The Queensland government has announced it has appointed the chief commissioner of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) to rake over the coals of culture and accountability in the state’s public service.
Professor Peter Coaldrake will provide the state government with an interim report for a wide-ranging review on culture and accountability in the Queensland public sector (QPS) by April and a final report will be provided in four months.
A former Queensland University of Technology vice-chancellor, Coaldrake will have the power to make system-wide changes. He also previously served as CEO of Queensland’s Public Sector Management Commission, the body established by the Goss government to overhaul the public sector. The statutory authority was renamed in 1997, when it became the Office of the Public Service Commissioner and then later simply the Public Service Commission.
The review will encompass public service agencies and public service entities as defined in the Public Sector Ethics Act 1994.
A government statement outlined six key areas that would be up for reform, including:
- The culture of the public service in ensuring ethical decision-making and impartial advice to the executive
- The nature of interactions and interdependencies between integrity bodies, the public service and the executive
- Legislation underpinning the existing ethics and integrity framework
- Adequacy of systems to prevent ethical, accountability and integrity issues arising
- Adequacy of ethics training and communication and relevant policies
- Timeliness of processes to resolve ethical and integrity complaints
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it was good for governments to undertake periodic reviews and she highlighted the need to improve how the bureaucracy used digital solutions in delivering services.
“People deserve a government that is fit for purpose, geared to their needs and focused on them.
“I welcome this independent review and look forward to Professor Coaldrake’s findings,” Palaszczuk said.
The premier said both Coaldrake’s interim and final report would be made public and would build on the 2019 Bridgeman Review.
The first stage of the government response to the Bridgeman Review considered employment security in the QPS and this next stage will address the modernisation of the Public Service Act 2008. Recommendations concerning public sector ethics will also be addressed.
“The 21st Century has brought rapid changes, not least in terms of technology. We need to address that.”
“It is always good to look at things with fresh eyes,” Palaszczuk said.