ministerial adviser
0.4
Source: 2018 APS employee census
Percentages are based on respondents who said they had been subjected to harassment or bullying in their current 
workplace. As respondents could select more than one option, percentages may not total to 100 per cent.

link to page 167 link to page 167 State of the Service Appendices
155
Table A4.7 presents the reporting behaviour of respondents who had perceived harassment or 
bullying in their workplace in the 12 months preceding the census.
Table A4.7: Reporting behaviour of harassment or bullying
Reporting behaviour
% who perceived harassment or 
bullying in their workplace during the 
12 months preceding the census 
I reported the behaviour in accordance with my agency’s 
35.4
policies and procedures
It was reported by someone else
8.3
I did not report the behaviour
56.3
Source: 2018 APS employee census
Table A4.8 presents the number of recorded complaints of harassment and bullying made by 
employees within APS agencies during 2017–18.
Table A4.8: Complaints to agencies about harassment and bullying
Type of harassment or bullying
Number of 
complaints
Verbal abuse 
259
Inappropriate and unfair application of work policies or rules
137
Interference with work tasks 
65
Sexual harassment
34
Cyberbullying
30
Physical behaviour
26
Other
22
Interference with your personal property or work equipment
10
‘Initiations’ or pranks
1
Source: 2018 APS agency survey

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State of the Service Report 2017–18
Discrimination
In the 2018 APS employee census, 12.3 per cent of respondents indicated they had been 
subjected to discrimination during the 12 months preceding the census and in the course of 
their employment. 
Table A4.9 presents the types of the discrimination perceived by respondents during the 
12 months preceding the census and in the course of their employment.
Table A4.9: Type of discrimination perceived by respondents
Categories
% of those who indicated they had been subjected 
to discrimination during the 12 months preceding 
the census and in the course of their employment 
Gender
32.4
Age
25.8
Caring responsibilities
23.7
Other
22.2
Race
19.4
Disability
11.7
Sexual orientation
5.2
Identification as an Aboriginal or Torres 
3.7
Strait Islander person
Source: 2018 APS employee census
Percentages are based on respondents who said they had perceived discrimination during the 12 months preceding 
the census and in the course of their employment. As respondents could select more than one option, percentages 
may not total to 100 per cent.
Corruption
Table A4.10 presents the proportion of respondents who, during the previous 12 months, had 
witnessed another APS employee within their agency engaging in behaviour they considered 
may be serious enough to be viewed as corruption.
Table A4.10: Perceptions of corruption
Potential corruption witnessed
%
Yes
4.6
No
87.4
Not sure
5.1
Would prefer not to answer
2.9
Source: 2018 APS employee census

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157
Of those who had witnessed potential corruption, the types of corruption are presented in 
Table A4.11.
Table A4.11: Type of potential corruption witnessed
Type of potential corruption witnessed 
% who had witnessed 
potential corruption
Cronyism—preferential treatment of friends
64.6
Nepotism—preferential treatment of family members
25.0
Green-lighting
21.9
Acting (or failing to act) in the presence of an undisclosed conflict of interest
21.8
Fraud, forgery or embezzlement
15.2
Other
10.2
Theft or misappropriation of official assets
6.8
Unlawful disclosure of government information
6.0
Insider trading
3.0
Perverting the course of justice
2.5
Bribery, domestic and foreign—obtaining, offering or soliciting secret 
2.2
commissions, kickbacks or gratuities
Blackmail
1.4
Colluding, conspiring with or harbouring, criminals
1.4
Source: 2018 APS employee census
Percentages are based on respondents who said they witnessed potential corruption. As respondents could select 
more than one option, percentages may not total to 100 per cent.
Table A4.12 presents employee perceptions of workplace corruption risk. 
Table A4.12: Perceptions of workplace corruption risk
Type of workplace corruption risk
%
Agree 
Neither 
Disagree 
agree nor 
disagree
My workplace operates in a high corruption-risk 
67.0
19.3
13.6
environment (for example, it holds information, assets or 
decision-making powers of value to others)
My agency has procedures in place to manage corruption
82.9
14.7
2.4
It would be hard to get away with corruption in my 
69.0
21.8
9.1
workplace
I have a good understanding of the policies and procedures 
74.4
18.6
7.0
my agency has in place to deal with corruption
I am confident that colleagues in my workplace would 
79.5
15.5
5.1
report corruption
I feel confident that I would know what to do if I identified 
82.0
13.1
4.9
corruption in my workplace
Source: 2018 APS employee census

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Chapter 3—Risk and innovation
Table A4.13 presents employee perceptions of the risk culture in their agencies.
Table A4.13: Perceptions of risk culture in agencies
Questions
Responses
% of total
My agency supports employees to escalate risk- Agree
70.7
related issues with managers
Neither agree nor disagree
22.6
Disagree
6.7
Risk management concerns are discussed 
Agree
62
openly and honestly in my agency
Neither agree nor disagree
27.3
Disagree
10.7
Employees in my agency have the right skills 
Agree
48.9
to manage risk effectively
Neither agree nor disagree
37.6
Disagree
13.5
Employees in my agency are encouraged to 
Agree
52.7
consider opportunities when managing risk
Neither agree nor disagree
36.8
Disagree
10.6
Appropriate risk taking is rewarded 
Agree
27.8
in my agency
Neither agree nor disagree
50.2
Disagree
22.1
In my agency, the benefits of risk management  Agree
31.6
match the time required to complete risk 
Neither agree nor disagree
52.3
management activities
Disagree
16.1
Senior leaders in my agency demonstrate 
Agree
47.6
and discuss the importance of managing risk 
Neither agree nor disagree
36.3
appropriately
Disagree
16.1
When things go wrong, my agency uses this as  Agree
48.5
an opportunity to review, learn, and improve 
Neither agree nor disagree
35.2
the management of similar risks
Disagree
16.3
Source: 2018 APS employee census
Table A4.14 presents the 2018 APS employee census results for the individual elements of the 
innovation index.

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159
Table A4.14: Results for individual elements of the innovation index
%
Strongly 
Agree
Neither  Disagree
Strongly 
agree
agree nor 
disagree
disagree
I believe that one of my responsibilities 
25.8
57.1
12.3
3.9
0.9
is to continually look for new ways to 
improve the way we work
My immediate supervisor encourages me 
19
49.4
21.4
7.5
2.6
to come up with new or better ways of 
doing things
People are recognised for coming up with 
12.4
44.4
28.8
10.8
3.5
new and innovative ways of working
My agency inspires me to come up with 
9.5
35.3
36.0
14.6
4.6
new or better ways of doing things
My agency recognises and supports the 
6.6
28.2
41.4
16.7
7.1
notion that failure is a part of innovation
Source: 2018 APS employee census
Chapter 5—Diversity and inclusion 
Table A4.15 presents the proportion of APS employees belonging to each diversity group.
Table A4.15: Proportion of employees by diversity group, 2009–18
% of all employees
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
Women
57.9
57.8
57.7
57.7
57.9
58.1
58.4
59
59
59
Indigenous
2.6
2.6
2.5
2.5
2.6
2.8
2.9
3.1
3.3
3.3
People with disability
3.4
3.4
3.3
3.3
3.2
3.5
3.5
3.7
3.7
3.7
Non-English Speaking 
13.2
13.6
14.1
14.4
14.4
14.6
14.6
14.5
14.5
14.3
Background
Source: APSED
In the 2018 APS agency survey, agencies were asked to rate the implementation of 
initiatives in three Australian Government diversity strategies (Table A4.16, Table A4.17 and 
Table A4.18)). They were asked to do so against five levels of practice, defined here:
•  Level 1: Practices are applied inconsistently and/or unskilfully and have a poor level 
of acceptance.
•  Level 2: Practices are performed and managed with some skill and consistency, and a focus 
on compliance.
•  Level 3: Practices are defined, familiar, shared and skilfully performed.
•  Level 4: Practices are embedded and seen as a part of daily work and as adding real 
value to work.
•  Level 5: Practices are continuously improved and leveraged for organisational outcomes. 

