Supporting the workforce

In this section:

Across the nation, governments are seeking savings to bring budgets into line. In this climate, it is natural that attention turns to employee effectiveness, given staff salaries represent a large part of WA Government expenses.1 Of course, staff salaries also represent government investment in the skills, talent and experience needed to deliver its priorities and services.

Public sector entities support their workforces to be effective in a number of ways, including:

  • building capability through performance development
  • sustaining a healthy workplace culture
  • embracing diversity in order to better service the community.

This year, the public sector continued to develop workforce capability through a range of initiatives, such as formal training and occupation-specific skill development programs. However, there is an opportunity for the public sector to encourage more on-the-job learning through activities such as secondments and exchanges. For example, close to two-thirds of employees reported this year that they have only ever worked in one entity.

A mobile workforce allows resources to be aligned to government priorities and respond effectively to change. Increasing employee mobility also improves leadership development, provides enriching career opportunities, and builds and retains capability within the sector.

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Developing the workforce

Broadening employee skills helps to sustain organisational performance during times of fiscal constraint. Skills that already exist in the sector are required to be more flexible and transferable in order to effectively respond to changes in work priorities, reduced resources and organisational restructures.

Building capability

The Hays global skills index 2013 (external website)2 assesses the difficulty employers have in recruiting skilled labour. Australia was positioned 12th in 30 countries, suggesting it is facing skill shortages. In WA, a range of specialist health and education occupations feature on the Department of Training and Workforce Development's 'State priority occupation list' (external website), indicating that building capability remains important even in the current labour market conditions of stronger supply.

Entities report providing a range of capability development opportunities to their employees. This is confirmed by 72 per cent of respondents to the Public Sector Commission's Employee perception survey (EPS) agreeing that development opportunities are available to all staff, and 86 per cent agreeing their job allows them to use their skills, knowledge and abilities. This year, entities were asked for the first time, through the Commission's Public sector entity survey (PSES), to indicate which development initiatives they had made available to staff. Figure 3.1 shows secondments were one of the most commonly reported development initiatives (86 per cent of entities).

Figure 3.1 Capability development initiatives offered to staff by entities, 2013/14

Figure 3.1 Capability development initiatives offered to staff by entities, 2013/14

 

Entities (%) in person

Entities (%) online

Formal training courses, seminars or conferences (no qualification) 96 20
Occupation-specific skill development programs 90 18
Formal training courses, seminars or conferences that lead to a qualification 88 14
Secondments 86 -
Project work, stretch assignments, job rotations or job shadowing 80 4
Mentoring 65 7
Coaching 62 5
Exchange programs 21 -

Note: Figures in this table are estimations only based on visual representation of the figure

In 2014, the Commission launched the Centre for Public Sector Excellence, which encourages performance development beyond the training room. The Centre has adopted the 70:20:10 learning framework3 and offers support to entities in this area. The framework proposes that 70 per cent of development comes from on-the-job experiences, 20 per cent from informal mentoring, personal networks and other collaborative activities, and 10 per cent from formal, off-the-job education. By making better use of workplace, social and structured learning, the framework has proven more effective and efficient than traditional off-the-job learning approaches.

Almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of 2014 EPS respondents reported having worked in only one entity during their time in the public sector, with almost all (94 per cent) having worked in no more than three entities. There seems to be an opportunity for the public sector to encourage and foster more on-the-job learning to fulfil the 70 per cent component of the 70:20:10 learning approach through activities such as secondments and exchanges. Other on-the-job options, internal to an entity, include special projects, stretch assignments, job rotations and job shadowing.

The findings from the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership's Global trends in professional learning and performance and development (external website) report4 suggest that organisations with a strong alignment between business and individual goals are more likely to support self-directed learning, such as on-the-job training. In the 2014 PSES, entities such as the Department of Fisheries, Department of State Development and Department of Mines and Petroleum reported increasing their focus on on-the-job learning. This approach supports continued learning and transitions performance development into a more strategic and agile function.

