In this section:

A common challenge faced by every public sector agency is how best to meet the needs of its customers. Accustomed to enhanced service delivery from the private sector, the community views agencies as just another service provider and one which should meet their increasing expectations.

'Asking public employees to innovate may not produce results if the organisational environment itself does not support innovation.'7

Driven by these expectations, leaders are increasingly required to redefine the agency's role, strengthen its customer focus and build integrated service delivery models. There are a number of initiatives already underway that demonstrate how—in the right circumstances—effective public service delivery models can be developed and positive outcomes achieved, many of which are detailed in this report.

However, within the context of budgetary constraints, rapidly changing technology and public sector reform programs, it is important that all agencies continue to seek ways to become more efficient and effective in their service delivery.

Since 2014, 62 agencies have been required to determine the most efficient ways to deliver their services by costing and measuring activities under the Agency expenditure review (AER) program. The AER provides leaders with the opportunity to drive productivity and build a culture of innovation and high performance.

Transformation can be challenging and requires the right culture and leadership to support and implement change. Reinforcing the agency's strategic objectives— embracing diversity of knowledge and ideas, encouraging employees to ask questions and experiment—is key to ensuring the public sector continues to deliver world-class services to the community.

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What do our services look like?

Public sector agencies deliver a wide range of services and support to the community in a number of ways. While the public sector workforce has remained relatively stable over recent years, there has been some changes in trends, including increasing front-line and regional services.

Health and human services, and education and training form almost 75% of public sector services. A description of the agencies included in each service cluster is provided in Appendix D.

Figure 4. Total FTE per 1000 population by service cluster

The public sector workforce at a glance

Culture and Community: 0.69; Education and Training: 16.17; Finance: 0.65; Health and Human Services: 14.75; Industry and Environment: 2.17; Infrastructure and Development: 2.98; Justice and Public Safety: 3.72; Oversight and Administration: 0.69

Total growth of services

Most of the growth over the past five years has occurred in our front-line services, with education and training increasing by 2145 FTE, infrastructure and development by 187 FTE and culture and community by 157 FTE. Industry and environment contracted by 805 FTE, as did finance by 657 FTE.

A breakdown of total FTE growth and contraction by service cluster compared with data from 2012 is provided below.

Figure 5. Total FTE growth by service cluster

The public sector workforce at a glance

Culture and Community: 2012 - 1642; 2016 - 1799; % change - 9.6 (up). Education and Training: 2012 - 39750; 2016 - 41895; % change - 5.4 (up). Finance: 2012 - 2332; 2016 - 1676; % change - -28.2 (down). Health and Human Services: 2012 - 38757; 2016 - 38205; % change - -1.4 (down). Industry and Environment: 2012 - 6430; 2016 - 5625; % change - -12.5 (down). Infrastructure and Development: 2012 - 7528; 2016 - 7715; % change - 2.5 (up). Justice and Public Safety: 2012 - 9833; 2016 - 9628; % change - -2.1 (down). Oversight and Administration: 2012 - 1307; 2016 - 1267; % change - -3.1 (down).

Services across the State

We provide services to all corners of the State, and have seen growth in regional services over the last five years. The figure below shows areas of growth and contraction in regional FTE by service cluster.

Figure 6. Regional FTE by service cluster

Figure 6

Service cluster 2016 % change since 2012

Culture and Community


1.0 (up)

Education and Training

13 163

4.8 (up)



-17.4 (down)

Health and Human Services


3.3 (up)

Industry and Environment


-14.2 (down)

Infrastructure and Development


6.1 (up)

Justice and Public Safety


3.3 (up)

Oversight and Administration



Total FTE

25 703

2.3 (up)

While we have seen significant growth in our regional services over the past five years, we have consequently seen some contraction in metropolitan FTE, as per the below figure.

Figure 7. Metropolitan FTE by service cluster

Figure 7

Service cluster 2016 % change since 2012

Culture and Community


10.0 (up)

Education and Training

28 676

5.7 (up)



-28.5 (down)

Health and Human Services

30 367

-2.6 (down)

Industry and Environment


-11.8 (down)

Infrastructure and Development


4.1 (up)

Justice and Public Safety


-3.4 (down)

Oversight and Administration


-3.1 (down)

Total FTE

82 046

-0.4 (down)

Diversity by service cluster at a glance

Service cluster Percentage of FTE who are:
Aged 24 and under Aboriginal Australians People from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds People with disability

Culture and Community





Education and Training










Health and Human Services





Industry and Environment





Infrastructure and Development





Justice and Public Safety





Oversight and Administration






Transforming health services

By Dr David Russell-Weisz, Director General, Department of Health

Explain your understanding of the word 'transforming'?