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State of the Service Report 2017–18
Table A4.16:  Agency self-reporting—implementation of initiatives in Balancing the 
Future: APS Gender Equality
%
Average 
rating
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
Level 4
Level 5
 Driving a supportive and 
3.2
23.2
33.7
30.5
9.5
3.20
enabling culture
Gender equality in APS leadership 
4.2
18.9
29.5
37.9
9.5
3.29
Innovation to embed gender 
8.4
25.3
29.5
32.6
4.2
2.99
equality in employment practices 
Increased take-up of flexible work 
5.3
14.7
30.5
37.9
11.6
3.36
arrangements by men and women 
Measurement and evaluation
8.4
31.6
27.4
27.4
5.3
2.89
Source: 2018 APS agency survey 
Table A4.17:  Agency self-reporting—implementation of initiatives in the 
Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment 
Strategy 2015-18
%
Average 
rating
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
Level 4
Level 5
Expand the range of Indigenous 
15.8
38.9
30.5
10.5
4.2
2.48
employment opportunities
Invest in developing the capability 
20.0
28.4
31.6
15.8
4.2
2.56
of Indigenous employees
Increase the representation of 
34.7
42.1
16.8
4.2
2.1
1.97
Indigenous employees in senior roles 
Improve the awareness of 
11.6
21.1
35.8
24.2
7.4
2.95
Indigenous culture in the workplace
Source: 2018 APS agency survey
Table A4.18:  Agency self-reporting—implementation of initiatives in the As One; 
Making it Happen, APS Disability Employment Strategy 2016-19
%
Average 
rating
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
Level 4
Level 5
Expand the range of employment 
22.1
42.1
26.3
9.5
0.0
2.23
opportunities for people with 
disability
Invest in developing the capability 
21.1
37.9
26.3
11.6
3.2
2.38
of employees with disability 
Increase the representation of 
37.9
38.9
17.9
5.3
0.0
1.91
employees with disability in 
senior roles 
Foster inclusive cultures in the 
1.1
28.4
36.8
25.3
8.4
3.12
workplace
Source: 2018 APS agency survey

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161
Chapter 6—Organisational performance and 
efficiency
Flexible work 
Table A4.19 presents the percentage of 2018 APS employee census respondents using flexible 
working arrangements, by classification.
Table A4.19:  Percentage of employees using flexible working arrangements, by 
classification
Employeesusingflexibleworkingarrangements(%)
Trainee, Graduate or APS
EL
SES
Yes
52.4
48.7
34.9
No
47.6
51.3
65.1
Source: 2018 APS employee census
Table A4.20 presents the reasons for respondents not using flexible working arrangements. 
Table A4.20: Reasons for not using flexible working arrangements, by classification
Reasonsfornotusingflexible
working arrangements (%)
Trainee, Graduate  
EL
SES
or APS
My agency does not have a flexible working arrangement policy
5.0
2.1
0.7
My agency’s culture is not conducive to flexible working 
12.6
14.5
8.6
arrangements
Lack of technical support (for example, remote access)
6.5
6.6
3.2
Absence of necessary hardware (for example, phone, computer, 
5.6
5.5
2.0
internet)
The operational requirements of my role (for example, rostered 
16.6
14.4
19.8
or otherwise scheduled work environment such as shift work)
Management discretion
16.9
14.4
4.3
Resources and staffing limits
17.5
23.6
19.0
Potential impact on my career
10.8
15.3
11.4
Personal and/or financial reasons
10.5
7.9
5.6
I would be letting my workgroup down
9.9
17.8
17.7
I do not need to
56.2
54.3
62.2
Source: 2018 APS employee census
Percentages are based on respondents who said they were not using flexible working arrangements. As respondents 
could select more than one option, percentages may not total to 100 per cent.

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State of the Service Report 2017–18
Table A4.21 presents the types of work arrangements used by respondents.
Table A4.21: Types of work arrangements being used, by classification
Types of arrangements being used (%)
Trainee, Graduate or APS
EL
SES
Part time
19.1
14.2
5.5
Flexible hours of work
40.5
33.6
21.9
Compressed work week
1.7
3.2
2.0
Job sharing
0.8
0.8
0.9
Working remotely and/or virtual team
4.5
9.6
10.8
Working away from the office and/or 
11.9
32.1
32.5
working from home
Purchasing additional leave
7.8
7.9
4.8
Breastfeeding facilities and/or paid lactation 
0.5
0.5
0.5
breaks
Return to work arrangements
2.0
1.4
1.2
None of the above
39.3
40.0
53.2
Source: 2018 APS employee census
Percentages are based on respondents who said they were using flexible working arrangements. As respondents 
could select more than one option, percentages may not total to 100 per cent.
Table A4.22 presents 2018 APS employee census results for questions on support for using 
flexible working arrangements.
Table A4.22: Support for using flexible working arrangements, by classification
Supportforuseofflexibleworkingarrangements(%)
Trainee, Graduate or APS

EL
SES
My supervisor 
Agree
80.8
83.5
86.2
actively supports the 
use of flexible work 
Neither agree 
12.2
11.2
11.2
arrangements by all staff,  nor disagree
regardless of gender
Disagree
7.0
5.3
2.6
My SES manager 
Agree
55.2
69.1
86.7
actively supports the 
Neither agree 
36.0
25.0
10.6
use of flexible work 
nor disagree
arrangements by all staff, 
regardless of gender
Disagree
8.9
5.9
2.7
Source: 2018 APS employee census

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163
Table A4.23 presents the percentage of APS agencies that made each type of flexible work 
available to their employees. 
Table A4.23: Agency availability of flexible working arrangements, by type
%ofagenciesofferingflexibleworking
Type
arrangements
Part-time work agreements
100.0
Breastfeeding/lactation breaks
74.7
Non-standard working hours
89.5
Work from home and/or remote work arrangements
98.9
Job share arrangements
78.9
Individual flexibility agreements
96.8
Purchased leave schemes
96.8
Career break or sabbatical schemes
49.5
Flex leave
98.9
Other
22.1
Source: 2018 APS agency survey
As agencies could select more than one option, percentages may not total to 100 per cent.
Employee engagement
Table A4.24 presents the 2018 APS employee census results for the components of the Say, 
Stay, Strive employee engagement model.
Table A4.24:  Employee engagement—components of the Say, Stay, 
Strive employee engagement model
%
Strongly  Agree
Neither  Disagree Strongly 
agree
agree nor 
disagree
disagree
Say
Considering everything, I am satisfied 
15.6
52.6
18.1
10.1
3.7
with my job
I am proud to work in my agency
22.9
49.1
19.1
6.3
2.6
I would recommend my agency as a 
15.0
46.0
23.5
10.0
5.5
good place to work
I believe strongly in the purpose and 
25.3
51.5
18.1
3.4
1.7
objectives of my agency
I feel a strong personal attachment 
18.2
45.6
22.8
10.1
3.3
to my agency
Stay
I feel committed to my agency’s goals
17.4
58.7
18.6
3.7
1.6
I suggest ideas to improve our way of 
21.2
61.7
13.9
2.6
0.6
doing things
Strive
I am happy to go the ‘extra mile’ at 
36.3
54.5
6.5
1.9
0.8
work when required
I work beyond what is required in my job 
22.8
55.1
17.8
3.4
0.8
to help my agency achieve its objectives
My agency really inspires me to do my 
10.4
39.4
32.6
12.7
4.8
best work every day
Source: 2018 APS employee census

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State of the Service Report 2017–18
Wellbeing 
Table A4.25 presents the 2018 APS employee census results for the individual elements of the 
wellbeing index.
Table A4.25: Wellbeing measures
%
Strongly 
Agree
Neither  Disagree
Strongly 
agree
agree nor 
disagree
disagree
I am satisfied with the policies and/or 
12.9
55.3
21.6
7.6
2.6
practices in place to help me manage my 
health and wellbeing
My agency does a good job of 
11.3
47.9
25.7
12
3.1
communicating what it can offer me in 
terms of health and wellbeing
My agency does a good job of promoting 
11.5
46.1
27.2
12
3.2
health and wellbeing
I think my agency cares about my health and 
11.5
43.6
27.2
12.2
5.5
wellbeing
I believe my immediate supervisor cares 
32.8
48.3
12.5
4
2.3
about my health and wellbeing
Source: 2018 APS employee census
Chapter 7—Building capability
Data capability
Table A4.26 presents the actions taken by APS agencies to improve employee data 
literacy capability. 
Table A4.26: Agency actions to improve employee data literacy capability
Action
% of agencies
Ensured employee access to on-the-job training and development opportunities
78.9
Ensured employee access to formal training
70.5
Access to a data champion within the agency
46.3
Establishment and/or ongoing involvement of data community of [practice networks
38.9
Establishment and/or ongoing involvement of data management committees
35.8
Other
21.1
No action
6.3
Source: 2018 agency survey
As agencies could select more than one option, percentages may not total to 100 per cent.
Table A4.27 presents the strategies applied by APS agencies to use and manage data in a way 
that is secure, effective and supports operations.