Monitoring performance

Performance monitoring is an effective tool to align workforce capacity and demands. Formal, documented performance meetings enable employees and their manager to identify and plan opportunities for performance development, and acknowledge past achievements.

The importance of performance development has long been recognised across sectors. For instance, in response to poor participation rates, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat issued a directive5 in 2014 that enforces biannual reviews of employee performance and the use of a common rating scale across its public service to enable comparisons between entities.

In 2014, 71 per cent of EPS respondents agreed feedback helps improve their performance. The proportion of employees who reported receiving formal performance feedback in the last 12 months was similar to, or higher than, other jurisdictions, as shown in Figure 3.2.

Figure 3.2 Employees reporting receipt of formal performance feedback (percentage) across jurisdictions, 2011, 2013 and 2014

Figure 3.2 Employees reporting receipt of formal performance feedback (percentage) across jurisdictions, 2011, 2013 and 2014

WA = 66, Vic = 68 (highest), NSW = 55, NT = 50, Qld = 49 (lowest)

Sources: EPS and other inter-jurisdictional publications (see Appendix B)

In 2013, the Commission conducted a review of performance management across the sector. This review found that while entities have procedures in place, and employees are aware of these procedures, participation rates could be improved. This continues to be reflected in the 2014 EPS results, with 23 per cent of respondents reporting no formal performance meeting with their supervisor in the preceding year. Building on this, less than half (42 per cent) of larger entities reported through the 2014 PSES that most employees had participated in formal performance meetings.

To assist entities in this area, the Commission has developed a full day module, 'Managing performance', which addresses the core principles of performance management and explores good practice across the public sector. The Commission's advisory service also provides practical advice about performance management to human resource practitioners and managers.

Complementing formal meetings with informal feedback is important in developing open and honest workplace relationships and engendering trust in the process. However, 28 per cent of 2014 EPS respondents indicated they meet with their supervisor once a year or less to informally discuss performance development.

Almost one-quarter (24 per cent) of 2014 EPS respondents did not feel recognised for their work and 10 per cent were unclear on their duties and responsibilities. In addition to performance development discussions, the Commission encourages entities to use opportunities such as the Premier's Awards for Excellence in Public Sector Management, 'Institute of Public Administration Australia WA achievement awards' and 'WA information technology and telecommunications awards' to recognise and reward staff performance.

The Premier's Awards for Excellence in Public Sector Management recognise the most outstanding achievements in the public sector each year. This year, awards were presented in several categories. The following pages showcase the award winners for 2014.

Premier's Awards 2014

Premier's Awards for Excellence in Public Sector Management

The annual Premier's Awards for Excellence in Public Sector Management, recognise exceptional performance and outstanding service delivery to the community. Our congratulations go to the following entities for their award winning initiatives.

Overall winner and 'Developing the economy' category winner

Department of Housing for 'Shared equity expressions of interest program'

This program provides people living in WA on low incomes with the opportunity to purchase a home. This is achieved by sharing up to 30 per cent of a property's purchase price with the Department of Housing and borrowing the rest through the SharedStart loan from Keystart Home Loans, on a two per cent deposit. The loan scheme was directly linked to a major construction project to maximise and capitalise on partnerships with industry. This initiative is self-funded with no cash cost to government.

'Improving government' category winner

Department of Health for 'Emergency telehealth service'

Emergency telehealth service is a virtual emergency medicine service that delivers consultations through video linkup across WA. Rural doctors can access specialist medical consultants via the service, which promotes better outcomes for emergency patients and enables care closer to home.

'Improving Aboriginal outcomes' category winner

City of Stirling for 'Aboriginal cultural tours—cultural orientation tours and Mooro country tours'

These tours were created to provide greater understanding of Aboriginal culture and history to participants. Visiting significant Aboriginal sites within the City and providing a positive experience of Aboriginal people and their contribution to our community are key outcomes.

