APS Commission and Social Services to ‘refresh’ disability strategy

By Shannon Jenkins

November 11, 2019

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The Secretaries Equality and Diversity Council has announced updates to its 2019 strategies.

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet boss Phil Gaetjens chaired the council for the first time on October 4, and was met with the announcement that prominent businesswoman Kathryn Fagg — an external member of the council — would be leaving the role immediately, the council briefly noted in a recent communique.

Fagg was one of only two external members on the council, with the remainder of the council comprising of all APS departmental secretaries. She recently took up the role of non-executive director at NAB.

The council’s last meeting, in July, prioritised the development of a new Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy. The council has now been presented with a draft of the strategy, informed by wide consultation, including from the National Indigenous Australians Agency and the APS SES B2 working group.

“The council endorsed the draft strategy presented…the strategy will be progressed to the government for consideration.”

In regards to the previously discussed APS Disability Employment Strategy, the council revealed the Australian Public Sector Commission would partner with the Department of Social Services to “refresh” the strategy. Departments and agencies would also be invited to nominate staff for secondment to the strategy project team from this month.

READ MORE: Four APS inclusion strategies in the pipeline for 2019

An interim report from the APS mental health capability project  has been delivered. The project has so far been led by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, but the council has endorsed further investigation into the development of an APS-wide approach to “drive a whole-of-service approach to maintaining mentally healthy workplaces”.

PM&C also delivered a presentation on improving local team routines by “codifying and identifying” inclusive work practices at the EL2 level. It noted that average EL2s “drive the status quo”, yet inclusive EL2s treat inclusion as “essential to driving high performance”. 

“The council noted five routines that can better drive inclusion at the EL2 level, and PM&C’s work to embed these routines in the department.”

The council also agreed to amalgamate the three current EL2-led inclusion project steering groups. The new group would deliver an “inclusion in the APS toolkit” to the council next year.

The secretaries also noted that PM&C would update the council’s Terms of Reference ready to present at the next meeting.

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