Significant issues impacting the Commission

This section outlines the key challenges and opportunities facing public administration and management in Western Australia and how we are addressing these, now, and into the future.

In this section:

Implementing the Government agenda to drive efficiency

As the Government endeavours to implement a more efficient and effective approach to deliver services to the community, the public sector continues to undergo significant reform and renewal. This includes wide-reaching reform changes to the Machinery of Government (MOG), and the reduction of the Senior Executive Service (SES)—both aiming to drive cultural changes by fostering collaboration and mobility across agencies.

The Commission has been well placed to advise, assist and support agencies through the first phase of the renewal journey. In facilitating the Government agenda, we reprioritised our resources to ensure we remain responsive, and our assistance effective.

Following the Premier’s announcement of the MOG reforms in April, we worked closely with Government and impacted agencies to implement these changes within a constrained timeframe. This involved assisting and supporting interim CEOs and their agencies as they transitioned to new arrangements. In fulfilling our legislative role under the PSM Act we also continued to advise Government on appropriate changes to achieve and maintain operational responsiveness and flexibility.

These initial reforms are in advance of the Service Priority Review (SPR), scoped to deliver further structural changes and savings. The Commission continues to assist the SPR secretariat upon request, and will continue to support Government in implementing any future changes.

Further details relating to public sector reform can be found in the Machinery of Government section under Service 2: Assistance and support.

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Reimagining leadership

As a result of the reforms announced by Government, some leaders with extensive public sector experience may exit the sector. Without effective succession planning and knowledge management strategies in place, critical leadership knowledge will be lost. Further, organisational delayering that often occurs during times of reform may see operational staff take on management responsibilities without being suitably upskilled.

The absence of strong leadership during times of uncertainty can negatively impact employee engagement. The flow-on effects of a disengaged workforce may create challenges for sector productivity, service and innovation.

Within a constantly evolving public sector environment, leadership excellence requires an intentional and strategic approach. In responding to this challenge, a success profile including measurement guidelines for CEOs was released to support high-level leadership capability. The profile provides the foundation for our design and implementation of sector-wide leadership strategies and initiatives to drive highly capable, collaborative and continuous leadership across the WA public sector.

Further details relating to our CEO success profile are provided in our Success profiles section under Service area 1: Public sector leadership.

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Enhancing Human Resources capability to plan our future workforce

During the year, we commissioned a review into recruitment performance which found that mature workforce planning capability was lacking in the agencies who participated. The review also found that Human Resource (HR) practitioners are yet to fully implement strategies to drive a more diverse workforce.

Into the future, we can expect a leaner public sector workforce. Initiatives that diversify and strengthen the workforce, supported by effective strategic workforce planning have therefore never been more important in building a contemporary workforce. This includes adopting greater flexibility in the way we fill public sector positions.

In light of this, during the reporting period, the Commission launched an interjurisdictional success profile for Chief Human Resource Officers (CHROs). We also worked to build HR capability and strengthen strategic workforce planning by promoting shared learnings amongst our established network of CHROs. The Commission will continue to work with CHROs to assist them through the reform process and build a workforce that supports these changes.

Further details relating to our review of recruitment performance are provided in our Human Resources essentials section under Service 2: Assistance and support.

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Strengthening integrity

In December, the Integrity (Lobbyists) Act 2016 came into effect, adding to and complementing the Commissioner’s existing legislative functions that relate to integrity and accountability. This legislative framework, now spans four separate pieces of legislation. It empowers the Commissioner to establish accountability requirements, oversee, investigate, review, report, promote transparency in government dealings and assist the sectors to build their ethical capacity.

During the year, we undertook a functional realignment to better integrate our conduct and integrity functions internally and apply a more holistic approach to strengthening public sector integrity and accountability. We also undertook a number of discrete evaluations to advise and inform authorities on increasing their capacity to prevent misconduct.

Data from our oversight activities continues to inform our view of conduct and integrity of the sector, and our assistance, prevention and education functions. Based on this data, we will continue to advise public authorities on ways they can strengthen their approaches to integrity and conduct, over the coming year.

Further details relating to evaluations can be found in our Prevention section under Service 2: Assistance and support.

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Page last updated 14 September 2017