'Managing the environment' category winner

Department of Parks and Wildlife for 'Protecting the nature of the Kimberley'

In collaboration with native title holders and Aboriginal ranger groups, government entities, non-government organisations and pastoralists, this project works to protect biodiversity values across property boundaries in the north and central Kimberley. This includes managing fire, the impact of feral animals and the impact of invasive plants across an area of more than 65 000 square kilometres.

'Revitalising the regions' category winner

Landgate for 'Aurora'

As Australia's first national bushfire spread simulation system, Aurora significantly minimises the impact of bushfire on life and property. It uses Landgate's FireWatch and the University of Western Australia's bushfire spread simulator, 'Australis', to predict fire behaviour in near real-time. It combines scientific research on fire behaviour with large dynamic data sets, using innovative computing and simulation techniques to deliver vital information on fire spread within a web mapping application.

'Strengthening families and communities' category winners

Shire of Kulin for 'Camp Kulin'

Camp Kulin supports children and young people who have been affected by domestic violence, sexual assault, childhood trauma and related factors. The program is run with the support of volunteers from across the state and the wider international community.

Department of Sport and Recreation for 'KidSport—Making it possible for WA children to participate in sport and recreation'

KidSport helps tens of thousands of financially disadvantaged, at risk and socially isolated children to take part in organised sport and recreation, many for the first time in their lives. As a result, the risk of antisocial behaviour has reduced and WA children are leading more active lives, developing critical social skills and connecting with their communities.

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Embracing workplace diversity

Effective management of workplace diversity makes a positive difference to the quality of service delivery and the level of employee engagement. Increasing diversity brings organisational benefits through the contribution of different perspectives and understanding of issues, and different ways to find solutions. The public sector is encouraged to implement an integrated workforce and diversity plan that links attraction, employment, development and retention objectives to service outcomes, government priorities and business priorities.

Table 3.1 shows the representation of key diversity groups in the public sector at June 2014. The proportion of women in the senior executive service (SES) has continued its upward trend, reaching 30.1 per cent this year. Further information about women in leadership is provided in Chapter 1.

Table 3.1 Representation of diversity groups in the public sector, 2014

Diversity group

Representation (%)

Aboriginal Australians

2.9

People with disability

2.3

People from culturally diverse backgrounds

12.5

Women in the SES

30.1

Youth

4.6

Mature workers

52.4

Note: 'Youth' refers to people under the age of 25 years. 'Mature workers' refers to people aged 45 years and above.

Source: HRMOIR

Aboriginal Australians

WA is a signatory to the Council of Australian Governments' (COAG's) National partnership agreement on Indigenous economic participation (external website). This partnership aims to halve the gap in employment outcomes between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians within a decade.

COAG's agreement sets a national target of 2.6 per cent Aboriginal representation in the public sector workforce by 2015, and WA has committed to a target of 3.2 per cent. In working towards this target, WA is mindful that the Australian Bureau of Statistics has estimated Aboriginal representation in the WA working age population (i.e. between 15 and 64 years) is 2.8 per cent.6

The proportion of Aboriginal employees this year (2.9 per cent) compared favourably to the estimated proportion in WA (2.8 per cent), and is similar to the previous year. WA continues to have one of the highest representations across all Australian jurisdictions, as seen in Figure 3.3.

Figure 3.3 Representation of Aboriginal employees across jurisdictions, 2013 and 2014

Figure 3.3 Representation of Aboriginal employees across jurisdictions, 2013 and 2014

WA = 2.9, NT = 8.4 (highest), Qld = 2.8, NSW = 2.7, APS = 2.2, Tas = 2.1, SA = 2.1, ACT = 1.1, Vic = 0.3 (lowest)

Sources: HRMOIR and other inter-jurisdictional publications (see Appendix B)

As one of the biggest employers in WA, the public sector is well placed to make a significant contribution to the economic and social wellbeing of Aboriginal Australians.

