Victoria is reorganising its public service around eight COVID-19 ‘missions’. Here’s who is leading them

By Shannon Jenkins

Wednesday April 8, 2020

Treasury Gardens, Melbourne. Adobe

Senior mandarins from across the Victorian Public Service will lead eight new core missions and two programs of work that aim to ensure critical services can continue throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

In an email to staff on Tuesday, Department of Premier and Cabinet secretary Chris Eccles announced the “significant reorientation of the public service” needed to tackle the health, economic and social issues raised by pandemic.

The core missions include: health emergency; economic emergency; economic program delivery, supply, logistics and procurement; continuity of essential services — people; continuity of essential services — economic; economic recovery (private sector); restoration of public services — people; and restoration of public services — economic (public sector).

Each mission will be led by a secretary, and the leaders will meet collectively as the Missions Coordination Committee. A Mission Coordination Unit will also be established in DPC to underpin the entire work program. The unit will be led by former Bill Shorten staffer Sam Trobe.

Jeremi Moule

Meanwhile, a Public Sector Administration Committee, chaired by DPC deputy secretary Jeremi Moule, will be the primary decision making forum for VPS whole of government matters, including items that would usually go to the Victorian Secretaries Board or the Integrity and Corporate Reform Subcommittee.

The VPS is also embarking on two programs of work.

Brigid Monagle

Moule and Fairer Victoria deputy secretary Brigid Monagle will lead one of the enabling programs of work related to behaviour change, social cohesion and communications.

A team will also be established to support Eccles in leading the critical risks and opportunities program of work.

The Social and Economic policy groups of DPC will work directly with relevant mission secretaries, the Premier’s Office and other stakeholders to support the achievement of mission objectives and work plans.

A “prioritisation exercise” is also underway across every department, to identify the work that must continue to ensure essential services and programs can be delivered, and the work that needs to be suspended until further notice.

Eccles said he has been discussing the changes that will need to be made to ensure the government’s program of work can be delivered with DPC Board of Management.

“This is a significant reorientation of the public service to focus on eight missions and DPC will also change to align itself with these priorities,” he said.

“The current circumstances are extraordinary and are placing significant demands on our workforce.

“I cannot emphasise enough that the skill, commitment and resilience being shown by VPS staff is exemplary.”

The core mission leads are:

  • Department of Education secretary Jenny Atta, continuity and restoration of essential services — people,
  • Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning secretary John Bradley, continuity of essential services – economic; restoration of public services – economic (public sector),
  • Department of Justice and Community Safety secretary Rebecca Falkingham, continuity and restoration of essential services — people,
  • Department of Treasury and Finance secretary David Martine, economic emergency; economic recovery (private sector),
  • Department of Health and Human Services secretary Kym Peake, health emergency,
  • Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions secretary Simon Phemister, economic program delivery, supply, logistics and procurement; economic recovery (private sector),
  • Department of Transport secretary Paul Younis, continuity of essential services – economic; restoration of public services – economic (public sector)

The new initiatives will be further developed by secretaries in consultation with the newly established Crisis Council of Cabinet.

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