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165
Table A4.27: Strategies applied to appropriately use and manage data
Action
% of agencies
Compliance with portfolio parent directives, governance frameworks such as 
86.3
the Australian Government Protective Security Policy Framework, and Codes of 
Professional Practice
Use of electronic document and records management systems
83.2
Continual review of existing data management policies and procedures
71.1
Other
17.9
No action
0.0
Source: 2018 APS agency survey
As agencies could select more than one option, percentages may not total to 100 per cent.
Table A4.28 presents the barriers to use of data reported by APS agencies. 
Table A4.28: Agency barriers to the use of data
Barriers
% of agencies
Legacy systems and/or data storage methods
66.3
Skills and/or capability
65.3
Funding
54.7
Costs and/or availability of software
52.6
Organisational maturity
52.6
Privacy-related issues
34.7
Insufficient access to relevant data
29.5
Other
17.9
No action
8.4
Source: 2018 APS agency survey
As agencies could select more than one option, percentages may not total to 100 per cent.
Attraction and retention 
Table A4.29 presents the reasons provided by respondents for joining the APS.
Table A4.29: Reasons for joining the APS
Reasons for joining the APS
%
Security and stability
64.8
Employment conditions
58.7
Type of work offered
45.8
The work aligned with my job skills and/or experience
45.1
Long term career progression
42.9
Service to the general public
42.2
Geographical location
28.0
Remuneration
27.1
Other
3.9
Source: 2018 APS employee census
Percentages and totals are based on respondents. As respondents could select more than one option, percentages 
may not total to 100 per cent.

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State of the Service Report 2017–18
Table A4.30 presents the proportion of respondents who had applied for a job during the 12 months 
preceding the census.
Table A4.30:  Applications for another job during the 12 months preceding the 
census 
%
Had not applied for a job
49.7
Had applied for a job in their agency
36.7
Had applied for a job in another APS agency
18.1
Had applied for a job outside the APS
12.2
Source: 2018 APS employee census
Percentages and totals are based on respondents. As respondents could select more than one option, percentages 
may not total to 100 per cent.
Table A4.31 presents respondents’ intention to leave their agency.
Table A4.31: Intention to leave
%
I want to leave my agency as soon as possible
6.2
I want to leave my agency within the next 12 months
8.9
I want to leave my agency within the next 12 months but feel it will be unlikely in the 
current environment
10.6
I want to stay working for my agency for the next one to two years
24.2
I want to stay working for my agency for at least the next three years
50.1
Source: 2018 APS employee census
Table A4.32 presents the reasons provided by respondents for wanting to leave their agency as 
soon as possible or within the next 12 months. 
Table A4.32: Primary reason for wanting to leave current agency
% of respondents who wanted 
to leave their agency as soon 
as possible or within the 
next 12 months
There is a lack of future career opportunities in my agency
25.9
I want to try a different type of work or I’m seeking a career change
14.2
Other
12.3
I am in an unpleasant working environment
8.1
Senior leadership is of a poor quality
7.7
I am not satisfied with the work
6.7
My agency lacks respect for employees
5.8
I am intending to retire
5.6
I can receive a higher salary elsewhere
5.4
My expectations for work in my agency have not been met
3.6
I want to live elsewhere—within Australia or overseas
2.6
I have achieved all I can in my agency
2.1
Source: 2018 APS employee census

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167
Chapter 8—Mobilising capability
Degree of APS mobility
Table A4.33 presents 2018 APS employee census results for questions relating to 
employee mobility.
Table A4.33: Agency support for employee mobility
%
Agree
Neither agree 
Disagree
nor disagree
My agency provides opportunities for 
52.3
28.1
19.6
mobility within my agency (for example, 
temporary transfers)
My agency provides opportunities for mobility 
31.8
40.9
27.4
outside my agency (for example, secondments 
and temporary transfers)
My immediate supervisor actively supports 
50.3
37.0
12.7
opportunities for mobility
Source: 2018 APS employee census
Table A4.34 presents the transfers of ongoing APS employees between types of APS agencies 
during 2017–18.
Table A4.34: Mobility by agency type, 2017–18
Agency type 
Agency type moved to (%)
moved from
Regulatory
Smaller 
Larger 
Specialist
Policy
operational
operational
Specialist
5.1
6.3
26.7
17.5
44.4
Regulatory
11.5
8.3
28.6
8.3
43.2
Smaller operational
9.2
10.8
38.2
10.4
31.3
Larger operational
7.7
17.5
30.4
7.9
36.5
Policy
4.6
7.1
24.5
10.3
53.5
All
6.4
11.1
28.0
9.9
44.5
Source: APSED

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Table A4.35 presents the number of ongoing APS employees who moved between locations 
during 2017–18.
Table A4.35: Mobility by location, 2017–18
Location 
Location moved to
Total
moved from
ACT
NSW VIC QLD
SA
WA TAS
NT Overseas
Australian Capital 
.
602
502
357
163
101
50
57
552 2 384
Territory
New South Wales
695
.
132
132
30
39
12
18
32 1 090
Victoria
502
148
.
89
60
54
26
14
28
921
Queensland
325
102
70
.
27
37
13
18
34
626
South Australia
166
17
74
31
.
20
4
13
25
350
Western Australia
110
37
48
39
21
.
9
16
11
291
Tasmania
54
14
26
17
5
2
.
1
2
121
Northern Territory
72
18
12
44
19
16
3
.
4
188
Overseas
555
30
33
28
15
5
5
5
.
676
Total
2 479
968
897
737
340
274
122
142
688
6 647
Source: APSED
Chapter 9—Leadership and stewardship
Organisational leadership
The 2018 APS employee census provided respondents with an opportunity to share their 
perceptions of leadership in their agencies. This included perceptions of their immediate SES 
manager (Table A4.36), the broader SES leadership team in their agency (Table A4.37) and 
their immediate supervisor (Table A4.38).
Table A4.36: Employee perceptions of immediate SES manager
%
Agree
Neither  Disagree
agree nor 
disagree
My SES manager is of a high quality
65.4
25.7
8.9
My SES manager is sufficiently visible (for example, can be seen 
63.3
20.8
15.9
in action)
My SES manager communicates effectively
63.5
23.0
13.6
My SES manager engages with staff on how to respond to future 
59.4
26.0
14.5
challenges
My SES manager gives their time to identify and develop talented 
44.9
37.3
17.8
people
My SES manager ensures that work effort contributes to the strategic 
64.8
26.8
8.3
direction of the agency and the APS

State of the Service Appendices
169
%
Agree
Neither  Disagree
agree nor 
disagree
My SES manager effectively leads and manages change
57.6
28.6
13.7
My SES manager actively contributes to the work of our area
60.4
27.3
12.3
My SES manager encourages innovation and creativity
59.7
29.3
10.9
My SES manager actively supports people of diverse backgrounds
65.0
30.8
4.2
My SES manager actively supports opportunities for women to access 
61.5
33.6
4.8
leadership roles
My SES manager actively supports the use of flexible work 
60.0
32.1
7.8
arrangements by all staff, regardless of gender
My SES manager leads regular staff meetings (for example, in person 
59.7
24.2
16.1
or by video conference)
My SES manager clearly articulates the direction and priorities 
61.5
25.5
13.0
for our area
Source: 2018 APS employee census
Table A4.37: Employee perceptions of agency SES leadership
%
Agree
Neither  Disagree
agree nor 
disagree
In my agency, the SES are sufficiently visible (for example, can be seen 
52.8
24.6
22.6
in action)
In my agency, communication between the SES and other employees 
46.3
30.3
23.3
is effective
In my agency, the SES set a clear strategic direction for the agency
56.9
27.6
15.5
In my agency, the SES actively contribute to the work of our agency
59.9
28.3
11.8
In my agency, the SES are of a high quality
52.7
33.1
14.3
In my agency, the SES supports and provides opportunities for new 
52.0
33.4
14.6
ways of working in a digital environment
In my agency, the SES work as a team
43.3
40.0
16.7
In my agency, the SES clearly articulate the direction and priorities for 
55.5
29.7
14.8
our agency
Source: 2018 APS employee census

