What under-the-pump ACT Government public servants say they need and want

Ian Bushnell 9 December 2021 13
ACT Government Public Service building in Civic

The ACT Government Public Service building in Civic. Photo: Michelle Kroll

ACT Government public servants are highly motivated and most are satisfied with their job, but they want more training, easier transfers to other agencies and are feeling the pressures of responding to multiple crises.

The feedback comes from the first whole-of-service employee survey linked to the annual State of the Service report out this week.

ACTPS Pilot Employee Survey indicates ACTPS employees have a high level of engagement with their work, with 82 per cent of respondents across the ACTPS reporting they are motivated and willing to go the extra mile to help their directorate achieve its objectives.

Across the service, 82 per cent of respondents reported believing strongly in the purpose and objectives of their organisation, and 75 per cent reported that they were proud to work there, and 76 per cent were satisfied overall with their current job and with the ACTPS as an employer.

But only 55 per cent of respondents reported they were satisfied with learning and development opportunities, and just 44 per cent reporting they were satisfied with the opportunity to temporarily transfer to other work areas within the ACTPS.

A little more than half (58 per cent) indicated their career plan intentions for the next two years were to stay in their current directorate or organisation, 16 per cent indicated they plan to work elsewhere in the ACTPS, and 8 per cent reported they plan to leave the ACTPS to work elsewhere.

But there are indications that the challenges of the year have taken a toll. The most common employee response to the question ‘What are the most significant barriers to you performing at your best?’ was ‘Too many competing priorities’, with 35 per cent of respondents selecting this answer.

The report says that this may be due to the COVID-19 pandemic response and its rapidly changing priorities.

Feedback on supervisor performance was mainly positive, with 76 per cent of respondents ranking their supervisor highly, and team performance scored highly at 82 per cent.

But results for leadership were slightly lower, with a score of only 63 per cent for overall leadership.

The report said a review of executive leadership and leadership development in 2020 had found the approach to leadership development experienced by executives as fragmented and stop-start.


READ ALSO: The world has changed: Barr sets hybrid work course for ACT public servants


The review was, in part, sparked by the successive challenges the ACT had faced in 2019-20 including the bushfires, associated smoke haze and hazardous air quality, a massive hailstorm causing extensive local damage, and the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It found “the challenge for executives is in collectively creating a culture to drive and sustain change, among competing demands, evolving priorities and limited resources”.

The Strategic Board backed the need for the ACTPS to introduce a more systematic, coherent and strategic approach to whole-of-ACT public sector executive leadership.

In 2022, the first of a number of priority initiatives will commence, including executive induction, executive career profiling, and executive leadership development, as well as more coordinated mobility.

The Pilot Employee Survey arose out of need for more and better workforce data to meet the service’s challenges.

It will give the ACTPS a comprehensive data set to help it better understand its workforce now and benchmark performance into the future.

“The survey has provided insights into areas where, as a service, we can leverage our strengths and develop action strategies to support improvements to our performance for both our employees and the ACT community,” the State of the Service report said.


What's Your Opinion?


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13 Responses to What under-the-pump ACT Government public servants say they need and want
Jimmy Stewart Jimmy Stewart 7:56 am 16 Dec 21

Here’s a novel idea…

How about just do the job you’re paid to do without needs/wants/demands.

If you don’t like the conditions such as transfers, training etc, then study, up skill or heaven forbid leave…(which they won’t because the conditions, pay and super are better than average!)

Brad Rogers Brad Rogers 2:46 pm 15 Dec 21

The poor darlings....

Shane Westmore Shane Westmore 3:34 pm 14 Dec 21

i wanted a payrise, i couldn't get that so i went job hunting at private companies & got offered much higher than what i was on & never turned back... funnily enough, almost all of those jobs are/were NSW/federal government funded by contracting private companies because they couldn't trust their own employees to do the job

    Kytie Mclign Kytie Mclign 10:31 pm 14 Dec 21

    Shane Westmore Because they were ideoligically committed to paying too much money to private sector contractors.

    Have you ever thought that higher pay might motivate higher performance (as perceived by you, anyway) ?

    Shane Westmore Shane Westmore 7:59 am 15 Dec 21

    Kytie Mclign i don't know enough about the system to know whether privates are paying too much or not, but what i do know is i couldn't pay my rent & expenses today on a government salary & have any disposable income. Of course higher pay motivates someone to sell themselves at an interview to get that job, but you can't judge someone on their performance until you hire them. If someone is performing well they should be rewarded but that so rarely does that happen & they often have to leave that job to get the salary they want, whether they deserve it or not. There wouldn't be much of that option in government.

Steven Knight Steven Knight 9:02 pm 13 Dec 21

Waste of money, Minister Bar don't need the office spaces as only half the servants will be now working from home

Daniel Oyston Daniel Oyston 8:57 pm 13 Dec 21

“Under the pump” doesn’t mean what they think it means.

Linda Stapleton Linda Stapleton 5:08 pm 13 Dec 21

So many make so many nasty comments about public servants and yet when they need a public servant to help them, they expect that very same public servant to be polite and respectful... such double standards. Next time you face a public servant eg one who picks you up in an ambulance and tries to save your life, think about what you have said.

Mark Ramsay Mark Ramsay 2:17 pm 13 Dec 21

Under the pump…. Cmon 🙄

    Bartleby Thompson Bartleby Thompson 2:31 pm 13 Dec 21

    Mark Ramsay it's true. I heard some had to come into the office a couple of times this year :(

    John Tolhurst John Tolhurst 4:54 pm 13 Dec 21

    Taking full pay for a few sitting days between now and Ausgust 2022!! It won’t be long and the little precious dictators can have the rest of their lives off!!

    Under the pump!! Please don’t make me laugh 🤣🤣🤣

    Kyle Sharpe Kyle Sharpe 9:20 pm 13 Dec 21

    Mark Ramsay someone’s coffee assistant needs a new chair.

    Claire Lenehan Claire Lenehan 8:17 pm 15 Dec 21

    John Tolhurst They're not talking about elected officials, they are talking about the staff who run the government functions. They have to work a normal year like everyone else.

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