Targeted recruitment of diversity groups is possible, in line with the merit principle, where recruiting meets a need in the entity and persons meet the work-related requirements. For example, where entities identify that a specific role (e.g. service provision to Aboriginal Australians) would be best undertaken by Aboriginal employees, section 50(d) of the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (external website) (EO Act) can be applied to target Aboriginal applicants only. Alternatively, where entities identify a need to increase workforce diversity and Aboriginal representation, section 51 of the EO Act can be applied to encourage applications from Aboriginal Australians and ensure equal opportunity.

The Commission continued to implement the Aboriginal employment strategy 2011–2015 this year. The strategy's cornerstone is the 'Aboriginal traineeship program', an integrated employment, training and mentoring support service for the sector. Positive outcomes for Aboriginal Australians continue to grow as a result of this program, which over the last year was expanded to include the Kimberley, Pilbara, Southwest, Midwest and Goldfields regions. In 2013/14, there were 27 graduates from the 'Aboriginal traineeship program'. Twenty-one of these were from the metropolitan area and six were from regional locations.

An example of supporting public sector employment for Aboriginal Australians at the entry level is provided in the following case study.

Mentoring in the Central Institute of Technology

The Central Institute of Technology (Central) has partnered with the Wirrpanda Foundation to deliver 'Solid Ground' and 'Solid Futures', which are aspirational programs for Aboriginal jobseekers. The vocational employment and training initiative aims to build social and economic futures for Aboriginal Australians through project based learning and dedicated mentoring.

Eighty per cent of the Foundation's staff are Aboriginal employees. These staff work collaboratively with Central on a panel to select Aboriginal students for accredited training and life skills support. The programs include one-on-one mentoring and skills training on searching for jobs, literacy and numeracy, cultural dance and performance, film making, and wellbeing. On completion of Solid Futures, participants receive a Certificate II in Business and are partnered with an employer and ongoing mentor for transitioning to the workplace.

Central's partnership with the Foundation has established a number of job placements under the program, including those within the public sector such as the Department of Mines and Petroleum and the Department of Health. The program has multiple benefits, including a 'ripple effect' for participants who have established themselves in employment and have become role models for their families and wider community.

Released in August this year, the Forrest Review—Creating Parity7 was produced in collaboration with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. The Forrest Review aims to improve Aboriginal employment outcomes and ensure that barriers to employment are addressed. The Forrest Review recommends the state government set Aboriginal representation targets at four per cent within four years. The WA Government is currently considering the recommendations of The Forrest Review.

People with disability

In 2012, WA committed to COAG's National disability agreement (external website). This agreement strives to improve services in delivering outcomes for people with disability, and to ensure people with a disability participate as valued members of the labour force and broader community. The National disability strategy (external website) supports the agreement and sets out a 10 year policy framework for improving life for people with disability, their families and their carers.

Technological advances have removed some of the barriers faced by people with a disability. However, challenges still remain in finding, securing and retaining employment. The Commission recognises there is a need to do more and in partnership with the Disability Services Commission, is implementing the Disability employment strategy 2013–2015 to improve participation, inclusion and access for people with disability across the sector.

The public sector representation of people with disability (2.3 per cent) continues to compare favourably to the estimated proportion in the WA working age population needing assistance with core activities (1.9 per cent8). This year, there was a slight trend downwards in representation (from 2.6 per cent in 2013) and WA is positioned close to midway across jurisdictions, as shown in Figure 3.4.

Figure 3.4 Representation of employees with disability across jurisdictions, 2013 and 2014

Figure 3.4 Representation of employees with disability across jurisdictions, 2013 and 2014

WA = 2.3, Tas = 5.7 (highest), Qld = 5.6, Vic = 4.0, NSW = 3.5, APS = 2.9, ACT = 1.8, SA = 1.2 (equal lowest), NT = 1.2 (equal lowest)

Sources: HRMOIR and other inter-jurisdictional publications (see Appendix B)

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Ensuring occupational safety and health

Occupational safety and health is concerned with protecting the welfare of employees in the workplace. It extends beyond physical safety and includes issues such as wellbeing, mental health and bullying.

In the 2014 EPS, most respondents (79 per cent) reported their entity supports them to achieve a good work/life balance. This was higher than available comparisons from other jurisdictions, as shown in Figure 3.5.

Figure 3.5 Employees who feel supported to achieve work/life balance (percentage) across jurisdictions, 2011, 2013 and 2014

Figure 3.5 Employees who feel supported to achieve work/life balance (percentage) across jurisdictions, 2011, 2013 and 2014

WA = 79 (highest), APS = 64, NSW = 64, NT = 62(lowest)

Sources: EPS and other inter-jurisdictional publications (see Appendix B)

Mental health

One in five workers are likely to be currently experiencing a mental health condition.9 Flow-on effects from reducing the stigma surrounding mental health include staff retention, decreased absenteeism and an improved workplace culture.

In August, the Western Australian Education and Health Standing Committee commenced a parliamentary inquiry into:

  • factors leading to mental health issues among fly-in, fly-out workers
  • the legislation, policies and practices for workplace mental health in WA
  • current government, industry and community initiatives in this area.

This year, the Commission collaborated with the Mental Health Commission to develop and launch Supporting good mental health in the workplace – A resource for agencies. The guide outlines the legal and ethical responsibilities of employers, together with activities and strategies to promote good mental health in the workplace. The following case study introduces the state's Mental Health Commissioner, who is driving reform in this area.

Steering mental health reform – Mental Health Commission

Timothy Marney

Mr Timothy Marney became WA's Mental Health Commissioner during one of the most crucial times of health reform in the state's history.

Taking up the post in February 2014, Mr Marney has been charged with leading efforts to completely reshape mental health policy and services for the next decade.

Formerly the state's Under Treasurer, Mr Marney has successfully overseen the passing of the Mental Health Bill 2013 and the formulation of the WA Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drug Services Plan 2015–2025, which is soon to enter a major state-wide consultation phase.

The plan will estimate demand and outline optimal services across the community for people experiencing mental health, alcohol and other drug problems, as well as their families and carers, in the short, medium and long term.

The opportunity to positively influence and drive a practical, people-centred reform agenda across mental health and the alcohol and other drug sector was a key factor in Mr Marney's decision to take on the role of Mental Health Commissioner.

Mr Marney brings a unique mix of skills to his new role. On the economic side, he brings experience as Under Treasurer responsible for the state's procurement agency, in leading the WA Government's Economic Audit Committee and subsequent reform of non-government service delivery, as well as applying economic policy and empirical skills to social policy issues.

In the area of mental health, he has served on the board of 'beyondblue' since 2008 —a national organisation tackling depression and anxiety. He has been deputy chair of the board for the past three years, and has long been a positive advocate for mental health issues – often citing his personal experience.

Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance in collaboration with 'beyondblue', recently launched the 'Heads up' campaign to help create healthier workplaces. The action plan tool on the website10 assists organisations to tailor strategies to their workplace.

Bullying

Workplace bullying is defined as unsolicited or unwelcome 'repeated, unreasonable or inappropriate behaviour directed towards a worker or group of workers, that creates a risk to health and safety'.11 During the previous 12 months, 10 per cent of EPS respondents felt they had been bullied in their workplace, with verbal abuse, spreading of rumours and exclusion from others being the most common forms reported. This result is similar to last year (11 per cent) and is lower than available comparisons from other jurisdictions, as shown in Figure 3.6.

Figure 3.6 Percentage of employees who reported being subject to bullying (percentage) across jurisdictions, 2011, 2013 and 2014

Figure 3.6 Percentage of employees who reported being subject to bullying (percentage) across jurisdictions, 2011, 2013 and 2014

WA = 10 (lowest), NT = 26 (highest), NSW = 23, Qld = 21, Vic = 17, APS = 16

Sources: EPS and other inter-jurisdictional publications (see Appendix B)

While the Commission does not take reports of bullying lightly, it is possible that some employees are simply responding to being managed more stringently than they would like. A consideration in investigating allegations is whether the reported behaviour constitutes reasonable management action.

In this year's PSES, larger entities were asked to comment on strategies they had found effective in preventing and addressing bullying. Several entities responded that raising awareness of what constitutes bullying (as opposed to complaints and grievances) is important, while other entities stated addressing cases early on, before they exacerbate, is critical. However, it was generally acknowledged that encouraging and managing the reporting of workplace bullying remains a challenge.

As one example of entity level practice, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services reported running a four month anti-bullying campaign, 'stamp out bullying', during the year. The campaign involved posters, lunch time information sessions, surveys, a review of the grievance management policy, articles for the internal 24/7 magazine, an internal circular, the establishment of internal mediators, YouTube videos relating to bullying on the intranet, and information on training courses for better communication skills and resolving conflict.

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Managing workplace conflict

Workplace performance can be impacted by conflict with colleagues and managers and other employee behaviour. However, conducting regular performance development sessions can assist in solving issues at a more manageable point. While most conflicts are resolved at an individual and informal level, in some cases, an employee may lodge a formal grievance with the employer.

In this year's PSES, larger entities were asked to comment on strategies they had found effective in managing grievances during 2013/14. Some reported examples include aligning the grievance management function more closely with human resources and establishing a grievance officer reference group to discuss current workplace trends. However, some 2014 EPS respondents (22 per cent) indicated a continued lack of confidence in their employer's policies and procedures for grievance resolution.

A total of 245 formal grievance cases were completed across the public sector in the past 12 months, compared to 241 in the previous year. Grievance cases were most commonly related to interpersonal conflict, alleged bullying and inappropriate behaviour.

In a new PSES question this year, entities were asked what methods they had used to resolve grievances. The most common were mediation by human resources or grievance officers, investigation by contracted service providers and/or mediation by line managers.

The Department of Fisheries has recently expanded its grievance officer network and the following case study outlines the approach.

Department of Fisheries' grievance officers network

Historically, the Department of Fisheries' staff did not have clear options to raise grievances, other than through the human resources manager. Throughout 2013, the Department embedded a range of options for staff to raise grievances and pursue resolution. A grievance network model was implemented whereby all employees were offered the opportunity to self-nominate for training to become workplace grievance officers (WGO). This presented an opportunity for trained employees to add value and make a difference to people's working lives. The establishment of WGOs, in both metropolitan and regional areas, supported the model's aim to enable employees to contact any WGOs, including those not in their geographical region. Employees have welcomed this opportunity and this is a testament to the quality of training that provides for consistent approaches to grievance assistance across the state.

Employees from a range of classification levels have self-nominated as WGOs. The success of the model has seen all WGOs agree to a further two year term, with additional employees nominating to join the network. To further support WGOs in their role, refresher training has been offered whereby all officers convene for a day of training and case study analysis. This has also provided an opportunity for WGOs to share their experiences and approaches to grievance cases, being mindful of confidentiality.

Feedback to date has indicated more cases are being resolved without the need for escalation to a formal grievance process.

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Applying the public sector standards

The Commission's public sector standards in human resource management support the monitoring of merit, equity and probity in the public sector. Issued by the Commissioner under section 21(1)(a) of the Public Sector Management Act 1994 (external website), the standards ensure accountability in relation to employment, performance management, grievance resolution, redeployment, termination and disciplinary processes.

Employee awareness of the standards is important so staff understand their rights and avenues of redress. Awareness continued to be high this year, with more than 85 per cent of EPS respondents reporting awareness of each standard.