170
State of the Service Report 2017–18
Table A4.38: Employee perceptions of immediate supervisors
%
Agree
Neither  Disagree
agree nor 
disagree
My supervisor actively supports people from diverse backgrounds
85.3
12.3
2.4
My supervisor treats people with respect
87.5
7.6
4.9
My supervisor communicates effectively
78.4
11.6
10.0
My supervisor encourages me to contribute ideas
82.4
10.9
6.7
My supervisor helps to develop my capability
71.7
16.8
11.5
My supervisor invites a range of views, including those different 
77.5
14.1
8.4
to their own
My supervisor displays resilience when faced with difficulties or 
78.5
14.4
7.1
failures
My supervisor maintains composure under pressure
78.8
13.7
7.5
I have a good immediate supervisor
81.1
11.6
7.3
My supervisor gives me responsibility and holds me to account for 
84.7
10.7
4.6
what I deliver
My supervisor challenges me to consider new ways of doing things
72.3
18.8
8.8
My supervisor actively supports the use of flexible work arrangements 
81.7
11.9
6.4
by all staff, regardless of gender
Source: 2018 APS employee census
Table A4.39 presents valuation data for cross-APS leadership programs completed in 2017. 
Participants assessed their level of capability before a program began and after it finished. 
The assessment is expressed as a percentage, with 100 per cent indicating a very high level of 
confidence in the capability and 0 per cent indicating no confidence at all. The shift between 
the before and after assessments indicates a movement in capability. SES Band 3 employees 
were not included due to low survey responses rates. 
Table A4.39: Cross-APS leadership programs, capability shift
Capability Shift
%
SES  
SES  
SES 
EL2 
EL2 
Women in 
Band2
Band1 orientation expansion
practice Leadership
Pre-program 
65
49
65
74
53
46
capability
Post-program 
72
90
92
90
91
88
capability
Shift
+7
+41
+27
+16
+38
+42
Source: Cross-APS leadership program results, APSC Centre for Leadership and Learning

State of the Service Appendices
171
APPENDIX 5—
UNSCHEDULED ABSENCE
The APSC remains committed to managing workplace absence and collects data from APS 
agencies on personal and miscellaneous leave use. This appendix reports on unscheduled absence, 
measured as the average number of unscheduled absences per employee during the year.
The unscheduled absence rate has remained relatively stable over the last five years 
(Table A5.1).
Table A5.1: Unscheduled absence, 2013–14 to 2017–18
2013–14
2014–15
2015–16
2016–17
2017–18
Rate
11.2
11.6
11.5
11.4
11.4
Table A5.2 shows the personal and miscellaneous leave usage by agency size during 2017–18. 
The overall rate of unscheduled absence in the APS has remained stable since 2016–17.
Table A5.2: Unscheduled absence by agency size, 2016–17 and 2017–18
Agency size
Unscheduled absence 
Unscheduled absence 
2017–18
2016–17
Small agencies
10.5
10.6
Medium agencies
11.9
12.1
Large agencies
12.5
12.3
Overall APS
11.4
11.4
Table A5.3 provides unscheduled absence data by individual agency.
Table A5.3: Unscheduled absence by agency, 2016–17 and 2017–18
Agency name
Days
Sick  Carer’s 
Misc. 
Total 
Total 
leave 
leave 
leave  unscheduled  unscheduled 
2017–18 2017–18 2017–18
absence rate  absence rate 
2016–17
2017–18
Aboriginal Hostels Limited
11.8
1.4
0.7
16.7
13.9
Administrative Appeals Tribunal
9.6
2.0
2.2
13.2
13.8
Agriculture and Water Resources
11.3
2.6
0.2
14.5
14.0
Attorney-General’s Department
7.1
2.1
0.3
10.9
9.5
Australian Aged Care Quality Agency
10.2
2.5
0.6
11.1
13.3
Australian Building and Construction 
8.1
2.0
0.2
11.8
10.4
Commission
Australian Bureau of Statistics
9.6
2.3
0.5
11.8
12.3
Australian Centre for International 
7.0
1.9
0.3
8.2
9.2
Agricultural Research

172
State of the Service Report 2017–18
Agency name
Days
Sick  Carer’s 
Misc. 
Total 
Total 
leave 
leave 
leave  unscheduled  unscheduled 
2017–18 2017–18 2017–18
absence rate  absence rate 
2016–17
2017–18
Australian Charities and Not-for-
8.4
1.2
0.6
8.7
10.2
profits Commission
Australian Commission for Law 
6.5
1.5
0.4
10.5
8.4
Enforcement Integrity
Australian Commission on Safety and 
10.1
1.7
1.0
9.9
12.8
Quality in Health Care
Australian Communications and Media 
8.7
2.2
0.3
11.7
11.2
Authority
Australian Competition Consumer 
6.1
1.7
0.3
8.1
8.1
Commission
Australian Criminal Intelligence 
10.2
2.3
0.2
13.3
12.7
Commission
Australian Digital Health Agency
9.5
1.4
0.5
8.2
11.5
Australian Electoral Commission
11.1
3.4
0.4
14.6
14.9
Australian Financial Security Authority
9.4
2.7
0.3
12
12.5
Australian Fisheries Management 
12.0
2.9
0.8
15.4
15.7
Authority
Australian Human Rights Commission
5.2
1.6
0.4
8.9
7.3
Australian Institute of Aboriginal and 
10.6
2.4
0.4
12.1
13.4
Torres Strait Islanders Studies
Australian Institute of Family Studies
8.6
1.3
0.2
14.9
10.2
Australian Institute of Health and 
8.7
2.1
0.7
11.2
11.5
Welfare
Australian National Audit Office
8.1
2.1
0.4
11
10.6
Australian National Maritime Museum
6.4
1.7
1.0
8.6
9.2
Australian Office of Financial 
5.6
3.1
0.3
8.6
9.0
Management
Australian Pesticides and Veterinary 
12.4
2.7
0.5
15.5
15.5
Medicines Authority
Australian Public Service Commission
7.4
2.8
0.6
9.8
10.8
Australian Radiation Protection and 
8.2
2.1
0.2
10
10.6
Nuclear Safety Agency
Australian Research Council
9.1
3.1
0.7
13
12.8
Australian Securities and Investments 
7.2
1.7
0.4
9.4
9.4
Commission
Australian Skills Quality Authority
9.6
1.4
1.5
13.1
12.5
Australian Sports Anti-Doping 
4.5
1.0
0.1
7.5
5.6
Authority
Australian Taxation Office
9.1
2.1
0.4
11.8
11.6
Australian Trade Commission
7.8
1.8
0.2
9.1
9.9

State of the Service Appendices
173
Agency name
Days
Sick  Carer’s 
Misc. 
Total 
Total 
leave 
leave 
leave  unscheduled  unscheduled 
2017–18 2017–18 2017–18
absence rate  absence rate 
2016–17
2017–18
Australian Transaction Reports and 
7.9
1.8
0.3
10.4
10.0
Analysis Centre
Australian Transport Safety Bureau
6.4
2.6
0.3
10.7
9.3
Australian War Memorial
7.6
2.7
0.2
11
10.4
Bureau of Meteorology
8.2
2.6
0.3
10.4
11.0
Cancer Australia
4.9
1.0
0.7
10.1
6.6
Clean Energy Regulator
10.1
2.3
0.9
12.9
13.2
Comcare
12.8
2.3
0.6
15.4
15.6
Commonwealth Grants Commission
9.0
1.9
0.4
9.8
11.3
Commonwealth Ombudsman
10.5
2.2
0.3
12.5
13.1
Communications and the Arts
8.7
2.4
0.3
12
11.4
Defence
11.3
2.5
0.4
12.9
14.2
Defence Housing Australia
8.6
2.1
0.8
11.5
11.5
Digital Transformation Agency
6.9
1.7
0.2
9.9
8.8
Director of Public Prosecutions
8.6
1.8
0.2
9.8
10.6
Education and Training
9.9
2.8
0.8
13.8
13.6
Environment and Energy
9.7
2.0
0.3
11.3
12.1
Fair Work Commission
7.2
1.7
1.0
11.3
9.9
Federal Court Statutory Agency
7.6
1.6
0.5
7.7
9.7
Finance
10.0
2.7
0.3
13.3
13.1
Food Standards Australia New 
7.1
2.6
0.6
10.7
10.3
Zealand
Foreign Affairs and Trade
7.8
2.2
0.2
10
10.1
Future Fund Management Agency
3.6
0.9
0.3
4.7
4.8
Geoscience Australia
8.2
2.6
0.2
11.2
11.0
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park 
7.6
2.9
1.0
11.4
11.5
Authority
Health
10.7
2.3
0.7
14.1
13.6
Home Affairs
11.4
2.9
0.7
13.6
15.0
Human Services
13.3
2.3
0.6
15.5
16.1
IP Australia
9.1
2.8
0.3
12.1
12.1
Independent Parliamentary Expenses 
11.1
2.3
0.3
.
13.6
Authority
Industry, Innovation and Science
8.9
1.9
0.1
10.6
10.9
Infrastructure and Regional 
10.2
2.6
0.4
12.6
13.1
Development
Jobs and Small Business
10.5
2.8
0.4
13.4
13.7
Murray-Darling Basin Authority
8.1
2.8
1.0
9.7
11.9

