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The CPD on the public service.

By johnboy - 16 August 2011 3

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The Centre for Policy Development have released their “alternative report” on the state of the Australian Public Service.

Contrary to assertions that APS staff levels have ‘exploded’, there are now approximately as many people employed in APS agencies as there were in 1990, despite the Australian population growing by more than 16%. Following the retrenchment of almost one-third of APS employees between 1991-99, the workforce has gradually grown back to its former size.

Since 1990, the APS has become more top-heavy, with a growing and male-dominated Senior Executive Service and a corresponding reduction in the lower employment bands. There are enduring gender-based employment disparities including a higher proportion of women in lower-ranking positions and in non-ongoing and part-time employment. Despite most APS agencies adopting programs to achieve equal employment, people from Non-English Speaking Backgrounds, people with disabilities, Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders are severely under-represented in the APS workforce.

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3 Responses to
The CPD on the public service.
Sdizzle 11:50 am 19 Aug 11

The fact that the public service is at the same size as it was 20 years ago is not a good thing. It indicates that the government has spend billions of dollars on improving the public service but obviously can’t manage to find any efficiencies at all. You’d expect, like other industries, that the government could evolve IT and business processes to ensure that staff numbers decrease with time. Not stay the same.

dtc 9:42 am 17 Aug 11

breda said :

Pretty shoddy research on the numbers. They do not factor in outsourcing, such as the abolition of the Commonwealth Employment Service – which employed thousands of people – and the huge increase in use of contractors, temporary staff and consultants to perform functions formerly done by permanent staff. Things like IT, payroll and other HR functions, evaluation, program reviews and a host of other things that used to be done by permanent staff are now done without touching the FTE numbers.

This is also why the APS is more ‘top heavy’ – because lots of the administrative functions are now outsourced and so you are left with few administrators and more senior (‘professional’) staff. Plus, of course, the fact that APS pay rates have lagged the private sector so much that a position which, 10 years ago, was an EL1 is now an EL2 because otherwise you couldnt get anyone with sufficient experience to work in it.

breda 9:30 pm 16 Aug 11

Pretty shoddy research on the numbers. They do not factor in outsourcing, such as the abolition of the Commonwealth Employment Service – which employed thousands of people – and the huge increase in use of contractors, temporary staff and consultants to perform functions formerly done by permanent staff. Things like IT, payroll and other HR functions, evaluation, program reviews and a host of other things that used to be done by permanent staff are now done without touching the FTE numbers.

Without going into the merits of the arguments about the role of the APS, it’s pretty disappointing that an academic and a bunch of his research students consider this to be an acceptable or honest way of addressing the issues.

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