Western Australia has an excellent public healthcare system and in the last decade an unprecedented amount has been invested in world-class infrastructure. Health reform focused on the next step of the transformation – establishing a modern governance model aligned to best practice, improving accountability, performance, efficiency and sustainability, ultimately focused on delivering better patient care.

Tell us about your project.

The health system had become too large and complex to continue to operate under a central governance model with all authority and accountability resting with the Director General of the Department of Health. The new Health Services Act 2016 enables us to establish five health services as separate statutory authorities, each governed by a board of highly-skilled professionals and Health Support Service governed by a chief executive. The Director General of the Department of Health has a distinct role as System Manager.

What role did communication and collaboration play in the project?

Communication and collaboration have been crucial to the success of the reform program, and continue to play a critical role. Regular engagement with all stakeholders helped to keep the process transparent and enabled us to resolve contentious issues quickly. It also drove team collaboration across the system through information sharing and unified decision making.

How did good governance and integrity factor into the project?

Good governance and integrity were the backbone of the program. A steering committee set the strategic direction for the reform program and provided advice on performance, transition and governance to achieve budget, infrastructure, clinical and workforce milestones. A Program Management Office was also set up to independently monitor each project and report on it.

What are three key things you learned from the project?

Transparency and communication; the merits of a War Room; celebrate successes every step of the way; don't assume anything - it's better to be over-prepared and over-planned.


The Premier's Awards for Excellence in Public Sector Management recognises outstanding achievements and initiatives in public sector service delivery. Below highlights the winners of the 2016 Awards.

Improving Aboriginal outcomes – Overall winner

Through the Mowanjum project, the Department of Water and the Mowanjum Aboriginal Corporation provide young Aboriginal people from Derby, Mowanjum and surrounding communities with training and employment opportunities. Mowanjum is becoming a nationally-recognised model for leadership and governance in the development of similar Aboriginal businesses and investment opportunities, with leaders sharing their knowledge to develop a template for other Aboriginal communities looking to create similar opportunities.

Developing the economy

Landgate's New Land Registry, developed in collaboration with business management consultancy Ajilon, is revolutionising the way land transactions are conducted nationally and internationally. The New Land Registry is an innovative cloud-based computing platform that automates more than 50% of land transactions, driving down document processing times and costs.

Improving government and reducing red tape

The Department of Local Government and Communities has led an integrated program of initiatives to strengthen the capacity of local governments to appropriately manage their physical and financial resources, be more accountable for their decision making and be more responsive to community needs. As part of the Strengthening local government accountability project, the MyCouncil website was created, providing a place to view and compare local government performance information.

Revitalising the regions

Through an innovative partnership between the Department of Commerce, the Department of Regional Development and Telstra, the Regional Mobile Communications project has enhanced reliable mobile and broadband coverage across regional Western Australia, improving public safety, business productivity and social inclusion.

Managing the environment

The City of Bayswater, in partnership with the Department of Parks and Wildlife, has successfully reconstructed the Eric Singleton Bird Sanctuary Wetland to achieve a 30% reduction in nutrients entering the Swan River – improving the water quality, securing a sustainable water source for the wetland and restoring its ecological value.

Western Shield is one of the largest, most successful wildlife recovery programs being undertaken in Australia. The program, delivered over the past 20 years by the Department of Parks and Wildlife in partnership with industry and community, has recovered and reconstructed native animal populations. Through broadscale baiting, reducing the threat of introduced predators and the reintroduction of native animals to areas where they once existed, significant progress has been made towards conserving Western Australia's unique native wildlife.

Strengthening families and communities

Pain Activity and Coping Education (PACE) is an interdisciplinary program delivering a comprehensive structured care package to young people living with disabling chronic pain. This collaborative initiative between Princess Margaret Hospital, the Department of Education and Murdoch University has achieved world-class clinical outcomes and significant cost savings, while empowering families and communities to help children recover from chronic pain.

Western Australia in Asia

To foster Strategic engagement with China's resource sector, the Department of Mines and Petroleum has provided its Chinese partners with insight into Western Australia's policy, regulatory and pre-competitive geoscience and resources information systems, allowing them to make better investment decisions. This had been achieved through arrangements made in two significant Memoranda of Understanding that have benefited Western Australia's and China's economies through a deeper understanding and closer working relationships.

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How are we transforming services?