174
State of the Service Report 2017–18
Agency name
Days
Sick  Carer’s 
Misc. 
Total 
Total 
leave 
leave 
leave  unscheduled  unscheduled 
2017–18 2017–18 2017–18
absence rate  absence rate 
2016–17
2017–18
Museum of Australian Democracy at 
7.6
2.3
0.6
10.8
10.5
Old Parliament House
National Archives of Australia
13.0
3.7
0.3
16.7
17.1
National Blood Authority
7.6
2.6
0.2
9
10.4
National Capital Authority
8.0
3.1
1.1
12.4
12.2
National Disability Insurance Agency
10.1
1.9
0.8
12.6
12.8
National Film and Sound Archive
9.6
3.6
0.3
14.3
13.5
National Health and Medical Research 
8.1
2.4
0.4
12.8
10.9
Council
National Library of Australia
11.0
2.7
0.4
13.4
14.1
National Museum of Australia
11.1
2.8
0.5
13.8
14.3
National Offshore Petroleum Safety 
7.6
2.1
0.2
8.2
9.9
and Environmental Management 
Authority
National Portrait Gallery
7.6
2.5
0.4
12
10.5
Office of National Assessments
5.0
2.6
0.5
9.5
8.1
Office of Parliamentary Counsel
9.3
3.4
0.7
15.3
13.5
Office of the Australian Information 
7.9
2.4
0.3
13.1
10.6
Commissioner
Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman
9.9
2.3
0.4
13.6
12.6
Office of the Inspector-General of 
4.7
0.4
0.3
5.1
5.5
Taxation
Organ and Tissue Authority
8.5
1.3
0.6
9.9
10.4
Prime Minister and Cabinet
10.7
2.4
0.5
12.9
13.6
Productivity Commission
7.2
1.5
0.3
9
8.9
Royal Australian Mint
6.5
1.3
0.2
11.6
8.0
Safe Work Australia
8.9
1.9
0.9
13.2
11.6
Social Services
10.4
2.7
0.4
14.1
13.4
Tertiary Education Quality and 
6.5
1.5
0.6
7.5
8.7
Standards Agency
Torres Strait Regional Authority
6.4
2.0
0.4
8.3
8.8
Treasury
7.5
1.9
0.4
9.4
9.9
Veterans’ Affairs
11.8
1.7
0.3
14.6
13.8
Workplace Gender Equality Agency
6.2
1.6
0.7
8.1
8.4

State of the Service Appendices
175
GLOSSARY
Term
Meaning
2018 APS agency 
The APS agency survey, conducted from June to August 2018, collected functional 
survey
data and workforce metrics from APS agencies with more than 20 APS employees.
2018 APS 
The APS employee census conducted in May and June 2018 collected information on 
employee census
attitudes and opinions of APS employees.
ACT
Australian Capital Territory
APS
Australian Public Service
APSC
Australian Public Service Commission
APSED
Australian Public Service Employment Database
ARC
APS Reform Committee of the Secretaries Board
Capability Review 
Program of forward looking, whole-of-agency reviews that assessed the capability of 
Program
agencies to meet future objectives and challenges. The reviews were conducted by 
the APSC between 2012 and 2015 and focused on leadership, strategy and delivery 
capabilities.
Commissioner
Australian Public Service Commissioner
EL
Executive Level
Employee 
Employee engagement is the extent to which employees are motivated, inspired and 
engagement
enabled to improve an organisation’s outcomes. It is the emotional connection and 
commitment employees have to working for their organisation.
Engagement
An engagement refers to the engagement or re-engagement of staff under Section 22 
of the Public Service Act. Employees of agencies moving into coverage of the Public 
Service Act are counted as engagements.
HR
Human resources
Median
A measure of central tendency, found by arranging values in order and then selecting 
the one in the middle.
Non-ongoing
Non-ongoing employment is a generic term which refers to the engagement of APS 
employees for either a specified term or for the duration of a specified task or for 
duties that are irregular or intermittent as mentioned in sections 22(2)(b) and (c) of 
the Public Service Act.
NSW
New South Wales
NT
Northern Territory
Older worker
An employee aged 50 years or older. This classification, as recommended by the 
Australian Human Rights Commission, acknowledges that Australians can work as 
long as they want. This is aligned with the practices of other industrialised nations.
Ongoing
Ongoing employment refers to the employment of an APS employee as an ongoing 
employee as mentioned in Section 22(2) (a) of the Public Service Act.
PGPA Act
Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (Cwlth)
Public Service Act
Public Service Act 1999 (Cwlth)
Roadmap 
Government’s Roadmap for Reform, as outlined in the 2018–19 Budget Paper No. 4
for Reform
QLD
Queensland
SA
South Australia
Separation
A separation occurs when an employee ceases to be employed under the Public 
Service Act. It does not refer to employees moving from one APS agency to another.
SES
Senior Executive Service
Tas
Tasmania
Vic
Victoria
WA
Western Australia

176
State of the Service Report 2017–18
INDEX
A
SES championing diversity, 53 
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 
talent management strategy, 128 
see Indigenous employees; Indigenous 
support of  workforce diversity and inclusion, 
employment; Indigenous mentoring program; 
53, 160
see also Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait 
Ahead of  the Game: Blueprint for the Reform of  Australian 
Islander Employment Strategy 201518
Government Administration, 21, 109
ABS Standards for Statistics on Cultural and 
Annual Performance Statements, 73
Language Diversity, 67
APS 1–6 
absence 
classification and gender, vi, 55, 150 
see unscheduled absence
employee engagement, 81 
accountability, 2, 4, 17, 39, 86
Indigenous employees, 58 
adaptability, 7, 10, 78, 83, 86, 87, 101, 110
location, 102, 103 
advisory capability, 3, 4, 15, 18, 53, 72, 101, 111, 
number by classification, 148 
113, 121
number recruited, 147 
age profile, vi, 149
separations, 148
agencies 
APS 5 and 6 
client/customer surveys, 20–2 
Indigenous employees leadership 
HR systems and gender X reporting, 57 
development, 59 
HR systems and data supply to APSC, 135 
leadership development, 10, 118
Indigenous representation target, 59 
APS agencies, 2017–18, 142–5 
list of, 142–5 
see also agencies; agency survey
number of, vii 
APS agency survey 
talent management, 128–9 
see agency survey
unscheduled absence, 171–4 
APS Commissioner’s Directions 2016, 94, 135
see also large agencies; regulatory agencies; 
APS Diversity and Gender Equality Awards, 52, 61, 
small agencies
63
agency performance, 49, 73–5, 78 
APS employee census 
see also organisational performance
see employee census
agency self-assessment 
APS Employment Database (APSED), 134 
change management, 8, 45 
data storage, 135 
risk management, 8, 43
list of  APS agencies, 142–5 
agency survey 
privacy and confidentiality, 135 
age group plans, 63 
scope and collection methodology, 134 
APS Values, 23–5 
third gender category, 57
bullying and/or harassment, 27, 155 
APS Employment Principles, 51, 94, 152
change management, 45 
APS Induction Portal, 97–8
Code of  Conduct investigations, 26, 31, 151–3 
APS Policy Capability Project, 94
collaborative initiatives, 76 
APS Reform Committee, 5, 94, 109, 120, 129
data analysis and reporting capability, 93, 164 
APS Values, 22–5, 30, 74, 98 
diversity strategies, 159-60 
commitment to service, 34 
flexible working arrangements, 163 
embedding, 24
Gender Equality Strategy, 55, 56, 160 
APS workforce data, 134–41
Indigenous representation target, 59–60 
APS workforce strategy, 5, 6–7, 67, 97 
leadership and management development, 
core components, 6
10, 118 
APS workforce trends, 146–50
learning and development, 87 
APSC privacy policy, 135
list of  APS agencies, 142–5 
As One: Making it Happen–APS Disability Employment 
methodology, 140–1 
Strategy 2016–19, 62, 160

