Western Australia’s public sector plays a crucial role in the lives of West Australians, supporting the wellbeing, education, security and prosperity of the State.
There are significant strengths in the public sector that provide a strong foundation on which to build. Public sector employees possess a strong spirit of public service, are ethical in practice and have a genuine desire to improve services for the benefit of the community. There are excellent examples of reform and innovation across the sector. Public sector agencies are already implementing significant machinery of government changes as well as substantial workforce adjustments.
Nevertheless, the opportunities and challenges facing the WA community, and clear evidence of a number of significant structural and systemic weaknesses across the sector, mean a commitment to comprehensive and sustained reform is needed. Starting work now is essential. Delay in progressing public sector reform will lead to much greater adjustment costs when change becomes inevitable.
The Service Priority Review Panel has identified four directions for reform that frame its recommendations and, together with the actions detailed in the body of this report, form the Blueprint for Reform (Blueprint).
It has been the Panel’s observation that implementation capability in WA is scarce, but critical. The Panel has noted past failure to implement reforms and has made a specific recommendation on implementation. Successful implementation will require a clear sense of purpose and priority; ‘buy in’ from the leadership; sustained support from the centre of government; and explicit responsibility placed on agency heads across the public sector to drive the short, medium and long-term stewardship of the whole public sector. Chapter 6 of this report lists the full suite of recommendations and actions that make up the Blueprint and includes the Panel’s advice on priority and sequencing.
Ultimately, a commitment to sustained and purposeful reform will create a public sector that attracts and retains the very best people who are proud to work together on behalf of all West Australians.