Graeme Head on the frameworks to reform in the NSW sector


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The O’Farrell/Baird government has driven significant reforms through the public sector, inviting those outside to participate. The Mandarin talks to the man in charge.

Graeme Head

Graeme Head

Coming on three years after the creation of the office of the New South Wales public service commissioner, the inaugural holder of the role has an act of Parliament and three major frameworks under his belt, and a public sector employee survey showing those frameworks are having an impact on the 400,000-strong workforce.

Graeme Head took stewardship of the “large complex animal” that is the state public sector workforce just as the then O’Farrell government’s commission of audit was finalising its diagnosis of the sector. The audit recommendations by Dr Kerry Schott gave the commissioner’s office a mandate and a direction to take on significant reform to the way the public sector is managed in NSW.

Head told The Mandarin he was “very fortunate” coming into the role to have almost immediate access to Schott’s diagnostic covering issues such as capability, systems and performance culture. It formed “the basis for developing a framework for reform designed to not just respond to the specific issues that Dr Schott had identified, but really put in place the fundamentals for a high-performing public service”.

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