State of the Service Appendices
177
Australian Bureau of  Statistics (ABS) 
C
2016 Census, 41–2, 76 
capability, iv, 5, 9, 70–105 
Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey, 42 
advisory, 3, 4, 15, 18, 53, 72, 101, 111, 113, 
data literacy program, 5, 93 
121 
risk management capability, 42 
APSC learning programs, 89–90 
Standards for Statistics on Cultural and 
building, 9, 86–99, 115 
Language Diversity, 67
change management, 8, 45 
Australian Commission for Law Enforcement 
data, 92–3 
Integrity, 30
digital, 5, 87, 90–2, 96–7 
Australian Community Attitudes to Privacy Survey 2017
entry-level programs, 97 
15
external, 87 
Australian Federal Police, 30
future needs, 87 
Australian Government Agencies Privacy Code, 16
investment in development, 88, 114 
Australian Government expenditure, 3, 70 
leadership, 110–12, 118–23 
departmental expenditure, proportion of, 72
mobile, 9, 77, 87, 100–5 
Australian Government Guidelines on the 
policy and innovation, 5, 94 
Recognition of  Sex and Gender, 57
professional, 9, 89–90 
Australian Government Indigenous Lateral Entry 
risk management, 42
(AGILE) pilot, 60
capability review programs, 44, 48
Australian Government Leadership Network, 61
career plan discussions, 88, 117, 128
Australian Institute of  Marine Science, 76
career progression, 51, 75, 92, 95, 96, 128 
Australian National Audit Office, 30
Indigenous employees, 59, 60 
Australian Public Service Commissioner, iv, 5, 52, 
promotions, 104, 128
113, 135, 140 
carer’s leave, 171–4
Commissioner’s overview, 1–10 
change 
Directions issued by, 94, 135
incremental, 37 
Australian Taxation Office (ATO) 
transformational, 37, 118
ATO Making Inclusion Count (ATOMIC), 61
change management, 44–9 
Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre 
barriers to successful, 48 
(AUSTRAC) 
costs of  poor management, 48 
ASEAN–Australia Codeathon, 37–9 
culture, 7, 44, 49 
Innovation Hub, 38
effective, 46, 47, 48 
averse risk culture, 8, 9
employee consultation, 48 
B
failure rate of  government transformations, 
Balancing the Future: The Australian Public Service Gender 
44 
Equality Strategy 2016–19 (Gender Equality 
importance of  communication, 46–7 
Strategy), 52, 55, 56, 160 
OECD countries, 46
barriers to implementing, 56 
change management capability, 7, 44
initiatives to implementing, 56 
citizen engagement, 1, 5, 14, 18–22 
key focus areas, 55
benefits of, 19, 21 
Belcher Red Tape Review 2015 
see also community engagement
whole-of-government themes, 75
Citizen Survey, 21
biosecurity, 76
City Deals, 76–7
Building Digital Capability program, 91
classification levels, vi, 55
bullying and/or harassment, 26–9 
classification structures, 148–9
experienced by diversity groups, 29 
Code of  Conduct, 22, 25, 25–32 
reporting, 155 
investigations, 26, 31, 151–2 
source, 154 
outcomes of  investigations, 153 
successful strategies to reduce, 29 
sanctions for breaches, 25, 153
types, 154
collaboration across agencies, jurisdictions, business 
business engagement, 1, 5, 19, 65, 76
and the community, 76–7 
business users, 3, 109, 129
see also partnerships

178
State of the Service Report 2017–18
Collaborative Partnership on Mature Age 
data literacy program, 5, 93, 164
Employment, 65
Data Sharing and Release Bill, 18
Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander 
Department of  Agriculture and Water Resources 
Employment Strategy 2015–18, 59–60, 160 
collaborative project on biosecurity, 76
evaluation, 60
Department of  Finance, 42, 43
Commonwealth Fraud Control Framework 2014, 30
Department of  Human Services 
Commonwealth Ombudsman, 30
digital service delivery, 38 
Commonwealth Risk Management Policy, 42–3 
student payment systems, 21–2
annual self-assessment by entities, 42
Department of  Infrastructure Regional 
communication 
Development and Cities 
between SES and other employees, 41, 46, 47, 
City Deals, 76–7
74, 115 
Department of  the Prime Minister and Cabinet 
importance in change management, 44, 46 
(PMC), Secretary of  the, 19, 21, 113
influence of  new technologies, 3, 4
Department of  Veterans’ Affairs, 38 
communication technologies, 4, 16
MyService Pilot, 20
community education, 42
Deputy Secretaries Talent Council, 127, 128
community engagement, 17, 121–2 
digital capability, 5, 87, 90–2, 96–7 
students, 21–2
Learning Design Standards, 91–2
community expectations, 1, 2, 4, 9, 86
Digital Emerging Talent programs, 96
contact information, ii
Digital Marketplace, 16, 91
continuity and stability, 2, 86
digital strategy, 5
corporate plan, 125
Digital Training Marketplace, 91, 92
corporate services, 5
Digital Transformation Agency, 5, 38, 91 
corruption, 30–3, 156–7 
co-lab innovation hub, 38 
employees investigated, 31 
digital entry level programs, 96–7
employees witnessing, 33, 157 
Digital Transformation Strategy and Roadmap, 96
international comparisons, 30–1 
Director of  Public Prosecutions, 30
types, 31, 32, 157 
disability see employees with disability
workplace corruption risk, 157
discrimination, 26, 27–8 
Corruption Perception Index, 30–1
age, 65 
counter-terrorism, 37 
experienced by diversity groups, 28 
cross-agency 
types, 156
collaboration, 77 
diversity, vi, 7, 50–67 
policy capability project, 94 
agency-specific strategies, 56 
traineeship, 62
representation, vi, 7, 159 
CSIRO, 76
SES talent management participants, 127 
culture, 7–8, 13–67 
see also inclusion, workplace
change management, 7, 44, 48 
E
inclusiveness, 7, 52, 61, 62, 160 
Edelman Trust Barometer, 2, 14–15
innovation, 8, 36 
education see learning and development; training
positive risk, 8, 38, 39, 41, 43 
effectiveness, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10, 25, 44, 67, 71, 76, 
risk, 8, 38, 40, 41, 43, 71, 75, 158
118, 122 
D
change management, 47, 48, 49 
data, government 
communication, 44, 46–7, 74, 78, 82, 89 
barriers to use of, 18, 93, 165 
induction process, 97, 98 
governance reform, 18 
international ranking, 3 
improving use of, 5, 16 
leadership, 7, 10, 108, 112, 113, 119, 121, 123 
privacy, 18 
policy implementation, 2, 48, 50, 77 
review of  activities, 18 
risk management, 39, 41, 43 
transparency, 17–18
services, 1, 3, 18, 19, 48 
data capability, 5, 87, 92–3, 164–5
use of  data, 18, 165
Data Integration Partnerships for Australia, 5, 72
efficiency, 1, 34, 37, 70–84 

