Australian Public Service Reform Revisited

So 2012 is here.


We've had the initial flurry of reform activity - reports, committees and information cascading from on high along with requests for feedback. So, with the increased efficiency dividend about to impact Australian Public Service agencies what does reform really look like? More pointedly, is the APS really Building the future together? By the way, that's the tagline used on the APS Reform website.


The other tagline used on the site is This is your APS.


I am quite sure the APSC and senior leaders believe they are really engaging with APS employees. However, the fact of the matter is what we are largely seeing today is an approach to reform that is well and truly grounded in the past. At one extreme public servants have told me they regard the approach being taken by managers and leaders as little more than lip service. Others say it is well intentioned, but flawed by excessive risk aversion and a desire to maintain the status quo.


Either way the approach is certainly not in keeping with the times we live in and there is something quite irritating about taking an approach to building the future that is grounded in the seventies and eighties. And that's being kind by the way.


Where, I ask myself, is the use of blogs and wikis so that APS employees can really build the future together? Where is the involvement of the community in building the APS. After all, it is their APS as well. Instead, what we see on the APS Reform website is an email link to provide feedback on the site itself.


It is not as if it is so hard to set up a blog for this purpose - as evidenced by the range of blogs listed on the govspace directory. And what about Twitter and Facebook? Is the problem really a lack of resources? After all instead of allocating resources to approaches that are grounded in the past why not allocate then to more progressive, inclusive, tech savvy and people focused approaches. In short, use social media in a determined way to build the future together.


Last, but not least. Imagine crowd sourcing solutions to the many problems the APS faces now and into the future.





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Comment by Josh Donnelly on January 10, 2012 at 11:00am

Not about resources Steve. I havd said this a zillion is about dinosaurs. I sit at work as a Gen Y who is well adversed on what benefits social media could bring to certain projects/programs. However, the line above me appears to have many speed bumps...perhaps brick walls...that forces people like me to simply deem it pointless to pursue. And believe me - I have tested the waters. A little word here and there "oh we could have a Facebook page for that" and all you need to do is look at the reaction to know it is a road not safe for travel...

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