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What would you change about the ACT Public Service?

By PM - 5 February 2011 18

ABC reports that former Defence chief Dr Allan Hawke’s review into the ACT Public Service is complete, and that significant changes may be on their way. Or not (Stanhope stated he hadn’t finished reading the full report, but he felt compelled to make a media announcement nonetheless).

Stanhope is quoted as follows:

“Change is confronting to all of us. Some of us deal with it in our stride, are more resilient. Many people are and become anxious around change particularly where it involves our employment.”

“But there is nothing to fear in a Government looking at its structures, ensuring that its structures are sound.”

No doubt a number of RiotACT readers are in the ACT Public Service… So, are you scared of what may be on the horizon? What changes do you think will occur? What change would you bring about if it was your decision?

What’s Your opinion?


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18 Responses to
What would you change about the ACT Public Service?
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51modelBloke 4:22 pm 22 Feb 11

Allan Hawke states “The Review has concluded that the ACTPS is not broken.”

My dear old Dad (04modelBloke) used to say, if it isn’t broke, then don’t touch it. Sage advice, me thinks…

BlackIce 11:48 am 20 Feb 11

wildturkeycanoe said :

How about getting them to at least answer emails. I’ve sent complaints to TAMS and Transact, without even an acknowledgment, so after several weeks I’m trying again. I hope I get through this time.

TransACT is not ACT public service. But if you say in their online enquiry form that you’re taking it up with the Canberra Times/Telecommunications Ombudsman you might get a quick response

wildturkeycanoe 11:34 am 20 Feb 11

How about getting them to at least answer emails. I’ve sent complaints to TAMS and Transact, without even an acknowledgment, so after several weeks I’m trying again. I hope I get through this time.

Heavs 9:14 am 07 Feb 11

justsomeaussie said :

joeyjojojuniorshabadoo said :

11. Read the question properly.

12. Attempt to improve ACT residents reading and comprehension skills. Point out one of the questions asked was “What change would you bring about if it was your decision?”

Thank you joeyjojojuniorshabad, you are constructive.

Wow. The fail is strong in this one.

p1 9:00 pm 06 Feb 11

justsomeaussie said :

6. Abolish selection criteria system. Utilise private sector model rather than a model based on a random arts degree and good ability to bullshit in said selection criteria.
7. Have an open and translucent recruitment scheme where people can learn why they did not get the job.

Or, teach people in the ACT public service to actually write selection criteria questions befitting the role, thus approximately reproducing the private sector method of recruiting (also called “asking questions in order to determine if the person can do the job”), while retaining the “transparency” people like to see in there gov’t institutions.

Asking people to address questions in writing is a pretty good idea since most gov’t jobs require a minimum ability (not the press release people though, obviously). Like many of the tasks undertaken by governments, the issue isn’t the system but the way is is used by inept idiots. Something addressed

bd84 8:22 pm 06 Feb 11

justsomeaussie said :

joeyjojojuniorshabadoo said :

11. Read the question properly.

12. Attempt to improve ACT residents reading and comprehension skills. Point out one of the questions asked was “What change would you bring about if it was your decision?”

Thank you joeyjojojuniorshabad, you are constructive.

You still seem to be confused about the distinct difference between the ACT Government Public Service and the Commonwealth Government Public Service. The post is clearly about the Public Service of the ACT Government and not the Commonwealth Government which are totally different, making the majority of your post irrelevant.

Anyway, what needs change about the ACT Public Service is that Jon Stanhope and his useless Government needs to be removed. The problems of the ACT Public Service are directly related to the inability of Stanhope and co. to effectively organise and run their own departments as they are incompetent. But that’s only the fault of the idiots who voted for Labor and the Greens at the last election..

justsomeaussie 4:29 pm 06 Feb 11

joeyjojojuniorshabadoo said :

11. Read the question properly.

12. Attempt to improve ACT residents reading and comprehension skills. Point out one of the questions asked was “What change would you bring about if it was your decision?”

Thank you joeyjojojuniorshabad, you are constructive.

