APS tenders call for executive coaches, plus designers, reviewers and evaluators

By Stephen Easton

Wednesday March 27, 2019

Leaders at the top level of the Australian Public Service will soon have a go-to list of executive coaches, and separately, foreign aid officials are putting together a panel of consultants to support them and other agencies with policy design, review, monitoring and evaluation.

Eric Schmidt, the former chief executive of Google and its newer parent company Alphabet, famously said one of the best pieces of advice he could recall was that everybody needs a coach. Now the federal government’s central workforce management agency is putting together a list of coaches, just for leaders in the highest pay grade.

“The Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) is taking steps to further support Senior Executive Service Band 3 employees by providing them with a mechanism to access formal coaching arrangements for their continued development as senior leader,” reads a notice from the workforce management agency.

There’s no guarantee of work, but the opportunity to get on a new list of coaches who may be called on to support the professional development of band-3 senior executives, which include deputy secretaries and above.

Getting on the register requires “substantial experience coaching C-level executives” and appropriate qualifications. The APSC is taking applications until April 11.

Procurement panel for design, review, monitoring, evaluation

Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is putting together a standing group of consultants called the DEV Panel, “to provide DFAT program areas (and other government agencies) with streamlined means to procure design, review and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) services” according to the AusTender notice.

“Advisory services may be sourced from the Panel to support the development of strategy, design, implementation and evaluation of aid activities and provide advice across a range of professional disciplines and country programs.”

Evaluation is widely considered to be underdone in government, but the Office of Development Effectiveness, which measures the effectiveness of the aid program, is one area where the capability has historically been strongest.

Australian Aid now has need of “a unified, global solution for the procurement of resources” for the aid program, including consultants “to support the development of strategy, design, implementation and evaluation of aid activities and provide advice across a range of professional disciplines and country programs” and not just working with Australian public servants.

“Assignments can range from providing technical expertise and advice to, and supporting agreed capacity development aims of, country partners (government and non-government), DFAT, or other development partners (whole-of-government and other donors), regardless of whether they are based in-country, in Australia or elsewhere.”

Members of the panel will be called on to get involved with high-level work; its objectives are listed as:

(a) contribute to aid policy development and program delivery and enhance the effectiveness of the Australian aid program;
(b) ensure that aid advisory services are based on international good practice, lessons learned from Australian and regional aid implementation and insights from other aid agencies;
(c) assist the Australian aid program to keep up with current trends and developments and apply this knowledge practically throughout the aid program; and
(d) provide the Australian aid program with access to high quality, timely advice.

The suppliers will be grouped into two categories: one for design services and the other for suppliers of review, monitoring and evaluation expertise. Designers will be asked to:

(a) Support program strategy, development and delivery across the aid programming cycle.
(b) Undertake strategic analysis and policy development on aid programming and design.
(c) Design quality initiatives at both strategic and operational level. (d) Develop robust, clear theory of change and program logic models.
(e) Make informed decisions on appropriate aid delivery mechanisms, partnership approaches and governance arrangements.
(f) Assist to build staff capacity for managing and undertaking design (e.g. preparing guidance notes).

Suppliers in the review, monitoring and evaluation category will be called on to:

(a) Review investments in the implementation stage (e.g. mid-term reviews, independent performance assessments, technical advisory groups).
(b) Assist to build staff capacity for review and M&E (e.g. preparing guidance notes).
(c) Undertake evaluation practice at a strategic level (thematic, country program, sector, policy and strategy), and at activity level.
(d) Provide strategic advice on program performance and quality issues to support performance and use of performance systems to manage for results at strategy, thematic, and program level, as well as at activity level.
(e) Design appropriate M&E systems, including developing or refining the program logic/theory of change as a basis for monitoring.
(f) Provide technical advice on initiative-level M&E systems, such as during design appraisal or early implementation.

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