Collaboration is essential for delivering services more productively and effectively to meet government priorities and customers' needs. By bringing together talent, thinking, experience and skills from across agencies, jurisdictions and sectors, agencies can deliver solutions more quickly, in a more targeted and relevant manner, and with less duplication of effort.

Almost all public sector agencies have formally collaborated within their own agency, with other agencies, across jurisdictions, industry stakeholders and the community. The focus of collaboration was most commonly around service delivery, program design and policy setting.

Tourism WA established a cross government, multi-agency tourism development committee, with representation from the Departments of Transport; Parks and Wildlife; Planning; Racing, Gaming and Liquor; Lands; and Landcorp. The committee assists tourism stakeholders to develop proposals in collaborative ways—providing them with the opportunity to discuss their proposal with relevant parties, clarify regulatory approval processes and requirements, and foster opportunities to undertake activities that complement existing and proposed tourism development.

Working with the research sector

According to the National Innovation and Science Agenda8, Australia's rate of collaboration between research and industry sectors is the lowest in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. Collaboration, partnerships and co-investment across governments, industry, universities and the research sector will provide the interdisciplinary skills and infrastructure required to address the State's significant challenges, as well as create exciting new opportunities.

Western Australia has already seen significant examples of the sector partnering with research institutes, including:

  • Department of Health's Data Linkage Unit
  • The Australian Resources Research Centre
  • Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia
  • The Square Kilometre Array – the world's largest radio-astronomy project.


This year, there were many examples highlighting the importance of collaboration between public authorities and the community.

Collaborating with local government

The KidSport program assists lower income families from a range of backgrounds by subsidising involvement in sporting clubs. This initiative was developed by the Department of Sport and Recreation in collaboration with local government authorities and 35 community organisations.

Collaborating with the private sector

The Binjareb project, a collaboration between the Department of Corrective Services, Fairbridge and BiS Industries, provides Aboriginal people currently engaged in the criminal justice system with training and employment in the mining industry.

Collaborating across the public sector

The Ombudsman's report - Investigation into issues associated with violence restraining orders and their relationship with family and domestic violence fatalities - made 54 recommendations across four government agencies to prevent and reduce family and domestic fatalities.

Collaborating with the community

Following extensive consultation and collaboration across government and the community, Safer Families, Safer Communities – Kimberley Family Violence Regional Plan 2015-2020 outlines a whole-of-community response to family violence, with a focus on Aboriginal families.

Collaborating with industry

In response to the Cockburn Sound fish kill in late 2015, the Department of Fisheries forged stronger collaboration with the Departments of Environment Regulation and Parks and Wildlife, Cockburn Sound Management Council, and industry stakeholders to produce better management outcomes for the Cockburn Sound.


Innovation is essential for driving public sector performance, achieving better outcomes for the community and building economic growth. Western Australia is progressively positioning itself as a leader in innovation, with the State Government Innovation Package launched in May 2016, opening up extensive opportunities for the sector to work in different and more innovative ways.

In driving the innovation agenda, it is important we continue to collaborate, challenge the status quo and connect with research and industry bodies to inject new ways of thinking into public sector agencies. As we reinvent our agencies and reassess our organisational culture, we have made significant gains in innovation. We are more efficient, responsive and customer focused than ever before and this is evident throughout the stories detailed in this report.

It is crucial agencies continue developing a workplace culture that fosters innovation, productivity and creative thinking. Leadership that inspires discussion, actively seeks input and encourages employees to question and debate new options and arrive at a better solution through diverse views is important9.

Commitment to innovation is also key to attracting and retaining high-performing public sector employees who want to apply new approaches to their work, to deliver the best possible outcomes. It is important we continue to attract the best talent to our agencies and ensure they are engaged and productive.


The community is increasingly moving online to connect with people, perform transactions, and access information and services. Technology is changing the way our customers interact with government, as well as the way we undertake our work.

This year, the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) developed Digital WA: State ICT Strategy10 to help transform the way public services are designed, supported and delivered for a community living and working in the digital world. An overview of the OGCIO's transformation story is available on page 49.

According to Intermedium's Digital Government Readiness Indicator11, while WA has been a digital transformation latecomer, by adopting and building on strategies that have been successful in other jurisdictions, we have progressed in this area.

