The independent APS Hierarchy and Classification Review provides advice to the APS Commissioner about ways the APS could streamline management and adopt best practice ways of working.

It arose from the Independent Review of the Australian Public Service recommendation that the APS should streamline management and adopt best-practice ways of working to:

  • reduce hierarchy
  • improve decision-making
  • bring together the right expertise and resources.

The independent review makes 8 recommendations for the APS Commissioner to consider:

  1. Modernise and simplify the Public Service Classification Rules 2000 from 13 to 8 classifications, with Secretaries retaining flexibility to structure their organisations to optimise business needs.
  2. Refer to people’s roles by descriptive job titles, rather than numerical classifications.
  3. Enable progression for people within classifications through fair and transparent assessment driven by proficiency, skills development and workforce planning.
  4. Recognise specialists for the value of their work within the new classification framework.
  5. The Secretaries Board to implement spans of control for senior management roles generally within the range of 8-10 direct reports, consistent with contemporary organisational design.
  6. Invest urgently in the capability of future leaders, particularly the EL2/Manager cohort, and mandate management and leadership training for all staff with supervisory responsibility.
  7. Strengthen the role of the APS Commissioner as the Chief People Officer for APS people management.
  8. The Secretaries Board to adopt and model a Charter of Leadership Behaviours for APS leaders to promote collaborative and team-based behaviours.

The APS will act on many of the review’s findings but will not make changes to classifications at this stage.

Instead, the APS is taking measured steps towards more modern structures and ways of working, guided by the issues raised in the review.

An independent panel was appointed to oversee the review, bringing a wealth of experience and understanding of the APS operating environment. The panel was comprised of Dr Heather Smith PSM, Ms Kathryn Fagg AO FTSE and Mr Finn Pratt AO PSM. The review examined SES and non‑SES classification levels against best practice and emerging workforce needs.


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