25 November 2022

Contracts, online antics and music in the mountains: Mr Smiggle's latest news bites

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Mr Smiggle

Mr Smiggle – head of HR at Region Media. Image: Region.

It must be getting close to the end of the year. People and agencies are all going a little crazy – or so it seems to this snooper.

Please enjoy these insights, gossip and juicy bits I’ve been able to sniff out this week.

Hiring? We’re here to help

With APS agencies all having been told to review their recruitment practices, particularly as they relate to contractors and labour-for-hire, headhunters are resorting to more direct and creative approaches.

Any agency job advertisement that has a contact name listed is likely to invite more direct contact by recruitment firms and people placement consultancies than has traditionally been the case.

The people placement companies are increasingly concerned government agencies will be using them less frequently as the public service spend on contractors decreases.

So much so that the consultancies are having to do more to earn their fees these days.

And big fees they are. A placement firm might take an EL1’s salary from a government agency to place someone there they are only paying at an AP5 or AP6 rate. And neither side really knows what the consultancy is paying or taking from the other party.

It’s at the stage now many individual contractors deemed to be doing a good job are asking agencies to cut out the middle-man placement firms and deal directly with them when the time comes for contract renewal.

And this hound has been alerted to a number of instances where recruitment consultants are calling public servant managers directly and asking how they can help them to fill their advertised vacancies.

One might think that would be a normal thing for a people placement firm to do.

But it certainly hasn’t been the routine in an atmosphere where the APS has been doing the begging and contacting placement consultancies for contractors.

Things are changing.

READ ALSO The future of the APS can’t be so Canberra-centric

Complicating compliance

Thinking about applying for a director identification number? You better be totally savvy with online forms.

The Australian Business Registry Services wants directors to apply for their ID online, like most agencies encourage these days.

Applicants need to use myGov to log in to ABRS online in order to apply for the director ID.

Problem is, for some sight-impaired and/or technology-wary applicants the online form is not practical and using the phone to apply is near impossible.

Which leaves a paper option to be downloaded from the website, printed out and filled in.

But when the ABRS was recently asked why a state/territory-issued Proof of Age card wasn’t an acceptable secondary ID document for the paper application if an applicant didn’t have a driver’s licence (because they were legally blind, for example), the agency had a simple solution.

It immediately removed the downloadable, printable paper form from its website altogether.

No warning, no consultation, just gone. Problem solved… except for applicants struggling to get their applications in by the 30 November deadline and avoid possible prosecution for non-compliance.

No gadflies on this pup

And here’s my regular APS meets pop culture segment.

Been to Corin Forest Mountain Resort just past Gibraltar Falls on a Sunday afternoon lately?

Besides the enormous fun of the alpine slide, there’s music in the mountains from about 5 pm sometimes – either inside by a warm fire or outdoors on the deck.

Last Sunday, famed Canberra band The Gadflys turned up to entertain with its unique style of what it calls “mongrel jazz”.

The roots of The Gadflys outfit are in the Canberra of the early 1980s (when they began life as a post-punk band).

Sunday’s great show inside the Corin Forest lodge was played to a small but enthusiastic audience sipping wine around the log fire and enjoying pizzas.

The Gadflys changed its style some years ago to incorporate clarinet, double bass and classical guitar. It’s a class act.

READ ALSO State of Service Report reveals corruption stats in APS

The band found a decent level of fame and respectability in the 1990s as the house band for Paul McDermott’s satirical TV show Good News Week.

But I’d like to bark out the definition of a gadfly.

A gadfly is, according to some dictionaries, a “person who annoys or criticises others in order to provoke them into action”.

The perfect Canberra band – created with politicians and public servants in mind.

Smiggle out!

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