The following examples outline where public sector agencies have successfully implemented or utilised technology to provide better services to their customers, reduce operating costs and drive efficiencies:

  • The Insurance Commission WA introduced character recognition technology to automate claims document indexing. The savings from this technology are estimated at $1.5 million between 2015 and 2018.
  • The Department of Water introduced a customer portal as part of the Water Online program, allowing clients to apply for water licences, enter water meter readings and track the status of their applications online.
  • The School Curriculum and Standards Authority developed an innovative software solution to assist in documenting their compliance processes, allowing schools to upload the required documentation into a web-based application. The audit process only takes five days to conduct, reducing the audit and feedback process from a four-year cycle to a much shorter timeframe.
  • The WA Country Health Service (WACHS) trialled Patient Opinion Australia in three regions during the year – Kimberley, Midwest and the Great Southern12.

The independently moderated website allows anyone with a story about a hospital or general practitioner visit—good or bad—to provide feedback online. The system enhances WACHS' existing consumer feedback and complaints system, stimulating change within regional health services.


Transforming information technology

By Mr Giles Nunis, Government Chief Information Officer

Explain your understanding of the word 'transforming'?

The exciting thing about transformation in government is that it can have a profound positive impact on the delivery of services to the community. At the OGCIO, we are trying to transform the way government uses technology that is more efficient with higher capability that drives innovation in service delivery - we want to change it in a big way.

Tell us about your project.

When we started in July 2015, Western Australia was consistently ranked last in Australia for ICT maturity, and we were paying between $1 billion and $2 billion a year on ICT. There was no clarity, little consistency, a lot of wastage and duplication. We acted immediately to develop a new ICT road map for the Western Australian Government (published in May 2016) and also went to the market to secure a commercially better outcome for our ICT spend. We have subsequently jumped from last on the Intermedium Digital Government ICT Readiness scale to middle of the pack compared to other Australian jurisdictions in just over a year - a 72.7% rate of change. That's a huge result, and we're only getting started.

What are the top three skills/attributes you feel you needed to successfully lead a transformation project?

Be a leader and don't be afraid; don't get bogged down in the detail; have a vision, and link everything you do back to it.

What role did communication and collaboration play in the project?

Communication is huge in both innovation and ICT - you need to understand the problems for everyone involved, and make sure that everyone is on board in solving them. Translating between technical and business terminology is especially vital - they don't exist in isolation.

How did good governance and integrity factor into the project?

Good governance and integrity are the starting point for everything else, it's as simple as that. The Directors' General ICT Council is an effective and decisive governance group where its members are eager to deal with escalated issues.

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Where have these initiatives improved service outcomes?

The services our sectors deliver, and the outcomes they produce for the community, have been shaped by various initiatives implemented by public authorities over the year. With any effort to transform or improve the equity, efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery, public authorities would expect to see a measurable impact, both within the community and to business processes and practices.

Equity of service delivery

Stable authorities that deliver services where they are most needed, help to improve the equity of service delivery and ensure public resources are appropriately directed. An example of this is Royalties for Regions13, which from 2015/16 will invest a further $4 billion over four years to improve service delivery and bolster outcomes for regional communities.

In January 2016, the Australian Government Productivity Commission published its annual Report on Government Services 201614(ROGS 2016), providing information on the effectiveness, efficiency and equity of government services in Australia. While the results reported in ROGS 2016 clearly indicate more work needs to be done in a number of service outcome areas, Western Australia rated highly on specific equity indicators for homelessness services and services provided to people with disability.

Efficient and effective services

To ensure efficient and effective service delivery, public authorities should reflect on functions and activities delivered and ensure they are relevant, cost effective and continue to deliver benefit to the community. The public sector spent just over $15 billion on services this year, with some expansion in the areas of health and human services, education and training, and infrastructure and development.

Reducing red tape, so businesses and individuals spend less time and money on necessary compliance requirements, is a high priority for the Government. Reducing red tape is one of the main elements of the Government's Plan to Reinvigorate Regulatory Reform. The 2016 Red Tape Reduction Report Card15, highlighted quantified savings in a number of service areas.

To ensure services are delivered equitably, efficiently and effectively, public authorities should always consider the composition and capability of their workforce as a key component of delivering successful outcomes to the community.


7 Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, 2015, The innovation imperative: Setting an agenda for action

8 Australian Government, 2015, National Innovation and Science Agenda

9 CEDA, 2016, CEDA’s Top 10 Speeches: Disruption and innovation 2011–2016

10 Office of the Government Chief Information Officer, 2016, Digital WA: State ICT Strategy

11 Intermedium, 2016, Digital Readiness Indicator

12 WA Country Health Service, 2016, WA Country Health Service Annual Report 2015-16

13 Department of Regional Development 2016, What is Royalties for Regions?

14 Australian Productivity Commission 2016, Report on Government Services

15 Western Australian Department of Finance 2016, 2016 Red tape reduction report card




Page last updated 17 November 2016