13.02.2017

Watch: Andrew Colvin on reform in the AFP


IPAA ACT took a break from its usual line-up of departmental secretaries to feature another kind of public sector chief executive. Andrew Colvin, Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police addressed the institute last week on the gender equity and culture reforms that galvanised on the back of Elizabeth Broderick’s review of the organisation last year.

“When you strip away the horrible headlines — the really, rightfully, disappointing figures that came out of the work that Elizabeth and her team did — and you look beyond that, and you delve into those underlying causes of why our culture isn’t what it should be, at its core I believe they’re signs that people are under pressure, that people are stressed, and that people are tired,” the commissioner said. “And to be honest, this is what the [Functional and Efficiency Review] has told us also.”

Read Mandarin reporter Stephen Easton’s coverage here: AFP ‘trying to correct 200-plus years of systemic violence’ against women.

The commissioner believes his cultural change program will fail if the AFP falls back on the structure and discipline that rules its day-to-day work.

“Nothing will change in the AFP because I said so. I can change a guideline or a procedure, or sign off on something, but the truth is unless it makes sense to the person in Sydney or the person in the Solomon Islands or wherever it might be, unless it makes sense to them and their team leader wants them to do it and their superintendent wants them to do it, it’s not going to happen.

“What we have to do is focus on the role of integrity, the role of identity, and the role of organisational health if we want to build and change culture.”

The full video of the address, co-produced with contentgroup, is now available on IPAA ACT’s Vimeo channel: