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Home Features Cutting with care: after the spill, Comms Dept lives up to name
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PEOPLEAlistair Waters, Marianne Cullen, Michael O'Donnell
DEPARTMENTSDepartment of Communications and the Arts
TAGS Communications, National, Department of Communications and the Arts, Community and Public Sector Union, human resources, change management, downsizing, staff cuts, restructuring, spill-and-fill
After a controversial “spill-and-fill”, staff at the Department of Communications have resettled with minimum pain. The Mandarin discovered what made this restructure a success.
The Department of Communications has shed about a quarter of its workforce as part of a major restructure. But only 11 were forced redundancies — a better result for all concerned than was expected earlier this year.
The department announced in February it had redesigned the jobs of its 550 staff, who would be asked to express interest in one of the re-jigged roles. The restructured department’s workforce would also have to be 20-25% smaller.
The Community and Public Sector Union was horrified to see what was essentially a “spill-and-fill” process applied to an entire department for the first time. Six months later it seems Communications has managed the difficult task of downsizing relatively well, and the union has claimed some wins from the process.
While the CPSU completely rejects the need for spill-and-fill processes, deputy national president Alistair Waters is pleased the majority of the reduction was achieved through voluntary redeployment or redundancy, with the spill-and-fill scaled back to just executive-level staff.
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The Mandarin is where Australia's public sector leaders discuss their work and the issues faced within modern bureaucracy. Join today to discover the latest in public administration thinking and news from our dedicated reporters, current and former agency heads and senior executives.
Stephen Easton is a journalist at The Mandarin based in Canberra. He's previously reported for Canberra CityNews and worked on industry titles for The Intermedia Group.
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