Figure 3.7 shows that, as in previous years, reviews of human resource policies and surveying staff views are the activities most likely to be undertaken by entities to monitor performance against the standards.

Figure 3.7 Strategies used by entities to monitor performance against the public sector standards, 2013/14

Figure 3.7 Strategies used by entities to monitor performance against the public sector
standards, 2013/14

 

Entities (%)

Reviews or audits of human resource policies or checklists to ensure consistency with standards

92

Staff feedback through exit interviews/surveys

82

Internal reviews or audits of transactions/processes conducted under the standards

82

Analysis of number and nature of breach claims lodged with the entity

62

External reviews or audits of transactions/processes conducted under the standards

59

Analysis of, and action resulting from, substantiated breach claims

36

Surveys of applicants or newly-appointed staff following recruitment processes

25

Note: Figures in this table are estimations only based on visual representation of the figure

Source: PSES

Table 3.2 shows there was a small number of breach claims (206) across all standards in 2013/14, similar to last year's result of 181. Considering there were 137 944 public sector employees potentially involved in processes covered by the standards this year, this continues to represent very few breach claims.

This year, 49 per cent of claims were resolved internally, compared to 36 per cent last year. The Commission's advisory service can provide assistance in this area as required. The service provides information on how to make a claim, how to manage a claim, and alternative pathways to raise issues.

Table 3.2 Outcomes of breach claims against public sector standards, 2013/14

Standard

Total claims (Number)

Claims resolved internally

Claims reviewed by the Commission (Number)

Number

%

No breach

Breach

Other outcome(a)

Employment

169

75

44

61

4

29

Grievance resolution

26

20

77

2

2

2

Performance management

2

0

0

1

0

1

Redeployment

8

6

75

0

0

2

Termination

1

0

0

1

0

0

TOTAL

206

101

49

65

6

34

(a) Other outcomes represent 'withdrawn', 'lapsed, 'declined', 'conciliation' and 'out of jurisdiction'. Sources: PSES and claims processed by the Commission

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Key chapter findings

Building the capacity of the public sector through developing employee capability is becoming more important in the context of increasing community expectations and needs.

Most entities provide a range of performance development opportunities to their staff. However, while most employees agreed feedback helps improve their performance, there is room for improvement in the frequency of performance discussions across the sector. There also appears to be an opportunity to encourage more on-the-job learning through activities such as secondments and exchanges.

Some employees expressed a lack of confidence in their employer's policies and procedures for grievance resolution. Entities are working on effective strategies to improve this, and the Commission continues to support the public sector in its understanding of the process for effective resolution.

Workplace diversity strategies have been enhanced this year, and WA has maintained its Aboriginal representation rate, which is higher than most other jurisdictions.

In anticipation of ongoing fiscal constraints, the public sector continues to be flexible and provide value for money in its approach to building the capacity and capability of its workforce.

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1 Staff salaries accounted for 39 per cent of the WA general government sector operating expenses in 2013/14; source: Department of Treasury 2014, 2013-14 Annual report on state finances, p. 2

2 Hays plc 2013, Hays global skills index 2013, p. 53

3 Jennings, C. 2013, 70:20:10 framework explained

4 Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership 2014, Global trends in professional learning and performance development, p. 6

5 Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat 2014, 'Directive on performance management'

6 Australian Bureau of Statistics 2013, 2002.0 – Census of population and housing: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (Indigenous) profile, 2011 third release

7 Commonwealth of Australia 2014, Forrest Review—Creating Parity

8 Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012, 'TableBuilder basic: Disability, carers and need for assistance classifications, 2011 Census of population and housing

9 beyondblue 2014, State of workplace mental health in Australia, p. 1

10 See http://www.headsup.org.au

11 Commission for Occupational Safety and Health 2010, Code of practice – Violence, aggression and bullying at work, p. 18

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Page last updated 20 November 2014