Catch-up: executive movements, police want actors, agency awards

By Harley Dennett

Friday April 17, 2015

… and yes, like everyone else, we’ll be repeatedly hitting refresh on the COAG meeting outcomes page for today’s developments.

Actors wanted

Are the cast of Thank God You’re Here still around? The Australian Federal Police needs you. The AFP are looking for actors for play foreign civilians and troublemakers for officers heading to overseas operations in the region.

Some people serve their country by defending it in uniform, some through the management and delivery of education, health, safety, or upholding the law. Others still do so in “dirty and scuffed clothing” testing their improv-theatre sports skills in federal police scenarios.

A tender published today calls for providers who can supply male and female “role players with Melanesian, Polynesian and Micronesian ethnicity” and no past convictions. They should be able to work long hours and are able to work outdoors in local national parks around their Majura, ACT training headquarters. It would help they could bring their own helicopter and fly it — a separate tender for loan of a helicopter frame and support was also issued.

Of course, this is an opportunity for current and potential AFP officers too: after a four-week training program — involving said helicopter, cultural awareness, bush craft, remote first aid and mission specific scenario activities  — the officers can deploy on operations. Those operations include overseas stability, peacekeeping and capacity building missions, working side-by-side with local police in an effort to restore law and order and enhance local policing capacity, according to the AFP’s International Deployment Group. They currently manages around 400 personnel deployed to United Nations missions in South Sudan and Cyprus, and international missions in Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, Nauru, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Samoa and Tonga.

Executive movements

Mary Ann O'Louglin
Mary Ann O’Louglin

Eight candidates are in the running for the top job at the federal Department of Agriculture, but a permanent replacement for Dr Paul Grimes may not be an existing agency executive. Fairfax agricultural writer Colin Bettles suggests there are “serious considerations in play to appoint someone with commercial experience of the agricultural sector.” Deputy secretary Phillip Glyde has been praised for the good job he has been doing as acting secretary.

The search continues in several head of agency jobs including Victoria Police and Australian National Audit Office.

Mary Ann O’Loughlin AM, former head of the COAG Reform Council, deputy secretary of several federal departments, senior advisor to Paul Keating and IPAA fellow, is returning to the public service — but this time in NSW. O’Loughlin, who has written for The Mandarin about future of federal relations, is joining the Department of Premier and Cabinet as new deputy secretary for social policy.

Risk management awards

The Department of Defence and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority have won excellence awards in risk management organised by the Department of Finance:

“Defence was nominated for using risk management practices to identify and treat Improvised Explosive Device threats in its operations overseas. As a result, there were fewer military casualties, and its risk management practices were adopted by international allies.

“AMSA’’s award recognised its research into cargo shipping practices and the way it has engaged with the international shipping community to change the way iron ore is handled and shipped. AMSA’s work has led to safer handling practices for iron ore.”

Defence, however, may have put the public and staff safety at risk at fuel stations, allegedly poorly maintained, according to the not-yet-released Wraith review into the department’s fuel supply chain, the Canberra Times reports.

Collaboration and getting things done

The administrative challenges of a coalition government are not new to the UK civil service, but some are predicting 2015’s outcome could be even more complicated from a public sector perspective. We also look back to the efficacy of the UK Cabinet Office’s implementation unit under the previous coalition government, with the unit’s former deputy director writing a very practical guide on how to make things happen (hat tip to Power to Persuade).

Power to Persuade have also published a researcher’s perspective from the International Research Society for Public Management conference in Birmingham. PhD candidate Paula Karlsson, who is working on co-governance of risk in public service provision, wrote:

” … collaboration [can be] very context-specific where for instance the financial crisis may have had a significant influence on collaboration but that the context has not really been address in collaboration research. Similarly, cultural differences (in a country or even a continent) will have an impact on the success of collaborations. Therefore one cannot draw representative conclusions regarding the working of a collaboration if the context has not been fully considered. What works in one context does not necessarily work in another.

“Likewise … it was noted that practice has always been ahead of theory and should therefore drive the development of theory in this field. More methodological and theoretical development was called for, which in a way links back to the fact that we need to talk more to each other across disciplines. In a way these issues apply to practice as well, where those involved in collaborations really do need to talk to their partners and other stakeholders about what their collaboration really means and is about, and to genuinely value the contributions from others out with ones own profession, for instance.”

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