State of the Service Appendices
179
services, 19, 48, 109 
working arrangements, 83, 84, 161
use of  data, 18
employee engagement, 79–81, 163–4 
Embedding Gender Equality in the Australian Public 
drivers for, 80 
Service: Changing practices, changing cultures, 56
engagement by classification, 81 
employee census 
engagement index, 79–81 
administrator of, 137 
Say, Stay, Strive employee engagement model, 
agency performance, 49, 73 
79, 138, 163
bullying or harassment, 26–7, 28, 29, 154–5 
employee retention, 50, 52, 59, 65, 79, 92, 98, 165–6
career intentions, 64, 98, 99 
employee rotation, 9, 100, 119
change management, 7, 36, 37, 45–9, 113 
employees 
commitment to agency goals and APS 
engagements by age group, 147 
purpose, 65 
engagements by classification, 147 
communication between SES and employees, 
gender profile by classification, 150 
41, 46, 47 
gender representation, 54, 149, 159 
compliance with APS Values, 23 
location by classification, 103 
corruption, 32, 33, 156–7 
mean age, 63 
corruption management, 32, 33, 41 
number of, 146 
cultural and linguistic diversity, 67 
separations by classification, 148 
data collected, 136 
summary profile, vi–vii 
digital roles, 90 
total, by age group, 149 
disability status, 61, 63 
total, by base classification, 148 
discrimination, 27, 28, 156 
see also employee census
diversity, 52–3, 113, 159 
employees with disability, 61–3 
diversity group respondents and 
bullying and/or harassment of, 29 
discrimination, 28 
cross-agency traineeship, 62 
employee engagement index score, 79, 81 
discrimination against, 28, 156 
employee engagement index model, 79, 138, 
employment strategy, 62 
163 
graduates, 62 
employment conditions, 79, 83, 95, 96 
representation, 61–2, 159
flexible work arrangements, 161–3 
employment trends, 146–8
gender equality, 56 
engagements see recruitment, engagements
gender status, 57 
enterprise agreements, 78, 78–9
inclusive workplace culture, 52, 160 
excELerate, 59
innovation, 35–7, 38 
Executive Level (EL) 
innovation index, 139, 159 
classification, 148 
intention to leave, 64, 99, 166 
classification and gender, vi, 150 
internal communication, 46 
employee engagement, 81 
internal mobility, 104, 167–8 
Indigenous employees, 58, 60 
learning and development, 88 
leadership development, 10, 118, 119 
LGBTI+ status, 61 
mobility, 102 
methodology of, 136–7 
number recruited, 147 
older age status, 64–5 
representation, iv, 148 
reason for joining APS, 95–6, 165 
separations, 148
red tape reduction, 75 
Executive Level (EL) employees: EL1 
risk management and culture, 8, 38, 40–2, 43, 
gender representation, vi 
158–9 
number of, 148
senior leadership, 10, 36, 41, 46, 74, 80, 88, 
Executive Level (EL) employees: EL2 
113, 114, 115, 168–70 
gender representation, vi 
verbal abuse, 27 
leadership programs, 170 
wellbeing, 82–3 
number of, 148
wellbeing index, 139, 164 
expenditure, Australian Government, 3, 70 
work-life balance, 75, 83 
departmental expenditure, proportion of, 72

180
State of the Service Report 2017–18
expertise 
H
external, 91, 104 
harassment see bullying and harassment
functional, 4, 86 
human resource (HR) management, 3, 77, 141 
policy, 9, 86 
HR records, 61 
specialist, 9, 86 
HR systems, 57, 61, 65, 78, 134, 135
subject matter, 9, 110 
see also capability
I
impartiality, 4, 23
F
inclusion, workplace, 50, 51, 52, 62, 63, 67, 74, 119, 
financial intelligence, 37–8
159–60 
flexible work arrangements, 55, 56, 65, 78, 83, 160, 
ATO Making Inclusion Count (ATOMIC), 61 
161–3 
SES support for, 53, 61
barriers for not using, 84, 161 
Independent Review into the Operation of  the Public 
employees using, 161 
Governance, Performance and Accountability 
support for, 80, 83, 162–3 
Act 2013 and Rule (Alexander and Thodey 
types, 142, 162, 163
Review), 8, 39, 40, 71 
flexible work environment/use of  resources, 7, 72, 
recommendations, 71
78, 83
Independent Review of  the APS, 1, 4–5, 109, 119, 
fraud, 25, 30, 31, 152, 157 
120 
awareness, 97
panel, 1 
functional clusters of  agencies, 142–5
themes emerging from, 4–5, 87
future needs/trends, 1, 4, 6, 9, 42, 90, 97 
Indigenous employees 
leadership, 110–11, 119, 120, 128 
affirmative recruitment process, 60 
workforce, 5, 7, 9, 44, 52, 60, 67, 86, 87, 125, 
agency representation target, 59–60 
129
capacity building, 101 
G
career development program, 59 
gender, 54–7 
bullying and/or harassment of, 29 
discrimination, 28, 156 
classification, 58 
profile by classification, vi, 55, 150 
discrimination against, 28, 156 
representation, 54, 149, 159
employment strategies, 59–60, 62 
Gender Equality Strategy, 52, 55, 56 
leadership in the APS, 52, 58, 59, 101 
barriers to implementing, 56 
representation, vi, 58, 159 
initiatives to implementing, 56
retention, 52, 59 
gender reporting, 57
SES network, 52
gender X employees, vi, 57
Indigenous employment, 52, 58–60, 160
globalisation/global trends, 2, 6, 86, 87
Indigenous mentoring program, 59
governance, 5, 24, 39, 42, 70, 76, 77, 128 
induction programs, 97–8 
data, 18, 165
APS Values, 25
Government Business Analytical Unit, 72
innovation, 5, 34–8 
GradAccess, 62
barriers to implementing, 37 
graduates, vi, 55, 58, 62 
combatting financial crime and terrorism, 
employee engagement score, 81 
37–9 
gender, vi, 55, 150 
culture, 8, 36 
Indigenous, 58 
government data opportunity for, 17 
location, 103 
OECD draft proposal, 34   
number of, 148 
positive risk culture, 8, 38, 41, 43
number recruited, 47 
innovation index 
people with disability, 62 
APS innovation index score, 35, 36 
representation, vi, 148 
individual elements, 159
separations, 148
Inspector-General of  Security and Intelligence, 30
Great Barrier Reef  Marine Park Authority, 76
integrity, 2, 3, 5, 7, 14, 22–5, 30, 97, 110 
APS framework, 23, 30, 86 
see also APS Values; Code of  Conduct

State of the Service Appendices
181
International Civil Service Effectiveness Index, 3
discrimination against, 28 
International Open Data Charter, 16
representation, vi, 61
international public sector comparisons, 3, 7, 45 
letter of  transmittal, iii
corruption, 30–1
location of  APS employees, vii, 103
J
M
Jawun APS secondment program, 100, 101
Management Essentials series, 94
K
mature age employees see older employees
Medicare 
key agency capability themes, iv, v
number of  services provided, 3
key points in this report, 14, 34, 44, 50, 70, 86, 100, 
men employees 
108, 118, 124
APS classification, 150 
L
bullying and/or harassment of, 29 
large agencies 
discrimination against, 28 
definition, 142 
number of, vi, 149 
employee mobility, 103, 167 
representation, 54, 55, 150
list of, 142–5 
Minister for Finance and the Public Service, 9, 100
unscheduled absence, 171
ministers 
leadership, 10, 78, 108–29 
advising, 42, 53 
capabilities for senior roles, 111–12 
opportunity to work in ministerial offices, 4 
capability, 46, 110–13 
working relationships with, 4
development, 10, 118–23 
miscellaneous leave, 171–4
future, 110, 119, 120, 128 
misconduct, 25–32 
Indigenous employees, 52 
management, 25 
performance, 113–17 
public investigative bodies, 30 
personal qualities, 112 
types, 25 
requirements for senior roles, 110 
see also Code of  Conduct
women, 51, 120–1, 170
Modernisation Fund, 92 
leadership development programs, 120–3 
investment, 109
capability improvement, 120, 170 
N
capability improvement, transition points, 120 
National Census 2016, 39, 41–2, 76
number of  participants, 20 
National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) 
role of  managers, 123
APS Diversity and Gender Equality Award, 63
Leading Digital Transformation program, 5
National Electronic Deposit service, 76
learning and development, 24, 89, 118, 124 
National Library of  Australia, 76
agency needs, 87 
New South Wales Government, 76
APSC leadership development programs, 
New Zealand, 76
119–22 
NextStep, 62
APSC learning programs, 89–90 
non-English speaking backgrounds (NESB), 
eLearning modules, 97 
employees from, 65–7 
formal programs, 88, 89
continent of  origin, 66 
‘Learning from Failure: why large government policy 
representation, iv, 65–6, 159
initiatives have gone so badly wrong in the 
past and how the chances of  success in the 
O
future can be improved’ (Shergold Review), 
OECD countries, change management experience, 
39, 43
46
leave, 171–4 
Office of  the Australian Information Commissioner, 
flex, 63 
15
misuse of, 32 
Office of  the National Data Commissioner, 18
purchasing additional, 162, 163
older workers, 63–5 
lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and/or intersex 
definition, 64 
(LGBTI+) employees 
discrimination against, 65, 156 
bullying and/or harassment of, 29 
interest in leaving APS, 64, 99 

