Outcomes over organisation: ‘it’s a state of mind’

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To thrive in the current environment and into the future, public services need to focus on the outcomes and give up control over who delivers them, the IPAA ACT Division conference heard.

Michael Thawley

Michael Thawley

Social change over recent decades has significantly altered the operating environment for public service organisations. Some have work to do just to make sure they’re equipped and organised for the present, let alone the future.

The IPAA ACT Division’s inaugural conference last month provided a forum for federal and ACT public servants to discuss these broad issues, with the banner line “public service in interesting times” referring chiefly to tightening budgets and various aspects of the digital revolution. And with electoral and political volatility another aspect of the “interesting times” in the government sector, the theme chosen months earlier couldn’t have been more appropriate in the week of Malcolm Turnbull’s ascension to the prime ministership.

Early in the day, a panel brought together the respective heads of the federal and ACT government bureaucracies, Michael Thawley and Kathy Leigh, alongside former ACT chief minister Kate Carnell, now CEO of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Facilitated by political pundit George Megalogenis, they considered how public services could adapt to the current operating environment and prepare for the years ahead.

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