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Gold medal performance: Queensland Police Service wins PM’s top public sector award

The Queensland Police Service has come up trumps in the Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Public Sector Management, taking out the Gold Award for its handling of security for this year’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

Keeping the crowds safe at the massive event was biggest operational challenge ever for the QPS and the judges had to agree it went very well, with all planned outcomes achieved on time and $18 million under budget. The agency also received a separate Collaboration Award from the judging panel, who felt the police demonstrated “very effective integration across multiple agencies at all levels of government” as well.

Counter-terrorism strategies involved reviewing the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, and several other attacks in the United Kingdom and France, and the police worked with international experts, including senior planning personnel from recently held similar events like the London Olympics and Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

Gold award winner: Queensland Government – Queensland Police Service

“The judges were extremely impressed with all facets of this nomination — it represented a major international event, with high risks and high expectations, and the QPS delivered its part in a comprehensive and rigorous fashion,” according to the statement supplied by the Institute of Public Administration Australia, ACT Branch, which hosts the awards.

“The standards of stakeholder engagement, planning, governance, people management and innovation were of the highest order.”

The prizes with the PM’s imprimatur were presented this year by the Assistant Minister for Treasury and Finance, Zed Seselja, at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra.

Silver for Human Services fraud control stress-test

The Silver Award went to the Department of Human Services for a project that sought to evaluate the effectiveness of fraud control, following a major rort on its own patch.

Silver award winner: Australian Government – Department of Human Services

“This involved developing a team of trained fraud analysts applying non-linear, corkscrew thinking, and looking at processes and systems from the perspective of a fraudster,” we’re told.

“Since its implementation, the team has tested the effectiveness of over 550 fraud controls across a range of government programmes and corporate functions, with more than 140 treatments implemented or in development. This has positioned the Department to better protect the integrity of government outlays and information as it embarks on a once-in-a-generation business and ICT transformation.

“The judges were highly impressed by the Department’s innovative approach to testing the effectiveness of fraud controls, and the robustness (and potential broad applicability) of their bespoke solution.”

New South Wales Education earns a commendation

The NSW Department of Education and Training won the final award for general public sector excellence, the Commendation, with a successful new method of deciding which schools get what. The department’s Resource Allocation Model is a new approach, based around feedback and consultations with stakeholders.

Commendation award winner: New South Wales Government – Department of Education

“Traditionally, NSW public schools received additional funding based on historical complex formulas from centrally run programs. This limited the flexibility for schools and generated paperwork and reporting that took schools away from focusing on desired learning outcomes,” the organisers explain.

“The allocation of additional funding was not always transparent or equitable. Schools were either ‘on’ or ‘off’ a funding program with no guarantee of longevity of the funding. A new way of allocating program and operational funding to NSW public schools was identified as a significant need during the consultation process.”

The program was implemented last year across 2,200 public schools, attended by just over three quarters of a million students. The judges saw it as a good example of an efficient and effective process, in an area that was previously very complex.

Ambulance Victoria awarded for pushing back against thugs

A second supplementary award in the PM’s public sector prizes is all about people and change management, and this year it went to a three-year project that dealt with violence against paramedics in a very comprehensive fashion.

People and Change Management award winner: Victorian Government – Ambulance Victoria

“An occupational violence policy was developed that clearly articulated a position of zero tolerance to occupational violence against paramedics. To increase management accountability, investments were made in IT solutions to enhance management oversight of occupational violence incidents. An Occupational Violence Incident Review Group (OVIRG) was established to review all reported occupational violence incidents, identify trends and inform the organisation’s response.

“This program has resulted in a 49% reduction in assaults on paramedics from 2015-16 to the present even though risk exposure has increased. Effective training and culture change have resulted in a workforce rating of safety priority from 45% in 2015 to 80% in 2017. A review into scene risk behaviours indicates paramedics are now better at identifying scenes where occupational violence is likely to occur and avoiding assault.

“The judges were impressed with the innovative approaches taken by Ambulance Victoria to engage their geographically dispersed staff in the training and culture change required to overcome the occupational violence problems paramedics were experiencing.”

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The Mandarin

The Mandarin staff journalists.