182
State of the Service Report 2017–18
recruitment, 65 
list of, 142–4
retention, 65, 99
policy development and implementation, 2, 5, 
Open Government Forum, 17
18–19, 20, 77, 86 
Open Government National Action Plan, 16–17 
taskforce model, 4
2016, 16 
policy toolkit, 94
2018–20, 17
political astuteness, 4
Open Government Partnership, 16 
positive risk culture, 8, 38, 39, 41, 43
values, 17
privacy 
openness, government, 13, 16, 17, 19
employee data, 135–6 
ORC International, 137, 138
government agencies code, 16
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and 
privacy policy, 135
Development (OECD) 
procurement 
Declaration on Public Sector Innovation, 
digital services and expertise, 91–2 
draft proposal for, 34 
information and communications technology, 
Government at a Glance data, 2017, 3 
16
Public Service Leadership and Capability, 
productivity, 1, 55, 70, 71–2, 78 
draft Recommendation, 51 
achieved high level improvements, 72 
Skills for a high performing civil service, 118
agency identification of  improvements, 78 
organisational culture, 43, 48 
employee perceptions of, 73 
see also culture
workplace, 78
organisational performance, 43, 70–84, 161–4 
Productivity Commission 
assessment of, 70–2 
Data Availability and Use, 17
improving, 77 
Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 
measurement of, 71 
2013 (Cwlth) (PGPA Act), 30 
pilot to measure selected functions, 72 
Independent Review into the Operation of  the 
see also agency performance
Public Governance, Performance and Accountability 
organisational transformation, 118
Act 2013 and Rule (Alexander and Thodey 
outside experience, 9
Review), 8, 39, 40, 71 
P
risk management, 39, 42
Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013, 30
Parkinson, Dr Martin, 19, 21, 88, 121
Public Service Act 1999, iv, 5, 22, 51, 79, 94, 109, 134
partnerships 
APSC and ABS, 5, 93 
Q
APSC and Digital Transformation Agency, 5 
quality assurance, 42
City Deals, 76 
R
Collaborative Partnership on Mature Age 
recruitment, vii, 57 
Employment, 65 
digital, 96–7 
Data Integration Partnership for Australia, 
employees with disability, 62, 63 
5, 72 
engagements, vii, 57, 146, 147 
Open Government, 17 
graduates, 62 
public and private, 37
Indigenous employees, 60 
performance 
innovation, 94 
see agency performance; organisational 
older workers, 65 
performance; see also productivity
processes, 94 
performance assessment, 24, 25
practices and Gender Equality Strategy, 56 
performance management, 74, 78, 115
women employees, 56
performance management frameworks 
red tape reduction, 75
APS Values, 23, 24, 25
reform, 1, 3, 5, 10 
policy advice/policy capability, 5, 9, 15, 72, 90, 94, 
data governance, 18 
111, 121
importance of  change management, 44, 48, 
policy agencies 
113 
definition, 142 
increased need for, iv, 1 
employee mobility, 103, 104, 105, 167 

State of the Service Appendices
183
MyService pilot, 20 
developing talented staff, 10, 113, 114 
procurement, 96 
digital leadership, 5, 90, 92 
see also Ahead of  the Game: Blueprint for the 
diversity of, 7, 127 
Reform of  Australian Government Administration
engagement score, 81 
Roadmap for Reform (the Roadmap); APS 
gender balance, vi, 7, 54 
Reform Committee
Indigenous, 58, 60 
regulatory agencies 
Indigenous Network, 52 
definition, 142 
leadership capabilities, 10, 80, 168–9 
employee mobility, 103, 167 
leadership development, 119–20 
list of, 142–4
managing talent of, 111, 126, 127–8 
resignations see separations
number of, 150 
retirement (age), 63, 64, 99
number recruited, 147 
Review of  Australian Government Data Activities 2018
promotion of  APS Values, 22, 23, 74 
18 
representation, vi, 148 
response to, 18
risk management, 40 
Review of  the APS, Independent see Independent 
role in change management, 7, 36, 47 
Review of  the APS
separations, 148 
risk culture, 71, 75, 158 
supporting inclusion values, 53, 61 
averse, 8, 9 
teamwork, 10, 115
building, 8 
Senior Executive Service (SES) Band 1 
positive, 8, 38, 39, 41, 43
Leadership Program, 120, 170 
risk management, 3, 39–43, 75, 158 
limited agency experience, 128 
capability, 42 
talent management, 126, 127
failure, 39 
Senior Executive Service (SES) Band 2 
maturity, 8, 40 
Leadership Program, 121–2, 170 
performance, 43
talent management, 127
Risk Management Policy, 42–3
Senior Executive Service (SES) Band 3 
Roadmap for Reform (the Roadmap), 1, 5, 94, 97, 
talent management, 127
109 
Senior Executive Service (SES) Orientation, 120 
productivity stream, 72 
Leadership Program, 170
strategies for improvement, 1
senior leaders 
S
performance, 113–17
senior leadership 
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics 
capabilities, 111–12 
(STEM) skills, 9
Indigenous Australians, 59 
Secretaries, 1, 113 
women, 51, 170
gender balance, 7
separations, vii, 146, 147, 148 
Secretaries Board, 109, 127, 128 
by classification, 148
APS approach to talent management, 126 
service delivery 
APS Reform Committee, 5, 94, 109, 120, 129 
citizen survey, 20, 21 
leadership capabilities for senior leaders, 10, 
digital, 38 
111–12 
expectations, 1, 2 
role, 109
improving, 5, 19, 20, 21, 37, 50, 77, 108, 113 
Secretaries Equality and Diversity Council, 51, 52, 67
personal approach to, 2, 19 
Secretaries Talent Council, 127
summary of  activity, 2
Secretary of  the Department of  the Prime Minister 
shared services program, 5
and Cabinet, 113 
sick leave, 171–4
Citizen Survey, 21 
small agencies 
knowledge about citizens, 21
definition, 142 
Senior Executive Service (SES) 
employee mobility, 103, 167 
classification, 148 
leadership development, 10, 118 
communication with employees, 41, 46, 47, 
list of, 142–4 
74, 115 

184
State of the Service Report 2017–18
unscheduled absence, 171
Treasurer, 42
social media, 2 
trust in government institutions, 7, 14–16, 25, 30, 
influence on reform, 3
39, 86, 96 
specialist agencies 
building, 16, 17, 18 
definition, 142 
declining, 2, 6, 14, 15 
employee mobility, 103, 104, 167 
global measure of, 14–15 
expertise, 9, 86 
measuring, 21
list of, 142–5
typical APS employee, 146
states and territories 
U
citizen engagement, 21 
United Kingdom 
collaboration with, 76–7 
civil service capability reviews, 45 
Open Government Plan, 17 
employee satisfaction surveys, 45
public sectors, 4, 9, 15
university collaboration, 76
State of  the Service Report, themes and structure, v
‘Unlocking Potential’, 94
supervisors, 10, 23, 56, 73, 74, 113, 114, 116, 117, 
unscheduled absence 
123
by agency, 171–4 
T
by agency size, 171 
talent management, 4, 50, 94, 98, 112, 119, 124–9 
rate, 171
APS framework for identifying high potential, 
W
126n 
Western Sydney City Deal, 76–7
below SES level, 52, 128–9 
whole-of-government approach, 5
challenges in implementing, 129 
women employees 
development of  talent, 10, 113, 114 
APS classification, vi, 55, 150 
digital, 92, 96 
bullying and/or harassment of, 29 
future, 1, 129 
discrimination against, 28 
Indigenous, 60 
leadership, 120–1, 170 
pools within agencies, 129 
number of, vi, 149 
principles, 126 
representation, 54, 55, 150
processes, 117, 120 
Women in Leadership program, 120–1, 170
SES level, 111, 117, 120, 126, 127–8 
Workforce Information Group, 137
within agencies, 128–9
workforce mobility, 7, 9, 87, 100–5, 167–8 
Talent Management System, 125
between locations, 168 
talent programs, 52, 96
mobility rate, 102 
technology, new/emerging, 4, 8, 9, 37, 87, 90
transfers by agency type, 103, 167 
trainees 
within ACT vs. other jurisdictions, 102, 104
classification, 148, 150 
workforce planning, 5–7, 25 
employee engagement, 81 
ageing workforce, 63 
gender, vi, 150 
Roadmap, 5–6
Indigenous, 58 
workforce renewal, 89
separations, 148
workforce, Australia 
training, 97, 118 
APS proportion of  employed, vii
APS Values, 25 
workplace absence, 171–4
bullying or harassment reduction, 29 
Workplace Bargaining Policy 2018, 78
data literacy, 164 
workplace relations, 77–9 
digital, 91–2, 93 
specialists, 79 
Indigenous employees, 59, 60 
trust, 77–8
technology, 87 
Workplace Relations Capability Program, 79
transformational leadership skills, 119 
workplace stressors, 48
see also learning and development
World Justice Project Open Government Index, 16
transparency, 2, 16, 71, 94 
government data, 17–18
Transparency International, 30–1

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