How to read this report

The observations and findings presented in this report, draw on the sources of information described in this section. This information is interpreted and reported in the context of: ongoing consultation and engagement; consideration of cases and issues examined in an oversight capacity; and interactions with public authorities, leaders and public officers through a variety of advisory and capability-building programs and activities.

Analysing the public sector environment

The Public Sector Commissioner (the Commissioner) has a specific role in administering several pieces of legislation, including the Public Sector Management Act 1994 (PSM Act), Public Interest Disclosure Act 2003 (PID Act), parts of the Corruption, Crime and Misconduct Act 2003 (CCM Act) and the Integrity (Lobbyists) Act 2016.

The Commissioner collects data from public authorities and reports on compliance with—and outcomes of—a range of legislative processes and issues involving the workforce. In analysing our public sector environment, the Public Sector Commission (the Commission) relies on authorities providing timely and accurate responses to its surveys. It should be noted, that an authority’s systems and capability impacts on the data collected and reported.

Impact of change on the annual survey program

In April 2017, the Western Australian Government announced wide-reaching public sector reforms. This included a number of significant Machinery of Government (MOG) changes that resulted in the amalgamation of 41 public sector agencies, to 25 departments. These changes came into effect on 1 July 2017.

The changes significantly impacted the Commission’s activities in the second half of the 2016/17 year, including its survey program which forms the basis for this report.

In addition to structural reforms, a number of reviews and inquiries were initiated by Government early in 2017. The Service Priority Review (the review) aims to address the functions, operations and culture of the public sector in order to drive lasting reform of service delivery, accountability and efficiency. 

The review is due to be completed before the end of 2017 and will consider—among other things—the current and future public sector workforce. The Commission has been assisting the review by providing data, information and insights.

Public authorities’ perspectives

Data and perspectives presented on public authorities are the result of two annual surveys conducted by the Commission. 

Public sector entity survey

The Public sector entity survey (PSES) seeks to obtain the views and details of operations of public sector agencies. 

This year, MOG changes impacted on the administration of the PSES. To preserve high response rates and data quality, the Commissioner conducted the PSES earlier than usual. The 106 public sector agencies responding to the PSES in May and June 2017 provided information for the nine-month period, 1 July 2016 to 31 March 2017. A 100 per cent response rate was achieved for the PSES.

Due to the reduced reporting period for the PSES, 2017 data is not directly comparable to the 2016 data, which should be taken into account when reading this report.

Integrity and conduct survey

The Integrity and conduct survey (ICS) contains the views and details of operations from 261 other authorities for the period 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017, with authorities providing their responses in July 2017. The majority of these authorities were not impacted by MOG changes, and were able to report for the full 12-month period. A 72 per cent response rate was achieved for the ICS.

Where data or perspectives presented in this report are a combination of information from both surveys, readers should take into account the discrepancy in the reporting periods.

Employee perspectives

Each year the Commission selects a sample of public sector agencies and surveys employees on their perceptions about their role, team and agency. The Employee perception survey (EPS) was administered in February 2017 and asked 10 802 public sector employee across 15 public sector agencies for their views, with 54 per cent (5794) of employees responding.

Workforce trend data

The Commission collects workforce and diversity data quarterly from public sector agencies through the Human resource minimum obligatory information requirement (HRMOIR). Agencies have a responsibility to submit accurate data. Diversity data from all other authorities is sourced from the Equal employment opportunity survey (EEO survey) conducted on behalf of the Director of Equal Opportunity in Public Employment. The survey was administered by the Commission in March and April 2017. These data sets describe authorities’ workforces, and highlight changes over time. Workforce data about the public sector is current as at 30 June 2017 and workforce data about other authorities is current as at 31 March 2017, unless otherwise stated.

Where is our data sourced?

473 authorities were approached to provide information as part of our data collection program that informs this report

Employee perception survey 15 public sector agencies

Public sector entity survey 106 public sector agencies

Integrity and conduct survey 363 authorities

Equal employment opportunity survey 158 authorities

Human resource minimum obligatory information requirement 96 public sector agencies

Other data sources

Data on minor misconduct and other Commission operations is sourced from the Commission’s Enterprise Information System. Comparative data and other quotes are referenced as citations as they occur through the report. A list of references is provided in the back of the report.

Accessing the series

Visit State of the sectors report homepage to find previous State of the sectors reports and statistical bulletins.


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Page last updated 19 October 2017