Terry Moran: five changes we need in public sector HR

Australia’s public sector is a world leader on the strength of its people. But change is needed to find and promote the right people. Here’s five practical steps.

1. Merit principal in selection and promotion

My first change would be to create a renewed respect for the merit principle in selecting and promoting people for jobs as the basis for staffing public service departments and agencies.

Through the use of the merit principle we have built a quality workforce committed to treating citizens according to the law in a fair, honest and apolitical way. I am speaking here of the merit principle as it is applied to scores, if not hundreds of occupations in the public service. These are the occupations which lack a strong professional college or association to define standards for them.

Nepotism and cronyism promotes the opposite and puts at risk whether individual citizens and businesses will be properly dealt with under the law and the regulatory environment derived from it.

It is the professional, indeed ethical, requirements set for public sector employees which define their unique advantage in most areas of service delivery over people in the private sector.

FREE membership to The Mandarin

Receive unlimited access, get all the latest public sector news and features, plus The Juice, our daily news update sent direct to your inbox.

The Mandarin is where Australia's public sector leaders discuss their work and the issues faced within modern bureaucracy. Join today to discover the latest in public administration thinking and news from our dedicated reporters, current and former agency heads and senior executives.