Thoroughly Smashed 2:22 pm 06 Feb 11

As an employee of a private consultancy I’ve had my time (and by extension the taxpayer’s money) wasted sitting in multi-departmental meetings listening to a bunch of departmental representatives arguing over the most insignificant nonsense on numerous occasions. Perhaps when you’re paying a private firm to be at your meeting you could ensure that everyone’s properly briefed, sticks to the meeting agenda and most importantly sticks to the project scope.

It also frustrates me to hear just how much paper shufflers with a high school level education earn in the public service.

justsomeaussie said :

What should occur?
7. Have an open and translucent recruitment scheme

Perhaps you mean transparent, translucent is what many people imagine it is right now.

Davo111 11:20 am 06 Feb 11

I agree with “justsomeaussie”

‘Work ethic’ i feel summarises the issues.

Deref 10:19 am 06 Feb 11

astrojax said :

1. get speech/media writers with a grasp of english?

+1+1+1+1+1

Deref 9:54 am 06 Feb 11

In my long experience change rarely, if ever, achieves its stated objectives.

Departmental re-organisations, in particular, are the classic approach to problem solving in public services everywhere and never achieve anything except a year’s flurry of expense and unproductive activity related to the re-org, followed by a return to business as usual.

I think we need to accept that bureaucracies have inherent and probably inescapable levels of inefficiency – and public bureaucracies are absolutely no different to private ones.

One thing I would like to see, though, is to survey the lowest ranks – ASO1 to 6 – and commit to implementing, say, 60% of their suggestions. Why the lowest ranks? They’re always more in touch with the day-to-day realities and are far more likely to know how to fix them than the upper echelons.

Another change I’d like to see would be a radical overhaul of information classification, particularly the appalling “commercial-in-confidence”, which is used to cover up more sins than you’ll find in the bible. Of course information about private individuals should be protected, but everything else should be open to public scrutiny by the people who pay for it.

One last thing: a return to tenure in the senior executive service. The loss of tenure and its replacement by appointment by ministerial grace and favour has done more to damage the PS’s independence and integrity than any other single thing.

astrojax 8:19 am 06 Feb 11

Many people are and become anxious around change

many people are, what?

1. get speech/media writers with a grasp of english?

taninaus 7:58 am 06 Feb 11

Wow justsomeaussie – which ACT Public Service Department do you get to travel overseas in? I want to work there – the furthest I get to go is Tidbinbilla or Tharwa if I am lucky! and no credit there. bitter much!

Seriously though – yes change is scary and when you are used to being in charge of something and that changes it can turn your world upside down – your comfortable little spot where you know exactly how everything works is no longer. Everyone copes with this differently.

For me – I want to see it and then decide – sometimes these reviews are all talk but nothing really on the ground. But with the CM talking the review up before anything of substance is released there must be something significant in there.

PantsMan 12:56 am 06 Feb 11

Does a list of people in Nara Centre, all of whom should be sacked, count as ‘change’?

georgesgenitals 9:11 pm 05 Feb 11

I’d change nothing. The ACT public service is simply awesome.

olfella 8:43 pm 05 Feb 11

Dunno about what will occour but if it were up to me I would make them/someone responsible for decisions and stop the buck-passing and flicking problems all over the place.

joeyjojojuniorshabadoo 5:31 pm 05 Feb 11

11. Read the question properly.

justsomeaussie 3:59 pm 05 Feb 11

What should occur?

1. Remove 90% of plasma and LCDs televisions from all departments. Sell them.
2. Remove flex, sitting around at work at the end of the day doesn’t count as flex.
3. Have all levels of the APS outline their day to day tasks with intent to be more efficient and remove time wasters.
4. Have efficiency whistleblower hotline for the APS. All staff can propose money saving measures independently audited and without fear of recrimination. Staff are given percentage of savings if proposal is accepted.
5. Realise that doing a job for 3-5 years does not qualify one for promotion.
6. Abolish selection criteria system. Utilise private sector model rather than a model based on a random arts degree and good ability to bullshit in said selection criteria.
7. Have an open and translucent recruitment scheme where people can learn why they did not get the job.
8. Realise that not everyone deserves to be posted to a foreign country to gain valuable “experience”.
9. Pay people for what they do and achieve related to their responsibilities rather than just turning up to work each day and getting paid.
10. Realise that things can be done better and that’s ok.

Last but not least.

Fire people who do not work or fit the function of their role

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