CEO employment services

Chief Executive Officers are the principal officers of public sector departments or agencies. They are accountable for the efficient and effective management of their department or agency. A Chief Executive Officer is directly responsible to either a Minister or Board for implementing agency services and providing policy advice. 

The Public Sector Commissioner employs all chief executive officers appointed under the Public Sector Management Act 1994 (PSM Act). This responsibility comes from section 5 of the Act.

The Public Sector Commission has a range of functions to assist the Commissioner in their role as the employer of CEOs, including:


The Public Sector Commission website records all current CEO recruitment activities underway and shows a record of recent CEO appointments. More information is on the Recruitment page

Appointment and Reappointment

The Commissioner facilitates the appointment of each chief executive officer by making a recommendation to the Governor who then approves the appointment. More information is on the Recruitment page.

CEO essentials – Induction for Western Australian public sector CEOs provides new CEOs with an overview of their obligations and responsibilities and covers key elements of the legislative framework, accountability requirements and the employment environment in which CEOs operate.


Chief executive officers may be transferred to another vacant chief executive office or to other functions in the Senior Executive Service. Transfers are approved by the Governor on the recommendation of the Commissioner. Before recommending a transfer, the Commissioner is required to consult with the officer, the Responsible Ministers and Responsible Authorities of the existing agency and the destination agency. As a transfer to an office in another agency is effectively an appointment, Cabinet  also considers the matter before the recommendation is made to the Governor.

Transfers have some important features:

  • The transfer may be made to an office at the same level of classification as the chief executive officer’s existing office or to an office at a lower level of classification than their existing office.
  • The transfer does not alter their original term of appointment.
  • If an officer is transferred to a lower classified office that officer retains the higher classification for the balance of the existing term of appointment.

The ability to transfer CEOs is found in section 50 of the PSM Act.

Acting Appointments

The Commissioner is able to direct an existing public sector employee to act in a chief executive office if it is vacant or if the existing officer is absent from duty or for any reason is unable to perform his duties. This acting direction can be given for a maximum period of up to 12 months.  The Commissioner is required to consult with the responsible Authority and the responsible Minister of that agency before giving the direction to act. 

The Commissioner has given a delegation of authority to existing chief executive officers  and acting chief executive officers to give an acting direction to an existing employee of the public sector to act in the chief executive office if the acting period will be for a period of three months or less.  This is subject to the approval of the Responsible Minister and Responsible Authority being obtained prior to issuing the direction to act. 

The power to deal with acting appointments is contained in section 51 of the PSM Act and the Commissioner’s Instrument of Delegation dated 8 December 2010


Remuneration for chief executive officers is determined by the Salaries and Allowances Tribunal if the chief executive office is in the Special Division of the Public Service or is a prescribed office for the purposes of the Salaries and Allowances Act 1975. The Salaries and Allowances Tribunal website outlines those items of remuneration that have been determined by the Tribunal. The Tribunal is required to make annual determinations on the remuneration for chief executive officers.

Chief Executive Officers generally receive the same terms and conditions applicable to other public servants under the Public Service Award 1992 and the Public Service and Government Officers General Agreement 2014, although they are not covered by this award and agreement.

The Commissioner is empowered to determine the offices that will be included in the Special Division of the Public Service. For offices not in the Special Division, the Commissioner is able to determine the remuneration for that chief executive office.

Renumeration responsibilities arise from sections 38 and 44 of the PSM Act, and Regulation 8A of Public Sector Management (General) Regulations 1994.

Performance Agreements

On commencement a chief executive officer must enter into a performance agreement with the Commissioner and the Responsible Authority of the chief executive officer’s agency concerning the performance criteria to be met by the chief executive officer during the period of the agreement.

The purpose of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Performance Agreement framework is to support high-performance leadership and clear accountability across the public sector.

Through the process the Public Sector Commission seeks to promote a shared understanding between a responsible authority, a CEO and the Public Sector Commissioner about the specific outcomes and the operational performance standards that are expected to be achieved over the applicable period.

The performance assessment process is given force by Section 47 of the PSM Act.


Public sector officers are required to demonstrate integrity in all professional spheres. Chief executive officers as leaders in the public sector must maintain the highest levels of integrity in both their professional and private activities. This integrity requirement is expected even when a person applies for a chief executive office and all claims in applications will be rigorously tested. Any misrepresentations in applications including about qualifications held will preclude applicants from appointment and will result in such claims being reported to the relevant law enforcement agency.

Chief executive officers as public sector employees are subject to the disciplinary provisions contained in the PSM Act. The Commissioner is required by the Act to take any disciplinary action against a chief executive officer. If the breach of discipline warrants dismissal, the Commissioner must recommend to the Governor the dismissal of that chief executive officer.

Discipline processes arise from Part 5 of the PSM Act .


The vacation of a chief executive office and the cessation of the officer’s employment may occur in a number of circumstances and these are summarised in Section 63 of the PSM Act. The vacation of an office may not result in a cessation of the officer’s employment. Where possible, the Public Sector Commission should be consulted to obtain advice for each individual case prior to the office being vacated.

The relevant sections of the PSM Act are Sections 49, 56, 58, 59, and 63.

Page last updated 5 March 2019