Leon on Employment, shared services and work flexibility

FIRST INTERVIEW: Employment secretary Renée Leon sat down with The Mandarin to discuss the shared services experiment, policy challenges in the portfolio and evolving leadership responsibility.

The Department of Employment has been home to one of the nation’s most mercurial policy domains, and among the most watched, where even the slightest tinkering becomes headline news. But in its latest separation from the Department of Education — in the machinery of government dance they do every couple of years — Employment, and its secretary Renée Leon, together with the Education Department have achieved a quiet innovation that could stand the test of time.

The Shared Services Centre, owned equally by Employment and Education, represents a mature, “seamless” evolution to the disruption that machinery of government changes can bring.

Keeping just a small amount of corporate to service each department’s individual strategic needs, the remainder — responsible for managing properties, paying the bills, maintaining payroll records, IT and provision of desktop — have all been consolidated into the SSC. Leon (pictured) told The Mandarin it represents a significant innovation over past machinery of government separations.

“I don’t want to call it an experiment now. We’re past the experiment and now showing that it works,” she said.

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