Executive summary

A key focus of the Commission in 2011/12 was to promote an effective and ethical public sector, and continue to position the Commission as an independent authority, balancing its policy, assistance and oversight roles.

The Commission’s activities in 2011/12, detailed further in this report, included:

Significant matters

The Commission was directed to undertake special inquiries into the causes of the 2011 Margaret River bushfire and related matters, and into the conduct and response of public officials and government agencies in relation to allegations of sexual abuse at St Andrew’s Hostel in Katanning.

The Commission completed 100 matters of referral, including significant matters such as an investigation into the information management practices of the Department of Education as they related to transmittal of a report on the Carson Street School. The Commission also provided policy advice on a number of matters, including advice to the Premier on issues relating to the Kimberley Ultramarathon.

The Commission played a major role in the implementation of machinery of government changes, including the abolition of the Office of Energy and the transfer of its roles and functions to a Public Utilities Office, and the creation of the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority. The Commission also provided advice to Government and agencies on a range of machinery of government changes, including the proposed abolition of the Western Australian College of Teaching to be effected through the Teacher Registration Bill 2011.

Monitoring the sector’s performance

In November 2011, the Commissioner tabled the State of the sector 2011 report in parliament, in line with his role to monitor and report on the state of administration and management of the public sector. Preparation of the report involved significant input from staff across the Commission, and also from CEOs and public sector employees who contributed by completing surveys and providing case study information.

Considerable work was also undertaken in the period to plan for the tabling of the 2012 report. Two performance reviews were commenced—the first into how agencies promote integrity and the second into employee performance management.

Public sector management

In 2011/12, eight CEOs were appointed and 16 CEO reappointments were undertaken. With regard to CEO performance agreements, the Commission consulted with CEOs and responsible authorities to identify opportunities to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the process, leading to the development of additional support resources.

Four Commissioner’s instructions were approved to come into effect, relating to publishing a public sector notice, workforce data reporting obligations, the code of ethics, and codes of conduct and integrity training. A further eight Commissioner’s instructions were drafted and subject to consultation.

The Commission continued to advise boards and committees on appropriate governing structures, best practice in the conduct of board meetings, and board roles and responsibilities. A biannual review of the boards and committees remuneration and policy framework was also undertaken, with amendments to be applied in 2012/13.

In recognition of public sector excellence and achievement, the Commission supported the 17th Premier’s Awards and hosted the annual ‘Excellence in the public sector’ conference.

Workforce planning, employment and development

In collaboration with agencies and Aboriginal employees across the sector, the Commission developed the Aboriginal employment strategy 2011-2015 and established a dedicated Aboriginal Employment Unit to focus on long-term, sustainable employment opportunities and career pathways for Aboriginal people across the sector. The Commission also employed 30 Aboriginal young people in traineeship positions, who were seconded to a variety of public sector agencies.

The Commission provided a range of recruitment programs, particularly to introduce young people to public sector employment. New employees across the sector also had the opportunity to attend the Commission’s induction seminars, supported by the development of a new handbook to complement existing induction tools and agency programs.

To develop those already in the sector, the Commission delivered 460 professional development sessions to more than 11 000 participants. Additionally, the inaugural ‘Foundations of government human resources’ program was developed to build the capacity of human resource practitioners across the sector, and a framework to develop the capabilities of policy practitioners was drafted.

Identifying emerging and developing current leaders continues to be a priority for the Commission. The Commission conducted a number of Western Australian-focused programs and supported public sector employees to participate in national programs as well.

The Commission continued its commitment to ensuring the regional public sector workforce has access to contemporary human resource and ethics knowledge and assistance. Additionally, the Commission was successful in securing ‘Royalties for Regions’ funding to support an expansion of services across regional Western Australia.

Page last updated 11 September 2014