Secretaries approve APS manifesto for management revolution


Michael Thawley

The effects of classification creep and other consequences of outdated public service management structures could soon be reversed. The APS Secretaries Board endorses bid for wider spans of control and staff grouped into “organisational layers”.

The Australian Public Service is moving to flatter management structures with increased spans of control on the recommendation of the National Commission of Audit, but it is not an exercise in cost-cutting, according to the APS Commission.

Instead, an implementation guide published by the commission says the new “APS Framework for optimal management structures” aims to improve decision making, accountability and communication, and make it easier to maximise resource use, encourage innovation and support change.

While savings are expected to come from doing away with the current “expensive” structures, the guide stresses this is not the main reason for the new framework. It is a management revolution, aimed at addressing the criticism that the service is far too top-heavy.

All agencies must now run a self-assessment process of their existing management structure and develop a three-year plan to optimise it based on the new principles by 2018. The APSC will report annually on progress to the Secretaries Committee on Transformation, but progress reporting by agencies will be voluntary until the end of 2016.

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