Welcome to the club: APS Commission to refresh senior executive inductions

By Stephen Easton

Friday September 6, 2019

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The Australian Public Service Commission is keen to “review and refresh” its orientation program for new members of the Senior Executive Service.

The APSC is in the market for a purveyor of “innovative learning programs” to help it design and co-deliver a new orientation program for band 1 SES officers through its Centre for Leadership and Learning.

Newly minted senior executives need help finding their feet because there is “a significant increase in the complexity, sensitivity, risk profile and value associated with decision-making” with their first senior executive role, the tender documents explain.

“There is also a heightened level of direct accountability to Government and to the Agency’s executive (externally and internally) for decisions and outcomes.”

The APSC wants the new program co-designed with experts and senior public servants, and says the supplier’s willingness to “both challenge and be challenged on design suggestions” is critical to what it wants to achieve.

The plan is to pilot, evaluate and refine the new program in December. The commission expects to pay around $120,000-$160,000 to get to that point, and have public servants or other facilitators trained to deliver it themselves or “co-deliver” it with the professional-development provider, which might later be engaged to deliver the new orientation program up to 10 times.

The commission hopes to procure “genuine innovations in the design, development, delivery and artefacts of the program specifically in relation to emerging considerations for APS SES officers” but also retain some highly successful elements of the existing orientation process. It is interested in “social learning” approaches and effective ways to deliver professional development to SES officers located outside Canberra, who make up about 30% of the band 1 cohort.

The tender notice explains the core skills band 1s need to develop relate to managing people and resources, working with government and satisfying accountability requirements. They also need to improve their understanding of “leadership and stewardship” in terms of working effectively with other organisations and influencing strategic direction.

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